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This page is for the series. For the titular code, go to Lyoko (code).


Code Lyoko is a French animated television series that utilizes traditional animation as well as CGI. Sponsored by Antefilms and Moonscoop in association with France 3 and Canal J, Code Lyoko follows the adventures of four teenage children who discover a virtual world inhabited by a diabolical AI, and take it upon themselves to defend Earth from its terror. They enlist the help of a pink-haired artificial intelligence to do so, and deal with their double lives as boarding school students at the same time. The series was created by Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo, and stars Barbara Weber-Scaff, David Gasman, Matthew Géczy, Mirabelle Kirkland, and Sharon Mann.

A total of 97 episodes were produced for the show, including the two-part prequel episode. Each episode lasts approximately 22 minutes, or approximately half an hour with commercials. From 2004 to 2007, Code Lyoko aired on Cartoon Network's Miguzi block, with usually one episode per day, or sometimes two in the cases of season finales.

On May 31, 2011, Moonscoop announced on its Facebook page that the show would be returning for a fifth season, partially due to a large dedicated fan base. The new season was dubbed Code Lyoko Evolution and consisted of 26 new episodes, this time being a mixture of live action and CGI. It premiered online on December 19, 2012 and officially ended on December 19, 2013. There are no plans for any future seasons, as Moonscoop filed for bankruptcy in 2014, and the voice cast has since moved on to do other projects.

Plot[]

Code Lyoko is a science fiction, action and comedy series that follows four boarding school students enrolled at Kadic Academy: Odd, Ulrich, Yumi, and Jeremie, who discover an artificial intelligence unit, Aelita, who is the sole inhabitant of a digital world known as Lyoko. The Supercomputer that houses Lyoko is also inhabited by an evil program called X.A.N.A., which plots for reasons unknown on destroying all humans on Earth. X.A.N.A. attacks the real world by using towers to hack into electronic devices, possess objects, or take control of non-sentient organisms. Our four heroes must then escort Aelita to the activated tower, where she deactivates it, and saves humanity in the process. X.A.N.A. develops many different strategies to try and kill our heroes, such as making them listen to music that makes people go into a coma and die, imprisoning them within Lyoko, trapping them inside a virtual world nearly identical to Earth, sending two trains carrying poisonous chemicals to crash into each other, and various other schemes. During this time, the main characters deal with their school lives, fall in love, become rivals, yell at each other, go crazy, and generally deal with their split lives.

In the first season, not much was known about X.A.N.A. and the history of Lyoko. X.A.N.A.'s attacks would usually follow the same pattern: X.A.N.A. would possess an object or creature like a teddy bear or a swarm of rats; the Lyoko Warriors would discover the attack, go to the Factory, and enter Lyoko, where they would battle X.A.N.A.'s monsters and escort Aelita to the activated tower; Aelita would type in the code, usually at the last moment before someone would have died; and Jeremie would activate the Return to the Past to undo any damage that X.A.N.A. caused on Earth.

In the episode Code: Earth, Aelita is finally materialized, and from then the show took on a new story-telling style. Although the episode pattern stayed largely the same, many of the episodes now had interconnected plot threads. The second season also expanded on the characters' personalities, desires, etc. as well as on the creation of Lyoko and such. A new sector, Sector Five, was discovered, and new characters, such as William and the mysterious Franz Hopper, came into the scene.

In the season finale of the second season (The Key), many of the secrets of the Supercomputer and such were revealed. It turned out that Aelita was human and Hopper was her father, and he had created Lyoko and X.A.N.A. to destroy Project Carthage, some sort of military operation years ahead of its time. However, there were still many unanswered questions. How did X.A.N.A. gain sentience? Why did Hopper wish to destroy Project Carthage? Why does X.A.N.A. wish to destroy humanity? Is Hopper still alive? What does he know about Carthage? What does he want? Some of these questions were answered in the third and fourth seasons, during which William became a major threat to the team and X.A.N.A.'s schemes to take over humanity become more and more dangerous, but besides Hopper's status, these questions were not answered.

Characters[]

Main article: List of Characters

Lyoko warriors

From left to right: Ulrich, Jeremie, Aelita, Odd, and Yumi.

The plot of Code Lyoko centers around five kids, Jeremie, Aelita, Odd, Ulrich, and Yumi and the antagonist, a super dangerous computer program: X.A.N.A.

Of course, there are various secondary characters worth mentioning, such as Sissi and her lackeys Nicholas and Herb, William, Jim, Milly, Tamiya, and various background characters who also provide interesting plot twists, such as Emily, Taelia, and Samantha.

Production[]

Development[]

Les Enfants[]

Tumblr m54n1m1Fcq1r7qs82o1 500

The children (except the child carrying the movie reel) in Les enfants.

Code Lyoko originates from the short film Les Enfants, created by students at the Parisan animation school Gobelins to serve as the introduction to the 2000 Annecy International Animation Film Festival.[1][2] Thomas Romain served as director and Tania Palumbo was the character designer, while Jérôme Cottray and Stanislas Brunet also worked on it in unspecified roles.

Éric Garnet, producer at the French animation studio Antefilms, was in attendance at the film's premiere and took interest in it due to its atmosphere.[1][3] Within a few months, Romain and Palumbo had signed on to develop the short into a series with the company.[1]

Garage Kids[]

Garage Kids Promo

Garage Kids promotional poster.

After Romain and Palumbo started working on what would become Garage Kids, Carlo de Boutiny was brought on to help them write the literary bible.[3][4][5] They selected four children from Les Enfants to serve as the main characters. Their personalities were inspired by people the creators knew in real life, with Yumi being primarily based on Palumbo herself.[6] She chose the first names for the characters. Jeremie was named after their former classmate Jérémie Périn, while Odd's came from the English word's meaning of "strange" to highlight his "extraordinary" side.[3]

The Matrix had "enormous influence" in the early planning stages according to Romain, citing the concept of a machine allowing the characters to dive in a virtual world, an operator who supervises the trip and the correlation between the action in the real world and the virtual world.[3] Anime also served as inspiration, with reference series including Serial Experiments Lain for its "worrying digital dimension" and Neon Genesis Evangelion for its dangerous entities to fight among others. Although some have noted similarities to Tron, including Codelyoko.fr, Romain later admitted he hadn't seen the film yet when they were developing the series.[7][3] Initially plans were to have the show be entirely made with traditional animation. Antefilms however suggested using computer animation for the virtual world for a combination of reasons; including to make the series unique, make the separation between each world clearer, to promote a video game theme and the studio needing work for their 3D department.

