Garage Kids is a French animated television pilot that was produced by Antefilms in 2001 in both France and US. It was the original concept for the French animated television series Code Lyoko, which was released in 2003 in France and 2004 in the US.
Garage Kids was originally intended to be the name and concept for Code Lyoko. They decided to switch to the current name and concept instead of sticking with what is seen in the five-minute pilot. The original hook of the series is seen below. Most of it is still true of Code Lyoko, except for some minor details.
Built on the model of a soap opera which unfolds through the series, Garage Kids offers in each of its 26 episodes of 26 minutes a complete story in which Odd and his friends – Yumi, Ulrich and also Jeremie, a computer wizard – try to end one of the disturbances in the computer network caused by Xanadu's exuberance. While the idea of clandestine natures and hidden identities should seduce the children while feeding their imaginations, Garage Kids rests on the fascination that video games hold for kids today. A confrontation between the real world and Xanadu fully vindicates that of 2D and of 3D. Influenced by the poetry and the visual impact of Japanese animation, the series proposes a graphic universe that's particularly original and strong.
This is the original plot for Garage Kids. Much of this still holds true for Code Lyoko, though various names and places have been altered.
A group of kids whose adventures take place in the real world but also in a parallel and virtual world, Xanadu. A boy of about twelve years old, Odd, arrives one day in his new neighborhood and quickly understands that his new three friends are gifted with extraordinary abilities. Yumi, for example, possess unusually strong telekinesis while Ulrich has the gift of displacing himself at the speed of light. These kids have in fact penetrated the secret of Xanadu, the fruit of the labors of a research group whose laboratory, set in an environment inspired by the old Renault automobile factory on the Île Seguin at Boulogne-Billancourt, is now abandoned. Created by the Professor, a learned eccentric who sunk into madness, Xanadu and its multiple disturbances threaten to destroy the real world.
Garage Kids and Code Lyoko
Garage Kids is similar in many ways to Code Lyoko, but several stark differences exist, as well. The differences are seen in the minor details, such as outfits and backgrounds, and the generally darker mood and atmosphere, which can be especially seen within the factory. The similarities can be seen in the larger details, such as the overall theme and characters involved.
Lyoko is portrayed quite differently in Garage Kids, being called "Xanadu" instead. The antagonist appeared and acted very much like Xana in Code Lyoko, but was given no name in Garage Kids. The three main fighters, such as Yumi with her unusually strong telekinesis, were able to exert their special abilities and superpowers outside of Lyoko. Aelita does not seem to exist in Garage Kids, and no character models of her were ever made.
Many of the locations are different, as well. Inside the factory, the scanners (which are much wider and shorter than the ones in the show) are atop a long set of stairs and the lab (simply a chair surrounded by multiple screens) is on ground level. The exterior of the factory does not appear to be changed. Kadic looks different (looking more like a Japanese junior high/high school in most respects) and pets are seemingly allowed there, since Odd makes absolutely no effort to hide the fact that Kiwi is with him.
The outfits for the virtualized characters range from slightly to drastically different, appearing to be based on designs from the older eras of Japan. Ulrich's outfit has the most differences. Unlike his outfit in Code Lyoko, his pants are rather large and puffy (not like parachute pants), based on early versions of samurai armor. The others are not seen in virtualized form, but early character models shown them in roughly the same outfits as they wear in Code Lyoko, but with minor differences. The various character models (except for Odd's virtual form) can be seen at the links below.
Different voice actors are used in Garage Kids. As a result, the character's voices are noticeably different. They are also less than fluent in English, which is easily spotted in fragments of their conversations. All the voices sound much more like French voices. They also sound much younger (around 9–11 years of age). Their personalities, however, seem to remain the same.
The overall state of the computer-generated imagery in Garage Kids is poorly executed, in almost second-rate video-game starkness, when compared to the smooth, realistic Code Lyoko computer-generated imagery; this is not terribly surprising, as the pilot was never meant to be viewed by the public. Also, some of the visual effects used in anime are used in Garage Kids, but, with the exception of one scene in the episode "Claustrophobia," no anime effects are seen in Code Lyoko.
Garage Kids is not on any of the official Code Lyoko DVD box sets. Instead, it is available for download in QuickTime Movie format at the websites below.
