Some kids just disappear, and only their pictures on milk cartons prove that they once existed. But, Collin Thatcher, a fourteen-year-old African-African boy from Oakland, California, and his best friend Ralpa, a fat Tibetan boy, whose refugee family passes as Korean, discover the fate of some missing kids when they are captured for "actors" in "kiddie films," strange comic books and VR games. Ironically, they are led into a trap by a Burmese boy named Tyger who escaped from his slavery a few months before. The secret film studio lies deep underground in San Francisco's Chinatown, and the place is a twisted cartoon hell of no night or day and spying cameras, where kids are drugged to make them behave. Performance is rewarded with Happy Meals, and the ultimate punishment is being "put to sleep." Collin, Ralpa and Tyger, must not only fight their way out of this prison, but also free the other kids. With the help of an Asian youth gang, they bring down a dirty little cartoon empire.