If you’ve been clued into the latest developments at Netflix, you would be aware that the streaming giant has made a significant move into anime with a slew of anime announced for 2018 at the recent Netflix Anime Slate 2017 event. Apart from the ones announced, one particular anime has caught our attention and trust us, you won’t be watching it just ‘for the plot’.
Upcoming anime Neo Yokio is a satirical/parody take on the Shonen genre of anime and Netflix has released the first trailer here:
If quite a few voices in the trailer sounded familiar, that’s because they are. The anime features an ensemble cast, one that probably makes it the most star-studded anime of our time, if not ever. With creator Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend fame in the role of creator, writer and director as well as Viceland’s Nick Weidenfeld (under the banner of his Friends Night production company) involved, the protagonist of the show is voiced by Jaden Smith and his butler is voiced by Jude Law. Other names in the cast include Susan Sarandon, Tavi Gevinson, Jason Schwartzman, the Kid Mero and Desus Nice, along with contributions from Steve Buscemi, Kiernan Shipka, Willow Smith, Richard Ayoade, Stephen Fry, and Amandla Stenberg.
Now before all of you hard-core otakus lambaste Netflix for the almost entirely western influence on the anime, it has been made with anime studios Production IG and Studio Deen on board, along with the Seoul-based animation house MOI. On top of that, the show’s storyboard artists include Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Hunter x Hunter, Rurouni Kenshin) and Junji Nishimura (Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, Pro Golfer Saru). This could actually be a perfect match between Japanese storytelling and animation with Hollywood star power.
And then the plot
If it was not already evident from the trailer, the show is a humorous take on the popular Shonen genre of anime, with the story set in Neo Yokio, “the most populous urban agglomeration in North America”, and “a diverse labyrinth of cultural and architectural innovation at the forefront of global fashion and finance”. The protagonist, Kaz Kaan, is the youngest member of a family of magical demon-killers known as “magistocrats” – who seem to have given the city its freedom from ‘something’ before the show begins. Even as he continues to shoulder the responsibility that comes with his family name at the request of his Aunt Agatha (Susan Sarandon), the lead is actually more intent on field hockey – alongside “mending his broken heart”.
With his friends Lexy and Gottlieb (comedy duo The Kid Mero and Desus Nice) and his mecha-butler Charles (Jude Law) by his side, Kaz goes about attempting to survive Neo Yokio’s complex cultural and social scene, with no help from his arch-rival – and Neo Yokio’s “number-one eligible bachelor” – Arcangelo Corelli (Jason Schwartzman). With the arrival of ex-fashion blogger Helena St. Tessero (played by real-life former fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson) Kaz is pulled into her world, finding himself questioning all that he has been used to about the wonderful city of Neo Yokio.
Neo Yokio launches with all six episodes globally on September 22nd. If you’re already hooked onto Netflix or plan to take a subscription soon enough, do let us know your opinion of this anime.