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Friday, October 14, 2011

Twelve Anime I Want to Review... But Can't (Anytime Soon, at Least) Part 1

That Shin Seiki Den Mars review ended up being the 42nd review I have done through this blog (yes, I'm counting each TwinBee OVA I did in the double feature). Hitting 50 reviews will certainly be an accomplishment, and if I was to make it within my first year that would be even cooler. Going against my usual style I actually have Review #50 chosen already and it's been like that for at least a month now. Yes, I do have a list of titles I plan on reviewing, but I generally don't go in any order unless it's a series of titles I'm reviewing. Now while I haven't explicitly brought it up, it's easy to see that every one of my reviews involves titles that I have seen the entirety of (or read all of for Ultimate Muscle or played all of for Super Robot Wars Compact 3 and Ring ni Kakero on the Super Famicom). Admittedly, I have thought about talking about anime that I have not seen the entirety of, and I even did something along those lines with my "non-review" of the Xevious movie (which doesn't count towards my review total), but Xevious was a special case in that it's truly impossible to watch that movie.

Regardless, I've decided early on to only review anime that I have seen the entirety of and that isn't changing unless it's a truly special case like Xevious. With that in mind, let me show you all that this decision of mine has resulted in anime that I honestly would love to review, but can't simply because I'm unable to see everything they entail. Just like my two license rescue lists, this will involve twelve anime and it will be split up in two halves. Remember, this list doesn't mean that I will never review these anime, but rather I don't have the ability to properly review them now as well as in the foreseeable future. If I ever get the chance to see the entirety of any of these anime then you can guarantee that they will be reviewed. There are two restrictions for this list, though: Titles that have only one episode subbed and titles that are still being subbed, even if it's only semi-actively, are not counted here. With all of that said, let's start the list:

Readers of this blog already know that I do watch fansubs and even rely on a badly-translated bootleg at times (but I still support the North American anime industry, and so should everyone else who enjoys anime), and I'll fully state that I started watching fansubs back in 2004 with the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime (though, oddly enough, I had already bought a few anime boxsets before then), and Kingdom of Chaos - Born to Kill is another of my very first fansubbed anime. Game developer Idea Factory has been having great success with their otome games, the Record of Agarest War series, and the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, but the company first made their mark with their Neverland series of games, which now is made up of at least 20 different titles. Along with that, Idea Factory also made their own anime during the period of about 1998 to 2006, with most of them simply being prologues to their games, Neverland series included; now you instead see other companies handle the animation duties, like with the Hakuoki anime. Kingdom of Chaos, on the other hand, was actually a completely original creation that simply used the name and time period of the online game of the same name.

From October of 2003 to April of 2004 there were four episodes to this OVA, which told the story of an amnesiac named Aide and his adventure that leads him and his friends Mara and Dino to taking on the forces of Fract, an evil ruler who shares the same face as Aide. It was dark, the story looked interesting, with each episode focusing on a main character's past, and I really wanted to see just how the eventual meeting of Aide and Fract would have ended up... Unfortunately, only the first two episodes of the OVA were fansubbed, and even those two episodes are impossible to find now. I would love to simply watch those two episodes again to see if I still feel the same about this OVA, but even if I still had those episodes I wouldn't be able to review it since the last two episodes are only available via the now-out-of-print Region 2 DVDs. Hell, even Idea Factory's website makes no mention of this OVA. Right now, Kingdom of Chaos - Born to Kill will just forever remain a memory of my early days of fansub watching.

[3/13/13 ADDENDUM: Rakuten had all four DVDs for cheap, and I bought them... And I never expected the ending to this OVA. A true diamond in the rough that I have now reviewed!]

One of my earliest reviews on this blog was for Fuma no Kojirou: Yasha-hen, the first of three anime productions (two OVA series and one movie) that adapted Masami Kurumada's fourth-most-well-known-manga. I mentioned in that review that I was only going to review Yasha-hen due to the fact that it was the only one I could properly review. Well, that's simply because I have Yasha-hen and Fuma Hanran-hen/Fuma Rebellion Chapter, the movie that finishes the anime adaptations, but I don't have Seiken Sensou-hen/Sacred Sword War Chapter, the 6-episode OVA from 1990 that bridges the two together. When I got the other two anime I also tried getting this OVA, but for some reason I was never able to get it, and even now I get the same troubles. It's so annoying to know that I have the beginning and the end of the story but not the middle, and I refuse to watch Fuma Hanran-hen because of that.

