Ezra Koenig’s First Anime A Perfect Metaphor For Blending Hollywood Vets With Voice Acting Gigs

Have you been wondering where the fuzz the next Vampire Weekend album is? Well buckle up, because we highly doubt the scenario “lead singer has been making his own anime starring Jaden Smith” was high on your list of potential delays.

Image credit: Pitchfork

Ezra Koenig, the lead singer of Vampire Weekend, has been chockers creating his own futuristic anime that blends the worlds of New York and Tokyo to bring us Neo Yokio. The six-episode series stars Jaden Smith as the pink-haired, tuxedo-donning, demon-slaying Kaz Kaan.

Neo Yokio also features a whole host of Hollywood personalities, including Jude Law, Susan Sarandon, Jason Schwartzman, Steve Buscemi, Stephen Fry, Richard Ayoade, Tavi Gevinson, Kid Mero and Desus Nice – just to name a few. Jaden’s lil’ sis Willow is also pegged to make an appearance.

Who knows, maybe you were a smart cookie and deciphered Ezra Koenig’s cryptic tweet from 2015:

Or perhaps you’ve been tracking the exponential stream of actors, musicians, personalities, uncles and pet iguanas flocking to lend their vocal chords to the multitude of animations dominating our screens, à la Charlie Kelly and the ‘Pepe Silvia’ saga.

With the rise of animations littering our screens, so too have we noticed the frequency with which our ears pick up the familiar voices behind minor characters. From the cast of Community making vocal appearances on Dan Harmon’s post-Greendale venture Rick & Morty, to just about every actor that has graced Bojack Horseman‘s voice cast, it’s clear that animation and voice acting have taken a drastic leap from relatively unknown and dedicated voice actors, to A-list cameos.

Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris and Aaron Paul all star in Bojack Horseman. Image credit: Huffpost

Could the reason be that there are less acting gigs cropping up around town? Are actors generally dissatisfied with the range and quality of roles in live film and TV? Or is it a question of economics? Perhaps new-age animations could be hitting more attractive budgets and audiences, particularly with their Oscar-winning capacity, as exemplified by Animé pioneers like Hayao Miyazaki …or is it as simple as voice gigs being an easy buck?

In truth animations are – let’s face it – cool TV for anyone born from the 70’s onwards. An exciting, imaginative art-form where literally anything is possible, and the wackiest scenarios can come to life without the false note of live acting. Certainly us ’90s babies are driving the production and revenue of this current increase in adult animation. Growing up, it was an unquestioned morning ritual to chomp down your Weetbix whilst mindlessly glued to the telly. Who didn’t tune into ABC or Cheez TV before school?

Are producers hopping on this bandwagon in an attempt to perpetuate our childhood? Or has our nostalgia driven cartoons to the point that actors have jumped on the opportunity to bound from the vanity of Hollywood to the shadows of voice-based acting, where trackies are accepted work gear and necking tequila is an acceptable means of method acting? Regardless, we’re stoked that Ezra has expanded his skill set and corralled such a diverse team for Neo Yokio.

Check out the trailer below, and keep your eyes peeled on Netflix for its release on September 22nd.