French CGI studio TeamTO, one of the biggest animation studios in Europe, has initiated development on “Jade Armor” Season Two.
The move comes as TeamTO has produced on a service basis third party IPs ranging from “Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes” to Netflix hit “The Creature Cases.”
Progress on “Jade Armor” TeamTO is made in the wake of its moving last December into a brand new 2,700 square-meter (29,063 square-foot) studio facility in the Bastille district in Paris, as, in its busiest year ever, TeamTO is producing five third-party shows. Five more, all TeamTO original series, are airing around the globe.
Parallel to this, TeamTO is offering on open access its cutting-edge technologies and protocol which can significantly reduce energy consumption.
A martial arts action comedy, “Jade Armor’s” narrative premise is fantasy, turning on Lan Jun, an unlikely Chinese teen hero who inherits a magical suit of armor which allows her to protect her city Ban Tang, with the aid of Beasticon talking animal friends. The battle the heinous designs of Crimson Lord whose shards of his armor play havoc in the metropolis, and then Black Tiger.
At the heart of Season One, premiered on Cartoon Network UK on Jan. 9, is the character of Jade herself, a strong girl, as director Chloe Miller puts it, whose cliche-busting in being “just an ordinary girl who likes pink and likes to fight, likes to watch football games and paint her nails,” Miller noted.
“Jade Armor’s” first 26 half-hour Season One also stood out for female-led creative team. On Season Two, M.J. Offen and Ghislaine Pujol serve as head writers and Chloe Miller as director. The aim is to score a Season Two greenlight and probably begin production in September, said TeamTO co-founder Corinne Kouper.
“The show has worked very well both in France and Germany,” where it was aired on pubic broadcaster France Télévisions and Super RTL, she told Variety in the run up to Annecy.
France Télévisions and Super RTL, both Season One co-producers, are on board for Season Two, she added. Rapidly following is launch, the first season rapidly made the top 5 in France and Germany.
The latest news on “Jade Armor” Season Two development comes as, in some of its latest moves, TeamTO has produced animation on “Kiya & the Kimoja Heroes,” created by Kelly Dillon, Marc Dey and Robert Vargas. Bowing on Disney Junior on March 22, and produced by Triggerfish Animation Studios, Frog Box Productions, Entertainment One UK, and Walt Disney EMEA Productions, it is set in South Africa where three best friends, Kiya, Jay, and Motsie, love to dance and don superhero gear when needs be.
A Bumper Slate
As a service company, TeamTO is also producing animation for Sony Pictures Television–Kids’ “The Creature Cases,” made for Netflix, whose first chapter premiered on Netflix in April 2022, making the streamer’s global Top 10 in its opening fortnight.
TeamTO is also working as as service studio on Plarium’s “Raid: Call of the Arbiter,” airing on YouTube; DreamWorks’ “Dew Drop Diaries” also for Netflix; and Season 6 of eOne/Frogbox’ mega hit “PJ Masks.”
Of TeamTO original series, a near half dozen are currently airing around the globe including Emmy-nominated “Angelo Rules, Season 5,” “Jade Armor,” the short format “Behind the Beats” and “Mighty Mike,” which has run to 78 episodes; and “Presto! School of Magic.”
Several book rights deals will soon be announced. Two more shows will be pitched at Cartoon Forum and Mip Junior.
One key to dramatic growth is “our attention to details,” said TeamTO president-CEO Guillaume Hellouin, who founded the company with Kouper in 2005.
The crux, however, may be “talent management and heavy investment in R&D,” he added. “We have lots of artists that joined us fresh from school. Now they have almost 20 years of experience and we still work with them.”
In-house software allows animators to animate 20% quicker. “Pushing for the same budget and same schedule, they can push the quality by 20%. And that makes a big difference on screen,” Hellouin said.
Production management software uses A.I. to allow producers to have a clear and up to date real time vision of their show in terms of budget and schedule, he added.
In the latest innovation, pursuing a combination of policies, protocols and technology – choosing the studio location based on commuting distances and access of its 200+ employees to reduce travel; using only recycled wood in the construction; green areas that require minimal water while providing bird and insect ecosystems; hot-fridge systems in place of microwaves, TeamTO explains – the carbon footprint of its Paris studio is 63% smaller than traditional facilities.
TeamTO is now developing interface tools between all production management software and data center cooling systems to minimize energy usage. It will offer the tools as an open source to third-party companies.
“Anyone in the industry or in another industry, if they have a data center, they can use the interface to optimize program consumption,” Hellouin said.
As streaming services pare back original production, TeamTO “continues to bet on and work with more traditional local channels. Active, they are more focused on being involved upstream securing shows, said Patricia de Wilde, TeamTO director of marketing and new business. “For kids, shows are agnostic as to where they can be seen. For the most part, a kid wants to watch specific shows. What’s important is to get the shows they love. They might start on a local service and then move to a platform and then go back to local,” she added.