Garage Kids was envisioned as a 26-episode series with a continuous storyline, which Romain described as: "[...] we would have discovered the virtual world and its dangers at the same time as the heroes, seen them discover new powers, go on adventures and protect reality from a computer virus".[8] The virtual world, then named Xanadu, was discovered by the heroes in an abandoned factory that housed a laboratory used by a research group lead by someone only known as "the Professor", who's described in the concept as "a learned eccentric who gradually sunk into madness".[9] The series had fairly dark themes in mind, with Romain saying they wanted to avoid making the series "too playful and artificial" and "get around the censoring done by TV channels that tend to soften youth programs" by "writing episodes with tension, suspense, even tragic scenes. Things that are hard to imagine seeing in a cartoon series for kids".[3] The trio produced the pilot for Garage Kids in 2001.

Season 1[]

Shortly after Garage Kids' pilot was made, scripting for Season 1 began in January 2002, with Frédéric Lenoir, Françoise Charpiat and Laurent Turner being hired to write the first episodes Teddygozilla, Seeing is Believing and Holiday in the Fog, respectively.[10][4] Lenoir was the first to be brought on, initially to help make everything consistent with Carlo de Boutiny. His largest contribution was suggesting the addition of a time travel mechanism to explain how the virus could cause massive destruction to the real world that other people would witness without arising suspicion of its existence among the populace and government.[4][11]

Antefilms was said to have difficulty finding a channel interested in the series.[12] They decided unusually to fund the literary and graphic development themselves in the meantime, which is usually paid for by the channel after a show is greenlit. The series' backstory underwent a heavy revision around this time. The team of researchers who built the supercomputer were simplified into a single person named Franz Hopper, at this point a scientist/science teacher at Kadic Academy who had simply discovered it one day.[5] He used it to create his own virtual paradise, now named Lyoko instead of Xanadu, which was repurposed as the name Hopper gave the supercomputer: X.A.N.A. The fifth character, Aelita, was also added to the series around then, who originally Hopper had created as a humanoid AI to run the virtual world. Hopper was said to have built the scanners to access Lyoko and disappeared during one of his visits, which was implied to have been the cause of why X.A.N.A. began attacking Earth.

In searching for a director, Romain and Palumbo wanted someone from "a new generation" to lead the series, meaning a graduate from the 90s.[13] Jérôme Mouscadet was selected in June 2002 after having a chance dinner with a friend who worked at Antefilms. Although Mouscadet had experience directing animated short films at a small company, he had never directed a full-length series before. He met with friends at Dupuis who had worked on animated series before to help familiarize him with the differences. Ultimately he found "it was similar to what I had been doing previously, but much, much bigger" and so he "surrounded [himself] with competent people". One of the first changes Mouscadet made was to drop the heroes retaining their superpowers from the virtual world into the real world, which stemmed from him wanting the line between each world to be as clear as possible to younger viewers.[14]

Development progressed slowly throughout the summer of 2002, which Mouscadet attributed to the series' initial head writer "[taking] a lot of vacation".[13] Sophie Decroisette was contacted in late-August or September 2002 to replace her, who had recently been a writer for the animated science fiction series Malo Korrigan and was on a break at the time after giving birth to her first child. Decroisette accepted, and "things progressed very quickly" thereafter. According to Decroisette, very little of Garage Kids' plot and characters were defined at this point, with her describing this stage of development as finding "narrative foundations", saying: [...] I really just saw a teaser that was focusing on images, there were great ideas in the images, notably the transition from one universe to the other, but plot-wise, it was just "they travel from one universe to the other", with no explanation on "how" and "why". They had no real motivation, they were fighting X.A.N.A., which was represented as black spheres, something like this, but none of this was clearly defined. Our job, with the other writers, was to try to introduce "scientific accuracy"".[4]

Decroisette and the other writers frequently asked questions about how things worked in the show's universe and would then think of an explanation.[13] As an example, Decroisette turned Lenoir's time travel idea into the Return to the Past program in the computer housing the virtual world, which she attributed to it being a quantum supercomputer. Another was the implications of X.A.N.A. possessing a teddy bear: "we had to think of the fact that he was taking control of the teddy bear, why the teddy bear grew… Then, we gradually refined this concept, we asked ourselves what could be the implications of electrical attacks. For instance, it would allow to take control of a hairdryer… But how can you attack someone with a hairdryer? All of this was maturing, so we would always ask ourselves questions, such as: can we go as far as taking control of a samurai armor?" One of the limits they initially decided on was that X.A.N.A. could not possess humans, primarily to avoid plots from becoming repetitive.[15]

Next the writers spent two months working on the characters and figuring out their motivations.[4][16] They particularly struggled with Jeremie, until one day Charpiat suggested during a meeting that Jeremie want to bring Aelita onto Earth.[4] This "solved a lot of issues" according to Decroisette, and "allowed [...] something strong in season 1". Each character's surname was determined at these meetings, after which their family backgrounds were developed.[17] The writers then created character sheets for the heroes and monsters on Lyoko that included information about their life points and attacks.[18][5] Decroisette had "really light" experience with role-playing games beforehand, explaining: "we said to ourselves we're going to make character sheets [so when the heroes or monsters] are killed on Lyoko, it is credible that there is a sort of realism around that."

