There are plenty of anime out there that felt like they were cut short. Maybe the plot hadn’t fully emerged, or you were just starting to care about the characters before it ended. Maybe the world needed more exploring, or episodes started getting rushed thanks to the time limit. Whatever the cause, we all know certain anime should have been longer.
I am purposefully leaving off anime that has a source material with the exception of #2. That’s because if they only animated a small part of the series, it means they were only doing it to advertise the manga anyway, which you should go read. Therefor, Berserk, Gunsmith Cats, Battle Angel Alita, Claymore, etc. will not be appearing on the list.
10. Kamichu! – Kamichu is one of the most inventive and charming slice-of-life anime around, and perfectly threads a needle between lighthearted fun, introspection, crazy supernatural adventure, and a cute romance. There was simply so much more that could be done with this concept!!! Kamichu is the kind of show that would never get old (like Aria) and could take much more time to flesh out it’s characters, world, create new adventures, and seek more introspective meanings. The last episodes are right at a turning point for the characters, and seeing beyond that would have been a ton of fun. this show simply had much farther it could go.
9. Pale Cocoon – This was a very interesting 20 minute short with great animation and what looked like a cool story, but I was rather disappointed by how… shallow it felt. I couldn’t help but feel there was more to be said here. We are given a very interesting setting and the main characters’ story within it could have been at most quite powerful and grand, but was limited by only being 20 minutes and not particularly connecting.
8. Escaflowne – Honestly, telling it to be longer is probably just me throwing a random solution at this show. For those unaware, I found it’s second half extremely disappointing, especially since this could have been one of my favorite anime but got snagged on shitty pacing and boring sub plots too close to the end. I wonder if it could have gotten things right if it had another 13 eps or so to really think things through, develop itself more carefully, and for gods sake fix the fucking ending.
7. RahXephon – The plot in RahXephon makes no fucking sense. The show does feel pretty complete as it is, but it took little to no time to explain anything. As a matter of fact, the show spent more time on experimental, weird ass episodes than it did on explaining – not that it’s a bad thing. Maybe it could have been longer, explained everything, and still had experimental episodes. I don’t know, the things is just such a total clusterfuck….
6. Howl’s Moving Castle – This movie felt like an epic adventure trapped in a movie’s body. It has a huge, unique world full of wonders, war, and potentially great characters. However, the movie didn’t seem like it could decide what it wanted to do with all this stuff. It kept rushing between character development, world development, and plot development, and all of them managed to loose interest in the time spent on something else. I think this movie could have been an awesome 2-part or trilogy and really laid everything out well, but instead it kind of collapsed under it’s own weight.
5. Xam’d Lost Memories – Bones seems to make a similar mistake to RahXephon by spending time on everything other than explanation and careful development which led to the show feeling very awkward and under-developed. We are put in a huge world with a huge cast, but we only get a tourists’ view of the place. Could have been at least 39 eps.
4. Futakoi Alternative – Anyone who’s seen this show can tell you it’s big issue – the plot jumps completely between extremes in tone and development so hard the viewer gets whiplash. It’s an excellent show full of great concepts, fun things, awesome drama, and elements that could have made it a veritable classic, but the pacing throws a it of a monkey wrench in there. Had this show perhaps been given just a bit more time to move logically, it might have improved. Though at the same time, it’s insanity may be one of it’s charms. I’m sure different fans have their own opinions.
3. Tenamonya Voyagers – This is a 4-episode OVA directed by Akiyuki Shinbo in 1999 which I watched last night, inspiring this post. The show is an awesome journey of 4 girls through space on their way to earth leaving a trail of immense destruction, tons of fanservice, and Shinbo at his best in their wake. After 4 episodes of fun, awesome, hilarity, and stellar production values, the girls have hopped across a few planets and are on their merry way… then the show ends. There is simply no more. It’s like someone took a 13-ep show and vut off the first 4 episodes. I suspect that the show simply didn’t sell and the company couldn’t keep up the very high budget of the production (uncharacteristic of a shinbo show) so it ended. In any case, I REALLY WANTED MORE.
2. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – I know I said no adaptions but COME ON MAN!!! It’s one of the greatest manga ever and it’s 8 volumes long! How do you turn that into just one 2 hour movie?! Miyazaki’s fan-fucking-tastic art deserves more than anything to be animated, especially by his fan-fucking-tastic studio, but they only did one feature length film. Come on Miyazaki! DO AN OVA OR SOMETHING!!!
1. Top wo Nerae! 2 – This show needed to be at least 13 episodes long. Nono and her oneesan had WAY more they needed to do and their development had only really just begun. Episode 3 was spent almost entirely developing a character who would practically not show up at all again. What was the deal with that?! The pacing was total shit, too. This was still an excellent OVA, but it could have been SO much better.
That’s all from me. If you have ones you want to add, please do, but the first person who says ‘FLCL’ I’m sawing their fucking legs off.
RahXephon’s length felt pretty comfortable to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m used to the standard 25 eps. There really was a lot that didn’t make sense, and they might have been able to do it with a bit more time.
Speaking of which, though, there are probably a few psychological series/movies that could have done with more time to flesh out the plot. Paprika comes to mind because even though it was great, it’s a bit difficult to keep up with; a 6 ep OVA might have been able to handle it better.
