This week brings additional examples, with plenty more on the way. Netflix’s “Yasuke” focuses on a Black Samurai (voiced by LaKeith Stanfield), grudgingly brought out of retirement to protect a child with mysterious powers, who is being hunted by a strange and dangerous assortment of villains, among them a killer robot. The anime series was created by LeSean Thomas (“Cannon Busters”), and certainly doesn’t skimp on the sword-wielding gore.
Elsewhere, DC and Warner Bros. add to their library of direct-to-DVD movies with “Justice Society: World War II,” a time-traveling story that sees the Flash (Matt Bomer) travel back in time to help the original team of Golden Age heroes (among them Wonder Woman, Hawkman and the original Flash) battle the Nazis, who, much like “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” are in pursuit of artifacts that will help them win the war.
While not as bloody as some recent DC films — a few have carried R ratings — the themes cater to hard-core comic-book fans fluent in DC history.
As they say, wait, there’s more. Next month, Disney’s Hulu will launch “Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.,” a darkly comic stop-motion-animation series featuring Patton Oswalt (who also co-created it) as the voice of one of the comics’ more obscure and bizarre-looking villains.
In announcing the realignment, Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max’s head of original content, said in a statement, “The adult animation boom is just starting.”
It’s certainly not an exaggeration to call the latest wave a boom. But it’s also a reminder not to assume just because the images are animated that they’ve been made with kids in mind.
“Yasuke” premieres April 29 on Netflix.
“Justice League: World War II” will be distributed on digital by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on April 27 on Blu-ray on May 11.