Yesterday at the New York Comic Con, Crunchyroll announced a surprise guest during their industry panel. It was none other than LeSean Thomas, a seasoned animation director that has worked on cartoons such as Black Dynamite, The Boondocks and The Legend of Korra. During the panel, it was announced that Thomas and Crunchyroll have been working together for the best part of a year to develop a new anime called Children of the Ether.
Set in a dystopian future, we follow Rhonda, the daughter of a very powerful man. One day a strange power known as the Ether awakens within Rhonda and she accidentally kills her father. Consequently, she is is forced to flee her home and venture into a savage metropolis full of various outlaws and supernatural beings. The story focuses on Rhonda as she struggles to survive in this harsh dystopian melting pot while searching for answers.
According to panel attendees, some of the exclusive art showcased was phenomenal. Furthermore, the creative team behind this project is extremely impressive. The team includes Hiroshi Shimizu (Michiko & Hatchin), Shingo Natsume (One Punch Man), Yûichi Takahashi (Gatchaman Crowds Insight) and Mitsuo Iso (Neon Genesis Evangelion).
This is definitely an anime that otakus (anime fans) across the world should look forward to however, it is especially meaningful for otakus of African descent. In anime, dark skinned characters are few and far between particularly when we look at protagonists. Even when we do see black characters they’re often portrayed as criminals or thugs and drawn as insulting caricatures. With Children of the Ether, we have not only a black female protagonist but a diverse cast of characters representing may different cultures. Here’s a few awesome black characters in anime that actually buck that trend.
In addition to Children of the Ether, Thomas has been working on Cannon Busters, an anime pilot that he successfully funded on Kickstarter last year. The story follows another female protagonist of colour, SAM, an android that is separated from her best friend following an attack on their kingdom. Sam is forced to join forces with Turnbuckle, an outdated an obsolete junk droid, Philly the Kid, an immortal outlaw with no memories of his past and 9ine a wandering swordsman in search of a kingdom to serve. Cannon Busters was released earlier this year for Kickstarter Backers however, Thomas has yet to set an official date as to when the pilot will be available to the general public. With the announcement of Children of the Ether, it’s uncertain as to where Cannon Busters stands. Nevertheless, it’s clear that both otakus of African descent and otakus across the world are eagerly anticipating both of these amazing projects.