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GENRE: Anime ORIGINAL AIR DATES: September 22, 2017
// review by EscapeRouteBritish

Yokio Taco Bell.

It can be said that Neo Yokio is either absolute garbage or a masterpiece. These days, it's even harder to tell the difference, there is but a fine line between madness and genius. And then there's such a thing as mad genius, which sums up Neo Yokio perfectly.

The series focuses on eligible bachelor and "magistocrate" Kaz Kaan, who is voiced by karate kid Jaden Smith. He's absorbed by the bourgeois lifestyle that comes with being rich and famous, knocking back martinis and enjoying expensive Swiss chocolate. His mecha-butler Charles, voiced by English sex-wizard Jude Law, acts as Kaz' mentor and transport.

Kaz' life would be simple if it was just living it large, but as second fiddle to Neo Yokio's number one eligible bachelor, Arcangelo, his life is falling apart. And wherever there's Arcangelo, the East-Side Gentlemen are bound to follow. Not only does Kaz have to deal with those guys, great things are expected of Kaz, too. As a "magistocrate", Kaz has to ward off the demons that threaten to disrupt Neo Yokio. All in all, life just simply isn't easy for Kaz Kaan. Everyone around Kaz is experiencing success, but he is not. He's struggling to understand Neo Yokio, and so are we.

The very first episode sets the stage for what follows, with Kaz having just gone through a messy break-up. There's no time to mourn, as his Aunt Agatha sends him off to perform an exorcism on a haunted Chanel suit worn by a famous fashion blogger Helena Saintessero. After getting possessed by her suit, Helena starts to see Neo Yokio for what it is, a superficial world of keeping up appearances. Kaz finds himself stuck between the old ways and the new ways just trying to get by.

Each following episode shows Kaz' further difficulties trying to balance his bourgeoisie lifestyle, "magistocrate" responsibilities and attempting to talk sense into the now hikkikomori Helena.


Indeed.

The show's style is clean, with block colours, resembling the more typical modern Korean-animated series. The animation is far from anything spectacular, often coming across quite basic. The character designs are fine but the art style makes Kaz come across half-baked, like an anime OC in some online flash game. Yeah, clean is how I'd describe the aesthetic, hands down. There's nothing special about how Neo Yokio looks.

The soundtrack isn't much to shout about either. With Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend involved, there was a fantastic opportunity to utilize some American pop punk and indie music. Instead, the soundtrack mostly consists of classical works, which has already been done to death in shows such as Fairy Tail and Soul Eater.

It is thanks to the comedy that Neo Yokio has gained infamy. The show's product placement and offbeat jokes land it so sweetly smack-bang in the middle of that Internet meme culture. Most notably, the references to large Toblerone chocolate proved to be unfathomably popular among meme culture, giving Neo Yokio a second lease at life where its mediocre story, presentation, and soundtrack failed. The sense of humour is amplified by Richard Ayoade's exceptional voicework as the salesclerk.

I would recommend going into Neo Yokio without any expectations whatsoever. If the first episode sparks your curiosity, you might as well watch it all, as the first season only consists of six episodes. It is a slow burner but it does get better, unfortunately perhaps too late.


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