Top 10 Forgotten Anime List (part 2)
It’s time for round two of the forgotten anime list. Just though I’d clear something up – this list is all about physical copies, so even if a series is still available on some streaming service somewhere if the physical copy is unavailable it can fit this list. Most anime viewers are not using streaming services. Plus, streaming a series only gives you a temporary “right to watch” that series. At the end of the day, you don’t own anything you stream and physical copies are all about owning that precious little thing. So without further ado, here are three more forgotten titles:
A science fiction suspense anime with a post-apocalyptic gloomy setting, Ergo Proxy was a very intelligent take on the roles religion and technology plays in our lives and our future. Ergo proxy aired in Japan during the second half of 2006 and was quickly licensed by Geneon Entertainment, which managed to release its first volume at the end of the same year. The series was praised for its elaborate plot, futuristic character designs and atmospheric nature.
Geneon still holds the license for the series, but Ergo Proxy has long gone out of print in the U.S., with prices hiking to the hundreds.
Chance of revival:
Good. Ergo Proxy was a sleeper hit and can still hold its ground today. Since Geneon is out of business and thus will not be printing new editions it’s safe to say that the series will stay dormant until Geneon’s license ends. After which an acquisition and revival at the hands of another U.S. distributor is possible. As a side note, although Ergo Proxy is insanely priced in the U.S. right now, Madman Entertainment has released it in Australia and England at a very good price point. Consider getting this version if your DVD can play other regions (remember: buying an anime series from an Australian or European distributor still supports the Japanese artists and the global anime industry as a whole).
A prophetic cyberpunk anime that foresaw the irreplaceable place the internet will play in our lives long before all the modern social networks and MMORPGs existed. Serial Experiments Lain touched more taboos than any other (non-hentai) anime. It portrayed drug use, computer addiction, child abuse and rape. Yet it contains no obscene content. Everything it shows exists to give you food for though. To this day this series is highly regarded as one of the most famous anime masterpieces. Lain aired in Japan in late 1998 and was released in the U.S. by Geneon Entertainment starting 1999.
Geneon has lost the license to Serial Experiments Lain. Although the series is long out of print it can still be found for a reasonable price if bought as singles. This stems from the fact that Lain had received countless rereleases during its life cycle in the U.S. and thus many copies of it still linger on. Lain has been retouched and rereleased in Japan on DVD and Blu-ray during 2010. This retouched version not only contains new material and was redrawn for HD, but was also priced very competitively. If not for the lack of English subtitles and an English dub this could have become a great import item.
Chance of revival:
Very high. In contrast to common believe FUNimation doesn’t own the license to the current iteration of Serial Experiment Lain. FUNimation only has the license for the old-looking VHS quality master Geneon used. FUNimation has no intention of reviving this old version when a better one was so recently released in Japan. In a recent interview for ANN FUNimation Entertainment’s marketing manager Adam Sheehan admitted that the company is very interested in licensing the Blu-ray and has already started working on the paperwork for obtaining it. Serial Experiments Lain was one of the first anime series to be released on DVD, at a time when companies didn’t master DVD authoring yet. It suffered because of it, a fact that FUNimation took note of when deciding not to use the master they probably received from Geneon. When released, the new high-end Blu-ray version is sure to attract old time Lain fans as well as newcomers alike.
An action fantasy series with a Matrix flavor, Shakugan no Shana had an O.K. story that expended exponentially and became very rich as time passed. The series aired in Japan late 2005 and early 2006. It was hastily licensed by Geneon, which managed to release its first volume in late 2006. Shakugan no Shana was very popular in the U.S. and Japan, prompting a second season, an OVA, a movie (which is just a super-condensed version of the first few episodes of the first season) and a third season (which is currently airing in Japan).
The first and second seasons of Shakugan no Shana are out of print and out of reach. The prices are laughably high. Similar to Ergo Proxy, you can grab the first season of this series from the Australian based Madman Entertainment for a more reasonable price. Sadly, the second season is gone for good.
Chance of revival:
Good. FUNimation currently holds the license for Shakugan no Shana, and the third season is sure to be a good stimulus for a rerelease of the first two seasons in the U.S. That said, the series’ OVA and the movie, which were released in Japan over two years ago, remain untouched in the U.S. – a bad omen if there ever was one. Moreover, releasing two seasons just to get to the now-hyped third season seems a little bit unreasonable.