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Neo Yokio
via Netflix

Jaden Smith returns to Ezra Koenig’s Neo Yokio for a Christmas special

The anime about the disaffected playboy fighter Kaz Kaan is back for a seasonal episode

Neo Yokio, an Americanised take on anime exploring disaffected wealth, the online world, New York luxury, capitalism and consumerism, is back for a Christmas special. Jaden Smith and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig return once more from what was their popular first season to spread some sad anime rich boy holiday cheer. 

The trailer for Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas shows playboy fighter Kaz Kaan being left alone in his big city, a modernised capital named Neo Yokio which is packed with 80s and 90s anime references. As Kaan attempts to map the modern wiles of being a young rich kid, while battling the odd leviathan or two and dropping sarcastic one-liners, his family is away hunting their own pack of demons. This time, he’s locking horns with his nemesis Archangelo as they push for the top bachelor spot, as well as Secret Santa.

The first six-episode season of Neo Yokio ran in 2017 and received mixed reviews from critics and the more alt-right of anime fandom – but memes surrounding its mammoth Toblerone chocolates blew up the feed. Jude LawSusan SarandonAlexa Chung, and Tavi Gevinson all appeared in the first season, but it’s not clear if they’re back in this special episode.

In an interview with Dazed, Ezra Koenig broke down the series and said he wanted to  pay homage to the genre, while also make casting diverse and its storylines current. “I was like, ‘Well, if we do this as an animated series and it’s going to be this kind of tribute to anime… I think we can only do that if we’re working with people from the anime industry in Japan.”

“There were people who saw the trailer who were triggered by the fact that there was a communist in it, and that we used a diverse background of people. So I have a feeling that the show is not for those people,” he said at the time. Will the Christmas special plug an elvin rebellion or a proper red Santa, or eschew gift-giving for the Communist agenda? We’ll just have to wait and see. 

Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas will be airing on Netflix on 7 December.