'Hero Mask' Season 2 Is The End Of the Road For Officer James Blood
Season 2 of Hero Mask premieres on Aug. 23 in its entirety — but what fans may not be anticipating is that the show's second season is also planned as the conclusion to the series. While there is no plan for Hero Mask to return for Season 3, the team behind the series may be working with Netflix again in the future to either tell new stories or possibly create a Hero Mask sequel series following the ongoing adventures of Officer James Blood if he manages to solve the conspiracy that drives Hero Mask's first two seasons.
Hero Mask producer Mikio Ono, told Anime News Network that the series was planned from the start to be told over two seasons, or 24 episodes. This smaller venture isn't unique for the show's studio, Studio Pierrot, but differentiates it from the company's most famous anime properties like Bleach which consists of over 300 episodes, and Naruto: Shippuden which runs exactly 500 episodes long.
Part of the reason for Hero Mask's limited episode order is that while shows like Naruto and Bleach have volumes of manga to adapt from, Hero Mask is telling an original story. "The hurdle is extremely high," Ono explains about the perils of producing non-adaptation anime properties, "particularly when it comes to getting funding at the end. You need a lot of luck, like we had when Netflix came along."
In addition to the lack of any sort of outside material to pull from to create new episodes, part of the decision to limit Hero Mask to two seasons may have also been because the series itself is more expensive to make than most anime. Show creator and first-time director Hiroyasu Aoki tells Anime News Network that Hero Mask's distinctly fast-paced editing is modeled after "Live-action things with a heavy focus on action can be really amazing ... having lots of quick cuts isn't so common in anime by comparison." Having to animate more backgrounds and shots for action sequences than a typical anime amounts to a lot of work, and producer Ono admits that "If a veteran director were handling [Hero Mask], they'd be well aware of the TV anime standard and would strive for more labor-saving methods."
While neither Aoki or Ono provided any hints about the coming conclusion of the series, or if a sequel series may be in the works — in the same way that the Studio Pierrot series Tokyo Ghoul later spawned Tokyo Ghoul √A and Tokyo Ghoul: re — there show's producers have an interest in working with Netflix in the future. "Personally speaking," says Ono, "I think that Netflix has a strong user base overseas, so it would be a good challenge to try working with them."
For the time being, the final episodes of Hero Mask will serve as the conclusion of the story of Officer James Blood and his quest to get to the bottom of the corporate conspiracy that is bringing dead ex-convicts back to life with superpowered masks. Unless, of course, Studio Pierrot decides that the time is right for a sequel series called Hero Mask II: James Bloodier or something to that effect, but for the time being it appears that two seasons is all that Hero Mask is getting.