Garage Kids begins on a stormy night in the city. A computer in a random room (it looks like a dorm room at Kadic, albeit with a more roomier look and a higher bed) lights up with a strange symbol (a silhouette of Xanadu) and dark, ghost-like shapes begin to pour from the screen.
The next day, a bus arrives at Kadic. It drops off a student and his dog. They're named Odd and Kiwi, respectively. Odd is greeted by Jeremie, who also introduces him to his friend, Ulrich. Jeremie makes a comment about Kiwi, saying something about him looking "really dumb." Odd claims Kiwi is very sensitive and can get mean, and pushes the dog into Jeremie's face. Jeremie believes him at first, but Odd quickly reveals the act to be a joke (showing off his goofball smile). Ulrich just shakes his head in disbelief. Some time later, while showing Odd around the school, Jeremie points out Yumi, who is practicing Pencak Silat with Ulrich. Jeremie makes sure to point out that getting on her bad side is not a good idea. As the two practice, Yumi eventually throws Ulrich to the floor and pins him. After a short stint of heavy breathing, Yumi blushes.
Later on, on the roof of Kadic, Yumi is telling Jeremie to hurry before they are late for class. For some unfathomable reason, Jeremie is sitting on the railing. He's messing with his laptop, claiming something to be weird. All of a sudden, the symbol seen on the computer in the first scene appears on his laptop and the same ghosts burst from the screen and escape into the sky. This causes Jeremie to lose his balance and fall. Luckily, Yumi is able to catch him before he hits the ground. She doesn't catch him physically, but rather through telekinesis. Odd is understandably surprised as she telekinetically floats Jeremie back up. She then asks Odd, who is now trembling and rather scared, "Odd, can you keep a secret?"
They take Odd (followed by Kiwi) to an old factory. Within is a giant laboratory, complete with a large supercomputer, three scanners, and a couch for some reason. Ulrich heads for the scanners while Jeremie and Yumi head for the supercomputer. Odd just stands there, in awe of his surroundings. Jeremie quickly sends Ulrich to a virtual world known as Xanadu. Odd wonders what is happening, so Yumi gives a quick explanation about Xanadu. They don't know why it exists, but that they do know something is dangerously wrong with it.
In Xanadu, Ulrich walks around aimlessly for a bit before giant black ghosts begin to chase him. As the chase takes place, Odd asks why they go if it's so dangerous. Yumi explains that their world is in danger as well. Back in Xanadu, a ghost tries to crash into Ulrich. He dodges, and the ghost crashes into a pillar instead. A subsequent earthquake in the real world helps to accentuate Yumi's earlier point.
Eventually, Jeremie informs Ulrich that his saber is charged. Ulrich then draws a blue saber made out of binary code. He quickly cuts one of the ghosts into several pieces. The other ghosts retreat, with Ulrich in hot pursuit. He chases them up a large mountain, eventually stopping at an oversized tower. A few dozen ghosts are circling it. They break off and begin to pursue him.
Back in the lab, Jeremie tells Ulrich to come back, since it is getting too dangerous. Yumi disagrees, saying they can't go back later, and has Odd come with her to Xanadu instead. They appear on top of one of the oversized towers, but are not actually seen. The camera backs up to show the whole of Xanadu, which looks exactly the same as the symbol seen on Jeremie's laptop. Towers of varying sizes can be seen scattered about its landscape and the "island" (which Xanadu is on) is connected by massive cables running into a black abyss. The Garage Kids logo appears on the screen once it fully backs away. Odd then comes out of the scanner, exhausted from the experience.
Now the credits start to play, showing various still images of the group. Among these are the four sitting on a bench while Jeremie works on his laptop, Jeremie and Odd trying to push an embarrassed Ulrich and Yumi together, a scene with Jeremie working and Odd sleeping while Ulrich and Yumi have a pillow fight, and, finally, another scene with the four sitting on a bench.
- The song in the ending credits is called Love Foolosophy by the English group called Jamiroquai. It is available on the album called A Funk Odyssey.
- The background music is called "Pirates" by Randy Edelman. The music is also used for the movie "Six Days Seven Nights".
- A site with various images from Garage Kids, as well as a script and the video itself.
- A page with images from the development of Garage Kids at the Wayback Machine (archived October 8, 2007)
- Another page with images from the development of Garage Kids at the Wayback Machine (archived October 10, 2007)