Netflix Sets Kids Animated Series Based on Japanese Folklore

Oni Still 1 - Netflix - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix is adding to its roster of animated series for kids and families.

The streamer has ordered Oni, a show inspired by Japanese folklore. The series comes from creator and showrunner Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi and Tonko House, the team behind the Oscar-nominated animated short The Dam Keeper.

"Having spent my entire career in the American animation industry, part of me always wondered if there would ever be a place in the stories I tell for the other half of my identity, as a Japanese native," said Tsutsumi. "This Tonko House collaboration with Netflix is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to freely embrace my unique background to share with the rest of the world the wonderful stories I grew up with in Japan, particularly ones I believe are timely to the society we live in today."

Oni is set in a world filled with the oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology. Onari, the free-spirited daughter of one creature, is determined to follow in the footsteps of the heroes of yore, but her unique powers are yet to be revealed. She will discover if she has what it takes to protect her peaceful village from the encroaching presence of the mysterious "Oni" who threaten the gods.

The show will feature a mix of stop-motion animation from Japanese animation house Dwarf Studios and computer animation from Megalis VFX, also based in Japan. Tsutsumi and Tonko House's Robert Kondo, Kane Lee and Zen Miyake executive produce; Megan Bartel will serve as producer.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Dice and the rest of the Tonko team on this incredibly sweet story of self-discovery rooted in Japanese folklore," said Adam Yacoubian, director original animation at Netflix. "Dice is a renowned filmmaker with a deep passion for celebrating Japanese culture, and we’re honored to support his foray into animated series together with the team at Tonko. We fell in love with Onari and the specific Japanese mythology built around her, and we’re confident that her very personal, relatable story of self-discovery will resonate with audiences around the world."

Oni will join a set of kids animated series from around the world on Netflix that includes Ghee Happy, Mighty Little Bheem and Larva Island, along with the upcoming Dino Girl Gauko, Mama K's Team 4 and Maya and the Three.