10 reasons why neo yokio is the hippest anime of 2017
The Netflix show from Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig is a smorgasbord of designer crushes, popstar satire and one big ol’ bar of chocolate featuring none other than Jaden Smith.
Fashion bloggers beset by demons. Taylor-Katy-Miley hybrid popstars. One massive Toblerone. Welcome to the weird, wild world of Neo Yokio, the hippest anime of the year. Here's the lowdown before you binge watch.
It's the side project of Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig
OK, so the extra curricular from a member of New York's indiest bands is unlikely to be anything but incredibly hip. But that doesn't prepare you for the weirdness of Neo Yokio. It's set in a near future New York where downtown's underwater and uptown is run by label obsessed, rooftop tennis playing, millennial elites.
It stars Jaden Smith as Kaz Kaan, Neo Yokio's second most eligible bachelor and demon slayer
Sporting on point millennial pink hair, Kaz Kaan watches his social rankings rise and fall via a handy bachelor chart on a Times Square billboard. In between times, he's also a 'magistocrat', a cross between Manhattan socialite and a demon slayer.
The show sports the most of-the-moment millennial pink opening credits
And the following 20 minutes of each episode are no eyesore either, since Koenig's roped in a team of Japanese and Korean animators for the job of making Neo Yokio pop.
There are anime Easter eggs galore
Anime aficionados can go to school on Neo Yokio, which openly references a vast array of classics of the genre from Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball-Z and Akira, which was set in the metropolis of a near future Neo Tokyo. Did you see what they did there?
There's a gender swap storyline but Neo Yokio is not trying to be woke
It's probably more a loving homage to anime classic Ranma – where a boy transforms into a girl – than an effort to tackle gender issues that Neo Yokio Episode Four includes a near identical storyline. The show's premise – pampered rich kids, demons on the anti elite attack, a downtown in underwater ruins – might suggest Neo Yokio has a sharp political edge but it's never quite that woke.
Instead it's coming down in fashion, like Gossip Girl got anime'd
Kaz shops at Bergdorf's, can riff for days about the difference between scents and quotes Karl Lagerfeld while attempting to wrest a demon from a Chanel suit. That the girl possessed by the demon is an ex fashion blogger called Helena St Tressero who wants to repent her materialistic ways and that she's voiced by Tavi Gevinson, gives you a sense of where Neo Yokio's true sensibilities lie.
The show is best when it embraces all that OTT New York culture
Get your Manhattan kicks from the way Neo Yokio celebrates everything New York from architecture to rich kids, field hockey to society galas. As Koenig told Pitchfork: "Almost everything in Neo Yokio is a loving tribute."
It's also a tribute to Koenig's contacts
Perhaps it's no huge surprise that a guy from Vampire Weekend can drum up a pretty starry cast to provide the voices for his extra curricular. But still…The rest of the cast list for Neo Yokio includes Susan Sarandon, Viceland's The Kid Mero and Desus Nice, Richard Ayoade and Jude Law, as Kaz's butler robot who can play Vivaldi's Concerto in whatever damn chord his master likes.
There's also a Taylor Swift parody that is not quite a Taylor Swift parody
So there's a slightly annoying pop star who moves to Neo Yokio and who goes by the name of Sailor Pellegrino. With blue hair and a southern, country twang, Sailor should be seen as a hybrid of Taylor-Katy-Miley, according to the show's creator but just about everyone else thinks it's a drag of a certain popstar who made a song and dance about moving to New York.
And there's a really exciting revelation for fans of jumbo sized chocolate
In the show, Kaz tries to get ex-fashion blogger Helena to come to the ball with him. The lure? A giant Toblerone. And in news that's tripping everyone the fuck out on social media, you can actually buy a jumbo Toblerone IRL. It weighs 4.5kg and costs £77.95 with free delivery on Amazon. Something to consider while gorging on Neo Yokio.
Neo Yokio is streaming on Netflix now.