The same staff are behind Seiken Sensou-hen, and Night Hawks provides the opening and ending themes again, with the opening theme, "SHOUT", being one of my absolute favorite anime opening themes of all time. The story, from what I can gather, revolves around ten sacred swords that each have mighty power behind them. During the battle with the Yasha, Kojirou got a hold of the large sword Furin Kazan and Musashi Asuka got a hold of the long sword Ougonken. Naturally, new characters would be introduced, and with a voice cast that not only brings back Keiichi Nanba (Kojirou), Sho Hayami (Musashi), and Hideyuki Hori (Ryoma), among others, but also adds in the likes of Kazuki Yao, Bin Shimada, the late Hirotaka Suzuoki, Takeshi Kusao, and Takehito Koyasu this really seems like it would be an awesome OVA to watch. Maybe if I can one day get lucky and buy the R2 DVDs for relatively-cheap, or get lottery-winning luck and see this anime series licensed, then I'll not only review Seiken Sensou-hen but finally get around to watching and reviewing Fuma Hanran-hen.

[3/12/12 ADDENDUM: I have now been able to watch & review Seiken Sensou-hen, so scratch one title off of this list!]

Giant Gorg is a 1984 mech anime that takes inspiration from Tetsujin 28, the adventure movie craze Hollywood had during the time, and, believe it or not, the 60s Batman TV series... And it's also the creation of Yoshikazu Yasuhiko! Gorg revolves around Yu Tagami, a young boy who becomes involved in a giant treasure hunt against the evil organization GAIL on the island of Austral. On the island, Yu discovers and befriends a giant sentient being called Gorg, and with the two working together they might be able to keep GAIL at bay. I first saw some of this show during Otakon 2008 and I instantly fell in love with the high-adventure feel and at times cheesy execution; not only that, but the show knows how to pace itself, as Austral isn't reached until about episode 4 and Gorg itself isn't discovered until episode 5, and that allows the humans the develop character. I saw three episodes at Otakon and when I got back home I got whatever else there was fansubbed... Which was another two whole episodes. Yeah, only 5 episodes of this show were subbed, but this isn't even the worst part.

No, the worst part is that this show was actually licensed at one point. At Anime Expo 2001 Bandai Entertainment announced that they had licensed both Gaint Gorg and Blue Comet SPT Layzner. Not only that, but these two shows would be the start of an entire sub-only DVD label called "Sunrise Classic Action"... That sounds awesome, so what happened? Well, the label never came to be and Gorg and Layzner never came out. Bandai's only explanation was that the masters they had gotten for both shows were tinted blue for some reason. Granted, that's a more-detailed explanation than what we usually get, which is absolutely nothing, but it still sounds just too odd of a reason that would constitute canceling not only two entire releases but also an entire release label. Every episode of Giant Gorg ends with an English tagline that tells viewers to continue watching and says, and I kid you not, "Same Gorg Time...  Same Gorg Channel!" Well, I've been waiting Giant Gorg, and it looks like I'll have to keep on waiting.

I brought up this anime in passing during the Shin Seiki Den Mars review, but it also applies here. Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still is an excellent anime and I definitely recommend watching it if you haven't yet. Even if you're not a fan of mech anime the characters, story, and epic feel will be enough to catch your interest... And, honestly, there isn't even a lot mech combat in Giant Robo. Still, this OVA is related to Mitsuteru Yokoyama's original 2-volume manga from 1967 in name and select characters only. In 2007, the 40th Anniversary of the original manga, Soft Garage (who helped produce Platinumhugen Ordian and distributed the 90s Mars OVA on DVD, among other small-name anime) made a 13-episode TV anime named GR -Giant Robo- that apparently stuck closer to Yokoyama's manga. The result is a completely different take on Giant Robo, and that change has lead to many fans hating GR simply because it's not a continuation of the 90s OVA series.

Still, I'd love to watch this different take on Giant Robo and considering that it's directed by Masahiko Murata, who did the Mazinkaiser OVA and sequel movie as well as the Shikabane Hime anime series, I'm sure that it isn't a horrible anime by any means. Unfortunately, the only fansubs for this show covered the first two episodes, and the person subbing them admitted that he was simply winging it, even making up lines at times, so forget about watching those. Thankfully, Soft Garage themselves stepped in and offered English subs for the first three episodes back in 2009, and you can watch them on YouTube right now... Well, episodes 2 & 3, at least. For some reason, Bandai Channel is blocking the first episode due to "copyright issues", which makes absolutely no sense since these episodes are being offered by the company that made the damn show! Also, I still wonder why Media Blasters never licensed GR in the first place. The Giant Robo OVA is apparently a consistent seller for the company, especially back in 2007, so one would think that Media Blasters would use that name recognition to help sell the new show. Hopefully one day a company will license GR -Giant Robo-, as the 90s OVA is much too well-known and loved for me to simply add to the praise; I'd rather review the newer, completely different anime that everyone has forgotten about.

