Given Netflix’s goal of taking over the streaming world, it is not surprising that their fiery eyes would turn towards anime. Now, this works out for fans in giving us access to more series’ than we might have had before. Just this year, Netflix announced a giant list of new projects that should be hitting the site in 2018, but there are several anime series already there worth checking out.
“Knights of Sidonia”
This show has been on Netflix since 2014, or as we all know it now, pre-“Iron Fist” Netflix, a much happier place. Based on the manga series by Tsutomu Nihei, it is a mecha anime set in the future, which I know is a shocking premise for an anime. In 3394, humanity is consigned to massive colony ships due to Earth was destroyed by the Gauna alien race. The Sidonia, based on Japanese culture, is one of these ships, and has to deal with Gauna threat. The answer lies in Gardes, the mecha which are piloted by, in another anime shock, younger people.
Even with a similar premise as other anime, it is still different in its own way. The show was nominated for the Tokyo Anime Award “Animation of the Year” in 2015. “Knights of Sidonia” was also praised by Hideo Kojima for its originality and additional praise came from a different genre entirely as “Princess Jellyfish” creator Akiko Higashimura also sent praise. And the animation is well regarded as it was created by Polygon Pictures.
“The Seven Deadly Sins”
Based on the popular manga by Nakaba Suzuki of the same name, this series follows a Princess on the run, who is seeking seven wrongfully disgraced knights who are connected with the concepts of the seven deadly sins. The manga series has sold millions of copies and has been on the New York Times Manga Best Seller List, suggesting the franchise is a strong one. The first season is out, but a second is due to come out in 2018 as the manga also continues. There is clearly a comedic vibe as Kodansha teased during the release of the show. The art style also would make it unlikely that the show is going to go all “Evangelion” on us. Medieval based series that have a humor like Slayers are welcome additions to the anime world.
Based on the well regarded manga by Gamon Sakurai, the series focuses on a young student who is killed only to be reborn as an “Ajin.” The catch is that Ajin (demi-humans) are not exactly liked by humanity and he has to deal with the fallout from being pursued by the authorities. Polygon Pictures is also the animator of this series. It is a fascinating topic, not rare, but filled with possibilities, to explore what responses “immortality” can lead to from those who are not. Bigotry is terrible in reality, but fascinating in fiction.
Another mecha anime? Well yes, BUT “Kuromukuro” has a samurai awakened from the past to go along with the usual fun of mechs and students. Science has advanced after an alien mech is discovered in Toyama prefecture, a nice departure from Tokyo. Turns out the Samurai has some experience piloting mechs against the villains of the show, which comes in handy, and of course you know with a bunch of teens running around, one of them is going to get in the robot!
“Gantz:O” is a CGI film relying on the popular “Gantz” manga franchise by Hiroya Oku which already inspired an anime series that came out back in 2004 The movie focuses on a specific arc of the manga as opposed to trying to compile the entire run. The original premise is that reanimated dead people are turned into killing machines by an unknown entity. It recently won a VFX-JAPAN Award for Excellence in Animated Film and was nominated for Best Animation Film at Mainichi Film Awards. The original manga has sold over 19 million copies. The original anime series was known for its violence so be advised, though anime and violence are often dance partners.