These Classic Japanese Series Deserve a Hideaki Anno Reboot

Hideaki Anno has been on a roll with all of his “Shin” reboots of classic Japanese properties. shin godzilla is already out and ShinUltraman and Rider Shin Kamen are just around the corner. Even his Rebuilding Evangelion we can say that it has an air “Shin”. Anno receives much acclaim for his works due to the dramatic designs and accurate depictions 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 delighted.

Since Anno is apparently so good at restarting things, one can’t help but speculate what other works could use his magic touch. There are plenty of classic anime that don’t get the love or attention they deserve from contemporary audiences. If Anno were to lead a “Shin” version of one of these classic shows, he might be able to bring out their hidden potential.

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Super Dimension Macross Fortress (1982)

An image of Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

If Anno wants to tackle a relatively light mecha anime, there’s always Macross. The series follows Hikaru Ichijyo as he rides the titular battleship through space and protects it from the Zentradi. Not only Macross have beautiful animations and music, as well as an engaging cast of characters, but Anno actually has a history with the series. Back when he was attending Osaka University of the Arts, he did some of his first official work as an animator on the original 1982 Macross lively. Returning to Macross as a director in his own right would be a chance to give back to the anime that helped kickstart his career.

Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)

Revolutionary Girl Utena seems to have a lot in common with all sorts of series Anno has worked on before. The series itself follows Tenjo Utena as she engages in a series of duels against her school’s student council to defend her title as bride of the Rose Bride Anthy Himemiya. An action series revolving around a female lead reminiscent Cute Honey. There’s also a big element of mystery to the overall plot, much 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 had to do Shin Utena, he would undoubtedly be working in his element. It would be able to recapture the spirit of the original series while giving a reboot its own unique feel.

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Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (1986)

Saint Seiya characters

Saint Seiya by Masami Kurumada is in desperate need of a proper reboot. The series follows the exploits of Seiya and his friends as they burn through their inner cosmos to battle powerful enemies in the name of peace on Earth, including the Greek gods. After defeating Poseidon and Hades, the natural next 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, rebootsbut none of them seem to capture the grandeur and mysticism of the original.

Anno might have what it takes to make an interesting sequel. He would manage to give the series both the emotional weight and 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 film series would not be unreasonable.

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Mobile Suit Victory Gundam (1993)

Gundam and Uso Victory

Gundam Victory is considered one of the most lamentable installments of the Gundam franchise. It follows exceptionally young pilot Üso Ewin as he pilots the titular Gundam for the Military League in an effort to battle the oppressive empire of Zanscare. Besides child soldiers, the show also features war, pollution, nuclear devastation, and gruesome deaths. It’s a bad time, but that’s the intention, so it works. Nowadays, Yoshiyuki Tomino and Bandai disavow Gundam Victorybut that doesn’t preclude speculation about what might have been.

Oddly enough, this might be the best way for Anno to get back into Gundam since he worked on Char Counterattack. Apparently, Gundam Victory was written while Tomino was suffering from depression, which Anno also experienced. While 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 may at least make her choices more understandable. Anno could help redo Gundam Victory into the wonderfully miserable experience it is meant to be.

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Fist of the North 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 too distant future in a world ravaged by nuclear war. Motorcycle gangs terrorize the survivors and the protagonist stops them by beating them until they explode. The series covers themes of survival, betrayal, love, and inner strength. There are elements of comedy, tragedy, and action interspersed throughout the narrative, which makes it perfect for someone like Anno.

Hideaki Anno could create a deadly atmosphere for a Polar Star Shin Fist film series. If such films can be expected look as detailed as the Rebuilding Evangelion film series, the mixture of sadness and unforgiving heat of the desert would be well captured in the wastelands and ruined cities that make up the backgrounds. It 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 the other stone-faced characters in the series. With Anno at the helm, Fist of the North Star has so many ways that he could really blossom.

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Marie A. Evans