Created by Evan Viera (Director) & Charley Pope (Writer), AIKO is a stunning teaser-trailer for an animated series the filmmaking duo hope to find funding/distribution for. Featuring a jaw-dropping aesthetic, bound to catch the eye of fans of animation and fantasy, and a narrative which quickly immerses you in its universe of samurais and demons, if I had the money available I’d be backing this myself – it’s a world I’m dying to see more from.
As an inhuman army of unknown origin rips apart her homeland, a young girl discovers within herself a well of mystical power that she neither wants nor understands. Together with her sister and an old sage, she strikes out across the war-torn countryside, searching for the truth behind an ancient family secret that could save the world from annihilation.
Where did the story for AIKO originate?
AIKO began from a few conversations Charley and I had back in 2012. Since then many projects have come and gone, but AIKO stood the test of time. At first, the working title was “Apocalypse Samurai” and was about a zombie-like infection that spread across the world and landed on Feudal Japan’s doorstep when they opened their borders in the late 19th century. Although the story has morphed and grown since then, elements of that idea still remain.
Where can we expect the narrative to take us through the series?
I won’t mention specifics since most of the plot we’d like to remain a secret. But in short, AIKO is a hero’s a journey. The beginning of the story shows our three main characters trying to survive the horrific events from their homeland. Much happens along the way, loved ones are lost, villains rise and fall, and eventually the story will leave Japan’s shores and lead us into the wider world.
What made you want to adapt the premise of AIKO into a series instead of a standalone piece?
Charley and I are developing a handful of projects and–because of it’s gravity–we were compelled to lead with this one. Its backstory blossomed so naturally, and the characters wrote their own stories.
From the very beginning AIKO was broad in scope and too large even for a feature. I do have a short in development, which is more of a poem than a story, but that might not see the light of day for some time. Generally speaking, the format of my projects (short, feature, series) are governed by the ideas they grow from. Some begin very self-contained and others wide and searching.
Did you hit any obstacles in the production process when creating the trailer?
The most challenging creative obstacle was figuring out what scenes to include in the teaser. We wrote the season 1 episode outlines way before starting production, and we wanted each scene in the teaser to be an actual moment from the show. Finding the right pace, giving the right clues, and teasing at the important secrets were very difficult obstacles to work around. It’s much easier to storyboard from a script. Trying to create momentum, structure, and progression from snapshots taken from 30 pages of outlines is like trying to narrow down a novel to a single paragraph. I storyboarded the project 10 times before arriving at the final result.