Donald Glover and Zack Fox’s animated comedy Yoppaman is completely bonkers

On Wednesday, actor-comedian Zack Fox shared the first episode of Yoppaman, an animated comedy series about a dilapidated grits diner in the south, and it’s fuckin’ bonkers. The project was first teased back in April, when multi-hyphenate Donald Glover shared that he was working with Fox on an “anime” project during an episode of his Gilga radio live stream.

Clocking in at just over two and a half minutes, the first episode of Yoppaman centers the eccentric employees of a Waffle House-inspired diner restaurant called Happy Grits. While beating up an unruly customer outside the diner, the group transforms into Power Rangers-style heroes to fight against the henchmen of a maniacal alien warlord who happens to be hovering in his ship above the restaurant.

It’s chaotic and weird and bursting with personality; the exact type of anarchic comedy that’d feel right at home alongside the likes of Adult Swim staples Black Dynamite and Freaknik: The Musical.

“In 2022 I started developing an animated idea with my good friend and collaborator Chibu Okere,” Fox writes in the episode’s YouTube description. “We’re both Atlanta-raised artists who grew up on stuff like Devilman, FLCL, Evangelion, 90’s Cartoon Network, and of course black southern folklore/music/comedy/fashion etc. So we wanted to make something that synthesized all of that into a big gumbo pot. Yoppaman is the spawn of that synthesis.”

The resemblance is certainly striking. The design of characters and backgrounds feels like a combination of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s cult anime film Dead Leaves, Taiyō Matsumoto’s Tekkonkinkreet, and Ronald Wimberly’s graphic novel GratNin. But even beyond those comparisons, Yoppaman feels like a passion project through and through and a creative breath of fresh air for fans of both anime and adult animation.

The episode was produced by Six Point Harness, Inc, a Los Angeles-based studio that previously worked on the 2019 musical film Guava Island starring Donald Glover, with music written and performed by Devin Morrison. The show’s website hints that more episodes of the series will be coming out soon, with Fox and Okere looking to nurture the project “without the influence (or hindrance) of a network” before turning Yoppaman into a fully realized show.