51 Anime That Every Fan Should See (And Probably Hasn’t) (Old)

(Blast From The Past Article):

Sick of new shows not living up to the hype? Want to be the guy who says “You should see “xx” even though you’ve never heard of it?” If so, this is the article for you. We polled a group of Otaku from the newer and older schools to bring you this list of titles that are tops on the “OMG that rocks” list yet for some reason not on the “What do you mean you haven’t seen it?” list. Staff picks are bolded with description, but that doesn’t mean the other titles aren’t more than worth looking at.

Giant Robots
Armored Trooper Votoms
This series is a classic on all accounts, as well as the first and most “real” robot series made to date. Conceived and directed by Ryousuke Takahashi (Gasaraki, Blue Gender), Votoms takes a gritty look at war, love, and profit. (Licensed, CPM, Out of Print)

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
A number of fans HAVE seen this series, but only in its inferior Robotech incarnation. AnimEigo took it upon themselves to produce a fully remastered and properly subtitled DVD release, making this a must-see for all fans, as Macross (and its followup movie Do You Remember Love) set the standards for storytelling and, especially in the case of DYRL, animation. For those who hate the look of 80’s anime, the DVDs are so gorgeous that it is hard to believe this show was made in 1983. (Licensed, AnimEigo)

King of Braves: Gao Gai Gar
In 1996, the face of robot anime changed forever with the airing of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The super robot genre was became a thing of humor (as witnessed by 1996’s Martian Successor Nadesico). Feeling that robot animation had lost its innocence, the production staff of Sunrise’s “Brave Robot” franchise put everything they had into creating a masterpiece to end the franchise, and this became Gao Gai Gar. Featuring (at the time) top grade CG as well as slick mechanical and character designs and a barrage of toys, Gao Gai Gar is a hell of a lot of fun to watch and is everything a super robot show should be. (Fansubbed by Anime-In-Action)

GEAR Fighter Dendoh
Getter Robo (original)
Gunbuster: Aim For The Top!
Heavy Metal L-Gaim
J9 Trilogy
Metal Armor Dragonar
“Romantic Trilogy” (Combattler V, Voltes V, Daimos)
Super Dimensional Fortress Orguss

Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl
Perhaps the greatest sports anime ever released, this series has become a national institution with one of Japan’s real life Judo athletes being nicknamed after the title character. Partnered with Ranma ½ for airing, Yawara’s ratings were so much higher that Ranma was almost cancelled as a result. The colour palette is a bit washed out (very heavy on the whites and pastels), but the story is gripping and the characters are easy to attach to. (Fansubbed by Neko Creations, Digisubs being released by LiVe-eViL)

Captain Tsubasa
Future GPX Cyber Formula
Hajime no Ippo
Slam Dunk

Song of Wind and Trees
Nobody ever said that a classic had to be good. In this case, the show’s role in the history of anime as the first Shounen-Ai title ever (based on a manga of the same name, also the first S-A title) is enough to merit a watching. It’s also a good example of why attempting to cram a large section of a 26 volume series into a one hour OAV is not the best idea. (Fansubbed with copious and necessary liner notes by Technogirls)

Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)
While not the first Shoujo romance to be released in the US or Japan, and certainly not the last, HanaDan is one of the best. Viewers should expect an angst fest going in, but take note that the ride is well worth it. (Licensed, Viz)

Blue-Green Years
Hime-Chan no Ribbon
I’ll Make A Habit Of It
Magical Project S
Nurse Angel Ririka SOS
Oniisama E
Violinist of Hamelin
Rose of Versailles

Japanese Institutions:
Urusei Yatsura.
From the artist who brought you “Ranma ½” and the current fangirl favourite “Inu Yasha”, this is Rumiko Takahashi’s first giant epic, and also her best. However, limited availability (AnimEigo discs have only recently become easier to find) and the show’s age (it began airing in 1979) have kept it from finding a widespread audience for a very funny, very Japanese show. (Licensed, AnimEigo)

With over 1750 episodes under its belt, Doraemon has been entertaining Japanese children and educating them about the value of friendship as well as morals (fighting is bad) and social customs (let’s explain Golden Week). Finding copies can be difficult as most episodes have never made it to home video, although a number of the films were released on LD and DVD. (Movies licensed by ShoPro USA with no planned release)

Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo
This title is just starting to get a following in the US, as Tokyopop is (slowly) releasing the manga, but the anime has no commercial prospect in sight. Typically viewed as Detective Conan’s older brother (the characters are older and the murders more gruesome), Kindaichi Shounen features top grade mystery and a quirky cast of characters to solve them. (Anime Unlicensed, Manga licensed by Tokyopop)

Space and Other Sci-Fi
Legend of the Galactic Heroes
The longest OAV in history, clocking in at 164 episodes, LoGH is based on a series of space novels and brings them in near-completion to film. Typically written off as “Boring Germans in Space”, this dialogue heavy series presents a solid look at war and the nature of government. (Unlicensed, numerous fansubbers)

Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Right Stuf has always been known for putting out the hidden greats, and Tylor is their flagship program for a reason. Irresponsible Captain Tylor features a charming story and some of the greatest characterization ever seen in anime, and delivers an important lesson on the meaning of life at the same time. (Licensed, The Right Stuf International)

Earth Defense Family
And they say that Shoji Kawamori has no sense of humor. This is the most recently produced title on our list, having aired in January 2001 to great fanfare in Japan for its concept and designs by Kawamori, and has yet to find a solid following in the USA. EDF tells the humorous, exciting, and at times touching tale of the Daichis, a family so dysfunctional that the first episode starts with the father being served divorce papers. Well told and beautifully animated (EDF was the last title animated by hand by Group TAC and used feature film cel counts for all 13 episodes), EDF is well worth watching. (Unlicensed, no fansubs)

Galaxy Express 999 TV
Key The Metal Idol
Space Adventurer Cobra

Movies and Short OAVs:
Combustible Campus Guardress/The Enemy’s the Pirates!
OK, so this is two titles, but they’re both worth watching for the same reason. During the OAV boom of the late 80’s, a lot of titles were made just for the sake of being fun, enjoyable shows, and these two are some of the best examples of the lot. (Both are unlicensed, fansubs do exist but can be hard to find)

Twilight Q/Take the X Train
Similar to the titles above, these two OAVs (coincidentally released on the same tape by the fansubbers) are examples of how artistic and simply bizarre some titles from the OAV boom were and how even big name directors (Mamorou Oishii for Twilight Q, Rintaro for X Train) can create forgotten works. (Both unlicensed, fansubbed by Lupin Gang Anime)

801 TTS Airbats
Barefoot Gen
Blazing Transfer Student
I Can Hear The Sea
Kenji’s Spring (aka Spring and Chaos)
Like the Clouds, Like the Wind
Night on the Galactic Railroad
Prefectural Earth Defense Force

One Response to 51 Anime That Every Fan Should See (And Probably Hasn’t) (Old)

  1. cello85 says:

    barefoot gen is highly underrated. Great post!

    I actually just opened up a movie blog, check it out if you have the time!

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