- This article is about the show; for the character, see Mikey Simon
Kappa Mikey (カッパ・マイキー) is an animated series that ran on Nickelodeon, created by Larry Schwarz. The series ran from February 25, 2006 to September 20, 2008.
The series typically consists of 3 parts:
A LilyMu segment, where they try to film an episode of LilyMu, but the recording is messed up.
Then is the main episode content, where Mikey usually learns a lesson.
The third part is usually another attempt at recording a LilyMu episode, but they succeed because of whatever lesson Mikey learns in the main section.
LilyMu is the name of the series that Mikey wins the lead role on from the scratch-off contest. The characters of the show include:
The owner and executive producer of the show is Ozu and Guano doubles as the director.
The series' title is a play 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 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 in "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 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 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.