×

Netflix Shares First Character Photo For ‘Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045’ (EXCLUSIVE)

ANNECY, France — On Tuesday night at the Annecy Intl. Animation Festival, Netflix held one of its most highly-anticipated panels for one of its most dedicated fan-bases: Netflix Original Anime: A Celebration of Anime and a Look Ahead.

Appropriately enough, this year’s festival is honoring Japan and its animation tradition, past and present, as the official Guest Country. Netflix, eager to capitalize on that tradition, and embed itself in the Japanese market as a producer, has commissioned a strong slate of originals and reboots meant to honor the country’s animation history while pushing the envelope of narrative and technology.

Announced last December, Netflix has commissioned a new “Ghost in the Shell” reboot titled: “Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045” from “Ultraman” directors Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama. The two confirmed on Tuesday night that relative animation newcomer Ilya Kuvshinow will head character design on the show. Accompanying the announcement, the Netflix team shared the first character artwork with Variety.

The series will be the first time the IP will be fully-animated in 3DCG. Kamiyama and Production I.G will team up with Aramaki and Sola Digital Arts, who have brought Japanese 3DCG animation to the world on work such as 2004’s “Appleseed.” The Netflix reboot also marks the first time that the franchise will have two directors shaping its execution.

Kamiyama and Aramaki also confirmed that “Ultraman” has been picked up for a second season at Netflix as a result of the overwhelmingly positive response to Season 1.

They explained the way they approached re-envisioning one of Japan’s most beloved IP’s from the 1950’s. They pointed out key ways in which the new material differs from the “Ultraman” of 50 years ago, first and most noticeable among them, the new series is animated using motion capture technology.

“From the start we were thinking of using this new technology of mocap,” said Kamiyama. “With manual drawing it’s difficult to represent realistic movement and gestures, so we used 3D computer animation, which can look more realistic.”

A goal of Netflix’s anime team is to diversify the medium and make it as global as so much of their live action content. To that end, the studio has recruited American LeSean Thomas (“The Boondocks”) to spearhead the previously-announced “Canon Busters” and the real-life inspired “Yasuke,” the latter with Japanese studio Mappa Co.

Thomas alongside Mappa CEO Manabu Otsuka shared details and character art for the upcoming “Yasuke,” based on the real life story of an African samurai in the 15th century. Grammy nominee Flying Lotus will compose the music and executive produce the show, with Lakeith Stanfield (“Atlanta,” “Sorry to Bother You”) will voice the titular protagonist Yasuke.

“I think it’s really cool to be in a position to tell a story like this,” summed up Thomas. “I currently live in Tokyo, working on this project. It’s kind of this serendipitous narrative a descendent of an African moving to Japan to produce an anime about an African going to Japan to become a samurai.”

On Thursday, Netflix will be hosting a works in progress session for its upcoming series “Eden,” where artwork, clips and series details will be shared. Variety will be attending and sharing some of the details and artwork, so stay tuned.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content