This is what to expect in ‘Anikulapo’ TV series


At the beginning of “Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre,” viewers are transported back to the vibrant pre-colonial Yoruba towns bustling with trade, friendly faces, and warmth.

The sequel to Kunle Afolayan’s 2022 Netflix film, “Aníkúlápó,” follows Saro (played by Kunle Remi), a charming but foolish protagonist who returns from apparent death with the help of a mysterious gatekeeper.

In the previous film, Saro meddled with life and death, stealing Akala’s gourd. Now, he must collect the souls he wrongfully resurrected. Striking a deal to return as a spirit, Saro becomes an Akudaya, a mythical Yoruba ghost.

Despite a second chance, Saro reverts to his old ways. He arrives in a new town, starts a palm wine bar, and pursues the village Belle, played by Oyindamola Sanni.

The film explores themes of sexual freedom among Yoruba women, contrasting historical openness with modern constraints. As Awarun finds a new suitor, Saro’s interactions with another young maiden highlight cultural shifts in understanding consent.

“Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre” continues to captivate audiences with its blend of mythology, history, and contemporary commentary.

Is she in love? Or is Saro a high-powered predator? Somewhere in this dilemma, is something visceral in the way Afolayan deploys the “sexual” scenes, making them a powerful case study for a time when consent has entered the group chat. It is at the same time grey as it is also very clear the woman has gotten more than she had bargained for in the hands of Saro.

From the periphery, however, the kind travellers and hospitable communities, one must pause to think, some two centuries later, how did we get here? It is unlikely in modern Nigeria that the hospitality Saro once received remains. Try being an Igbo person house hunting in Lagos.

There are fragments of that kind of hospitality for the luckiest no doubt. But not as it was once flagrant, not with those nasty X posts advertising apartment vacancies with “No Igbos” or “Yoruba preferably” as noticeable footnotes.

In all of this, Afolayan’s refusal to free himself from the conventions of old Yoruba language Nollywood production remains another layer of stumbling block for the series and for his trajectory as a director. The dialogue is at times too monotonous and the themes too didactic, like a sermon on ancient Yoruba morality.

But there are reasons to rejoice, watching Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre. If there’s anything that Afolayan has become a master of, it’s creating perfect period sets, finding old objects, and making films real. The palatial halls where the Kabiyesis hold court are resplendent for the time.

If you’ve ever wondered what those tiny huts in epic Nollywood movies looked like on the inside, then Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre is a treat. And the towns succeed in looking like massive cities for the time. But they are not particularly Apartment Therapy-ready.

Regardless, when Aníkúlápó: Rise of the Spectre starts streaming on March 1, 2024, fans will flock to it, as it remains at the forefront of a new Nollywood production that strives heavily for excellence.