Western Animation / Kirikou and the Sorceress

Kirikou and Karaba.

Kirikou et la Sorcière (Kirikou and the Sorceress) is a 1998 French animated film, directed by Michel Ocelot, loosely based on a West African fairy tale.

It tells the story of a tiny baby boy, named Kirikou, who is born in a spectacular way (all by himself, without effort of his mother nor outside help) and can speak and walk immediately after being born. After a couple of questions, he learns that a wicked sorceress, Karaba, has cursed the village and devoured all the men and boys, except his uncle, who is on his way to fight the sorceress. He tricks the sorceress, saves his uncle as well as the children of the village (twice!!), brings the water back to the dried-up spring and, among other things, discovers the sorceress' true motivations.

There's lots of controversy because of the depiction of nudity, although the real pre-colonial Africans did walk that way in a completely asexual atmosphere. But since America has terrible issues with women's nipples, the film wasn't released in the United States until 2002.

It was so successful that it spawned an interquel called Kirikou et les bêtes sauvages (Kirikou and the Wild Beasts) in 2005 and a musical, Kirikou et Karaba (Kirikou and Karaba), in 2007. A second interquel, Kirikou et les Hommes et les Femmes (Kirikou and the Men and Women), was released in 2012 and focuses on the people of Kirikou's village and beyond.

Kirikou and the Sorceress provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: The first two stories in Kirikou and the Men and Women are centered around the woman who gets her hut burned down in the first film and the village elder with the nice hat respectively.
  • All-Loving Hero: Kirikou
  • Anti-Villain: Karaba is evil because of all the suffering she went through at the hands of men, including a very subtly implied rape. All the bad things that she allegedly had done are ultimately proved to be false. She does hate everyone, but she gets better.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Why is Karaba the Sorceress wicked?" by Kirikou, naturally.
  • Audible Sharpness: When Karaba's fetish passes her the Poisoned Lance, the camera lingers on the nasty-looking blade. It shines and sounds very sharp indeed.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Subverted with Karaba although she does get prettier when she makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Bee Afraid: In Kirikou and the Wild Beasts, Kirikou gets rid of a black hyena pursuing him by dropping a wild bees nest on it. After that, he mends the nest and puts it back on its place on the tree while apologizing to the bees.
  • Big Bad: Karaba
  • Constantly Curious: Kirikou's defining trait.
  • Darkest Africa
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Even after saving the other children from the sorceress several times, bringing back the water supply, and even turning Karaba good, the villagers still treat Kirikou like complete crap.
  • Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry: Karaba wears lots of jewelry, including in her hair and on her breasts.
  • Fertile Feet: During Karaba's Heel–Face Turn, the plants and flowers she previously had eroded with her Walking Wasteland ability, comes back to life prettier than before.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The old man of the village, but he's not very wise (nor humble).
  • Happy Ending: Karaba turns good, all the men of the village who supposedly were dead were actually alive and well, and all the main problems for the village seem fixed.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Karaba
  • Hermit Guru: The Wise Old Man of the Mountain, Kirikou's grandpa.
  • Hot Witch: Karaba
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Karaba. Not really! The men she allegedly had eaten were, actually, turned into Fetish.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Karaba's star-like afro.
  • In Vino Veritas: In Kirikou and the Men and Women, those strange fruits that had been on the plant a little too long cause the old man to admit his love for everyone in the village. Except Karaba.
  • Interquel: Kirikou and the Wild Beasts and Kirikou and the Men and Women consist of segments that take place between scenes in the first film.
  • Kid Hero: Kirikou
  • Likes Older Women: Kirikou
    Karaba: One day, you will say that to a nice little girl.
    Kirikou: I don't like little girls!
  • The Musical: Kirikou and Karaba
  • Mooks: The Fetish (no, not that kind of fetish).
  • Mordor: Not an entire nation or country, but the area surrounding Karaba's hut looks pretty dead.
  • Overnight Age-Up: A kiss from Karaba turns Kirikou from a cute baby boy into a handsome young man.
  • Rampage from a Nail: The sorceress's reason to be — a massive thorn in her back, stuck so deeply in the only way to remove it is with your teeth. When it's removed, she gets better.
  • Super Speed: Kirikou's defining trait. It's never truly explained why, but it's a key plot point.
  • Walking Wasteland: Karaba
  • Wonder Child: Kirikou