Awesome Anime. Pathetic Marketing/Publicity… The List
From the Western side of the fandom ofcourse. One of the best things about the anime fandom (again in the west) is that we are very very vocal. Anime forums, twitter, aniblogs and even recently Google+ are awesome places to find like minded and polar opposite anime fans. Fans like to talk about their favourite shows, worst shows, new shows etc. But what I love the most about all this fan commentary is when a good new show airs and the whole fandom goes into a frenzy. The most recent example would be Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I never paid attention to that show not even after reading its synopsis in the preview guide. Why? because its a magical girl show and that is a genre I am just not interested in. However, the fan reaction this show got me interested and after going through a couple of episodes I was hooked. Madoka isnt the only show I saw because of “fan hype.” Ive previously mentioned in a former post (http://m0e.me/1iu) how fanart got me to watch K-on!.
From an Industry point of view, Most if not all the anime that had a decent run on television in any country is still a top seller or very popular. Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, Full Metal Alchemist and Dragon Ball Z are perfect examples of this. “But Kidd, those shows are actually good, maybe that is why they sell well” Well then my critical reader explain the popularity of shows like Tenchi Muyo, Outlaw Star and Martian Succesor Nadesico…. Exactly.
What I am trying to get at is that anime in the west is greatly dependant on how the fans or the industry hypes it up. Im sure the Industry does its best to market thier shows as best as they could but sometimes they just seem clueless and put more money into marketing shows that are not as good as others in their catalogue. This leads to genuinely good and sometimes excellent anime becoming duds, for example:
Hot Cyber Punk Gothic Chick, Post Apocalyptic Universe, Psycological Story, Sci Fi Action and Symbolism (that is actually real symbolism for once thank God.) This show screams “sell me in the west.” I know a few fans that saw this while it was airing and most of them like it a lot, in fact most of the people I know that have seen this show in its entirety actually do love it. The Animation is fluid and the scenerey is beautifully grim and dark. The setting is so Sci Fi and done very well without the excess technobable that alienates “normals” from these kind of shows. Heck even the ending theme is Paranoid Android by Radiohead, you cant get more western friendly than this. So what happened, why isnt this as popular as the Cowboy Bebops and Triguns of the anime world?
The show is not excellent, it does have its flaws and can seem episodic during the second half but that is not a good enough excuse to not have marketed this show to the ground. It also boggles me how the fandom is pretty much just silent about this show. Talking about shows helps new fans discover them and usually has a trickle down effect to DVD sales.
Oh it also has the cutest anime character ever…EVER!
Serei no Moribito
This show is still one of my top ten anime. Its very hard to find fault with this series because it really is the best action adventure anime created in the last decade. The main theme covered in this story is maternal love and there is nothing more universal than that. The lead character Balsa is a strong female warrior that through a sudden and accidental turn of events is tasked with protecting the young Prince Chagum from assassins that are after his head. Balsa is then forced to flee with the prince on a very trying adventure. The character interactions are as realistic as they could possibly be, The Prince is whiny and difficult, Balsa is strict and harsh and the supporting cast are just as good as well. The animation and background art is out of this world, it really is fantastic. The budget on this show was very high and it showed, As a matter of fact this show boasts the best animated fight scene in modern anime.
To be fair to the American anime Industry they managed to get this show to air on Adult Swim so they did their best, the fans just didnt seem to connect with it. The real sin is the fact that this show has not been released in Australia!! -_-
Time of Eve
I know a lot of Old School fans that dislike the modern trends in anime and I feel for them, I really do. Japan used to be their source for a very wide variety of Sci Fi and Space Fanatsy type shows and with time it just seems to have abandoned them. Understandabely Japan stopped creating those type of shows in excess because Space and sci fi is just not selling anymore. However, every know then Japan pops out these little sci fi gems that are just as incredible as they are rare. Time of Eve is one such series, its a 6 episode OVA that aired in 2009 as a web only series. It was released theatrically last year later to critical acclaim (in Japan.) Many a fan I have spoken with have rated this movie as a masterpiece and so have I. But why isnt it licenced? why dont anime fans talk about it more?
The story is set in the near future where life like robots or androids are mass produced and are treated as slaves. The main character Rikuo discovers abnormalities in his androids travel patterns and decides to investigate. He finds a cafe called “Time of Eve” thats sole rule is to have no discrimination between robots and humans. Because only distinguishable feature between the androids and the humans is a glowing halo above the heads , all the androids turn off their halos’ in this bar in order to comply with its rules. The humans and androids then interact in a normal fashion and this leads Rikuo to question the differences between man and machine.