First off, this isn't Engage Planet Kiss Dum R, the reworked version of the anime that was aired on the Bandai Channel, nor is this the Blu-Ray version of Kiss Dum R, which needed enough fan demand to even happen in the first place and featured even more reworks. No, I'm talking about the original TV airing of Engage Planet Kiss Dum which aired from April to September of 2007. This 26-episode anime by Satelight features a lot of the same staff that would go on to create Macross Frontier, and many feel that Kiss Dum is simply a test work for the crew to get their bearings straight. This anime would apparently end up becoming a mess of a production, including the director simply leaving the production and never coming back to it. This original version is also the only version of the anime to have some portion of it fansubbed; the first 19 episodes were subbed, slowly at that for a good time. But that's all that ever came from it.

Much like Giant Gorg, Kiss Dum was actually licensed at one point. Bandai Visual USA, who went about treating the North American anime industry like it was Japan (very poorly, at that) and offered DVDs at very high premium prices, actually licensed this original version of Kiss Dum for DVD release, but it never came out. Unlike Gorg, though, there's a legitimate reason for this non-release: Kiss Dum never received a DVD release, and it wouldn't be until the BD release of Kiss Dum R that any version of the show would even get a home video release. Still, it would be awesome if the original version was fully subbed, as I would love to see if the show was actually able to salvage itself from the apparent mess it becomes. I can watch those subbed episodes, but it will obviously leave me in the middle of the story. For now, I can always listen to the first opening theme, "Toki wo Koete" by II MIX⊿DELTA, which is honestly really awesome. Enage Planet Kiss Dum is what you can call an interesting failure of an experiment, and it would have made for a really cool review here, but unfortunately that won't be happening anytime soon.

Just about every review I have done for The Land of Obscusion has been of something that I have found enjoyable or at the very least watchable, but my intent is simply to focus on obscure and forgotten anime & manga, and that includes bad anime as well as good anime. AWOL: Absent WithOut Leave, a 13-episode anime from 1998, is undeniably bad. It's the story of how a terrorist group called Solomon seizes seven highly-destructive missiles and holds the entire planet of Cyress hostage. It's up to soldier Jim Hyatt to create a group that will help him rescue the hostages and stop Solomon, but Hyatt decides to use a ragtag group, which includes some prison inmates, rather than use regular soldiers. Sure the idea is a bit cliché when compared to some Hollywood movies, but in anime this idea isn't used quite as often... Too bad the anime completely botches everything. I only saw the first two episodes, dubbed at that, and what I got was a very wooden English dub as well as two episodes that went by so slowly and uneventfully that everything could have been condensed into one episode. The pacing seems to be like molasses, too, as Hyatt isn't properly introduced until the very end of episode 2, and apparently the group isn't fully gathered until around episode 6 or 7. Yeah, half of the show is simply getting Hyatt's group together. The only good things about the show are the opening and ending themes, as "DON'T ASK ME WHY" by ZEPPET STORE is an awesome ending theme, and I still wonder to this day how a show this bad got "Rocket Dive" by hide with Spread Beaver as its opening theme. hide, who came from X Japan, was one of Japan's most well-beloved music artists, with his death hitting the country hard, and "Rocket Dive" is one of the absolute best J-Rock songs I have ever heard. It's at constant conflict with a show as bad as AWOL.

AWOL was one of those shows that got from d-rights, which included shows like Ehrgeiz, Haunted Junction, and Don't Leave Me Alone, Daisy. When the company became Bandai Entertainment they pulled an Ehrgeiz and gave the first two episodes a dub from Ocean Studios, and that was the most that came. So, yes, AWOL is fully released and can be watched in full so why is it on this list? That's easy enough to answer: There is no way in Hell that I will pay money to watch this show! Hell, Ehrgeiz has been ripped and if you search you can find those rips online now, but AWOL still remains stuck to its VHS releases, a true testament to its absolute suckage, and I don't want to buy anymore after that first VHS tape. Maybe if it gets ripped then I'll check it out and review it, but this show isn't getting reviewed anytime soon simply because I want my money saved for better things in life.

[12/4/2014 ADDENDUM: Wow, I completely forgot to update this! Well, yeah, I actually bought all of the VHS tapes, proving myself wrong here, & made AWOL Review #150!]

And that's the first six entries on this list of anime I want to review, but can't due to the fact that I can't watch the entirety of any of them. Before people start wondering how I got screencaps, I'll state that some come from what is out there already, while the rest come from ripping from YouTube and Dailymotion... Hey, I had to give you all some sort of visual representation. Next time I'll talk about another six anime, putting this list to a close.

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