7 Anime That Almost Were
by Lynzee Loveridge,
One of the first columns I wrote for The List was a rundown of six anime projects that never made it out of the studio. It includes the likes of Lupin VIIII and t.A.T.u. Paragate, the latter of which was supposed to star the two Russian electro-pop idols as secret agents. I decided to revisit the topic this week based in part on an interesting Twitter conversation about a concept for an 'edgy' anime OVA pushed by Danzig. There's also been more recent projects with tumultuous pasts, like Rage of Bahamut: Manaria Friends, Aoi Uru, and Ninja Scroll 2, but it might be too soon to throw those onto this pile.
Hannah Montana Easily the strangest lost project I came across while researching this column is the supposed Hannah Montana anime series commissioned for production by Toei in 2009. The project's existence is based mostly on the postings of "Wasted Wisher" on the Kanzenshuu forums, which wouldn't usually be enough to substantiate a claim, especially given how silly this concept sounds. But Wasted Wisher established credibility when they posted other leaks, like Dragon Ball project key art, later proved to be true. Supposedly, Wasted Wisher worked as an animator with Toei, claiming that their Philippines branch had created two animated music videos and began production on the first episode.
Sailor Moon Most Sailor Moon fans who've been around long enough have seen the pilot video of the American cartoon/live-action hybrid Sailor Moon proposed by Toon Makers and shopped to Saban and Bandai as potential Fox Kids programming. The full 17-minute version is now lost but some of the materials were recovered from a storage facility when one of the Toon Makers' co-founders was arrested on battery charges. The proposed American cartoon featured Sailor Mercury in a wheelchair with a corresponding "space chair" when she transformed, while the other characters had space wind-gliders. The pilot seemed really interested in making the "Sailor" part of the title make literal sense.
Angel Scandies Animation studio Artland has gone under, so it seems safe to say that Angel Scandies was in the same boat. The project was initially announced in 2010 and surprisingly, it's website is still fully functional. It initially launched as a multimedia campaign promoting eight voice actresses with a radio program that lasted about two years. The project was looking for sponsors for a TV anime as late as 2012, and judging by the website, probably a promotional animated video that never went any further.
Despera Supposedly a spiritual sequel to Serial Experiments Lain, Despera was announced as Yoshitoshi ABe's next work in 2009. Then it was radio silence until 2015, after the original director attached to the project passed away. ABe said at a convention in New Zealand that the project is moving forward with a new director, however there were no more developments beyond that announcement, nor has the new director been revealed by name since.
Dream Machine Dream Machine was to be director Satoshi Kon's next major work, before he passed away in 2010. His death had a resounding effect on both viewers and creators, and there was a push to complete the film in the wake of his death. Unfortunately, the project has never moved beyond Kon's passing, even after Yoshimi Itazu was put in the vacant director's chair. Plans were to complete the film within by the fifth anniversary of Kon's death, but that timeline has come and gone.
The Five Killers This original project was supposed to be a gritty action story about five assassins being assassinated themselves. Gonzo was was set to animate with Afro Samurai's Eric Calderon, director Tomohiro Hirata (Trinity Blood), writers George Krstic (Megas XLR co-creator, Star Wars Clone Wars writer) and Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, JLA, Voltron comics), and designer Shigeki Maeshima (Robot) attached. A pilot was produced and posted on Calderon's personal website, but nothing else came of the project, possibly in part due to Gonzo's ensuing financial issues.
Santanika In the late '90s, Glenn Danzig was the owner of Verotik Comics, whose biggest property was Satanika, a raunchy action comic about a succubus killing her would-be murderers (and also doing what succubi do best). The character seems to take some notes from Go Nagai's Devilman (namely the wing head). The project didn't stop with U.S. comics; Danzig was able to commission some pretty prominent anime folks to produce a pilot based on the property at Madhouse, including Masao Maruyama and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. It's absolutely not safe work but you can find it streaming on YouTube. This pilot was eventually released on VHS, but the planned series never came to fruition and Verotik soon shut down. There's a commissioned dōjin floating around out there too.
The new poll: Which Summer 2017 anime series did you enjoy the most?
The old poll: Who is anime's top detective?
- Detective Conan: Conan Edogawa/Shinichi Kudo
- Death Note: L
- Ghost in the Shell: Motoko Kusanagi
- PSYCHO-PASS: Akane Tsunemori
- Gosick: Victorique
- Batman: Batman
- Yū Yū Hakusho: Yusuke Urameshi
- Lupin III: Inspector Zenigata
- Monster: Inspector Lunge
- PSYCHO-PASS: Shinya Kamishima
- Neuro - Supernatural Detective: Nōgami Neuro
- Danganronpa: Kyōko Kirigiri
- Phoenix Wright: Dick Gumshoe
- Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok: Loki
- Cuticle Detective Inaba: Hiroshi Inaba
- Kemono Friends: Reticulated Giraffe
- The File of Young Hajime Kindaichi
- Sherlock Hound: Sherlock
- Un-Go: Shinjūrō Yūki
- Death Note: Souichiro Yagami
When she isn't compiling lists of tropes, topics, and characters, Lynzee works as the Managing Interest Editor for Anime News Network and posts pictures of her sons on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee.
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