10 low budget anime that were HUGE hits
While the anime is known for its beautiful animation, music, and storytelling, it may come as a surprise to learn that many popular anime have been made on surprisingly tight budgets, especially compared to Western animation. It also becomes particularly problematic when the anime is released overseas, as dubbing studios may also not have a lot of budget. Plus, even when a series has a decent budget to start with, it can lose funding or see its budget cut at any point in production.
Despite all of these issues, the anime can still get quite popular despite the issues they face during production. In fact, many popular and famous animes started with humble origins.
ten Hameln’s Violinist: The series really liked using stills
This animated series takes place in a world where music has magical properties. Fans noted that the series seemed to save its animation budget for scenes with a lot of action and constantly using stills, which has led some fans to dub this series the “Hameln Slideshow”. Apparently, a big reason for this was that a large chunk of the show’s budget was spent on securing music rights.
Although the series is somewhat obscure in the United States, perhaps due to a lack of proper English translation, its low budget hasn’t stopped the series from developing something cult.
9 Friends of Kemono: budget issues were just the start of production issues
In this series, a girl wakes up with no memory in a mysterious zoo filled with other girls with varying animal characteristics. The budget problems were so serious for this series, that ten people had to work more than 500 days for this series. Despite this, the series developed a cult following, which is said to have even increased the popularity of real zoos in Japan.
Apparently, even the director of the series ended up being surprised that the series became popular despite its low budget. On the flip side, the series would also end up suffering a media backlash following the sacking of the original director of the series.
8 Revolutionary Girl Utena: series won animation award despite budget issues
This anime, which revolves around students dueling a duel against a mysterious character called “Rose Bride” at an equally mysterious school, was also known to be on a budget.
Apparently, this lack of budget helped the show achieve its unique flair, with an emphasis on stock footage. A famous scene known to have used her stock footage involves the character of Nanami trying and failing three times to play a prank on Anthy, who repeats the characters’ imaginary reactions. Despite the budget, in 1997 the series won the award for best television animation at Animation Kobe.
7 Sailor Moon: This could be why the show has used the archive footage so much
There is speculation that budget issues were the reason the series liked to use stock footage in the Sailor Scout attacks and transformation sequences, especially in the first three series. Notably, a lot of the girl attacks in the manga didn’t appear in the ’90s anime, and as the seasons go by, Usagi was usually the only girl to get different transformation sequences. Additionally, some stock footage was notorious for its mistakes, like Usagi having 7 fingers during his “Moon Prism Power” streak.
That said, another reason for the show’s inconsistent animation also came from different hosts working on the show. Regardless, none of this stopped the series from becoming an anime that helped define the ’90s.
6 Chargeman Ken: Bad animation ended this series going viral
This series revolves around a boy named Ken who transforms into a superhero to fight aliens called the Juralians. In this series, it was noted that the quality of the animation was so low that the characters often spoke without their mouths moving.
Notably, the series also opens with Ken having his powers, instead of explaining his origin story. Despite these animation errors, or maybe because of it, the series eventually became something of an online meme.
5 Hetalia: Axis Powers: Budget Improved by Season Five
In this series, the characters are personifications of various countries, which has spawned a popular trend online with viewers imagining original characters based on different nations or territories, with some fans even creating original characters from fantastic countries.
That said, the show had humble origins, with the show’s early seasons being on a low budget. Notably, the series budget seemed to increase by the fifth series.
4 Kill La Kill: this could help show just how inhuman some characters are
This series, despite its impressive animation, was known for its limited budget, especially compared to other series released around the same time.
For some fans, this arguably contributes to the style of the series. For example, it can be said that the limited animation of the character Nui Harime helps reflect how inhuman she is.
3 Musashi Gundoh: fans really liked the version before it got cleaned up
This animated series, which takes place in a fictional version of Japan, involves a version of martial arts using guns. However, the series was known for its low budget, with poor art and animation, especially for its overuse of filler shots. Despite this, it’s actually believed that its poor animation is the main reason the series has been successful in gaining a fan base.
In fact, when a DVD release attempted to clean up the animation, many fans of the original claimed to prefer the original TV version.
2 Minky Momo: the heroine was killed after a sponsor withdrew funding
This famous magical girl series lost funding after a toy sponsor withdrew its funding due to poor sales despite the series’ popularity at the time.
The animators retaliated by killing the main character by having her run over with a truck full of toys, though the character was soon reborn as a child of her foster parents.
1 Neon Genesis Evangelion: fans believe small budget was behind last surreal episodes
This series is considered one of the most famous anime of all time, but there is speculation that it faced budget issues, especially towards the end of the series.
One theory as to why the show’s final episodes were so surreal may have been due to budget issues, with the final two episodes sadly using a lot of stock footage. On a related note, the scripts are believed to have been rejected and rewritten at the last second.
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