Neo Yokio, Ezra Koening’s satirical urban fantasy animated series, arrived on Netflix in September of 2017 to mixed reviews. Season one followed Kaz Kaan, a wealthy and recently single exorcist, in his adventures slaying demons and perusing the city of Neo Yokio. With still no second season confirmed, Neo Yokio returned for a Christmas special this month. For a show that dabbled in ideas of class, materialism, and socialism, Christmas is the perfect homecoming. Most animated Christmas specials aired in the United States either focus on the myth of Santa Claus or the birth of Jesus Christ, if not both. Neo Yokio, an anime hybrid of a US Christmas special, is about neither. Pink Christmas looks at the holiday for what it’s become–materialist, self-serving celebration–through the eyes of its fictional wealthy.
This post contains spoilers for Pink Christmas and The End of Evangelion.
The first season of Neo Yokio ended with the status quo in-tact, the bachelor board reinstalled and Kaz complicit in the system. Rather than pick up from there, Pink Christmas is comprised almost entirely of a story within a story as told by Charles II. The tale begins with Herbert, a previously unnamed sales clerk from the first season, before it delves into Kaz’s family. It reflects the shopping frenzy and family time that both define the holiday season.
The materialism in the shopping side of Christmas is seen in Archangelo, Kaz’s vapid frenemy. His appeals for “the true meaning of Christmas” and “fuck material goods” in a campaign for heartfelt giftgiving are hilariously superficial, all part of a ploy to make money. By presenting himself and his motives as noble, his moneymaking becomes noble in the eyes of the public too. Aunt Agatha and Aunt Angelique represent the family side, as their respective elitist and chill approaches to life come to a head. Like Helena in season one, Angelique offers Kaz with alternative perspectives on capitalist society such as public transportation and humanist philosophy. Her memoir contains the ultimate alternative perspective: their family not righteous in their fights against demons, but traitorous, and their social status is built on lies.
Materialist Christmas and family drama converge in the Great Demon’s encounters with Kaz and Herbert, in scenes that pay lovely visual homage to the introspective final episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The demon calls for restoration of balance between demons and humans, after humans colonized demon land to build Neo Yokio and a number of demons betrayed their own kind to live among them. As it tells Herbert, a sales clerk who served the apathetic rich is the perfect vessel to bring about vindictive revolution. It’s merely a story told by Charles with intentional “whimsy,” but it feels like the natural conclusion to Kaz’s disillusionment in season one. His worship of fashion labels was questioned, he saw the slums of Neo Yokio first hand, and he went against the government of his beloved city to help a wanted criminal. Now he has a chance to make a change by releasing the demon within Herbert.
The Great Demon’s new world order brings about an apocalypse straight out of The End of Evangelion. In The End of Evangelion, the theatrical alternative to the final two episodes of the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, NERV and SEELE’s plan to bring all human beings into one consciousness comes to fruition and everyone’s bodies burst into the orange liquid LCL. In Pink Christmas, pink liquid erupts from Herbert’s corpse and floods the entire city. Kaz’s “what the fuck” response is appropriate, and not unlike reactions to Evangelion. He doesn’t appreciate the ambiguity of the ending, and the point seems to fly over his head. Social change is only possible with a complete overhaul of society, according to Pink Christmas. Kaz simply realizing Neo Yokio’s issues in season one isn’t enough, so an extreme conclusion to Kaz’s growing awareness like a revolution can only manifest in as a fictional story told by Charles. For a show with no second season in sight, that unrealized yet fitting potential works as an ending.
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