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Yet 12 MORE Anime Fit For An American Adaptation

Written by  Published December 14, 2016 01:35
Recently, word came out that Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (an action animated television series that I have never seen) got included in The New York Times' list of the 10 best television shows to air on Saturdays in America for 2016 with the superhero anime T.V. series My Hero Academia being in the same magazine's list of the 10 best international television programs of 2016. To be honest, hearing this news left me with mixed feelings; while I'm happy to hear of their the mainstream status as well as the honor they recently received, part of me fears it may lead to an increase in viewers who deem the trend of American screen production versions of anime/manga properties (both live-action and animated kinds) as redundant with a number of them likely to end up trying to push the American media into abandoning it altogether, especially when some are likely taking the recent news as a sign that Japanese animation is now a mainstream deal in North America.

Sadly, I don't know what is true anymore; is Japanese animation mainstream on the North American landscape or is it not with a few exceptions? What remains the current reality is that 1) some people have no appreciation or tolerance for the medium regardless of wide range of genre options available, 2) some anime fans still have trouble looking for anime they can feel comfortable watching with those of the no-otaku type, 3) some anime (including ones from within the past several decades) are not lucky enough to achieve immortal mainstream status in North America (the kind that both Batman and Spider-Man are known to possess) with some of such only having mainstream status for 10 years or less, 4) a number of recent titles reportedly bombed in DVD sales in North America despite the medium's wide range of genres, 5) too many members of the North American continent's general movie/television viewing public still apparently remain silent about Japanese animation today except for when an American-made or Canadian-made screen production re-interpretation of an anime or a manga is in the works (and we can the same about mainstream entertainment news show hosts based within the same region), and 6) Voltron: Legender Defender, a full-fledged American animated webseries re-imagining of Voltron - Defener of the Universe (which in turn is a redub of two giant robot anime series from the early 1980s), managed to become a hit even with those new to Voltron.

I like Japanese animation to the point where I do want to see it have the same long-lasting international mainstream glory as a number of America's own sci-fi/fantasy/horror media properties (like say Star Trek for example), but considering the factors I mentioned, you can't go wrong with an alternative option, and with that in mind and out of desire to celebrate the recent success of Voltron's currently running animated series, I present a third list of anime fit for the North American cartoon series treatment, making this column at ENR the sequel to "10 MORE Anime Fit for an American Cartoon Adaptation". So if you support the trend of American-made re-interpretaions of anime/manga titles and are curious about what made the list this time, take a seat and enjoy what you are about to read here. But if you not in favor of this and are the kind of person thinking, "All anime and/or manga properties are sacred and need to stay Japanese no matter the circumstances", feel free to exit. Now, onto the list.

 

1) Kill La Kill

01 Kill La Kill

While I have not seen this animated series, I am actually enjoying the manga adaptation so much that I want to see more of its midriff-bearing teenage heroine Ryuko Matoi in the future regardless of what format the next story takes (if it does get made of course) and where it's made. If North America-based mainstream audiences can accept the appearance of midriff-baring teenage characters in western cartoons like Roberta Tubbs from The Cleveland Show, they should be able to accept the trademark appearances Ryuko possesses when bonded with her symbiotic clothing (both civilian and superheroine forms).

Plus, the premise of the story (you know the heroine fighting a fashion facist seeking to impose torment on humans without superpowered and symbiotic clothing) should be able to translate well into North American animation regardless of setting change and how many supporting and/or antagonal characters get replaced with new characters created for the remake or re-imagining.

 

2) Cho Denij Robo Combattler V

02 Cho Denji Robo Combattler V

Since Marvel Comics' Shogun Warriors ended its run, Japanese animation's first 5 vehicle-into-one giant robot Combattler V (known as "Combattra" in "Shogun Warriors") has not appeared in any media format outside of anime (except for the Japan-exclusive manga God Bird), nor has its animated television series Cho Denji Robo Combattler V (also known as "Super Electromagentic Robo Combattler V") ever got officiallly licensed for legal and commercial distribution in North America.

While it is awesome that Beast King GoLion still has its mainstream glory in North America thanks to its Americanized version (the Lion Voltron portion of Voltron - Defender of the Universe that is), it is time North America got re-introduced to what started the combining robot subtrope that describes GoLion and the Dino Megazord (the 5-into-1 giant robot from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), even if a North American-made animated Combattler V series was to replace its 5-member task force of operators from the anime (an all-Japanese group of kids) with a multiethnic/multinational force based in a North American nation.

