OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is a superhero comedy animated series created by Ian Jones-Quartey for Cartoon Network. It is based on the original pilot "Lakewood Plaza Turbo", originally released May 21, 2013 for Cartoon Network's 2013 Summer Shorts project. The series was originally thought be to not picked up due to its lack of information over the past three years since the pilot's debut, aside from some slight hints and sketches of the cartoon. It turns out that the show was picked up earlier and Ian Jones-Quartey needed time to develop the series before it was formally greenlit by Cartoon Network.

On February 4, 2016, a mobile game for Android and iOS was created and the web series had premiered on Cartoon Network's YouTube channel[2] and the CN App.[3]

In 2017, nearly 4 years after the original pilot was released, the show was greenlit[4] and first aired on August 1, 2017.[1]

On December 2017, the second season was confirmed to be released.[5]

On June 2019, the third season was renewed. On August 6, 2019, in an interview with Den of Geek!, Ian Jones-Quartey has stated that season 3 is the final season and will be airing the series finale in 2019.[6] It was further revealed that Cartoon Network did not renew the show after Season 3 and it was not Ian's choice to end the show, but gave the show crew an opportunity to make a planned ending.[7]

On September 6, 2019, the series concluded with an hour event with the final three episodes: "Dendy's Video Channel", "Let's Fight to the End", and "Thank You for Watching the Show".

Starting on June 7, 2019, online releases of episodes has been opened up to be streamed on Hulu + Live TV than just limited to the Cartoon Network app.

Origin

While working as a storyboard artist on Steven Universe, Ian came up with an idea for a pitch called "Infinite Guy Generator", where a kid would summon different "guys" every episode to fight the villain's evil guys. When creating the pilot, Ian created a world based on that original idea.

Later, while working as a co-executive producer still on Steven Universe, he used that same idea for a guys generator, that appeared in one episode, which had good reception, coming back later in the second episode of that show.

While developing the OK K.O. mobile game and series, Ian eventually expanded the concept of "guys" to include "gals" and "pals" in this universe. Ian even considered renaming the show "G.U.Y.S. G.A.L.S. and P.A.L.S", but thought it was too long for a title. [8]

Mini Maulers Concept Drawing IJQ.jpg

While the show was in development, it was under a different name, "Mini Maulers". Dendy was originally an elf before changed into a kappa. It was later changed due to a Cartoon Network show existing at the time with the "MM" initials, likely referring to Mighty Magiswords.[9]

Premise

Main article: Episode Guide

The series' main protagonists. From left to right: K.O., Enid, and Radicles.

OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is set in the year 201X. A boy named K.O. aims to become the greatest hero as he works at Gar's Bodega, a hero supply shop located in Lakewood Plaza Turbo owned by Mr. Gar, a serious, dedicated manager. Alongside K.O. are his best friends and co-workers, Enid, a relaxed responsible ninja and Radicles, a narcissistic alien slacker. K.O. takes on adventures with his best friend and classmate Dendy and battles for the plaza against Lord Boxman's robots.

Voice Cast

Main article: OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes/Voice Cast

International Releases

Country Title Premiere
Canada OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes August 1, 2017
Latin America/Brazil OK K.O.! Seamos Héroes (LA)

(OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes)
OK K.O.! Vamos ser Heróis (BR)
(OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes)

September 18, 2017

[10]

United Kingdom OK K.O! Let's Be Heroes October 9, 2017

[11]

Germany OK K.O.! Neue Helden Braucht Die Welt

(OK K.O.! New Heroes in Need of the World)

November 6, 2017

[12]

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) KO OK! Prostě koukej (Czech Republic)

(KO OK! Just Watch)
OK K.O.! Legyünk Hõsök! (Hungary)
(OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes!)
OK, K.O.! Să Fim Eroi! (Romania)
(OK, K.O.! Let's Be Heroes!)

