Anime series tend to have subjective life spans. That is to say, some series are evergreen hits (aka Dragon Ball Z) while others are quickly forgotten and put to rest. But since demand and supply play an important role in a series’ life span, ill-received series which not many buy can actually stick around longer than those hit series which everyone and their sister bought a copy of. Not only that, the sad truth is some of the best anime series out there are currently out of commission and cannot be bought easily. These shiny gems were once highly praised and sought after. They now lay forgotten, covered in the dust of time, and are not licensed due to varies reasons. Today I’ve decided to share with you my list of top 10 forgotten series which should get a new breath of life and be reachable again. Because the whole list will fill the entire blog space if posted at once I’ve decided to divide it into 3 parts. Moreover, since this is a list of series that I strongly believe should be rereleased, and not a “best of” list, the series in it are not numbered. That said, I did include each and every title because in my humble opinion they are the best forgotten anime series out there. The series’ titles are linked to their respective entries over at anidb.net, so click on them for more information about the series. Let the listing begin!
A beautifully animated series with great plot and many surprises to keep you watching, Scrapped Princess was a very high profile series both in Japan and in the U.S. It aired in Japan during 2003 and was later released in the U.S. in 2005 by Bandai Entertainment. Above all it was a very balanced anime, with a completely believable fantasy world. It even touched on political and religious issues.
The series is unlicensed, and a bit forgotten. You can still find copies of the entire series on the net, but the price tags are in the hundreds.
Chance of revival:
Very high. This was a well-received series and it still has potential to sell today. Its license only expired recently so another company might license it soon. Scrapped Princess will probably resurface in a year or two.
The most successful and memorable magical girl series to date. Despite being a shoujo series it managed to cross demographics and genders, and was highly popular. The secret to CardCaptor Sakura’s success lay in waving a complex backstory which slowly unfolds and matures as the series progress. CardCaptor Sakura aired between 1998 and 2000 in Japan. It arrived on U.S. shores in 2000 and was released by Nelvana across several years. Two very different series exist: (the original) Cardcaptor Sakura and Cardcaptors. Cardcaptors was a heavily censored and altered version, in which several episodes were omitted, the main character changed and themes recompiled to portray a different story. Cardcaptors was supposed to be the definite CardCaptor Sakura iteration in the U.S. However, due to demand by fans, the original CardCaptor Sakura was also simultaneously released. Eventually CardCaptors bombed, while CardCaptor Sakura became a huge success.
The series is unlicensed despite lingering love from the fans.
Chance of revival:
Very high. CardCaptor Sakura was retouched and released on Blu-ray in Japan during 2009. As of now it is bound by an exclusivity contract that forbids its distribution outside of Japan. Nonetheless, U.S. anime distribution companies are probably on their toes and will snatch it up the moment the exclusivity contract expires (which should happen soon).
A very charming and touching love story. While it seemed like a typical harem series at first it has been recognized for its complexity and lack of offending fan service. Ai Yori Aoshi was praised for its art and interesting characters. The series aired in Japan during 2002 and was released in the U.S. by Geneon Entertainment USA in 2003. A second season titled Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi was also created.
The series is licensed by Funimation Entertainment, but no release date is available. The old Geneon DVDs have become very rare and expensive.
Chance of revival:
FUNimation received the licensing rights to Ai Yori Aoshi from Geneon when Geneon went under. However, FUNimation received it as part of a large bulk of series and has yet to announce whether it intends to release it or not. It remains to be seen if FUNimation will rise up to the challenge and bring Ai Yori Aoshi back at an affordable price.
A pumped-up action series about lawless pirates, this series seemed frivolous yet retained a very realistic feel. Black Lagoon is the only anime series in which you can find people cursing each other in Japanese, Spanish, Russian and English!
Black Lagoon also had an unintelligible English opening theme. The main characters of the series managed to be likable despite being dirty scum bags to their cores. Black Lagoon aired in Japan during 2006. It was released as singles by Geneon in the U.S. starting 2007 and later picked up by FUNimation, which released it as a box set. A second series, as well as an OVA were later created.
The Geneon singles are now a thing of the past. FUNimation’s box sets have gone out of print, and FUNimation has yet to reissue them. Legal copies can still be found around, but the prices are through the roof.
Chance of revival:
Very high. To commemorate the release of its brand new OVA (Black Lagoon: Roberta`s Blood Trail) both the first and second seasons of Black Lagoon were retouched and released on Blu-ray in Japan between 2009 and 2010. FUNimation will likely be issuing their own Bly-ray version of the series based on those Japanese masters in the near future.
That’s it for today. Look forward to the second part in a few days. Want to offer a different list or guess what I’ll be adding next? Head over to the comments section and write it up!
I’m not immune to the holiday season and like many others have found myself wondering across different online stores looking for those illusive Christmas sales. The Right Stuf! is one of my favorites among those stores, and since it had a “12 days of savings” event in which each day brought a slew of new discounted products I’ve visited it frequently in the last few days. It was during one of these visits in which I encountered a strange sight. As I was scrolling down my web page, which was filled to the brim with discounted goods (some of which sold for less than 10$) I found myself looking at a link to the preorder page for Fate/Zero. This preorder held a hefty $379.98 price tag for non-U.S. costumers which, due to me being accustomed to the low price tags the holiday season brought forth, put me at a loss for words. I did expect Type Moon and Aniplex to make this collectible pack an exclusive expensive product. But this must be a record in greediness.
Let me explain just how this release is different than all those other expensive Japanese market Blu-ray and DVD releases. I’m not a novice when it comes to Japanese market prices. I’ve bought my fair share of Japanese Blu-rays, some of which cost me up to 300$ for a box set of a whole series. But here lies the catch – this upcoming Fate/Zero box set contains only half of the series’ episodes. The second half will cost you another $379.98, which comes to a total of 760$ (tax and shipping expenses for anyone living outside the U.S. not included). To be honest with you, there have been more expensive releases in Japan, the most famous of which being the Card Captor Sakura Blu-ray release. This remastered Blu-ray edition was split into two collections (the Clow Cards act and the Sakura Cards act) each bearing the price tag of 90,000? for a whooping combined price of 180,000?! (This translates to about 2,304$).
So Fate/Zero is not the most expensive piece out there, but I can’t help feeling that all those who buy both Fate/Zero Blu-ray sets will still essentially be missing half a series. Fate/Zero is the prequel to Fate/Stay Night, which was released on Blu-ray in Japan but was never released on Blu-ray in the U.S., and probably never will. Even if it was, will you be willing to pay another 760$ for it? Will you end up paying 120,000? to own a complete set of both Zero and Stay Night?
Fate/Zero is an anomaly – It’s only half a series and is split further into two 1/4 collections. I’m a Fate/Stay fan, but I’m also a conscious consumer, and I call bogus. Price is usually not an issue when it comes to buying a physical copy of your beloved masterpieces. But the sky does have its limits, and most of us aren’t astronaut.