Neo Yokio

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Neo Yokio
Pink and yellow text spelling "Neo Yokio"
GenreScience fiction[1]
Comic fantasy[2]
Created byEzra Koenig
Screenplay byEzra Koenig
Nick Weidenfeld
Alexander Benaim
Directed byKazuhiro Furuhashi
Junji Nishimura
Anthony Chun
Creative directorBen Jones[a]
Voices ofJaden Smith
Jude Law
Tavi Gevinson
Susan Sarandon
The Kid Mero
Desus Nice
Jason Schwartzman
ComposersJesse Novak
Will Wiesenfeld
Devonte Hynes
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (+ 1 special)
Executive producersNick Weidenfeld
Hend Baghdady
Ezra Koenig
Chris Prynoski[b]
Ben Kalina[b]
Angela Petrella[c]
ProducersMatthew Chadwick[a]
Andrew Chittenden[a]
Kris Wood[a]
AnimatorsStudio Deen[a]
Production I.G.[a]
MOI Animation[a]
Running time22 minutes
65 minutes[b]
Production companiesInfinite Elegance, LLC
Friends Night
Titmouse, Inc.[b]
Digital eMation, Inc.[b]
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 22, 2017 (2017-09-22) –
December 7, 2018 (2018-12-07)

Neo Yokio (Japanese: ネオ・ヨキオ) is an adult animated streaming television series created by Ezra Koenig of American rock band Vampire Weekend, and produced by Japanese anime studios Production I.G. and Studio Deen. The first season, consisting of six episodes, premiered on Netflix on September 22, 2017.[4] The Christmas special Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas was released on December 7, 2018.[5]


Netflix's press release describes Neo Yokio as the "greatest city in the world", a modern-day alternate timeline New York where Magicians saved the city from ruin by demons in the 19th century, gaining a place in the upper echelons of society and becoming known as "Magistocrats". The series revolves around Kaz Kaan (Jaden Smith), a vain and wealthy Magistocrat and his mecha butler Charles (Jude Law), as he balances a vapid and decadent life as a fashionista in the city with his demon-hunting duties managed by his stern Aunt Agatha (Susan Sarandon).[citation needed]

Kaz has taken to self-pity and "melancholy" after his recent break-up with investment banker Cathy (Alexa Chung) and only wishes to live a life of luxury with his socialite friends Lexy (The Kid Mero) and Gottlieb (Desus Nice). His rival is Arcangelo (Jason Schwartzman), an old money scion who belittles Kaz's "Neo riche" status, and the two are often in competition for the top spot on the Bachelor's List, a gigantic public billboard of Neo Yokio's most eligible bachelors. Former fashion blogger Helena St. Tessero (Tavi Gevinson) becomes re-acquainted with Kaz in the first episode after he performs an exorcism on a possessed Chanel suit. However, the possession leaves Helena disillusioned with Neo Yokio and the capitalist system, eventually leading her to become a hikikomori, an anti-capitalist critic and a foil to Kaz's vapid focus on fashion and social status.[citation needed]


Actor Character Appearances
Jaden Smith Kaz Kaan Starring
Jude Law Charles Starring
Tavi Gevinson Helena St. Tessero Starring
Susan Sarandon Aunt Agatha Starring
The Kid Mero Lexy Starring
Desus Nice Gottlieb Starring
Jason Schwartzman Arcangelo Corelli Starring
Richard Ayoade Various Recurring
Alexa Chung Cathy Recurring
Willow Smith The Helenists Recurring
Kiernan Shipka Recurring
Amandla Stenberg Recurring
John DiMaggio Various Recurring
Peter Serafinowicz Various Recurring
Steve Buscemi The Remembrancer Guest
Annet Mahendru Mila Malevich Guest
Ike Barinholtz Jeffrey Guest
Stephen Fry Headmaster Guest
Katy Mixon Sailor Pellegrino Guest
Nico Muhly Professor Muhly Guest
Frank Vincent Uncle Albert Guest
Ray Wise Old Man in the Graveyard Guest
Ben Jones Maxwell Guest
David Macklovitch Dave 1 Guest
Simon Hammerstein Himself Guest
Kimberly Nichole Herself Guest


Neo Yokio was originally announced, without a title, at Production I.G.'s panel at Anime Expo in 2015.[6] The series was originally intended to run as part of Fox's Animation Domination High-Def late night block, which had just transitioned from the Fox network to sister cable network FXX earlier that year. No further details about the series were announced in the months following, and Animation Domination High-Def ceased operations in 2016.[citation needed]

While the writing and post-production were done in the United States, the character design, pre-production and storyboards were created in Japan and much of the animation was carried out in South Korea.

