Off the heels of global launches including Aggretsuko (great!), ULTRAMAN (very good!), and 7SEEDS (still need to see! Or do I?), Netflix today returned to Anime Expo for the third consecutive year to preview its growing global anime slate.
The panel featured four creators from around the world who are working on upcoming Netflix original anime series: LeSean Thomas (Cannon Busters, The Boondocks), Alvaro Rodriguez (Seis Manos, Machete, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series), Jay Oliva (Trese, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Flash), and Shuzo Shiota (Levius, Transformers Prime, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Lost in Oz). Netflix shared news and dropped new assets associated with several upcoming projects:
- Cannon Busters, a new anime series from Thomas, will launch globally on 15 August 2019.
- Seis Manos, from Viz Media and Powerhouse Animation, will star Aislinn Derbez, Mike Colter, Jonny Cruz, Angelica Vale, Vic Chao and Danny Trejo.
- New images from upcoming anime series Levius, created by world renowned anime producers Polygon Pictures.
- Oliva, creator and director of Trese, the Netflix anime series based on the Filipino supernatural comic book of the same name, spoke about the project which is currently in production.
Netflix is the global home of beloved anime titles also including Castlevania, Devilman Crybaby, GODZILLA: The Planet Eater, BAKI, Violet Evergarden, B: The Beginning, and The Seven Deadly Sins. In the last year, Netflix has also announced several upcoming anime titles based on global IP, including Magic: The Gathering, Pacific Rim, Altered Carbon,
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, and Transformers – War for Cybertron, all of which are currently in development.
Cannon Busters follows the adventures and exploits of S.A.M, a high-end 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 kingdom under siege.
The series hails from creator, director, and executive producer LeSean Thomas. Originally from the South Bronx, Thomas now lives in Meguro, Tokyo, Japan, where he works as a television animation producer and director. His most recent project is Crunchyroll’s anime series Children of Ether. Thomas worked on the Adult Swim show The Boondocks which was nominated for an NAACP image award and won an honorary Peabody Award. He also worked as a television animation artist and producer for Cartoon Network, Sony, Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon.
WHAT WE SAW: A trailer that looks real dope and had interesting characters, invigorating battles, a slick aesthetic and dope beats to back it up.
Cannon Busters will launch globally on Netflix on August 15th.
Levius – The year is 1842 of the New Era. Five years have passed since the Fosanian Conflict, a dispute for territorial drilling rights of Agartha water, came to an end. It is an era where “hypersteam” is used to power a variety of things, and the martial art of metal boxing, where machines are fused with the human body for combat, is at the height of its prosperity.
The story follows Levius; a young man whose parents became casualties of war. He is taken in by his uncle Zack, and it is there that Levius begins to immerse himself in the world of metal boxing as if led by fate itself, and his innate ability for the martial art blossoms.
Levius rises up the ranks to Grade 3, taking down his formidable rivals one by one, as a mysterious man by the name of Dr. Clown watches over him, his lips curled up into an audacious smile. Meanwhile, memories of the war continue to haunt the depths of Levius’s mind…
WHAT WE SAW: Not enough, and the audience “aww’d” when the steampunk boxing match ended so abruptly. Fans of Megalobox, Bioshock aesthetics and a dense plot are sure to eat this one up. I’m expecting a slew of twists and surprising character development in Levius.
Set in Mexico in the 1970’s era, Seis Manos centers on three orphaned martial arts warriors who join forces with a DEA agent and a Mexican Federale to battle for justice after their beloved mentor is murdered on the streets of their tiny border town.
The series stars the following and will launch in Fall 2019:
Aislinn Derbez (La Casa de las Flores) – As relentless a scholar as she is a Kung Fu warrior, Isabela believes in order, sees justice at the heart of the universe, and sees herself as duty bound to be a living embodiment of that justice.
Mike Colter (Luke Cage) – Brister is a DEA agent sent on a mission to Mexico by his racist boss, and he has spent his life proving to “The Man” that he’s worth a damn by consistently outperforming him. Brister is talented as hell, smarter than most, and he knows it.
Jonny Cruz (Overwatch) – At once a brutal fighter and a big ol’ silly, charming oaf, Jesus is the middle child of the Manos. He lives for pleasure, hates conflict, and just wants his hard headed brother and sister to get along.
Angelica Vale (Jane The Virgin) – The first female graduate out of her police academy, Garcia was assigned to police the sleepy town of San Simon by a police force who couldn’t see past her gender to her impressive capabilities. She will soon get a chance to prove her worth in ways she could never possibly have imagined.
Vic Chao (Mortal Kombat X) – A wise, calm, happy old warrior. Chiu’s past is cloaked in mystery. He is adopted father and mentor to the three Manos, training them not just in the deadly art of Kung Fu, but also the esoteric path to enlightenment and ultimate wisdom that is the Dao.
Danny Trejo (Machete) – Having grown up where only the strong seem to survive, El Balde has lived his life in relentless pursuit of proof of his superior worth. Vicious and unrelenting, El Balde takes sadistic pleasure in the misery he causes as he climbs over a mountain of bodies to the top of Mexico’s bloody, nascent drug empire.
WHAT WE SAW: Six minutes of footage, including the OS. Typically I’m not a fan of dubs, but this will be one English/Spanish dub I certainly won’t wanna miss. The line-up is incredible and offers a unique Spanish spaghetti western, or as creator Alvaro Rodriguez put so humorously, “Mexican Sushi”. Despite the new setting, Seis Manos is gonna offer plenty of shonen action that fans are comfortable with.
Trese – Set in Manila where the mythical creatures of Philippine folklore live in hiding amongst humans, Alexandra Trese finds herself going head to head with a criminal underworld comprised of malevolent supernatural beings. This anime series is based on the Philippine graphic novel by the same name, created by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo.
WHAT WE SAW: Lots of pretty environment stills and drawn-out explanations. Oliva has quite the animated pedigree (Wonder Woman, The Legend of Korra), so there’s no doubt that this one will be good; I just don’t know if it’ll wind up my — and many other weebs’ — cup of tea. Seeing how Oliva’s work is the least “anime” of the four panel guests, some fans started to hit the exits during his answer to the final question of what inspired him.
Notwithstanding, this was a very solid panel but kinda empty. This is Netflix– how is this “kinda empty”? Easy. The presentation took place on Sunday and in the JW Marriott down the street. While Netflix has a slew of impressive anime originals, everything delivered here was relatively unknown. It also would’ve been nice for Netflix — far more popular a service than cable TV right now — to offer panel attendees additional incentive, a free shirt, a pin, a limited poster, something. Of course we’re talking about a company that hardly promotes anything beyond giant billboards and doesn’t ever need to– because they are fucking Netflix.
In the end, what weebs did see they were happy with and Cannon Busters and Seis Manos look like sure-shot animated hits (how great would it have been if we actually got to screen the pilots here??). I’m psyched for the upcoming line-up; I just wish Netflix gave Expo goers more of a reason to come “chill”.
Panel = 3.25/5 Bibles.
-Press Release Info provided by Netflix; Travis Moody on the commentary