Before the dawn of the internet, the only way for you to know the upcoming anime is through newspapers, television commercials, radio talk shows, weekly magazines, and sometimes through word of mouth. But if an anime has poor marketing or caters to a certain niche, only a few people know they exist. Nowadays it’s near impossible for an anime series to go under the radar because if traditional news outlets failed to cover an upcoming show, independent media like internet blogs and forums will pick up the slack. Now that the internet is very efficient and there are numerous independent people contributing information regarding anime to archive websites, we can easily look back and see what we have missed.
For this topic, Honey’s Anime has found 3 anime films we probably think you haven’t seen yet. Of course, there is a huge chance a lot of you have already seen one or all three of the movies, but we’re confident the titles we’re going to list are one of the most obscure films to the general anime fan. We won’t know for sure unless we try, right? Now without further ado, this is the 3 Anime Films You (Probably) Never Heard Of!
3. Youjuu Toshi (Wicked City)
- Aired: April 25, 1987
Mankind has been in contact with Demon World for many millennia, and the relationship between two worlds is mostly peaceful with both sides exchanging information, technologies, and wisdom. Of course there are radical groups in the Demon World who think they’re the superior beings and humans are weak and meant to be slaves. Countless battles were waged to the point that both sides have ironed out a contract that allowed everyone from both sides to coexist together in peace. However, the peace treaty must be renewed once every hundred years with representatives from each side to come into an agreement and sign.
The story begins with Renzaburo Taki, an elite agent known as a Black Guard, tasked to ensure the safety of the Human World’s representative Giuseppe Mayart against radical groups of demons who will do whatever it takes to make this peace treaty fail. Taki isn’t alone and the Demon World has sent a female demon named Makie, a Black Guard to make sure Taki has backup keep Giuseppe Mayart alive and breathing.
Wicked City is a supernatural, noir, action thriller with a dark and oppressive atmosphere. It has violence, nudity, sex, rape and gore not meant for young audiences. The film starts out with Taki and Makie on an escort mission to protect a valuable client, and then it turns into a rescue mission when Makie is used as bait to lure Taki away from the Human World’s representative. Your mileage with Wicked City may vary because there are tons of pornograpic content that involves Makie getting raped by demons. Nonetheless, Wicked City is a hentai film that is not hentai, and has an interesting story and character dynamics that will keep you hooked until the end.
2. Robot Carnival
- Aired: July 21, 1987
Robot Carnival is an anthology film containing 9 short stories that are centered around human and robot interactions. Top animators from Japan at the time were invited to create their own stories, resulting in an anthology that tells stories about man and machine. The stories vary from a massive robotic monolith moving through the desert, destroying a starving human populace in their wake to a girl coming to terms with her emotions as she meets a charming robot in an amusement park to a story of a noble creating a robot with the likeness of a human being but eventually destroying it because it was too human. And top it all off with top notch animation, Robot Carnival will withstand the test of time.
A lot of people call Robot Carnival as the “Disney’s Fantasia” of Japan, but honestly, the similarities are skin deep. Majority of the stories in Robot Carnival have no dialogue, yes, but the pacing of the stories aren’t based around the tempo of the music. Rather, each story is a visual joy ride, letting you experience the very detailed art and smooth animation only Japan’s best animators can pull off. Yes, part 8: “Chicken Man and Red Neck” is extremely similar to Fantasia’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” with a monstrous demonic conductor, guiding small demons across the distorted landscape in a satanic dance, but part 8 didn’t outright copy Fantasia. Rather it’s just a respectful nod to Fantasia’s iconic musical score.
1. Mind Game
- Aired: August 7, 2004
Nishi has always been in love with his childhood friend Myon, and at one point, Nishi did confess his love to his sweetheart and his sweetheart Myon has responded saying she felt the same way. Unfortunately, Nishi is a bit of a wimp, and Myon ended up falling for another guy. Years later, Nishi, the now aspiring manga artist, has bumped into his sweetheart and this time, he wants to win her heart back. Things get a little worse when two Yakuza stormed into Myon’s family diner and in the confusion, Nishi lost his life to gunfire in the ass. In limbo, Nishi refuses to pass on so, determined to fix his problems, he ends up returning to the land of the living seconds before he was shot.
Mind Game is a psychedelic meth trip experience with a rather bizarre art style that mixes Picasso-like geometry with actual actor’s face glued on the actual animation. And don’t worry, trippy and pretentious as the movie may sound, Mind Game’s story is very easy to follow once the main characters have been introduced. There is no main plot, but instead, the audience slowly pieces together how these characters ended up the way they are. These characters aren’t perfect and one crucial decision can drastically change a person. These characters didn’t have the benefit of redoing a mistake like Nishi, but they still have the capacity to fix their mistakes and start over again. Cherish life; Live life.
Mind Game covers a very specific niche crowd and coupled with a very unconventional art style, these were probably the reason the mainstream anime fans didn’t notice this movie, but now you do! And give this movie a chance! You’re welcome!
And these are the 3 anime films you probably never heard of! Wicked City and Robot Carnival were made in the 80s and may not be as popular as other films that came out around the same time, but these movies don’t feel outdated and any fan young or old can easily pick up these titles and enjoy them.
So what do you think of the titles we’ve listed? Did any of these titles remind you of obscure anime films you’ve seen at one point? We would like to hear them from you, so please, leave us a comment below!