Since we’re apparently entering a new golden age of animé, here’s a quick round-up of new and upcoming animé movies and series that look particularly intriguing and/or entertaining.
A Silent Voice
Arguably the biggest animé success story in recent years has been Makoto Shinkai’s delightful and poignant Your Name, which garnered countless critical accolades and even set a box office record or two. But for all that, would you believe a different film won “Best Animation of the Year” at the Japan Movie Critics Awards? That film was A Silent Voice, directed by Naoko Yamada and based on Yoshitoki Ōima’s long-running manga.
A Silent Voice is about a young boy named Shoya Ishida who bullies his deaf classmate Shoko Nishimiya, only to be bullied himself. After several years, Shoya has grown increasingly depressed and suicidal until he’s reunited with Shoko, which gives him a chance at redemption for his earlier treatment of her.
Watching the trailer, several things become obvious. One, A Silent Voice looks absolutely gorgeous. Two, it looks like it’s going to be as sappy and melodramatic as all get-out. And three, I can’t wait to see it. Eleven Arts recently announced they’ll be screening A Silent Voice in the U.S. this October.
If you’ve played some of the Metal Gear Solid video games or are familiar with the world of Japanese sci-fi literature, then you might be familiar with Project Itoh, the pen name of author Satoshi Itō. Before he passed away in 2009 due to cancer, Itoh wrote several acclaimed sci-fi novels — three of which Noitamina will be turning into feature films.
The first of these will be Genocidal Organ, which was originally published in 2007 and is considered by critics to be the best Japanese sci-fi novel of the decade. Set in a future where genocide runs amok and countries have devolved into surveillance states, a special agent tries to track down the man who is apparently responsible for all of the chaos.
One of the main reasons I’m intrigued by Genocidal Organ is that it’s directed by Shūkō Murase, who also directed Witch Hunter Robin and Ergo Proxy, and who’s also worked on Gasaraki, Samurai Champloo, and Final Fantasy IX.
Godzilla: Monster Planet
The first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming Godzilla: Monster Planet animé has been released and gives us a glimpse of the series, which is set 20,000 years in the future and follows humanity’s attempts to reclaim Earth from a bunch of monsters led by the big G himself. Which is a pretty gonzo concept, but if you’re dealing with Godzilla, you need to go big or go home. Plus, the series’ far-future setting might hopefully free up the filmmakers to take some risks with the Godzilla mythos.
Besides just being excited at the fact that there’ll be a Godzilla animé, I’m excited at the talent involved, which includes folks who’ve worked on the likes of Blame!, Knights of Sidonia, and Psycho-Pass.
FLCL Season 2 and 3
FLCL is one of those animé series that you have to see to believe. Essentially a deconstruction of numerous animé clichés, with exotic mecha battles, shadowy organizations, a troubled young male protagonist (who can produce robots from a bump on his head), and a magical girl (albeit one that rides a scooter and hits people with her Rickenbacker bass guitar), the original FLCL is about as madcap and zany as animé gets.
Production I.G previously announced that they’d be producing two more seasons of FLCL set years after the original series, and the premise — which involves interstellar wars and teen angst — sounds appropriately crazy. Original director Kazuya Tsurumaki is back at the helm, along with staff from Neon Genesis Evangelion and Psycho-Pass. As an added bonus, The Pillows will be returning to do the soundtrack.
The new FLCL seasons will start airing on Toonami in 2018.