Kappa Mikey is an American animated television series created by Larry Schwarz. The show is Nicktoons Network's first original half-hour series, bought during the same period as other Animation Collective series. The series premiered on February 25, 2006 and ended on September 20, 2008. 52 episodes were produced.
The main cast of Kappa Mikey
|Created by||Larry Schwarz|
|Directed by||Sergei Aniskov|
|Voices of||Michael Sinterniklaas|
|Opening theme||"Hey Hey Look Look" by Beat Crusaders|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Animation Collective|
Kanonen & Bestreichen, Inc.
Nicktoons Network Original Productions
ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks
|Original network||Nicktoons Network|
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV) 1080i (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||February 25, 2006 –|
September 20, 2008
|Followed by||Dancing Sushi|
The series is a parody of Japanese anime, featuring a young American actor named Mikey whose appearance is styled after Western cartoons, and travels to Japan to star in a tokusatsu show called LillyMu, where his anime-styled co-stars represent common anime clichés.
Each episode follows a specific formula. A typical episode starts with the cast filming a LilyMu segment, but the take is ruined, sometimes revealing the conflict that the characters deal with through the rest of the episode, with a minor subplot running beneath the main plot. After the problem is resolved, the LilyMu segment will be shot again and successfully completed the second time, often rewritten to incorporate whatever lesson was learned during the main story.
Deep into season 2, Kappa Mikey has stopped showing a LilyMu sequence at the end of an episode whenever it would make the episode too long, when the characters are in their LilyMu uniforms enough as it is, or when they successfully film a sequence without any mistakes before the ending.
The show's title is a play on the word kappamaki, a type of sushi. It is suggested that the show was the inspiration for naming the title character "Mikey" and used the prefix "kappa". Like Mikey, who is a "fish out of water" in Japan, the kappa itself is a water demon creature who can live on land. The kappas first appeared on this show in the episode "Mikey, Kappa" on August 5, 2007, where the origin of the title was explained. Coincidentally, Mikey also shares his name with the actor who supplies his voice.
Kappa Mikey is different from other cartoons produced at the turn of the 21st century, in that the property was owned by the studio instead of an agency, the animation was not outsourced and the episodes were written by a full-time staff. After producing Internet-based projects and television spots, the series became Animation Collective's first television series. The series was produced in New York City starting from the summer of 2005. Production for the two seasons wrapped in September 2007.
Schwarz conceived the series in 2000, when he was running Rumpus toys, a toy design company in New York City, but they folded before any storyboarding could commence. They resurfaced years later as Animation Collective, and produced an early test pilot for a pitch to MTV Networks, where the character designs and backgrounds resembled more like those found in Adult Swim series Perfect Hair Forever, and the humor was also more adult-oriented. Much of the current cast was voicing their characters even this early in production. MTV declined the deal, and Nickelodeon eventually picked up the project. The series was tweaked heavily in order to be aimed at a younger audience. Voice talents were usually local, and its audio was recorded at Manhattan-based NYAV Post, which Michael Sinterniklaas owns. Larry Schwarz, along with the other executive producers, oversaw all phases of production, but only had writing credits on the pilot episode, "Mikey Impossible" and "A Christmas Mikey". All the episodes were directed by Sergei Aniskov. The instrumental score was composed by John Angier, who also wrote the lyrics to "The Recycling Song", "Ori and Yori's Hits", "Living With Mikey", "How Did We Get Here?" and the songs from "The Karaoke Episode".
The series was animated in Adobe Flash, with some moments of CGI rendered in Maya. To further emphasize the contrast in animation styles, one group of animators was assigned to the anime characters, and another group was in charge of Mikey and the other American characters. The vehicles on LilyMu and around Tokyo, as well as the weapons, the Gonard balloon, Pirate King's ship, the Karaoke Genie Machine, etc., were created in Maya and exported into Flash using the Toon Filter. The backgrounds were modeled in Maya, and texture, details, and clouds were added in Photoshop. Some of the backgrounds were inspired by actual locations in Tokyo. The show's anime-style characters perform with large comedic overuses of face faults, such as a face and/or body turning into an exaggerated general appearance, or becoming much smaller. This allowed animators to have more control over how a character looks and acts than on many other Flash shows, and they did not always have to be on-model. The show uses clichés common to anime, including the sweat drop, lines over the eyes or no eyes at all, big heads, flaming eyes and bodies becoming smaller. Sometimes Mikey will try to do these things, which was one of the show's running gags, but cannot due to being drawn in an American style.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||February 25, 2006||April 28, 2007|
|2||26||June 9, 2007||September 20, 2008|
Season 1 (2006–07)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||1||"The Lost Pilot"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Larry Schwarz||January 6, 2007||101|
|2||2||"The Switch"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Leila Strachan||February 25, 2006||102|
|3||3||"Mikey Impossible"||Sergei Aniskov||Colin Jost, Chris Reisig||February 25, 2006||103|
|4||4||"Ship of Fools"||Sergei Aniskov||Rob Dubbin, Colin Jost, Chris Reisig||March 4, 2006||104|
|5||5||"Saving Face"||Sergei Aniskov||Steve Lookner, Conrad Klein, Leila Strachan||March 11, 2006||105|
