Anime Fans Have a Lot to Look Forward To!
Netflix has been making a concentrated effort to up their anime game over the last few years. They’ve aired modern fan favorites like Attack on Titan and One Punch Man, and they’ve also included some of yesteryear’s best titles like Rurouni Kenshin, Naruto, Bleach, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Plus, there’s been a growing number of original anime that made their western debut exclusively on Netflix. Some of these have included the superb Devilman: Crybaby and Castlevania (both of which made our Top Anime of 2018 list), solid productions like B: The Beginning and Blame!, and some truly soul-sucking disappointments like Swordgai the Animation. It’s safe to safe – Netflix is truly vested in the Otaku world at this point.
To drive that point even further home, this week, Netflix announced several new series that will air on the streaming giant in the coming year The various series represent some new IPs, reboots, and new entries to old favorites. Check out the anime titles coming soon from Netflix!
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045
The truth is, we don’t know a whole lot about this one at this point. But the simple fact that it’s Ghost in the Shell is enough to get most anime fans salivating in anticipation! What we do know for sure is that the series will be fully CGI, with animation by Production I.G., home of the GitS franchise for over 20 years. We also know that the series will be co-directed by Kenji Kamiyama, who directed the 2002 series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the follow-up series Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG, and a continuation film, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society. Sharing director duties with Kamiyama is Shinji Aramaki, whose other credits include the 2004 series Appleseed, the short film The Package from Halo Legends, and the forthcoming adaption of Ultraman for Netflix (which we’re also looking forward to).
While the series will officially continue the story started in GitS: SAC, we don’t have any specific plot details at this point. Solid State Society brought definite closure to the storyline, but left plenty of room open for future stories. It’ll be interesting to see how Kamiyama and Aramaki carry the story of Major Kusanagi, Batou, and the other members of Public Security Section 9 into the future. With a solid track record of great anime between the two of them, I have no doubt it will be worthy of the Ghost in the Shell mantle.
The most recent entry into the Ghost in the Shell saga was the 2017 Hollywood adaption starring Scarlett Johansson. That film received a lot of media attention mostly due to accusations of whitewashing (despite original series creator Masamune Shirow saying he had no problem with Scar Jo’s casting). Prior to that, the most recent anime release was 2015’s Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie, a theatrical conclusion to the reboot series Ghost in the Shell: Arise.
Shirow (who also created Appleseed) began Ghost in the Shell as a manga series in 1989 at a time when other cyberpunk manga like Akira and Battle Angel Alita were at the height of their popularity. The franchise gained extensive renown following the eponymous 1995 anime film. The first anime adaption of GitS, along with the film adaption of Akira and the hyper-violent Ninja Scroll, made western audiences realize that just because Japanese anime was, well, animated, that didn’t mean it was for kids. Ghost in the Shell is currently the most prolific and longest running cyberpunk series in history.
Gods and Heroes
There’s not much to tell about this one either sadly. Courtesy of a tweet posted yesterday by Netflix, we know that the series is being created by Powerhouse Animation, the same studio that handled Netflix’s anime adaption of Castlevania. We also know that the series will use Greek mythology for the setting and will follow, “…A young man who finds out he’s the illegitimate son of Zeus, and must now fight to save Heaven and Earth.”
The tweet also announced that actors Jason O’Mara (Batman/Bruce Wayne in several DC Animation films), Mamie Gummer (Robot Chicken), Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones; Iron Fist; Luke Cage), Claudia Christian (Babylon 5; Skyrim), and Elias Toufexis (numerous Assassin’s Creed and Deus Ex games) will lend their voices to the show. We know that O’Mara will play Zeus and Christian will play Hera, but the other actors’ roles have not been announced.
I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. On the one hand, the series was created by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, who also penned Netflix’s live-action adaption of Death Note (the quicker we let that one die, the better). That’s a definite knock against the show, for me at least. Greek mythology isn’t a genre that’s been widely explored in anime or manga. However, given that Castlevania wasn’t anime either (strictly speaking) Powerhouse Animation has proven that they can bring a Japanese flair to a western production. We’ll see how their approach to the legends of the Greek gods holds up.
A surprising announcement was that Netflix will be producing an anime adaption of the 2012 CAPCOM video game Dragon’s Dogma. Netflix also revealed that animation will be provided by Sublimation Inc. and released the following summary of the series:
“Based on a world-famous action RPG set in an open world, Dragon’s Dogma from CAPCOM will be brought to life as a Netflix original anime series. The story follows a man’s journey seeking revenge on a dragon who stole his heart. On his way, the man is brought back to life as an ‘Arisen’. An action adventure about a man challenged by demons who represent the seven deadly sins of humans.”
