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Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN - What We Know So Far

"Arknights" is a free-to-play Chinese mobile tower-defense game that came out in 2019. The global release, along with the English translation, released at various dates in early 2020. Despite featuring gacha mechanics (a mechanic which requires users to spend real money for randomized, in-game rewards, a process that is considered gambling in some contextx), "Arknights" rose in popularity, so much so that even sites like Polygon featured positive opinion pieces about the quality of the game. 

Now, building upon that goodwill, "Arknights" is set to receive an TV anime adaption, entitled "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN." The studio in charge of the upcoming adaptation is Yostar Pictures, which is known for its work on "Sorairo Utility" and "Holy Knight Light" and "Azur Lane." Precious little is known, or rather precious little is widely marketed, about "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" outside of anime's niche circle. With that in mind, here's everything that we know so far. 

What is the release date for Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN?

"Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" is set to release for Crunchyroll's streaming service on Oct. 28, 2022. Episodes will air weekly, and premium subscribers will get to watch the episodes without any advertisements. For those who use Crunchyroll's free version, the wait will be a week longer for each episode, and the experience will be interspersed with sponsorship ads, but anyone who already deals with YouTube should find that an acceptable trade-off.  

As of now, there is no English voice cast, so it will be a long while before we get any kind of news about a dubbed release. That being said, a not insignificant portion of anime consumers seem to feel that subbed is far superior to dubbed. We'll leave that debate for someone else to deal with. The good news is that fans don't have to wait to jump into this new series.

What is the plot of Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN?

"Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" will likely adopt a similar story to the narrative of the games, so audiences should anticipate a blend of science fiction and fantasy, along with an unhealthy dose of massive ecological destruction. At the heart of the story is Rhode Island, an international, nongovernmental pharmaceutical company who's primary goal is to cure individuals inflicted with Orithapy, a terminal disease which occurs after exposure to Originium, which is a mineral that appears in the wake of each ecological disaster (known in-game as capital "c" Catastrophes). Ironically, Originium is also a pivotal for magic users to continue functioning within the mystic arts. In this way, conflict ensues. 

That's a lot of mumbo jumbo to say that the world is plagued by evil rock-infused natural disasters and that militarized hospital workers are on the frontlines of the problem. There are other antagonists, too, like Reunion, which is another militarized group of people, except these dudes are all infected and bent on revenge. 

Who is starring in Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN?

There's no English voice cast, so we'll only be discussing the Japanese talent here. IMDb is a little slow on the uptake this time, with only one of the cast members listed — fortunately, Behind The Voice Actors has us covered. Although we don't have time to provide character bios for each of these characters, as "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" is very much based on a game who's core gameplay requires an ensemble cast, hopefully this will help viewers attach names to voices. 

The protagonist of the game is known only as The Doctor, a genius amnesiac who's skillset is pivotal to Rhode Island's success. This mysterious Doctor is voiced by Yuki Kaida. As for the other primary players, Amiya is voiced by Tmoyo Kurosawa, Dobermann is voiced by Tatsumi Tanezaki, Nearl is voiced by Ayane Sakura, Ch'en is voiced by Shizuka Ishigami, and Franka is voiced by Ai Kakuma. Yui Ishikawa, Manaka Iwami, Azusa Tadokoro, Kiyono Yasuno, Risa Taneda, Yôko Hikasa, Takashi Matsuyama, Momo Asakura, Chiaki Kobayashi, and Koichi Yamadera also feature in the cast.  

Who is directing Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN?

"Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" is directed by Yuki Watanabe, an artist who previously worked on Yostar Picture's "Holy Knight Light," according to Anime News Network. It also appears as if "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" is Watanabe's first time as a series director. As shared by The Movie Database, most of Watanabe's previous credits are in creating the animation rather than directing it. As a Key Animator, he helped create "Plastic Memories," "One Punch Man," and "Mob Psycho 101." As an Animation Director, he helped create "NEW GAME!"

Interestingly, Watanabe also served as the Sound Director, not just the Series Director, for "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN." That means he was in charge of guiding both the animators and the voice actors. However, in this particular project it turns out that almost every creative decision had to go through him first. Depending on audience perception, that's either going to be incredible for his career, or incredibly destructive. 

Is there a trailer for Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN?

There is enough trailer footage online for "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" that the studious viewer could easily stitch together entire, cohesive episodes from the available clips. Both Crunchyroll and the mobile game "Arknights" have YouTube accounts, where teaser trailers and "official trailers" (there are so many of these that they're literally numbered, which is somehow both hilarious and efficient) and just regular old trailers. The point is, there's no lack of content to hype up audiences. 

The latest trailer was released on Oct. 18, 2022, on Crunchyroll's YouTube page. It's just over a minute long and pretty much conveys the production's core struggle between Rhode Island and anyone who isn't Rhode Island. It also showcases an insane amount of characters, which only goes to further what we said earlier — "Arknights: PRELUDE TO DAWN" will be a massive ensemble series with tons of characters to enjoy.