Otaku Movie Night and the Zambian Anime Scene

So how do you like to spend your Sunday nights? Cringing at the thought of tomorrow’s Monday blues? Salvaging whatever you can from the last of your last happy hours? Or just lazing about?
Well, there’s a growing trend in the heart of Africa that’s bringing together an unconventional community: The African anime community.

From January, a young group of Zambians have been hosting one of the most interesting and retweetable events in the country: Otaku Movie Night.

So what happens on Otaku Movie Night? Once a week, a themed Japanese animation is chosen and anyone interested in taking part, wherever they may be, watches the movie at a synchronized time on Sunday night while talking about it on twitter with the appropriate hashtag.

The event was formed by quite a colorful bunch which includes college students, software developers, artists, entrepreneurs and popular Anime blogger and gamer – Dennis the Kidd. At the moment, participation is really extending out of the country and besides Zimbabwean and South African guests we’re beginning to see people across the oceans show interest in the night.

Just as with the rest of the world, anime is a large part of Zambian and African pop culture.

Just as with the rest of the world, anime is a large part of Zambian and African pop culture.

Though it’s still in it’s baby stages, Otaku Movie Night hopes to reach out to people all over the world.

Here are the highlights from Otaku Movie Night so far:

1. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The first movie choice was Mamoru Hosada’s ‘The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’. Though this was the first, the event was a resounding success among the participants and has consistently been the number one trend in Lusaka on Sundays ever since.


2. Akira

Next up was a long time and well known favorite for many. Akira takes place in the near future in ‘Neo-Tokyo’ and is a cyberpunk themed anime about a biker trying to save his friend Tetsuo who is part of a secret government experiment. Tetsuo’s powers eventually become out of control and poses calamity for everyone around him.  OMN_Akira1


3. Perfect Blue

Still sticking with some good old classics, Perfect Blue was the next choice. A thriller about a pop-idol turned actress who climbs to her success by taking confronting roles in film and ends up being stalked by the ghost of her past. By this week, people had grown comfortable having Otaku Movie Night a part of their weekly routine.  perfect-blue-original


4. Wolf Children

This movie was frankly quite the feel fest. A very touching movie about a college student turned single mum who is left alone to raise her half-wolf half-human children after her partner is killed. This movie is really quite gripping all the way through from the moments that touched strongly on the struggles of single parenthood to the self discovery of the children as they grew. Oh yes and this featured as number one on Dennis’ Top Anime of 2013 list. (Technically it’s from 2012 but it was that good).




5. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginnings

Deviating from the norm, the 5th Otaku Movie Night introduced our guests to a saga most hadn’t picked up. The Puella Magi Madoka Magica series. Though presented with cute girly characters and creatures such as the cat-like Kyubey, this anime is in fact an action packed dark fantasy. It begins with a girl who is granted a wish by Kyubey in exchange for becoming a magical girl. We all soon discover that it is in fact a perilous world and the ‘honor’ of being a magical girl isn’t as pretty as you would think. OMN_Madoka2


6. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Eternal

This was a follow up of the last action packed movie night that saw the girls discover the truth about what it means to be a magical girl. They also confront some really powerful and gruesome witches in this movie and they must fight for survival. This movie is really a lot more violent than you’d expect.OMN_Sayaka


7. Ghost in the Shell

Now time to wrack our brains a little. The well known psychological thriller Ghost in the Shell was a pretty hot topic for days before and after the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a try and see if you can answer: What is it that makes us human?  5281



8. Ghost in the Shell: Innocence

With the great success of the previous week, it was decided that following through with the next Ghost in the Shell would only seem appropriate. This movie was even more thought provoking than the last and touched on the relationship between human beings and their creations.


Oh yeah and during this movie night, Mike Toole, of the Anime News Network had a word in one of our conversations.


9. The Borrower Arrietty

Finally, our most recent movie night took us to a Family classic and our first Studio Ghibli Movie ‘The Borrower Arrietty’ (or The Secret World of Arrietty). It was a pleasant break away from the previous action and psychological anime and something that appealed to so many as we watched the tiny clan of borrowers encounter a rough patch in their life as they are discovered by humans. The situation is heightened by the fact that Arriety becomes close to the human boy she encounters.



To join in on the conversations, use the hashtag #OtakuMovieNight on twitter.
Like the page on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date with the movie showings and meet other anime fans near you.

10th Otaku Movie Night: Spirited Away

Don’t forget to join us this Sunday 23rd March for the 10th Otaku Movie Night as we watch the multiple award winning animation Spirited Away which has already captured most people’s hearts both inside and out of the Anime community.


Spirited Away