The OVA’s are currently available on crunchyroll and I strongly suggest you go there right now and watch this movie it is fantastic. http://www.crunchyroll.com/time-of-eve
Im sure by now you guys know I like my shows to be fairly realistsic especially if it claims to be a drama or action series. Planetes may not be the most mainstream title ever but im pretty certain had it been released back in 1990 it would, why? Space! This show has a lot of things going for it that make it stand out from the crowd such as;
A very realistic approach to depicting future space travel. The space ships, suits and technology are not that far fetched which gives the show a certain charm almost all other shows set primarily space dont. The basic premise of the show was also very well done. In the year 2075 space debris has become a real problem, one incident leads to a freak accident on a transport ship that leaves many people dead. A brand new division of space astronauts is derived to deal with this problem, their job is to collect all the waste floating around in space around the Earths orbit.
Relatable and realistic characters. This is the true life blood of a good drama series, the characters in this show are potrayed very realistically most of the time. This doesnt make them boring or monotonous it actually makes it easier for the viewer to get connected with them, which is the main purpose of a drama series. This show also gave me the best description of a realistic “strong female lead,” hands up if you can name more than five of those. She was realistsic in the sense that her character design was not overly sexualised or had the beauty of a super model. She was realistically cute. She was fiesty and knew what she wanted while still keeping a firm grip on her feminine side. Now hands up if you can name 2 of those?
The gradual romantic relationship between the two lead characters. This to me atleast was the “real plot.” Watching these two characters as they go from hating each other to lovers is truly a sight to behold. I had not witnessed a romantic story told so well and realistically untill I saw Toradora! Planetes’ charm comes from the fact that the two characters are not high school aged kids, witnessing a mature romantic story was a real sight for sore eyes. Again, hands up if you can name atleast 5 of those.
The show was produced by sunrise and released on DVD. The only probable excuse I can find for this show not being more popular is that it was released at the wrong time, had it been released a few years later it would stand out so well it would just sell itself.
Before I go on a gushing rant I just want to give a shout out to Hope “Jesu Otaku” Chapman and Arkada from the D2 brigade for their terrific reviews on this show. They are half the reason I had this show on my radar. Apart from the D2 brigade reviewers I had never heard anything particularly good about this show, Shame on You Anime Fandom!!! I recently watched this show thanks to one of my good friends recommendations and I have never been more satisfied with a recommendation.
This show has a lot going for it but it also has a lot of barriers so lets get through those first. The most obvious is the title, lets be honest not many of you guys would admit to watching a show called Princess Tutu. That title is way to manly to be uttered by your unworthy voices. In all seriousness though the title is in fact a huge barrier and even though the moe generation of fans is mostly male and we admit to loving cute stuff its like we just draw the line when it comes to princesess’ and balerinas. Its also a magical girl show, sure Sailor Moon was really popular but how many fans sing praises for the precure series? The Magical Girl genre is meant to appeal to young girls with very very few exceptions every now and then.
So what has this show got going for it? Well, the character designs are hella cute and they are not just made that way to sell figures or anything like that. This show was moe before moe was a thing, I really enjoyed watching a show with cute girls that ocasionally did cute things without running through the “how to be a moe show” checklist.
The Music is great, its all famous classical tunes that are wisely used as character themes. It was kinda fun trying to guess which character would have which theme and when it would be used. the opening and Ending songs are also very good and addictive. Being a show about ballet, the classical music is obviously also used when they dance.
The voice acting in both the dub and Japanese was top notch. The best perfomance would have to go to Ahirus’ Seiyuu Nanae Katou for giving a duck like raspiness to her voice. I know its hard wrap your head around that but she really did sound like a duck speaking and it was cute :3
The dark twisted story. Its one of those a ‘la Madoka Magica this show hides it dark and gritty story beneath all the cuteness, it works really well too and you can really notice the inspiration for Madoka from this. The story is about an author called Drosselmeyer who was writing a fairy tale about a Prince who sealed an evil raven using pieces of his heart. The author died before he could finish his story so somehow the characters from the story came to life and continued the story through their daily lives. One of the side characters in that story was a duck that could turn into the elegant Princess Tutu, her role was to retrieve the heart shards and bring them back to the now emotionless Prince. However, would giving the Prince back his heart lead the story to a good ending or a horrible one?
I really think Funi and Madman can really ride on the success and popularity of Madoka to re release the show right now. Its very well made and deserves way more praise than it currently has.
I hope you guys give these shows a shot if you have not already and if you already have prove me wrong by fanboying over them in the comments. Also tell me what other shows you think deserve more hype or better marketing.