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Tribe Nine - What We Know So Far

Fans of the eccentric "Danganronpa" series of video games (and other media) should get excited. The franchise's creator, Kazutaka Kodaka, is debuting his latest brain-child, a new franchise known as "Tribe Nine." Set in the futuristic city of Neo Too Kyo, "Tribe Nine" focuses on newly formed tribes of people following an apocalyptic event, as they play a form of violent, technologically enhanced baseball.

Like "Danganronpa," "Tribe Nine" is set to occupy more than one medium. On top of the franchise's upcoming smartphone RPG developed by Too Kyo Games, and its upcoming webtoon, the franchise also has an anime coming out very soon (via CBR). Animated by Liden Films and distributed internationally through Funimation, the "Tribe Nine" anime will be the very first taste that future fans will get of this burgeoning franchise. Here is what we know about the project so far, including the release date, cast, and plot of the upcoming anime.

What is the release date for the Tribe Nine anime?

News on the "Tribe Nine" franchise has been circulating since February 2020, when the series' creators first teased the launch of the new intellectual property's official website (via SiliconEra). At the time, Kodaka (along with every other party involved in the new IP) kept a tight seal on information regarding the franchise, except for an exclusive interview Kodaka held with Gematsu that included the reveal of a concept trailer for the game.

More recently, however, the powers that be behind the IP lifted the information embargo, setting an official release date for the anime. According to Funimation, as well as the series' newest trailer, the "Tribe Nine" anime will debut through Funimation's streaming service in January 2022 (and it's one of the year's most anticipated anime). Funimation revealed no plans to have the anime dubbed in English, so it is likely that the series will only be available with subtitles, at least for the time being.

Who is in the cast for the Tribe Nine anime?

While Funimation and Liden Films have yet to reveal many specific details regarding the plot of the "Tribe Nine" anime, the show's latest trailer does give us a good look at its core cast of characters, a motley bunch of young folk called the Minato Tribe. They are one of the many groups of kids romping around Neo Too Kyo with a baseball bat and a dream. In spite of their shared identity as part of the same tribe, each member has a distinct personality and appearance.

The official "Tribe Nine" website features short biographies of each of these characters in Japanese (along with the members of the rival Chiyoda Tribe). The most important of these characters is, of course, the protagonist, Shun Kamiya. Shun is both the founder of the Minato Tribe and one of its strongest members. He is voiced by actor Akira Ishida (via Anime News Network). Apart from Shun, the Minato Tribe features six other members, including Haru Shirogane (Shun Horie), Taiga (Chiharu Sawashiro), Saori Arisugawa (Mai Fuchigami), Santarō Mita (Mutsumi Tamura), Manami Daimon (Fukushi Ochiai), and Kazuki Aoyama (Shōya Chiba).

The gang's rival tribe, the Chiyoda Tribe, includes the characters Ōjirō Ōtori, Tenshin Ōtori, and Yuī Kamiki. They are played by Junichi Suwabe, Hiroshi Naka, and Mikako Komatsu respectively. More characters and tribes will assuredly be revealed as the release date approaches.

What is the plot of Tribe Nine?

In the city of Neo Too Kyo, everything is determined by baseball. But this isn't your grandaddy's game of wooden bats and leather mitts. Dubbed "extreme baseball," or simply "XB" for short, the game played by the characters of "Tribe Nine" is just as much a mode of gang warfare as it is a sport. According to Kodaka's interview with Gematsu, the practice is seen more as a form of legal dueling than anything else. Nevertheless, a specialized robot judge called Judge Robo appears at the start of every XB match to enforce the game's rules, usually through violence.

The game itself is as intense and over-the-top as you'd expect from an anime. Balls transform into rockets mid-flight, only to be knocked back and sent hurtling through several skyscrapers. Violence is highly encouraged, if not necessary, and Shun's high-tech "beam bat" gives him an edge in the flashiest of ways. In the middle of this fast-paced, cyberpunk sports action, it's almost easy to miss the fact that we don't actually know why the characters are doing all of this. For as exhilarating as Kodaka's new world seems, it still hasn't provided us with the motivation of its characters or given any hints as to what their journey entails (beyond playing XB, obviously). Even so, these are questions that will likely be answered when the "Tribe Nine" anime finally debuts in January.