Networks were still hesitant to greenlight the series, however, as they worried a serialized story would be off-putting to viewers who missed the first few episodes and they wanted to air reruns without worrying about following an episode order.[3] According to writer Alain Serluppus, the series' potential marketability in the United States also played a part.[19] As a result, the writers decided to shift to an episodic format. Romain, who was unhappy with this change and co-developing Ōban Star-Racers at the same time as Garage Kids, ultimately decided to leave the series in early 2003 to move to Japan and produce Ōban instead. Palumbo remained apart of the series as creative director and character designer, while Carlo de Boutiny left after the first season. This shift did however convince broadcast network France 3 and cable channel Canal J to both sign on to the series. Of the two, France 3 received first run rights, with Canal J not airing the series until months after it ended on France 3.[20] Despite the shift to an episodic format, Mouscadet said they tried to incorporate serial elements by progressing the story roughly every eight episodes or so.[21] Sometime after the series was greenlit, the producers requested a new name for it, feeling Garage Kids was too vague of a title.[22] Palumbo and production manager Anne de Galard settled on Code Lyoko, the code used by Aelita to deactivate towers in the virtual world.[23] Lyoko originates from the Japanese word "ryoko" (旅行), which is usually Romanized with an "r" instead since Japanese lacks an equivalent to the letter "l". It means "travel" in English and was chosen to emphasize the characters traveling to a virtual world.[3]

Season 2[]

Planning for the second season began in early 2004. A test script for X.A.N.A.'s Kiss was written in February that year, which had Aelita living on Earth as a boarder at Kadic and introduced the polymorphic specter.[24] According to Decroisette, Season 2 wasn't officially greenlit as of March, but things were "heating up" by the end of the month.[25][26]

One of the top priorities was Decroisette and Mouscadet's desire to flesh out the series' backstory.[27] Sometime after the meeting early on in Season 1 where Françoise Charpiat suggested having Jeremie want to materialize Aelita onto Earth, the writers started considering the idea of Aelita really being human as well.[4] Decroisette wanted to make the change official now, but this would require altering the series' bible. As her and Mouscadet wanted to have more potential ideas for stories, they asked the producers to let them make changes to it, which they approved.[27]

What resulted was the massive rewrite of the series' backstory. Instead of simply discovering the supercomputer, Franz Hopper had built it for "political" reasons.[13] While Hopper remained a former science teacher at Kadic, it was decided before this point he originally lived in Switzerland under the name "Waldo Schaeffer" and had worked as a scientist on Project Carthage, a military project designed to block enemy communications in the Cold War era. He later defected from it, which lead the Men in Black to kidnap his wife. He fled to France with Aelita, now his biological daughter, and began work on the supercomputer. Rather than creating it to be his virtual paradise, Lyoko now served as a safe haven for him and Aelita in the event the Men in Black found them.[27] X.A.N.A. was repurposed from being the supercomputer itself to a program running on it that Hopper created to destroy Project Carthage, but he had lost control of.

Decroisette and Mouscadet also began considering ambitions for X.A.N.A., as she described: "We thought that what he wanted was control, like every machine. Human enslavement. On this basis, we started to develop this, we thought of what he could do to enslave humans, taking control of weaponry, building robots." They also retroactively gave X.A.N.A. a goal in the first season: "we proposed that in season one, X.A.N.A. was doing all it could to learn about the human world, it groped its way forward, like a long learning experience that would then allow it to have a more precise objective in season two."[4] They set the second season around the first part of his goal: escape the supercomputer. It was decided to have X.A.N.A. want to steal the Keys to Lyoko within Aelita's memory in order to achieve this, which were given to her by her father and described by Decroisette as "the source codes and the plans to the quantum computer".[27] They wanted a new monster to accomplish this, one "that could extract memory", and "[...] wasn't an attacker, but could take the heroes out in another fashion".[27][22] They asked Palumbo to design one, which lead her to create the Scyphozoa.

The writers revisited the idea of X.A.N.A. being able to possess humans for Season 2, where they decided for X.A.N.A. to gain this ability by revealing the supercomputer's power, and thus his own, increased whenever the Return to the Past program is used, additionally giving a reason for the heroes to utilize it less from there on out.

They also had the idea to add a fifth sector of Lyoko. In the words of Mouscadet: "We created it in order to go to the center of Lyoko. Right from the first drawings by Eric [Guillon], there were four sectors rotating on the holomap, and we decided that the central sector could only be spherical. So its graphical design came out really similar…"[28] The rooms and layout of Sector Five were then decided gradually according to Decroisette.

A request came from the producers to add more supporting characters to the series, which Decroisette was enthusiastic to.[13] This resulted in the writers adding Yumi's younger brother Hiroki, who they "thought it would be funny to create a younger character" and it "allowed to show [more of] Yumi’s family". Another character was the new student William, who was envisioned as "an opponent for Ulrich", with Decroisette saying: "We wanted a somewhat marginal character who would be like a free electron that could come and go". Mouscadet had the idea to "make him fall to the dark side", and it was already decided early on to eventually have William become a Lyoko Warrior and an agent of X.A.N.A.[27]

Before the season was greenlit, a synopsis for an origin episode on how the Lyoko Warriors discovered the supercomputer was written with the intent to produce it during Season 2.[29] The series' broadcasters ultimately rejected the idea at the time, forcing them to hold off on it.[30]

Contrary to popular belief, Mouscadet said France 3 potentially gave them a smaller budget for Season 2 than they had for the first season.[31]

Season 3/Season 4[]

While Season 2 was still in production, Code Lyoko was renewed for 45 episodes.[30] This helped the writers decide to end that season on a cliffhanger with more episodes already guaranteed.[22]

Initially it was planned to split the episodes between two seasons of roughly 22 episodes each.[30] As the plot following X.A.N.A.'s escape from the supercomputer was coming together, the writers envisioned an ambitious story involving the exploration of the Digital Sea, new 2D and 3D outfits for the heroes, and creating new locations in 2D for the heroes to teleport to in their Lyoko forms and do battle.

Due to the scale of the story and the large number of episodes, the writers had to compromise with the producers regarding the budget, which helped inspire the plot for Season 3. As Mouscadet recalled: "This is what we negotiated with the producers, in collaboration with them: we were to do a 15-episodes season with no new creation at all, which inspired Sophie [Decroisette] this great concept of “destroying Lyoko” with disappearing sectors, which was quite awesome, and then we could save a lot more new locations for season 4, and many more things to do. So we used season 3’s development for season 4."[28] Moonscoop officially announced the 45 episode order to the public in October 2005.[32] Decroisette clarified they would make up two seasons in November and they were currently writing the first scripts for Season 3, which started being finished the following month.[33][34] She also noted she was still developing the concept for Season 4.

