In a surprising expansion of the cult-hit TV series, Warner Bros.' Japanese website has launched a section for Supernatural The Animation, a "special project" set to debut in January 2011.
Details are sparse, but Anime News Network reports that the site "promises the new project is an animated work that no one has seen before."
Supernatural, which begins its sixth season this fall on The CW, stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who hunt demons and other paranormal creatures. The fifth season, which ended on May 13, concluded a long-running story arc centering on the fight to stop Lucifer and save the world from the Apocalypse.
The series, which is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Wonderland Sound and Vision, has spawned several novels, three miniseries from DC Comics' WildStorm imprint, and an online series starring the Ghostfacers group of paranormal investigators.
Update (June 10): Supernatural The Animation turns out to be much bigger than previously thought. This morning, ANN reports that Madhouse, the acclaimed anime studio behind Death Note, Paprika and segments of Batman: Gotham Knight, is producing 22 episodes that cover the first two seasons of the live-action CW series: "The anime project will not only remake the best episodes from the live-action version, but also depict original episodes not seen in the live-action version. Those original episodes will include prologues of the Winchester brothers' childhood, anime-only enemies, and episodes featuring secondary characters from the live-action version."
The series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in Japan in three volumes beginning Jan. 12.
Supernatural creator Eric Kripke is credited as creator of the anime, which is co-directed by Shigeyuki Miya (Lupin III: Green vs Red, Aoi Bungaku Series) and Atsuko Ishizuka (Aoi Bungaku Series). Naoya Takayama (Night Head, Liar Game) is supervising the scripts, while Takahiro Yoshimatsu (Trigun) is designing the characters.