splinter cell anime

The popular Ubisoft video game Splinter Cell is becoming an anime. Netflix and Ubisoft have teamed up to develop a Splinter Cell anime series based on the popular stealth action video games, which will be steered by the writer behind one of the greatest current action franchises, John Wick scribe Derek Kolstad.

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Japan Sinks 2020

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

It shouldn’t come across as controversial to say that 2020 feels like living in a disaster film. Looking outside feels like catching a glimpse of a hellish apocalypse, with thousands of people dying while governments are too inept to do anything about it, misinformation making things worse, and any resemblance of “normal life” rapidly disappearing into memory. So it feels strange that the bleakest show of 2020 is perhaps one of its most hopeful.

The latest anime by Masaaki Yuasa is his third project this year, after the masterpiece that was Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! (a fantastic ode to creativity and those who dedicate themselves to work in animation), and the melancholic rom-com Ride Your Wave. By comparison, Japan Sinks: 2020 comes across as a bit of an outlier. A bleak, shocking reflection of the hellhole that is 2020 that is surprisingly hopeful.

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ocean waves

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Ocean Waves

Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max

The Pitch: In the early ’90s, Studio Ghibli launched an unusual experiment: the studio gave its youngest animators, all in their twenties and thirties, a chance to make a cheap, quick film to show what they could achieve. Ultimately, the experiment failed in the first two aspects — Ocean Waves went over budget and over schedule, airing on local television in 1993 to little fanfare. But what those young Ghibli animators did manage to achieve sets Ocean Waves apart from the rest of the studio’s filmography: they made Ghibli’s most queer film.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: To be honest, the film that Studio Ghibli ended up making is far less interesting than the queer-coded film they accidentally made. Ocean Waves is a wistful slice-of-life film so steeped in nostalgia that it may as well be shot entirely in sepia tones, with a paper-thin plot that is stretched over 72 slow-moving minutes. But while on the surface Ocean Waves is a film about two best friends stuck in a love triangle with a truly unlikable girl, the movie’s theme of repressed teenaged angst unexpectedly becomes a fascinating ode to repressed sexuality.

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The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

The problem with comedies, especially gag anime, is that they tend to focus on a specific pun or joke based on their concept. And the longer that concept goes, the fewer ways you have to continue exploring the concept without it feeling old. 

But the best gag anime get around this issue by centering the concepts themselves around repetition, and therefore longevity. Kaguya-Sama still feels fresh after 24 episodes because its entire premise revolves around the stubbornness of its main characters and how little they are willing to change. This is also why The Disastrous Life of Saiki K manages to stay hilarious and sharp episode after episode, even if you’ve already seen some variant of the story before. 

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Transformers War for Cybertron Trilogy Trailer

There may not be any live-action Transformers movies on the horizon, but there is the somewhat clunkily named Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy. The first entry in the series is Siege, and it depicts the final hours of the civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Netflix and Hasbro partnered with Rooster Teeth for the anime series, and you can see what’s in store below.

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the god of high school review

The God of High School is the second Crunchyroll original anime to adapt a Korean webtoon, center its premise around a competition to win the reward of getting one’s wish granted, and feature the word “God” in its title. But unlike the otherworldly Tower of GodThe God of High School is a much more recognizable twist on the action anime, marrying a mythic Dragon Ball-style story with your classic shounen tournament structure, and featuring some of the most fluid and crisp battle sequences you’ve ever seen.

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Erased Anime

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Everyone wishes they could rewind time and fix their mistakes, hoping that by fixing just one thing, your entire life would be better. What if you could actually do it? What if you could pinpoint the exact moment things started to go wrong for you and your friends, and you could go back and prevent it all from happening?

That’s the life of Satoru, a 29-year-old manga artist and pizza delivery driver who’s at the center of an anime called Erased. He also possesses a special ability he calls “revival.” When tragedy is about to strike, Satoru is sent back a few minutes before the accident, which he’s used to save many lives — think Final Destination without the Death-coming-back-for-payback part. 

The problem comes when Satoru is wrongfully accused of murdering a person close to him. This prompts him to be sent back to the past again, this time 18 years to the past — to 1988. Here, Satoru realizes the murder is connected to a series of child kidnappings and killings that terrorized his hometown, and he’ll do everything he can to prevent the death of one of his classmates. From there, Erased becomes as much a sci-fi murder-mystery as it is an exploration of trauma, child abuse, and loneliness, and it is one hell of a nail-biting thriller.

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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The SeriesDororo

Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime

The Pitch: A ronin named Hyakkimaru, born without limbs, facial features, or internal organs due to a pact with demons made by his father, roams feudal Japan with a young urchin named Dororo to defeat demons and gain back his body. Also he has swords for arms.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: Dororo is a ronin anime with a grim tone and a deep history, stretching all the way back to 1967 when it was created by Osamu Tezuka. That’s right, that Osamu Tezuka, the “Godfather of Manga” and the creator of highly influential children’s manga like Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion (the latter of which would be the alleged inspiration for The Lion King). So how did someone who was essentially the Walt Disney of Japan create a series as violent and grotesque as Dororo? That unlikely background is what makes the 2019 remake of Dororo so much more fascinating than your run-of-the-mill ronin anime. And did I mention that the lead has swords for arms?

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Megalo Box

(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

Imagine, if you will, a world where the sport of having two people punch each other really hard with their fists wasn’t dangerous enough. Imagine that someone decides that what the sport of boxing really needs is to strap powered exoskeleton gear onto boxers so they can punch each other even harder. Welcome to the bloody, deadly, and somehow very entertaining world of Megalo Box.

Based on the classic manga series Ashita no Joe (or Tomorrow’s Joe), Megalo Box serves as a 50th anniversary celebration of the story of a young boxer’s journey from zero-to-hero, going from the slums of Japan into becoming a true boxing champion. Only instead of being set in the postwar era, the anime is set in the near future, and our Joe is a junk dog hungry to escape the circumstances he was cast into at birth by entering the boxing tournament to end all boxing tournaments, Megalonia, where boxers wearing mechanized gear fight endless rounds until one gets knocked out or killed.

From there, Megalo Box evolves beyond being just a celebration of a classic anime and the underdog trope and becomes a thrilling standalone sci-fi sports anime with a unique world and characters.

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cowboy bebop remake

Netflix’s highly anticipated live-action remake of Cowboy Bebop won’t be a “one-to-one” adaptation, writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach says. That’s a guarantee when you’re turning a classic 26-episode half-hour anime into an hour-long live-action series. But Grillo-Marxuach promises, in his latest update of the currently-stalled Netflix series, that the live-action Cowboy Bebop will stay true to the spirit and the effortlessly cool style of the beloved Shinichiro Watanabe anime.

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