Here are some of the Asian series to look forward to on Netflix in 2019.
There will be five new anime series on Netflix in 2019.
Pacific Rim – You’ve seen the movies, now watch the epic battles between Kaiju and Jaegers in anime format. The story follows two siblings who are forced to pilot an abandoned Jaeger across a hostile landscape in a desperate attempt to find their missing parents.
Altered Carbon – This anime feature, set in the same universe as the Netflix live-action sci-fi series (which second season is currently in production), will explore new elements of the story mythology.
Cagaster Of An Insect Cage – Set in a post-apocalyptic world where a mysterious disease “Cagaster” turns people into giant murderous insects. At the centre of this awful world is a young couple trying to stay alive.
Yasuke – Set during war-torn feudal Japan, a retired ronin must take up his sword again to protect a mysterious child whom the dark forces want to eliminate. Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Sorry To Bother You) is voicing Yasuke.
Trese – Based on the Philippine graphic novel and set in Manila, it revolves around Alexandra Trese who fights criminal underworld made up of supernatural beings.
Cutting across cultures
One can’t go wrong with the horror genre in Asia, and who better to tackle it than Thai filmmakers.
The first is The Stranded, which starts with over 30 students from an elite private high school stranded on a remote island in the Andaman Sea after a tsunami. There, mysterious events start to occur. One of the students, 18-year-old Kraam decides to lead the rest to safety.
Meanwhile, Shimmers is a drama series about five teenagers at an isolated school in Northern Thailand. Over a school break, they find themselves haunted by ghosts of their pasts.
Also watch out for Triad Princess, a Taiwanese original series, about a daughter of a triad leader who walks away from this dangerous world for a much easier one. Or so she thinks. Defying her father’s wishes, Angie takes on a gig as an undercover bodyguard for a famous star. This romantic comedy stars Eugenie Liu and Jasper Liu.
Triad Princess is the second Mandarin-language series from Netflix. The first title announced from Taiwan is called Nowhere Man, which tells of a death row inmate who experiences alternate timelines, while attempting a prison break. It stars Wang Bo Chieh, Mavis Fan and Greg Hsu.
Beyond traditional ways
There is an abundance of talent in South Korea entertainment industry, from actors to directors and writers. Netflix already got a piece of K-drama action when it produced variety show Busted! featuring Park Min-young.
Busted! is currently shooting its second season and is set to premiere next year. Not only that, the streamer has got on the K-drama bandwagon. In 2019, Netflix plans to release three K-dramas.
On Jan 25, look out for Kingdom, an eight-episode horror-thriller which stars Ju Ji-hoon, Ryu Seung-ryong and Bae Doona. The period-piece kicks off with the palace wanting to cure a very ill king, only to have started a plague that brings the dead to life (zombies!). Now it is up to a prince and a nurse to save the common people. Season Two of Kingdom has been greenlit.
There is also Love Alarm starring Kim So-hyun, which is based on a webtoon about an app that can detect romantic feelings of a person near you. When it does, an alarm is triggered. But, like with many technological device, the disadvantage may outweigh the advantage.
And lastly, get ready to watch Ji Soo, Jung Chae-yeon and Jung Jin-young in the romantic drama titled My First First Love. Ji Soo, who was in Singapore for the event, describes the series as “the young and clumsy love people in their 20s experience. But it’s a heartwarming story that those in their 30s and 40s can connect with too.”
Those fresh voices
Netflix’s biggest investment is in India. At the event, it was revealed that Netflix has eight Indian films under its Asian slate with some of them produced by Bollywood bigwigs like Madhuri Dixit (15 August) and Priyanka Chopra (Firebrand).
Actress Madhuri said: “There are two magical things in this world – one is the cinema and the other is the Internet. And Netflix is a marriage of these two magical worlds.”
On the TV front, Bollywood king Shah Rukh Khan is producing Bard Of Blood, a series that is based on the 2015 book by Bilal Siddiqi and stars Emraan Hashmi in the lead role.
Another exciting Indian TV series that just started its production is Baahubali: Before The Beginning, which is a prequel to the successful Baahubali films. It is set 50 years before Baahubali: The Beginning and 75 years before Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. Actress Mrunal Thakur is taking on the role of young Sivagami (of whom the movies centre on) with Rahul Bose co-starring as Skandadasa.
The first season shows the rise of Sivagami from a vengeful girl to a wise queen. There will also be a second season in the series.
Producer Prasad Devineni said: “Netflix has given us the budget to go big-scale with the production. Our aim is to make a great series that will appeal to existing fans as well as other Netflix subscribers.”
Renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta is producing Leila, a series based on the book by Prayaag Akbar. Set in the dystopian future in India, the focus of the tale is on a woman in search for the daughter she lost upon her arrest years ago. Filmed in New Delhi, the six-episode series stars Huma Qureshi.