While Season 3 was in production, the writers again pitched the idea of an origin episode on how the heroes discovered the supercomputer. They had also tried pitching it as a feature film that would've been produced separate from the series, but that was rejected as well.[30] This time the story was approved at the request of Cartoon Network, so two episodes were cut to make it; further shortening Season 3 to 13 episodes.[35]

At the request of producers, romance subplots were largely phased out starting with Season 3 over the American audience not liking them.[22][35] Decroisette later revealed she had been warned by the producers several times over the course of the series to avoid focusing on romance too much, as "they didn't want Code Lyoko to become a soap opera".[13]

Several writers who worked on the first two seasons did not return for Season 3, including Frédéric Lenoir and Alain Serluppus.

Decroisette was involved in the early planning for Season 4, working on the story bible and being involved in the early talks regarding Replikas.[13] She said: "In this season, X.A.N.A. goes on with his plan to take over the world, and we asked ourselves how this would be possible. What he could do to impose his dominance over humans. And we also wanted the heroes to be able to materialize as spectres on earth. [...] These basic ideas resulted in the replikas: X.A.N.A. was beginning to spread [to other] supercomputers and “other Lyokos” everywhere…". In order for the heroes to transverse the Digital Sea, she drew inspiration from Norse mythologies.[28] She discovered the Skidbladnir ship while researching, and liked it enough to add it to a list of possible names for Mouscadet. They ended up selecting it as they found "Skid" to be a "nice" nickname, which also let them include an illusion to the pilot with the Garage Skid (called the Skid Hanger in the English dub). The decision also allowed the show's designer to draw inspiration from "an existing image" in the words of Mouscadet to "make sense out of things".

Decroisette ultimately decided to step down as head writer for the season as she was expecting her second child.[27] She remained on the series as a regular writer, closely monitoring episodes involving Replikas and she returned full-time to co-write the final episodes. Long-time series writer Bruno Regeste was selected to replace her. Along with the change in head writer, several of the series' other long-time writers did not return for Season 4; including Françoise Charpiat and Laurent Turner (who stayed for the first episode, but left afterward). As a result most of the season's writers were newcomers.

The budget for Season 4 was further reduced during production, which resulted in several planned Replikas being cut.[27][13] One of which was for a Mountain Replika, which already had background art created for it. As Mouscadet recalled: "[...] in season 4, we should have had a lot more Replikas, for which we had other sceneries in reserve. There was a Mountain Replika, at the vicinity of a dam, which would have looked quite good. But when you are doing a scenery model like this, it is a lot of work, because you have to also draw the interiors... [...] So for a realistic depiction, you need both shot and reverse shot, so it’s already two sceneries, and so on… So things can pile up quite a bit…".

While the season was in production, the producers relayed to the writers that it would be the last one.[13] According to Mouscadet, a regime change had occurred at France Télévisions (the owner of France 3), and the channel's new leadership were not interested in renewing their contract for the show.[36] As a result they decided to write an ending for the series. Decroisette was happy about the opportunity, noting both the rarity of serialized storylines in Western television and how uncertainty on whether a series will be renewed often lead writers to create cliffhangers that go unresolved.

When it came time to write the final episodes, Decroisette co-wrote them with Regeste. Going into them, she felt: "I didn’t want a final battle. I thought it was nice to have a “technological” ending [...] Not to mention that Jérémie is central in the series. We wanted him and his abilities to be decisive in the end. [...] we didn’t have any instruction against a final battle or budgetary constraints. In our opinion, the two enemies that fight each other are really Jérémie (who is in some way the equivalent of Franz Hopper, as they have the same abilities) and X.A.N.A. This was the conflict we had to solve."[13] One of the compromises with the budget for the season was that the producers mandated one episode primarily consist of recycled animation. The team decided to save this until the series finale and incorporate it into the plot, with Decroisette saying: "this is an episode where [the heroes] remember, really. We decided to do this thoroughly: they remember and they realize that it’s over." Higher-ups were mixed on this decision, and Decroisette said they "had to fight for [the] episode", explaining "it was a contemplative episode where almost nothing happened. It was also quite nostalgic and rather self-centered, with a somewhat deep subject."

Writing[]

The writing process for Code Lyoko usually began with the head writer asking the other writers for story pitches.[22] If they liked an idea, it next had to receive approval from Mouscadet, the producers and broadcasters before it could be turned into a 4-page synopsis. After going through the approval process again, it was then expanded into a script and approved one last time to be sent off for production. Writing an episode typically lasted 2–3 weeks, though some took longer if higher-ups were unhappy with the story or it ran into issues. Decroisette specifically described Image Problem as "very difficult to write" after its original writer left the show following the synopsis phase, requiring another writer to step in and finish it. The writing team was also mandated by production to approve 4 scripts per month. Including writing, an episode took about 6 months to make overall.[37]

Decroisette noted that she "never felt censored" while working on the series, apart from a self-imposed restriction to write stories appropriate for children.[27] On incorporating the darker elements into the writing, she revealed they rarely chose to let the heroes win: "[... h]ave you noticed that the heroes are constantly failing? With the writers, we were considering this to be part of the series. The heroes are constantly defeated by X.A.N.A.! They almost never win. They resist. So this series is actually quite harsh. The heroes are constantly making mistakes and losing. I think this is part of what makes the series great."[4]

Reflecting in 2023, Mouscadet noted they had more freedom in writing compared to modern cartoons.[38] He revealed they were usually not allowed to show death, saying: "if we [made the show] in the 70s, we would have done an episode where someone dies. For instance, there is a Goldorak episode where a little girl dies. [...] Although the Goldorak episode is magnificent and very moving, you can’t do this anymore nowadays. In Japanese animation you can still do it. But Japanese animation is organized in a completely different fashion."[28] An example of this constraint involved the Jungle Research Facility, where scientists possessed by X.A.N.A. were seen in Lab Rat, but were not present later in Bragging Rights. He and Decroisette said: "the idea was that they had been eliminated. [...] The point was to let X.A.N.A. be a true villain, and this is difficult when you can’t show anything. The idea was that he had taken control of the base with all the scientists inside… And got rid of them."

