In anticipation of the ASICS Welcome to the Dojo Pack on Friday, Aug. 24, Grown-ish’s Luka Sabbat and musicians YFN Lucci and Princess Nokia are lending their talents and voices to the anime series The Sun and the Snake. The original animated show, created by BBDO and the illustration/animation studio Shotopop, will feature five short episodes and lead up to the official release of the apparel and footwear collection, which celebrates innovation, individuality and culture. Sabbat voices the “Sneaker Samurai,” while Lucci and Nokia portray “Ghost Samurai” and “Kiku,” respectively.
The Sun and the Snake follows a young samurai hero who removes his ASICS GEL-Lyte I sneakers as he enters the Dojo—a respectful custom in Japanese culture. After finishing his training, he learns that someone has stolen his ASICS, sending him on a quest to reclaim them. The first episode of the show will debut on Aug. 21, and every episode will be available on Foot Locker’s YouTube and Instagram channels.
At a Japanese-inspired photo shoot for the sneakers, Princess Nokia revealed to VIBE that Kiku is an “animated, funny, sarcastic young girl” who the Sneaker Samurai enlists along his journey to retrieve his shoes. However, she’s got a few tricks up her sleeve. “[Kiku] is a student of the Master, so she’s a part of this elaborate scheme,” she explained while getting dolled up in makeup.
What made the NYC-bred musician a perfect choice for the role? She believes her multi-dimensionality both as an entertainer and in her personal life contributed to her casting.
“I’ve had a lot of characters and personalities, accents and different aspects from all the walks of my life,” she smiled when discussing her free-spirited way of living. “It comes out other than just being an actor. It’s apparent that I’m really eccentric and lively.” The 26-year-old also mentioned some of her favorite cartoon characters of all time—Rugrats’ Susie and Angelica, as well as Madeline, Rainbow Brite and Japanese pop star character, Hatsune Miku.
The ASICS GEL-Lyte I’s give off a vibrant ‘90s flair, which Nokia suggests are perfect for going out and also for chillin’ at home. “These are very much my ‘hanging out with the ska band,’ chillin’, playing soccer downtown, summer kind of vibes,” she said of her eye-catching black and yellow kicks. As for the construction of the shoe, Nokia also shared how they feel just as great as they look. She applauds the comfort, stating that it feels like she’s “walking on pillows.”
The versatile collection will be sold at Foot Locker, Footaction and Champs Sports’. As a style and aesthetic chameleon, the Welcome To The Dojo pack features the perfect shoe for Princess Nokia to co-sign. While she’s rocked every clothing style from gothic to ethereal and performed a plethora of musical stylings, Nokia is a fan of minimalism when it comes to her day-to-day wear, which is where the Gel-Lyte I’s come in handy.
“I have no attachment to anything, you know?” she said of the benefits that come with style shape-shifting. “Everything that I embody is the fluidity of my own consumption. I never feel confined by gender, by labels, by expectations, by stereotypes. I’m free to be myself.”
Not only does the multi-hyphenate keep us on our toes with her enviable duds, but she continues to make waves with her music. Her EP, A Girl Cried Red, came out earlier this year. She says that there is a “great, retrospective release” on the horizon, however, fans will have to wait and see just what that means. She’s also hitting the two-year mark of her Flowers & Rope Tour come Sept. 29.
“I feel very, very, very, very blessed and lucky to been able to be successful without those things that one actually has with success,” Nokia said regarding being an unsigned, female Latina musician who has succeeded far beyond expectations. “I find myself really at the forefront of brown feminism and radicalism, by just being a really strong woman who does not care about the male gaze, who does not care about [demographics] with my audience. [I’m] someone who just cares about making art and having a good time.”