Random Nerdery: Netflix’s Altered Carbon, Alita: Battle Angel & Mamoru Hosoda’s Latest

Netflix’s upcoming series gets dystopic, an acclaimed cyberpunk manga is coming to live action, and a modern anime master returns.
Altered Carbon

Random Nerdery is a regular Opus feature covering the latest nerdiness from the worlds of film, TV, literature, comic books, video games, technology, web development, and more.

Netflix Gets Dystopic With Altered Carbon

Netflix has been digging hard into high-profile sci-fi titles lately and I couldn’t be happier. Altered Carbon is arguably their most ambitious project yet, as well as their most expensive series to date.

Based on Richard K. Morgan’s acclaimed novel, the series takes place in the 24th century where technology allows a person to transfer their consciousness into new bodies, effectively granting them immortality. When the richest man in the world is murdered, he brings back an ex-soldier named Takeshi Kovacs to solve the crime.

The teasers look really good so far, with a suitably grim Blade Runner-esque vibe. (Given that each episode is rumored to cost around $6 million, it better look good.) Netflix will begin streaming Altered Carbon’s first season on February 2, 2018. Given that there are three Takeshi Kovacs novels, it’s a safe bet that Netflix will produce more seasons if the first season does well enough.

Alita: Battle Angel Embraces the Live-Action Manga Aesthetic

I was actually surprised when I saw this trailer pop up. James Cameron bought the rights to Battle Angel Alita, Yukito Kishiro’s dystopic cyberpunk manga, almost twenty years ago. At one point, it was going to be his next film after 2009’s Avatar. Production kept getting delayed, however — presumably because Cameron was waiting for technology to catch up to his vision for the movie — and then Robert Rodriguez was announced as director in 2016

The original manga is set in the distant future, where cybernetic augmentation is widespread. Most of humanity lives in a giant junkyard located under a floating city named Tiphares, whose citizens live in utopian comfort. One day, the scientist Ido finds a young cyborg girl named Alita amidst the scrap. But Alita soon turns out to be much more powerful than she seems at first, which brings her to the attention of some very powerful people.

The first thing you’ll probably notice in the trailer are Alita’s eyes — they’re kind of hard to miss. In a somewhat controversial move, Rodriguez chose to remain faithful to the manga aesthetic. I’m personally torn over it; it looks ridiculous but maybe it’ll work in context, especially if they’re going for a transhumanist vibe. That aside, Christoph Waltz and Jennifer Connelly look absolutely perfect as Ido and Chiren, respectively.

Mamoru Hosoda Returns with Mirai No Mirai

Thanks to films like 2006’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and 2009’s Summer Wars, Mamoru Hosoda has established himself as one of anime’s leading directors. His films are always characterized by thoughtful stories, engaging characters, and stunning animation.

For his latest, Hosoda drew inspiration from his own life, specifically the experience of bringing home a new child and dealing with his firstborn’s jealousy. Mirai No Mirai tells the story of a four-year-old boy trying to come to terms with his new baby sister — only to find a magic garden that allows him to travel through time and meet his mother as a little girl, his great-grandfather as a young man, and his sister as a grown woman.

This teaser is short and slight on details, but it’s pretty clear the film will have a very fanciful bent — as is Hosoda’s wont — and given his other films, there’s bound to be plenty of emotional moments, too.

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