Animatic[]

Once a script was finished, a storyboard was created for the episode. Originally the 2D and 3D segments were boarded by the same person, but Mouscadet switched to having separate people do them starting with Season 2.[13]

03 c

Storyboard from Holiday in the Fog.

It was then compiled into an animatic, where a guide track was recorded by a member of production for the animators to use as reference for the mouth movements. For seasons 1, 3 and 4, the guide tracks were done to the French dialog. As a result of the show's success in the United States, it was instead done to the English script for Season 2, with the male voices being done by Doug Rand and the female voices by Ulrich's dub voice Barbara Weber-Scaff over a period of three or four months.[39][40][41] Production ultimately switched back to the French script afterwards.[42] On occasion Mouscadet felt certain moments or actions lacked dialog, which he'd ask Decroisette to write and Mouscadet would then record and add in the animatic himself.[28]

Art Direction[]

2D[]

The art design in the pilots and the series' character designs were primarily inspired by Japanese animator Kōji Morimoto.[3] When the series evolved into Code Lyoko, Romain and Palumbo wanted it to represent "the France we knew, especially the outskirts of Paris", as they disliked what they perceived as "fantastic or Americanized" settings other French cartoons used at the time, which Romain attributed to the producers "thinking that their cartoons would be exported better that way".

The desire to differentiate the real world from the virtual world lead them to recruit a team of artists, most notably Frédéric Perrin, to give the real world backgrounds a realistic appearance.[3] They wanted to base the sets off real locations, so Mouscadet searched for a school with amenities such as a park and stadium to help provide material for adventures.[43] They selected Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, where Romain attended as a child, and received permission to photograph the school for reference.

KadicLakanal

Kadic was modelled after the real life school Lycée Lakanal.

The factory is based on the Renault production plant in Boulogne-Billancourt. When the crew learned it was planned to be demolished, Mouscadet hurried to contact the Renault Regional Council within Boulogne-Billancourt's town hall, who provided photobanks of the factory for them to use as reference. This want for realism also impacted the storyboards and animation, which Mouscadet described as "naturalist" and "realistic", saying "we were really attached to [having] strong[,] sincere[,] genuine and real emotions [that way] all the audience, from [ages] 7 to 25, could [be able to] watch [the show] when the emotions are true".[44]

Les Enfants and Garage Kids were animated in France. When Code Lyoko was greenlit, while the 3D would continue to be made within Antefilms at their office in Angoulême, it was decided to outsource the 2D animation to Asia similarly to most western animated series.[13] Two studios were selected for the first season: with Animation Services Hong Kong Limited being the main studio, and Fantasia Animation being the second.[45][46] Welkin Animation was also brought on for the second season only.[47] Hong Kong Limited was chosen as the sole animation studio for the series from Season 3 onwards.[48] Mouscadet had desired a more consistent animation quality going into that season, which he likened trying to manage it up to that point as: "a little bit like steering an ocean liner with binoculars".[13] As a result a team of animators dedicated to Code Lyoko was set up at Hong Kong Limited's Shanghai studio, with two members from Moonscoop's Paris office managing them on-site. Code Lyoko's animation was hand-drawn on computers and colored digitally.[49]

3D[]

Lyoko was designed by 3D scenery director Eric Guillon based off the original concept in Garage Kids.[13] The design of Lyoko came after a long series of discussions with Mouscadet, who said "[...] to be able to create layouts rapidly, we would make something LEGO-like, with plates, that are the sectors: desert, mountain, and so on; and then have a number of specific building blocks such as rocks, trees for the forest sector for instance, that we could arrange rather rapidly[.]" This choice was partially due to budgetary reasons from the series being produced in France, with him explaining "[...] it’s so expensive to do shot-based layout, that is create an image for each shot, that it immediately becomes like a full-length movie and you explode in mid-flight[.]"

Forest Sector Mononoke

Princess Mononoke's Cedar Forest served as inspiration for the Forest Sector.

Films were used as references while designing most of the sectors, including Princess Mononoke for the forest, Mulan and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the mountains, and Lawrence of Arabia for the desert.[6]

When it came time for adding Sector Five in the second season, Mouscadet said they wanted to "go to the center of Lyoko".[28] The four original sectors had always rotated on the holomap from Guillon's initial concept art, so they "decided that the central sector could only be spherical". The layout of the rooms in the sector were gradually decided afterwards.

Code Lyoko was animated in several programs throughout its life. Season 1 used 3DS Max and the rest of the series used XSI Softimage.[50][51] Maya was also used, while Blackmagic Fusion was used for compositing.[52]

Motion cap

Motion capture being performed for Aelita in an unknown scene.

Motion capture was utilized in Garage Kids and early on in the series, but ultimately phased out for being "not suitable".[51]

Voice Acting[]

Mouscadet was present at every recording session for the French version, usually giving small notes like whether a character should be whispering or shouting a line.[28] A set director was also present to give actors advice on their performance.

Unlike American cartoons where the animation is done after the voice actors record the dialog for an episode, the animation for Code Lyoko was completed first. A guide track was used as a base for the mouth movements, then the voice actors recorded their lines to match the finished animation.[39][53] The actors were not allowed to improvise dialog as a result of this "very precise" method with "very low flexibility" according to Mouscadet, although they were occasionally allowed to rephrase a line.[28]

English Dub[]

The English dub was produced by Moonscoop at their Paris studio using voice actors in France who were also native English speakers.[54] Alan Wenger served as voice director while Kelly Smith translated the scripts, with Lance Lee being brought to help with season 4 as well.[55][56] Starting with Season 2, the dub was recorded at roughly the same time as the French version. As a result the dub was from then on based off an episode's script rather than the final French dialog.[57]

The dub used the rythmo band recording process. Unlike the more traditional method where actors record their lines separately by each individual line of dialog, the rythmo band method has all actors in the same room recording their lines in real-time as a scene plays out.[58] A member of production would handwrite the translated dialog on a band, which would then be synced up with the scene and play below it.[59] The dialog moved continuously on the screen from right to left, with a black line on the left side of the screen being the cue for an actor to say their line once it reached it.[60] An episode usually took half a day to record, with recording beginning at 9:30AM and ending around 6PM.[61][62]

