Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan Is Headed to Netflix as an Anime Series

Barking spiders! Would you like to take to the skies in a bioengineered whale-zeppelin? Stroll around Europe in a big clanking walker? These things are possible in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan, which takes place in an alternate 1914 where Darwin discovered DNA and created a biology-based military for England, while the Austro-Hungarians and Germans went full steampunk. The middle-grade series, with illustrations by Keith Thompson, began in the late 2000s and was a delight—and now it’s getting the anime treatment courtesy of Netflix and the animation studio Orange (Beastars).

There’s a very tiny little summary from Netflix: “In 1914, on the eve of war, a fugitive prince and a girl in disguise meet aboard a bioengineered airship, the HMS Leviathan, and change the course of history.”

This is accurate, but does not really get at the scale of Westerfeld’s invented world, which includes a whole lot of very intriguing creatures and colorful (in an age-appropriate way) language courtesy of Deryn, the young Scot (in disguise as a boy) who sneaks off onto the titular airship. Eventually she crosses paths with Alek, the fictional son of Archduke Ferdinand, who is, as you might imagine given the date, not having a great time.

The adaptation is directed by Christophe Ferreira, produced by Qubic Pictures (Star Wars: Visions), and has original songs by Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Castle in the Sky). It’s coming in 2025—but if you’re feeling impatient for a Westerfeld adaptation, the Uglies film is still set to arrive this year. icon-paragraph-end

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