I have a rocky relationship with anime. I love to watch it, but I almost always find myself latching onto series that doesn’t get renewed for a second season. I say “almost always” because my faith and trust issues are momentarily relieved when I find a series that seems like a homerun and becomes so popular that we get multiple seasons and even sometimes movies. Some of my favorites not having a second season make a little bit of sense, but then there are others that absolutely leave me gutted and confused because they are not at all niche and have garnered a fairly large audience and positive reception. Here they are.
Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Where to watch it: Netflix, Tubi, Hulu
I will never understood this one. Cowboy Bebop received unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences alike — both internationally and domestically. In case you’re not familiar with this series, it’s a sci-fi neo-noir anime following protagonist Spike Spiegel and his crew of bounty hunters (aka “cowboys”). In 2071, roughly fifty years after an accident with a hyperspace gateway made the Earth almost uninhabitable, humanity has colonized most of the rocky planets and moons of the Solar System. Amid a rising crime rate, the Inter Solar System Police (ISSP) set up a legalized contract system in which registered bounty hunters chase criminals and bring them in alive in return for a reward. While there was only one season and one animated movie, the saving grace comes in the form of the Netflix live-action film starring John Cho, set to release in a few days on November 19.
Where to watch it: Crunchyroll, Amazon Prime Video (episodes for purchase)
Nichijou follows the everyday lives of various people in the town of Tokisadame, centering on the energetic Yūko Aioi, the bright and cheerful Mio Naganohara, the quiet and deadpan Mai Minakami, the anxious android Nano Shinonome, her young creator the Professor, and a talking cat named Sakamoto, along with an ensemble cast of characters. Random and/or outlandish events regularly occur throughout the series, mainly through the mundane situations each character goes through, without ample focus on a narrative or linear storyline throughout the series.
Parasyte: The Maxim (2015)
Where to watch it: Netflix, Hulu
Parasyte is a horror series that centers on a 17-year-old male high school student named Shinichi Izumi, who lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Fukuyama, Hiroshima, Japan. One night, tiny worm-like aliens with drill-like heads called Parasites arrive on Earth, taking over the brains of their hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasite attempts to crawl into Shinichi’s nose while he sleeps, but fails as Shinichi wakes up, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead.
Ouran High School Host Club (2006)
Where to watch it: Netflix, Hulu
The comedic series revolves around the escapades of Haruhi Fujioka, a scholarship student at the prestigious Ouran Academy, a fictitious school for rich kids located in Bunkyo, Tokyo. Looking for a quiet place to study, Haruhi stumbles upon the abandoned Third Music Room, a place where the Ouran Academy Host Club, a group of six male students, gathers to entertain female “clients” with sweets and tea. During their initial encounter, Haruhi accidentally destroys an antique vase valued at ¥8,000,000 JPY (around $80,000 USD) and must work off the debt as the club’s errand boy. Her short hair, slouching attire, and gender-ambiguous face cause her to be mistaken by the Hosts for a male student, though they soon realize her actual gender and the fact that she’s a “natural” in entertaining girls, promoting her to full-Host status.
Yuri!!! On Ice (2016)
Where to watch it: Amazon Prime Video (episodes for purchase)
Yuri!!! On Ice is a sports anime series following 23-year-old Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki. After a crushing defeat in the Grand Prix Final and other competition losses, he develops mixed feelings about skating and puts his career on hold; returning to his hometown of Hasetsu in Kyushu. Yuri visits his childhood friend, Yuko, at an ice rink (Ice Castle Hasetsu) and perfectly mimics an advanced skating routine performed by his idol: Russian figure skating champion Victor Nikiforov. When secretly recorded footage of Yuri’s performance is uploaded to the internet, it catches Victor’s attention, and he travels to Kyushu with an offer to coach Yuri and revive his figure skating career.
Photo via Netflix