MIFA 2022: “Jade Armor,” a show that braces for broader female representation

TeamTo’s animated series stands out for its strong female representation in the creative team and characters and promotes diversity and cultural inclusion values. Corinne Kouper, SVP of Production and Development at TeamTO, defines the creation process for this global IP.

17 JUN 2022

Corinne Kouper, SVP Development & Production, and Co-founder at Teamto

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TeamTo animated show “Jade Armor” has a strong female representation in its creative team and main characters, including the teenage heroine and her two butt-kicking Kung-fu master grandmothers. The show also promotes broad diversity and cultural inclusion through its writers, co-director, specialist consultants, developers, head storyboard artists, and voice talent. “The strong female presence is an obvious element in the series, not only in the main character but also in the two grandmothers she lives with and who are her primary and daily instructors in the kung fu way of life. Jade lives in a multi-generational home where the wisdom of elders is respected and revered,” Corinne Kouper, SVP of Production and Development at TeamTO, told Señal News.

“Another central element of the series that sets this action-comedy series apart is the teaching of the kung fu philosophy, not just inserting fight scenes for the sake of action. Our French-Cambodian co-director, Denis Do, was a Wushu (Chinese martial arts champion). At first glance, it may seem like a show with lots of fighting scenes, but we’ve dealt with these scenes with great attention to aesthetics. These scenes were choreographed by Kung Fu stunt artists, all former French Kung Futeam members. But the show goes beyond this esthetic to address the message of Kung Fu and all martial arts: learn to fight, so you don’t have to fight, don’t just let go and lose self-control. It means understanding the vanity and the uselessness of violence. It is an important message for people, especially children, everywhere,” Kouper stated.

Jade Armor” is a mix of French, North American, and Asian concepts to appeal to global audiences. “The elements that will appeal to audiences globally are the themes around teenage issues: struggles with schoolmates, learning to work through problems with others, relationships with family members, and, primarily, finding your path in life. Through the arc of the series, Jade and all the main characters seek their path and meaning in life, exploring and pushing back on the expectations of family and society and learning about themselves. Hopefully, audiences can relate to the characters’ journeys while enjoying the comedy of Jade Armor’s adventures,” Koupe explained.

The show’s cast is almost all of Asian descent or diverse. The co-director, Denis Do, is a French-Cambodian. There is also a Chinese cultural consultant on the show who ensures appropriate representation of artistic elements, including the practice of kung fu, central to the storyline. “Appointing a diverse group to work in the series was actually quite organic,” Kouper stated. “As the setting takes place in an imaginary Asian city, and the original concept for Jade was from Taiwan, it was obvious that we needed a team that understood and had an affinity for this cultural environment. That’s why we assembled so many writers with a strong Asian background. Also, the imaginary city (people on the street, shopkeepers, school kids) are not just Asian but from all sorts of backgrounds. We recruited an extremely diverse cast of actors, mostly non-white. We also have a primarily female creative team featuring our producer, director, co-creator, and head writer. All of them had given Jade and her two fabulous grandmothers a very authentic voice,” the executive ended.

By Romina Rodriguez