Getting an original anime is like having Schrödinger putting his cat inside a box: until you open the box, there are 50% chance that it’s good, and 50% that it’s bad. Until then, two of these possibilities exist simultaneously. So, judge not on my reviews but on the watching experience itself. And if their premises interest you, go for it. Without further ado, these should take about 5 minutes, so, let’s go!
Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
✓ Zombies, samurai, and armored trains in a post-apocalyptic world.
✓ Incompetent and prideful military commanders leading to unnecessary deaths of their subordinates.
✓ A survival situation to bring out the best of humanity (friendships) and the worst of it (selfishness).
Overall: Top-notch fighting arts, god-tier animations (by Wit Studios) and overwhelmingly amazing antagonist, revolving around theme of strong vs weak in the story world.
✓ Seven person (representing 7 sins) brought close by an unbreakable bond of pain, like literally, pain.
✓ Stylish, colorful story world with vivid, lively characters sharing a great chemistry, confronting their inner conflicts and hidden trauma.
Overall: Really, really incredible opening song reflecting the theme of the characters’ intertwining perspectives and true feelings.
SK8 the Infinity
✓ Skateboards, cliffs, friends, rivals.
✓ Breathtaking arts, fluid skates, on-the-edge tension, off-the-rail entertainment.
Overall: It’s fun with all the skating, added with some comedic moments and warm interactions, blending with conflicts that drive character developments throughout 12 episodes.
✓ Anime production (anime-ception), slice of life, working struggles, inspiration.
✓ Hard work, payoff, conflicts, dreams, bitter, sweet, warm.
Overall: Shirobako presents the deepest struggle in workforce—especially in anime industry—but it doesn’t take away the fun and frolic of creating something new nor the satisfaction that can be derived from giving one’s best in a job.
Iroduku: The World in Colors
✓ Time travel, lost feelings, magic, regrets, melancholic romance, school.
✓ Black and white, monotone, vivid, vibrant, gentle, soft.
Overall: Iroduku isolates the main female protagonist, while draping the rest of the world in a colorful vibe, pushing, forcing her to see the world in a perspective she’s long forgotten.
✓ Cyberpunk, wild action, gory, lively ensemble cast, compelling plot, stylish designs of characters and cities.
✓ Amazingly choreographed fight scenes, the good versus the bad, justice prevailing in the face of evil, distinctive labels of characters to their corresponding responsibilities.
Overall: Akuma Drive is one of a kind: it doesn’t care about names, only how the characters’ interactions and their common goal pushes them forward, as it explores what it really means to protect, and to cherish.
✓ A world within world: the exploration of different mindsets of various criminals.
✓ Sci-fi elements, and mystery that dance on morale and ability of the detective team to uncover leads and pursue serial killers within different layers of world.
Overall: Id: Invaded is a mind-bending detective story intertwining reality and fantasy, but what it does best is at portraying the inner conflicts of the characters and evoking emotions through music, expressions, and songs.
✓ Automobiles in a historical Western setting, adventure-based, goal-oriented, quirky duo.
✓ 30% comedic moments, 20% inspiration, 40% uniqueness in world building and characters’ background, 11% calculation and theories.
Overall: Appare-Ranman! is the first automobiles-focused premise in anime that I’ve ever seen, and with some odd interaction between its eccentric characters, it makes up an entertainment story.
A Place Further than the Universe
✓ One step at a time, creating ripples with actions, setting life in motion, pursuing a place seemingly can never to be reached.
Overall: A Place Further than the Universe breaks out of the frame defining “cute girls doing cute things” and jump further beyond it, sharing to us the tales of adventure, courage, dream and most importantly, self-discovery.
Terror in Resonance
✓ Gripping, enthralling music matching its dark, grey tone of a thrilling plot.
✓ Elaborate crime-solving element, realistic presentation of terror in terrorism, psychological war between minds of detectives and protagonists, and stunning aesthetics.
Overall: Terror in Resonance engages on different layers of storytelling, portraying an intricate plot of two terrorists rampaging in Tokyo, yet reflecting on the duo trying to expose hidden government experiments that tortured children; but of it all, it revolves around a theme of freedom—so close, yet so far.
Original anime surely isn’t as prevalent as adaptation from manga/light novel/web manga, they could either crush into a cliff or soar among the clouds. TV Tokyo and Aniplex have created ‘Anime no Chikara’ project back on summer of 2019 to feature only original anime, and after three series released, it had been put on permanent hiatus. And on recent years, only tittles from Makoto Shinkai (“Weathering with You”, for example) managed to garner enough attention to set a record among original anime lineup.
With that being said, the road ahead for original anime is still foggy and their future uncertain. However, among all the original anime out there, I believe there are some worth watching, and supporting.
Ok, that’s all I wanted to say given this chance. Thanks for reading!
Very interesting list. It would be great to see more original screenplays in anime. Some other good original works would be Millennium Actress, The Place Promised In Our Early Days, Texhnolyze, and The House of Small Cubes to name a few.
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Interesting titles! The Place Promised in Our Early Days is quite a good one, and House of Small Cubes seems worth checking out as well.
Thanks for adding into the list!
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Thanks! It’s great you saw The Place Promised. I feel like not many people have seen it.
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