|Written by||Madellaine Paxson|
|Directed by||Jean Louis-Vandestoc|
|Theme music composer||Nobert Gilbert|
"Rêve Idéal" by Cassandre Berger (French)
"Higher" by Yasmin Shah (English)
|Ending theme||(Instrumental of opening theme)|
|Country of origin||France|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52 (list of episodes)|
|Producer||Jean Louis Vandestoc|
|Running time||21 minutes|
|Original network||France 3/Disney Channel|
|Picture format||1080i: HDTV|
|Original release||18 October 2014 –|
2 March 2017
LoliRock is a French animated television series produced by Marathon Media and Zodiak Kids with the participation of France Télévisions and The Walt Disney Company France. It was created by Jean Louis-Vandestoc and written by Madellaine Paxson. It first aired in France on 18 October 2014 on France 3, and has expanded to television channels in Europe. It was also streamed on Netflix. As of 2021, the canceled series streams on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix France and there is no announcement regarding a third season.
Iris is a sweet fifteen-year-old blonde girl who likes to sing and help others. However, when she sings, strange things happen. Encouraged by her best friend/crush Nathaniel, Iris auditions for a girl rock band, but ends up destroying the room and is later attacked by two strangers (magical twins Praxina and Mephisto). The judges at the audition, Princess Talia and Princess Auriana, come to help her and they explain to her that she is actually a princess herself with mighty magical powers who must save her homeworld and kingdom of Ephedia, from the evil clutches of Lord Gramorr, who has taken it over and turned it to a miserable place. The only way to save her kingdom is to master her new powers and to find the twelve Oracle Gems of the Crown of Ephedia, which have been scattered across the Earth. Over the course of the series, the three girls try to live as both ordinary teenagers as well as stars of the all-female band called LoliRock while training Iris to master her abilities and spells in secret and gathering the thirteen mystical oracle gems. But when Gramorr sends Praxina and Mephisto to fight them and summon monsters to cause further chaos, the girls must work together as magical warrior princesses.
The three girls are joined by two Ephedian girls called Carissa and Lyna who were a part of a group named “the Resistance” with Princess Talia's elder sister as leader. They also transform into magical warrior princesses, but are not part of the rock band. The girls continue gathering Oracle Gems while helping those in need, but Lord Gramorr and the Twins continue to get much stronger and more dangerous as well. When the twelve and last oracle gem is collected, Princess Iris faces the reality of having to say goodbye to her Earth best friend/crush Nathaniel, and returning to her home planet Ephedia to be reunited with her parents, the King and Queen of Ephedia. But when Lord Gramorr claims the final gem and is released to unleash his destructive wrath on all of Ephedia, the five girls work together to face him in one final battle. In the struggle between the highly evolved Princess Iris (who has called upon her stronger Shanila form) and Lord Gramorr, however, Mephisto perishes to protect Praxina, which results in a furious and saddened Praxina to don half of her recently departed lord and master's sinister mask to enact her ultimate vengeance on Princess Iris and her best friends by attacking her adopted world of Earth.
Main article: List of LoliRock episodes
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||26||18 October 2014||29 April 2016|
|2||26||5 January 2017 (Netflix)|
13 February 2017 (France 4)
|5 January 2017 (Netflix)|
2 March 2017 (France 4)
Jean-Louis Vandestoc drew inspiration for LoliRock from watching anime in his childhood that was broadcast on the French channels, including Sherlock Hound, Space Adventure Cobra, The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Dragon Ball, but his most influential title he watched was Magical Princess Minky Momo. He wrote "I loved the very core of it: a child transforming into an adult, helping people and making good deeds, the nice chara design, and finally the tone of the show: it could be funny and light, but also dramatic and tearful at other times. My soul was marked forever." After working on French cartoons Monster Buster Club and Rekkit Rabbit he wanted to make a magical girl show. He chose Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure as references for the magical girl part, and Jem and the Holograms for the music career part. 
The producers at Marathon Media asked designers to draw Iris for a magical girl project as a teenage alien princess with ice/crystal powers. Character designer Bertrand Todesco drew inspiration from Betty Autier, a French fashion blogger of "le blog de betty". She had dark hair and straight bangs, but Todesco figured the producers wanted a blonde girl for a lead, so he went with the look of Jenny Humphrey of the TV series Gossip Girl, portrayed by Taylor Momsen. The producers also wanted the girls' irises to be star-shaped. Autier's appearance as well as her wardrobe was retained for Talia.
