“Don’t mess with the lady in black”
Indeed. In the first animated series ever to be produced in Pakistan, the Burka Avenger is Pakistan’s latest superhero, and she doesn’t play. Armed with books and pens, Jiya is a teacher at a girls’ school by day, but when she dons her burka to conceal her identity her books become weapons used in a special martial arts style Takht Kabbadi that she learned from her father, and she becomes Burka Avenger, a fierce defender of girls’ education.
The musical hook to the trailer shouts out “don’t mess with the lady in black”, and ya know what, her weapons might be pens and books, but it looks like she can do some serious damage with ’em.
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The series follows the Burka Avenger as she fights local thugs trying to shut down the girls school where she works. Set in the imaginary city of Halwapur, the animated series is light-hearted and inspirational, but with young girls being killed and girls schools being blown up by the Taliban in Pakistan, the show is obviously drawing on heavier real-world issues.
Speaking of which, the fact that our heroine wears a burka might be a little strange to some, but according to series creator Aaron Haroon Rashid in an Associated Press interview, Jiya’s burka is more like a subversive costume:
“It’s not a sign of oppression. She is using the burka to hide her identity like other superheroes,” said Rashid. “Since she is a woman, we could have dressed her up like Catwoman or Wonder Woman, but that probably wouldn’t have worked in Pakistan.”
This is a bold and fresh venture, and it’s well-produced, it draws attention to an important topic, and it does it with lots of action, a (requisite) fun pop soundtrack, and one seriously kickass hero. Burka Avenger is definitely a superhero I can get down with.
It’s set to air in August on Geo TV. Get with it.
Crystal (@geekoutsider) is an assistant editor at a respectable publishing house by day, by cover of lunch breaks and post-5pm she goes full on geeky. You can see more of her writing at geekoutsider.com