Fans are eagerly waiting to take a dive into the new animated series Isaura, which features a young heroine of the same name from Mozambique who fights to protect the ocean.
This series is a collaboration between Marvel and Disney to create an African hero and was created by a South African-based studio called Lucan.
Digital Spy provided audiences with the largest sneak peak of the series yet. While production is still in progress, it has been confirmed that the show will address issues of environmental justice and teach young viewers important lessons about protecting the Earth.
Co-creators Andrew McNally and Clayton Koshi have eagerly declared their determination to focus on African representation.
During an interview with Digital Spy, McNally explained, “The story is of a young Mozambican girl living in a coastal village. After risking her own life to save a turtle, she’s rewarded with a powerful ancient talisman that gives her the ability to breathe underwater and communicate with turtles.”
It sounds like a magical series with elements of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Studio Ghibli, and Marvel’s Black Panther. With the power to communicate with turtles and freely traverse the sea comes a lot of responsibility for young Isaura to illustrate what it means to be brave in the face of adversity.
The show may include other characters that have the power to connect with other animals. The idea is to have kids gain magical powers that enable them to protect endangered species. If that premise gives you Captain Planet vibes, you’re not alone. We can’t wait to see what these eco-conscious kids can accomplish when their powers are combined.
The creators explained that they were inspired to create a series about a girl from Mozambique based on a documentary Koshi filmed there. Most of the people of Mozambique are Bantus, while there is some Portuguese influence due to early colonialism.
Koshi noticed a huge problem with turtle poaching in Mozambique and was inspired to write about it as an educational tool for viewers in the local population and beyond.
The official trailer dropped last month, and fans are going crazy. The combination of hand drawn art and 3D animation is stunning. There’s something undoubtedly anime style about the artistry, yet it’s very much uniquely its own.
It’s a delight to see an animated film that presents Black people as so aesthetically beautiful without over-accentuating their features or making them look distorted compared to white characters. These characters are already being depicted as fierce, brave, and inspiring.
Isaura looks to be accompanied by her older brother as they travel and survive on the gorgeous island. They don’t appear to have parents or parental figures.
The trailer goes from lighthearted and fun to dark and corrupted. The image of a plastic water bottle washing up onshore is a great foreshadowing of environmental conflict.
What most people can hardly stop nerding out over is the preview of the shipwreck scene in which Isaura’s powers surge to life. To say the least, it looks like what follows will be nothing short of epic. Poachers best beware, because Isaura did not come to play.
The preview is definitely teasing some antagonists that will be more interested in using the magical elements of this world for evil than good.
While it’s unclear when the animated show will be released, fans can stay tuned by regularly checking the Studio Lucan Instagram page for more information, and hopefully upcoming new footage.
McNally shared with CBR.com, “We currently have a pilot script and then we’ve got outlines for 13 episodes, running at 22 minutes an episode. The ages for that will be between seven and 11.” However, as most adult animation and cartoon nerds know well, it’s something to enjoy at any age. The show has a very strong education focus that not only entertains children, but also makes them think about issues that exist in their everyday lives.
Isaura, similar to movies like Ferngully and Pocahontas, will be a show that critiques the ecological violence that continues to put innocent people and animals at risk every day. What’s also pretty cool is that the co-creators have been looking into connecting the show with the Ottawa International Animation Festival, where it will hopefully gain a lot of attention and be applauded as the work of art it seems to be.
The animation industry seems to be dominated by many household names like Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and very few more. Many indie companies with brilliant work don’t have the same opportunity for promotion.
However, in the case of Isaura, this might not be such a bad thing. From the script to the music and animation, this show is different from what people have grown accustomed to in traditional animation.
With the crisp graphics of a movie, this show seems to go above and beyond what many people would think of when it comes to a children’s cartoon.
The most we can do is stay tuned for the time being, and in the meantime, we should learn from little, yet brave Isaura, and keep our planet as safe as we can.
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Danielle Broadway is an English Literature MA student at California State University, Long Beach. She has been published in Black Girl Nerds, LA Weekly and Medium, is a writer for CSULB’s the Daily49er, is a managing editor for Watermark, her school’s academic literary journal and is an assistant editor at Angels Flight • literary west. She’s an activist and educator that is inspired by her family to make social change both in the classroom and beyond.