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AnimeJapan 2021: ‘Yasuke’, ‘Eden’ and more from Netflix

The AnimeJapan 2021 Netflix stage event featured voice actors (l-r) Kenjiro Tsuda ('The Way of the Househusband'), Marika Kohno ('Eden'), and Toshiyuki Morikawa ('Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness'). Image credit: Netflix
The AnimeJapan 2021 Netflix stage event featured voice actors (l-r) Kenjiro Tsuda (‘The Way of the Househusband’), Marika Kohno (‘Eden’), and Toshiyuki Morikawa (‘Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness’). Image credit: Netflix

“Yasuke”, “Eden”, “Record of Ragnarok”, “The Way of the Househusband”, and “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” were among the Netflix Original Anime Series showcased at this year’s all-virtual AnimeJapan 2021. Netflix announced the upcoming worldwide release of “Record of Ragnarok“, which is premiering in June. The streaming giant also revealed a new trailer and the launch date of “Eden” (premiering on May 27), as well as special artwork by Takeshi Koike, the character designer of “Yasuke” (premiering on April 29).

“We’re streaming about 40 new original anime titles on Netflix this year. This is close to double what we premiered last year; if there are 52 weeks in a year, this means we are streaming a new title almost every week,” Taiki Sakurai, Netflix, Chief Producer, Anime, said at the Netflix stage event at AnimeJapan 2021.

Greatest ronin

AnimeJapan 2021: 'Yasuke' character designer Takeshi Koike created this special artwork. Image credit: Netflix
‘Yasuke’ character designer Takeshi Koike created this special artwork that was uveiled at AnimeJapan 2021. Image credit: Netflix

In a war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic, the greatest ronin never known, Yasuke, struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.

AnimeJapan 2021: Taiki Sakurai, Netflix, Chief Producer, Anime, says Netflix is committed to becoming a home for fans and creators around the world. Image credit: Netflix
Taiki Sakurai, Netflix, Chief Producer, Anime, says Netflix is committed to becoming a home for fans and creators around the world. Image credit: Netflix

“The new special art of ‘Yasuke’ we debuted today is by Takeshi Koike. Its visuals are incredibly compelling; it took my breath away. LeSean Thomas is such a talented director. He boldly moved to Japan to create this show, working closely with production studio MAPPA, often visiting their studio in person,” said Sakurai.

Gods vs humans

Image credit: Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

The AnimeJapan 2021 Netflix virtual stage also unveiled the global launch date of “Record of Ragnarok”, an anime adaptation of the hugely successful manga of the same name.

This Netflix Original Anime Series, based on the manga created by Azychika, Shinya Umemura, and Takumi Fukui, tells the story of 13 gods from across the globe and 13 of the world’s most notable humans fighting it out in one-on-one battles to decide the fate of humanity.

World of AI

Image credit: Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

Also at the AnimeJapan 2021 stage event were Japanese voice talents Kenjiro Tsuda (“The Way of the Househusband”), Marika Kohno (“Eden”) and Toshiyuki Morikawa (“Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness”). All three were excited about the global launch of their series and were looking forward to getting closer to overseas anime fans.

“This show is an entirely new story, without any existing works to base the storyline on. We recorded ‘Eden’ as a prelay to begin with, which is a way to record character voices without any locked visuals. We had redone the following recordings several times — and I was fortunate enough to see the visual story all come together as we recorded Sara’s voice,” Kohno said.

Thousands of years in the future, a city known as “Eden” is inhabited solely by artificially intelligent robots whose former masters vanished long ago. On a routine assignment, within the depths of the city, two maintenance robots accidentally awaken a human baby girl from stasis questioning all they were taught to believe — that humans were nothing more than a forbidden ancient myth. Together, the two robots secretly raise the child in a safe haven outside Eden.

“I recorded Sara from when she was a newborn baby, right through the process of her growing up. There’s much I wish I could talk about around the story, but in the spirit of saving spoilers, I will just say that I hope fans enjoy coming with Sara on her journey to save the world,” Kohno said.

Married yakuza

Image credit: Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

Meanwhile, “The Way of the Househusband” tells the story of Tatsu, who is voiced by Tsuda. Feared among the yakuza as “The Immortal Dragon”, Tatsu is a legend of the underworld with an impressive number of defeated rival gangs under his belt.

However, hoping to wash his hands of his past, Tatsu gets married and devotes himself fully to the way of the househusband by diligently undertaking the cooking, cleaning, washing and grocery shopping each day. On the other hand, there’s one person who’s not happy about Tatsu’s new domestic life — his tough, former yakuza underling, Masa. As Tatsu tries his best to pursue the way of the househusband, one assassin after another tries their hand at taking him out.

“The show itself is incredibly fun, but there’s much to learn from it as well. You learn about being a househusband, and little tips and tricks of being one. I hope fans enjoy its chaotic storyline as much as we did,” Tsuda said.

“He is someone who is quite serious and hardworking toward being a househusband — I think fans will enjoy the stark difference between his appearance and personality. He also speaks in a strong Kansai dialect (Editor’s note: often spoken in the Kansai area of Japan) so there is definitely a local feel to the show. When I spoke with the author of the original manga, Kousuke Oono, I figured his way of speech is quite iconic. I like to call the dialect ‘ex-yakuza househusband Kansai-ben (Editor’s note: ben = Japanese for dialect),” he said.

Zombie outbreak

Image credit: Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

Based on the massively popular Resident Evil video game franchise, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” stars American federal agent Leon S. Kennedy, who is voiced by Morikawa.

“I feel very confident about the first full CG series, and I think fans from all over the world are keen to learn so much more about this story,” Morikawa said.

In 2006, there were traces of improper access to secret presidential files found in the White House’s network. Leon is among the group invited to the White House to investigate this incident.

Meanwhile, TerraSave staff member Claire Redfield encounters a mysterious image drawn by a youth in a country she visited, while providing support to refugees. Haunted by this drawing, which appears to be of a victim of viral infection, Claire starts her own investigation. The next morning, Claire visits the White House to request the construction of a welfare facility. There, she has a chance reunion with Leon and uses the opportunity to show him the boy’s drawing.

Image credit: Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

“I actually have not started recording for the character yet, so I’m in the same situation with fans! I’m very excited to see the show as a fan, too. As a survival horror genre, the direction of the story is quite serious, but I am confident it will keep you on the edge of your seat. Also, Leon has been wearing pretty casual outfits as a rookie police officer fighting with the zombies up until now, but for the first time in this series, he wears a formal suit which also looks quite cool,” Morikawa said.

So, which of these original anime series from Netflix are you most looking forward to?