One of the most interesting projects that Walt Disney Animation has been working on for Disney+ is a new limited series called “Iwájú”, which is a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Pan-African entertainment company, Kugali.

The animated series is set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria and tells the story of Tola, a young girl from a wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole, a self-taught tech expert, as they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their different worlds.

The core storyline of this series is rather sinister for a Disney show since it deals with the kidnapping of Tola by a gang of criminals who have been terrorising the city by making money by demanding ransom money from the kid’s rich parents.  There are also references to cybercrime and even the blockchain.  “Iwájú” also doesn’t hold back on why technology can be bad in the wrong hands and why it’s important for kids (and parents) to learn about it.

Kidnap and ransom isn’t anything new; we’ve seen it a thousand times in films and shows before, but I think “Iwájú” does a fantastic job of taking this theme and doing something new with it.

One of the great things about this series is how it is bursting with unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos, which will no doubt remind many viewers of how Wakanda is portrayed in the “Black Panther” movies.   I really like how this show highlights the difference between the rich and the poor, highlighting the inequalities between the two but showcasing, as you might expect, that good eventually overcome evil, and that there is still good within people. 

The robot lizard in this series is easily a highlight since who doesn’t like the idea of a cool-looking orange lizard that has lots of secret abilities and provides most of the action in the show?  There will no doubt be some comparisons to Frozen’s lizard, Bruni, since they look very similar, but ultimately very different characters.

My only complaint about “Iwájú” is that the animation style is a bit hit-and-miss; it’s full of bright colours and features some amazing-looking backgrounds, that make the show pop off the screen.  I loved how it showcases all the advanced technology, but the art style for the characters, especially the main character, Tola, who often looks more like something you’d find in a Disney Junior show, which might put some people off watching it.  

This series also features some fantastic music and a wonderful Nigerian voice cast that helps build on that futuristic version of Africa.   We get to explore the beauty of Laos, as we learn a little about their customs, music, and lifestyle.

Disney has stated in the trailer for the show that this is a limited series, so it’s a one-and-done storyline, which is refreshing since there is a single storyline going across all six episodes and a satisfying outcome.   This series could have easily been given the “Moana 2” treatment and turned into a movie since, in total, it’s only about two hours long. 

Overall, “Iwájú” is a refreshing animated series from Disney and shows how bringing in creative input from different studios around the world can really deliver something unique.  “Iwájú” is a really enjoyable animated series, and I really hope people check it out since it’s refreshing to have something a little different than the typical shows Disney has put out.

Rating: 4 Out Of 5

All six episodes of “Iwájú” are available to stream on Disney+ now.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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