List o the weak: Anime that time has forgotten

So there are some series that make such an impression that they seem to rock the foundations of anime fandom: Evangelion, Serial Experiments Lain, Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Beebop, etc. It’s not that these shows are universally beloved, but they’re definitely universal. They’ll come up at least once in any conversation you have about anime.

And then there are shows that seem to spark, fizzle and fade away. Now for the most part, they probably deserve to. I mean how many people really are going to talk about Project A-ko or El Hazard. Not that these shows are bad, it’s just that they didn’t leave much of an impression.

And then there are shows that are good, but surprisingly don’t seem to show up in any conversations. Now none of these shows are perfect, and they may have come at the end of a glut of other shows, or they might have just gotten a little too much bad press. But these are my top five overlooked anime.

Number Five: Otogi Zoshi

Okay, so the first thirteen episodes of this are better than the second, but even with that this show has two kickass openings, swords, mysterious quests and some really excellent animation (courtesy of Production I.G.) The first thirteen episodes follow the adventure of Hikaru Minamoto as she assumes her brother’s identity to save Japan. Yes, it sounds like a cheap rip-off of Mu Lan. But trust me, this isn’t Disney at all. It’s got blood and dying and tragedy and all of the good stuff.

Now the second half does take place in a modern Tokyo and does seem more like an epilogue to the first part rather than a story in its own right. But it’s still enjoyable enough.

Number Four: Noein

There’s just something about this show. Yeah, it does focus on a bunch of elementary school kids in their last summer before they go on with the rest of their lives. But how they get caught up in this inter dimensional war is great. The kids themselves get routinely upstaged by their adult counterparts. In particular, Kurasu, who is the older version of the male lead, is at times dark and mysterious and times tragic and at times cruel and occasionally insane. He makes for one of the better heroes I’ve seen in anime. Now I wouldn’t necessarily put him in Lelouch or Suzaku territory, but he’s still loads of fun.

And the other characters are just as enjoyable. Even Atori, who at first just seems like the classic anime wack job actually gets some fairly decent development. In fact, my only complaint about this series is the ending, which just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the series. But otherwise it’s definitely worth checking out. Here’s Anime Diet’s first look at it.

Number Three: Argentosoma

Um… did you notice my banner up there? Yeah, that’s Ryu Soma. Probably one of the best anti-heroes in anime. He’s as interesting of a character as Lelouch or Kaiji. He’s probably more interesting than a lot of the heroes on my top eight list (with the exception of Brandon Heat). Now, I spent an entire analysis piece a while back going over him, so I won’t repeat everything I said there. But the dynamic between him and Hattie is really what sells this show to me.

Now the side characters aren’t necessarily as interesting, but that’s okay. The plot is fairly good and provides an excellent backdrop for the conflict between those two characters and the conflict within the main character himself.

Number Two: Starship Operators

So I had a hard time deciding whether this should be number two or number three, but it’s probably the more obscure show. I’ll be honest though, it does an amazing job at capturing the relationship between the media, the government and the military in times of war. In fact, it could just as easily be a case study for the nature of modern warfare as it is a story about some high school students who hijack a ship.

The only bad thing I can say about it is that it has a nasty case of red shirt and a missing denouement but otherwise it’s an excellent show.

Number One: Kaze no Yojimbo

Okay, so I’ve talked about this one before. But if you’re tired of hardboiled heroes who go soft halfway through the series, than watch this show. If you want a little more realism in your anime, then watch this show. If you just want something that’s different, then watch this show. I mean if Dashiell Hammett had a Japanese love child, it would be George Kodama. And if he’d happened to set The Red Harvest in Japan is would be Kaze no Yojimbo.

But… the character designs do have a bad tendency to switch a little. But honestly if you can put up with the ever shifting character designs of GitS: Standalone Complex, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this one.

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9 Comments

  1. The only show I can comment on is Starship Operators, and I was highly disappointed with it. I see by your long post about it that you have a deep appreciation for some aspects of the show, but (unfortunatley) for me I didn’t have the same appreciation. I found the show very annoying at times, sometimes incredibly ridiculous and unbelievable, and in terms of general entertainment, not very fun to watch at all. I’m actually sitting here trying to remember why the heck I finished the show in the first place! With all that said, if you like it, you like it. Don’t let me rain on your parade. 😀

  2. @nckl – No one accused me of having good taste 🙂 Honestly, I really liked it, but I can understand why people didn’t.

  3. I’ve only watched two of the listed titles (4 and 5), but seeing as how I enjoyed each a good deal, I’m willing to give the others a shot as well. They better not suck, damnit!

    It’s a little surprising though, since I figured I’ve just about seen every single anime I would want to see (that’s already been aired, of course). It’s rare that someone brings up a series that I’m interested in and haven’t seen, and even more rare to bring up a title I’ve never even heard of before.

  4. Heh, same as Sagacious here (except I’ve only seen Noein.) I can’t even remember the ending of Noein because it made so little sense to me, I should go watch that again.

  5. Judging by the OP for all those shows must be boring because I judge a show if it is worthwhile by if it has an awesome eye catching OP or not.

  6. @Sagacious – I hope they don’t suck. I mean I enjoyed them, but on the other hand they didn’t necessarily make a splash, so I hope that you enjoy them.

    Yeah, I actually hunt for shows that no one’s talking about to see if they’re any good. Not because they’re necessarily going to be good, but just because I tend to find a few nuggets amidst the dross.

    @ Shiri – I understood it, but I think it could have been better. I mean I still like the show. And I still would reccomend it.

    @Koji Oe – Really? Or are you just trolling me? 🙂

  7. But Kurosawa’s Yojimbo is a loose adaption of Red Harvest – or did you know that already?

  8. Out of the ones listed, I never found Yojimbo particularly special. But I always have to be careful with judging shows I saw in my college anime club since my clubmates kept ruining the atmosphere. Of what I saw, I did like the characters.

  9. @The Aminanachronism – Actually I didn’t know that. But it does make sense. Believe it or not I haven’t tried watching Yojimbo. I’ve never really been that successful trying to watch Kurasawa films.

    @koneko-chan- I’ll admit some of it is my love for hard-boiled detective stories. And the fact that I don’t usually seem them done as well in anime. I mean sometimes they’re good, but they’re kind of like Robert B. Parker good versus Raymond Chandler good.


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