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Egyptian Anime Comes to Life

Egyptian artist Ahmed Abaza and his team at Deadline Studios have just released the trailer for Egypt's first home-grown Anime series, prompting Eihab Boraie to get in touch to find out more about the impressive artistic vision...

As a child there was nothing more I used to love then to wake up early for Saturday morning cartoons. As I matured, so did my selection of animated films, and instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was watching Saturday evening Anime. Growing up it used to sadden me greatly that I could find amazing animated films from all over the world, and yet never find one that it is exclusively Egyptian-made. Thankfully that is all about to change, as recently I stumbled upon a visually stimulating  trailer that could only be described as Egyptian Anime under the working title, Project Hero.

The teaser instantly drew me in as I was blown away by the realistic artistic rendition of Cairo's cityscape coupled with the imaginative characters that filled its streets. Immediately, I began searching for the people responsible, ultimately finding out that the idea came from the mind of Ahmed Abaza and is being brought to life by his animation company, called Deadline Studio. Luckily, I was able to reach Abaza, who was kind enough to tell me more about this exciting project.

Project Hero has been rattling inside Abaza's mind since 2008. He received his training at an animation studio in Malaysia, and returned to Egypt in 2011 dead set on turning dreams into reality. “In 2011, I started working on an animation pipeline for this story and slowly worked on a demo trailer by myself. I used this trailer to convince people that this quality can be achieved,” explains Abaza.

The first obstacle he faced upon his return was to establish a proper animation studio which, in Egypt, seems like an impossible task. “Deadline Studios began forming in October 2012, I tried gathering as many talents under one roof, but with the limited budget I had and the number of demotivated artists in Egypt, it wasn't easy.”

After forming a talented team of three, Abaza set forth the goal to produce a full season containing 30 twenty-minute episodes, hoping to average and output of three episodes per month. Without giving to much away about the series, Abaza describes the story as being “unique because you get to decide who your hero is. We have over 15 characters in this series, and I think the hero will be whomever you can relate to more. Let's just say that there is no such thing as 100% good or 100% evil.”

The storyline will not be addressing the political issues that our crippling Egypt, but instead will use fiction to answer the question of what present-day Egypt would be like with superheroes. This is hilarious considering that I firmly believe it will take a superhero to solve Egypt's current problems, and I honestly don't think that hero will be Sisi, unless his sunglasses give him powers we don't know about... But I digress; this isn't about politics, this is about birth of Egyptian Anime.

As it stands, there is no word when Project Hero will be released, only that the first episode is completely finished and that Deadline Studios are currently looking for a network to air the series. Egypt needs artistic visionaries like Abaza and his team at Deadline Studios to breath new life in Egypt's arts community. To my knowledge, there aren't any Egyptian Anime series, let alone production companies to currently speak of, but with a little luck, and if this project is successful, it will inspire the creation of a new genre, and bring about a new wave of Anime made by Egyptians, for Egyptians.

Find out more about Project Hero and Deadline Studios on their Facebook page here.