It’s simply astonishing!!! Last year (2013) and this year (2014) many anime series have been re-released, or rescued and properly released. Some examples for last year are Digimon, Samurai Pizza Cats, Zatch Bell, and Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO). This year, so far, it’s been Ranma ½, Sherlock Hound, Monster Rancher, The Ringing Bell, Dallos, Cardcaptors Sakura, and Sailor Moon. There are still more to list but I can’t list all of them due to my excitement.
With this retro revival of the anime series from the days of old
(you’re old now pay your bills),
I figured I would come up with a top ten list of series that need a license rescue, so I’ll call it…
Please Save My Anime: Top 10 Titles
– The series has to have been released before 2010.
– The dreaded re-seller is pricing it unreasonably.
– The series never had a proper on disc release in America.
– The series has some nostalgia or obscurity behind the title.
I will be as spoiler free as possible, but won’t get into detail with the Honorable Mentions section.
**Please keep in mind that sale trends do change and my goal is not to worsen what damage has been dealt as far as re-sales go.
***Also if you politely ask the licensors about the following – or any – anime title and explain the passion and history behind the series, they might listen to you and take the title into consideration. It worked with Dallos.
10.) Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics: Also known as Grimm Masterpiece Theater and New Grimm Masterpiece Theater. This show was aired on Nick Jr. and is considered to be a cherished classic from Nickelodeon which Saban Entertainment worked on. Each episode was a different tale from the Brothers Grimm with few stories taking more than one episode.
Let’s wish upon a star.
Robot Carnival: An anime anthology that inspired the “oooh’s” and “ahh’s” of a generation of anime viewers watching the Saturday Anime on the Sci-fi channel. This movie is a trip to behold. It never had a DVD release in America, and can leave the viewer in a daze afterward.
NOTE & UPDATE: Discotek Media just licensed Robot Carnival!!!
Just remember the wise knowledge from Ryoko from Tenchi Muyo, “You know the carnival comes and goes. If you wait for a while, it’ll always come back to you, Tenchi.”
I couldn’t say it any better myself.
8.) Crusher Joe: Released from the mysterious licensor AnimEigo, this beautifully crafted sci-fi move and two OVAs were created by Haruka Takachiho. This guy also created Dirty Pair, Dirty Pair Flash, and helped to found the anime company Nue. Crusher Joe follows a group of space miners set out to complete the missions that are given to them (I haven’t seen this yet).
7.) MAR & Monster: In my opinion these two are both of VIZ Media’s finer English works with excellent stories to follow, but both have one single problem. They both were never properly released to DVD at the time due to “poor sales.” VIZ makes me wonder what their set “standard” sales numbers are, but then again, people have to eat. I know MAR is still “download-to-own” on VIZ’s website and I heard a rumor before that Monster was as well. However, that’s not good enough for me; these two series need to be complete on DVD or BLU-RAY on anyone’s shelf.
This will be a graveyard smash.
6.) Higurashi: When They Cry: Ooo, it’s time to chat about the spooky gore-filled boogie on this one. Once upon a time, Pioneer became Geneon. Geneon struggled in the American market, which had many fabulous titles – but after a while, the time came when they had to shut their doors. I’m not positive, but I think Geneon’s license for this anime has expired. This one is a mystery filled with murder, time-flow disorders, and suspenseful gore. The manga has sold quite well – or so I’ve heard – and it’s been daunting how other companies like FUNimation (who did a limited reprint) or Sentai Filmworks (they re-released Elfen Lied) will grit their teeth when asked about picking up this license.
I’m willing to speculate that Discotek Media might be the prime candidate to pick up this title, for two reasons:
a. They have been re-releasing more Geneon titles as of late.
b. Other licensors had the same sentiment about School Days being released in the States, and look what happened.
Bash me if I’m wrong, but it’s nice to dream.
5.) Kimagure Orange Road (K.O.R.): Another one from AnimEigo. This company seems to have a certain trend… This is a romance of psychic proportions. A 48 episode T.V. series that spans through 12 DVD singlets, 8 OVAs, (which for 2 DVD singlets isn’t bad) and 2 movies, of which one is easier to obtain and more affordable – but it’s the movie that ends the series.
End it before you can start it – what fun!
