The trailer for Suicide Squad Isekai quickly followed Warner Bros. Japan and WIT Studio’s recent announcement of an anime adaptation of the Suicide Squad franchise. This trailer shows the Joker and Harley Quinn redesigned with typical anime looks. Plot crumbs-wise, there are shots of them terrorizing a city intermixed with their journey to a fantasy world.
This is not the first time an anime studio has adapted a DC property. Several animation studios collaborated to create the Batman: Gotham Knight anime anthology. Plus, Batman Ninja features Batman and his villains sent back in time to feudal Japan.
Now, WIT is bringing DC characters into the isekai genre, a genre that sends characters from the modern-day into a fantasy world. This seems to be what’s happening to the Suicide Squad in this series.
By bringing Eastern and Western influences together, the studio has set out to create something entirely new. For those interested in this exciting project, here is everything we know so far.
What is the Suicide Squad?The modern Suicide Squad debuted in a 1987 series penned by John Ostrander. In it, a cover-ops team of costumed villains handles situations too morally grey for superheroes.
In exchange for their services, the government offers criminal reduced sentences. The missions are deadly. Bombs planted in the villain’s necks detonate if they disobey commands. In the first issue, the tagline was:
These 8 people are putting their lives on the line for our country. One of them won’t be coming home.
One of the draws of the series is giving D-List DC villains more character depth. Villains like Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, and Enchantress received special focus. Post New-52 reboot, fan-favorite Harley Quinn became a regular member of the team.
Another mainstay is Amanda Waller, who is most often the leader of the team. She is one of the most unique characters in the DC universe. Army veteran Rick Flagg Jr. is also often leading the team with Waller.
Suicide Squad Isekai is the latest in a long line of Suicide Squad adaptations. There are two live-action films, Suicide Squad (2016) and The Suicide Squad (2021). James Gunn the current head of the DCEU directs the latter. My Adventures with Superman also features a version of the Suicide Squad.
Who are the Characters in Suicide Squad Isekai?Through the years and across mediums, there have been many different iterations of the Suicide Squad team. In fact, different versions feature both heroes and villains. The trailer for Suicide Squad Isekai features three well-known DC characters: Harley Quinn, the Joker, and Amanda Waller.
Who is the Joker?
If you’ve heard of Batman, you’ve heard of the Joker. The character first appeared in the debut issue of the comic book Batman. He went on to become his most popular and long-lasting nemesis. A clown with a permanent grotesque smile ,he is the antithesis of Batman in looks and personality.
There are many different versions of the Joker. For example, actors Caesar Romano, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger each played the character differently in well-known film adaptations. In addition to this, Suicide Squad Isekai is bringing its own version of Joker to the table. According to director Osada:
Everybody has their favorite version of Joker. We ultimately decided not to copy any particular iteration and have something completely unique.
Who is Harley Quinn?
If you’ve heard of the Joker, you’ve heard of Harley Quinn. Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created her for Batman: The Animated sSries. Originally, they intended Harley as just a female henchwoman for the Joker. However, she then evolved into his sidekick and love interest. Eventually, the DC Universe added her to their comic canon.
The comic Mad Love depicts her origin story. Harley begins as Joker’s psychiatrist and ends up seduced by him, and then she turns to villainy. A big focus of Harley’s character is her abusive relationship with the Joker. This is shown by how she keeps coming back to him when he treats her poorly.
Later on, she separated from the Joker to lead her own solo series Harley Quinn. She also became a best-selling character because of The New 52 version by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.
However, the trailer for Suicide Squad Isekai seems to depict Harley and the Joker working as a team again.
Who is Amanda Waller?
Nicknamed “The Wall,” Amanda is a Black woman who climbed from poverty to become a congressional aide. In fact, she formed the Suicide Squad by going directly to the president for authorization.
While she has no superpowers of her own, Amanda Waller is ambitious and highly motivated. She keeps the super-powered and costumed villains under iron-fisted control. Waller is a morally-grey character because she is a ruthless user of people. However, she believes she is doing the right thing in the name of national security.
You know, the Lord’s been a great comfort to me all these years. Try not to look so surprised. Yeah, I’ve got a lot to answer for when I meet Him, but I’d like to believe that for all the harm I’ve caused, I’ve also done some good. Maybe the angels need a sharp sword too.
John Ostrander created the character for his first run of the Suicide Squad. According to Ostrander, he purposefully wanted to create a character unique for its time.
