Netflix’s Terminator Zero anime starts streaming in August

Netflix has finally named and dated its new anime series Terminator Zero, releasing worldwide on August 29th. If you recall your convoluted time-traveling, skin-wearing cyborg apocalypse history, you’ll realize that’s the 27th anniversary of the series’ Judgment Day, when the machines begin their conquest of humanity. Well, one of them, anyway.

The show is mainly set in 1997 Tokyo, and according to its writer, it won’t be ignoring the movies — any of them. The basic plot involves a soldier going back in time to protect a scientist named Malcolm Lee who’s trying to create a benevolent AI system to fend off the bad one that’s going to destroy humanity, including his three kids. There are some slight differences from most of the movies (and a big one in its omission of the Connor family), but that’s still Terminator stuff.

Series writer Mattson Tomlin (The Batman Part II) told Entertainment Weekly that he had to be creative about weaponry after Production I.G, the studio handling the show’s animation, told him Japan doesn’t just have guns lying around. So, the outlet writes, it’s “more sword fights with a Terminator that has blades for arms.”

Tomlin told Entertainment Weekly that the show doesn’t “pretend the third movie didn’t happen” — or the sixth one. So Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator from Rise of the Machines did carry that casket, and an elder Sarah Connor did return in Dark Fate. He also explained that the show will be “an almost Godfather-like multi-generational saga” that tracks the scientist, Lee, and his three kids, and if there are multiple seasons, he wants to show the kids as adults.

Terminator Zero has some proven talent behind it. Masashi Kudō, who worked on Bleach, is its director, and Production I.G has excellent bona fides, like the 1995 Ghost in the Shell film and the anime series FLCL. (It’s also the studio that produced the anime sequence from Kill Bill: Volume 1.

The series also continues to ramp up Netflix’s anime cred. The streamer has been investing heavily in the space, producing hit shows like Cyberpunk and adaptations like the upcoming Devil May Cry and Tomb Raider series. (It’s also going the other way, turning anime like Cowboy Bebop or Avatar into live action, but that hasn’t gone as well.)

Netflix didn’t name any of the voice actors in the upcoming show but did say that Terminator Zero will run for eight episodes when it hits later this year.

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