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The Anime That Fans Of Altered Carbon's Resleeved Need To Watch

Fans of Netflix's refreshingly way out there cyberpunk confection Altered Carbon were no doubt beyond bummed when news dropped that the series' second season would be its last. There's a safe bet Netflix brass were a bit bummed too, because they clearly wanted to log the series as another in a string of original hits (see also Stranger ThingsOzark, The Crown).

That much is evinced not only by the promotional campaign that accompanied the release of each season of the show (a rarity for Netflix), but also by how much money the streamer clearly put into the production (it remains one of the best looking shows in the Netflix vault), even procuring the talents of Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad, House of Cards) and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Marvel's Falcon) to star. And if lavish production values and legit star power weren't enough to prove just how much Netflix believed in Altered Carbon, the streamer even produced a gorgeous anime tie-in to accompany the show.

Titled Altered Carbon: Resleeved, that anime found the series' primary protagonist Takeshi Kovacs in a familiar fix (and in familiar skin), being woken from his prison slumber to solve a crime and try to protect a seeming innocent. Like seasons 1 and 2 of Altered Carbon's live-action series, things hardly go according to plan in Resleeved, with propulsive action and emotional turmoil driving a narrative designed to open up Takeshi's world in bold new ways.

Of course, the Altered Carbon creatives were not the first to take the anime approach in service of a world-expanding narrative endeavor. The Wachowskis took a similar tack with 2003's The Animatrix, and Resleeved fans really should check out that Matrix-centric anime ASAP.

The Wachowskis' The Animatrix expands The Matrix's world in fascinating ways

Unlike Altered Carbon: ResleevedThe Animatrix is less directly connected to its world via characters, with central players from The Matrix films appearing infrequently and only briefly. The Animatrix is also not a linear narrative, delivering instead nine short films unfolding in and around the titular digital realm.

You should know that, while The Animatrix is steeped in the same theologically complex, stylishly realized, and action-packed storytelling as The Matrix trilogy, the Wachowskis didn't personally direct any of the shorts comprising The Animatrix, and wrote only four of the tales themselves. As far as who the pair tapped to bring these animated delights to life, impressive names abound, with the likes of Peter Chung (Aeon Flux), Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Wicked City, Ninja Scroll), and Shin'ichirô Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop) taking the helm. 

You should also know The Animatrix unfolds a bit like a Matrix mixtape as well, with some stories grabbing hold of your heart and mind, and others essentially serving as filler. It's no surprise the four tales penned by the Wachowskis are standouts in the pack, with Watanabe's noir-tinged, Trinity-centric "A Detective Story" standing tall. Likewise, "The Final Flight of the Osiris" and "The Second Renaissance Parts I and II" (directed by Andy Jones and Mahiro Maeda, respectively) dazzle the eye as much as the imagination. 

The most surprising entry of the bunch would have to be the Watanabe-penned and directed "Kid's Story," which provides a trippy and surprisingly weighty backstory to what may well be the big screen trilogy's most maligned character. 

As noted, not all of the stories work as well as others, but The Animatrix still serves as a fascinating exploration of The Matrix's worlds beyond those glimpsed in the films. And yes, it's required viewing for any fan of The Matrix or Altered Carbon.