What Is The 'Animan Studios' Meme? The 'Axel In Harlem' Video And Others Explained (2024)

Recontextualizing adult media is a meme trend that isn't dying out anytime soon, evident in the latest meme amid the genre called Axel in Harlem. The adult cartoon showing a man walking with an over-sized rear end was made by Animan Studios, and for some meme enjoyers, it's becoming the new Ambatukam.

Redraws, fan art and TikTok videos are all using the Animan Studios scene where Axel is getting stared down by three men on a sidewalk. The creativity is blossoming across Twitter and Facebook as this meme is becoming mainstream.

It's not just "Axel in Harlem" that's getting memed. Another cartoon showing a cowboy is getting lit up too. Need to know more about where this meme came from, who Mr. Animan is and why it's such a big meme right now? Let's explain.

Who Is Mr. Animan And What Is Animan Studios?

Mr. Animan is a man of mystery. According to a 2011 interview from the Seattle Gay Scene, Animan is a pseudonym and the artist refuses to give his legal name. This is because he fears that his "animation gig" would have repercussions on his job status.

However, Mr. Animan did reveal in his interview that he's American but lives overseas. Granted, this interview is from 2011, so who knows where the elusive Mr. Animan is right now. One thing's for sure, though — he's still active on Tumblr and Twitter, which is where he posts most of his explicit animations other than on his website.

Where Did The "Axel In Harlem" Meme Come From?

As of right now, one Animan Studios animation sticks out from the rest, entitled "Axel in Harlem." It follows the story of a Black man named Axel who, according to Mr. Animan, is "the neighborhood man-slu*t [who] attracts men like a magnet." Of course, the now notorious cartoon shows Axel strutting down a Manhattan sidewalk as other men ogle at his behind. They follow him up an elevator to their final destination.

The "Axel in Harlem" cartoon was first shared to Tumblr in April 2016. Years later, in 2020, it spread to Twitter, finally landing on Facebook and TikTok in its most censored and memeable form.

What Is The Guy Walking Meme With The "Vámonos De Fiesta A Factory" Song?

"Axel in Harlem" is also well-known in Latin and South America. In fact, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking meme creators are pretty much the reason that Animan Studios is such a big meme right now. On Facebook and TikTok, they started sharing the opening sequence of the cartoon set to the Peruvian song "La Cumbia de Free Fire" by Bukano, specifically the lyrics "Vámonos De Fiesta A Factory." Thereafter, the song became associated with the meme.

@bark.xd Animan Studio me salvó la vida #fyp #parati #navidadxiaomi #edit #animanstudios blank" title="♬ sonido original – Bukano" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/sonido-original-7126708738936851206?refer=embed">♬ sonido original – Bukano
@dani_el_gil Vamono de fiesta a factory #meme #animanstudios #fyp ♬ sonido original – Bukano

What Is The TikTok "Ballin'" Meme With The Guy Walking?

English-speaking TikTokers decided to choose a different song for Axel walking through Harlem, namely the song "Ballin'" by Mustard and Roddy Rich. Thereafter, the song became associated with the meme and both songs propelled the trend going forward.

@pxpithiccems brandon > dreamy #animanstudios #dreamybullxx #brandoncurington #thugshaker @husain_sallami ♬ Animan Studio – ︎︎
@un_knowncookie2 #animan #animanstudio #animanstudios #ballin #cowboy #viral #meme #momento ♬ Animan Studio – ︎︎

What Is The Animan Studios Meme With The Cowboys?

Other than "Axel in Harlem," there's another animation of Animan's that's gaining meme attention, and it features a bunch of cowboys similar to Ram Ranch. The animation is titled "The Sheriff of Lone Gulch" and many are ironically calling it Red Dead Redemption despite no other correlation to the game than the wild, wild west.

@haveyouseengavin_ Only in Blackwater💀💯 #animan #animanstudios #onlyinohio #fyp ♬ Animan Studio – ︎︎
@haribo0154 #animanstudios #yugonmakemebus ♬ Animan Studio – ︎︎

What Other Animan Studios Memes Are There?

The biggest Animan Studios meme format outside of videos is redraws in which illustrators and artists are re-editng the screencaps of Axel walking and the three men staring. They're inserting different characters from many TV shows, movies, video games and more into the template.

For the full history of Animan Studios, be sure to check out our entry on the meme here for even more information.

What Is The 'Animan Studios' Meme? The 'Axel In Harlem' Video And Others Explained (2024)


What is the story of Axel in Harlem? ›

It follows the story of Axel, a young black man living in Harlem, and his journey to becoming a professional dancer. From the moment Axel stepped onto the dance floor and started shaking his body to the beats of the thug shakers, I was hooked. The moves were so infectious that I couldn't help but move along with them.

What is the song in the Animan Studios meme? ›

original sound - peg - chimi.

Is Axel in Harlem a movie? ›

Axel in Harlem is a delightful animated short film.

Who created Animan Studios? ›

Mr. Animan, the anonymous artist behind Animan Studios, is known for his explicit animated works. Despite being featured in an interview by Seattle Gay Scene, he has chosen to keep his true identity confidential, citing potential harm to his job prospects.

Does Axel have a brother? ›


Not much is known about Axel's life prior to or as the outbreak began, except that he had a brother and was imprisoned for armed robbery. One day, he robbed a store with a water pistol, and the police found him hiding at his brother's house the next day with the water pistol.

Who is the real gangster of Harlem? ›

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker stars as real-life Harlem mob boss Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, who has been portrayed in multiple films, most notably Ridley Scott's 2007 American Gangster. Denzel Washington's character in the movie, Frank Lucas, was a close associate of Johnson's who took over after his friend's death.

Who is the black girl in the Harlem actress? ›

Three-time Emmy winner Cicely Tyson was born in Harlem, New York. She became the first Black actor to appear as a series regular on a prime-time dramatic television series and in 1974 became the first Black actress to win an Emmy.

Is Harlem filmed in Harlem? ›

If there's one New York neighborhood that's literally full of filming locations, then it's Harlem.

Does Axel have a sister? ›

Polly Miller was a guest starring character on Syfy's Van Helsing. She was portrayed by Sara Canning. She was Axel's sister who was kidnapped when she was 10 years old and presumed dead by her relatives.

Does Axel come back to life? ›

Resurrection: After being bitten by a daywalker, a vampire of Scar's bloodline, Axel will resurrect anytime he is killed from damage that he cannot regenerate in time. He will go into a hibernation-like death state and he will eventually regenerate and come back to life.

Is Axel in Birth by Sleep? ›

Lea is the original persona of Axel and a close friend of Isa, Saïx's original persona. He appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, as a teenager alongside Isa.

What is story in Harlem slang about? ›

Story in Harlem Slang was also written by Zora Neale Hurston and focuses on two good friends, Jelly and Sweet back as they joke and have a dialogue after bumping into each other in Harlem. They both left their lives in the south, specifically Georgia for Jelly, to have an easy life and make money in the North.

What was Harlem supposed to be? ›

The northern Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem was meant to be an upper-class white neighborhood in the 1880s, but rapid overdevelopment led to empty buildings and desperate landlords seeking to fill them.

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