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JapanaTen: Ten Bandai shows you should pick up right now

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Get 'em before they're gone!

With Bandai announcing the final date that it will be accepting renewal orders, a ton of shows will be going out of print. Granted, there's a chance that some of the properties that Bandai had will be rescued, but it's entirely possible that most of their catalogue will become difficult to acquire after November. As a guy who has attempted to acquire several out-of-print DVDs in the past, I can tell you that this means an oncoming spike in prices and increased difficulty in getting a couple of shows.

In a bit of whimsy, I decided to whip up this list of ten shows, in no particular order, that you should try and pick up before they disappear. At the moment, most of these shows can still be ordered through Amazon, Right Stuff or any one of a dozen retailers, but you might want to pick up the pace. Hit the jump to see what you'll be missing out on in a couple of months.

1.) The Big O (Volume 1 and Volume 2)

The Big O is one of those shows that hit big back when it was on Toonami. The story of a man piloting a giant robot in a city suffering from mass amnesia really caught a lot of peoples attention, especially with Steve Blum's solid performance as main man Roger Smith. While the first season was excellent, the second season left a bit to be desired with its strange ending, but that doesn't take away from an overall solid show that appeals to anybody who has wanted to see a Bruce Wayne-esque figure save a city with the help of a cool-looking giant robot.

 

2.) Outlaw Star (The Complete Collection)

Another show that hit big on Toonami, Outlaw Star proved to be one of the bigger shows that came out of that block. I can understand that too, as its unique blend of high-tech space travel and magic has yet to find a parallel. Starting off with young punk Gene Starwind getting involved in a series of events that leaves him with a legendary ship that can lead him to a priceless treasure, Outlaw Star goes in some pretty unexpected directions. For fans of mercs, magic and space travel, Outlaw Star shouldn't be missed. 

 

3.) Cowboy Bebop (The Complete Collection and Movie)

Speaking of mercs and space travel, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Cowboy Bebop. Considered one of the best shows made, this show made its impression on the first run of Adult Swim. Hell, it's still getting replayed after years of syndication and reruns on Adult Swim and the revived Toonami. In case you don't know anything about Bebop, it's the story of a group of bounty hunters who travel around and try to escape their pasts. It has a wonderful soundtrack, a set of great characters and one hell of an ending. It would be a damn shame of Bebop disappears, as everybody should have the chance to own this masterpiece.

 

4.) Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (First Season and Second Season/R2)

Set in an alternate world where the kingdom of Britannia has taken over Japan and subjugated its people, Code Geass is all about the deposed son of Britannia's king and his tale of revenge against the family that ruined his life. What makes Geass more interesting than your typical revenge story is the immense amount of political intrigue and maneuvering that Lelouch pulls off with the use of a special ability that allows him to implant commands into the minds of those that gaze into his eyes. Lelouch remains one of the more complex heroes in any show of seen, being both incredibly clever and absolutely ruthless in achieving his goals.

There are some who malign the show for the slow start of its second season, but that isn't enough to ruin the show. Besides, that's only for a short while. Once it picks up, the second season will keep you on your toes as it gets to its violent conclusion. Geass is worth picking up, if only for having one of the best main characters put into a show.

 

5.) The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (DVD)

Stepping away from TV shows, I want to highlight this wonderful movie. Set in modern day Japan, a young girl finds out that she can literally jump into the past. She uses this ability frivolously, until she finds out that her actions can have some pretty serious consequences. It was a beautiful movie, both in art and spirit. I found it to be quite touching, its finale leaving a tear or two in my eye. Unfortunately, the gorgeous Blu-ray version of the film seems to have already gone of out of print, so be sure to grab either the normal or limited edition version of the DVD before it too disappears.

 

6.) My-HiME (The Complete Collection)

My-Hime is a great 25.6 episode show. Unfortunately, the last couple of minutes of the last episode undermines the all the drama that had been built up. However, that doesn't mean that My-Hime isn't worth picking up. Despite its weak finale, it's still a great show. Set at an exclusive academy, girls with the Hime mark must use their summoned beasts to protect the populace from some pretty gnarly beasts. The show gets really interesting when you find out that the Hime have to eventually face off for an unknown purpose with some fairly dire consequences. It's some good stuff, despite those last nine/ten minutes.

