Эмара герой Эмиратов cartoon

The home-grown animation will air as a five-episode miniseries this year

Image Credit: Supplied

Walk into any toy store, and you’ll see action figurines stacked in the boy’s section and dollhouses reserved for the girls. But now, women are decimating the myth that superheroes are just for men.

DC film Wonder Woman made a record-breaking $100.5 million (Dh369 million) in America this month becoming the best domestic box-office debut by a female director. Meanwhile, much closer to home, 22-year-old Emirati director Fatma Al Muhairi has been doing everything in her power to put Arab female superheroes on the map, starting with Emara: Emirates Hero.

The five-episode cartoon, aimed at audiences 12 and above, follows 19-year-old Moza as she delves undercover and transforms into superhero Emara. Clad in a navy blue headscarf, a green, white and gold costume, a cape lined with red, and golden specs inspired by the burqa (a traditional, metal-like cloth worn around the eyes by Emirati women), Emara fights crime on the busy, bustling streets of the UAE.

The miniseries, originally set to release during Ramadan, has been pushed back until an undisclosed date later this year. Only a 78-second intro can be found online, but Emara has already amassed a loyal fan base: they create fan art, manufacture fake trailers and, in the case of 32-year-old Shaima Al Ali, begin petitions to have Emara shown on Netflix.

Al Ali told Gulf News tabloid! she saw a promo on Twitter for Emara, a show “made by Emiratis about an Emirati superhero with a female main character,” and, as a self-professed geek and feminist, she was sold. On May 30, she posted an online plea directed to Netflix via Avaaz.org, a website for community petitions. It received more than 2,000 signatures in less than two weeks.

tabloid! sent a link to a Netflix Mena representative, but the streaming service has not responded to several requests for comment.

Al Muhairi, though not directly involved with the petition, is on-board with the idea of having her show on Netflix, and would generally be more comfortable releasing it through a streaming service. “But I feel like it needs to be on TV if just for a second, so that the people [watching] know that it exists,” she said.


To Al Muhairi, Emara has always existed, dormant at the back of her mind since she was a child. She wanted to create a character that was tough, but down to earth. Not overly powerful, but not breaking down in tears every two seconds, either. Most of all: she wanted her to be Arab.

“It was hard to find a character in the cartoons I grew up with that I could culturally identify with,” said Al Muhairi. “I mean, let’s be honest, Aladdin and Jasmin were very poorly researched.”

In December of 2015, she began working on Emara: Emirates Hero with a team of thirteen full-time staff, aged 20-35, and an arsenal of freelance creatives. Stylistically, the 2D animation pays homage to the cartoons that Al Muhairi and her crew grew up on, only more fluid.

“There’s literally a drawing like, every millisecond. But we wanted it in the style and the pale colours of the old shows we used to watch, like Adnan and Lina and all those old-school animes,” said Al Muhairi.

Eating Star Studios, the studio behind the series, consists of mainly Arab artists and animators. Several, including Al Muhairi, graduated from Abu Dhabi’s now-defunct Cartoon Network Animation Academy, while art director Ahmad Beyrouthi has a Ubisoft background. Al Muhairi is the only Emirati on the team.

“My producer is Yemeni, my art director is Lebanese, we have a Sudanese artist, a Syrian artist — we’re very mixed, very diverse,” she said. Similarly, Emara is Emirati, but the rest of the show’s cast are from various Arab nationalities to better represent the Dubai Al Muhairi has come to know.

“I grew up with Lebanese, Filipino and Indian people. It wouldn’t be a show from here if the whole cast was Emirati,” said Al Muhairi.


Eleven years ago, another home-grown animation made its debut during Ramadan season: Freej. The groundbreaking 3D cartoon premiered on Sama Dubai in 2006. It followed the lives of four vivacious, burqa-wearing Emirati grandmothers who lived in a secluded neighbourhood in Dubai.

It wasn’t easy getting it on TV.

“It was a very treacherous road. The one big obstacle we had was that there were no cartoon shows before. There was no example in the local market of whether or not such a show will work,” creator Mohammad Saeed Harib told tabloid!.