4.) City Hunter: Oh-ho! This series is the definition of late 80’s and early 90’s action cheese. Ryo Saeba is the man, and the show is really interesting. Imagine a fun-loving Shonen Jump girl-chaser when he’s not at work, but when work treats his client, Ryo becomes a serious gun-for-hire who sweeps the city of crime with super (and sometimes impossible) marksmanship with his Colt Python .357 Magnum. There are also some over-the-top vehicle chases – in which the Blues Brothers can be assumed in a scene (I think in episode 6), and plenty of adventure. At one point, ADV Films released the entire series, but since then, the later stuff like City Hunter 3 and City Hunter ‘91 have become unreasonably priced, and a re-mastering of the music and image quality would be a great thing to behold. A live-action movie does exist, as well as two live-action dramas.
Jackie Chan was privileged to play as Ryo Saeba, but I gotta Go-Go-Go~.
3.) Urusei Yatsura (a.k.a. Lum): This is the last time I’ll mention this licensor, AnimEigo. They released the majority of this series – except for the second movie, “Beautiful Dreamer”. The quirk with this series is that it was Rumiko Takahashi’s career-starting first work. Other works she has done are Ranma ½ and Inu Yasha. This series’ region 1 DVD release spans to 63 singlets (This includes Beautiful Dreamer). I’ve seen encyclopedia sets take up less space than this hog! I can understand that, with a series of 207 episodes and 6 movies plus one special, it’s going to be bulky… but now we have thin packs. As hilarious as this series is, it in needs a compact re-release.
THUNDER CAT OHHH!!!
2.) Zoids Series
& Ronin Warriors (or Samurai Troopers): What do these two have in common? Well, they were made to sell toys. Both were on Toonami and were a success in ratings, or so said the middle school & 4th grade round table. Resellers online ask for ridiculous prices for the series. Oh yeah – occasionally when I go to an anime convention, I see caring mothers with their child hunting frantically for this series. This needs a re-release badly. VIZ Media and Hasbro released the Zoids Series and Bandai Entertainment released Ronin Warriors – both un-cut subbed and TV friendly dubbed. Both shows are fun to watch, and the toys could rival Legos.
NOTE & UPDATE: Discotek Media just licensed Samurai Troopers and are in the talks with Ronin Warriors!!!
Let’s suit up and ride again.
1.) Maison Ikkoku: Another one by VIZ Media. This is a great romance and a precursor series to inspire other romance series like Love Hina. The failure behind this series in America is her little sister grabbed everyone’s attention. In other words, Ranma ½ overshadowed the sales of Maison Ikkoku; however, let’s dig deeper. Ranma ½ sold a season per box thus 7 box-sets and about roughly 25 episodes per box as well, but Maison Ikkoku has 8 box sets for a 3 seasons series which is 12 episodes. Now let’s dig deeper. Ranma ½ had singles throughout each season, but Maison Ikkoku did not. This series definitely deserves a re-release, because I’ll argue that it didn’t get a fair chance in the first place. Don’t get me wrong – Ranma ½ is one of my favorite anime, but to see this series not get its praise is a shame.
0.) Prefectural Earth Defense Force – The Subtitles Strike Back: This movie was a special offer on the ADV Films site. The printing of this series is in the 3 digits or hundreds. The rumor is 300. What’s sad is the movie originally sold for $6.00. I’m lucky to have it, but if you enjoy the Project A-KO movies you will enjoy it. It just feels shady for ADV Films to do this, but they were afraid that they would not make money on this movie. The DVD is subtitle only, but you can easily get the Laser Disc copy. Please keep in mind that I’m not sure if it’s Japanese audio only or if an English subtitles exist on it.
Dance at the disco for this one.
– Boys Over Flowers
– The Digimon Movies
(these were shown once on Jetix
in the Eagle Land to my knowledge)
– Galaxy Angle Rune
– Master Keaton
– Neo Tokyo
(This anthology contains:
& Construction Cancellation Order)
– The Flying House and Super Book (1981)
– The Force Five TV line-up and their un-cut counter parts
(I know Shout Factory has released
3 movies from this series)
– Ultimate Muscle
– Aura Battler Dunbine Series
– Birdy the Mighty OVA
(Our main male character
sounds like Whinny the Pooh)
– The Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure OVA
– The Moncolle Knights
– Haruka: Beyond the Stream Of Time:
A Tale of the Eight Guardians
– Marmalade Boy, Saint Tail, and other Tokyo Pop licenses
– A few more Saban Entertainment titles
– Titles from Urban Vision
– Those left on VHS
(I’ll list at another time with Lensman and others)
There are so many more out there; there’s fun to be had finding something for everyone, but it’s more fun to find your One Piece. Please let me know what you think in the comments below.