Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Anime Pulse! I wonder how many will understand the title before reading any further.
In a world where shows such as Steins;Gate, Fullmetal Alchemist, Cowboy Bebop, Death Note, Ninja Scroll, Akira, and many other major hits exist, it’s a bit easy for some series to fly under the radar (if the title doesn’t make you facepalm by now, you need to go watch M.A.S.H.) and end up becoming hidden gems, so to speak. In this edition of The Anime Pulse, I decided to go through the 350+ shows that I’ve watched and pull out some of the more interesting ones that not many people really talk about. Sure, they may not be complete masterpieces, but they still were a pretty good watch and hopefully it inspires some people to look up these shows and give them a try as well.
Yes, this is kind of a follow up to my last column about giving shows a chance, but hey! At least I’m thematic! I’m actually going to start off with one that’s going to rattle your brains here… and it’s the whole reason why I decided to write this column. Take a deep breath for this one..
Grave of the Fireflies
Now… how in the world is this on a list of shows that have flown under the radar? This is one of the biggest masterpieces in anime history and a movie that even persuaded Roger Ebert to change his entire perspective on not only Japanese animation, but animation overall as a whole. So what is this doing on my list?
Well, I’m part of quite a few anime groups on Facebook and I’ve seen this movie get mentioned more often than not and you wouldn’t believe how many times I go to read the comments and the majority of the people don’t even know what this is. I was sitting there just staring in amazement to how little people knew about this movie despite it being a really popular choice. Sure, I could sit here and make uneducated assumptions, or I could realize that the root of my problem lies in the fact that I was on Facebook in the first place, but let’s face the reality here. Not everyone is well-versed in anime. At one point in time, every anime fan was discovering anime for the first time and we didn’t know this movie existed either. I guess you couldn’t really call this “flying under the radar,” but I at least wanted to give this a proper mention because it is my belief, whether you end up loving or hating this movie, that any fan of anime, new or old, should at least watch this film once. I even did a review of it if you want to know what it’s about.
Now that I got that out of the way, I’m going to name off some shows that I watched and enjoyed, but I never see their names come up in any type of anime conversations.
Better known by its English name Desert Punk, this show here doesn’t really seem to get talked about a lot which is a shame because this is probably one of the best English dubs I have ever heard. Yes… you read that correctly. I am praising an English dub of an anime. So what makes the English version so great? Probably because the writers decided to keep the main story intact and throw everything else out the window. They re-wrote the entire script and added their own brand of humor into the show and it came out in the most amazing way. I felt that the show was written well from a comedic standpoint to where I would highly recommend watching the dub over the sub. Eric Vale does a great job here and it’s his role as Kanta that made me a fan of his. Plus, Rain Spider is probably one of the best comedic villains I’ve seen and that laugh of his is just amazing.
Be warned that the humor in this show is very adult with lines such as “There’s a party in my pants and everyone’s coming!” and “Hey you two, get up out of that ass curry!.” Or when Kanta sticks his hand down Junko’s shirt to get something and makes the remark “It feels like my birthday!” I could go on, but then again, I’ll just end up spoiling everything. If those lines put a smile on your face then go out of your way to pick this show up!
Mnemosyne: Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi
On MyAnimeList’s top anime of all time, this is ranked all the way down at number 1442 and is hardly even mentioned despite being a highly intriguing and one-of-a-kind anime. The series only had six episodes, but what made this amazing is each episode took place in a different time period, but focused on the same main character Rin, who keeps dying and sacrificed to the world tree Yggdrasil by an immortal being named Apos.
Mnemosyne can be viewed as a like-it-or-hate-it series, but it requires a lot from the viewer to be appreciated, especially on the western side of the globe, due to its heavy plot. However, with each episode you get to see the progression of the world in both directions. Technology advances, but at the same time, you’ll see buildings which were once sturdy structures reduced to mere dilapidated frames. This is definitely not a straight-forward anime. It does require a lot of attention to be paid, but in the end, I think it’s well worth the time and effort to watch, but this turned me on to the band Galneryus and they’re a pretty kick-ass Japanese metal band.
Nabari no Ou
Known as The King of Nabari in English, it puts a unique spin on ninja animes. Miharu Rokujou is an apathetic 14-year old boy and possesses the Shirobanshou, a great and powerful ninja technique. Clans from around the world want to hunt him down to try and claim the technique as their own, but this isn’t set in some ancient village. This is set in modern times which puts an interesting spin on the genre.
Another interesting twist with this show is that it’s not very action-oriented. It’s more, or less, a story-driven anime, but it does sprinkle in some action scenes to keep things fresh. There are some complaints for the seemingly yaoi moments between Miharu and Yoite, but I think it’s more or less a friendship that is formed between them more than anything. This is an anime I own on DVD and another one I actually recommend the English dub for. Nothing is overacted and the voice work sounds very natural. This show didn’t really turn a lot of heads, but it still made for a great anime. If you want something different that’s not Naruto, then check this one out.
And because five seems like a good number…
Shigatsu wo Kimi no Uso
Known in English as Your Lie in April, I’m selecting it as a personal pick to finish out this list. This was one of the more popular animes in 2015 and many people compared this to Clannad, only with better developed characters. Since a lot of people watched it, it seems odd to put this on a list where it flew under the radar, but again, I’m making this a personal pick because it flew under MY radar.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one because I watch a show on YouTube called Glass Reflection and Tristan Gallant, under his persona of Arkada, reviews animes and when he did his 2015 anime picks, he mentioned that he, himself, had not watched this show and was recommended to. I took that recommendation as well and watched it from beginning to end in one sitting. I was hooked and loved every single minute of it. It just goes to prove, much like Grave of the Fireflies, that a show can be popular and be completely missed. If you were in the same boat as I and missed this show, I highly recommend you go back and check it out as I think it’s completely worth anyone’s time!
If interested, I also have a review of this show here.
So what are some shows that you watched and enjoyed, but are hardly mentioned in conversation? Feel free to let me know by dropping a line to email@example.com or follow me on Twitter @TheAnimePulse.
Until next time,