Netflix Announces New Animated Show ‘ONI’ Based on Japanese Folklore

     November 21, 2019


As a medium, animation feels uniquely universal, despite its specificities in depicting a singular force of imagination. And Netflix has given opportunities to tons of wide-ranging forms of animation, from the melancholies of Bojack Horseman to the silliness of The Boss Baby: Back in Business. Now, as reported by Deadline, Netflix has greenlit a new animated series from the Oscar-nominated Japanese studio Tonko House. The show: ONI.

ONI, a hybrid stop-motion/CGI animation project created by former Pixar art director Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi (Toy Story 3, The Dam Keeper), follows Onari, the daughter of an ancient Japanese creature, interested in following her father’s footsteps and becoming her own hero — but her powers haven’t yet come into focus. Will she figure out who she is in time before the monstrous “Oni” threatens her village?

Tsutsumi is especially excited to produce a series so close to his culture:

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. 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.


Image via Netflix

Tonko House will be co-developing the series alongside Dwarf Studios, a Japanese stop-motion studio that produced Rilakkuma and Kaoru for Netflix. And Aram Yacoubian, Netflix’s director of original animation, is excited to keep the partnership going.

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. 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.

Looking for more Netflix cartoons to watch? Check out our favorite animated series on the service, our favorite animated movies on the service, and a review of Klaus, Netflix’s new animated Christmas classic.