It’s finally here! The much-anticipated series, BNA: Brand New Animal, aired its first episode on Fuji TV’s +Ultra anime programming block on April 8th. The first six episodes of BNA: Brand New Animal premiered on Netflix in Japan towards the end of March.
There has been a lot of buzz around this original series from Studio Trigger, and with good reason. BNA: Brand New Animal has gotten tons of positive reviews, and the universe of this story is already expanding.
It’s no surprise to us that Studio Trigger is the production company behind this exciting new show. Officially founded in 2011 by Hiroyuki Imaishi and Masahiko Ōtsuka, Trigger has been behind the breakout hit anime film (and its sequel, Netflix series, and video game) Little Witch Academia, and Kill la Kill, which was their first television series.
The most exciting thing about this studio is how modern their approach is to the anime game. For example, the sequel to Little Witch Academia, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. In an interview with Anime News Network in 2015, Yoshinari gave credit to his and Imaishi’s Gainax roots, but said the company aims to be like Pixar.
In the same interview, it was revealed that the characters in Kill la Kill were originally written to be male. In a genre where female characters are typically more subdued and demure, this show breaks the mold with wild female leads. Imashi said that he favors “strong, centered women”, which again demonstrates how Trigger is ahead of their time.
Story and Characters of BNA: Brand New Animals
In March, we covered the release of the trailer and theme song for BNA: Brand New Animals a few days before the first six episodes were released on Netflix in Japan. The opening track, Ready To, is composed by Jin Tanaka, and sung by Sumire Morohosi, the actor who voices the show’s protagonist. The closing track, titled Night Running, is composed by Shin Sakiura, and sung by Aaamyyy.
The trailer briefly introduced the characters and the world of the show to upbeat and energetic theme music. It set the stage for the world of the show, which takes place in an alternate 21st Century timeline.
In this timeline, humanoid animals called beast-men exist, and are revealed to the world after living in darkness for hundreds of years. Michiru, the protagonist of the story, is a normal high schooler one minute, and a beastman the next. She runs away to seek refuge in Anima City, and to find out why she became one of the beastmen.
Other main characters include Shirou Ogami, a wolf beastman Michiru encounters upon arriving in Anima City. Their meeting begins Michiru’s investigation and continues the series of strange events. Michiru’s best friend, another high school student named Nazuna, also turns into a beastman, but has a much different journey as a result.
The series’ creator and chief screenwriter is Kazuki Nakashima. A playwright, novelist, editor, and accomplished anime screenwriter, Nakashima is known for penning mysterious and fantastical stories. He also worked with Hiroyuki Imaishi on Kill la Kill and two other series, so this innovative, creative, lasting partnership was a no-brainer.
Reception and Future Projects
Reception for BNA: Brand New Animals has been positive, with a 7.9 out of 10 rating on [Anime] and 8.1 out of 10 on IMDb. Before the show even aired, BNA’s official website announced that the anime would be getting a prequel novel on April 23rd. The title is BNA Zero: The Animals That Can’t Be Brand New.
Netflix is known for renewing their anime series for second seasons, but the fate of BNA: Brand New Animal on the streaming platform is to be determined. Aside from the sequel to Little Witch Academia, Trigger typically produces standalone series, with no more than two broadcasting cycles (or “cours”) per project. But it’s possible, given the excitement around this show, that we’ll see this story expand.
The story mainly takes place in Anima City, so there is an opportunity to expand into the human world if BNA is greenlit for a second season. The storyline is also pretty open-ended and could allow for new characters to emerge, human or otherwise.
Whatever Trigger and Netflix decide, this show has really made its mark and has excited anime fans and genre newcomers alike. It’s an accessible, modern story with limitless possibilities on where it might go next.