One of the awesome things about animation as a medium is that it’s “eternal” and usually worthy of re-watching many years or decades after the initial broadcast. While there are some exceptions, I rarely delve into classic live-action TV or movies from many years in the past, though I’m usually more than happy to visit a classic anime that delighted me years or decades in the past. I asked J-List’s Twitter followers to give us their picks for forgotten anime that fans should go watch, and here’s a post with everyone’s recommendations.
Post a forgotten anime people should see. This is Read or Die, a fabulous anime from 2003. The original 3 episode OAV is my favorite, though the later series is also good. pic.twitter.com/pm6lWZiKgY
— J-LIST (@jlist) August 2, 2019
The above is Read or Die, a classic trio of OAVs that are among the best three episodes of animation from the early 2000’s you could watch. An early take on American style “superpowers” done through a lens of anime, the show follows Yomiko Readman, a bibliophile who loves books so much, she developed the ability to manipulate any form of paper using her mind. The three OAV episodes are the best ones to watch, and if you like it continue on with the sequel series.
Forgotten Anime: the 2010’s
Pretty much the same story as GATE, but instead of sending the Japanese military through the isekai doorway that conveniently opens up inside Japan to subjugate the fantasy people on the other side, we send in an otaku and get them addicted to anime and video game culture.
Up there with Psycho-Pass with “transliterations that annoy former English majors” like me, Gosick is about a Japanese youth who comes to a fictional European country in 1924 where he meets a strange “gothic lolita” NEET who solves crimes.
Eve no Jikan (Time of Eve)
A genius series of OAVs from 2010, Eve no Jikan tells a story similar to Chobits — about a future where humanoid androids have become commonplace, and their extreme similarity to real girls causes some men to seek romantic relationships with them, over females from meatspace. In this world, there’s a special cafe called Time of Eve where humans and androids can interact without any of the social rules that normally govern them, and the episodes are basically short stories set in this cafe.
A Good Librarian like a Good Shepherd
Sometimes I watch anime because they have weird titles. Other times I watch them because of random sexy GIFs. This anime, which was based on an adult visual novel, offers both. Sadly it has pretty much become a forgotten anime at this point.
Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan
A fun show about a boy named Sakura who’s on the verge of inventing technology that will make all humanity immortal…as 12-year-old girls, with him being the only adult, because he’s into that. God punishes him by sending an angel assassin from the future whose job is apparently to repeatedly kill him with a giant spiked club, though she’s kind enough to resurrect him after each killing. I happened to see that Dokuro-chan just got a dub, from Crunchyroll.
Two classic anime series from Sunrise, so you know they’re good. It’s got it all: a class of high school girls who realize they’ve been brought together because they have secret superpowers. The boyish female character who turns out to be a girl after all. The rich lesbian who’s trying to win the heart of her lover by giving her mayonnaise. All the good stuff!
Forgotten anime: The 2000’s
Though Kyoto Animation has been around since 1981, they really came into their stride when they started making mainstream anime based on the famous 18+ visual novels by Key, essentially creating the genre of anime derived from VNs. While 2005’s Air was amazing, it was Kanon 2006 (so named because it was a remake of an awful first attempt by Toei) that really put the company on the map, letting us all know this was now a major storytelling force from Japan. It might be a good time to rewatch this classic series.
Saikano, aka She, The Ultimate Weapon
When the Japanese military has a serious fight on its hands, where does it turn? Naturally to a mild-mannered high school girl who happens to have esper powers. Saikano (not to be confused with Saekano) is subtitled The Last Love Song on This Little Planet, and that’s exactly what you get. I was a fan of how the love between high school boy Shuji and his powerful girlfriend Chise is officially a sexual one, in a medium where so many relationships stop at platonic love. Prepare to be amazed.
A black samurai with an afro who tons of kicks ass. Sounds like a great idea for a fictional anime, right? Well, he actually existed. He was a former slave named Yasuke who was given to Nobunaga Oda, the first of Japan’s three unifiers, who was famous for loving foreign things. The 2007 anime stars Samuel Jackson and Ron Pearlman.
Welcome to the NHK
There’s a certain class of anime that really define what it is to be plugged into anime culture. 1990’s Otaku no Video, which made the word otaku a household name. Genshiken, which made us all want to attend a Japanese university. And Welcome to the NHK, a genius anime (and manga, and novel series) that explores the emotional prison being a NEET can be.
When Sword Art Online exploded in popularity in 2012, some fans pointed out that .Hack//Sign, pronounced “Dot Hack Sign,” had already explored this kind of story, is if anime and all pop culture weren’t always constantly trading ideas back and forth. While not discussed much anymore, it’s still a very well regarded anime.
Forgotten Anime: the 1990’s
I’m thankful to Tatsuya Egawa for three things. He made Be Free!, a hyper-sexualized manga from the 80s that was my introduction to the power of hentai imagery. He made Tokyo University Story, a great manga I read during my studying days because it had the hardest kanji of any manga, and I wanted to challenge myself. And he made Golden Boy, a great anime that would define anime for many in the 1990s.
You’re Under Arrest
Another charming anime from the era was You’re Under Arrest. Such lovely character designs and action!
Big O, It’s Showtime!
While I’m lucky to watch and write about anime for a job, even I miss a lot of shows, especially during the period when I was the busiest setting up J-List as a company. One show I missed the first time around was Big O, Japan’s answer to the question, “What if Bruce Wayne had a giant robot and an android sidekick?” When Big Smile Company released the figma of the android girl Dorothy, I decided to pull the trigger and see what all the fuss was about. Big O was a wonderful and fun series!
Kodomo no Omocha
A fun shoujo anime story. Just don’t get confused and watch Kodomo no Jikan instead!
The origin of the "pantsu" meme in English is this episode of Chobits. Do you like pantsu? pic.twitter.com/XaK5Gs2Fym
— J-LIST (@jlist) May 17, 2017
I’ve always loved the works of CLAMP, and even used Magical Knights Rayearth to raise my kids to be bilingual. Their classic manga and anime about a world in which PCs have become super-cute female androids, with “on” switch exactly where you’d expect, is a classic. And the anime even gave us the word pantsu, as you can see from the scene above.
— J-LIST (@jlist) December 6, 2017
Pani Poni Dash!
An adorable manga and anime that will make you smile whenever you pronounce Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Forgotten Anime: the 1980s
One of the first anime that proved more famous outside Japan than in, Dirty Pair — who are based on a two-member professional wrestling duo from the 80s called Beauty Hair — really won fans over with its mix of sci-fi, sexy girls and exploding planets. If you’re looking for some Dirty Pair to sample, the 1986 Project Eden movie is a great place to start.
Tank Dominion Police
Before Masamune Shirow gave us Ghost in the Shell, he made a manga and anime about police who ride around in awesome tanks fighting catgirls and other baddies. It’s a great show, but sadly a forgotten anime.
Kimagure Orange Road
Finally, a show that’s extremely close to my heart, Orange Road, which I basically learned Japanese from. The story of a family of espers who must hide their power from society, it’s really a simple love triangle between MC Kyosuke, best girl Madoka Ayukawa, and cute kouhai Hikaru-chan. I liked it so much, I translated the first two novels back in the day. (Google them, I have no idea where they might be hosted.)
Did we forget to mention your favorite forgotten anime? Tell us what it is on Twitter!