Harib worked out a deal with the TV station: if he could land a sponsor, the channel would air his show for “peanuts”. Du came on-board. The telecommunication company was just under two years old, eager to support creative and cultural content, said Harib.

Freej’s characters have taken on a life of their own. They appear in FlyDubai’s safety video, a clip with the minister of happiness, and the fifth grade curriculum as an example of entrepreneurship, according to Harib.

But unlike Emara, Freej didn’t have a ready-made audience to begin with.

“There was no Twitter. There was no online sharing capabilities. We were on BBM [Blackberry messenger] back then,” said Harib. He didn’t realise the show was successful until someone wrote a newspaper column and said, “Thank you, Freej.”


To hear Harib say it, barely anyone watches TV nowadays. Young viewers in particular have shifted to getting their content online. Harib’s latest programme, Siraj, keeps that in mind: it teaches first, second and third graders to speak Arabic on YouTube.

“On YouTube, you know very well how many people are watching, and advertisers will advertise on the show if it passes a certain number of viewership,” said Harib. “If it hits the one million mark, [TV] stations will wake up, anyway. The numbers don’t lie.”

He still believes that national television stations should encourage and support local talent, calling it the “minimum chance” they can give anyone.

“It’s our duty to support them. Even if we don’t cover the cost — at least air it, and see where it goes,” he said.

A lot has changed since Freej launched more than a decade ago. Emara is emerging into a different era — a golden age of digital marketing and viral tweets, with thousands of online petitioners to prove it. Al Muhairi is the first to admit surprise over Emara’s proactive admirers, and says that she and her team can be found exchanging fan art and setting it as their wallpaper.

“A lot of the fans are international. We got a lot of requests to have Spanish subtitles on the show. It really is [crazy], but honestly, we’re very lucky. They’re more than what we deserve,” said Al Muhairi.

Some fans expressed disappointment that the show hasn’t aired in Ramadan as planned, but Al Muhairi is confident that they will have Emara: Emirates Hero on people’s screens before the year ends. And in a reference to television show Community, she hopes to eventually create “six seasons and an origin movie”.

“I know I am [hungry for representation], and I know a lot of people I work with, they are as well. We did this hoping that the majority agrees with us, and so far we’ve had a lot of good feedback, so I think we’re on the right track,” she said.

Girl Power Talks! Emara: Emirates Hero

Hi, this my first Collab with my good friend Chalk5oda2oy here’s a link to his blog on Emara

Check it out! It’s awesome!

Note: I implore you if you haven’t seen Emara yet to watch it, Because this will contain Spoilers of the first Two episodes. So if you don’t like to be spoiled, please go watch the show, before continuing this blog. thank you!

(Also just watch it, because it’s amazing!)

So with that said here’s my take on Animations Newest female protagonist!

Hello and welcome back to Girl Power Talks! Where I blog about Woman in Animation, Female Protagonists, upcoming Girl Power type shows and many many more.

Today I’ll be looking over the interesting and awesomely Written Emara: Emirates Hero!

So without further delay let’s get started!

Plot Summary, Characters and Setting!

Emara: Emirates Hero Fallows 19-year-old Moza as she protects her city from crime with a special power she possesses.

By day she’s a somewhat clumsy Waitress at her Mom’s cafe,but by night she Transforms into The super powered Hero, Emara!

First off I love the characters! Moza is an Amazing protagonist, she’s klutzy, but a hard worker. She’s determined,head strong,friendly,independent,likable,Well written and an absolutely awesome Role Model!

Her powers remind me a lot of Jenny from My life as a teenage Robot and Astro Boy from Astro boy.

(Also inspector Gadget but that’s just silly :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: )

She has a lot of Mystery to her too,how did she get her powers? what happened to her father?and what is so really ‘special’ about her?

She’s the Kind of character I love seeing! That and the fact that she’s adorable.

The supporting Cast is Awesome too!

Her Mom,Maitha is so likable. She’s warm,lighthearted,witty and energetic, but has a stubborn side to her too.

She’s also is very loving and supportive of Moza ,which is so sweet!

Her relationship with Moza is very relatable and the fact that she’s runs her own business and that she’s basically a single parent, reminds me a lot of My Mom!