Moved to Netflix[edit]

On September 7, 2017, Netflix announced they had acquired the unaired Neo Yokio series to stream on their service, labeling it as a Netflix Original Series.[citation needed]


Series overview
SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
16September 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
Special1December 7, 2018 (2018-12-07)

Season 1 (2017)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
11The Sea Beneath 14th St.
Transcription: "Za shī binīsu 14 th sutorīto" (Japanese: ザ シー ビニース 14th ストリート)
Kazuhiro FuruhashiStory by : Ezra Koenig
Teleplay by : Nick Weidenfeld
September 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
Between bemoaning his ex, performing an exorcism and playing field hockey, Kaz Kaan has little time to worry about his place among Neo Yokio society.
22A Pop Star of Infinite Elegance
Transcription: "Mugen no eregansu o motsu poppusutā" (Japanese: 無限のエレガンスを持つポップスター)
Kazuhiro FuruhashiStory by : Ezra Koenig
Teleplay by : Nick Weidenfeld
September 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
The Black and White Ball is approaching and Kaz has problems galore, including a disinterested date, a scheming rival and (gasp!) the wrong color tux.
33O, the Helenists...
Transcription: "Ō, herenisuto-tachi…" (Japanese: おお、ヘレニストたち…)
Junji NishimuraEzra KoenigSeptember 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
Kaz visits his old school to teach a trio of insolent students about elegance. Meanwhile, Gottlieb and Lexy ask Kaz to endorse their new cocktail.
44Hamptons Water Magic
Transcription: "Hanputonzu u~ōtā majikku" (Japanese: ハンプトンズ ウォーター マジック)
Junji NishimuraEzra KoenigSeptember 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
Distressing news sends Kaz to the Hamptons to settle some family affairs. While there, he learns there's more to Charles than he thought.
55The Russians? Exactly, the Soviets
Transcription: "Roshiahito? Masani, Soren" (Japanese: ロシア人?まさに、ソ連)
Kazuhiro FuruhashiStory by : Ezra Koenig
Teleplay by : Alexander Benaim
September 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
Kaz finds that keeping the Soviet Union's Grand Prix driver out of trouble is surprisingly difficult. Meanwhile, Arcangelo makes a peace offering.
66I'm Starting to Think Neo Yokio's Not the Greatest City in the World
Transcription: "Neo yokio wa sekai saidai no toshide wa nai to omoi hajimete iru" (Japanese: ネオ・ヨキオは世界最大の都市ではないと思い始めている)
Kazuhiro FuruhashiEzra KoenigSeptember 22, 2017 (2017-09-22)
Kaz and his friends vow to help Helena escape the Remembrancer's clutches, but the Grand Prix complicates their escape.

Christmas special (2018)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
71Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas
Transcription: "Neo yokio pinku kurisumasu" (Japanese: ネオ・ヨキオ ピンク・クリスマス)
Anthony ChunStory by : Ezra Koenig
Teleplay by : Nick Weidenfeld
December 7, 2018 (2018-12-07)
The holidays take a hit as Kaz juggles the Secret Santa competition, his Aunt Angelique's visit and his nemesis Arcangelo's Christmas plotting.

On October 9, 2018,[5] Netflix announced that a Neo Yokio Christmas special would be released on December 7, 2018.[7][8] Trailers were released in October 2018,[9] in November 2018,[10] and on December 3, 2018.[11] It was released on December 7, 2018 as an hour-long special titled Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas.[12]

Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas features Kaz Kaan,[11] who must defeat a giant sentient Christmas tree threatening the city of Neo Yokio.[10][13] He also has to handle a Secret Santa competition, a visit by his Aunt Angelique, and plotting from Arcangelo.[14] The special includes Jamie Foxx as a voice actor,[15][16] while recurring characters are voiced by Jaden Smith, Susan Sarandon, Jude Law, and Jason Schwartzman.[17] Pink Christmas includes an original new song by Koenig, "Friend Like You".[12] It appears several times in the episode, and at the time of the premiere, had not appeared as a song elsewhere or for download.[18]


The series received mixed reviews, with a common criticism being the main character Kaz Kaan. Mike Toole from Anime News Network called the show "nigh-unwatchable codswallop", expressing issues with the bad voice acting of its cast, and with its poor animation and writing.[19] Julia Alexander of Polygon called the show a poor attempt to bring Jaden Smith's Twitter persona into a series as Jaden's character Kaz is annoying, self-centered, narcissistic and infuriating rather than likable.[20]

