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Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Daisuki Deluge: Underlooked Anime That Deserve The Chance Part 2: TMS Entertainment

When it comes to Daisuki's group of studios, Toei Animation definitely is one of the bigger offerings. Toei is offering nearly every TV series they have made since 1980, totaling roughly 100 titles that they are willing to put on Daisuki. In comparison, TMS Entertainment, formerly Tokyo Movie Shinsha (also pronounced "Thomas" [rhymes with "No más"]), isn't offering anywhere near as much; across all five surveys, there were only 20 TMS titles. Also, a good amount of the titles listed, like Cybersix, Remi, Requiem for the Darkness, & Sherlock Hound, are already being streamed on sites like Hulu, because TMS is already big on streaming. Still, let's take a look at what TMS is offering for Daisuki that isn't already available.

We're going alphabetically, but at the same time let me just get the last Masami Kurumada title on those surveys out of the way. B't X (pronounced Beat X) was Kurumada's main focus during the 90s, & from 1996-1998 TMS made an anime adaptation that totaled 39 episodes (25 TV episodes & a 14-episode OVA), & has an interesting spot in the annals of Kurumada anime by being the sole title to be created without either Toei or the charcter design duo of Michi Himeno & the late Shingo Araki, not to mention be the sole Kurumada anime to have its own anime-exclusive ending. If B't X ends up on Daisuki, that would mark the third company to give this show a try, since ADV (supposedly) licensed the show back in 2002, & then Illumitoon tried their poorly-done hand at the show in 2007. I do hope that this show does get on Daisuki, especially because a special moment will happen next year. 2014 will mark not only the 20th Anniversary of B't X's debut, but also for Monthly Shonen Ace itself, since B't X was the big debut title for the magazine's very first issue. In fact, this year saw the debut of Pachinko CR B't X, an interesting pachinko/pachislot combination machine by Takao, which featured brand new animation done by TMS (while also using footage from the old anime) & even featured the return of Nobuyuki Hiyama & Jin Horikawa as the main character duo of Teppei Takamiya & B't X. With a new pachinko machine out & an upcoming major anniversary coming next year, could there be the chance of a B't X anime remake? Who knows, but getting the original series on Daisuki would also be awesome.

Devilman may be one of Go Nagai's magnum opuses, but the Toei TV series is from the 70s & not on the surveys. Likewise, the Amon - Apocalypse of Devilman anime is with Aniplex but also not on the surveys, so that leaves TMS' variant on the series. Devilman Lady was a 17-volume spin-off that Go Nagai did for Kodansha's Morning magazine from 1997-2000, with the manga apparently tying into the original Devilman in some way. From 1998-1999, a 26-episode anime series was made, which is more well known as Go Nagai's The Devil Lady, and this adaptation was more "in name only" by telling a slightly different story about Jun Fudo & Ran Asuka. ADV did release this anime back in 2003, with a complete collection in 2004, and though the DVDs aren't exactly expensive it would still be cool to see this series have some sort of present market penetration, even if it's only via streaming.

In 2007, Justin Sevakis & ImaginAsian Entertainment entered into a licensing deal with TMS. Under the "TMS Anime Classics" label, ImaginAsian would release classic TMS anime on burn-on-demand DVDs. The venture, while seemingly selling what was expected, was also more of a hassle than anything, especially when the company that burned the DVDs went out of business shortly after finishing up the initial line-up of Nobody's Boy Remi, Cat's Eye Season 1, & Super Dimensional Century Orguss. Because of the burn-on-demand nature of the releases, the DVDs for all three shows are now extremely out-of-print & no one is selling them because there were no "left over copies". TMS has since put Remi on some streaming services, like ANN for a while & now Hulu, & Orguss appeared on these surveys. Why Cat's Eye was nowhere to be found is unknown, but if Orguss can at least get on Daisuki for those who missed out on the DVDs then it's a start.

