Lakeith Stanfield and Flying Lotus Are Making a Bonkers Netflix Anime
The streaming service just announced 'Yasuke,' a magic samurai robot anime, along with four other titles including 'Pacific Rim' and 'Altered Carbon.'
Screenshot via YouTube
The biggest brand names of the bunch are spin-offs of Guillermo del Toro’s mecha-monster fight film Pacific Rim and the Netflix original series Altered Carbon. They both sound killer, but the most exciting title by far is Yasuke.
Set in a version of feudal Japan that somehow includes both magic-wielding warriors and fighting robots, Yasuke will star Lakeith Stanfield, of Atlanta and Sorry to Bother You fame, and be scored by Flying Lotus, according to a press release. Both will also executive produce. The show sounds like something you’d stumble across at 2:30 AM on Adult Swim, only with the full power of the Netflix machine behind it. It follows a retired ronin acting as the bodyguard for a child “targeted by dark forces.” Basically, it looks like it's shaping up to be Samurai Jack meets The Transporter, and I couldn’t be any more hyped.
Oh wait—turns out I can, because it’s created and directed by Boondocks co-director LeSean Thomas, and inspired by the true story of an African samurai who fought alongside a Japanese warlord. Sign me the hell up.
Pacific Rim was basically an anime at heart, so actually turning it into one makes a lot of sense for Netflix. The new anime series isn’t a remake, instead following a brother and sister who must pilot an abandoned Jaeger—which is basically just a giant robot—across “a hostile landscape” in order to reunite with their parents. There’s no information about whether the impetuous Raleigh Becket (played by Charlie Hunnam in del Toro's movie) and his brilliant partner Mako Mori (played by Rinko Kikuchi) will make an appearance, but we have our fingers crossed for a cameo from Charlie Day reprising his role as kaiju groupie Dr. Newton Geiszler.
With the producers Craig Kyle (who helped write Thor: Ragnarok) and Greg Johnston (who produced the animated X-Men: Evolution series) teaming up with Legendary Entertainment, the studio behind Detective Pikachu, it's safe to assume Pacific Rim will have an epic comic book scale and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
The next-most established title is a spinoff of Altered Carbon, Netflix’s cyberpunk original series set in a world where the wealthy can back up their minds and re-download them into new bodies. Netflix has enlisted Dai Sato, who helped write the bedrock anime series Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, to weave a tale that “will explore new elements of the story mythology,” according to a press release. If Sato can capture the magic of those iconic series—or maybe do for Altered Carbon what The Animatrix did for The Matrix—this new anime is sure to be a banger.
The new slate also includes a supernatural crime story called Trese, set in the underbelly of Manila, and the post-apocalyptic body horror Cagaster of an Insect Cage, based on a manga about a horrific disease that turns people into giant bugs.
All in all, these sound like a strong slate of wild stories that could never be anything but anime. They’re just a portion of 17 new titles Netflix announced Thursday to underline its “growing commitment to connect people around the world with Asian entertainment.” If that means more epic samurai vs. robot fights, then count me in.
Correction (11/8): This post mistakenly claimed that Pacific Rim was originally an anime. We've updated the article, and we apologize for the error.
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