Netflix Announces New Series, Renewals at Anime Expo

Netflix announced two new anime series, the renewal of “Aggretsuko” for a second season, as well as dates and first look images for upcoming series as part of its panel at Anime Expo in Los Angeles.

New series and renewals include “Ultraman,” launching in spring 2019; “Kengan Ashure,” due in 2019; “Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle,” launching on July 18; “Dragon Pilot,” due Sept. 21; “Castlevania” season 2, premiering Oct. 26; and “Cannon Busters,” due April 1, 2019.

At the event, Netflix director of content for Japan and anime John Derderian moderated a panel featuring anime creators LeSean Thomas (“Cannon Busters”), Adi Shankar (“Castlevania”) and Shinji Higuchi (“Dragon Pilot”).

“As Netflix has grown around the world we have been astounded by the broad reach and great depth of anime fandom,” Derderian said of the upcoming projects, according to Netflix. “We are partnering with the best global creators to produce a diverse slate of shows that we hope will excite the boundless passion of anime fans and make Netflix a premier destination for this beloved art form.”

‘Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis’ Blu-ray Steelbook Coming Oct. 30 From Mill Creek

The 2001 anime film Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis will be released as a Steelbook Blu-ray and DVD combo  pack on Oct. 30 from Mill Creek Entertainment at $34.98.

With a screenplay by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) and directed by Rintaro (Galaxy Express 999, Astro Boy), Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis is based on the classic manga inspired by the 1927 German silent film of the same name about an industrial, high-tech city of the future. Duke Red, the unofficial leader of Metropolis, plans to unveil a highly advanced robot named Tima, but his violent son Rock distrusts robots and intends to find and destroy Tima. A Japanese detective and his nephew, Kenichi, travel to Metropolis to apprehend a mad scientist, but they instead find the robot girl. While trying to navigate the confusing labyrinth beneath Metropolis and avoid the people chasing her, Tima and Kenichi form a strong friendship that is tested when Duke Red separates them, endangering not only Tima’s life but also the fate of the universe.

Special features include interviews with the filmmakers, “The Making of Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis,” original Japanese audio (with English subtitles) and a concept art comparison featurette.

 

Latest Volume of Animated Series “RWBY” Due June 5

Rooster Teeth and Cinedigm June 5 will release the latest edition from the animated series “RWBY” when RWBY: Volume 5 arrives on transactional digital platforms, including Steam, iTunes and Xbox, as well as DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack (with DVD), and a Special Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring a 32-page RWBY Official Manga Anthology sampler exclusive to FYE stores.

The RWBY Official Manga Anthology is from the upcoming Weiss book from VIZ Media.

“We love how passionate the fans of RWBY are,” said Gray G. Haddock, head of animation at Rooster Teeth, in a statement. “Volume 5 received such a great reaction and we’re really looking forward to be able to provide these episodes along with a behind-the-scenes look at the series through the bonus features.”

In RWBY: Volume 5, Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang are each entangled in journeys of their own, but they all share one destination: Haven Academy. Whether it’s the promise of ancient relics, mystical maidens, or simply more power, it’s clear that the stage for the next great battle for Remnant has been chosen.

Bonus features include “5 Years of RWBY,” a behind-the-scenes retrospective that explores how the production of “RWBY” has changed over the years, including never-before-seen interviews; Weiss, Blake and Yang character shorts; and “CRWBY: Behind the Episode.”

Batman Ninja

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Street 5/8/18;
Warner;
Anime;
$19.98 DVD, $24.98 Blu-ray, $29.98 Steelbook Blu-ray;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of violence and action, and for some suggestive material.
Voices of Roger Craig Smith, Tony Hale, Grey Griffin, Tara Strong, Fred Tatasciore, Yuri Lowenthal, Adam Croasdell, Will Friedle, Tom Kenny, Eric Bauza.

Batman Ninja isn’t just another high-concept direct-to-video animated movie with a fun premise to guide the characters’ latest adventure. This is a full-on anime experience that blends traditional notions of Batman with many of the genre’s tropes. When the movie’s plot involves Batman has to call upon an army of monkeys to fight a giant robot, you know you’re in for a wild ride.

The concept is best summed up by one of the filmmakers in the Blu-ray’s bonus materials: it’s not Japan through the eyes of Batman, but Batman through the eyes of Japan.

This isn’t just an Elseworlds concept that re-imagines the Batman characters into similar roles in a historical setting. Rather, the story finds Batman, along with his allies and enemies, transported from present-day Gotham City to Feudal Japan, where the villains begin to take over different territories.

Though Batman has friends to fight alongside him, he finds his many gadgets are useless in the past, forcing him to adapt to the fighting styles of the day if he is to round up the bad guys and return to modern times.

The animation is complex but beautiful, shifting styles at times to reflect the tone of the scene. The colors are vivid, and the look, feel and plotting of the piece is distinctly Japanese in its craftsmanship. The Blu-ray includes both the original Japanese audio with subtitles, and an English audio track with an American cast, highlighted by a manic Joker performance from Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”).

Fans of the project will also find many interesting behind-the-scenes details revealed on the Blu-ray, especially in a 49-minute video of the film’s 2017 New York Comic Con panel discussion with the filmmakers (before any of the cast was announced).

There are also a couple of more traditional making-of featurettes, with “Batman: Made in Japan” clocking in at 14 minutes, as well as the 17-and-a-half minute “East/West Batman,” which delves into the cultural impacts of Batman and anime and why they were a natural fit for each other.

‘Batman Ninja’ Coming to Home Video

The Caped Crusader has been reimagined in an anime style in Batman Ninja, a new animated film from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment coming to Digital HD April 24 and on disc May 8 (order date April 3).

Batman Ninja finds many of Batman’s friends and enemies transported into feudal Japan by Gorilla Grodd’s time displacement machine. The villains take on the roles of the feudal lords that rule the divided land, with the Joker in charge among the warring factions. Without his gadgets, Batman must rely on his intellect and his allies such as Catwoman and the extended Bat-family to restore order before finding a way to return to present-day Gotham City.

The voice cast includes Roger Craig Smith as Batman, Tony Hale as the Joker, Grey Griffin as Catwoman, Tara Strong as Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Fred Tatasciore as Grodd and Deathstroke, Yuri Lowenthal as Robin, Adam Croasdell as Nightwing and Alfred, Will Friedle as Red Robin and Red Hood, Tom Kenny as Penguin and Eric Bauza as Two-Face.

Batman Ninja is an absolute feast for the senses, a stunning spectacle of anime wrapped around a thrill ride of a Batman story,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment VP of family and animation marketing. “Our partners at Warner Bros. Japan have conjured an impressive addition to the Dark Knight’s canon of entertainment, taking Batman and his friends and foes in an altogether new direction. We can’t wait for fans to see this film.”

Disc configurations include DVD ($19.98), Blu-ray combo pack ($24.98) and a special Steelbook Blu-ray ($29.98). A 4K Ultra HD version will be released digitally in summer 2018.

Blu-ray and digital extras include the featurettes “East/West Batman,” about meshing Western tropes and archetypes into the world of feudal Japan; “Batman: Made in Japan,” about adapting Batman into an anime style; and “New York Comic Con Presents Batman Ninja,” a panel discussion from 2017.