Moonscoop monitored the dub to make sure it remained accurate to the French version. Wenger once noted how he often proposed changing the episode titles to puns (such as renaming "Sabotage" to "The Root of the Problem" or "Triple Trouble" to "Three is an Odd Number"), which Moonscoop usually rejected in favor of a faithful translation.[63] Another example involved several fans of the series who attended a recording session and were asked to record extra background dialog for a scene along with other deviations, all of which were rejected by Moonscoop.[64] Decroisette, who was not involved with the dub, said she found the translation teams "really good compared to other series".[22] Mouscadet was minorly involved with the dub, for example adding a note to Attack of the Zombies' script for the translators. He most significantly requested Sharon Mann to change her voice for Jeremie starting with Season 3, which he had disliked.[65][66]

Credits[]

Other Writers[]

Storyboarders[]

Cast[]

Pilot[]

French Cast[]

English Cast[]

Minor/Recurring Cast[]

English Cast[]

Episodes[]

"Code Lyoko" ran for a total of four seasons: four half-traditional animation and half-CGI, and one (Code Lyoko Evolution) half-live action and half-CGI.

The first four seasons contained a total of 97 episodes, including a two-part prequel, with the fifth season being 26 episodes, bringing the total number of episodes to 123. All episodes of the first four seasons of Code Lyoko are currently viewable in both English and French on their official YouTube channels and on Netflix.

Four DVD volumes were released by Funimation: X.A.N.A. Unleashed, Movies, Music, and Mayhem, X.A.N.A. Possessed, and Sector 5 Mystery.

Reception[]

The series was met with positive reception and has since attracted somewhat of a cult following. Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media gave the show 4/5 stars, writing: "Kids will like the battles in Lyoko -- each plays out much like a video game", and added: "Strategy and teamwork are themes throughout the series."[67] In a 2020 retrospective of the show for Comic Book Resources, Noah Dominguez wrote: "Whether you're a returning traveler or are only visiting Lyoko for the first time, Code Lyoko still holds up as a unique, easily-accessible gem of the 2000s".[68]

Code Lyoko was voted "best show" by Canal J viewers in France.[69] The series was successful internationally as well. It was Miguzi's #2 most popular show upon its premiere in the United States.[70] It became the block's most popular series in 2005 and Cartoon Network rated it their #3 best performing show overall in 2006.[71][72] Kabillion also had it as #4 in monthly average views in 2010.[72] The show has reached success in Spain as one of Clan TVE's highest-rated shows.[72] It has also achieved success on on Italy's Rai2 network and in Finland and the United Kingdom as well.[72]

Code Lyoko has had some divisive elements since its premiere. The first season drew criticism for the episodes being formulaic (however this was a requirement by the show's broadcasters so viewers could watch any episode and not be lost) and its unusual art style. Its blend of different genres, including action/adventure, romance, and a hint of drama, character development (Aelita being the most prominent example), and a story that was seen as unusually deep and dark for a kids' show made it more positively received thereafter. Over time it's become better reviewed, with the show's IMDB rating having gone from 7/10 to 7.3/10 within a few years.

Awards[]

Prix de l'Export

Lionel Marty receives the Prix de l’Export.

Code Lyoko won France’s Prix de l’Export 2006 Award for Animation, an award given to the most internationally successful French animated series to highlight their cultural and economic impact.[73]

Gallery[]

