Netflix’s Terminator anime takes the cyborg time war to Tokyo, with a new AI twist

Netflix and anime studio Production IG’s take on the Terminator arrives this summer, marking a big year for James Cameron’s killer cyborgs. Terminator: Zero will be a somewhat-familiar time-travelling tale with a twist: While we have our standard future warrior sent to the past to protect humanity from killing machines, there will also be a new protector in the form of an AI designed to battle Skynet’s genocidal ambitions.

Terminator: Zero’s hero is an as-yet unnamed soldier sent back in time to change humanity’s fate. She travels from a war-ravaged 2022 to 1997 Tokyo to protect a scientist named Malcolm Lee, who’s developing a rival AI system to fend off Skynet’s attack on humanity. “As Malcolm navigates the moral complexities of his creation,” Netflix said in a new synopsis for the animated series, “he is hunted by an unrelenting assassin from the future which forever alters the fate of his three children.”

As Netflix’s first images of Terminator: Zero reveal, Lee’s Skynet competitor is presented as something we haven’t seen in the live-action Terminator films before: a virtual maiden.

Image: Production IG/Netflix

Netflix also revealed images of its stand in for Kyle Reese — who is reportedly not part of the Sarah Connor lineage, since the anime’s showrunner says this is not a Connor family story — and what she’ll be battling: your standard T-800 Terminator model disguised as a human being.

An unnamed female soldier in an army jacket and scarf fires a handgun in a still from the Terminator: Zero anime

Image: Production IG/Netflix

When it was originally announced in 2021, showrunner and executive producer Mattson Tomlin said the anime series would “approach Terminator in a way that breaks conventions, subverts expectations, and has real guts.” Tomlin’s credits include writing the stories for Matt Reeves’ The Batman (and its sequel) and Netflix’s Project Power. Production I.G, the veteran anime production studio known for its work on series like Ghost in the Shell, Haikyu!!, and Psycho-Pass, is lending its creative talents to adapt The Terminator for animation. The eight-episode series is directed by Masashi Kudo (Bleach, Chain Chronicle).

Terminator: Zero will premiere on Netflix on Aug. 29.

Two months later, Terminator fans will get their hands on a big new survival game based on the franchise. Nacon’s Terminator: Survivors will launch in early access on Steam for Windows PC on Oct. 24, just days before the 40th anniversary of the franchise’s launch. Survivors is also coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X at a later date.

This post was originally published on Polygon

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