Netflix Continues its Adult Animation Stranglehold with ‘Seis Manos’

Netflix’s first original anime series set in Mexico looks to expand its global audience.
By  · Published on May 9th, 2018

Netflix’s first original anime series set in Mexico looks to expand its global audience.

When the streaming wars settle, Netflix is determined to remain on top. They’re taking their inspiration from the Taco Bell of Demolition Man, demanding total supremacy over all other chains, and refusing to be intimidated by the impending doom of Disney. They have our subscription dollars, and it is hard to imagine them ever losing that stranglehold. Amazon and Hulu nip at its heels, but Netflix doesn’t skip a step.

Adult animation is one of their many realms that they hold dominance. We’ve been tracking their cartoon takeover for quite some time, and each new acquisition secures their foothold in the market. From Bojack Horseman spawned F is for Family and Big Mouth. If you’ve failed to dip into any of those shows, then you’re missing out on some of the rawest, most brutal comedy out there. Not looking for laughs? Castlevania and Voltron easily compete against the blah summer blockbuster sci-fi fare.

Netflix owns the current market (and our future dystopian society) because they’ve staked their claim on every flavor of entertainment. Baskin Robbins stopped at 31, Netflix sets its goals at infinity. Depending on the day, I am either in awe or terror at the prospect. Of course, arguing against investment in new talent doesn’t make sense.

Deadline reports that Netflix has ordered the first original animated property from VIZ Media. The company that has brought thousands and thousands of manga titles to the United States will partner with Castlevania producer Powerhouse Animation to produce the first anime series set in Mexico. Seis Manos is the brainchild of Powerhouse CEO Brad Graeber and Alvaro Rodriguez (cousin of Robert Rodriguez and writer of Machete).

Netflix is not simply looking to expand their animation market. They have their eyes set on the Latin American audience. John Derderian, Netflix’s director of Japan & Anime, stated:

“Our Mexican subscribers, and viewers in Latin America more broadly, have a tremendous passion for anime. We look forward to sharing this completely unique series with them, and with the growing community of anime fans around the world.”

A period piece set in 1970s Mexico, Seis Manos depicts the lives of three orphans that have relied on the craft of martial arts to survive. After their sensei is murdered, the friends team-up with a DEA agent and a Mexican Federale to take down the culprits responsible. I imagine 3 Ninjas Kick Back beating with the violent heart of Kill Bill.

Writing alongside Alvaro Rodriguez is Dan Dominguez (Captain Underpants, Spongebob Squarepants, Crash, and Bernstein). That’s a combination that does not necessarily scream badass kung fu anime. Dropping Willis Bulliner (the storyboard artist on Castlevania) as director could be the key ingredient to selling the exploitation plot.

My interest in the series will be in how earnest the action is depicted. The further we get from grindhouse pretenders like Machete or Hobo with a Shotgun, the less interested I am in nostalgic takes on the Roger Corman era. Aiming for Castlevania class (an idea I would never have thought possible) is the mission Rodriguez and company need to accomplish. Respect and genuine stakes are the key to scoring a larger audience.

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Brad Gullickson is a Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects and Senior Curator for One Perfect Shot. When not rambling about movies here, he's rambling about comics as the co-host of Comic Book Couples Counseling. Hunt him down on Twitter: @MouthDork. (He/Him)