5 Unfinished Anime

5 Unfinished Anime

Lately, I’ve been thinking (and chatting with Curtis at Iridium Eye Reviews) about the idea of ‘Top’ Lists and why I hesitate to do them.

Basically, I’ve decided it’s because I tend to chicken out before posting, even if I get so far as to think a few of them through and sometimes even write up a couple of notes. And today, that trend toward steering clear of the word ‘Top’ or ‘Best’ will continue 😀

Instead, I’ll just use a number.

And so here’s 5 Unfinished Anime that I wish had been finished a little more. (I use the word ‘finished’ with varying degrees of accuracy here too). I’ve actually reviewed most of the entries but I’ll try not to rehash too much.

All right, let’s go chronologically!

Battle Angel (1993)

With only two episodes produced in this OVA the main storylines were barely touched and so it leaves so much to the manga… but I was enjoying the production and wanted to see it continue 😀

Battle Angel has great character conflict and designs, along with a classic conspiracy aspect to the plot. It also presents an engaging post-apocalyptic/cyberpunk setting with a reasonably gritty visual style that maybe could have been refined even further had the series continued? Obviously, the team also had a decent amount of source material to continue on with.

One thing the OVA included that I liked was the Chiren plot line, where she and Ido have a past. I would have liked to see that explored somehow, along with the aftermath of events in the final episode as per their effect on Gally. Author Yukito Kishiro was happy for this short series to drive viewers to the manga and a recent James Cameron adaptation also makes it clear this won’t be continued.

Legend of Basara (1998)

This is a longer series, with thirteen episodes produced but once again – it never gets the chance to explore the full scope of the source material, and there’s a lot left and a huge story that could be adapted.

Legend of Basara is classic 1990s shoujo with a mix of action, historical elements and romance. It has a fun, almost Shakespearean premise and there’s some hidden identity stuff that really worked for me.

I’d say Sarasa’s story has zero chance of being continued as an anime, as KSS had other priorities in the form of Naruto and have now folded in any event.

Claymore (2007)

Here’s another one with plenty of source material that could allow the bigger story to be completed, the grim but gripping Claymore.

The first twenty episodes had a grand build up with impressive rising tension – and then everything got rushed and compressed, leaving many plot threads simply abandoned. The climax to this story about vengeance is pretty flat too and maybe if it had been given a chance at even a second season, some key things could have been concluded.

Could this be picked up again? Maybe. Beserk actually got a bit of a continuation a few years ago and many folks consider Beserk and Claymore to be similar enough that perhaps there’s an audience there.

Moribito (2007)

Staying in 2007 for Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit now, and this is a complete story with a satisfying conclusion.

And so to tweak what I mean by ‘unfinished’ here, this time it’s not just that I know the light novels continue Balsa’s story, it’s because the end of season 1 so perfectly sets up the idea that she is about to set out on a homecoming-kinda quest to confront aspects of her past.

Since she’s such a compelling character I often think about tracking down the English version of the novel, but I don’t remember how many of the series have been translated. Whether Production IG will continue this… I don’t know, probably not since the series is not shonen or isekai, which seems to be what the market is seeking at the moment.

Dreaming Machine (2010)

A little different from the others – as it’s a film but also because it’s literally unfinished.

Before director Satoshi Kon’s death he was working on Dreaming Machine and had described it as a ‘road movie for robots’ and as an adventure film. It sounded like it would have been a bit of an ‘all-ages’ thing which would have been fascinating to see him do, since his other works have generally been darker.

Around a third of the film’s shots had been animated, and while Masao Maruyama did pledge that Madhouse would continue and finish the film, over the years he has pulled away from that and eventually said that it wouldn’t be right for someone else to finish the movie:

Instead, we should take only Kon’s “original concept”, and let somebody turn it into a feature film. By doing so, the completed piece could 100% be that person’s work, and I’m OK with that.

Since then he’s expressed even less belief in the likelihood of the work being completed, despite suggesting that it would “not be impossible” to restart with a talented foreign director.

I believe there is a chance this film could be completed one day… more so than some of the other titles I mentioned in this post, just not any time soon, perhaps.

***

And there we go!

I’ll try to come up with another ‘Not a Top 5’ style post one day but I’m not sure when that’ll be just yet. Still, I had fun with this one though.

Battle Angel (Ganmu)

Until the start of this year I’d never seen Ganmu – which I realised was odd, since I do consider myself a cyberpunk fan. At the time, the then upcoming live-action remake (Alita) prompted me to finally watch Battle Angel and while I still haven’t seen the CGI-version yet, I did at last watch the OVA.

Battle Angel (Ganmu) 1993

And while it’s far too short, it remains equal parts powerful and frustrating. I still really enjoyed every minute – and everyone is probably well-aware that Kishiro never planned to have more than two episodes made, and so there’s nothing remotely like a resolution to the main conflict with the OVA. It’s more like an (effective?) funnel to the manga.

And so I guess I’d say that Battle Angel is still worth seeing due to its place in the history of cyberpunk anime, for that distinctive art style, grim vision of the future and great charactarisation (save for Hugo – a touch more on that later*).

The OVAs have their share of gore here and there, which adds to the general darkness of it all, and fits the tone of the episodes too, both of which are around 30 mins long compared to a ‘regular’ series at 23ish, so there is a touch more time to reveal a bit of character development and establish atmosphere.

Each fight scene is pretty ace too – at times I got an Astro Boy vibe (which makes sense of course) but I don’t consider that a bad thing at all and again, I do think that Battle Angle is worth seeing at least once, even if there’s no way to finish the storyline in two installments.

It’s still a classic and one that I still wish had been given more episodes!

4 Stars

*This is hard to judge for me – because I suspect the manga explores Hugo’s motivations deeper, but in the anime he represents a causality of ‘compressed storylines’ where important things must of a necessity be left out, and I didn’t think his motivation was sold (to me, at least) well enough to justify his flaw.