Streaming services, such as Crunchyroll and Funimation, have dominated the anime market in the West. However, despite their extensive libraries, they are still missing a few noteworthy titles. So, here are seven anime series that are unavailable on major streaming services (including Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime) that we want to watch — legally.
Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin
Taking place ten years after WW2, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin follows six teenage boys at Shounan Special Reform School. Assigned to the same cell, they meet and form a close friendship with their cellmate Rokurouta Sakuragi, a former boxer.
Together they endure severe and undue punishment from the ruthless Ishihara, a senior guard, and the pedophile doctor, Gisuke Sasaki. They must gather all their strength to withstand this hell before they can re-enter society. But, will they survive these brutal conditions? And, if they do, what awaits them outside of prison?
The series gives a face to the hardships that took place after the war. Of course, the abuse that the characters endure leaves a lasting impact on the audience. However, it also teaches viewers about empathy, positivity and the consequences of criminal behavior.
Aoi Bungaku Series
Aoi Bungaku adapts six modern classics of Japanese literature: No Longer Human, Run, Melos!, Kokoro, Hell Screen, The Spider’s Thread, and In the Forest, Under Cherries in Full Bloom. The themes that this series touches upon are universal. From its post-war themes, such as suicide and depression in No Longer Human, to Kokoro’s straightforward storytelling about love, these adaptations of Japanese classics have a piece of their respective authors in them. We would love to see this powerful series hit a major streaming service soon. It would be a great way to introduce Japanese literature to the masses.
The anime tells the story of two young women with the same given name, Nana. First, we have Nana Komatsu, a naive girl who depends on and clings to those around her. So much so, that she ends up traveling to Tokyo to chase after her boyfriend.
Second, we have the enigmatic punk rocker Nana Osaki, who has dreams to make it big as a professional singer. Like Komatsu, Osaki travels to Tokyo but leaves her band and boyfriend behind.
By chance, the two young women meet and end up getting an apartment together. As time wears on, their friendship grows stronger, with each becoming each other’s support system.
They say that bartenders make perfect therapists. They lend a listening ear to their patrons and serve them drinks. Such is the case with Ryuu Sasakura, the bartender of a little bar, in the anime series, Bartender.
He serves each customer a delicious cocktail dubbed “The Glass of the Gods” along with some helpful advice. But besides offering booze-filled therapy sessions, the show regales viewers with history and facts about alcohol. For example, did you know that Tequila is one of the world’s four great spirits? Neither did we.
The anthology anime series has an overflowing amount of in-depth discussions on mundane issues. A “feel good” anime, each episode we watch Ryuu try to heal his patrons with advice, alcohol, or both. If you are a fan of character-driven narratives and slice-of-life anime, then Bartender is for you.
Hell Girl (Seasons 1 through 3)
After nearly ten years, a new season of Hell Girl finally premiered last year. The series follows Ai Enma who runs the Hell Correspondence website. Along with her three companions, they grant revenge wishes. But, there’s a catch. Once you condemn a soul to hell, you will also face eternal damnation.
While the latest adaptation of the Hell Girl has been a bit disappointing, the previous seasons did manage to gather a few loyal fans. But, unfortunately, those seasons are no longer available on popular streaming services.
The Edo period is synonymous with lavish sword-fighting styles. Shichika Yasuri possesses a unique style, Kyotouryuu, a technique which allows the user to wield his or her body like a blade. But, despite how cool this is, Shichika and his sister live in exile on an island.
One day, Shichika meets a stranger only known as “Togame.” She persuades the young man to join her search for the 12 Deviant Blades crafted by Kiki Shikizaki, a reclusive swordsmith. Out of the many highly regarded swords he created during the last war, only those 12 were crafted with the aid of magic.
Set in Edo-era Japan, Katanagatari is unlike the other anime series that take place during this period. It is a visual treat that showcases an era rife with art, culture, and swordsmanship.
Shion no Oh, The Flowers of Hard Blood
Shion has had a hard life. When she was five years old, her parents were murdered in front of her. But instead of killing the only witness to the crime, the killer orders Shion to forget the gruesome murder.
Now, eight years later, Shion has found happiness with her adopted family, the Yasuoka, and has become one of the best shogi (Japanese form of chess) players around. However, fame comes at hefty price, as Shion encounters jealous rivals and her parent’s murderer.
The shogi tournament takes center stage in the series, framing the narrative of this wonderful anime. The story, mystery, and Shion evolve with every shogi move. As a result, the series builds a dark ambiance — a theme any mystery aficionado would love — that comes to an epic conclusion. Unfortunately, Shion no Oh is not legally available on any well-known streaming site.