November 6, 2017
Northern Europe (Nordic) OK K.O. Vi Er Helte! (Denmark)

(OK K.O. We Are Heroes!)
OK K.O.! La Oss Redde Verden (Norway)
(OK K.O.! Let's Save the World)
OK K.O.! Nu Blir Vi Hjältar (Sweden)
(OK K.O.! Now We Are Heroes)

November 6, 2017

[13]

Portugal OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes November 10, 2017
Africa OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes November 18, 2017

[14]

Poland OK K.O.! Po prostu walcz

(OK K.O.! Just Fight On)

November 2017
Russia and Southeast Europe Окей, Кей О! Будем героями! (Russia)

(OK, K O! Let's Be Heroes!)
ОК, Кей О! Да бъдем герои (Bulgaria)
(OK, K O! Let's Be Heroes!)

November 2017[15]
The Netherlands OK K.O! Jij Wordt Een Held

(OK K.O.! You Are a Hero)

December 2017
Korea OK K.O! 내일은 히어로

(OK K.O.! Hero Tomorrow)

January 1, 2018

[16]

Australia OK K.O! Let's Be Heroes January 6, 2018

[17]

Phillippines OK K.O! Let's Be Heroes January 6, 2018

[18]

South East Asia OK K.O! Let's Be Heroes January 20, 2018

[19]

Spain OK K.O! Let's Be Heroes February 5, 2018

[20]

Turkey OK K.O! Kahraman Olalım''

(OK K.O.! Be a Hero)

February 5, 2018

[21]

Japan

OK K.O.! めざせヒーロー


(OK K.O.! Aim to be the Hero)

July 1, 2018

[22]

Cancellation

There had been rumors and speculations that OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes was canceled by ratings or among other reasons, however, that was not the case.[23] On February 17, 2021, in an interview with the Cartoon Crash Course podcast with Nico Colaleo, Ian Jones-Quartey explained that the show was originally supposed to be one of the first shows to be a streaming exclusive from a streaming service AT&T and WarnerMedia planned to launch earlier, which is now known as HBO Max. It would have been an HBO Max original from the start to rely on streaming views instead of traditional T.V. ratings. However, the anti-trust regulation got the AT&T merger, therefore HBO Max, heavily delayed. This show got affected by the merger's delay which caused the show's third season to be the last season and to be reduced from forty episodes to twenty episodes due to not increasing the budget. The show crew was expecting the third season to have forty episodes before they were notified from the network on Spring 2018. Other shows had been affected by the process as well.[24] Although, this show was one of the first to stream episodes on the Cartoon Network app before airing episodes on T.V.

Ian Jones-Quartey stated that all of the story arc plots have been placed into the episodes as they originally planned it as they wanted "way more stand-alone side-character development stories, fun one-off episodes, ridiculous flights of fancy, crossovers, and flashbacks".[25] It was revealed that there were more episodes planned out if the show continued long.

Comic Book Series

On May 3, 2021, a Twitter user asked Ian Jones-Quartey on Twitter if there was a possibility of a comic book series. He answered that at one point, he really wanted to make one with OniPress or IDW. The idea was that every issue would have untold short stories starring the side characters of the main show in a format that is similar to shonen magna magazines. It would have featured different logos and art styles for every hero with continuing stories that changes every month. For example, a Hue Troop action cover story and a Potato & Colewort gag strip as a backup. K.O. would always be on the cover. However, the ideas for a comic book series were scrapped because Cartoon Network were not invested.[26]

Possible Artbook

  • On December 17, 2020, a Twitter user asked Ian Jones-Quartey on Twitter if there is a possibility that an artbook could be made. Ian responded that there is sufficient material that can be added for an artbook, however, he stated that there needs to be a publisher, an author, and demand for the artbook to be made.[27]

