Holy Cow, Look At All The New Anime Netflix Is Working On

Netflix's foray into the world of anime has been slow and steady over the years, but the company is about to make a major commitment to bringing a frankly absurd amount of new series to its service — ranging from revivals of Japanese classics to brand new shows.

Images: Netflix

Announced at an event in Tokyo this morning, Netflix outlined a slate of 13 movies and series it plans to bring to its services in Japan and across the world over the next few years, including revivals of Go Nagai's legendary anime/manga series Devilman and Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, and the previously announced Western debut of Godzilla: Monster Planet. Here's the complete list:

Cannon Busters

Written by Bee and Puppycat's Natasha Allegri, Anne Toole, Nilah Magruder and creator LeSean Thomas, Cannon Busters — which originally started off as a comic series, and then a Kickstarter-funded animated project — follows the exploits of a high-end socialising robot called S.A.M. who is forced to team up with a criminal and a lowly maintenance droid to find S.A.M.'s companion, the missing princess of a besieged Kingdom.

Devilman: Crybaby

One of the most amazingly-titled series of the lot, this new adaptation of Go Nagai's iconic manga series Devilman reimagines the earliest days of Akira Fudo's career as the Devilman, a hybrid demon and human tasked with protecting the world from an impending demonic invasion.

B: The Beginning

Originally announced as Perfect Bones last year, Production I.G.'s newest series is set in a futuristic city-state beset by an infamous serial killer, and the quest to hunt them down by members of the nation's royal police force.

Sword Gai: The Animation

An adaptation of the fantasy manga series of the same name, Sword Gai follows a orphan named Gai, whose right arm is replaced with a reforged demonic sword the young man fuses with to fight his enemies. An animated adaptation was announced back in 2014, but now it's finally emerging on Netflix.

A.I.C.O. Incarnation

This new sci-fi series from Bones — probably best known for its current work on fantastical action series My Hero Academia — follows a young girl who lost her parents in a mysterious incident known only as "The Burst" that wiped out a massive research city, as she seeks answers from within the Burst's remnants to a secret hidden within herself.

Lost Song

A 12-part fantasy series about two women — a young village girl and a songstress — who discover they have the power to cast magic through song, leading them on a quest to save their Kingdom from the brink of war.

Rilakkuma

The adorable little cartoon bear who's spent the past 15 years being plastered over cute merchandise in Japan gets his first anime, a stop-motion series that imagines the bear as the sentient stuffed animal of an overworked office drone named Kaoru.

Knights of the Zodiac: SAINT SEIYA

An adaptation of the "Galaxy War" and "Silver Saint" arcs of Masami Kurumada's famous sci-fantasy manga, about a team of guardian knights empowered by the constellations to defend the reincarnated Greek Goddess Athena from her fellow Olympian gods.

Baki

Another manga adaptation, this time of Keisuke Itagaki's Baki the Grappler, a martial arts series that follows a young man following in the footsteps of his father to train and become the strongest fighter in the world... which you apparently do by fighting the most dangerous criminals on death row?

Kakegurui

A series about ridiculously high-stakes gambling set in a cutthroat Japanese Academy dedicated to the art of playing and betting on parlour games... yes really.

Fate/Apocrypha

The Fate/Stay light novel series continues in an adaptation of the spinoff book Fate/Apocrypha, revolving around the breakout of a war between two factions of powerful mages.

Children of the Whales

An adaptation of Abi Umeda's surrealist fantasy manga about the magic-imbued inhabitants of a secretive island civilisation that roams a sea of sand, and their contact with the outside world for the first time.

Godzilla: Monster Planet

The first animated Godzilla movie to come out of Japan is making its Western debut on Netflix this year — and it's a weird one. Set 20,000 years after Godzilla ravaged the Earth and forced humanity to flee into the stars, the descendants of humankind band together to launch an all out offensive to reclaim their homeworld back from the King of Kaiju.


With all the above series expected to hit Netflix worldwide over the next year or so, suffice to say anime fans are in for a hell of a treat. Let us know what you plan to watch in the comments!


Comments

    They're not "working on" any of these. They've just bought the streaming rights so they can sit on them forever before releasing it (because Binging is the only model Netflix can handle apparently), sinking any chance of the shows being popular.

    In just about every case it's a "netflix original" because they're the first and only place to stream it legit, not because they have had any hand in making it.

      Exactly. In some ways Netflix is becoming as bad as Amazon Strike.

        They're way worse IMO. Amazon just puts it behind a Paywall. Netflix's approach is far worse.

      I don't know of any other show besides South Park that starts airing a season before it's finished. Is that common in anime?

        Depends on the production but usually the time Episode 1 is out, they probably have 4 or 5 episodes in the "can" with post production still working on remaining episodes. Its an assembly line with some studios operating on several shows a year.

