Last week, the third anthology of short films “Love. Death. Robots” from Netflix was released. Almost every episode demonstrates cruelty, blood and guts: a group of warriors fights a mechanical bear, a crab eats people, in the Middle East a group of soldiers find themselves in dangerous caves.
It’s all made possible by anime, according to director Jennifer Yu Nelson, who directed the second and third installments of Kung Fu Panda, as well as Pop Squad from the second season of the anthology and the bloody Kill Team Kill from the third.
I grew up with anime. And so for me, animation should not be just for kids. But that’s mostly the case in the US, especially if you’re working on big-budget worldbuilding stories.
I think it’s a generational change. Because when I started, everyone I worked for had never seen anime before. They just thought it was weird. So they didn’t understand it. They didn’t want to pay for it. They didn’t want a show about it.
You seemed to be working with emptiness. Despite “Akira” or “Ghost in the Shell”, they said, “Oh, that’s just weird for me.” But now everything is online. The culture of other countries is available. And then the question arises, why do they tell these stories, but we do not?
The showrunner of the collection, Tim Miller, said that he, along with David Fincher, had long promoted the idea of creating such an anthology, but Hollywood refused. Then Netflix came along and gave the green light, and now the West is catching up on adult animation.