2018 is a big year for Netflix. The streaming giant is rapidly ramping up its original productions and is well on the way to becoming one of the largest media spenders in 2018, with a projected budget of $6 Billion dedicated to content creation.
As we speak, Netflix is working on original productions across 15 countries, including Italy, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. The company is also currently co-producing content in over 50 countries, apart from its licensing regimen.
“An important part of that global catalogue is Anime,” said Greg Peters, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, as he kicked-off the announcement of new original anime titles heading to the streaming portal in 2018. The announcements were made at an event in Tokyo, marking 100 years of Anime in Japan.
At the event, Peters acknowledged Anime’s huge popularity in Japan, with over 50 percent users in the country streaming content from the genre. However, he also noted that a majority of anime content (90 percent) is streamed out of Japan, with a growing fan base in the US, Asia, and other global geographies.
Netflix is working with the creators behind the upcoming ‘Ghost In The Shell’ anime and Emmy Award winning american anime series ‘Transformers: Prime’, for some of their premium animation offerings of 2018. Besides getting big ticket animation studios on board, the company is also focussing on mastering most of this content in Dolby Vision for enhanced picture quality and Dolby Atmos for a 360 degree audio experience.
So without further ado, here is all the great anime action, some of it translating straight from popular Japanese manga, headed to Netflix over the next year.
Based on the hugely popular Konami game franchise, Castlevania has already seen the release of its animation series on Netflix. The show will return for a second season, production for which is already underway. Executive Producer of the series, Adi Shankar, said that he turned down an opportunity to create a live-action version of Castlevania much before the Netflix anime was conceived. A fan of the game franchise himself, Shankar dropped several hints about what to expect from season 2 of the series. One can expect a lot more of the classic Castlevania whip action and also some new character additions. There was a conversation that hinted at a partnership between protagonist Trevor Belmont and the son of Dracula A.K.A Alucard. There’s a chance that the storytellers are heading towards a major plot reveal in season 2. We think it could have something to do with The Lords of Shadow reboot of the game franchise, where Alucard is Trevor Belmont, son of Gabriel Belmont who becomes Dracula at the end of the events of the game.
As you may already know, Netflix is reviving the famous Japanese Kaiju manga and giving it it’s first ever anime release in the form of Godzilla: Monster Planet. The anime is set in a futuristic world where Godzilla has been king for 20,000 years. A spaceship with 4000 people and 4 main protagonists returns to Earth after it finds no home in the galaxy, only to be welcomed by Godzilla, who is now ruling the roost. The anime will be a story of revenge against the Kaiju and his havoc raging monstrosity. It is being made using CG animation, as opposed to the traditional hand-drawn Japanese animation. We had a chance to visit Polygon Pictures, the studio behind Godzilla: Monster Planet and all we can tell you right now is that the series will feature some extremely detailed elements, which took animators a lot of time and effort to create. Unlike most Netflix originals, Godzilla the anime will first see a theatrical release in Japan, followed by its global streaming debut on the platform. The anime will be rendered at a standard japanimation rate of 24 frames per second. Release dates for the anime series are yet to be announced.
Set to release in Spring 2018, B: The Beginning comes from the house of Production I.G., the creators behind the upcoming Ghost In The Shell anime. The series is based in a world of advanced technology, with a serial killer, ‘Killer B’, on the loose. The plot thickens as an investigator from the royal police force tracks down a criminal organisation operating in a setting that merges science fiction and fantasy.
Bones, the Japanese animation studio behind the two adaptations of Full Metal Alchemist manga and the CowBoy Bebop feature film, is now collaborating with Netflix to produce sci-fi anime A.I.C.O Incarnation. It’s 2035 and an accident called ‘the Burst’ causes an uncontrollable Artificial Intelligence form called ‘Matter’ to escape out of a research city, once hailed as humanity’s hope. The fate of humanity now rests with a 15 year old student and her friend. The anime series will feature 12 episodes, 24 minutes each, and will be released in Spring 2018.
Sword Gai, the dark fantasy Japanese manga series written by Toshiki Inoue, will see an anime release as a Netflix original in 2018. The story revolves around a boy name Gai who has a demonic sword for an artificial arm. As Gai becomes one with the evil sword, he faces countless battles with which rests the fate of humanity itself. The anime series will be premiered on Netflix in Spring 2018.
Based on the classic supernatural manga by Go Nagai, Devilman: Crybaby is the story of a boy named Akira, who embodies a devil to fight off demons from the underworld in order to save the human race. Akira transforms into the Devilman and the story of his struggles as part demon, part human unfold over a series of 10 episodes of 25 minutes each. The anime premieres on Netflix in 2018.
Cannon Busters comes from American anime producer, director and creator, LeSean Thomas. Thomas is known for animation titles like Legend of Korra (Nickelodeon), Ben 10 Alien Force, The Batman, Green Lantern: First Flight, Superman Batman: Public Enemies and more. Cannon Busters is a comic book written and pencilled by Thomas himself, and it is now coming to Netflix as a 12-episode original anime series. The main character of Cannon Busters is ‘SAM’, an expensive robot that goes on a journey to save her best friend. She is assisted by ‘Philly: The Kid’, a wanted criminal and the only human character in the show who is also immortal. Another discarded maintenance droid joins the gang to complete the trio in this action-adventure fantasy. Cannon Busters is also headed to Netflix, but its streaming date is yet to be announced.
With over 63 million printed copies of the original manga, Baki is an action anime series headed to Netflix sometime in 2018. The series is named after its protagonist Baki, who yearns to become the strongest fighter in the world and faces 5 violent death row inmates in an epic showdown and a fight to the finish. From what we saw at the event, Baki could be a great 26-episode watch for martial arts fans.
Apart from the above titles which we are quite excited to watch, Netflix also announced a host of other anime series headed to the platform. These include - Kakegurui, a high-school drama; Children of the Whales, an adaptation from the fantasy manga with the same name; Knights of Zodiac, a modern day adventure series around the protectors of Greek goddess Athena; Lost Song, a story about two girls who can create water, stir the wind and heal wounds; Fate/Apocrypha, when fourteen spirits unite for an apocryphal Holy Grail war; Blazing Transfer Students, a manga-based school drama; and lastly, the Rilakkuma stop motion series based on the character first created by Japanese stationery company San-X.