In less than one week, audiences worldwide will be treated to the long-awaited anime reboot of Shaman King. Directed by Seiji Mizushima and airing in Japan between 2001-2002, it hit television in the US via 4Kids in 2003. (Remember that horrendously catchy English opening song? Admit you liked it.) As many accolades as it received, the 64-episode series left fans needing closure. After all, it ended two full years before Hiroyuki Takei’s manga series came to an end in Weekly Shonen Jump.
A reboot isn’t only a dream come true for storytelling purposes: imagine your favorite series from the early 2000s brought into a new age of animation. Imagine your favorite voice actors resuming their roles and breathing new life into fandoms long left by the wayside. This period of time gave rise to countless series still popular today! Though many haven’t aged as well as we’d like.
Here’s a few that need to be brought back, Shaman King 2021 style.
1. Elfen Lied
We’re not saying that we’d like to see the now-legendary carnage of Episode 1 in HD, but can you imagine? Airing in 2004, Elfen Lied’s themes (and theme song) continue to captivate audiences today. The anime tells the story of Lucy, a mutant out for revenge after being experimented on by human captors. When escaping from the research facility, Lucy develops a second personality known as Nyu, who is just the sweetest thing you’d ever meet.
Disregarding the gorefest (Adult Swim wanted to pick it up, but didn’t have the heart to edit out half the series), the show tackles everything from identity and abuse to alienation and issues of identity. An anime reboot would get a warm welcome in this new age.
Yes, a second ultraviolet series. The 2004 Gonzo series was a perfect mesh of psychological thriller and pure action mayhem, following ‘dead’ people hunting down aliens with badass weaponry. True, two live-action films were released in Japan in 2011, and we’ve had a ‘remake’ of Gantz in the form of a CGI film back in 2016; one that ultimately fell flat, despite its shiny appearance. There are also fleeting rumors of a Hollywood version coming, as there are with plenty of anime IPs.
But that’s not what we’re asking for; think of how incredible the showdowns would be in 4K.
All 26 over-the-top episodes are streaming on Funimation.
3. Excel Saga
This one is a little more personal, and one on which myself, our managing editor Thanasis, and fellow staff writer Chris Cimi wholeheartedly agree. Does Excel Saga really deserve a remake? Probably not. Would seeing the loud-mouthed Excel and blood-spitting Hyatt’s constant stream of gags and one-liners reimagined for a meme-filled hellscape be something we’d want to see? Absolutely.
If we’re splitting hairs, the series technically began in 1999, but spent most of its broadcasting time in 2000, not making its way stateside until 2002. Directed by the absolute legend Shinichi Watanabe, imagine him reprising his role at the helm? An anime reboot would be absolutely beautiful madness.
If you missed it, check out the series on Funimation. It’s still a laugh-riot. We just think a new imagining could be even funnier. That’s all.
4. Rave Master
Today, Hiro Mashima is known only for his best-selling manga series Fairy Tale. Yes, the series is phenomenal, and yes, it’s sold 72-ish million copies, but before Natsu and Lucy there was Haru and Elie. Rave Master put Mashima on the map, beginning serialization in Weekly Shonen Magazine in 1999 and running for 296 action-packed chapters. The 51-episode anime series aired from 2001 to 2002, even making its way to Toonami in the US. Directed by Takashi Watanabe of Slayers and Boogiepop Phantom fame, it was nothing to sneeze at; and the adventure fantasy series would be able to find a new legion of fans in 2021, there’s no doubt.
Sadly, the series isn’t streaming anywhere, with fans left to scavenge for DVDs on Amazon. We need an outcry: give us the old series, but also give us something new!
5. Gensoumaden Saiyuki
‘But Carley, there are plenty of Saiyuki series to choose from! ReLoad, ReLoad Gunlock, ReLoad Blast, and Saiyuki ReLoad: Zeroin is coming soon!’ Good argument, but longtime Saiyuki fans should understand.
The very first Saiyuki anime series began in 2000 for 50 wonderful episodes, but the animation left plenty to be desired. Wonky CG, bizarre colors, out-of-sync audio… the entry point to Kazuya Minekura’s vision deserves better. Studio Pierrot, thank you for giving us so much content; this isn’t coming out of a place of ungratefulness. Seeing an anime reboot of Sanzo, Gojyo, Hakkai and Goku travelling west to stop an evil demon lord with a new and consistent art style would be a treat.
If you’re curious, all 50 episodes are streaming on Hulu. (Saiyuki isn’t just a show, it’s a lifestyle.)
If anyone read Newtype USA back in the day, S-CRY-ed was marketed like crazy upon US release in 2003, two years after it hit televisions in Japan. Produced by Sunrise and directed by Goro Taniguchi (Code Geass, currently Back Arrow), the story was instantly compelling: 1% of people have supernatural powers, and a special forces unit is sent to track them down. Kazuma, one of these supernatural ‘alters,’ is a mercenary, and fights back against Ryuho, part of the anti-alter forces called HOLY.
S-CRY-ed was one of those series with a slow-as-syrup start, but which ends up snowballing into something awesome by the show’s end. Given that 20 years have passed, we’re curious what an s-CRY-ed anime reboot could do for the franchise.
The series has just recently been added to Crunchyroll, so check it out!
Having just received word today that the Tsukihime visual novel remake is coming in August (after 21 years!), it seems an appropriate time to address the elephant in the room: the absolutely abysmal 2003 anime adaptation. Being completely fair, the animation and soundtrack are both worth complimenting; it’s the story that fell flat.
Watching these 12 episodes, you get the distinct feeling that the staff either didn’t play the game, or weren’t interested in adapting the best parts of Type-Moon’s masterpiece for a new audience. A properly made complete anime release would be much appreciated, and with the VN remake coming soon, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility. Optimism is key.
No, Tsukihime isn’t streaming anywhere. No, you’re not really missing anything. Get the game when it comes out.
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