Neo Yokio is an anime-of-sorts that takes place in an alternate New York where demons live amongst the people. Kaz (Jaden Smith’s character) is a descendant of an upper echelon family (the Magistocrats) that has been tasked with killing society’s demons in order to remain among the upper class. However, let this point be clear from the jump: Neo Yokio is not one of Jaden Smith’s strongest creative pursuits.
What I Liked
The best things about this show are the Desus and Mero cameos. The pair show up in the form of Kaz’s best friends, Lexy (Mero) and Gottlieb (Desus). Somehow, their characters seem to match their actual personalities in present-day New York, even though the rest of the characters seem to speak in this far-away tone of esoteric beliefs and lucid sarcasm. But, more on that later. I also appreciate The Helenists, devotees of the famous fashion blogger, Helen St. Tessero, who is saved from demonic possession by Kaz. The Helenists are to Helen as the Beyhive is to Beyonce and if excessive fandom makes you laugh, then you will appreciate their over-the top devotion that is almost reminiscent of Regina George disciples of old. Jude Law is funny as Kaz’s robot butler, Charles, is also quite refreshing.
What I Didn’t Like
Pretty much everything else. The writing has some shining moments, but overall, it’s consistently corny. The visuals aren’t spectacular. I know that, at its core, this show is also supposed to serve as a critique of New York’s high society, which is why I powered through all of the episodes. But, Kaz’s insistent depressive moods and his lame arch nemesis, Arcangelo, almost renders the show insufferable.
Should You Watch It?
Only if you have nothing more pressing to do. I watched it because I don’t see enough anime-esque shows with Black characters at the forefront and Jaden Smith is one of my personal faves because he has no trouble living in his personal truth. I admire that in someone his age. I have a feeling that this isn’t the last comic/cartoon venture that he will take on, so I am willing to try this again with him. Try it out and let me know what you think!