 

7.) Mobile Fighter G Gundam (Complete First Collection and Second Collection)

There were a ton of different Gundam shows I could've mentioned on this list, but I chose G for several reasons. First and foremost, it's the Gundam show that doesn't take itself seriously. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good drama. However, it isn't as stoic as Wing, 00 or the various Universal Century shows. It's core premise, Gundams from nations around the world that have to fight in a tournament that determines which country will govern everybody, isn't as important as lead man Domon Kasshu's search for his brother and the Gundam he stole. G Gundam also feels like a super robot show, unlike the rest of the Gundam franchise. If you had to pick one of the many Gundam shows that Bandai has in its catalogue, I'll have to give the nod to G.

 

8.) The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Season 1, Season 2 and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya film)

Haruhi is another of those ubiquitous shows that just about everybody knows about. If it weren't' for the disastrous second season, where a clever idea was taken too far, it would probably still be on top of the anime world. Haruhi Suzumiya is a girl that gets what she wants. So much so that it seems like she's a god, where just about all her whims end up becoming reality. This has placed an alien, a time traveler and an esper in the same club with an ordinary guy nicknamed Kyon, whose purpose isn't apparently clear. What makes things more interesting across both seasons is that the show is shown out of order, intentionally obfuscating certain bits of information for comedic and dramatic effect. It works well, despite the repetition of eight episodes in the second season.

The film, titled The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, had a lot to prove, what with coming after the Endless Eight fiasco. It somehow managed to live up to both the fans and the skeptics expectations.  Beautifully animated and skillfully told, it's an alternate universe where Kyon is the only one who remembers Haruhi. It's the last thing I've seen come from the franchise, which is a shame as there could've been so much more. I definitely recommend picking up the first season and the movie. The second season is difficult to recommend, due to having eight episodes that are the same on it. However, there's some really good content on there, including the episodes where they show how the film was shot from the first season.

 

9.)  Star Driver (Part 1 and Part 2)

More Revolutionary Girl Utena than Gurren Lagann, Star Driver is a school drama that has some pretty nifty looking robots that serve as a means to an end. Yes, the robot fights are wonderfully animated and the mech design is top-notch weird, but the big focus of the show are the tangled webs weaved by the scantily-clad student council. The Utena correlation doesn't stop there, as the structure of the whole show mirrors the shoujo classic, going so far as to have elaborate musical sequences that play with the same stock footage when the lead character prepares to battle a foe. To its credit, it makes WAY more sense than Utena.

In short, main man Takuto ends up attending Southern Cross High School, where he finds a cabal of students and professors who are attempting to capture several shrine maidens on the island and remove their seals. Takuto stops them from removing the Southern Maiden's seal by summoning a mech of his own, much to their surprise. From then on, Takuto takes it upon himself to protect the remaining maidens while trying to find out what's going on. Star Driver is a fantastically animated show with a ton of style and likeable characters, hence why it makes it on this list. Unlike most of the titles on this list, you can get a Blu-Ray of the show and I recommend that you do. It's worth the extra scratch.

 

10.) Gurren Lagann (Complete Collection, Childhood's End and All The Lights In The Sky Are Stars films)


Finally, this wouldn't be a list written by me without some sort of reference to this classic. I mentioned earlier that Code Geass was one of the shows that got me into mecha. This is the other, more important one. Produced by GAINAX, the guys who brought you Gunbuster, Evangelion, Diebuster, FLCL and more, Gurren Lagann is the super robot genre distilled down to its most bombastic elements. Starting off in an underground city where humanity has been forced underground, it quickly escalates into a story of survival when the ceiling of the underground city collapses under the weight of a giant robot fighting a single busty sniper named Yoko. Two guys, the fiery Kamina and the meek Simon, join the sniper and help out a group of rebels repel beastmen who seek to kill them. That's where it starts, but trust me when I say that the stakes get much, much bigger by the end of the show.

Gurren Lagann is by far my favorite show and I recommend it to anybody who likes robots, action and drama. Yeah, that's right, they manage to fit in some good drama between the explosions and battles. More than any other show here, I would be quite saddened if nobody else kept this show in print.

This is not a complete telling of the things that will be disappearing come mid-November. You've got stuff like Wolf's Rain, Sola, Eureka Seven, Crest of the Stars, Witch Hunter Robin, Escaflowne, Lucky Star, K-On!, My-Otome, Planetes, and let's not even get into all of the various iterations of Gundam. So now I kick things over you, the reader. Tell us some of your favorite Bandai-licensed shows from the past and present. Do you own them? Are you looking for them now? Will you pick any of these up? Let us know!


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Pedro Cortes
Pedro CortesAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Pedro Cortes has been known to swoon at the sight of a robot. This is understandable, as robots are pretty awesome. more + disclosures


 



Filed under... #anime #Bandai Entertainment #JapanaTen #Japanator Original #top stories

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