A retooled and improved version of the game, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, followed in 2013. A Japanese-exclusive game, Dragon’s Dogma Online, was released in 2015. The original version was met with praise from critics alike, while the retooled Dark Arisen enjoyed an even great reception after fixing issues and incorporating player feedback.
While the world of Dragon’s Dogma certainly lends itself to great anime potential, I’ll need to know a lot more before I can even begin to make an initial assessment. Sublimation specializes in CG animation, and while some of their productions have been good, others have badly missed the mark.
Altered Carbon: Resleeved
According to Netflix, this will be a spin-off series that explores the mythology already established in the first season of the live-action, original Netflix cyberpunk series Altered Carbon. Plot details about the spin-off are scarce right now.
The first season of the live-action series followed Takeshi Kovacs, a highly trained ex-mercenary and Envoy who is arrested, killed, then revived 250 years after his “death.” He’s hired by the ultra-rich Laurens Bancroft to solve a murder – his own. In the series’ mythology, human consciousness can be implanted in computer chips, called a “stack,” which can be transferred between different bodies, which are referred to as “sleeves” (hence the title). As a result, people can theoretically live forever, so long as their stack isn’t destroyed. The second season of the live-action series is currently in production.
The anime spin-off is being handled by anima Inc., a newcomer to the animation world. However, screenwriter Dai Saito, who was involved in GitS: SAC, Wolf’s Rain, and the legendary Cowboy Bebop, is penning the script. All three series are noted for their strong dialogue, pacing, and characterization. If anyone can bring a uniquely Japanese twist to the world of Altered Carbon that will resonate with fans, it’s Saito.
Aside from the fact that animation will be provided by David Production (of JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure fame), there aren’t many details available about SPRIGGAN. The series has a somewhat checkered history, even amongst diehard anime fans.
The original manga by author Hiroshi Takashige and artist Ryōji Minagawa ran from 1989 to 1996 in Japan. Three volumes of the series were released in America by Viz under the English title Striker before it was canceled due to poor sales. An anime adaption was released in Japan in 1998, followed by an American release in 2002. While it faired well in Japan, the anime received a lukewarm reception in the West. Praise was directed toward the visuals and unique sci-fi world, while criticism was directed at the convoluted plot and shallow characters.
The basic premise of the series is that, in the distant past, an ancient civilization once held complete dominion over the Earth. They brought about their own destruction through the misuse of their highly advanced technology. Before perishing, they left warnings written in ancient Hebrew that the creations they left behind should be destroyed if no benevolent use could be found for them. Flash forward to the modern day and every armed force on the planet, from national armies to guerilla factions, is seeking these lost artifacts for their own purposes. A multi-national corporation, ARCAM, deploys their elite agents, known as Spriggans, to prevent these militaristic forces from finding and using these ancient artifacts to their own ends.
I tend to agree with most reviewers from 2002. I enjoyed the Spriggan anime and thought the animation was gorgeous, but the plot was hard to follow. Sadly, I’ve never had the pleasure of reading the original manga to see how it measures up. Hopefully, this new series will bring a renewed interest to the franchise and we can get a new English release of the manga.
Vampire in the Garden
While there was a more substantial plot summary regarding this series than others, it turns out that the more that is said, the less we know. According to the Netflix press release, Vampire in the Garden is:
“A story about an unlikely friendship between human and vampire race that intertwines with the power or music.”
What the specifics of that story will be are anyone’s guess at this point.
The good news is that the series is being handled by WIT STUDIO. A subsidiary of Production I.G., WIT has several great titles under their belt already, including Attack on Titan and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. They’re also helming the upcoming anime adaption of Makoto Yukimura’s highly praised manga Vinland Saga.
I’m confident that with the proven talents of WIT behind it, Vampire in the Garden has the potential to be a strong entry into Netflix’s growing list of anime titles.
Last, but not least, Netflix will also create a series based off Mark Millar and artist Leinil Francis Yu’s Super Crooks comic book series.
Netflx describes the series as “Crime and thrills meets supernatural powers in this Millarworld title.”
The series will be developed by bones.inc whose representative director is Masahiko Minami. Minami began his career with Sunrise and has worked on a number of Gundam properties including Mobile Fighter G Gundam and Musha Kishi Commando: SD Gundam Kinkyū Shutsugeki. He’s also worked on Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, and Heroman.
Which of these series are you most excited about? Any you think will be a total bomb? Let us know in the comments below!