Kappa Mikey

Kappa Mikey

Infobox Television

show_name = Kappa Mikey
caption = Kappa Mikey Main CharactersNotice the contrast between Mikey (center) and the other characters.
genre = Adventure
company = Animation Collective
producer = Larry Schwarz
Sergei Aniskov
Sean Lahey
Christopher Fauci
Michael Gold
runtime = 22 minutes approx.
creator = Larry Schwarz
director = Sergei Aniskov
starring = Michael Sinterniklaas
Stephen Moverly
Annice Moriarty
Sean Schemmel
Gary Mack
Jesse Adams
Evelyn Lanto
Dan Green
Wayne Grayson
Bella Hudson
composer = John Angier
country = USA
network = Nicktoons Network
opentheme = Hey x2, Look x2 by Beat Crusaders
first_aired = February 25, 2006 - September 20, 2008
last_aired =
num_seasons = 2
num_episodes = 52
list_episodes = List of Kappa Mikey episodes
status = Completed
channel = Nicktoons Network
followed_by = "Dancing Sushi'
related =
Three Delivery
website = http://www.kappamikey.com/
imdb_id = 0457246
tv_com_id = 60699

Infobox TV ratings
aus_tv = G
usa_tv = TV-Y7
can_tv = PG

"Kappa Mikey" is an American animated television series geared toward families and is created by Larry Schwarz. 4Kids Entertainment is the worldwide licensing, marketing and official promotional agent. The show is Nicktoons Network's first original half-hour series, to be followed by other Animation Collective shows like "Three Delivery", as well as "Edgar and Ellen" and "The Secret Show". It premiered on February 25, 2006, and premiered on Nickelodeon on August 20, 2006. Nickelodeon, however, removed it from the schedule in January 2007. It is MTV's first global acquisition. The entire show is currently available on iTunes.

"Kappa Mikey" is marketed as "the first anime to be produced entirely in the United States", according to press releases from MTV, Nicktoons Network, and various other sources, as the term "anime" in English is generally reserved for animation originally produced for the Japanese market. It uses Japanese animation and culture as inspiration for its concept, rather than being "true" anime, as many people mistake it for.

On February 16, 2008, during their "Music Week", Nicktoons Network aired their first original television movie: an hour-long "Kappa Mikey" musical entitled "Kappa Karaoke". Officially, the episode's title is "The Karaoke Episode" [ [http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewTVSeason?id=271809890&s=143441 Kappa Mikey, Season 2] on the iTunes Store] .

The last three episodes have aired after the show was stuck on a hiatus. These episodes were aired on September 2008, and declared the season (series) finale after the 20th of September. Nicktoons Network currently has no plans of reprising "Kappa Mikey" for a third season, but it propelled the studio to produce other shows consistently thereafter, like "", "Three Delivery", and others.


The show's title is a variation on the word kappamaki, a type of sushi. It is suggested that it was the inspiration for naming the title character Mikey, and uses the prefix kappa. Like Mikey, who is a 'fish out of water' in Japan, the kappa creature itself is a water demon who can live on land. The kappas first appeared on this show in the episode "Mikey, Kappa", on August 5th, where the origin of the title was explained. Mikey also shares his name with the actor who supplies his voice.


The series centers around Mikey Simon, a 19-year-old actor who just graduated from high school and is from Cleveland, Ohio. He embarks to Japan after winning a scratch-off card contest to star in the country's formerly popular anime series, LilyMu. In doing this, he rockets the show back to the top of the ratings, and becomes Japan's biggest anime star.

Segments of LilyMu are seen at the beginning and end of each episode, but the show focuses primarily on the actors' and producers' lives off-set and Mikey's adjustments to the new world he has entered (similar in concept to "The Famous Jett Jackson"). The humor comes from the fact that because Mikey is an American, he actually stands out visually from the other cast members, similar to the mix of styles in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". While most characters on the show are drawn in an anime-inspired style (thin outlines, big, detailed eyes, small mouths, and all ten fingers), Mikey (and all other American characters) is drawn in a retro-inspired American cartoon manner (thicker outlines, single black dot pupil eyes, a larger mouth, and only eight fingers). The humor is delivered in a rapid pace, and also consists of light satire, incongruity, slapstick, character quirks, and a fair amount of gross-out humor.


"Kappa Mikey" is different from other cartoons produced in the past few years in that the property is owned by the studio instead of an agency, the animation was not out-sourced, and the episodes were written by a full-time staff. After producing Internet-based projects and television spots, this was Animation Collective's first ever television series, and was produced in New York City starting from the summer of 2005 [http://mag.awn.com/index.php?article_no=3405 Animation World Magazine ] ] .

An early test pilot was made for a pitch to MTV Networks, where the character designs and backgrounds resembled more like those found in "Perfect Hair Forever". Much of the current cast was voicing their characters even this early in production. When the deal didn't go through, Nickelodeon eventually picked up the project, and the show was tweaked heavily in order to be aimed at a younger audience.

Voice talents were usually local, and for the most part, the show 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 in the Karaoke episodes.

It 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 didn't 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, bodies becoming smaller (or super deformed). 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.



External links

* [http://www.kappamikey.com The Official Kappa Mikey Website]
* [http://www.nicktoonsnetwork.com/shows/kappamikey Kappa Mikey Nicktoons Network Page]
* [http://www.teletoon.com/teletoon3/teletoon.php?language=en&brand=teletoon&init=chunk&func=php|templates/show.php|/tv/kappaMikey/kappaMikey_en.xml&xVar= Kappa Mikey Teletoon Page]
* [http://www.animationcollective.com Animation Collective]
* [http://www.dancingsushi.com Dancing Sushi Official Site]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.