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Geneon Anime Worth Rescuing – Part 2

by on June 8, 2010

Today, we continue our overview of some quality Geneon anime currently in limbo that, with any luck, might be picked up for distribution in the coming weeks and months. Read on and give voice to your own opinions!

5. Space Pirate Captain Herlock – The Endless Odyssey: Outside Legend

Before this oddly-titled OVA series came out in the early 00s, director Rintaro had handled Captain Harlock once before for the character’s first animated TV series in 1978. This was no retro throwback, though; Endless Odyssey proved to be a gorgeous and very stylized take on Leiji Matsumoto’s swashbuckling hero. Though outlaws have diminished as humanity largely left Earth behind to colonize the cosmos, Harlock reassembles the crew of the Arcadia to combat, of all things, agents of a malevolent supernatural force known as Noo that humanity’s expansion has inadvertently started to awaken. Harlock’s crew is supplemented by Tadashi Daiba, a thuggish boy with a
score to settle with the villains that naturally learns to be a “real
man” aboard Harlock’s ship. At his best Captain Harlock is a heroic ideal of bravery and integrity, and to its credit Endless Odyssey upholds that. Noo’s minions are practically embodiments of terror, uncertainty and fear, but Harlock and his ragtag bunch have the courage and strength of conviction to face them head on. This isn’t a story that goes for some sort of deep message or hidden meaning, but it succeeds at its purpose to be a grand adventure in outer space. Anyone who could suspend their disbelief for Heroic Age would have no problems enjoying this one.

4. Tenchi Muyo!

Although the third OVA is in print today, the many other iterations of Tenchi Muyo! are dormant. Frankly
Tenchi is pretty much still the
definitive so-called harem anime, if only because it was actually smart
enough to deliver goofy humor and enough action and
adventure to make it a worthy Toonami cartoon back in the day. Tenchi has no real imitations; it’d be
charitable to say that any animated effort has even bothered to
seriously attempt the successful balance that it struck. It may well be
that any Tenchi rescue would snap up multiple titles at once, but if I
had to single one out it’d be the first movie, Tenchi Muyo In Love. The
first two OVA’s admittedly make the most sense, but to me the film goes
the extra mile by making things personal and poignant–Tenchi gets to
discover the mother he barely knew when he and the gang leap back in
time to stop a stereotypical all-powerful bad guy’s revenge plot.

3. Haibane Renmei

Haibane Renmei is not an exciting title, but the quality of
Yoshitoshi ABe’s story is palpable to
anyone that was fortunate enough to discover this contemplative and
charming anime before. In this series, angel-like beings known as
Haibane live and work in the walled city of Glie along with normal
humans. Why are they there? What is their nature and purpose? What lies
beyond the city walls? As newcomer Rakka adjusts to her surroundings and
gets to know her fellow Haibane, she learns some answers–and
unexpected truths about one of her fellows. Though the show’s slow and
methodical pace takes after multiple “slice-of-life” series, it soundly
surpasses them as an allegorical tale of self discovery at the very

2. Lupin The 3rd

Yet another once-televised series without a distributor, Lupin The 3rd underachived on Adult Swim and fell out of print before Geneon seized the chance to try releasing this entertaining oldie in some affordable boxed sets. At least fans aren’t completely out of luck; there are various TV specials and movies for those that want to follow the adventures and misadventures of animation’s finest thieves. Still, they don’t replace what started it all, and by now perhaps enough time has passed for nostalgic viewers and newer fans to offer enough support to Lupin. The series is admittedly old and perhaps too long for anyone in the industry to try continuing in today’s market, but even the TV episodes already dubbed by Geneon would be welcome. Is Lupin a far-fetched hope compared to some other titles on this list? Perhaps. Does it deserve to be listed anyway? Certainly. What can one say? If you’re a fan buy what’s available now, ask, and hope.

1. Cardcaptor Sakura

A first-class reimagining of the magical girl concept, Cardcaptor
stands as one of CLAMP’s most well-liked creations. Unique,
fun and persistently cute, it eschews incompetent monsters and cliche
transformations in favor a simple but fun narrative; it’s just as much about
the title character navigating everyday life as it is about her quest
to recover the scattered mystical Clow cards and master magic. A
potential snag with this title may be the prior rights held by Nelvana,
which as fans know originally acquired the series in 1999 and edited it
substantially for broadcast television. After years of absence the
edited Cardcaptors dub is highly unlikely to return and wouldn’t be well
received by the fanbase if it were, and Geneon’s original release of
the complete original series was limited to Japanese with English
subtitles. Assuming the rights can be acquired or will be up for the
taking soon, a strong and attractive DVD release would really need a redubbing
project like the one that is planned by FUNimation for Initial D.
On a good note, aesthetically the show doesn’t appear by today’s standards. The show was animated by Madhouse for its
seventy-episode run from
1998-2000, and its bright and attractive presentation has aged rather gracefully. Just as importantly, the series’ footage recently received a superb remastering for a Blu-Ray release in Japan; the results are impressive. If we’re lucky Cardcaptor Sakura will be rescued relatively soon, but however long it takes the wait will be worthwhile.

Got an opinion? Want to shine the spotlight on a cartoon not listed here? Post a comment at the forums!

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