(My Dad is not Dead! they’re just divorced)

She probably my favorite out of the supporting cast :smiley:

There’s also Uncle Jasem, a Man of few words

And the mysterious Green-haired ‘Hero’ Sultan.

More on him in a bit.

The setting is also great! I like how they set the story in the Middle East, giving it it’s own unique charm.

(Seriously people how many times have we seen New York in a superhero story)

Their uses of Colors,shading and lightening are just beautiful and the High Energy Animation really adds to the already the Action Packed fight scenes.

The art style is very reminiscent of classic Anime,but I’ll get more into that in a bit.

Overall, great starting point,incredible animation,Well written characters and positive female Representation!

Just Awesome! :blush:

Super Hero Tropes and Anime references!

Now if you’ve seen the show already (and any anime for that matter) there’s a lot of callbacks to classic anime.

Even just from the opening you can see the influences of Cutie Honey,Kill La Kill,Sailor Moon,Bleach,Lupin and many many more.

In this opening alone you can see a bunch of references!

They also subvert a lot of well known Shoujo and SuperHero Tropes.

Like how the Klutzy heroine is as old as the Shoujo genre but, Emara turns this tired cliche on its head and makes it their own.

Moza is Klutzy,but she’s not Incompetent, she has a temper,but is not a crybaby like certain a BunHead Usagi and many other Shoujo Protagonists.

(If you get that reference,you are awesome!)

I like how they Subvert the classic Cute Clumsy Girl character and breathe new life into this overused trope!

(Not that I don’t love it,that is)

They also Subvert the Secret Identities plot line with Having Moza and Sultan recognizes each other (mostly Sultan) when they see each other as regular people.

In anime,Comic books and other media,characters just can’t seem to recognize each other when out of costume!

This is called the Clark Kent Effect

As much as it has its uses to disguise our heroes from the villains and enemies

It get’s a little annoying when we’re just waiting for our main characters to figure out the obvious!

(Miraculous Ladybug Anyone? I still love that show though!)

So this is a welcome fresh take on the SuperHero/Anime Genre!

I mean they even Subvert the Mysterious protector trope With Sultan!

Love Interest, Partner or Enemy?

Here’s a character I think we’re all intrigued by. So intrigued I had to make his own Topic!

Sultan or Dhabian is definitely a cool character he’s laid-back yet confident,brave, Helpful,but Mysterious.

He honestly raises the most questions for me!

Why is he working for some strange organization? How did He Get His powers?

What does the organization he works want with Emara?

Seriously this guy is such a mystery to me. I can at least guess what Moza’s Deal is,but what is Sultan’s?

What is his plan for Emara and why does he keep her Identity a secret at the end of Episode two?

Sorry,went on a bit of tangent there,but I really like Sultan as a character, he’s really likable,fun and interesting,though where are they going with his character? the question still Remains I guess.

Love Interest,Partner or Enemy?

(My money’s on Love Interest,they are so cute together and have good chemistry!)

Mystery,Action and Science Fiction Oh My!

Now having seen the first two episodes you can tell it was well thought out!

Just from the opening (deja vu) you can see a bigger storyline,being revealed right before your eyes.

The organization Sultan works for,Moza incredible ability to transform her hands into weapons,Omar and his crew of henchman and the unexplainable Horror that we have yet witness

With Moza’s Father also being out of the picture has me wondering what happened to him? Was he a cop like his assumed brother, Jasem or was He the one who gave Moza her powers in the first place?

Only time will tell, my friends.

The action in this show is top notch and has a very energized and fast paced aesthetic!

I also love the science fiction aspect of the show! I can’t wait till we find out how Moza and Sultan’s powers work,but until then.

Emara is action packed,exciting,funny,heartwarming,interesting,well written,beautifully animated,and an all around awesome show!

We need more shows like Emara, it’s inspiring and kudos to everyone who worked on it.

Emara shows anyone can be a Hero! It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your religion is. All that matters is that you try to be a good person and you remain true to yourself!

It’s time we show the world no matter who you are we ALL have the potential to do great things!

Anyways thanks for putting up with ridiculously long blog I hope you all enjoyed it.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Thanks so much for all your support,leave comments below and remember.


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