Jaden Smith will star in Netflix’s upcoming anime original series, Neo Yokio. Neo Yokio is a six-part anime series produced by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and former Adult Swim executive producer Nick Wiedenfeld.
The series follows Jaden Smith as Kaz Kaan, the youngest member of a family of pink-haired demon slayers, carefreely exploring the New York-inspired city of Neo Yokio alongside his mecha-butler, Charles (Jude Law), friends Lexy and Gottlieb (Viceland comedy duo Desus & Mero), and long time rival and bachelor Arcangelo Corelli (Jason Scwartzman). After meeting ex-turbulent fashion blogger Helena St. Tessero (Tavi Gevinson), Kaz finds himself in a series of events that forces him to question the real Neo Yokio society.
The series boasts an all star cast that includes Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire, Pulp Fiction), Sarah Sarandon (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Thelma & Louise), Richard Aoyade (The IT Crowd) and Stephen Fry (Black Adder). According to a press release, it aims to capture a “postmodern collage of homages to classic anime, English literature and modern New York fashion and culture.” A trailer for the series was recently released and it contains a number of interesting moments, such as Kaz getting a nosebleed after a girl kisses him on the cheek, all of which suggest that the show will satire classic anime tropes.
The project is developed by an incredible mix of animation studios experienced in different genres and styles. Hunter x Hunter and Rurouni Kenshin director Kazuhiro Furuhashi and Ranma ½’s Junji Nishimura will work on the storyboards, while Attack on Titan and Ghost in the Shell studio Production I.G., Studio Deen (Sakamoto Desu Ga?, Hoozuki no Reitetsu) and Seoul-based studio MOI (Young Justice, The Boondocks) will co-animate.
With such an all star series of animation teams behind the project, we have high hopes for ridiculous shonen action scenes and shoujo-inspired drama. The tone of the series looks lighthearted and goofy, but we hope it mirrors classic western-inspired series like Cowboy Bebop and serve as a good entry level show.
Koenig first teased the project in a photo of him and Jaden Smith he tweeted in 2015 with the caption, “things are bubbling in the sea beneath 14th street.” Neo Yokio joins a number of other anime series Netflix recently announced, including an original adaptation of the classic horror manga Devilman Crybaby.
Neo Yokio will release on Netflix on September 22.
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