At a press event in Tokyo on Wednesday, Netflix made its clear that it is throwing its chips in with the global craving for anime content. Already home to titles like Knights of Sidonia, The Seven Deadly Sins, Blame! and recent hit Castlevania, the company outlined plans for 13 series and movies that will debut on its streaming services over the next few years. The projects — some of which have been previously announced — range from manga adaptations, to reboots of classic properties, to brand-new animated worlds.
On the slate, in alphabetical order:
A.I.C.O. Incarnation [Spring 2018, Global]
Studio: Bones | Director: Kazuya Murata
From the creative team behind My Hero Academia and the director of Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos come an original bio sci fi action series. In Japan in the year 2035, an accident known as the “Burst” occurs during a research project, spawning an out-of-control artificial life form called “Matter” that has spread throughout the Kurobe Gorge. The research city that was once hailed as the hope for humanity is cordoned off by the government. Two years later, 15-year-old Aiko Tachibana, who lost her family in the Burst, learns something unbelievable from Yuya Kanzaki, a new student at her school. A secret is hidden within her body, and the answer to the puzzle lies at the “Primary Point” that was the center of the Burst. When boy meets girl with the fate of humanity in their hands, what new truth will come to light?
B: The Beginning [Spring 2018, Global]
Studio: Production I.G | Directors: Kazuto Nakazawa (original concept), Yoshinobu Yamakawa
Formerly titled “Perfect Bones,” this original 12-episode suspense drama is set in a world powered by advanced technology, where crime and action unfold in the archipelagic nation of Cremona. Koku, the protagonist. Keith, the legendary investigator of the royal police force RIS. A mysterious criminal organization. A wide variety of characters race through the fortified city as it is beset by the serial killer, Killer B, and a chain of crimes. Nakazawa also serves as character designer and key animation supervisor; Rui Kuroki is producer; screenplay by Katsunari Ishida.
Studio: TMS Entertainment
Based on the original manga series by Keisuke Itagaki (more than 63 million copies printed), the 26-episode show centers on Baki Hanma, who trains with an intense focus to become strong enough to surpass his father, Yujiro Hanma, the strongest fighter in the world. Five of the world’s most violent and brutal death row inmates are gathering to face Baki. Their objective is to taste defeat — their unmatched strength and skill have led them to grow bored of life itself, and they now seek out Baki in the hopes that he can overwhelm and utterly crush them. In this crisis, other underground martial art warriors gather to fight by Baki’s side: Kaoru Hanayama, Gouki Shibukawa, Retsu Kaioh, and Doppo Orochi. An epic showdown between violent death row inmates and Baki and his friends begins!
Cannon Busters [TBA]
Studio: Manga Ent. Ltd., Nada Holdings, Satelight | Creator/Director/EP: LeSean Thomas
From the creator of Children of Ether, the 12-episode series follows the adventures and exploits of S.A.M, a high-end, royal-class friendship droid who’s joined by a quirky, discarded maintenance robot and a brash, deadly fugitive. Together, the unlikely trio embarks on an unforgettable journey in a fantastic and dangerous world in search of S.A.M’s best friend, the heir to a powerful kingdom under siege. Thomas writes with Natasha Allegri (creator, Bee & Puppycat), Anne Toole (The Witcher videogame), Nilah Magruder (M.F.K.) and others. Matt Wayne (Justice League Unlimited, Niko & The Sword of Light) is story editor.
Children of the Whales [2018, Global exc. Japan]
Studio: J.C.Staff | Director: Kyohei Ishiguro
Adapted from Abi Umeda’s hit manga. In a world covered by oceans of sand, 513 people live in complete isolation on the “Mud Whale,” an island-like ship adrift on the sand. Chakuro, the island’s archivist endowed with special powers, meets a mysterious girl named Rikosu as he investigates an abandoned ship that drifted up to the Mud Whale one day. It is the first time anyone on the island has made contact with someone from the outside world, but is it an auspicious sign that a new world awaits? Character design by Haruko Iizuka, art direction by Toshiharu Mizutani (Moonflower).
Devilman: Crybaby [Spring 2018, Global]
Studio: Science SARU | Director: Masaaki Yuasa
A 10-episode series based on the iconic ‘70s manga by Go Nagai and directed by anime maverick Yuasa (Lu Over the Wall; The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl). The protagonist Akira Fudo learns from his best friend, Ryo Asuka, that an ancient race of demons has returned to take back the world from humans. Ryo tells Akira that the only way to defeat the demons is to incorporate their supernatural powers, and suggests that he unite with a demon himself. Akira succeeds in transforming into Devilman, who possesses both the powers of a demon and the soul of a human … the battle begins. Screenplay by Ichiro Okouchi.
