Netflix continues to rock news outlets with more projects they are planning to work on. Nothing new really given the last couple years have seen the streaming giant expand their original content to unimaginable limits. After already announcing a slew of animated projects earlier this week, today they have announced a further five, specifically anime projects. The interesting part? Two of them are adaptations of the live-action science fiction franchises Pacific Rim and Netflix’s own Altered Carbon.
I grant you, Pacific Rim sort of crashed and burned when the sequel, this year’s Pacific Rim: Uprising, not only underperformed at the box office but was also critically panned. That being said, I would be curious to see the franchise in the style of material that, in turn, partially inspired the films to begin with, the 2013 original film in fact being inspired by the mech genre of anime. It helps the anime will have showrunners at the level of Craig Kyle, co-writer of Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, and TV writer Greg Johnson, whose show X-Men: Evolution is still one of the most highly regarded animated shows ever. The story for the Pacific Rim anime is said to follow two siblings, an idealistic teenage boy and his naïve younger sister, who are forced to pilot an abandoned Jaeger across a hostile landscape in a desperate attempt to find their missing parents.
Adding to that level of quality, Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo writer Dai Satō is penning the episodes for the Altered Carbon anime along with Tsukasa Kondo. Hailing from the animation studio Anima, the anime series will explore new elements of the story mythology. It has not been confirmed whether the show’s lead character Takeshi Kovacs or any other familiar characters will appear in the anime. This one in particular I’m excited about because I found myself very intrigued with the Netflix show. Offering a visceral dystopian story and an array of characters, I will at this point take any addition material taking place in that universe.
In addition to those two noted shows-in-development, Netflix announced three other animes. The first is based on the manga Cagaster of an Insect Cage which will be animated by the studio Gonzo, known for their work with Hellsing and Afro Samurai. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious disease, Cagaster, turns people into giant murderous insects, The original manga series follows the struggle of a young couple to stay alive. Koichi Chigira is set to direct.
The second show is Yasuke is a unique one, based on the historical samurai of the same name of African origin who fought with the feudal lord Oda Nobunaga in the late 16th century. Set to be animated by MAPPA, Yasuke will follow a retired ronin who must take up his sword when he is charged with the task of transporting a mysterious child through a war-torn Japan of mechs and magic, all the while defending the child from dark forces. Lakeith Stanfield, who had his breakout role in the FX show Atlanta, will voice the lead character while Flying Lotus will compose the music and LeSean Thomas, who worked on the popular show The Boondocks, will serve as showrunner.
Finally, the show Trese, set in a Manila where the mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding amongst humans and the lead character Alexandra Trese finds herself going head to head with a criminal underworld comprised of malevolent supernatural beings. Jay Oliva, a noted director on several of the DC Animated Original Movies, will serve as executive producer.
Admittedly, the sheer behind-the-scenes talent alone is what is drawing me in for many of these projects but given the visceral nature of anime I’m excited. But also Netflix has already proven themselves with their critically acclaimed Castlevania adaptation. If they can repeat that success with these than anime fans are in for quite a treat. Stay tuned!