@eternal: I haven’t seen paprika yet, but if it was hard to follow, I suspect Satoshi Kon wanted it to be that way. He is fond of playing head games with he viewer, as you can see VERY strongly in the film Perfect Blue. That said, though, I do know Paprika was based on a sci-fi novel with boatloads of info, so there is likely a lot more that can be explored. I suggest researching the novel if you’re interested.
If you want more of Howl’s Moving Castle, check out the book that was the source for the movie. Hopefully it can expand more on the interesting world for you. :P
As you probably know, Escaflowne was originally slated to have 39 episodes, but was then suddenly pushed up to 26 episodes at the last minute. While this did eliminate any potential filler, I agree with you that it made the second half crazy-fast with all its plot points, and I personally would have appreciated another season to slow things down a bit. Also, more opportunities for Yoko Kanno to work her magic are never unwelcome.
I’m also going to have to agree with you on Tenamonya Voyagers. Although some portions seemed a bit to raunchy for my tastes, Shinbo in Space is something that I’d like to see more of.
TheBigN: I am, unfortunately, illiterate : O
Escaru: I did not know that! I am very enlightened by this. Lately I’ve been wanting to rewatch Escaflowne because I think I’ll lie it a lot more not being set up for disappointment since the stuff I loved I really loved. Knowing that it was supposed to be 39 eps may help me enjoy what’s there more.
And if you want more Shinbo in space, I hope you’ve seen Yamamoto Yohko. Omo calls it ‘the greatest girls in cpace anime ever.’
Re Nausicaa: the movie came first. The manga is the adaptation. Miyazaki is a film maker first, and a mangaka only through Nausicaa.
@ gl: Considering the manga started in 82 and the movie came out in 84….. lets just take from wikipedia
Miyazaki’s manga version of Nausicaä was written over a period of 13 years, with breaks taken to work on Studio Ghibli films. Serialized in Tokuma Shoten’s Animage magazine, the first chapter was published in February 1982, and the last chapter in March 1994. As can be expected, the story of the manga is far more complex than that of the film. The tale depicted in the film roughly corresponds to only the first quarter of the manga (which is all that had been written at the time the film was produced), with significant differences in plot.
So he could have totally made more films as the manga went along.
Also, Nausicaa is NOT his only manga.
EDIT: interestingly looks like he started a new series in publication today!
I want to see these top 10 lists next: Top 10 Best 1st Episodes of a 13 Episode or Longer Anime Series, and Top 10 Best Recap Episodes of an Anime Series with Similar Length Stipulations as the Previous Top 10 List. Obviously, the 1st Episodes list has to be done before the Recaps list, or the titles won’t work. Anywho, chop chop! Let’s get this done people!
Giant Robo: the final showdown is happening!
Definitely have to agree with Pale Cocoon because as you said, there’s just so much backstory waiting to be explored in terms of how the world got the way it was that one cannot cover in a piece of that time span.
On my list, I think Ghost Hound could have used 6 episodes to really wrap things up instead of going for the quasi-ending that it went with and the way the series proceeded was fairly disappointing.
And of course, I’ll sit here waiting for a full-length Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou anime series instead of the 2 OVAs that we got out of it, but I’ll know that won’t happen anytime soon.
Toradora could easily be 39 episodes.
I’m not kidding.
@Kadian – first ep list will happen, but I have to go from 6 eps up. Because there will be NO LIST without Mnemosyne 1.
@Schneider – I thought about Giant Robo but I can’t remember it feeling so much rushed as I was just disappointed that teh 1st ep was the most epic.
@zzero – I haven’t finished Ghost Hound but I’ve heard many say similar.
@micheal – i would have put toradora but I’m not far enough in it to say anything definitive.
Battle Programmer Shirase and Moyashimon, nuff said.
How’s moving castle is my choice for the best. This is an awesome top ten list, you can post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and then link back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.
@Carbon: Moyashimon has a source material :p. I’ve heard a lot of similar things about Shirase and I plan to watch it one day.
BPS reminded me of Moyashimon in that it does a great job introducing the characters and showing the start of a fun story line then it ends. I forgot about the Moyashimon manga because I never found more than two chapters translated from the moonrunes. *sigh* Guess I should work on my Japanese reading comprehension, eh?
@carbon: I think I remember the manga being licensed recently, though I’m not sure.
As I have said before, being a fan of both Shinbo and Minami Takayama, I have seen as much of Yamamoto as I could see. As you may know, it’s almost impossible to find the full series (OAV or TV) anywhere without killing my computer. This makes me sad, as I very much liked what I saw.
The OVA is actually on english DVD. I have the full series DLed but I don’t know where I got it. I’ll try to send it to you somehow.
You don’t have to; I don’t want to cause you any trouble. If it’s licensed then I’ll try to pick it up. Thanks for letting me know, though.
No, the show itself isn’t licensed, just the OVA, sadly.
Have to agree, Nausicaa desperately needs something longer than just a single movie. With that sort of length its more joyride than real epic. Don’t even start on the terribly hashed “localization” job the movie originally went through… (Warriors of the Wind, anyone?)