Following the initial picture, Todesco needed to design a princess/rockstar outfit, of which he chose a green dress worn by Blake Lively. The colour was changed to pink as green was not suitable for merchandising. Todeco added a magical pet creature in the custom of Sailor Moon, which would later become Amaru. He designed in the hair streaks for when the girls were rock stars, and dresses that weren't so frilly that they would be complicated to draw.
In designing Talia and the then-named Aurora, Todesco originally started with a black girl and an Asian girl with typical hairstyles, but later changed his mind. He then found inspirations from other Gossip Girl characters as well as actresses Amber Stevens West and Ariana Grande, the latter of whom was how she acted in the teen sitcom Victorious rather than her current pop singer image. He also referenced Keri Hilson and Alicia Keys. Victorious was also the inspiration for some of the key visuals he used in promoting the series to get funding.
Early promotions of the series pictured the antagonist named Gromar to be an evil uncle of Iris who imprisoned the king and queen, and that he sent his two evil twin nephews to Earth to thwart Lolirock and take the gems. Paxson said that they abandoned the idea as it would have made him more of a stereotype. Todesco originally conceived of antagonists Praxina and Mephisto to have guitar playing sound powers that would counter the girls' singing voice powers but the idea was abandoned. After several iterations, Praxina's final design was approved where she would have a butterfly brooch and motif, while Mephisto's was approved later, after director Jean-Louis had suggested he have a snake motif and a half-covered face. Eventually Gramorr would have the covered face,
The design for the crystal magic circles and related animation was first done in 2D based on some reference pictures. Different colours and symbols were assigned to each character. It was later created in CGI. Animation tools used include Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe After Effects, and Blender.
Lyna and Carissa were created in response to a request from the producers when the writing for season 1 was nearing completion. The request was to add two new princesses to increase the member count to five. However, the LoliRock developers thought they already had too many characters so they made Lyna and Carissa supporting characters that were "outside the main gang but always ready and willing to help when needed". The two girls' transformations resemble Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. The designers considered making one of the two girls look Asian to balance out the overall group's look; they applied the look to both girls, and chose Lyna. There was also a concern that Carissa might be confused with Auriana as the show's redhead, they decided to go with giving her an Irish redhead theme anyway.
LoliRock head writer Madellaine Paxson, who had worked on children's shows Making Fiends, Power Rangers RPM as well as the horror film Blood Punch, described the themes of the show as: friendship and love, magic, singing / music, and good vs. evil. She said the hardest part in writing an episode is the beginning and also in integrating the themes along with a story with a person that needs help. Her favourite scenes from the show were where the princesses are together doing ordinary teenage girl things as they had opportunities for comedy. She summarised the show as having something for everybody, very girly, but good action too. In the press release, Zodiak Kids describe the show as having a "cast of characters that are aspirational role models for a generation of children for whom justice has become a core value". Jean-Louis Vandestoc chose a band concept for the series as it was different from his other shows which involved characters that went to school and then saved the world. The school part was replaced by the girls training or rehearsing for the concert. The developers later commented in their production blog FAQ that Iris was still attending school and that the episodes aren't all during summer vacation.
According to posts on the production Tumblr, LoliRock is classified as somewhere between a script-driven and storyboard-driven show. They started with a full script and then recorded lines with scratch voices or final voices, as re-recording after storyboarding would be costlier. The storyboard is then worked on, and some of the storyboard artists and supervisor adding and changing things they felt were important such as with the kiss scene in the Shanila episode and the Iris becoming a dark princess. Storyboard stage also included fixes for continuity and plot holes.
The music score was composed and produced by Norbert "Yellowshark" Gilbert, with about 600 tracks over the course of the 52 26-minute episodes. Five recurring songs (including the theme song) were recorded for each season. Due to limited resources in production, the team posted that Iris would be the only one singing on those songs, so they recorded Yasmin Shah in English and then developed the music videos. After realising that it would be unnatural for the other girls to not sing, they designed Iris to have a microphone while the others would just sing along. They considered recording singing for Talia and Auriana but were constrained by budget. Cassandre Berger provided the singing on the French dub. The voices were then mixed. As the dialogue was done later, the voice actors only sang on the incidental bits such as rehearsals.
The episodes were written and dubbed in English first and then adapted into French. For season 1, the English voices were recorded at Vida Spark Productions in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, while the French voices were recorded at Lylo studios in Paris, France.
Zodiak Media announced LoliRock in April 2013 at the MIPTV event in Cannes, France. Early promotions included the idea of princesses with magical singing voices. The demographic target audience is girls ages 6 to 12, and the group has partnered with France Televisions and Disney Channel France. Marathon Media CEO Vincent Chalvron-Demersay and general manager David Michel said that "LoliRock is a fresh, contemporary take on what it is to be a girl today, infused with music and magical adventures and the all-important notion of justice in today's teenage world. It's a perfect companion piece to Totally Spies!, which has been so successful in this same space." In comparing the promotion of the show to that of Totally Spies!, Zodiak senior vice-president Patricia de Wilde said that Zodiak made sure the premise was made clear for the new show.
