Neo Yokio (2017–)
Signed up the 24/05/2017
Just to be clear I went into Neo Yokio already having read every bad review there was, my favorite being from geek.com that called it “an absolutely mesmerizing train wreck”, so naturally my proclivity for the absurd and downright cringe-worthy flared up and I sat through this relatively easy six-episode binge with a beer and the unwavering hope that everyone was wrong. They weren’t.
The plot of the show is pretty enticing, created by Ezra Koenig of American rock band Vampire Weekend, it tells the story of the city of Kaz Kaan (Jaden Smith), a vain and wealthy demon hunter and his mecha butler Charles (Jude Law), as he balances a vapid and decadent life as a fashionista in the city of Neo Yokio with his demon-hunting duties managed by his stern Aunt Agatha (Susan Sarandon).
Kaz is part of a long line of magicians who saved the city from ruin by demons in the 19th century and through the centuries have gained a place in the upper echelons of society and have become known as "Magistocrats" - a weird blend of the words “Magician” and “Aristocrat”. Always by Kaz's side are his inseparable friends Lexy and Gottlieb (voiced by internet personalities The Kid Mero and Desus Nice) and together they navigate the complexities of life in Neo Yokio, rather concerning themselves with shopping, field hockey, and caprice cocktails.
The show is meant to be an allegory for the frivolous nature of modern capitalism and no character hammers that home more than the exposition machine that is Helena St. Tessero (voiced by Tavi Gevinson). The plot is so muddled and unfocused that the show ends up stuck between being a demon-hunting procedural and a really heavy-handed PSA about the pitfalls of capitalism, which is really unfortunate seeing that the majority of the show was helmed by one of anime's most foremost directors Kazuhiro Furuhashi of Rurōni Kenshin fame.
There are some upsides though, the deadpan delivery of Jaden Smith’s voice acting and the dialogue between the characters often goes from pseudo-deep internet fodder to fantastically bizarre that it’s created some of the best out-of-context quotes like “Who cares what time it is when the future is an interminable abyss of wackiness?”, “Do I have to? My existential dread is acting up today.” and my personal favorite “Sorry guys, but I can barely navigate the hellish vortex between breakfast and dinner, let alone the labyrinth of the field hockey field.”
The show also features the voice talents of Jason Schwartzman who plays Neo Yokio’s most eligible bachelor and Kaz’s archnemesis Arcangelo, Willow Smith, Kiernan Shipka & Amandla Stenberg who play The Helenists, a group of high schoolers who’ve dedicated their lives to following Helena St. Tessero(and an allegory for modern fandom) and Steve Buscemi who plays The Remembrancer a figure we’ll definitely see more of in season 2.
The show has sort of become a living piece of performance art, much akin to the release and subsequent alterations Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo album, that can only elicit reactions between “WTF???” and “This is pure genius”.
It was pretty obvious what they were trying to do with the show and that’s probably why most people are disappointed in it but it’s worth the watch because there’s something to appreciate at how frazzled it is - which is the stuff cult classics are made of. Looking at you The Room and Napoleon Dynamite.
Post a reply