|6||6||"The Fugi-Kid"||Sergei Aniskov||Len Wein, Colin Jost, Chris Reisig||March 18, 2006||106|
|7||7||"Mikey Likes It"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Leila Strachan||March 25, 2006||107|
|8||8||"Easy Come, Easy Gonard"||Sergei Aniskov||Chirs Reisig||May 27, 2006||108|
|9||9||"Lily Meow"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Leila Strachan||June 3, 2006||109|
|10||10||"Splashomon"||Sergei Aniskov||Colin Jost, Chris Reisig||August 27, 2006||110|
|11||11||"The Good, the Bad, and the Mikey"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Mike Yank||July 8, 2006||111|
|12||12||"The Sumo Of All Fears"||Sergei Aniskov||Colin Jost||August 5, 2006||112|
|13||13||"Lost in Transportation"||Sergei Aniskov||Gerry Duggan, Conrad Klein, Leila Strachan||August 20, 2006||113|
|14||14||"Big Trouble in Little Tokyo"||Sergei Aniskov||Colin Jost, Chris Reisig||September 3, 2006||114|
|15||15||"The Phantom of the Soundstage"||Sergei Aniskov||Chris Reisig||October 28, 2006||115|
|16||16||"Battle of the Bands"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Michael Yank||November 4, 2006||116|
|17||17||"La Cage Aux Mikey"||Sergei Ansikov||Conrad Klein, Mike Yank, Alan Yang||November 19, 2006||117|
|18||18||"Reality Bites"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Michael Yank||December 3, 2006||118|
|19||19||"A Christmas Mikey"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Mike Yank, Larry Schwartz||December 7, 2006||119|
|20||20||"With Fans Like These"||Sergei Aniskov||Leila Strachan||February 17, 2007||120|
|21||21||"Big Brozu"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Colin Jost, Michael Yank||February 19, 2007||121|
|22||22||"The Man Who Would Be Mikey"||Sergei Aniskov||Guiseppe Ziplovia||March 3, 2007||122|
|23||23||"Uh Oh Guano"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Michael Yank||March 24, 2007||123|
|24||24||"Like Ozu Like Son"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh||April 7, 2007||124|
|25||25||"La Femme Mitsuki"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, Mike Yank||April 21, 2007||125|
|26||26||"The Oni Express"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klien, Mike Yank||April 28, 2007||126|
Season 2 (2007–08)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|27||1||"Camp!"||Sergei Aniskov||Walt Gardner, James Harvey||June 9, 2007||201|
|28||2||"The Bracemaster"||Sergei Aniskov||Leila Strachan||June 16, 2007||202|
|29||3||"Hog Day Afternoon"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens||June 23, 2007||203|
|30||4||"Mikey at the Bat"||Sergei Aniskov||Walt Gardner, James Harvey||June 30, 2007||204|
|31||5||"Free Squiddy"||Sergei Aniskov||Chris Reisig||July 7, 2007||205|
|32||6||"Go Nard Hunting"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh, James Harvey||July 14, 2007||206|
|33||7||"Mikey, Kappa"||Sergei Aniskov||Walt Gardners, Bob Berens||July 21, 2007||207|
|34||8||"Script Assassin"||Sergei Aniskov||Mike Yank||July 28, 2007||208|
|35||9||"Mitsuki Vanishes"||Sergei Aniskov||Dan Schofield||August 4, 2007||209|
|36||10||"The Masked Tanuki"||Sergei Aniskov||Leila Strachan||August 11, 2007||210|
|37||11||"Back To School"||Sergei Aniskov||Leila Strachan||August 18, 2007||211|
|38||12||"Manic Monday"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens||August 25, 2007||212|
|39||13||"Mikey's Place"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens, Sean Boyland||September 1, 2007||213|
|40||14||"LilyBoo"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens, Sean Boyland, Conrad Klein||September 8, 2007||214|
|41||15||"Night of the Werepuff"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh, Bob Berens, Conrad Klein||September 15, 2007||215|
|"The Karaoke Episode"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh, Sean Lahey||February 23, 2008||216|
|44||18||"Mikey's Memoirs"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh, Walt Gardner||March 1, 2008||218|
|45||19||"Seven From LilyMu"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh, Walt Gardner||March 8, 2008||219|
|46||20||"Mikey and the Pauper"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein, James Harvey, Walt Gardner||March 15, 2008||220|
|47||21||"The Clip Show"||Sergei Aniskov||Conrad Klein||March 22, 2008||221|
|48||22||"Tin Putt"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens, James Harvey, Conrad Klein||March 29, 2008||222|
|49||23||"Live LilyMu"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens, Ryan Koh||September 6, 2008||223|
|50||24||"Mitsuki Butterfly"||Sergei Aniskov||Ryan Koh||September 13, 2008||224|
|51||25||"Fashion Frenzy"||Sergei Aniskov||Lelia Strachan||September 20, 2008||225|
|52||26||"The Wizard of Ozu"||Sergei Aniskov||Bob Berens, James Harvey||September 20, 2008||226|
A Kappa Mikey DVD was released on September 18, 2007 under the Starz Home Entertainment brand, and includes the episodes "Lost in Transportation", "Easy Come, Easy Gonard", and "The Man Who Would Be Mikey", all from the first season, as well as bonus material, including a fictional music video of "I'm Alright" taken from the episode "Battle of the Bands", wallpaper, an interactive game parodying Hollywood Squares, and a How-to-Draw-Mikey tutorial.
In 2008, the Animation Collective site advertised a second DVD that was scheduled be released sometime later that year. However, the announcement was removed from the website, leaving the exact release date to be unknown. The DVD was intended to include the first season in its entirety, with DVD extras, and would have been considered more of an "official" volume than the last one. No further announcement has been made as the status of this DVD. As of 2009, this release is shelved.
The soundtrack for "The Karaoke Episode" is available as a downloadable album on iTunes. Both seasons of the show itself were also available for download from iTunes before they were later taken down from the online retailer.
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 332–333. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. p. 61. ISBN 9781476672939.
- Animation World Magazine Archived 2008-12-04 at the Wayback Machine
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