Over the past year Netflix has provided animation fans with plenty of great options from the highly regarded Devilman Crybaby to the charming and kid-friendly She–Ra, but what might be the biggest surprise is the animated December holiday special Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas. The special is not only an improvement over the first season but serves as a mighty fine pitch for season two and other future projects.
Premiering last year on Netflix, Neo Yokio is an American-Japanese co-production created by Ezra Koening and featuring a voice cast that includes Jude Law, Jaden Smith, Susan Sarandon, Stephen Fry, Richard Ayoade, the Kid Mero, Desus, and many more. Neo Yokio focuses on the “greatest city in the world,” an alternative modern New York where magic and demons exist. The series focuses on Kaz Kaan (Smith), a wealthy demon slaying millennial and his mecha butler Charles (Law), as he balances a life of being Neo Yokio’s most eligible bachelor, and a demon slayer under the tutelage of his aunt Aunt Agatha (Sarandon). The Netflix original show served as satire and social commentary on internet culture, rich millennials, and New York culture of today’s time. Unfortunately, the six episodes of season one were received with mix responses mostly due to the terrible voice acting, rough animation, unlikable characters, and loose narrative. The future of a season two looked bleak, with many thinking that maybe it was best Netflix cut its losses.
Continuity-wise Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas takes place sometime after the ending of season one focusing on the Christmas holiday in Neo Yokio. Our protagonist Kaz, unfortunately, cannot enjoy the holiday festivities due to catching a cold, and to make up for this Charles tells Kaz a Christmas story centering on him and his social circle. The story has several plot-lines that are tightly tied together in what might be one of the better Christmas stories I have witnessed.
Some fans might just wish Charles’ Christmas story was actually real because this is the most likable and enticing the series has ever been. All the characters are actually enjoyable, and the animation seems to have been improved with better-choreographed action scenes and visuals. Not only do recurring characters and gags return like the famous giant Toblerone chocolate candy, but so does a humorous subplot focusing on the signature drink of the show: the Caprese martini.
The special is perfectly balanced as both a satire on a materialistic, faux-enlightened upper-class and more simply as an entertaining animated movie with an engaging plot as Pink Christmas expands on the history of Neo Yokio and how the demons that plagued city hundreds of years ago were actually vanquished. Fans will be delighted to know that there is indeed a Christmas song performed in the show along with a fresh new assortment of memes and one-liners that will dominate your twitter timelines.
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas takes what made season one special by focusing it into a neat, tightly packaged ninety-minute Christmas present. Fans will be eager to unwrap this gift, and Netflix will serve as the proud parents watching as they sip their hot chocolate.
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