With beautiful visuals and an incredible ability to meld action, comedy, romance into well-packed stories, there’s no wonder that anime has continued to remain at the forefront of TV and streams. Well, here three that are just perfect to help you escape reality for a hot minute or even, a whole weekend!
‘DOTA: Dragon’s Blood’ (IMDb: 8.5/10; Rotten Tomatoes: 63%)
The dragon [that] comes for war!
The 8-part anime based on characters from the ‘Dota’ universe 2 will give esports fans a kick as the anime promises “an epic, emotional, and adult-oriented story about some of their favourite characters”. Headed by Ashley Edward Miller (co-writer for ‘Thor’, ‘X-Men: First Class’) with animation by Studio Mir (the Seoul based South Korean animation geniuses behind ‘The Legend of Korra, ‘Voltron: Legendary Defender’ and the 2018 movie, ‘The Death of Superman’), ‘DOTA: Dragon’s Blood’ will focus on the character, Dragon Knight. The synopsis reads:
“The sweeping fantasy series tells the story of Davion, a renowned Dragon Knight devoted to wiping the scourge from the face of the world. Following encounters with a powerful, ancient eldwurm as well as the noble Princess Mirana on a secret mission of her own, Davion becomes embroiled in events much larger than he could have ever imagined.”
Audience reviews include:
“I actually hadn’t heard of the game before watching but now I’m high key obsessed after binging it all back to back last night […] The worldbuilding was on point and drew me in very quickly. Very graphic violence and harsh language throughout but it’s perfect. We need more shows like this.”
“DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, true to its name, has a lot of blood. To be fair, it is rated 18+ for violence and language, with a few [expletives] per episode, and the gore doesn’t exceed most modern action anime for adults. It’s not necessary at all to know the lore […] and I promise you I understood the plot just fine.”
“Honestly I had my doubts when I heard it was announced, but when I watched the first episode I was hooked! The voice acting is great and the animation is top notch (even the CGI’s pretty good).”
‘The Way of the Househusband’
Based on the hit Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kousuke Oono, ‘The Way of the Househusband’ sees former yakuza boss Tatsu – an infamous and feared yakuza boss nicknamed “the Immortal Dragon” – give up his life of crime to support his wife, Miku, a career-focused designer. The episodic series depicts a variety of comedic scenarios, typically wherein Tatsu’s banal domestic work as a househusband is juxtaposed against his intimidating personality and appearance, and his frequent run-ins with former yakuza associates and rivals. Kenjiro Tsuda, who plays Tetsu in the live-action short, will also be taking up the voice acting role for the anime counterpart.
Now, the trailer itself is different from regular anime trailers. Instead of the smooth, storylike animations that one is used to in animes, ‘The Way of the Househusband’ is almost slideshow-like in its attempt to bring the characters from the manga to life. Chiaki Kon, the director of the animation confirms that the choice is intentional, saying of the production:
“The producer said, ‘Make an animation that looks like a manga! Never move the characters! It was a lot of work…. There were scenes where I thought, “It would be easier to just draw the scene! It was not an easy work at all (laughs).”
Ono himself chimed in, sharing:
“I felt that the method was very well suited to the fast-paced atmosphere of the work. I felt that the speed of the gags was not spoiled by the various ways of showing and directing with limited materials. I also think that the voice actors’ performances can be directly felt and enjoyed.”
‘The Way of the Househusband’ premieres on Netflix on April 8.
‘Pacific Rim: The Black’ (IMDb: 7.2/10; Rotten Tomatoes: 73%)
Personally, 2013’s ‘Pacific Rim’ will forever have a place in my Top 10 movies list (along with ‘Arrival’). Guillermo del Toro’s ability to take a rather comic-book premise (aka giant robots kicking giant monsters) and execute it so well that the audience LIVED through the movie, is mindblowing (we’re not even going to talk about ‘Uprising’ – if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand). Anyhoo, ‘Pacific Rim: The Black’ is different from del Toro’s movie, in that it expands the story a little further. The anime sees two brothers on a journey to find their parents. The teenage siblings, Taylor and Hayley Travis, were left behind in Australia when their parents left to combat the Kaiju. Fast forward five years, Hayley stumbles across a long-abandoned training Jaeger called ‘Atlas Destroyer’. The pair activate the Jaeger and set out on their quest. They not only have to deal with marauding Kaiju, but other survivors who are also fighting for survival and attempt to seize Atlas Destroyer for themselves.
Audience reviews include:
“The animation utilised in the show is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The show incorporates multiple aspects of the movies and elaborates further on, creating a more realistic effect. I think that this is great – it helps captivate the audience into following the storyline of Pacific Rim beyond the movies.”
“I would give this 4.5 stars if I could solely for the reason that it was WAY too short. Otherwise, I thought it was really good. Amazing pacing, interesting characters and enough twists/jump scares to surprise everyone.”
“This shows was actually better than I excepted it to be. The animation was great. The voice acting was great. I was invested in the characters and really enjoyed the story, there was so much that I didn’t see coming! I also liked the darker approach in the show and story.”
*Cover image credits: Netflix