Netflix's Promising New Anime Offerings Include Godzilla, Fate/Stay And More

Netflix will partner with Japanese anime studios to bring exclusive original titles to its streaming service either late this year or early next year, Netflix announced today at the 2017 Anime Slate event in Tokyo.

This news comes on the heels of Sony’s latest acquisition of anime streaming giant Funimation. Nice strategery, Netflix team. Over 50 percent of Netflix users watch anime in Japan, while 90 percent of anime viewers on Netflix are from outside of Japan.

"You add up all of that viewing, it represents a significant opportunity for the category," said Greg Peters, Netflix's chief product officer. "We expect to grow anime viewing, here in Japan and the rest of the world as we continue to invest in high-quality content."

Netflix has experimented with streaming exclusive recent anime, like Ajin and Knights of Sidonia, as well as rounding out its substantial back catalog of anime offerings, but its exclusive series aired on Japanese TV first. By contrast, many titles on Netflix’s upcoming slate of a dozen new anime will either premiere exclusively on Netflix or be available for streaming shortly after airing in Japan.

A handful of these anime are slated for spring 2018. It’s actually a really exciting list of manga adaptations, reboots and even some originals.

Here’s the tea on Netflix’s upcoming anime offerings:

A.I.C.O. Incarnation

A new sci-fi series from Studio Bones, the folks responsible for blockbuster action series My Hero Academia, A.I.C.O. follows the story of a young girl who lost her family in an event known as “the Burst.” She seeks answers at the Burst’s epicenter, a former research city that was completely annihilated. The series is 12 episodes long and will debut on Netflix in spring 2018.

B: The Beginning

B: The Beginning anime
B: The Beginning, formerly Perfect Bones, is set to debut globally on Netflix in Spring 2018. Photo: (c) Production I.G.
From Production I.G., the folks behind Kuroko’s Basketball, Haikyu!!, Attack on Titan, Psycho-Pass and more, this suspense drama show promises plenty of action as it focuses on a serial killer known as Killer B and their slew of crimes in the archipelago nation of Cremona. This series is 12 episodes long and debuts on Netflix in spring 2018. The anime was formerly known as Perfect Bones.
 

Baki

baki manga
An image from the Baki manga, which will be adapted into an anime by TMS Entertainment. Photo: (c) Akita Shoten

Baki is based on a popular manga that follows Baki Hanma, a fighter training to surpass the legend of his world-famous father. Baki faces off against “five of the world’s most violent and brutal death row inmates” and attracts underground martial art warriors to his own side. The series will be 26 episodes long and is produced by TMS Entertainment, the studio behind Hunter x Hunter, Serial Experiments Lain and more.

Cannon Busters

cannon busters
Cannon Busters is created, directed and executive produced by LeSean Thomas (Children of Ether). Photo: (c) Manga Entertainment Ltd, Nada Holdings, Satelight

From the creative mind of LeSean Thomas (Children of Ether), this series is about S.A.M., a friendship droid joined by a discarded maintenance robot and a deadly fugitive who embark on a journey to find S.A.M’s best friend: the heir to a beseiged kingdom. The series is 12 episodes long and is produced by Manga Entertainment Ltd, Nada Holdings and Satelight (Macross Delta), though there is no release date yet.

Children of the Whales

children of the whales anime
Children of the Whales will debut everywhere except Japan on Netflix in 2018. Photo: (c) J.C.Staff

This series is adapted from a hit manga of the same name and takes place in a world covered by oceans of sand, where 513 people live in total isolation on an island-like ship called “Mud Whale.” The island’s archivist, Chakuro, meets a mysterious girl named Rikosu. It’s the first time anyone on the island has made contact with someone from the outside world. J.C. Staff ( Revolutionary Girl Utena, Flying Witch ) is handling the production, which will debut everywhere except Japan on Netflix in 2018.

(I assume “debut everywhere except Japan” means “airs on Japanese TV and then hits Netflix for everybody” rather than being a strictly Netflix premiere, but correct me if I’m wrong.)

Devilman Crybaby

Based on a 1972 anime, Devilman Crybaby tells the story of ancient demons invading Earth. The protagonist resolves to become one with a demon and use their power against them to save the planet. The series, a Science SARU production, is 10 episodes long and launches globally on Netflix in spring 2018.

