The Austin-based Rooster Teeth already created an international stir among anime fans with RWBY and now, with gen:LOCK, it has a potent-looking follow-up effort, especially considering its cast, which reads like a Comic-Con guest list: Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Dakota Fanning (The Alienist), David Tennant (Doctor Who), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Asia Kate Dillon (Orange is the New Black) and Golshifteh Farahani (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales).
The premise of the series, as described by Rooster Teeth: “Fifty years in the future, an oppressive authoritarian force threatens to conquer the world. A daring team is recruited to pilot a new form of weaponized neuroscience that powers devastating mecha, but they must be willing to sacrifice everything to save the world.”
The sci-fi mecha anime series premieres January 26 with the release of Episode 1 and Episode 2 on Rooster Teeth, an SVOD available on iOS, Android, Xbox One, Apple TV and on Rooster Teeth’s own website. The first episode of gen:Lock is free; membership (which starts at $4.99 a month) is required for any subsequent installment. Gen:LOCK releases are planned for every Saturday through March 9.
Jordan, one of the most in-demand rising talents in Hollywood, has been banging the social-media drum for the Rooster Teeth project. On Instagram the actor gushed about the trailer’s release: “This show fulfilled one of my life-long dreams of voicing a character on an animated show.” A few days earlier he cited gen:LOCK as a passion project that connects with his longtime interest in sci-fi and animation. “I’m geeked for you guys to see it. We’ve created something really special. (If you know me you know how much the project means to me).”
The eye-catching project may encounter some turbulence with some anime purists due to its Lone Star State origins. The success of Rooster Teeth’s RWBY sparked some debate in fan circles about authenticity and appropriate semantics since the genre is so closely associated with its native Japan. Austin is also home to Powerhouse, which produced Castlevania, (which recently got re-upped for a third season on Netflix) and with Austin’s substantial game development scene the state capital has a strong local talent pool with anime-applicable skill sets.
Check out the trailer above.