Fate/Apocrypha [US & Canada: Nov. 7; Global exc. Japan: Dec. 2]
Studios: ANIPLEX, A-1 Pictures | Director: Yoshiyuki Asai
Fourteen Heroic Spirits gather for an apocryphal Holy Grail War. In a city called Fuyuki, seven magi and their Heroic Spirits once clashed in a Holy Grail War. But amid the chaos of the Second World War, a magus made off with the Grail. Decades later, the Yggdmillennia clan holds the Grail high and secedes from the Mage’s Association, declaring their independence. Angered by the move, the Association sends assassins after them, only to have them wiped out by a Yggdmillennia Servant. The choice is made to fight Servants with Servants, and the Holy Grail War system is expanded to two factions of seven Servants each. A Holy Grail War of unprecedented scale — a Great Holy Grail War — begins in Trifas, Romania. Based on the light novel adaptation of TYPE-MOON’s Fate/stay night game written by Yuuichiro Higashide, with original character design by Ototsugu Konoe.
Godzilla: Monster Planet [Fall 2017]
Studio: Polygon Pictures | Directors: Kobun Shizuno, Hiroyuki Seshita
The first anime movie based on the classic monster franchise takes the franchise into uncharted territory — a harsh world of the future in which Godzilla has dominated the Earth for the past 20,000 years, and a fateful final confrontation with mankind looms. Original story and screenplay by Gen Urobuchi (Psycho-Pass, Fate/Zero) and Sadayuki Murai. The feature will arrive on Netflix following its theatrical debut in Japan on Nov. 17 through Toho. Last year, Hideaki Anno’s live-action Shin Godzilla earned $82.5 million in the US alone.
Kakegurui [2018, Global exc. Japan]
Studio: MAPPA | Director: Yuichiro Hayashi
In this 12-episode series based on the manga by Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura, there is one absolute rule in gambling — at the end of the day, there is a winner and a loser. The winner gains riches and prestige, while the loser is branded a failure and left with nothing. In the silence leading up to the moment that separates winners and losers, instincts are sharpened and desires reach the point of ecstasy. This is a harsh microcosm of life in a capitalist society. Why are people captivated by a world filled with risk? What lies beyond the madness? As the class system of modern society crumbles, an unprecedented adrenaline-pumping anime sweeps the world. Character design by Manabu Akita; art direction by Haruka Matsuda and Masanobu Nomura; CGI direction by Shin Jaehoon.
Knights of the Zodiac: SAINT SEIYA [TBA]
Studio: Toei Animation | Director: Yoshiharu Ashino
Based on the manga by Masami Kurumada, the 12-episode series follows modern day adventures of young warriors called “Knights” who are sworn protectors of the reincarnated Greek goddess Athena. Each Knights wears a powerful armor based on their chosen zodiac constellation, and are called Knights of the Zodiac. They aid Athena in her battle against powerful Olympian gods who are bent on destroying the humankind. Eugene Son (Avengers Assemble) is story editor & head writer. Character design by Terumi Nishii, armor design by Takashi Okazaki.
Lost Song [2018, Global]
Studios: Liden Films, Dwango | Direction & Screenplay: Junpei & Morita
Featuring the voices of J-pop princesses Yukari Tamura and Konomi Suzuki, the 12-episode series hinges on Rin (Suzuki), an energetic girl who loves to eat and lives in a verdant frontier village; and Finis (Tamura), a songstress living in solitude deep within the royal palace. Both share a special power no other person has. A miraculous power that can heal wounds, create water and stir the wind — the power of song. Guided by destiny, the two young women each face an arduous journey with the power of song. The shadow of war looms over the kingdom, tainting even the miraculous songs with the blood of innocents. Loved ones meet their deaths as silent screams echo through a stone prison. As two destinies intersect, will the final song be one of despair, hope or …? Original character design by Tomonori Fukuda; music by Yusuke Shirato with lyrics by Aki Hata.
Since its sales launch by San-X in 2003, Rilakkuma (a portmanteau of Japanese words for “relax” and “bear”) has enjoyed immense popularity, and is now being brought to life in stop-motion for its first animated series (13 episodes) in honor of the character’s 15th anniversary. Rilakkuma is a soft toy bear who showed up one day to live with an office worker named Kaoru. He spends his days lounging around the apartment. Although there’s a zipper on his back, what’s inside is a mystery. He loves pancakes, rice omelets, custard pudding and “dango” rice dumplings. His friends are Kaoru’s pet bird Kiiroitori and a small white bear cub named Korilakkuma who also showed up out of the blue.
Sword Gai: The Animation [Spring 2018, Global]
A weapon that has drawn the blood of countless victims becomes legend, and at times takes on a life of its own. When such a weapon’s human host is filled with hate and murderous intent, he becomes a demonic combination of weapon and man that thirsts only for slaughter. An organization has faced these dangerous beings over the centuries. A young man named Gai is destined to live as a weapon. As humans are enthralled by their weapons’ power, epic battles unfold with the fate of humanity in the balance in this battle action fantasy. Based on the manga by Toshiki Inoue, Osamu Kine, and Keita Amamiya, the series has a screenplay by Toshiki Inoue and was originally reported in 2014 to be a production of DLE Inc. and Fields.