On Heroes, Animations, and Man’s Quest for Honour


As a traveller and a writer, I find the places I visit laced with stories of local heroes and their battles, whether real or mythical. In fact, Indonesia recently celebrated “Heroes Day” in honour of real people who fought battles related to the founding of the Indonesian nation.

Why are we so obsessed with heroes? I recently asked the question to a friend who makes animated films. “Think Neo and Peter Parker,” he said. “In the real world they’re average Joes with real flaws. But once their costumes are on and their superpowers are availed, you can’t see their faces. And you subconsciously fill in the blanks with your own identity – you imagine yourself as the world-saving superhero.”

So, on Heroes Day (November 10) I decided to visit the Hellofest Anima Expo and find out what heroes young Indonesians are currently creating, and what messages they might have for the real world. Naturally, one of the titles that first caught my attention was Battle of Surabaya, the 1945 incident which Heroes Day today commemorates.