        While NegZero isn't talking about that, it isn't uncommon for Anime to still be in production while the series is still airing, it's why you can get a lot of shows with sloppy animation in them that gets majorly redone in the Blu-Ray release as they've had time to fix it. I remember when Kill La Kill in it's "on the next Epsiode" segment had very little in it, and the voice over was saying "Give Studio Trigger your energy so they can finish the epsiode." Episodes of shows being delayed due to them not being done in time has happened before.

        However, on what Neg was actually talking about, Anime is always shown on TV in Japan, Usually on a weekly format, However Netflix likes to release a whole bunch of episodes at once, so people can binge it. The thing that is wrong with this is that most Anime fans are used to a subbed version of a show to be available almost immediately after the show has aired in japan, some website even offer simulcasting, meaning the subbed version is available to watch on their website at the same time it airs in Japan.

        Netflix wont do this, this happened recently with a show called "Little Witch Academia" which had a massive following and was considered to be one of the most anticipated shows of the season, Netflix had the rights to it and instead of showing the episodes when they came out in japan they held off, the show has finished in Japan and Netflix has only just recently put out the first half of it. This pisses off a lot of people who want to support the series, but are forced to Pirate it if they want to keep up.

        Netflix need to change how they treat currently airing anime that they have streaming rights to, as there's no way in hell any anime studio will let them put up episodes early, and most anime fans aren't going to use your service if they can't get episodes immediately.

        TL;DR: Netflix doesn't release Anime concurrently with it being aired in Japan, this sucks and needs to change as it is expected by Anime fans now, otherwise they will just pirate.

          The show that Netflix aired later sounds like it was on TV so it wasn't one they had exclusive rights to. Not really their fault they were not allowed to show it at the same time.

          Since these ones will be owned by them, they will be able to go up worldwide at the same time.

            ahhh i see what you mean now,

            This argument only applies for shows that are already airing in japan, yeah for the shows Netflix does produce themselves it wont matter.

            However I don't think all of the shows on this list however are produced by Netflix, and will be airing on Japanese TV before Netflix does the Binge thing again.

              Yes, none of the shows on this list look like they're actually being funded or made by Netflix. They've just bought the exclusive rights and slapped their "Netflix Original" logo on it. They do that with a ton of stuff. Their recent Smile Precure localization ("Glitter Force") for example is a "Netflix Original" despite being from 2012. Netflix didn't start producing their own content with House of Cards until 2013.

                I think the Glitter force thing might have just been them paying to have it localised? (hence the Netflix Originals mark, not sure if Precure had been localised before) So by their own weird branding rules, they put money towards its production so it's technically an "original".

                Which honestly it's the localisation that causes these delays, Netflix wouldn't dare release an animated show with their name on it (especially in the case of LWA, which appeals to all ages) without an English dub as it'll lose a lot of people not wanting to read subtitles.

                Which would be a somewhat valid excuse to release it in binge sizes except that i'm pretty sure Space Dandy had Dubbed episodes released almost concurrently with the japanese release as well? Throw some money around Netflix and get them to provide you the necessary things to make your dubs immediately if that's what is holding you back.

                Last edited 03/08/17 12:02 pm

                  It's true that LWA was likely delayed because of the dub. But by the same token, Funi are doing "simuldub" releases for most of their shows where a dubbed version of each episode is available at about a week or two delay from airing in Japan, so I don't think 6 months to do half a show is really that acceptable. Also a lot of the anime Netflix puts up closer to release is sub-only and in those cases, no excuse for it.

                  The funniest thing about the Precure -> Glitter Force localization is that they dropped the original name because it was "too Japanese" but now they're releasing Doki Doki Precure as 'Glitter Force Doki Doki'.

                  Also a quick poke around the internets reveals the original one was localized by Saban, as with everything else Netflix is just the exclusive distributor. The license for Precure reverted back to Toei this year but I imagine they'll just do the work in-house or farm it out to someone. I have no idea (haven't watched obviously) but I imagine that's probably a good thing, Saban tended to heavily over-localize stuff.

            Everything anime is on TV in Japan. That fact has nothing to do with Netflix sitting on shows. LWA is just one example, they do this with everything. In that specific case, the entire 26 episode season had finished several weeks before Netflix put up the first half (calling it "season 1" even though it's only half of season one and arbitrarily broken at the 13-episode mark). They have yet to post or even date season 2. It finished in Japan in June. Fan-made subtitled releases have been available for all episodes since June.

            This is what they always do.

            Meanwhile, there are about 30-50 anime TV series running in a given season, and the vast majority are picked up for international streaming. Of those, every service that streams these shows streams each episode within a week of it airing on TV in Japan. Because of the fact that stuff runs in 13-week blocks in Japan, discourse online is always episode by episode as well. That's the way the content is consumed. If you wait months later, unless the show is absolutely incredible, it will no longer be talked about because the majority saw it already and moved onto newer things. It's already niche content as it is, and Netflix's model basically strangles interest in a lot of stuff in its infancy.

            As to the actual question you asked, a large majority of anime is actually produced within a week or two of airing. Production or scheduling problems can even cause them to need to shove in a recap episode or similar. There's not a lot of lead time at all.