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is a highly-influential piece of literature, but who would have thought of taking that influence & putting it into an action-packed shonen manga? Kyoichi Nantsuki (story) & Ryoji Minagawa (art) did just that with 1997-2002's Project ARMS, which from 2001-2002 was made into two 26-episode TV anime. The tale of Ryo Takatsuki & his friends, who all have supernatural powers from the mysterious ARMS that they wield, was originally released completely on dual-audio DVD from 2002-2005 by Viz, which now means that a few of the later DVDs are pretty expensive on the secondhand market. Considering how the anime has been OOP for just slightly shy of ten years, it would be great to see both seasons on Daisuki.

One thing that does make TMS different from other anime studios is that they are almost just as known for their international work as they are for their anime. Fans of Tiny Toon Adventures & Animaniacs can identify TMS' work on those shows, simply because their footage tended to be the best, and TMS also differs in that they seem to own the rights to some of their other international works. 80s cult hit Galaxy High School & Cybersix from the 90s, which were made for English-speaking markets, are both owned by TMS & have either been released on DVD previously or are streaming already right now, but listed on the surveys was a title TMS made for French-speaking markets. Reporter Blues was a 1991 production that told the story of Tony, a saxophone-playing reporter who continually got involved in the schemes of the crook Madame Lapin. This series actually never aired outside of Europe, & some countries never even got the second half of this 52-episode series, so it would be interesting if this appeared on Daisuki at one point or another.

Much like Daisuki could potentially let more of the world see Reporter Blues' second half (or the whole thing at all), Daisuki also has the possibility to finally let anime fans outside of Japan see the second season of Virtua Fighter. Media Blasters had released the anime back in 2000-2001 on VHS, followed by two boxset DVD releases in 2003 (years before straight-to-boxset was a standard!)... But even with a reportedly excellent dub by Coastal Carolina, MB only released the first 24 episodes, which told the initial storyline. Those last 11 episodes, which told a new story, have become insanely hard to find any footage of, so the chance of them being made available with English subtitles for the first time over at Daisuki is a great thing to hope for.
And that puts an end at the underlooked anime TMS can potentially offer for Daisuki that are not presently being streamed already. Unfortunately, with only 20 titles representing TMS one can only wonder what's keeping the studio from offering its full line-up. Where's Cat's Eye? Osamu Dezaki's Treasure Island? God Mars? Red Baron? God Mazinger (called "The Deity" on TMS' website)? Ulysses 31? Angel Heart? Tetsujin 28 (both the 80s series & the 90's FX series)? Ayatsuri SakonFighting Beauty Wulong? Popolocrois? Aim for the Ace? Ashita no Joe 2? Star of the Giants? A Cheeky Angel/Tenshi no Konamaiki? Hell, where's Detective Conan?! I can certainly keep going, which just shows how much TMS is skimping out on anime fans, even when Daisuki wants to thrive on content & quantity. Hopefully, TMS will be pleased with the site as time goes on & they'll start offering more than the 20 they put on the surveys. Anyway, up next is Sunrise, who is potentially offering more titles than even Toei!


  1. One thing to note is that Reporter Blues was also co-produced by the same Italian company that did "Sherlock Hound" with TMS in the early 80's, not sure if TMS has the rights to distribute these one outside Japan or not, but it's something to look into.

    1. Considering how little TMS is seemingly offering in the first place, I'm sure everything they listed is stuff they have rights to. Also, Sherlock Hound is both on the Daisuki surveys as well as streaming on Hulu, so if they can do Sherlock Hound with no problems I'm sure Reporter Blues will be fine, too.

    2. Me neither, it would be nice if they simply gave us subtitled copies of these unseen gems I have to gander at on their site like "The Gutsy Frog" or their title of Tensai Bakabon as "Meet The Boneheads". Here's one show we may never see!

  2. While it's a pity that Acrobunch wasn't on the list (given that TMS played the producer role in that case), it's a good thing that Alpha Numbers will likely cover it.

    Still, I would have also loved to see Red Baron getting subtitles at last, given that the original live-action series did get a DVD set release on these shores.

    - KudosForce