Love them or loathe them, there’s no denying that the anime industry likes its remakes. Whether it’s to introduce a newer generation to an older title, to rectify endings to stories that outstripped their source material and had to settle for creating their own conclusion, or to keep a franchise going for the money’s sake, anime retellings have been something of a trend for a while now. Hellsing was turned into Hellsing Ultimate, Dragon Ball Z was revised as Dragon Ball Z Kai, Fullmetal Alchemist got Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and of course, Sailor Moon is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary with Sailor Moon Crystal. These are only a small handful of the titles to have received remakes over recent years.
Rather than go over some of the best or worst of these to have hit screens over past anime seasons though, I thought it might be fun to instead compile a short list of titles that I’d personally like to see completely redone. Of course, there’s always the danger of a series being completely butchered in the process, and I don’t realistically believe that any of these will actually be seeing a remake anytime soon (if ever) anyway, so this article can be viewed purely as wishful thinking on my part.
Rose of Versailles
I actually really like Rose of Versailles as it is, hammy 70s music and all. Unfortunately, despite its inherent beauty and charm, there’s no getting around the fact that this is a title many anime fans will never get around to watching simply because of its age. Others might vehemently disagree, but I think it’d be fantastic to see a reboot of this classic series – provided it stays relatively faithful to the original, of course. While I complained about a couple of things in my review of the show, I’d be pretty happy to see a remake of Rose of Versailles that stayed along very similar lines in terms of story and artwork, but had a decent budget to put into updated animation and a new soundtrack. It might be tough to achieve that perfect mix between old and new – I’d hate for Rose of Versailles to lose all of its retro feel, and god forbid it be turned into some fanservicey or moe-fied spectacle – but needless to say, the vision in my head is pure gold.
Here’s another older title that could use a coat of fresh paint. Tokyo Babylon isn’t terrible by any means, but a 2-episode OVA could never do a story like this one justice – it’s much too subtle, too beautifully dark, and too heartbreakingly tragic for that. In fact, although a modest 7 volumes in length, Tokyo Babylon deals with some undeniably interesting themes, which would have been the perfect tie-in to CLAMP’s later anime adaptation of X (a personal favourite of mine). Subaru and Seishirou, or more specifically the wonderfully twisted relationship that develops between them, makes for a truly engrossing story, but the short length and slapdash feel of the OVA doesn’t allow for much exploration of that here. Neither does it delve too deeply into Hokuto’s character, who also has a significant role to play in the proceedings and makes for a compelling personality in her own right. I’d be overjoyed to see Tokyo Babylon as a full anime series – the atmosphere alone would be well worth it, though it would of course be grand if the visuals were able to match it.
Oh my, another CLAMP title. The main problem with Tsubasa Chronicle is that it’s more filler than actual story – 52 episodes not counting the OVAs, and you could easily cut that number in half and still have some breathing room between individual story arcs. What were they again? I forgot, they kinda got buried beneath all those largely pointless side-adventures. There’s also the wee problem of the anime being axed after season two, leaving the main storyline completely unresolved. I’d love to see a more streamlined version of Tsubasa; one that adapts the manga more faithfully and rids itself of the unnecessary weight of all that filler. The anime already has all the right ingredients, including one of the most gorgeous soundtracks in existence, so if the above issues were ever to be properly sorted out then I think the show would get the chance to shine that it really deserves.
Speaking of anime that’d be better off following the source material more closely. Fruits Basket is one of those shows I happen to like anyway, but that I imagine I’d like a lot more if it was more faithful to the original story. As it stands, the series doesn’t struggle to present a vibrantly fun cast with just the right amount of comedy to complement a fairly engaging plot. However, since only roughly the first half of the manga was adapted into anime form, the conclusion feels a bit clumsy and ultimately resolves only a portion of the story, while some of the characters simply don’t get the kind of development and depth that they merit. If there was ever a remake that extended the story to its proper length, trimmed a little fat off the edges, and gave the production values a bit of a push, I’d say Fruits Basket might even be able to rival Ouran for best reverse-harem show out there.
Serial Experiments Lain
Don’t get me wrong, I have very few complaints about this series – a very solid story in its own right, and also thankfully a complete one (since unlike the other titles on this list, Serial Experiments Lain is not based on a manga). A quite dark and very psychologically-driven take on the relationships between physical reality and virtual reality, between the individual and the rest of the world, and between technology and self-identity, the themes that Lain explores are just as relevant today as they were nearly two decades ago – if not even more so thanks to the tools that many of us now constantly use in order to express ourselves and to communicate with others. If it could be done as beautifully but as unpretentiously as the original story, I have no doubt that a technologically and culturally updated Lain could be a fantastic reboot, with a lot of intelligent and thought-provoking things to say about the world we now live in.
Question of the post: What anime would you most like to see a remake of and why? Do you think it would ever happen?
(Note – as I’ll be increasingly busy IRL over the next couple of weeks, I may not be online much until early October. This will likely be my final post until then.)