5 senen-anime that first bombed, but became a cult classic


Not everyone grew up on Dragonball Z, Naruto or One Piece, although, with the exception of the older generation, it’s hard to find those who missed out. These classic senen anime are everywhere, to the point that even those who haven’t invested at all can learn something about them through osmosis. Dragon pearl has loud brawny brothers. Naruto has a ninja in bright orange trousers that help him to be secretive. One Piece has opened new horizons in the rap genre.

However, there are some lesser-known gems to go with them. Kinnikuman has only released a line of toys outside Japan, paving the way for its more familiar successor, Ultimate Muscle. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure took 25 years to become something more than “the same OVA with a strange Capcom game” outside of its homeland. In addition, there are these fantastic anime series senen, which did not set the world on fire, but lit a spark in the fans, which continues to burn to this day.

5 Berserk ’97 was rough and stripped down

Calling “Berserk” the series “senen” is like calling “The Lord of the Rings” a fairy tale. The backstory of Gats as part of the Hawk Squad (the Golden Age arc) itself is much more extensive than that of a regular superhero or fantasy show. However, the 1997 adaptation of the series was much more restrained compared to the manga. Key characters and plot points have been trimmed or cut to save time or improve the rating. Animation is also quite limited, and the show uses dramatic stills and watercolor images.

However, although its violent and sexual content has been lightened, it’s still a terrible show, perhaps that’s why it remained a miracle for one season. It’s also still touching, fascinating and shocking. Susumu Hirakawa’s soundtrack is particularly effective, it suits the series so well that he contributed to the work on later adaptations of “Berserk”. However, these later works will be more mixed, with a so-so Golden Age trilogy and the infamous 2016-2017 CG shit shows. As for watching the animated film “Berserk”, then, despite its shortcomings, the 1997 series remains at the top of the tree.

4. Kuroko’s basketball was not a Slam Dunk

An easy way to go unnoticed is to even remotely be in close proximity to a much larger series. “Kuroko Basketball” is familiar to all fans of sports fiction. Seirin High School students strive to become the best high school basketball team in Japan, especially when their team has the best player Taiga Kagami. That’s not to mention the main character, Tetsuya Kuroko, who took his high school to the top as part of their “Generation of Miracles”.

He received a fairly favorable reception, and the show lasted 75 episodes, 4 films and a series of light novels were shot. So it’s not necessarily a bomb. However, it was eclipsed by the more famous basketball anime Slam Dunk. His manga was recognized as the best manga of all time at the Japanese Media Art Festival in 2006 and still confidently keeps close to Demon Slayer and One Piece in the polls today. Kuroko’s basketball is still interesting on its own, offering a more anime-like take on the sport than the realism of Slam Dunk. Just being second best is sometimes not enough.

3. The star of criminals lived in the shadow of Bebop

Speaking of taking second place, Outlaw Star followed Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking, who were interrupted by casual earnings throughout the universe. Since then, people have spread throughout the universe thanks to technologies that work faster than the speed of light, so there is always work to be done in one place or another. Everything changes when they take possession of the ship, the titled star of criminals, and continue their mission to discover the Galactic Leylins: the source of great treasures, knowledge and power. The show received two light novels and a spin-off called Angel Links.

Its simplified version once worked on Toonami and Adult Swim. Then, at about the same time, another space western with a similar premise of “casual earnings” was broadcast in these blocks. It was called “Cowboy Bebop”. The two shows are similar only in appearance, as Outlaw Star was more of a live sci-fi romp compared to the more moody and dramatic Bebop. However, Bebop was more unique in its style and writing, and therefore beat Star. Nevertheless, Star found love thanks to his lighter tone and charming protagonist in the “Star Wind” itself.

2. The Shaman King failed twice

It’s one thing to lag behind bigger shows, but it’s another to do it twice. The Shaman King was about Yo Asakura as he aspired to win the shaman wrestling tournament, channel the power of the Great Spirit, become the titular king and change the world. In 2001, he received a 52-episode anime adaptation, which was shown on Foxbox, where it gained some fans, although not enough to really gain popularity. It was strange to combine with Sonic X and Kirby: Right Back at Ya!

The show then returned in 2021. It re-adapted the manga in a new 52-episode set and ran until April 2022, with an international version available on Netflix.


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