In 2015, Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig tweeted a photo of himself standing beside artist Jaden Smith, captioning it “things are bubbling in the sea beneath 14th street.”
What the two were working on together was a mystery.
Koenig wouldn’t answer any questions about it at the time and Smith never tweeted about it. Now, more than two years later, Koenig has tweeted out the first images for Neo Yokio, a new anime series for Netflix described as a “postmodern collage of homages to classic anime, English literature and modern New York fashion and culture.”
NEO YOKIO IS THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD. to Studio Deen, Production IG, Jaden Smith, Kazuhiro Furuhashi & many more pic.twitter.com/dI88h7ZhPa— Ezra Koenig (@arzE) September 5, 2017
Based on the trailer, it appears Neo Yokio will incorporate classic anime tropes. In one scene, for example, Kaz Kaan (Jaden Smith) receives a kiss on the cheek from a girl while on a date and his nose starts bleeding. Even the concept, a young boy who’s thrust into the role of a demon slayer and is tasked with saving a girl he’s in love with, is a play on anime titles of a similar nature.
The best part about the trailer, however, are the lines Kaz delivers. It’s unclear just how much involvement Smith had in writing his lines, as Koenig is the only name listed as a creator, but the tone of Kaz’s statements are on par with Jaden’s cadence. The philosophical nature of Kaz seems almost lifted straight from Smith’s Twitter account. Here are just a few of some of his best lines from the trailer:
- “I told you to clear my schedule. I’m grieving the death of a relationship.”
- “Win, lose, we’ll all be equal in the grave.”
- “No, I feel no synergy.”
To compare, here are just a few of Smith’s tweets.
Put "Passionfruit" On Repeat And Watch "Passengers" With No Sound. Then You Will Understand Me.— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) March 19, 2017
Aliens Are Real FYI— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) July 18, 2017
People On The Street Literally Call Me Batman And Its So Amazing.— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) July 14, 2017
This marks the first big television project Koenig has worked on, and his first time working with Netflix. Smith worked with Netflix on The Get Down, which was canceled this year. The company cited issues with production costs and viewership for The Get Down’s cancellation.
Neo Yokio is being made with Production IG and Studio Deen. Production IG is one of the best known anime studios and has produced serialized versions of End of Evangelion, Blood: The Last Vampire and Ghost in the Shell. Kazuhiro Furuhashi (Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, Hunter x Hunter, Rurouni Kenshin) and Junji Nishimura (Ranma 1/2, Urusei Yatsura, Pro Golfer Saru) will be contributing storyboard artists.
All six episodes of Neo Yokio will be available to stream on Sept. 22.