But as more shows, even oftentime mediocre (or worse) ones, started to be licensed and the boom went on, these lists were less typical. Even when I was getting into anime, around the same time as more companies were entering the fray and expanding (read: almost 13 years ago now), it was less of an issue than it had been a few years prior. In the last five years it feels like more anime has gone licensed than un.
That said, if the industry continues to shrink in the tight economy, we might once again find ourselves in a situation where we have consistent licensing wishlists.
Inspired by this idea and a couple of items I mentioned earlier today, I thought I'd pull together my personal list for items that should be licensed. In no particular order.
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (anime) – One of the ones I talked about earlier. I know it'd be a tough show to do: in all probability it'd be nearly un-dubbable, and it'd appeal pretty much only to the hardcore otaku. Who, in North America, is usually also a hardcore downloader. But I know I'd still love to get a nice box set of the DVDs for each season, or maybe everything to date-- preferably with some kind of bonus feature. I'm thinking a noose...one that also has a convention badge holder. I would totally use something like that at Expo. Or anywhere, really.
Saint Onii-san (manga) – Also mentioned earlier, I can't fathom why this one hasn't been picked up yet. It's Kodansha, so I suppose it's possible that the Japanese publisher is holding back for a theoretical eventual entrance into the US manga market...but if not, I'm lookin' at you, Del Rey! It's hysterical, it's pretty accessible (some westerners may not pick up on all of Buddha's jokes, but hey, that's what translation notes are for), and I doubt that anyone outside of the smallest, most fringe groups would find it offensive enough to make any kind of fuss over.
Kaiba (anime) – No, it's not a Yu-Gi-Oh! spinoff. This gorgeous Madhouse anime was created and directed by Masaaki Yuasa, who is known for directing extremely off-beat series like Cat Soup and Mind Game. This series is no exception: the art style looks kind of like super-day-glo, high-contrast Tezuka stuff, and the story is set in a dystopian future where humans can upload their memories into chips that can be implanted into various bodies as they see fit. Never compromising on the goings-on by what might be more palatable to viewers, the world is as dark and dingy as it is bright and beautiful. It's a show that might play better with an art house crowd than with most anime fans-- but I'd want to buy it either way. (Actually, I can totally picture a Kaiba short story, if there was such a thing, airing as part of Spike & Mike's Twisted Animation Festival.)
Zettai Karen Children (both) – The anime might be tough to release in the US, since it's a superhero series featuring little girls that isn't exactly FOR little girls (it's not adult, but there's some relatively adult humor-- probably PG-13-level). The manga might be an easier thing to handle, though, and it's absolutely hilarious. The world setting features ESPers, and an organization that trains and pays some of the ESPers to deal with ESPers who wreak havoc with their powers. The series focuses primarily on a group of three girls with powers that tend to mesh well with one another, and their new handler-- the latest in a string of handlers who are driven nuts by the girls' various demands and childishness fused with their immense power.
Spice and Wolf (anime) – Okay, the manga and novels have been licensed, so I probably shouldn't whine about this series. but Horo's amazing voice and unique speech pattern-- she actually speaks in the style of an oiran courtesan, a sort of proto-geisha during the Edo era. She's amazing to listen to, and I'd like to do more of that. Also, the story is really interesting...like Kaiba, I could see Spice and Wolf playing well to certain non-otaku as well as hardcore anime fans: fantasy fans. Of the items on my list, this is the one I think I have the best shot at getting to cross off someday.
Okay, that's MY top five. What are yours?