Trivia

  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is inspired by many anime and manga tropes and styles as well as video game references. One example is that whenever a scene freezes in some episodes, it shifts to a painterly/pastel quality for a second, which is known as a "dezaki" named after anime director and screenwriter Osamu Dezaki. The technique is sometimes referred as "postcard memories".[28]
  • One of the most well-known qualities about this cartoon is its protagonist, K.O., who is voiced by Stephanie Nadolny; an actor better known for her role as Kid/Preteen Goku, and Kid/Preteen Gohan from the Dragon Ball (1986-1989), Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996) and Dragon Ball GT (1996-1997) TV series.
    • In the pilot, she even references the anime with her new character's traits. Such as:
      • Being really enthusiastic, kindhearted, and wholeheartedly righteous.
      • Always wanting to pick a fight to test his powers.
      • Screams at an incremental rate as he charges up an attack.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is a storyboard-driven show, meaning a team of storyboard artists (usually two) is given an outline by the story writers of which they write all of the dialogue and storyboard the episode.
    • According to Ian Jones-Quartey, it takes the storyboard artists to draw and write for 5 weeks and the revisions department to add details and extra animation for 3 weeks after. [29]
    • In an interview with the Talking Simpsons, Ian discussed that the show is drawn in pencil as opposed to ink on paper. The animators pencil each frame on paper using a light table and then color them digitally on a layer beneath the transparent linework.[30]
    • Storyboards are made with ToonBoom's Storyboard Pro software.
Steven Universe Hidden OK KO game.png
  • The show has an overarching story, meaning that the plot spans from the beginning of the show to the end of the show.
  • The show has a few references to another Cartoon Network show, Steven Universe.
  • Toby Jones stated that sometimes when the show crew is tweaking individual frames in the editing phase, they draw a tiny smiley face on them.[31]
  • Often times in the show, characters would say "videos game" instead of "video games" and "sorey" instead of "sorry".
    • Ian stated it was a joke from Toby Jones' pilot AJ's Infinite Summer and because it reminded them of early Canadian anime dubs.[32]
  • It was revealed that the Lord Boxman and Professor Venomous couple was tough to be shown onscreen but the Enid and Red Action couple was even tougher.[33]

Gallery

Click to view the gallery for
OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes.

Reference Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 "OK KO! Has an official non-vague on-air release date! AUGUST 1ST at 6:30PM!!! See you there!!!" - @ianjq on Twitter
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAW07aPQMFk
  3. http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/video/ok-ko/ko-episode.html
  4. https://www.regularcapital.com/2017/03/cartoon-network-studios-greenlights-ok-k-o-lets-be-heroes-animated-series/
  5. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/938834682728218624
  6. https://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/animation/282687/how-the-sonic-the-hedgehog-ok-ko-team-up-happened
  7. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1159503832100904960
  8. http://ianjq.tumblr.com/post/163646366819/steven-universes-guys-and-ok-ko-lets-be
  9. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1263565976827654145
  10. https://www.regularcapital.com/2017/08/cartoon-network-latin-america-and-cartoon-network-brazil-september-2017-highlights/
  11. https://www.regularcapital.com/2017/09/cartoon-network-uk-new-show-ok-k-o-lets-be-heroes-premieres-monday-9th-october/
  12. https://www.regularcapital.com/2017/10/cartoon-network-germany-and-boomerang-germany-november-2017-highlights/
  13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ1eoML9ih8/
  14. http://prsdube16.blogspot.com/2017/10/its-moment-you-all-been-waiting-for.html
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEbmqp8NMOg/
  16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_429uuwe31k/
  17. https://www.regularcapital.com/2017/10/cartoon-network-australia-and-boomerang-australia-january-2018-highlights/
  18. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeouyT9Q5mk/
  19. https://www.facebook.com/cartoonnetworkasia/videos/1688708764483773/
  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26rTz_FWcpo/
  21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs_FTF97BYI/
  22. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1012558635677855744
  23. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1170017095318294528
  24. Timestamp: 1:19:00
  25. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1166868503468498944
  26. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1389386854772854784
  27. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1339688059575488512
  28. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1327372280490409984
  29. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/975871838600376321
  30. http://www.lasertimepodcast.com/2017/10/24/talking-simpsons-interviews-ok-ko-creator-ian-jones-quartey/
  31. https://twitter.com/tobytobyjones/status/1142874889772097536
  32. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1170063705276444672
  33. https://twitter.com/ianjq/status/1277315866770550784
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