          Netflix can do weekly releases and has with other shows it runs, eg. Designated Survivor. Whether they choose to do that here remains to be seen, but it's not assumed to release in batch.

            Which is what makes it even more baffling, it feels like Netflix thinks that Anime watchers don't know that a show is already airing and expect us to be ignorant until they release it.

              It may be that they feel the viewer numbers aren't enough to justify the staggered release schedule. I suspect western anime audiences are probably an order or two of magnitude smaller than a blockbuster series like Designated Survivor.

              It would probably be worth writing to them or signing a petition or something though. It's not a problem at all when it's a Netflix original, but if it's a new show with a staggered release on other networks I think they should at least be trying to match that.

            It's baffling that they do it periodically for some random shows and are happy to do it in Japan, but won't do it for the audience that actually really wants to consume it that way.

              I mentioned above in my reply to Funk above, I think their reasoning is if they stand to lose a ton of audience by not matching broadcast dates they'll stagger it, otherwise they'll release it in batch. For Netflix originals batch is great, for anything older than 'airing right now' batch is great, but for currently airing programs I really think they should match air dates.

                Agree, but at the same time if they're serious about courting anime viewers to their platform - which presumably they are since they're licensing high-profile stuff - then at some point they're going to have to realize their model is actually working against them.

        typically in anime the latest shows or "simulcasts" get aired episode by episode within a day or so of the original Japanese release of that episode. This is so common it has become quite an issue within the community that netflix is buying up rights to shows then sitting on them until the whole show has finished airing.

      I never expected a streaming service to be so bad at releases, but when the Japanese Netflix does weekly episides in line with the Anime Quarter season to find out the rest of the world has to wait up to 3 months for the Binge SUCKS!!! I also liked having my anime in a single service now its 4 services now running exclusived... that just promotes piracy and thats not good for the industry as a whole.

        Yep, the fragmentation it's causing really sucks too. I thought it was getting better after the Crunchyroll / Funimation co-streaming deal (CR does subs, Funi does dubs) but then Amazon and Netflix started their aggressive push into the market :(

      Generally the "Netflix Original" will only apply to shows they actually put their hand (money) in and helped produce, if it just has "Netflix" on it without the original branding, it's as you said, they just paid for exclusive streaming rights.

      As the producer of Cannon Busters I'd like to attempt to set the record straight on this forum, particularly in reply to Negative Zero and some of the points they have raised. I cannot speak on behalf of any of the other productions announced by Netflix on Wednesday, but I can assure you that Netflix is an integral production partner on Cannon Busters. Netflix is not going to sit on any of these shows. I really don't understand this accusation. Why would Netflix buy a show to squat on it and not deliver it to their subscribers. Netflix has over 104 million subscribers globally. Crunchyroll has 1 million global subscribers and attracts an audience of up to 20M unique visitors a year via it's ad-supported service. That's a highly concentrated micro-niche audience of dedicated anime fans, which is amazing. It is important to differentiate the needs of the CR/global anime streaming audience from those of the global Netflix subscriber base. I believe Netflix are as aware of the anime fandom's appetite for simulcasts and the cultural and experiential reasons why that is important. At this stage in the game I think it's childish to abandon a show because you may not be able to experience it in a linear fashion. If every single anime fan believed this is the only way to enjoy anime why is there still a sizeable home video business for anime? Can't we all agree that if a show is good it deserves viewing one way or another? Can't fans be happy that some of their favourite studios and anime creatives are finding alternative ways to bring their original ideas and adaptations to a global audience? I hope you will watch all of the new anime Netflix will be launching between now and Christmas 2018 and I hope that you enjoy some of them.

        Your situation is pretty different though, as a kickstarted animation adaption of a western comic book. It's not broadcasting on Japanese TV ahead of time or anything. You actually should be upset at Netflix diluting the Originals branding by slapping it onto stuff they didn't have a hand in.

        Also, no one abandons the shows Netflix decides not to simulcast. Subtitled versions are available, just not legitimately. It literally pushes the enthusiast market (which as you point out is a quite sizeable) away from legit sources.

      Thank you! I hate when people see Netflix originals on the airing episodes and they immediately think Netflix made them lol.

    That Baki image looks 90's as heck. Definitely a watch for me XD

    The reason for Netflix waiting until after a show finishes airing in Japan, could be the studio/network not wanting them to run their programs immediately after broadcast. Netflix ran a Canadian sci fi show "Between" the day after it aired in Canada, on the US service. If they could put on currently airing animes weekly, I don't think they'd resist doing so.

    Not a mention that Devilman Crybaby is helmed by Masaaki Yuasa? I've never been a Devilman fan and almost didn't click play on that trailer. Now I know is Yuasa's project I'm looking forward to it.

    Also, I had to cringe a bit when the writer said that Bones is mostly known by MHA. They have such a much richer history!

    Last, Baki the Grappler already had one anime adaptation. It was godawaful and I'm not really expecting much of this one either, as much of the awfulness comes from the source.

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