(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)
With the coronavirus pandemic growing and social distancing in full effect, there’s no better time to dip your toes into some foreign-language movies and TV shows that you’ve been meaning to get around to. Whether that be arthouse classics like the German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the second seasons of Netflix’s Kingdom or HBO’s My Brilliant Friend, or that weird furry anime on Netflix, Pop Culture Imports is here for all your streaming needs. And goodness knows we’ll be doing a lot of streaming while we’re in self-quarantine.
Let’s fire up those subtitles and get streaming.
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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.)
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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