If you’re like me, chances are your next month of social plans have just been cancelled. Personally, I was going to go see The Adventure Zone live, as well as the bands Soccer Mommy and Palehound. Now that all of that is off the table, I need new things to get excited about while I am stuck at home. And what better things to get excited about at home than cool new anime? So whether you’re a mecha fan, a shounen die-hard or just looking out for the next great things in Japanese animation, read on~!!
Beastars tells the story of Legoshi, an imposing but shy grey wolf in a world of anthropomorphized animals fraught with tension between herbivores and carnivores. Legoshi lives in a dorm with other carnivores, and plays a part as a stagehand in the school’s theater productions. One night, an alpaca student named Tem is savagely killed and devoured by one of the carnivores. Simultaneously, Legoshi has a strange and fateful encounter with Haru, a brown dwarf rabbit -- complicated feelings develop from there.
Released last October in Japan, Beastars is based on a manga of the same name by Paru Itagaki. The manga won the prestigious annual Manga Taisho award, as well as several others. I’ve watched almost all of Beastars’ 12-episode run already, and I’ve already fallen in love with the cast. Between Legoshi, Haru and deer-senpai Louis, Itagaki and Orange Co. Ltd. have managed to put together an incredibly deep and nuanced cast that play off of each other in some interesting ways. The premise brings up an obvious comparison to Zootopia, but Beastars examines many of the same themes in a more mature light. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone looking for high school drama, deep introspection, or great CGI.
Kami no Tou: Tower of God
The immensely popular webtoon Tower of God will finally receive an anime adaptation this spring, much to the delight of fans everywhere. ToG, written and drawn by South Korean artist Lee Jong-Hui, was one of the first comics on the WEBTOON app when it launched in 2014. Since then it has garnered a staggering 4.5 billion views, and I can only imagine those numbers will keep going up with the release of the anime. Set in a fantasy world contained inside the eponymous tower, Tower of God follows Twenty-Fifth Bam: a young boy who grew up alone in a cavern underneath the tower, visited only by his friend Rachel. Rachel opens a door for him into the tower, and from there his ascension begins! The series will be produced by Telecom Animation Film and Crunchyroll and directed by Takashi Sano, who is best known for his storyboarding and animation work on the Lupin III movie series. Tower of God will premiere on April 1st, on television in Japan and on Crunchyroll everywhere else.
BNA: Brand New Animal
This one, I’m excited for. BNA: Brand New Animal is another anthropomorphic anime, but one more geared towards action and intrigue. The newest production out of Studio Trigger (Kill La Kill, Little Witch Academia, Darling in the Franxx), BNA focuses on Michiru Kagemori, a human girl who one day was suddenly transformed into a tanuki person. The existence of beastmen is a new discovery for the human race, and the humans respond with about as much bigotry as you can expect. Fleeing discrimination and assault due to her new form, Michiru departs for Anima City: a utopia where beastmen can supposedly live freely as themselves. Of course not everything is as it seems, and as Michiru investigates her new form she is inevitably drawn into the conflicts between beastmen and humans.
Directed by Yoh Yoshinari (FLCL, Gurren Lagann, Little Witch Academia), BNA’s first season will run for an unknown number of episodes. However, the first six were released via Netflix in Japan on March 21st, and can be watched with the help of a proxy server or VPN (and a Netflix account). Having seen the first two episodes, something about BNA already feels iconic to me in the same way that Kill La Kill or any of Trigger’s major works do. The colors are gorgeous, and the protagonist is equal parts adorable and relatable. Anima City is an environment that begs to be explored, and I genuinely can’t wait to see where they take this series.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045
The original Stand-Alone Complex was one of the first anime I watched, and I couldn’t be happier that Production I.G. and Netflix have teamed up to produce another Ghost in the Shell series. Called Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, the new series will feature Major Kusanagi and Section 9 facing an AI threat created by endless war. In addition this is the first entry in the series to be fully CGI, a fact that has already drawn the ire of some of the series’ diehard fans. Understandably so, as Stand-Alone Complex is one of the hallmarks of classic 90s hand-drawn anime and some people just want more of the thing they like. However Production I.G. is clearly pulling out all the stops when it comes to animation, using full motion-capture technology in order to animate body movements. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it’s safe to assume that the SAC in the title stands for Stand-Alone Complex, and the 2045 represents the year 2045. This also means the new series will likely have a mix of self-contained and plot-focused episodes, similar to the original.
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045 is directed by Shinji Aramaki, and will premiere on Netflix April 23rd.
Hopefully this list of new anime gives everybody something to look forward to this month! Stay tuned for more articles where I’ll be discussing how to further escape your life through the powers of anime!