 

3) Cutey Honey

03 Cutey Honey

Cutey Honey (referred to as "Cutie Honey" by some some translations) may not be among magical girl-as-superheroine-themed media properties from Japan I have experienced personally, but I put this in the list of anime fit for a North American cartoon series treatment as it is time Mazinger Z creator Go Nagai's first creation for the trope gets the same mainstream glory Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon has been getting in North America for over 20 years if too many audiences from the continent or even from anywhere outside Japan won't give the iconic manga superheroine's first animated series (which is dated 1973) a fighting chance due to its age.

Without Cutey Honey, which started it all for magical girls as superheroines, those that follow what this icon started (including Cardcaptor Sakura, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Pretty Cure) would not come to be.

As for westernization, a North American animated Cutey Honey series could be an opportunity in telling a tale that centers around a Canadian, Mexican, or American region counterpart to the Japanese android girl Honey Kisaragi, the Cutey Honey from the anime and manga versions, even though Go Nagai never considered creating any fictional non-Japanese girls to share Honey's superheroine moniker himself.

 

4) Dirty Pair

04 Dirty Pair

Sadly, the trend of television programs where each episode is self-contained both in terms of continuity and situation focus is noawadays a rarity in North American television, but the such a trend is part of the beauty of some animated series from Japan and North America respectively with the 1980s Japanese animated sci-fi series Dirty Pair being an example. So far, the anime 's protagonal chics-with-guns duo (Kei and Yuri of the World Welfare Works Association) managed to star in a number of American comic book titles, and with these space-traveling sexy agents in battle bikinis possessing an inescapable-but-comical habit that never gets old (the whole leaving behind coallateral damage while on the hunt for crooks), how could we say no to a North American single plot-per-episode animated series about these two lovable heroines to offer us a break from what nowadays is looking to dominate the realm of North American animation, even when we sometimes need a break from female-led action shows about heroines fully covered up while on the jmission all the time (I'm looking at you, 2015's Supergirl T.V. series)?

Plus, some us animation viewers still miss the Stan Lee-created superheroine-centric animated series Stripperella (a not-for-kids show unlike Dirty Pair by the way) as no North American-made animated show like it has apparently been there to fill the void it left since cancellation.

 

5) KonoSuba - God's Blessing on This Wonderful World!!

05 KonoSuba

While I have yet to experience the story of KonoSuba (whether as a manga or as an anime), hearing of its premise sounds like something that could easily translate outside of Japanese storytelling.

Basically, it is the misadventure tale of a kid who gets killed in an accident and then reincarnates in a realm with a visual likeness of medieval fantasy trole-playing games where he befriends three beautiful warriors. We have seen the subjects of alternate realities and reincarnation happen a number of times outside anime (even MC Pee Pants from the american animated sitcom Aqua Teen Hunger Force has multiple incarnations), and I don't think rewriting the male protagonist (that's Kazuma Sato) as a North american-born citizen of Japanese decent or even replacing him with a similar character with a western name to experience Kazuma's after-death fate during the process of remaking or re-imagining the KonoSuba anime as a North American cartoon series would impact the premise, but it should at least least keep the heroines that KonoSuba's famous for (water goddess Aqua, magician Megumin, and crusader Darkness) in the North American-made cartoon series version.

 

6) Monogatari

06 Monogatari

If Adventure Time and Vampirella taught me anything, it is that not all female vampires need to be scary and unfriendly beings. Sometimes, they can be as beautiful as any beautiful human female, and Shinobu Oshino, the iconic female vampire of the Monogatari anime series, fits the trope even in the appearance of an adorable pre-teen girl.

While I have never seen any of the series itself (not even the film series prequel Kizumonogatari due to unavailability in my local cinemas during the year), I have seen images of her and other monster/supernatural girls of the multiseries on the internet enough to see potential in them to appear charming as Adventure Time's Marceline in North American animation, even if they were to have a Real Husbands of Hollywood-style America animated series about their adventures in America called "Americanogatari", both as an attempt to introduce Monogatari to the non-anime viewing crowd and as a means to cash in on the North America-based pretty monster girl craze that still lives on today.

