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 follows the adventures of four children who discover a virtual world inhabited by a diabolical AI, and take it upon themselves to defend Earth from it. They must 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 every day on Cartoon Network's Miguzi block at 5:30 PM EST, with 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.
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 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, 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 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.
The plot of Code Lyoko centers around five kids, 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
- Françoise Charpiat
- Jean-Rémi François
- Bruno Merle
- Laurent Turner
- Alain Serluppus
- Frédéric Lenoir
- Frédéric Valion
- Bertrand Veyne
- Karine Lollichon
- Carlo de Boutiny
- Paul Beneteau
- Alain le Dong
- William Renaud
- Olivier Poirette
- Lionel Allaix
- Philippe Riche
- Christophe Pittet
- Christian Choquet
- Marc Sierra
- Marc Antoine Boidin
- Benoit Milhorat
- Bruno Issaly
- Jean-Yves Gaubert
- Luis Ruiz
- Louis Musso
- Nadia Brahimi
- Thomas Astruc
Code Lyoko ran for a total of five 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 available in both English and French on their official YouTube channels.
So far, four 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 a "special episode" with redone sound and updated animation, etc. They are all released by Funimation.
Since its arrival, Code Lyoko has had some divisive elements. While it achieved moderate ratings as a result of being on Cartoon Network and attracted a large number of fans, the show drew criticism for the episodes in the first season being redundant (however, this was due to an executive request so that viewers could familiarize themselves with the series' setting), the attempted romance between teenagers seeming unrealistic and therefore a failed attempt at a soap opera, and its unusual art style. However, many said that its blend of different genres, including action/adventure, romance, and a little hint of drama, deep character development (Aelita being the most prominent example), and a story that was both surprisingly deep and dark for a kids' show made the show an excellent view.
Overall, despite the controversies and criticism, the series was well-received and has attracted somewhat 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 Cartoon Network's history and one of its most underrated programs. 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.