Day 2 of Annecy 2021 brought more great reveals from the streamer, including four upcoming anime titles, with initial concept art, presented during their Tuesday Studio Focus Panel.
Day 1 of Annecy 2021 brought a host of Netflix reveals, including new Kids and Family shows like Centaurworld and Karma’s World, Shion Takeuchi and Alex Hirsch's “shadow government conspiracy” adult animated comedy, Inside Job, a very promising stop-motion dark comedy anthology series, The House, and the billed as an even edgier (i.e., raunchier) Big Mouth spin-off, Human Resources. Day 2 of Annecy 2021 even brought more great Netflix reveals, including four upcoming anime titles, with initial concept art, presented during their Tuesday Studio Focus Panel.
As he introduced the first project, The Witcher: Nightmare of the World, a highly-anticipated animated prequel to the streamer’s hit live-action The Witcher series, Netflix anime producer Kohei Obara noted, “Anime is a powerful artform that has been captivating people for many decades, including us at Netflix. We have always celebrated and championed this special medium and its many creators and fans from around the world. We are truly committed to being a best-in-class home for fans and creators. This year alone, we will be premiering about 40 new anime titles, close to double the number we brought to fans last year.”
Take that in for a moment. 40 new anime titles.
Now, on to the world of Geralt. Or, to be more precise, what was happening before he so eloquently and charmingly graced our screens, often bathed in “stuff” released by his blade from the belly of a monster. Or just hung over.
In The Witcher: Nightmare of the World, we will learn that before Geralt, there was Vesemir -- a cocky young witcher who delights in slaying monsters for coin. When a dangerous new power rises on the Continent, Vesemir learns that some witchering jobs are about more than just money…
Vesemir, you should note, is also Geralt’s mentor. The series focuses on not only who he was as a father-figure to Geralt, but also how he himself was mentored, who he was before Geralt, and how the universe of The Witcher has changed over many generations. “The core of The Witcher is family,” the show’s creator, executive producer, and showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissirch said. “Families are multi-generational. Families aren’t just a mother-figure, a father-figure, and children. As a mother, the things that I teach my children, I learned from the generation ahead of me that they learned from the generation ahead of them. And when we meet Geralt in The Witcher, he’s a full-fledged adult… he’s 100 years old, he’s been living on his own for a very long time. But you can’t help but wonder, how did he learn the things he now practices regularly? How did he learn the things he’s now going to teach Ciri?”
Noting that many people fell in love with the series who didn’t know of the books, or weren’t fantasy fans, she added, “I hope that we’re able to find a lot of The Witcher fans who become anime fans, and the reverse.”
Series writer and producer Beau DeMayo shared that he wanted to create a story that was “very personal to The Witcher world and its history and felt very human, despite the fact that we would have all these fantastical elements surrounding it,” adding that “I wanted to make sure we were telling a story that could only be told in animation and that really took advantage of what animation can do, both visually and emotionally.”
With animation production by Studio Mir, the series is created, executive produced, and showrun by Hissrich, directed and co-executive produced by Kwang Il Han, and produced by DeMayo, who is also writing the screenplay.
Sadly, there are no assets to share.
Hissrich previously was co-executive producer on Defenders and Daredevil for Marvel/Netflix and on Daredevil for Marvel/Netflix. DeMay is a writer and producer known for The Witcher (2019) and The Originals (2013). Han is known for his work as an animator and animation director on The Last Airbender, and a storyboard artist and an animation director for The Legend of Korra.
Next, the panel shared Super Crooks, an anime adaptation about a small-time crook, Johnny Bolt, who recruits the ultimate crew for one last heist -- for real! This superpowered heist about eight super-villains is jam-packed with action and told in 13x30-minute episodes lushly produced by BONES (My Hero Academia, Mob Psycho 100, Godzilla Singular Point), and directed by Motonobu Hori, with character designs by Takashi Mitani. Based on the original graphic novel of the same name by Mark Millar & Leinil Yu, the series is also created by Millar with original character design by Yu, concept art by Stanislav Brunette, and character design and animation led by Takashi Mitani. Music is composed by Dai Sato.
Then, we heard about “A Brothers Grimm Anime Project by CLAMP & Netflix.”
What, pray-tell, might that mean? Well, it’s described as a brand-new project based on the “Grimm's Fairy Tales,” which are well known to everyone, but with an entirely new and modern twist, boldly arranged with a splash of horror and suspense. Ah, but of course! The mangaka-team CLAMP will handle character designs, with WIT Studio (Great Pretender) producing the animation. It’s being written by Michiko Yokote,
CLAMP is a creative collective consisting of four women: Igarashi Kanzuki, Nanase Okawa, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Mokona. In 1989, CLAMP made their commercial debut with their series “RG VEDA (Shinshokan)” which was followed by numerous other series including classics like "Tokyo BABYLON," "X," "Magic Knight Rayearth," "Cardcaptor Sakura," "ANGELIC LAYER," "Chobits," "Tsubasa - RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-," "xxxHOLiC," "Kobato," "GATE 7," "Drag & Drop," and other titles. As of 2017, more than 100 million copies of CLAMP's work have been sold In Japan alone, with many of their titles also having been published overseas, including the United States, France, Germany, China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Last but not least, we learned of Thermae Romae Novae, a comedy series adapted from Mari Yamazaki’s popular manga, but with an entirely new twist (“Novae” meaning “new” in Latin): Lucius, a bath designer in the Roman Empire, accidentally slips back in time to present day Japan and learns about Japanese bath culture. I think a Geralt “Hmmmmmmm” is in order here. The show is directed by Tetsuya Tatamitani, written by Yuichiro Momose, with animation produced by NAZ.
Yamazaki was born in Tokyo on April 20, 1967, moving to Italy at 17 to attend the National Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where she studied art history and oil painting. She began working as a manga artist in 1997, living in Syria, Portugal, and the United States before returning to Italy in 2013. In 2010, she won the third edition of the Manga Award for “Thermae Romae.” In 2015 she won the Tezuka Osamu award (section "story," also for Thermae Romae) as well as the "New Face" award of the Japanese Ministry of Education. In 2017 she was awarded the rank of Commander of the Order of the Star in Italy. She is currently working on two series: "Pliny" and "Gli Artigiani; The Craftsmen of Renaissance" together with manga artist Tori Miki.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.