Fate/Apocrypha

Yet another entry in the infinite, endlessly popular Fate/Stay universe, Fate/Apocrypha follows 14 heroic spirits who split into two factions and battle in an epic, magical, medieval-era war known as the Great Holy Grail War. The 25-episode show is an ANIPLEX/A-1 Pictures production and premieres on Nov. 7 in the U.S. and Canada. It premieres everywhere else, except Japan, on Dec. 2. (I still can’t tell if “except Japan” means it airs on Japanese TV first and then hits Netflix or what.)

Godzilla: Monster Planet

godzilla monster planet
Godzilla: Monster Planet 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. Photo: (c) Polygon Pictures

This is the first feature-length anime version of Godzilla: big deal here, folks! This anime Godzilla movie from Polygon Pictures (Knights of Sidonia) takes us into a grim future where Godzilla has dominated Earth for 20,000 years, and a final confrontation against humanity ensues. This sounds absolutely sickeningly awesome, a really neat take on a gritty messed-up future, and I can’t wait. Netflix does not confirm whether or not this is an exclusive premiere.

Kakegurui

Based on a manga of the same name that’s also known as “Compulsive Gambler,” this anime takes place in a private academy where wealthy students bet their fortunes on a variety of games. Losers are forced into slavery while winners rule the school. A new student is a reckless gambling addict who does it for the thrill, causing bedlam amongst the school’s students and administration. MAPPA (Kids on the Slope, Yuri on Ice) is producing 12 episodes of this show, which premieres sometime in 2018 everywhere except Japan.

Mark my words, this will be one to watch out for and probably one of my most-anticipated shows in this whole announcement.

Knights of the Zodiac: SAINT SEIYA

saint seiya netflix
KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC: SAINT SEIYA follows modern day adventures of young warriors called "Knights", who are sworn protectors of the reincarnated Greek goddess Athena. Photo: (c) Toei Animation

Oh hell yes. A reboot of a hallowed old franchise, this show takes place in a modern-day setting and follows warriors known as Knights who are sworn to protect the reincarnated goddess Athena. Because each Knight’s armor is based on a zodiac sign, they are known as Knights of the Zodiac. They help Athena protect humanity from vengeful Olympian gods. The series is 12 episodes long and has no release date, but is produced by Toei Animation. (This is not listed as a Netflix exclusive.)

Lost Song

lost song
Lost Song, one of the dozen new anime Netflix has announced. Photo: (c) LIDENFILMS x Dwango

This anime is a 100 percent original fantasy story about two girls with unique powers: they can sing songs that heal wounds, summon winds and even create water. Their kingdom faces impending war. Presumably they will try to stop this war and prevent the harm of any innocents, loved ones, pets, wheat fields and so on. This sweet and wholesome-sounding series is 12 episodes long and is a LIDENFILMS/Dwango co-production, scheduled to debut globally on Netflix sometime in 2018.

Rilakkuma Series

Rilakkuma the man the myth the legend
A Rilakkuma show is coming on Netflix soon. Photo: Rilakkuma © 2017 SAN-X Co., Ltd

This show is not yet titled, but features the famous Rilakkuma character whose meccha-kawaii ursine visage adorns pretty much any bit of merchandise you can imagine. This is Rilakkuma’s very first anime, a stop-motion production with 13 episodes and no scheduled release date yet. It follows an office drone named Kaoru who interacts with Rilakkuma, Other Rilakkuma and a pet bird.

Not to be a capitalist pig or anything, but I love Rilakkuma. I’m ready for you, Rilakkuma! This is not a Netflix exclusive.

Sword Gai: The Animation

sword gai
The series will debut globally on Netflix in Spring 2018. Photo: (c) HERO'S/SWORDGAI PROJECT

Sword Gai is an epic action-fantasy centered around Gai, a fellow with the remnants of a demon sword forged into his artificial arm. The legendary sword has a mean, murderous mind of its own after all the blood it’s tasted, and Gai just kind of has to deal with that. The series is set to debut globally on Netflix in spring 2018.

What do you think of Netflix’s new anime slate? Are you looking forward to seeing what kind of impact Netflix will make on the anime industry with exclusives and originals like these? Which of these series are you most looking forward to? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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