Code Lyoko is a French animated television series that utilizes normal animation as well as CGI. Sponsored by Antefilms and Moonscoop in association with France 3 and Canal J, Code Lyoko informs its viewers about the adventures of four human children who take on the task of defeating a diabolical AI upon themselves. They must enlist the help of a pink-haired artificial intelligence to do so, and deal with various personality clashes with their classmates and teachers at a boarding school at the same time.
In 2004-2007, Code Lyoko aired every day on Cartoon Network (Miguzi) at 4 PM Eastern Standard Time, although sometimes two episodes may be shown consecutively, in the cases of season finales. The series was created by Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo, and stars Barbara Weber-Scaff, David Gasman, Matthew Géczy, Mirabelle Kirkland, and Sharon Mann. Each episode is approximately 26 minutes, with commercials, half an hour. There are currently 97 episodes including the prequel. (If you count the prequel as 2 episodes then there are 97, but for Evolution's sake we only count the prequel as 1 single episode).
On May 31, 2011, Moonscoop, the company that produced Code Lyoko, had announced on its Facebook page that the show will be returning for a fifth season; this was partially due to a large dedicated fan base. The season consists of 26 episodes, as well as containing a mixture of live action and CGI. The show, now renamed, "Code Lyoko Evolution", premiered December 19, 2012 online and officially ended during December 19, 2013.
Code Lyoko tells the story of 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. An evil program of the Supercomputer that houses Lyoko, X.A.N.A., plots for reasons unknown on destroying all humans on our fair planet. X.A.N.A. attacks Earth 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, putting them inside a semi-functional virtual world that looks like Earth, trying to send two trains carrying poisonous chemicals at 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. usually possessed objects like teddy bears and rats. Team Lyoko usually discovers the attack, went to the Factory, and Aelita typed in the code at the last moment before someone would have died. In the episode Code: Earth, Aelita finally materialized, and the show took on a new story-telling style. Although the episode sequences stayed the same, many of the episodes were built on each other, thus not viewing them in the correct order would lead to confusion. The second season also expanded on the characters' personalities, desires, etc. as well as on the creation of Lyoko and such. A new sector, Carthage, 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 are 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 are answered in the third and fourth seasons, during which William becomes a major threat to the team as X.A.N.A.'s schemes to take over humanity become more and more dangerous, but besides Hopper's status, these questions are not answered.
The plot of Code Lyoko centers around five humans, Jeremie, Aelita, Odd, Ulrich and Yumi and the antagonist, 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. See more at the list of characters page.
Main Voice Cast
- Unknown - Odd Della Robbia, Jeremie Belpois, Ulrich Stern, Yumi Ishiyama (French/English Version) (Pilot (2001))
- Raphaelle Lubansu - Odd Della Robbia and Jeremie Belpois (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Sophie Landresse - Aelita Schaeffer (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Marie-Line Landerwijn - Ulrich Stern (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Geraldine Frippat - Yumi Ishiyama (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Christophe Callabero - Odd Della Robbia (Season 1, Episodes 1 & 4 (2003))
- Matthew Géczy - Odd Della Robbia (Season 1, Episodes 2, 3, 5-Season 4 (2003-2007)))
- Sharon Mann - Jeremie Belpois and Aelita Schaeffer (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Barbara Weber-Scaff - Ulrich Stern (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Mirabelle Kirkland - Yumi Ishiyama (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Jodi Forrest - Elisabeth "Sissi" Delmas (Season 1, Episodes 3, 5, 7, 11, 12, 14-Season 4 (2003-2007))
- Christine Flowers (uncredited) - Elisabeth "Sissi" Delmas (Season 1, Episodes 1, 2, 4, 8, 9 & 13 (2003))
- Matthew Géczy - Nicholas Poliakoff (Seasons 1-4 (2003-2007))
- Mirabelle Kirkland - X.A.N.A. Yumi (Season 1, Episode 7 and Season 2, Episode 15 (2003 and 2005)
- Director: Jérôme Mouscadet (Seasons 1-4)
- Head Writer: Sophie Decroisette (Seasons 1-3)
- Head Writer: Bruno Regeste (Season 4)
- Casting Director: Alan Wenger
- Matte Painting Maker: Frédéric Perrin
- Art Director: Marie-Line Landerwyn (Seasons 3-4)
- Cocreator / Literary Bible Writer: Thomas Romain
So far, there are a total of five seasons confirmed.
On May 31st, Code Lyoko on Facebook announced that they are producing 26 new episodes of a new follow-up series called "Code Lyoko Evolution." The show also commented on Facebook saying, "Your heroes will come back like you’ve never seen them before‼" Also, on a teaser poster, it shows then original characters from the previously aired series, which implies that all the old characters will be featured. However, the show will now be part live-action for the real life scenes and part CGI for the scenes on Lyoko. See Code Lyoko Evolution for more information.
The new season debuted online on December 19, and on France 4 on TV in France on January 5th.
There are five seasons total. The first four seasons contain ninety-seven episodes of Code Lyoko, including a two-part prequel, with the fifth season being twenty-six episodes, bringing the total number of episodes to 123.
So far, three DVD volumes have been released: X.A.N.A. Unleashed, Movies, Music, and Mayhem, X.A.N.A. Possessed, and X.A.N.A. Attacks. They each contain 4 to 5 episodes, with the fifth being stated as a "special episode", with redone sound and updated animation, etc. They are all released by Funimation.
All four seasons of Code Lyoko are now available for download on iTunes.
Since its arrival, Code Lyoko has some divisive elements. While it achieved moderate ratings as a result of being on Cartoon Network, and has a large amount of fans, some say the episodes in the first season are redundant (This being due to an executive request so that viewers could familiarize themselves with the series' setting), and that the attempted romance between teenagers is unrealistic and therefore a failed attempt at a soap opera. However, many say its blend of different genres, including Action/Adventure, Romance, a little hint of drama, character development (Aelita the most prominent example) and a story that is both surprisingly deep and dark for a kids show makes the show an excellent view. Also, some have criticized the size of the kids' heads, saying that the art style makes them too large. It also is notable for censorship at times.
Overall, despite the controversies and criticism, the series was well-recieved and has attracted something of a cult following. With time it's become better reviewed as more recent reviews have been notably higher than older ones, some even calling it one of the best shows in the history Cartoon Network and it's most underrated program. Similarly, IMDB's rating for the show has gone from 7/10 to 7.3/10 in a matter of years.
Code Lyoko's status of France's most popular animation internationally was given official recognition in December 2006, when it won France’s prestigious Prix de l’Export 2006 Award for Animation. The French fans gave the show their stamp of approval when they voted it the no. 1 show on the Canal J website.