IGN gave it a negative review, with reviewer Miranda Sanchez criticizing the artwork, calling it humorless, and saying that it "feigns sincerity in any serious issue it tackles".[21] Dana Schwartz of Entertainment Weekly gave the first season a positive review, saying it was "both deeply ironic and entirely deadpan and we should be so grateful that this vanity-project-cum-genius-conceptional-art-piece somehow exists in the real world".[22]

Among the more positive reviews was Clio Chang's in The New Republic, who described Smith's performance as "exquisitely deadpan [..] that serves to heighten his detached snobbery" and that Neo Yokio "mostly feels like an introduction to what could be a really groundbreaking show", while also calling out its "cringe-worthy moments".[23] Mike Hale of The New York Times praised the show's satire, stating, "The show derives a lot of its humor 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 noting, "if [watchers don't stick around], it may be because they find the humor too precious."[2] Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo compared the show to "a six episode long dril tweet" and "Gossip Girl as told by a stoned Tim and Eric fan", praising its surreal humor and finding the show's depiction of contemporary urban life "far closer to reality—albeit a ridiculous one—than its premise may suggest".[24]


  1. ^ "Now streaming: 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Wonder Woman,' 'Gaga'". The Seattle Times. September 20, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hale, Mike (September 21, 2017). "Review: An Anime New York in Netflix's 'Neo Yokio'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  3. ^ "The cast list from Netflix's new anime series Neo Yokio is incredible". Radio Times. September 21, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  4. ^ "Netflix Reveals Neo Yokio Animated Series Collaboration With Production I.G, Studio Deen". Anime News Network. September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Neo Yokio Animated Series Teases Christmas Special for December 7". June 18, 2023.
  6. ^ Samantha Ferreira (July 4, 2015). "Anime Expo 2015: Production I.G. Producing Fox ADHD Project". Anime Herald. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  7. ^ Engelman, Nicole (October 11, 2018). "Netflix Announces Christmas Special For Ezra Koenig's 'Neo Yokio' Show". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Holub, Christian (October 9, 2018). "Netflix announces Neo Yokio Christmas special". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Hussein, Wandera (October 9, 2018). "Watch a new Neo Yokio Christmas special teaser". The Fader. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Cho, Stephan (November 30, 2018). "Netflix Shares Trailer for Ezra Koenig's Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas Special". Paste Magazine. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Merry Christmas from Neo Yokio, Netflix's weirdest cartoon". Polygon. December 3, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Daramola, Israel (December 7, 2018). "Hear a New Ezra Koenig Song in Neo Yokio's Christmas Special". Spin. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Sheridan, Wade (December 3, 2018). "'Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas': Kaz fights a Christmas tree in new trailer". UPI. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "Netflix shows to kick off the festive season". iOL. November 30, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Strauss, Matthew (October 9, 2018). "Ezra Koenig's Netflix Show "Neo Yokio" Gets Christmas Special". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  16. ^ Noel Kelly, Autumn (October 23, 2018). "Jamie Foxx Joins Jaden SMith in Netflix 'New Yokio' This December". Newsweek. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Keene, Allison (November 30, 2018). "'Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas' Trailer Brings Elegance and Demons". Collider. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  18. ^ Thiessen, Brad (December 7, 2018). "Ezra Koenig Pens New 'Neo Yokio' Christmas Song". Exclaim. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  19. ^ Toole, Mike (September 19, 2017). "Neo Yokio Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  20. ^ Alexander, Julia (September 19, 2017). "Neo Yokio is a bad, attempted homage to Jaden Smith's strange Twitter persona". Polygon. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  21. ^ Sanchez, Miranda (September 19, 2018). "NEO YOKIO: SEASON 1 REVIEW". IGN. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  22. ^ Schwartz, Dana (September 25, 2017). "Neo Yokio: The best out-of-context quotes from Jaden Smith's new animated show". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  23. ^ Chang, Clio (September 26, 2017). "Is Neo Yokio a Satire of the One Percent? Or a Loving Tribute?". The New Republic. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  24. ^ Mandelbaum, Ryan F. (October 3, 2017). "I Lived Neo Yokio". Gizmodo. Retrieved October 6, 2017.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Season One only
  2. ^ a b c d e "Pink Christmas" special only
  3. ^ co-executive producer, season one only

External links[edit]