One of my favourite pastimes for the past several years is checking in on what the Smith children are up to at any given moment. Unlike many child stars that rack up DUIs, drug addictions, and pantyless wardrobe malfunctions, Jaden and Willow Smith have managed to remain extremely eccentric and unique without making me fear for their lives.
With words of wisdom like “If a cupcake falls from a tree, how far away will it be from down?”, “Most trees are blue”, and the ever-woke “How can mirrors be real if our eyes aren’t real?”, Jaden Smith’s Twitter Page has only grown in popularity over the years. So, naturally, when I heard that Jaden had created his own anime, I brushed it off as a meme.
Then, I heard the rumour again, and this time I figured that Jaden had strung together some drawings to create a fanime for his fans. Nope. Wrong again. There is now a legitimate anime that symbolizes Jaden Smith’s Tweets come to animated fruition, and I cannot say enough kind things about it.
Neo Yokio is a new Netflix-exclusive anime that premiered on September 22nd, 2017. It is the brainchild of Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, and it was produced by the Japanese anime studios Production I.G. and Studio Deen. Jaden Smith was quickly brought in as the voice and inspiration for lead character Kaz Kaan, who is a vain and wealthy Magistrocrat living in Neo Yokio. He is also an exorcist.
I told you that this show is wild.
Not even halfway through the first episode comes the line, “My name is Kaz Kaan, and I am a magistocratic exorcist,” and that’s all that was needed to get me hooked on this show.
Koenig, who was a devout Bernie Sanders supporter throughout the 2016 American Election process, has created a world that satirizes the class system and brings the world of bourgeois culture, elegance, and field hockey to a television screen near you.
Neo Yokio’s futuristic mashup of New York and Tokyo permits aristocrats to aspire for the title of “Most Eligible Bachelor”, and the current results at any given time are displayed on a large billboard in the city for all to see. Wearing the latest fashion ups a contestant’s results. Losing a competition of some sort lowers a contestant’s results.
An all-star cast joins Jaden Smith in Neo Yokio, including Jude Law, Susan Sarandon, Alexa Chung, Desus Nice, The Kid Mero, and Richard Ayoade. Tavi Gevinson also joins the cast as Kaz Kaan’s old friend Helena St. Tessero, a fashion blogger who becomes trapped within her own mind by a possessed Chanel suit. Jason Schwartzman also stars as Kaz’s rival Arcangelo Corelli, an old money descendant who continuously belittles Kaz’s “neo riche” status in Neo Yokio.
Reviews for Neo Yokio are mixed, with most negative reviews coming from those who typically dislike Jaden Smith’s Tweets. Still, many critics have praised Neo Yokio’s satire, including the New York Times’s Mike Hale. Hale proclaimed that the “show derives a lot of its humour from Kaz’s earnest attempts to belong, which occasion some reasonably subtle mockery of the city’s social stratification and of a certain strain of tragic millennial mopiness”, while also noting Neo Yokio’s controversial nature.
With season one coming in at a mere six episodes, Neo Yokio is great for an afternoon or evening binge session. You can complete the season in just over two hours’ time, which is still shorter than watching a Harry Potter film while still reaping all of the benefits of magic.
Neo Yokio is currently streaming on Netflix accounts worldwide. Grab yourself a giant Toblerone, and enjoy the ride!