Tephlon Funk is the Nas-inspired comic that you need to read that’s set to bring Queensbridge to the animation world.
Since the release of the first issue in 2015, Tephlon Funk garnered the attention of Willow Smith and possibly Nas (the manga takes place in the hip-hop legend's hometown, Queensbridge, after all.) Now the series’ creator, Stephane Metayer, is ready to take the black-and-white page of the manga to the next level—an animated series.
Metayer teamed up with D’Art Shtajio to produce an 50-second animated teaser in hopes of gaining the attention of animation executives to turn it into a full-fledged anime series. If it happens, Tephlon Funk will join the ranks in being one of the few anime series set in New York City as well as the first to feature black characters in the five boroughs. And we've got first dibs on the teaser’s premiere.
In an exclusive animated teaser, the 50-second video introduces viewers to the four main characters of the series as they wield swords, shoot off gunshots and bop their head to smooth hip-hop tunes.
"I never imagined it being an anime until I would say about maybe two, three years ago. It's just people kept saying ‘it could be an anime.’ We kept getting compared to Samurai Champloo, Cowboy Bebop, Michiko to Hatchin, The Boondocks. We were getting all types of comparisons so I tried to hitting up a lot of studios." said Metayer in an interview with Complex last month.
The aforementioned studio, D'Art Shtajio, founded by East Coasters Henry Thurlow and Arthell Isom, answered that call. The studio, which works to bridge the gap between Western creators and major Japanese animators, seemed like a godsend to the Queens native when they started working together two and a half months ago. For the teaser, the duo was able to bring Hiroki Itai (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Kill la Kill and InuYasha: The Final Act) on board as the animation director. Metayer also brought on Fat Jon, who was a part of the scoring team for Samurai Champloo, to provide the chill hip-hop sounds played in the background of the teaser. Other players on the team include David Tako (Character Designs & Turnarounds) and James Stanley (Early Storyboards - First Draft) along with Henry Thurlow (Director) and Arthell Isom (Art Director and Background Artist) and Metayer (Production/Composition).