Five Anime series That Could Use A Revised Version
It used to be the case that once an anime series goes off the air you will only be seeing it again in VHS/DVD form. Those old series from the 80s and 90s can still be seen in their old glory either on physical media (when possible) or using the almighty internet. But recently we’ve seen old series receiving new life in revised versions. 2009 brought us the revised Full Metal Alchemist. This version, called Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood followed the manga more closely than the former anime, and utilized HD visuals that were not available when its predecessor was made. Around the same time Dragon Ball Kai – an edited version of Dragon Ball Z without excessive fillers – went on the air. Last year Hunter x Hunter received a revised version, although here the revisions had more to do with the quality of the animation and the pacing than they did with the story. Last but not least we shouldn’t forget Sailor Moon, which is set to receive a full reboot next year.
I’ve intentionally used the word “revised” instead of “remade” here because among the four examples I just gave only Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood had its plot changed and only a change in plot equals a remake in my humble opinion. Thus, while it might not be the perfect term, I’ll be using the word revised during this upcoming list. So what good do revisions do? Basically they bring old favorites back to the TV screens, introducing them to a new generation. These remakes tend to address problems that the old shows suffered from. In the examples I raised above these problems were plot changes (Brotherhood) excessive fillers (Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon) and insufficient animation (Hunter x Hunter). Of course making a revised version of a series can also annoy fans of the old series, who would probably prefer to get new materials instead of having to buy a new “definitive” version while their old DVDs become inferior (just to be clear here I don’t always agree 100% on this. I still believe the old Hunter x Hunter is much better than the new one).
Since it seems like the revised anime series thus far have been fairly successful it might be a good idea to revise a few more series in the near future. And to be honest there are quite a few series badly in need of such revisions. So we put on our thinking hats and procured a list of five anime series that needs a revised version.
Traveling the land, seeing new places, catching Pokemon and training them until you reach the top. That’s the essence of the Pokemon games and they have proven to be fun and addictive. The Pokemon games are great. The Pokemon anime series? Not so great. Sure, it was nice seeing Ash when he began his journey to becoming a Pokemon Master and the first few seasons were fresh enough that we forgave them for being so damn repetitive. But in all honesty I just cannot forgive Nintendo and Game Freaks for taking one of the most creative video games of the century and creating a shallow anime of it that shows no creativity at all. Pokemon could have grown with its audience, becoming more sophisticated or at least more mature in themes as it goes by. Instead it seems the show is keen to forever stand in place, luring the youngest of children each year at the cost of disappointing older audiences (I’ve seen 7 years old boys and girls who were already bored by it). We need a revised version of Pokemon. One that has higher production values, show the Pokemon hit each other and getting hurt and yes, it will have a deep and engaging plot. One that will be suitable for all those little children that played Pokemon when they were teenagers and still watch anime in their twenties and thirties. Of course, with the visuals, animation, characters and plot changed the revised version of Pokemon will probably bear no resemblance whatsoever to the current series. But most people over the age of 15 will probably agree that that’s actually a good thing.
Chobits is one of Clamps better looking manga, with a simple story that got darker and more complex as it went by. It was a short and well thought of manga. Unfortunately the animated version of Chobits was a mess. It was too bright and happy, didn’t look so great and had a serious pacing problem. Characters weren’t even true to their manga version – the main character Chi was dumbed down and spends an entire episode pretending to be a dog. I remember how disappointed I was to find out what the adaptation of one of my beloved manga series turned out like; A disappointment that follows me to this day. Frankly it would be very easy to revise Chobits nowadays, even on a decent budget, and it definitely deserves a better anime adaptation to be remembered by.
Unlike Chobits when I think about a revised version of Trigun I’m thinking big. It should be an expensive production, with money oozing from every gun shot and explosion. Don’t get me wrong, I love the existing Trigun anime and gave it a high score when I reviewed it. But anyone who read the Trigun manga knows the anime didn’t really follow the manga. Sure, the characters were the same, and some of the battles were similar, but the manga introduced a lot of back story that didn’t make it into the anime. The manga went the extra mile to explain why the villains (and not just Knives) are doing their thing. It also played much more with ideas like the eternal burden of sins and the value of human life. As a result the manga explained itself better and in fact some of the villains act very differently in the manga than they did in the anime. There are villians who appear in the manga but didn’t make it into the anime (including some Gung-Ho-Guns members). The plot is also conveyed in a different manner, which should easily differentiate a new version of Trigun from the old one.
Despite its anime dating back to 1998 the serializing of the Trigun manga only ended in 2008, followed by the Trigun: Badlands Rumble movie in 2010. Now seems to be a good time to reboot the Trigun anime in a more complete and high definition manner.
I know what you’re thinking: Naruto? That’s not an old series! It still looks good and adapted the story straight from the manga!
That’s probably what you’re thinking and you are absolutely right. Naruto looks good and follows the manga quite nicely, at least in the first 50 episodes or so after which it enters filler hell. Naruto doesn’t need a new plot or even better visuals. What it does need is to be more accessible. It needs a condensed, filler free version exactly like Dragon Ball Kai. Think how amazing the Naruto anime could be if you remove the 200 or so filler episodes and rush ahead with the plot. By cutting Naruto and leaving only the canon episodes a definitive version of this Shounen anime can be made; One that will entertain you with good plot and steady progression. And perhaps more importantly – one that will connect seamlessly to Naruto Shippuuden without forcing us to skip over 100 or so filler episodes filled with toilet humor.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
The Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise has stuck around for years despite having no new media to feed it’s loyal fans with (unless you consider Pachinko slot games as new viewing materials). That all changed when the movie Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone came out in 2007 and started what would become a trilogy set on rebooting the franchise. However, it is now clear that the Evangelion movie trilogy is striving to go in a different direction than the original series did and is not supposed to act as a replacement for it. Speaking of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime, it has aged terribly. Sure, the battles look nice but the quality of the cell-drawn characters, the poor anti-aliasing and the overall pale color palette didn’t look that well back in 1995 and look terrible on an HDTV today. With all the love and praises the series has received throughout the years it is still apparent that it was produced hastily. Gainax infamously ran out of money near the end of the series and basically replaced the last two episodes with a slide show.
Maybe when Gainax finishes the new Evangelion trilogy, with its new spin on the Evangelion universe, they would have the time to produce a revised version of the original series that started it all. This revised version will give the old Evengelion a huge facelift and would replace the last two episodes with a functioning finale. Alternatively this version could just attach The End of Evangelion movie as the ending to the series. I know people are still debating which ending fits the series better, but no one can deny that the movie looks amazing in comparison to the poorly executed original ending.
Will Gainax ever find the time to make such a revision? Probably not. It’s a bit too soon to ask for one considering Gainax is currently working on an Evangelion related venture anyway. But it will be a pity if in ten or twenty years people will forget the older series in favor of the movie trilogy simply because the original Neon Genesis Evangelion won’t be very accessible to them in terms of visuals and continuity.
That’s it for our list. Do you have an old series you’d like to see revised? Do you like the revised versions of old series, or maybe you’d prefer the old series to be left alone just as they are?