Created by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, ‘Neo Yokio’ is anime meets ‘Gossip Girl’

In the mostly underwater city of Neo Yokio, popular fashion-blogger Helena St. Tessero’s Chanel jacket has been possessed by demons. It’s a relatable problem for many young people, if you substitute actual demons with metaphorical ones.

Created by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, the rulers of young Internet celeb culture like Jaden Smith and Tavi Gevinson play the characters of emo teen Kaz Kaan and Helena St. Tessero, respectively. Everyone from Desus Nice and The Kid Mero to Jude Law and Susan Sarandon make cameos. Neo Yokio is a show in the know, and Koenig spoke to The Cut about the show’s endless fashion references and the inspiration he drew from Gossip Girl.

“We always knew that Neo Yokio was going to focus on this kind of upper-class, high-society world, so obviously Gossip Girl is one of the classic modern uptown New York references,” Koenig said. “I wasn’t sure if fashion was gonna be a big part of it, but once we started going, it just kept coming up. We also always had this image of Kaz throwing away a Cartier Tank in the beginning.”

The first season is just six episodes — an easy binge — and revolves around Smith’s character Kaz, as he balances being a style-crazy “magistocrat” with hunting demons. Reviews so far have been pretty decent, with a few less-than-stellar jabs for being a bit too precious. SPIN’s Brian Josephs said it might as well be subtitled Millennials Say the Darndest Things, but Mike Hale from the New York Times put it a bit more optimistically.

“Here’s a test: if a defensive reading of the line, ‘Yes, my girlfriend broke up with me to take a finance job in San Francisco,’ makes you chuckle, “Neo Yokio” may be for you.”

 

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