As an older anime fan, I used to recall the glory days of ADV Films when they picked up nearly every anime title under the land of the rising sun. Some were gems while some were obscure. Eventually ADV Films went under and left those licenses to those anime titles up in the air while they reorganized into another distribution group. During that restructuring, the new anime conglomerate Funimation has been picking up these older licenses and repackaging them under their namesake for sale to a newer anime audience. A recent semi-cryptic Funimation blog post states three of its newest titles.
Manga artist Koshi Rikdo’s “Excel Saga” was an absurd series when it first came out via ADV in the early 2000s. The show followed the misadventures of the titular Excel as she blindingly followed the orders of her crush Il Palazzo the leader of ACROSS as they try to take over the world. Each episode would take up a theme approved by Rikdo himself and would feature a variety of puns, references, and parodies of said theme before ACROSS’ plan inevitably fails. “Excel Saga” was sheer nonsense fun then and is likely to be sheer nonsense now albeit some jokes may be dated. The original ADV release had an optional pop-up trivia feature that would explain as many visual and spoken gags from the original Japanese while distracting from most of the animation. Currently it is unknown if Funimation will keep or update that feature for its re-release.
“Bubblegum Crisis 2040”
The original “Bubblegum Crisis” anime from the 1980s was an old school classic featuring women in high tech battle suits, a rocking soundtrack, and homages to the sci-fi classic “Blade Runner.” A modernized remake in the form of “Bubblegum Crisis 2040” updated the character designs and the animation while expanding on the story and character development. While “Bubblegum Crisis 2040” never really caught fire like its original incarnation, the sci-fi series does feature strong female characters and nice action scenes to appeal to most anime fans. Now all that is needed is someone to re-release the original “Bubblegum Crisis” and teach a little anime history to the young ones.
A slowly paced film, character driven noir anime about female assassins, “Noir” has been one of my favorite series. Lacking giant robots, perky high school girls, and most of the other tropes of anime, “Noir” focuses on unraveling the conspiracy that the main characters find themselves in by undertaking various assassination jobs. The soundtrack plays a special role in the series, the mood is appropriately dark, and the sense of realism is refreshing.
The Funimation blog will reveal when these titles will be available for purchase.