As the streaming marketplace gets more competitive, Netflix has increasingly put more emphasis on original programming. It has tried to build a catalogue of shows and movies that will appeal to audiences of every stripe. Over the past few years this has included a big push into animation, for both family and adult audiences, so that the site now has a growing line-up of animation that you can’t see anywhere else.
Chris Perkins, editor of Animation For Adults, gives us the lowdown on Original Animation on Netflix across the globe.
Netflix’s deal with DreamWorks Animation (DWA) was an early sign that they were serious about animation. The most popular shows that came about through this deal are “Trollhunters” (created by legendary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro) and “Voltron: Legendary Defender“, a classy reboot of a classic 1980’s anime series. Both series have already developed a passionate fanbase that goes well beyond the original family audience, and have more episodes on the way.
Aside from these two mega-hits, DWA has produced several series spun-off from their popular movie franchises. These include “Dragons: Race To The Edge“, “The Mr Peabody and Sherman Show” and “The Adventures Of Puss in Boots“.
Younger kids are catered for with Netflix Originals too, with shows like “Beat Bugs“, “Ask The StoryBots” and “True and The Rainbow Kingdom“.
Their first major step into the world of animated movies came with their picking up of award-winner “The Little Prince“. Inspired by the classic French children’s book of the same name, Kung Fu Panda co-director Mark Osborne’s heart-warming yarn was a fantastic place to start.
Netflix’s first animated original aimed at adults was the critically beloved sitcom “BoJack Horseman“. Despite featuring a world full of talking animals, it’s definitely not for the young-uns. In this case though, this is less due to adult jokes and references (although it has those too) and more to do with the themes, as under its daft exterior, BoJack is one of the deepest, darkest shows currently airing.
Another adult animation attracting less attention, but still worth a look is “F For Family“. Created by and starring stand-up comedian Bill Burr, it’s a foul-mouthed, less than rose-tinted look at family life in the US in the 70s.
Netflix has also been making a big push into the world of anime (Japanese animation), with a large number of series and movie due to arrive over the next couple of years. They’ve been picking up exclusive rights to anime for some time now, however starting with sci-fi saga “Knights Of Sidonia” in 2015, and followed up by “AJIN: Demi-Human“.
Other available Netflix Original (see our guide on what constitutes a Netflix Original) anime series include “The Seven Deadly Sins“, giant robots meets samurai series “Kuromukuro“, and the charming “Little Witch Academia” which is available alongside the two animated shorts which inspired it. A younger audience is also catered for with “Glitter Force“, a magical-girl anime in the “Sailor Moon” mould, and its sequel series “Glitter Force: Doki Doki“.
The Netflix Original line-up includes a few anime movies as well. Their first big addition was the impressive CGI movie “Harlock: Space Pirate“, based on the iconic manga hero. It has since been joined by “Gantz:O” and “BLAME!” and more will be added in the coming months.
There’s going to be lots more animation of all kinds to look forward to on Netflix in the future, too. Aside from continuing series, and the aforementioned upcoming anime slate, there’s also “Disenchantment” (a brand new series from The Simpsons/Futurama creator Matt Groening) and a new movie “America The Motion Picture” (from the creator of “Archer”). It seems safe to say that animation is going to be a big part of Netlflix’s Originals for the foreseeable future.