See Also[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Thomas Romain (2013)". manganimation.net. June 3, 2013.
  2. "Gobelins - Films d'Annecy 1999/2000/2001 (relativement inédits)". Catsuka. April 2, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 ""Code Lyoko" arrive sur Netflix: l'histoire secrète de la série culte". BFMTV. January 10, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 "Interview - Sophie Decroisette, partie 1". Ces Dessins Animés-Là qui méritent qu'on s'en souvienne. March 4, 2014.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "The Graphic Bible of Code Lyoko" - CodeLyoko.fr
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Exposition organisée au sein de l’école des Gobelins…". Codelyoko.net. October 18, 2006.
  7. "Sources of inspiration > Tron Legacy" - CodeLyoko.fr
  8. Reply from Thomas Romain to "[animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 expo aux gobelins)". Catsuka. September 5, 2003.
  9. "Antefilms presents Garage Kids". CodeLyoko.net. November 14, 2001.
  10. "From scripts to episodes S1 - Part 1" - CodeLyoko.fr
  11. "Les secrets de Code Lyoko racontés par ses créateurs (et on sait pourquoi ils ont des grands fronts)" (3:26) - YouTube
  12. Reply from Alain Serluppus to "[animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 goblin exhibit)": "[...] Indeed, Antefilms seems to have had trouble raising the funds needed to launch production, because a serial series is hard to sell. The production company therefore had to pay for the graphic and literary development, which left a hole in its cash flow, and then wait several years to hope to recover its funds.". CATSUKA. March 13, 2004.
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 "Interview - Sophie Decroisette, partie 2". Ces Dessins Animés-Là qui méritent qu'on s'en souvienne. March 11, 2014.
  14. "Avant première Code Lyoko saison 4". CodeLyoko.fr. July 5, 2007.
  15. Reply from Sophie Decroisette to [animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 goblin exhibit): "Why can't XANA take possession of one of our heroes?
    Because it's like that ! This is the answer. It was a rule - quite subjective, I grant you - that we had put in place at the beginning of the writing. Otherwise, the series would probably have gone to episodes that weren't very varied, like: a guy and/or hero are "zombified" by Xana and try to annihilate everyone... not very interesting. But nothing prevents us from changing things in season 2!" Catsuka. April 3, 2004.
  16. Les secrets de Code Lyoko racontés par ses créateurs (et on sait pourquoi ils ont des grands fronts) (4:05) - YouTube
  17. EXCLUSIVE interview with the creators of Code Lyoko... a potential SEQUEL ? ft. @Oliarius (1:21:40) - YouTube
  18. EXCLUSIVE interview with the creators of Code Lyoko... a potential SEQUEL ? ft. @Oliarius (52:08) - YouTube
  19. Reply from Alain Serluppus to "[animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 goblin exhibit)": "[...] And last but not least: international sales. In fact, it's not the French who are the most reluctant to serial series, but rather the Americans. For them, it's a pain in the ass to respect a specific order. What's more, over there, kids can choose from 250 channels, and have a zapper grafted to one hand (the other being used to gorge on chips, pizza, hamburgers and other products healthy for your waistline). So, if the kid comes across an episode they don't understand or don't immediately identify, they zap to another channel. Building audience loyalty in France is pretty straightforward. But over there, competition is fierce! So French producers don't take the risk of investing in a series that's difficult to make in Europe, and impossible to sell on the other side of the Atlantic. If Lyokô, for example, had been serial, well, the US certainly wouldn't have bought it!". CATSUKA. March 13, 2004.
  20. "The Blunders of France 3" - CodeLyoko.fr
  21. "TERTULIA TISTAZO - JÉRÔME MOUSCADET Y SOPHIE DECROISETTE (Director y Escritora de Codigo Lyoko)" (8:30) - YouTube
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 "Interview with Sophie Decroisette" - CodeLyoko.fr (2007)
  23. "Les secrets de Code Lyoko racontés par ses créateurs (et on sait pourquoi ils ont des grands fronts)" (5:48) - YouTube
  24. "From scripts to episodes S2 - Part 2 - CodeLyoko.fr
  25. Reply from Sophie Decroisette to [animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 goblin exhibit): "The sequel will no doubt have some surprises in store for you: new characters on Lyoko, discovery of secrets concerning Xana... perhaps new monsters? Hmmm... I won't say more... because unfortunately, for the moment, no one can say if season 2 will see the light of day or not. We all hope so!". CATSUKA. March 5, 2004.
  26. Reply from Sophie Decroisette to [animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 goblin exhibit): "[...] Otherwise, I can tell you that things are heating up regarding the sequel to Lyoko. There are desires from all sides (prod, channel...). I will let you know as soon as there is a constructive start.". CATSUKA. March 25, 2004.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 27.5 27.6 27.7 27.8 "Interview with Sophie Decroisette" - CodeLyoko.fr (2016)
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 28.6 28.7 "Interview - Sophie Decroisette et Jérôme Mouscadet, partie 3". Ces Dessins Animés-Là qui méritent qu'on s'en souvienne. March 18, 2014.
  29. Reply from Sophie Decrosisette to [animation] Code Lyoko (up p41 goblin exhibit):: "Yes , there will undoubtedly be - if season 2 is done - an episode which will tell the meeting of the heroes and the discovery of the supercomputer. It has even already been written in synopsis... but mystery!". Catsuka. March 5, 2004.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 "2006 - 2007: The series climax (seasons 3 & 4)" - CodeLyoko.fr
  31. EXCLUSIVE interview with the creators of Code Lyoko... a potential SEQUEL ? ft. @Oliarius (1:43:00) - YouTube
  32. "Cartoon Network calls for Code Lyoko". C21Media. October 18, 2005.
  33. Reply from Sophie Decroisette to Saisons 3 et 4: Réactions à l'annonce officielle: "Hello everyone,
    I've come to add a few grams of explanation to your topic.
    There will be 45 episodes written, divided into two seasons: 3 & 4.
    - Season 3 will be 15 episodes long and will be a direct continuation of season 2 (with lots of new concepts all the same). We're currently writing the first episodes. These 15 episodes will include the prequel (a double episode recounting the meeting of the heroes).
    - Season 4 will be 30 episodes long and will be full of conceptual and visual innovations (I won't tell you more). I'm still thinking about the concept.
    And there you have it!
    Kisses to all,
    Sophie". codelyoko.net. November 10, 2005.
  34. "From scripts to episodes S3 & Prequel" - CodeLyoko.fr
  35. 35.0 35.1 "News" - codelyoko.net. November 2, 2005.
  36. EXCLUSIVE interview with the creators of Code Lyoko... a potential SEQUEL ? ft. @Oliarius (2:09:07) - YouTube
  37. EXCLUSIVE interview with the creators of Code Lyoko... a potential SEQUEL ? ft. @Oliarius (1:32:33) - YouTube
  38. "TERTULIA TISTAZO - JÉRÔME MOUSCADET Y SOPHIE DECROISETTE (Director y Escritora de Codigo Lyoko)" (14:03) - YouTube
  39. 39.0 39.1 Reply from David Gasman: "Usually cartoon recording here is done in one of three ways:
    1) The cartoon is recorded off of the page, with the actual actors interpretations being used to influence the drawings themselves. Disney often does this with thier cartoons.
