As fans sat on the edge of their seats, animation producer and artist LeSean Thomas made an appearance to announce his new animation, Children of Ether.
I’ve been working with Crunchyroll covertly over the last year or so,
He is best known for working on shows such as The Boondocks and Legend of Korra, as well as his own Cannon Busters, and announced that he will be collaborating with several anime veterans for this new production.
The team I put together is pretty crazy, and Crunchyroll was totally cool with just saying, okay whatever you do, just make sure we can afford it,
Thomas quipped at the industry panel Thursday afternoon.
The list of heavy hitters mentioned included animation guru Mitsuo Iso (Denno-Coil, Neon Genesis Evangelion), dynamic storyboard director Shingo Natsume (One Punch Man, Space Dandy), respected character designer Hiroshi Shimizu (Michiko & Hatchin) and distinguished animation director Yûichi Takahashi (Gatchaman Crowds Insight).
Yapiko-Animation studio of Tokyo will be producing the project and British music producer Mr. Hudson, formerly signed to Kanye West’s label, will compose the original soundtrack.
Thomas teased several pieces of Shimizu’s early character concept art, including protagonist Rhonda Vega, a man with a roguish smile a robotic arm named Gio, two scrappy looking orphans named Pint and Copper who act as Rhonda’s sidekicks, and an adorable fox-like runt of a critter named Biggie.
Children of Ether is a story about a young girl in a dystopian future who awakens to an incredible power within her
and she’s trying to unlock the secrets of her power that’s connected to her past, in order to save her city’s future,
he explained, later adding,
She is the daughter of someone very powerful and important and she kills him accidentally, her father.
And she’s wracked with guilt, but also on the run so she’s trying to uncover the secrets of this ability that she has that’s caused the passing of someone so important to her,
while trying to avoid the repercussions of that.
In a press release Crunchyroll issued, they gave fans another taste of what to expect:
Children of Ether follows Rhonda, a woman with a dark past and a mysterious power, as she is pursued by an unknown assailant after the death of her father.
Aided only by her wits and a pair of orphans, Rhonda journeys through a decaying, dystopian metropolis populated by raiders, gangs, and the supernatural.
As she struggles to survive in this harsh urban tangle, she meets both friends and enemies, and searches for answers about this power, ‘The Ether’ awakening within her.
Outside the panel, Thomas explained to Honey’s Anime that the time he spent in Japan animating Cannon Busters with Satelight studio in Tokyo allowed him to build the relationships he’s used to orchestrate this production.
It was really cool of Crunchyroll to be able to allow me to do that,
Those are all my relationships - Studio Yapiko, Shimizu-san, Shingo Matsumi-san, I know all those cats…
I mean, all the way down to the music. Mr. Hudson, we have mutual friends,
he told Honey’s Anime.
We’re just trying to put energy out there because here’s a lack of it coming from the states in my opinion, as someone who’s worked on Boondocks and Black Dynamite, and Korra.
How do we speak this language of anime? It’s kind of the lingua franca, in my opinion, of artistic expression in the animation industry, anime style in general - so, how do we bridge that gap?
And Cannon Busters, was the first step, and I believe this project... will kind of expand on that.
I’m still learning… I still feel I’m new to the game. We’re just seeing what happens, and collaborating,
When I say new to the game, I definitely feel in terms of impact as an individual...
I’ve always been attached to particular projects that were otherwise created by another person or company, and I value that.
But you know how it is when you go out on your own, it’s a different thing.
It’s cool, I’m looking forward to it. I know how to make cartoons - I’m not worried about that part.
Streaming platforms such as Netflix have been financing exclusive original content successfully for quite some time now, so it doesn’t seem outlandish to speculate that another company like Crunchyroll may follow suit.
In an e-mail Crunchyroll’s Head of Content Management Dallas Middaugh wrote,
LeSean brought the project to us, and it looked great so we thought it would be fun to work together on it.
We've been really happy with the collaboration and look forward to sharing the results in the near future.
Expectant fans will have to stay tuned for a release date.