 

7) Saint Seiya (a.k.a. "Knights of the Zodiac")

 07 Saint SeiyaThis fantasy action animated television series from 1986, which tells the tale of orphans taking part in battles to win battle armor clothes, was one of the most fresh anime series I have seen on television back in the 2000s, although only about 32 of 114 episodes included in English language edition I saw at the time, which was called "Knights of the Zodiac".

What I did not know until recently was that it was among the least popular Shonen Jump manga-based anime to set foot in North America. It sucks when an awesome anime regardless of genre and age-gender demographic flops during its first time in North American distribution due to its age while Dragon Ball, another Shonen Jump-manga based anime from 1986, still maintains its popularity in the same continent with failure anime like Saint Seiya still struggling to get their mainstream status today. If you ask me, the owners of Saint Seiya have two choices: find a American screen production studio who is interested in buying the North American cartoon rights to this fantasy action anime/manga property (even if some supporting characters get replaced as part of the westernization process) or leave it remain unpopular with and unmentioned in public by North American viewers forever. I hate to see an amazing foreign property that failed the first time not get another chance at success.

 

8) Girls und Panzer

08 Girls und Panzer

North Americans love badass fictional battles involving military mvehicles and vehicles as well as of course cute teenage vixens. Unfortunately, Girls und Panzer, an anime series about such never got the chance to air on television while still in Region 1 DVD print, nor has its film spinoff got the full-four weeks-in-cinemas opportunity in all around the North American continent (a tragedy for those unable to attend any of the couple of limited time screenings in America), and I wanted to make the film the first cartoon film to watch in cinemas this year.

Anyway, the premise of all-girl high schools competing with each other in tank tournaments should be easy to translate into North American animation while centering around schools on Canadian or American soil as opposed those on Japanese soil (where the anime usually take place) with the possibility of not only featuring the tank-operating high school girls from the Girls und Panzer anime making guest appearances as audience members watching the North America-based tournaments, but also portraying each competing school's student body as a multinational group.

 

9) One Piece

09 One Piece

One of the tragedies of North American animation is that virtually no animated show of the continent other than currently running American sitcom The Simpsons has the chance to reach past 20 seasons. On the plus side, if One Piece got a North American cartoon series remake, this could mean an opportunity to tell a condensed version of the treasure hunting adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates that could last for 5 seasons or less.

It's bad enough the X-Men have been comics for over 50 years without an end to their ongoing mission to restore unity among all people on Earth, and I for one, think, that the trend of having a mission-focused plot-through-every episode animated series running for over 15 years with no end is getting annoying, and I am sure some of us are tired of it! Too bad 4Kids Entertainment didn't ask One Piece's creator Eiichiro Oda for American cartoon production rights as opposed to aquiring North American commercial distribution rights from Toei Animation (the anime adaptation's production house).

 

10) Medarot (a.k.a. "Medabots")

10 Medarot

While this robot-versus-robot tournament themed animated series from 1999 mainly takes place in Japan and centers around Ikki Tenryo and his robot partner Metabee, it is one of those anime where competitors from around the globe can take part in the sport and compete in an annual international championship event. While it has been long since Medarot (known in North America as "Medabots") has been on the air in North America, I recently started to wonder what would the story be like if it took place another country and centered around one of its own Medabot-operating fighters with his/her Medabot partner.

The world of Medabots is full of teams of competitors from around the world aspiring for a common title (one of the universal themes in anime so far), and Medabots should not go wrong in having a North American-made animated series re-imagining that centers around competitors from a North American nation (like say Canada, U.S.A., or even Mexico) while featuring the protagonists and supporting characters from the anime version as guest characters in the world tournament-themed multiparter.

 

11) Gurren Lagann

11 Gurren Lagann

Legendary American animation industry veteran Walt Disney once said, "It is fun to do the impossible", and Gurren Lagann, an anime series classic created and written by Kazuki Nakashima (Kill La Kill's creator), is a sci-fi tale that is not afraid to focus on what it is like to have the power to do impossible and believe in oneself, even in times of chaos as its protagonists lead the fight for humanity to take back ownership of the surface from conquerors.

Like Japanese animation, North American animation needs not to necesssarily reflect real-world logic to be entertaining, and Gurren Lagann, being an animated series that is not afraid to go beyond the narrative limits of what storytelling in live-action screen productions in general (including those from the west) can handle even in today's time (even to show a giant robot about the size of a galaxy), earns a place in this list.