    2) The cartoon is recorded off of the page, but not by the actual actors. One or two actors record all of the parts, and this is used as a "guide track" for the images. When the images are complete, the actors go to a studio and record to the image. In France, the text appears on a white strip or "band" that runs across the bottom of the screen. In America, they don't use a band. They record line by line to the sound of three beeps. Also, typically US cartoon voice actors are alone in the studio doing all of their parts. In France, it's much more convivial, with everybody there at once.
    3)The cartoon is already recorded in another language, (in our case French, obviously) and the English language voices are dubbed on, more or less in the fashion described above.
    In the case of Code Lyoko, it's option 2 above. English is actually the original version and the French is dubbed on.
    Hope that was helpful..." LyokoFreak.net. December 4, 2005.
  40. Reply from Barbara Weber-Scaff: "You're very observant. in Season One the "guide voices", on which the animators base their drawings, were done in French, and for Season Two, in English (by me, actually, and another actor named Doug Rand. Unfortunately for Season Three they might be planning to do the guide voices in French again." LyokoFreak.net. February 8, 2006.
  41. Reply from Barbara Weber-Scaff: "[...] when I got the scripts for doing the guides tracks for season two, they were already in english, and if memory serves me that line was already in it. Perhaps Jerome had made the changes already. The funny thing is, I did NOT, frustrating as it was for me, do Ulrich's voice on the guide tracks. There was a mix-up or misunderstanding at the first session, and we thought that it was Doug that was obliged to do all the male voices and I all the female voices. so for the three or four months we recorded those, everytime i saw a line for Ulrich come up I had to stop myself from doing it. I often forgot, and jumped right in, which meant we then had to redo the line! It really was SO frustrating! I found out later that Doug wouldn't have minded my doing the voice of Ulrich at all on the guide tracks, he'd just been told to do all the guys voices so he thought he had to!" LyokoFreak.net. September 13, 2006.
  42. Reply from Barbara Weber-Scaff: "Actually, for once, I'm in the dark too! they decided, apparently this season, to do the guide tracks for the animation, in French, not English (probably a budget motivated decsion, as usual), so I don[']t have any idea what the new season looks like! I'm just as excited as you are to find out what happens next.". LyokoFreak.net. March 7, 2006.
  43. Les secrets de Code Lyoko racontés par ses créateurs (et on sait pourquoi ils ont des grands fronts) (6:33) - YouTube
  44. "( "TERTULIA TISTAZO - JÉRÔME MOUSCADET Y SOPHIE DECROISETTE (Director y Escritora de Codigo Lyoko)" (19:19) - YouTube
  45. "Agogo Coporation - Programs Library". agogo.com.hk. 2004.
  46. "CODE LYOKO ENGLISH - EP24 - Ghost Channel" (23:06)
  47. "CODE LYOKO ENGLISH - EP39 - A Bad Turn" (23:38).
  48. "CODE LYOKO ENGLISH - EP53 - Straight to heart" (23:35)
  49. "Animation Services Hong Kong Ltd." - agogo.com.hk
  50. "Quel logiciel 3D pour créer Code Lyoko" - codelyoko.net
  51. 51.0 51.1 "Moonscoop" - CodeLyoko.fr
  52. Code Lyoko - olivierlaneres.com
  53. Reply from David Gasman: "the texts for Lyoko are indeed written in French and then translated into English. Then the guide tracks are recorded [...] [t]hen the English and French versions are recorded when the images are ready." LyokoFreak.net. December 5, 2005.
  54. Reply from Barbara Weber-Scaff: "since we record in Paris, and most of those guys are out in LA, we don't really run into them much. LyokoFreak.net. January 20, 2006.
  55. "CODE LYOKO ENGLISH - EP27 - New order" (23:23) - YouTube
  56. "CODE LYOKO ENGLISH - EP72 - Crash course" (23:18) - YouTube
  57. "French vs English" - CodeLyoko.fr
  58. Reply from Barbara Weber-Scaff: "We all perform together, at least as many of us as can squeeze in around the mi[c]. Of course when we do two roles, we have to do another track, sometimes alone, like when I do Kiwi." LyokoFreak.net. January 20, 2006.
  59. Reply from Jodi Forrest: "First of all, someone translates the dialogue and makes sure it fits all the mouth movements of the characters. The translation is then hand-written by someone else on a thin strip of film in such a way that when it's projected on the screen (under the images) the dialogue moves from right to left. The actor's job is to read it "in place", and play the situation that's happening in a convincing manner." LyokoFreak.net. September 12, 2005.
  60. Reply from Jodi Forrest: "[the text] moves across the screen from right to left and when each word hits the "bar" (a black vertical line on the left side of the screen) you say it." LyokoFreak.net. February 28, 2006.
  61. Reply from Miarabelle Kirkland: "It takes us half a day to do and episode [...]". LyokoFreak.net. November 5, 2005.
  62. Reply from Barbara Weber-Scaff: "We usually spend the day, starting at 9:30 am and ending around 6pm". LyokoFreak.net. January 24, 2006.
  63. Reply from TB3: "Yes, yes - tonight the door is opened to the Wreck Room - my thought is, given this seems to be a wordplay on the term "Rec Room", it's probably one of the titles that Allan Wenger came up with, and when he modifies the title as opposed to directly translating the French, it usually refers directly to some aspect of the episode (as an example, he wanted to rename the episode "Sabotage" as "The Root of the Problem", based on the focus being XANA's possession of plants rather than the actual sabotage of the supercomputer)." LyokoFreak.net. June 26, 2007.
  64. Reply from TB3: "[...] When it came to do background dialogue (or 'ambiance') for the 'Waiting for Bus' scene, [David Gasman] pointed at us and asked 'Would these three like to help out?'
    Allan (God Bless Him) agreed [...] So, the film started to roll, and TL began chatting to Sharon, and I began talking to Osiris - we wondered where the bus was, commented on Chardin, and then, at the ened, everyone went AWWWW with disapointment at having to walk. [...] Sadly, Moonscoop seems to have cut most of it in the editing suite[.]" LyokoFreak.net. October 17, 2006.
  65. Reply from TB3: "Jeremie's voice has been contentious for a number of years - neither Sharon, nor Jerome have been happy with it, and the new one is one that all parties are happy with... It started with Sharon trying to replicate the French voice in English - which was high and girly as seen in the first eps... Sharon then went another way and tried that nasally voice, which Jerome wasn't happy with and neither was she - so for Season Three she struck a mid-point between the two..." Lyoko Freak. October 3, 2006.
  66. Reply from Sharon Mann: "Especially glad that for the most part fans are liking the change in Jeremy's voice - I was sweatin' bullets with the early episodes in S3 hoping it would make Moonscoop happy.." Lyoko Freak. November 28, 2006.
  67. "Code Lyoko - TV Review" - Common Sense Media
  68. "A World Without Danger: Remembering Code Lyoko". Comic Book Resources. December 9, 2020.
  69. "Code Lyoko Game Coming to DS". Nintendo World Report. September 30, 2005.
  70. "Une saison 2 attendue après le succès mondial des premiers épisodes de CODE LYOKO". Moonscoop. September 20, 2005.
  71. "CL Presentation MIPTV 2012". Moonscoop. 2012.
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 72.3 CL Presentation MIPCOM 09 [Lecture seule] - CodeLyoko.Fr
  73. "French TV Prix for three". Hollywood Reporter. December 13, 2006.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Code Lyoko, which is licensed under CC-BY-SA (view authors).
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