The five songs were publicised as music videos on YouTube. Plans were also made to create live-action LoliRock bands in various markets, such as Super TV's contest held online and among major cities in Italy. A website was launched with videos, games, and message boards. Promotional toys were also offered at Quick restaurants as well as McDonald's. An app was developed for the music which Zodiak senior vice-president Patricia de Wilde said was a "sort of cross between K-Pop and Katy Perry."
The show premiered on France 3 on 18 October 2014. running for 13 episodes until March 2015. On 26 January 2016, Zodiak Kids published an article officially announcing that BatteryPOP had acquired AVOD (streaming) rights to LoliRock for one year.
On 1 April, France Televisions announced the release of episodes on France 4, and Disney France. Zodiak also reported that Italy would launch LoliRock on De Agostini Editore's Super! DTT channel. France 4 began broadcasting the 13 episodes on 4 April 2016. On 1 May, the first season of the series was released on Netflix, in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.
The LoliRock producers pre-released the four episodes of season 2 on YouTube in December 2016. > Netflix released the English dub of the season 2 episodes on 5 January 2017. It was broadcast on France 4 in February with two episodes per weekday.
In the United States, the show premiered on the streaming service Netflix in 2016 with an English language track and the second season premiered on the service in 2017. In 2020, Amazon's Prime Video service acquired the show.
Ella Anders of BSC Kids wrote that LoliRock "plays it clear as a magical girl series and even nods other iconic shows in the genera" such as Pretty Cure and Sailor Moon, but that it is "grand in its own right and should be held up as a great magical girl series". She liked the diverse cast, plot, humor, and background story, the last of which she had not seen since Friendship Is Magic, and that it was a type of show she would have loved growing up.
Heather Newman of Forbes magazine described the series as "A French animated series about an impossibly thin, stylish, magical girl who sings."
Emily Ashby of Common Sense Media described the series as "fun" and "entertaining." However, she argued that the dual storyline feels "little awkward and forced at times" and if promoting the music of the show is a motivation for these storylines. Even so, she concluded tat the series would "garner some fans among kids."
When asked whether LoliRock would have a cross-over episode with French superhero show Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir from Zagtoon, Thomas Astruc, who was the creator and director on Miraculous and a storyboarder on LoliRock, said it was unlikely given they are from two different production companies, but that the animation community is small and that both companies share the same love of animation. He has posted about the two being cousin shows.
A LoliRock video game, available on iOS and Android, was released by Bulkypix in 2014. The game lets players sing to the songs featured on the show, record performances, and customise a sound studio and pick the girls' outfits.
Zodiak has also worked a deal with publishing company Hachette Jeunesse to create novels, activity books, stationery, and e-books.
As we just finished the production of season 1, we’d like to share some fanarts from the “lolirock malaysian team” at Inspidea, our animation studio in Asia. Without them, LoliRock wouldn’t exist. So thanks a lot everyone ! Thanks for your work, and enduring the hardship of this production.
Now, the Battle Arena. It's a pocket dimension that Amaru is able to summon at will, bringing with him the people nearby. How does he do it ? It's very mysterious. The main purpose for the Arena is to allow the princesses to fight with their full power without worrying of consequences : there are no civilians (usually) nor anything valuable (buildings, vehicules, etc) in the Arena.
Praxina prefers demonstrations of raw power, like big explosion spells and huge monster summoning. And she's good at that. Mephisto prefers more elaborate spells and tricks (he likes to brag how he's a genius, remember ?), like trying to put all princesses to sleep, or removing Iris' memory, things like that. He however is as capable as her to summon monsters and freeze people in black crystal. And she is also capable of being more subtle when needed. That's why they make a pretty good team.
You might find it surprising, but no. Missy was not based on Mandy. However, we fully admit she looks a lot like Mandy, and knew a lot of people would notice that too. ... We needed a love rival / pest for Iris, and most of the time, when your heroïne is blonde, you get a brunette as a rival… And vice versa. ... It's just a "classic trope" here. ;)
LoliRock is animated with Toonboom Harmony. The compositing is done with Adobe After Effect. And the CGI parts (vehicules, crystals, and some props) is created with Blender.
Thomas- Between the two French companies there is a similar interest in the “magical girl” stories (from Japan), and since it’s a small community the two companies, of course, share the same love of animation, we joke about being cousin shows. But these are two different companies, so a crossover is unlikely to occur.