Angry Becky is a furious Nigerian vigilante fighting against everything wrong with her country.
African animated series aren’t exactly a thing. Thankfully, that’s changing and this year might just be the year episodic animated stories from Africa are proliferated. One of the biggest agents of change is Anthill Studios, the studio behind Malika Warrior Queen, Plaything, The Sim and the children’s series, Lola and Chuchu and Bushmeat Gang.
They’ve kicked off this year with a new series, Angry Becky. The series is based on the exploits of Becky Umusu, a furious corruption-fighting vigilante. Angry Becky was created by Eri Umusu, the lead animator on Malika and a citizen who has had enough!
The first episode of Angry Becky came out on February 14th and is titled NEPA Palava. Becky just wants to kick back and Facetime her boo on Valentine’s night, but the bad guys at NEPA are putting asunder. Now Becky’s angry. So what does Angry Becky do about it?
Instead of joining long queues, phoning annoying and unhelpful customer care, cursing her luck and ranting into thin air, she kicks ass and takes no names!
I’m angry at all the messed up systems in Naija. I’ll just shut up and let my katana talk.Becky Umusu
Becky is a flaming hot vigilante with a motorbike and a click-to-switch outfit that would give T’challa and Shuri a run for their money. Chests are sliced and deaths are implied as she makes her way into the control room.
There, we meet our mysterious femme fatale, a fierce beauty who fights in her stilettos (which should be considered a superpower on its own). Let’s call her Slay Queen.
The battle is intense and laced with mutual respect and frustration at each other’s skillset. But after the curses come out, Slay Queen is no match for our lovesick and pissed off Becky.
Or is she? 🤔
Thunder fire her!!!
Watch Angry Becky below.
The 7-minute episode has a number of things to unpack, both positive and negative. From the power dynamics down to some technicalities, here’s what Kadi and I think about (and hope for) Angry Becky.
Undeniably the story expresses the hopes of Nigerians tired of the failing systems within the country. It exposes people in power taking advantage of their unique positions for their personal agendas. The rapid fluctuation of power at some point represented how people abused power by toying with the country’s resources, completely oblivious to the inconveniences created for every-day citizens. Using electricity to symbolise power – be it political, religious, financial and so on, was a great selection by Eri Umusu.
Angry Becky is a Rich Kid. Where’s her Generator?
A common question that rang through our minds as we watched this was why she didn’t have a generator. Angry Becky looks like she can afford one. But thinking like this reflects the wrong mentality about how states work and shows how badly our ineffective systems have corrupted our minds in the first place. The lights are not supposed to go off in Becky’s universe and in ours.
The African Context
One of my favourite parts of the show is the use of contemporary cursing as a power source for our girl. Naruto’s shadow clone technique features but the writer tapped into African spirituality and dug out a treasure trove that I want to see featured in more African comics and animations.
I could critique the overall look and language of the character as western and misplaced from her outfit to the way she spoke, but as soon as I look up from my computer at the world around me, I realise that Becky’s nature, way of speech, and her context is a reflection of our current state and our assimilation to a culture that is easily described as Western on the surface but is intrinsically Nigerian.
The Aesthetics, Sound and Everything Else
Depending on how you feel about CGI versus traditional animation, you will either love Angry Becky or loathe it for its cel-shaded animation style. Personally, I don’t mind cel-shaded animation very much. I love RWBY so that tells you where I stand on this.
Many African animations tend to tread the 3D route and often end up with disastrous results that are difficult to watch. In trying to mimic reality, these films end up being overly unrealistic. There are however a few standouts such as Belly Flop (by Triggerfish Animation in South Africa) and A Kalabanda Ate My Homework (by Creatures Animation in Uganda) that use 3D very well.
Instead of ranting about the aesthetics of the series, I’ll instead praise Eri, who is a heavy 3D manipulator. To see him experiment with cel-shading and his studio support him is inspiring.
The sound design on Angry Becky by Gray Jones Ossai is beautifully orchestrated and sets the right tone for every scene.
I’m a sucker for silent animated films. While this has dialogue, it’s limited and instead, the storytelling relies more on show and don’t tell. This makes Angry Becky a simple and exciting story to watch.
The fight sequences are also beautifully executed and are a testament to Eri Umusu’s love for anime. It also trumpets his strength in animating action sequences.
Depending on your eye for detail, you may notice some glitches or none at all. What’s important though is that original, relatable content is being created for Africa. Mistakes are being made, risks are being taken and lessons are being learned, to build a foundation on which we can expect even greater African animated stories.
Follow Angry Becky’s adventures here.
We can’t wait for the next episode of Angry Becky. Enough with our thoughts, what did you think when you watched Angry Becky and what name do you suggest for Slay Queen? Let us know in the comments.
This post was written by Nana Yaa Serwaa Osei and Kadi Yao Tay.
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