Beastars

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

We’re living in a golden age of anime. There is a never-ending stream of new shows airing all the time, and too many streaming services to count. With so many shows arriving all the time, the Netflix model of waiting until all the different-language subtitles and dubs are ready means that their shows get delayed by months until they get released at arguably odd times compared to the already established anime season.

Of course, this isn’t a big deal if the show is worth the wait, and at least when it comes to Netflix’s latest anime, Beastars, it is 100% worth the wait. The series is set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, where society is divided amongst herbivores and carnivores. The main storyitself  is set inside the fragile ecosystem of the Cherryton Academy, where an alpaca is killed and devoured, sending a wave of distrust that rocks the school and puts everyone on high alert. Making matters worse, there’s a large but dorky and quiet wolf who starts developing complicated feelings for a dwarf rabbit. 

From there the show becomes a genre-hopping and thrilling story about breaking free from expectations set upon you, a thrilling mystery that goes into the underworld of a fragile world where carnivores still have to fight against their predatory instinct but doing so is seen as taboo, and also a high-school drama with an unexpected romance. Comparisons to Disney’s Zootopia are expected, but you really haven’t seen anything quite like Beastars

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tower of god trailer

Crunchyroll announced just last month that it was wading into the original content game, after years of being the premiere streaming website for anime. And it seems like it’s going to start strong right out the gate, with the upcoming Tower of God, a fantasy-adventure anime based on the beloved Korean webtoon that already has a following around the globe. Combine that with a beautiful, hand-drawn animation style merged with 3D animation, and you’ve got one of the most anticipated new animes of spring. Watch the Tower of God trailer below.

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altered carbon resleeved trailer

Netflix seems to have a fixation — nay, an addiction — to CG-animated animes. And I’m begging you, please stop. We tolerated it for The Dragon Prince, which delivered a captivating story despite its unusual animation style, and we suffered through the Godzilla animes. We’re ignoring the Pokémon movie remake. But now Netflix is giving Altered Carbon, a sci-fi series based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan, the glossy 3D anime makeover and, wow, it sure looks like the other video game-like animes the streaming giant has released. Watch the Altered Carbon: Resleeved trailer below.

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Cells at Work

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

Whenever a piece of entertainment tries to be educational, it usually suffers from one of two things: either it shoves a bunch of facts down your throat to the point where it becomes overwhelming and dull, or it dumbs down the story to appeal to kids or complete newbies to a degree that it alienates the rest of its audience. 

Cells at Work! is different. This is an anime that takes the “edutaining” from Magic School Bus, the anthropomorphized cuteness of Inside Out, and the horror and gory violence of the “Anatomy Park” episode of Rick and Morty. The premise: we follow the inside of the human body, where cells are depicted as humans really dedicated to their jobs. Our main character is a red blood cell that always gets lost on her way to deliver boxes of oxygen to different locations, and a white blood cell that’s really good at slaughtering bacteria (and absolutely loves to kill them). It’s a godsend for nerds studying biology, and it basically confirms my belief that deep down, we’re all anime inside – an incredibly violent anime where cells are constantly on the edge of a gruesome and traumatic demise. Ahead of its second season, which is coming later this year, let’s revisit an anime that’s literally a story about you. Yes, you! Read More »

tokyo godfathers trailer

In his short-lived career, Satoshi Kon released nothing but bonafide anime classics and Tokyo Godfathers is no exception. Often touted as the most accessible of the Perfect Blue and Paprika director’s filmography, Tokyo Godfathers is a warm, Frank Capra-esque comedy that has flown under the radar in the Western hemisphere since its release in 2003. But 17 years later, Tokyo Godfathers is finally getting released in U.S. theaters with an official English-language dub. Watch the English dub trailer for Tokyo Godfathers below.

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

So far in this column, we’ve explored some of the more genre-heavy shows anime has to offer. But the beauty of this medium is its malleability. Animation is still largely considered family-oriented in the West, but in the rest of the world, animated stories set in an alternate world with man-eating giants can be as successful as a slice-of-life drama. Let’s look at a slightly more traditional, if still extraordinary, coming-of-age story.  

Studio Madhouse has given us some of the most visually stunning action and fantasy anime of the past couple of decades, from Trigun and Cardcaptor Sakura, to Death Note and One Punch Man (the good season), but they also produced some original TV shows, including A Place Further than the Universe, which is not about space exploration, but is instead a beautifully told and exquisitely animated coming-of-age drama/adventure about doing something extraordinary with your life…and also going to Antarctica.

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crunchyroll originals

Anime is all the rage on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which have tapped into an eager streaming audience with both classic and new original offerings alike. But one of the streaming platforms that has been around since anime was but a glimmer in pirating websites’ eyes, Crunchyroll, has now made itself a major player in the anime streaming wars.

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There’s no denying the power and popularity of superheroes today. While Marvel is dominating the superhero market in the US, there’s another superhero juggernaut that has dominated the animation landscape for the past couple of years and is well worth your time. I’m referring to My Hero Academia, the uber-popular manga and anime franchise created by Kohei Horikoshi

The manga is so popular it is constantly topping the graphic novel sales charts in the US, and the anime has been running for four seasons and it’s easy to become obsessed with it. Even Hollywood has recognized the potential goldmine of My Hero Academia, as they’re threatening with making a highly unnecessary live-action adaptation. Now that the second feature film based on the manga, My Hero Academia: Heroes Risingis about to be released in theaters, you may be wondering if you need to be caught with the series to watch it. To help prepare you for the release of the film, here’s everything you need to know to get ready for My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.

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my hero academia heroes rising review

The longstanding problem with theatrical movies for popular ongoing anime shows is that they’ll inevitably end up being mostly okay. By their nature, they don’t — and can’t — affect the course of the series. Movies for shows like Pokémon, Naruto, Bleach, and others sit in the weird space of owing their existence to said series and of being essentially non-canonical, expensive pieces of fan-service.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising does little to break this mold. The second theatrical movie for the popular superhero anime series (the first, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, hit theaters in 2018), Heroes Rising is an impressive piece of fan-service with beautiful character work and some of the most inventive and dazzling fight sequences that the series has ever seen. But a recycled plot and villain threaten to doom the film to the lower echelons of forgettable anime movies. Luckily the character-driven drama and a summery slice-of-life premise, which takes Class 1-A of U.A. High School to a remote fishing island as part of a new temporary hero program, makes Heroes Rising a worthwhile watch for even the casual My Hero Academia fan.

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Transformers anime

Netflix has carved out a nice chunk of territory for itself with anime shows based on recognizable properties like Castlevania, Dragon Quest, Godzilla, and Ultraman, and soon the streaming service will take audiences to Cybertron in a Transformers anime series.

During New York Toy Fair this past weekend, the first trailer debuted for part one of Netflix’s Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy, entitled Siege, which takes us back to the intense planetary battle between the Autobots and Decepticons that’s rarely been seen in the live-action movies. Check out the trailer below.
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