‘To start off, I wanted someone who is African-American, because at the time there weren’t as many African-American characters in comics,’he says. ‘And I wanted the character to be female because we didn’t have very many female characters, either, ones who were very strong and could basically kick ass. And I thought she should be a little bit older, because I wanted her to have a life story, something that fed into who she was.’”
This is not the first time Amanda Waller has appeared outside of the comics. Currently Viola Davis depicts her in both live-action Suicide Squad movies.
What is the Isekai Genre?Isekai transports characters to another world. They travel there through portals or reincarnation. Suicide Squad Isekai features the characters invading another world on a mission from Amanda Waller.
Stories of characters entering another world have existed since Narnia. The Familiar of Zero popularized the genre in Japan. Since then it became a large trend in light novels and anime. It is so influential that Tappei Nagatsuki began writing Familiar of Zero fan-fiction. Later he went on to create his own original series, Re: Zero.
Isekai tells fish-out-of-water stories where mundane protagonists clash with an unfamiliar world. Of course, the eccentric Suicide sSuad may defy that genre trend. While the DC Universe is a fantastic world, these characters are still transitioning from an urban setting to high fantasy, which will be a unique and new setting for these familiar characters.
Who is Making Suicide Squad Isekai?Coupled with the announcement for Suicide Squad Isekai was an all-star staff. Each of the main staff members has done notable work in anime, manga, and light novels in the past.
WIT Studio has created some highly successful franchises such as Attack on Titan and Spy x Family. According to their press release WIT Studio is responsible for proposing the collaboration to Warner Bros.
It all started when I saw one of our employees’ mug with DC characters and I asked him ‘Do you like DC?’ We went to Warner Bros. head quarters in US and now have full support from them in DC. I hope this will become the opportunity for DC characters to expand even further in Japan.
He expresses a desire for further projects based on DC characters. If the series is successful enough, it could pave the way for even more animated adaptations of DC characters.
Anime Production Staff
Eri Osada is serving as the director for the entire project. A director oversees the collaboration of the animation, music, and scripting as a whole. This is his first time as a series director, as his previous work is mainly directing individual episodes.
Akira Amano drew the promotional art depicting Harley Quinn. He authored Reborn!, and Ron Komonashi Deranged Detective. They commented on the process of redesigning Harley Quinn for Suicide Squad Isekai on the official website.
I’m a big fan of Harley Quinn and the other characters in the “Suicide Squad” movie! It’s an honor for me to be involved in the creation of Suicide Squad Isekai. The director Eri O’Sada’s clear vision for Harley’s design made the process smoother than expected, and I enjoyed drawing her costume and muscles while imagining her action-packed adventures in the story.
Akira Amano also drew the character design drafts. Naoto Hasodo is the character designer for the series. The character designer takes the drafts and redesigns them. The goal is to make them easier to animate.
The composer for the series is Kenichiro Suehiro. He previously worked on the animated adaptation Re: Zero which makes him another veteran of the isekai genre.
Writing Suicide Squad Isekai
Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara are writing the series.
Re: Zero -Starting Life in Another World is Tappei’s previous work. The series began as a web-novel, and later received light novel, anime and manga adaptations. It is a highly popular and well-received work.
The story transports Subaru Natsuki to another world. Re: Zero deconstructs the genre by deconstructing its main character. Subaru is in no way special. His only ability is rewinding time every time he dies. He finds this out after a series of gruesome deaths.
The story is a dark fantasy where the characters may die at any time. They often battle horrific monsters and horrifying cult members. Tappei Nagatsuki leaning towards the grim and gritty may make him uniquely suited for Suicide Squad Isekai.
Suicide Squad Isekai: Coming SoonThe Suicide Squad comics are popular with many different adaptations. This one brings something unique by crossing these comic characters into a popular anime genre, and will allow a crossover for the strength of both mediums.
WIT Studio is qualified to handle this project, because of their past successes with anime projects. In addition, the writer’s previous works are in the isekai genre. Finally, the artists bring promising anime-style character designs to the table. All in all, it is a staff of highly qualified veterans.
The cast is new versions of familiar characters. Their redesigns are eye-catching, and the staff are fans of these characters. They are bringing their versions of the characters to life. All of these are reasons to look forward to this anime. Hopefully, if this series is successful it will lead to more anime adaptations of comics in the future.