These classic Japanese series deserve a Hideaki Anno reboot

Hideaki Anno is good at rebooting classic Japanese series, so maybe he should share some of that success with old-school anime like Utena.

Hideaki Anno has enjoyed a hot streak with all of her “Shin” reboots of classic Japanese properties. Shin godzilla is already out and Shin Ultraman and Cavalier Shin Kamen are just around the corner. Even his Reconstruction of Evangelion you could say he looks “Shin”. Anno receives high praise for his works because of the spectacular designs and the precise representations of the human condition associated with them. He’s also not afraid to tackle darker, more mature subjects. If his name is attached to a project, people will be excited about it.

Since Anno is apparently so good at restarting things, one can’t help but postulate what other works might use his magic touch. There are many classic cartoons that don’t get the love or attention they deserve from contemporary audiences. If Anno took the helm of a “Shin” version of one of these classic shows, maybe he could just bring out their hidden potential.

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Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982)

If Anno wants to tackle a relatively light mecha anime, there is always Macross. The series follows Hikaru Ichijyo as he rides the titular battleship in space and protects it from the Zentradi. Not only Macross have some nice animations and music, as well as an endearing cast of characters, but Anno actually has a history with the series. During his time in Osaka University of the Arts, he did some of his first official work as an animator on the 1982 original. Macross lively. Going back to Macross as a full-fledged director would be a chance to give back to the anime that helped start his career.

Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)

Revolutionary girl Utena seems to share a lot in common with all kinds of shows Anno has worked on before. The series itself follows Tenjo Utena as she competes in a series of duels against her school’s student council to defend her title as the fiancee of Rose Bride Anthy Himemiya. An action series revolving around a female character looks like Cute honey. There’s a big element of mystery to the overall plot as well, kind of like something Neon Genesis Evangelion Where Nadia: The secret of blue water. The extravagant visual flair of the show is at least equal to that of evangelization. If Anno did Shin utena, he would undoubtedly work in his element. He would be able to recapture the spirit of the original series while still giving a reboot its own unique feeling.

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Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (1986)

Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya by Masami Kurumada is in desperate need of a proper reboot. The series follows the exploits of Seiya and her friends as they burn down their inner cosmos to fight powerful enemies in the name of peace on Earth, including the Greek gods. After defeating Poseidon and Hades, the next natural step seems to be Zeus, but the manga ends abruptly after Hades. Since then, there have been several attempts to revitalize the series. There are sequels, prequels, spinoffs, and of course reboots, but none of them seem to capture the grandeur and mysticism of the original.

Anno might have what it takes to make a worthwhile sequel. He would manage to give the series both the emotional weight and the otherworldly vibe that makes the original story so epic. It might even come up with cool visuals for all attacks and settings. There was even an attempt to turn the final arc into a movie series in 2004, so a Shin saint seiya a series of films would not be unreasonable.

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Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (1993)

Gundam and Uso victory

Victory Gundam is considered one of the saddest episodes of the Gundam franchise. He follows unusually young pilot Üso Ewin as he pilots the titular Gundam for the Military League in a bid to combat the oppression of the Zanscare Empire. Besides child soldiers, the show also features war, pollution, nuclear devastation and horrific deaths. It’s a bad time, but that’s the intention, so it works. Nowadays, Yoshiyuki Tomino and Bandai disavow Victory Gundam, but that doesn’t stop speculation about what might have been.

Oddly enough, this might be the best way for Anno to come back. Gundam since he worked on Char Counterattack. Apparently, Victory Gundam was written while Tomino was suffering from depression, something Anno also experienced. As Tomino captures the horrors of war with the original series, Anno could back it up with better insight into the minds of the characters subjected to it. For example, many fans hate Katejina for what she does on the show, but Anno’s take on the character can at least make her choices more understandable. Anno could help remake Victory Gundam in the wonderfully miserable experience it is meant to be.

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The Fist of the Pole Star (1984)

Fist of the North Star has the potential to be a beautiful anime in a morbid sense. The series is set in the not-so-distant future in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Biker gangs terrorize the survivors and the protagonist stops them by hitting them until they explode. The series covers the themes of survival, betrayal, love and inner strength. There are elements of comedy, tragedy, and action sprinkled throughout the narrative, which makes it perfect for someone like Anno to direct.

Hideaki Anno could create a deadly atmosphere for a Pole Star Shin Fist series of films. While such films can be expected to be as detailed as the Reconstruction of Evangelion film series, the mixture of sadness and the merciless heat of the desert would be well captured in the wasteland and ruined towns that make up the backgrounds. He would also be free to display all the blood and gore that Toei Animation couldn’t show. There might even be a chance to properly explore the feelings of Kenshiro and all of the other stone-faced characters on the show. With Anno in charge, Fist of the North Star has so many ways that it could really flourish.

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Marie A. Evans