 

12) Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. "Star Blazers")

12 Space Battleship Yamato

What do you know? This is a time where I save the best for the last (at least in my opinion anyway).

While the American live-action movie re-interpretation of the not-for-kids sci-fi franchise responsibile for giving birth to Japanese animation's contemporary era in the 1970s is still in the works, there is room for possibility that this movie may not be as well received by animation viewers as it would be if it was an animated theatrical film, and we need to consider the fact some screen production viewers are not into live-action kind of screen productions themselves. Therefore, the need for an alternative in introducing Space Battleship Yamato to today's non-anime viewing audiences based in North America should be taken into consideration.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Why add Space Battleship Yamato (known outside of Japan as "Star Blazers") to the list when North Americans can just watch its 2012 remake Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (known outside of Japan as "Star Blazers 2199?". Well 1) this is one of those sci-fi properties that are not lucky enough to mainstain immortal mainstream status in North America with its popularity with North American viewers not lasting long at all  (remember when I mentioned about mainstream status for anime earlier?), 2) the 2012 remake does not seem to be enough to make the franchise popular in North America again with some still deeming all things Japanese-made Space Battleship Yamato as "outdated", 3) the installments of the Space Battleship Yamato franchise that consist its primary continuity that managed to set foot in North America are no longer in North American DVD print, 4) if a North American-made animated re-interpretation got made, there would be the possibility of it using character names from the English dubs of the SBY anime from the 1970s and 1980s (ex: having the Yamato's tactical chief be called "Derek Wildstar" as opposed to having him use the "Susumu Kodai" name from the original Japanese language versions of the anime) while rewriting the hero spaceship as a reconstruction of a 21st century Yamato as opposed to the WWII-era Yamato so as to balance bewteen maintaining historical accuracy (noting the lack of remains of the WWII ship in our real-world as confirmed in the mid 1980s) and preserving iconic moments of the franchise's opening television series, whether the re-interpretation refers to the ship in its reconstructed form as "Yamato" (like in the original Japanese language versions of the SBY anime) or "Argo" (like in the English dubs).

Also, keep in mind that all explicit mention of what the Yamato was going up against before before its reconstruction and its first mission in outer space as well as whatever allusions/references to Japanese nationalism existed in the opening series itself were omitted from its English dub, which leaves room to give North America-based filmmakers the courage to interpret the hero spaceship's origins in all sorts of ways that need not to match that of the original interpretation while preserving what is most important to the saga of Space Battleship Yamato: the premise of the crew of the ship itself going on missions to save humanity from alien threats and experiencing the tragic effects of war along the way.

 

Whether or not any anime I mentioned at ENR as be fit for a North American animated series version so far get this opportunity, an otaku can dream, and while it is good to hear some anime have their own immortal mainstream status in North America, if worldwide audiences in general (including those who don't tune into Japanese pop culture on a regular basis) can accept 2014's Godzilla movie for what it is despite being made Americans and not Japanese, they should be able to do the same for whatever animated series re-interpretations of anime titles gets made in any nation of the North American continent so as long it's awesome. I say, "Let trend of North American-made animated versions of anime works keep its place no matter the circumstances".

I hope you enjoyed reading this new list at ENR as much as I did writing it, and for those of you who haven't yet read any of the previous 2 column features at this website where I listed anime fit for the North American cartoon series treatments ("10 Anime Fit for A North American Cartoon Adaptation" and "10 MORE Anime Fit for an American Cartoon Adaptation"), go check 'em out. Also, feel free to list any anime other than what I mentioned in this feature and the two list features this one sequelizes that you feel deserves a North American-made cartoon series version in the comment box. Thanks for reading, and see you next time.

Christopher Arnold

Meet Montreal Island-born fanboy Christopher Arnold. He is a fan of a number of things: comic book action/adventure heroes (the superhero kind included), science-fiction, horror, Japanese Animation, action figure collecting, cosplay photography, and fan art. While his main column focus at ENR is action/adventure storytelling (regardless of if it includes sci-fi, horror, fantasy), when it comes to reviewing/analyzing material, whether it be comics/graphic novels, film, or even television, he is the kind of person to avoid judging a work of fiction by time of release and by nation of origin (and that's part of his moral code). Also, he's not afraid to admit if he finds comparison between two unrelated media properties. While he enjoys serving you, the readers, he's not the kind to show his true face on social media (so PLEASE, RESPECT HIS PRIVACY).

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