“Neo Yokio” is a show that is completely dedicated to its aesthetic, and the Netflix special “Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas” has the same distinctive appeal that made the first season so enjoyable. It opens with a snowy panorama of its fantasy version of New York, complete with a scoreboard ranking the fake city’s eligible bachelors and a scoreboard ranking the fictional city’s eligible bachelors (centuries after the end of a demon war that left parts of the city underwater).
This Netflix Original Cuts Through the Holiday Clutter
Even while it pays homage to its anime forerunners, “Pink Christmas” revels in its own peculiar structure. The show’s traditional Baroque-heavy background music is complemented by arrangements of “O Tannenbaum” and “Greensleeves.” The Homer-sampling narration creates an universe where individuals casually discuss the presence of malevolent, shapeless forces in the same way they discuss podcast hosting and social status. “Pink Christmas” is more than just a continuation of Kaz Kaan’s antics as a young socialite (Jaden Smith). It’s a look at the people who live in this dystopian planet, where interdimensional animals lurk in the shadows and table manners can turn into telekinetic brawls. The contrast between the fears of being single and under the microscope in a big metropolis and fighting for humanity’s survival is jarring, and first-time viewers may need to acclimatise. Still, the show’s attraction isn’t based on deciphering the strange “Neo Yokio” internal logic; rather, it’s based on the passion-project sense that everyone involved seems to have.
The voice performances are a little dispersed, as they are in the main show, but each performer is so committed to each character choice that it’s difficult not to love it. As Charles the mech butler, Jude Law continues to be an unrivalled pleasure, this time deployed sparingly to narrate the happenings in the spirit of the “Princess Bride” Grandpa. Desus and Mero are usually wonderful additions, and this time they’re back as Lexy and Gottlieb, Kaz’s buddies (and doomed entrepreneurs). Jason Schwartzman, who plays Kaz’s preening foe Arcangelo Corelli, is still one of our best on-screen jerks. Richard Ayoade’s increasing presence, as an overeager Bergdorf Goodman sales clerk, offers a welcome variation. “Neo Yokio” knows how to place itself in a TV world dominated by loud, crowded calls for audience attention, beyond the genre trappings and layers of artisanal touches that wrap the show in its own protective coating. The flood of winks and tributes to cartoon classics continues, including an outstanding rendition of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” There are lots of moments suitable for memes, and there’s some extra participation from series creator and Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig that may entice non-genre fans to watch.
Only a few seasonal traditions are left unaltered in “Pink Christmas.” “Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas” weaves through and upends them all in search of the actual meaning of the season. Secret Santa, holiday extravaganzas, and even conventional dinners are all perverted in some way. Christmas in the world of “Neo Yokio” is both everything and nothing at the same time. In the same way that Season 1 cherished its intricate fashion regulations and cross-city automobile races, this free-for-all generates the opportunity to play with anthropomorphized Christmas trees and creative gift-giving. The show’s animators are also given some leeway with the show’s aesthetic stylings thanks to “Pink Christmas.” The more the title of the programme is integrated into the proceedings, the more it appears to be its own work. Rather than using its climactic fight to set up future stories or tease viewers with the promise of more, “Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas” uses it to concede that it may be more self-aware than it has previously let on. “Neo Yokio” may be tailored to a specific set of preferences, but it’s far from impenetrable. “Pink Christmas” delivers something unapologetically crazy if the holiday spirit is truly about unification and finding common ground. It’s a blast for everyone.
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