May 22, 2009
Good news: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is returning with new episodes to Japanese television screens, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is on YouTube. The two titles mentioned above employ the same castmembers and staff, the same production studios, and both are further explorations of the source texts: the former a series of comedic science fiction novels, the latter Hiromu Arakawa's manga series. (FMA:B promises to adhere more closely to the manga, in a way that the original Fullmetal Alchemist didn't.) Hellsing, Evangelion and the Macross franchise have received similar treatments in recent years. And in an economy like this one, it's not hard to see why -- established titles have a built-in fanbase that can better ensure a return on investments of time and money.
The revival of these series has me wondering what other anime titles I'd like to see resurrected or re-explored. In many cases, anime series are filmed before the manga that precipitated them has ended, meaning that the anime ends at a point that doesn't quite feel like an ending. Here's a list of some series that I'd like to see dusted off and properly finished:
Fruits Basket: With the manga having ended in Japan, I think it's high time Akitaro Daichi brought us another complement of this sweet, zany, and heartrending anime. Every time I watch this series, I want more. And now that the story has a real ending with even deeper revelations, there's nothing to stop us from getting it. Except for time. And money. And availability. But this is Furuba, damn it -- you know you want some.
Ouran High School Host Club: With ANN's recent full subbed stream of the series, I've been watching the episodes in too-large blocks, surprised at how much I enjoy it, how sorry I am not to have been part of the first wave of viewers to enjoy it, and most of all how clever it is at embracing then subverting shoujo stereotypes in order to critique fetishized gender roles. And the manga is now within sight of ending: more, please!
FLCL: GAINAX had only enough time and money for six episodes of the original series, but those six episodes were enough to tell a thoughtful story about growing up, locating your inner strength, and realizing that what you want and what you need are often very different. (Plus, there was giant mecha action. With guitars.) Ideally I'd like to see a "ten years later" treatment, in which Naota and Atomsk team up to fight Medical Mechanica, this time without Haruko's "help." It sounds crazy, but just think: more music by The Pillows!
Samurai Champloo: Watanabe isn't fond of re-visiting his own series, and I can't blame him. They're mostly perfect on their own. But Cowboy Bebop had its own in-series movie treatment with Knockin' on Heaven's Door, and there's no reason that SC coudn't enjoy the same. If not a follow-up to the series that further re-mixes Japan's history with a critique of nation-building while simultaneously exploring the continuing stories of Jin, Mugen, and Fuu, then maybe an extended episode that picks up another famous figure from Edo Period history and twists it beyond recognition. (Admit it: Samurai Champloo: Rebel Without A Pause would be awesome.)
I've had my say: what would you like to see brought back? (And if you say Cowboy Bebop, we're done.)