While anime and manga production and consumption seem to be an integral part of modern Japanese society, at least from a foreign perspective, a large part of the Japanese population does not consume anime at all due to the majority of anime titles being seemingly tailored for a young male audience. Fuji Television devoted a late-night programming block to anime in order to expand viewership beyond the typical young male demographic.
And so, noitaminA was born. noitaminA typically runs for about half-an-hour and several successful anime titles have made their presence known in the noitaminA timeslot. With scores of titles to enjoy, we thought it would be great to zoom in on 10 noitaminA anime which have made a resounding impact while running on the noitaminA timeslot – be aware that this is an updated list and you can find the older list just below this one!
10. Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2010 – July 2010
A third year college student has lived the majority of his college life as a “Black Cupid”, a force actively working to break up all couples on campus. One night at a ramen stand behind the Shimogamo Shrine, he meets a Matchmaking God who tells him that he intends to pair him up with his underclassman Akashi. Regretful of the way in which he spent his college life, he is sent back in time to his first year in order to make the most of it.
From the art style to the speed of the dialogue, Tatami Galaxy is certainly a title which stands out from the rest – it is most certainly unique in its delivery, a factor which gives it significant staying power. With relevant themes like regret, resentment and self-pity, the anime serves as a message to the disillusioned, those who find themselves existing on the fringes of their respective environments, going out of their way to make lasting connections and pulling up short and from that perspective, Tatami Galaxy is one of the more insightful anime that has appeared on noitaminA’s programming block.
9. Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2016 – July 2016
A mysterious virus spreads, turning the infected into bloodthirsty savages. These creatures, called Kabane, are extremely resilient and can only know death through the destruction of their steel-coated hearts. In order to survive the undead onslaught, the people of Hinomoto have managed to build high walls to keep out the Kabane, a design employed by various other settlements. The only way to travel in between these human settlements is via heavily fortified trains. Ikoma, an engineer of one such train has devoted much of his time to the development of a tool capable of piercing the hearts of the Kabane and soon after its completion, the Kabane appear within the walls of Hinomoto to terrorise the people yet again.
With the recent trend of dark, dystopian settings with anime currently headlined by the likes of Shingeki no Kyojin, Koutetsujou no Kabaneri made quite an impression with its beautiful art and slick animation and of course, zombies. This noitaminA anime found a good way to incorporate elements from very different aspects of the horror genre, as well as current ideas of what a post-apocalyptic world looks like in order to present us with something that’s a lot like the others… but different. Rokkon Shojo!
8. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2012 – June 2012
Music is a universal language. That truth exhibits itself yet again when the introverted and lonely pianist Nishimi Kaoru meets the delinquent Kawabuchi Sentarou, kick-starting a beautiful friendship and eye-opening musical journey. Kawabuchi’s love for jazz begins to rub off on Kaoru and eventually, he begins playing piano for after-school jam sessions in the basement of their friend, Mukae Ritsuko’s family record shop. With his world opened up to the true gift of music, the once-lonesome Kaoru’s life is set to change forever.
NoitaminA Anime + music = possibility of artistic revelation. That equation has proven itself over and over with the wide variety of anime which follow the musical journeys of their characters. Sakamichi no Apollon is a beautiful story about friendship and music and shows the importance of having people with whom one can unashamedly share their interests with. Having been on the noitaminA anime programming block, Sakamichi no Apollon is a journey worth experiencing and a beautiful piece that sets the standard for many others like it.
7. Guilty Crown
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 2011 – March 2012
In 2029, the world was ravaged by the outbreak of the Apocalypse Virus and ten years later, Japan is no longer as it once was. Now ruled by an independent military entity known as GHQ, Japan is a harsh authoritarian state. As things would normally go, a group has emerged and tasked itself with resistance against GHQ. This group is Funeral Parlour and when one of its members runs into the unassuming Ouma Shu, he ends up becoming the bearer of the “Power of Kings”: the ability to draw out the physical manifestations of people’s personalities, called Voids. This inadvertent interaction puts Shu right in the middle of the conflict between Funeral Parlour and GHQ; he must now learn how to harness his power in order to help Funeral Parlour take back Japan.
High school students being tossed into a fight for survival is not at all a new concept; however, Guilty Crown brings with it serious politics – the country in which this high schooler lives is in tumultuous times and he bears the power to end that… or exacerbate it. Guilty Crown is a rollercoaster ride for both the protagonist and the viewer and of course, we do get to experience the all-important concept of character development. Yes, as things get worse for Ouma Shu, a certain life-changing experience triggers drastic change in his demeanour and personality – watch Guilty Crown for some character development of your own!
6. C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2011 – June 2011
Second-year Economics student Yoga Kimimaro’s life changes forever when he meets the strange Masakaki, an entity hailing from the Financial District, a realm which dictates the flow of money and wealth in the real world. People exposed to the Financial District bet their futures in high-stakes duels called “Deals”, using avatars in the Financial Realm. Going bankrupt means losing everything, but maintaining your status in the Financial Realm almost guarantees financial freedom. Can Kimimaro protect his future in his new cutthroat environment even if it means destroying the futures of others?
Money is everything in this thrilling series. The existence of the Financial District serves as a physical manifestation of the saying “Money makes the world go round,” and as the overarching plot line, the massive risks involved with simply engaging in Deals every week make this noitaminA anime quite the action-packed thriller, perfect for anyone who seeks something with some form of real-world relevance and different from the general shounen tropes to which we are constantly exposed. Invest some time into this series, you will not go broke.
5. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: July 2014 – September 2014
Two mysterious teenagers named Nine and Twelve are the masterminds behind a strange internet sensation known as Sphinx, the entity responsible for a terrorist attack on a certain Japanese nuclear facility. As Sphinx, the two issue a challenge to the Japanese authorities, threatening to cause widespread carnage to the city of Tokyo. The Japanese police are now caught up in a race against time to apprehend the two boys before many lives are lost.
When Zankyou no Terror made its way onto the noitaminA anime programming block in 2014, it became an instant success. The short series was a brilliantly written story of regret and the way in which our pasts readily shape our present perceptions of the world and ourselves. The intricately woven characters and their personalities have a brilliance that goes beyond that which is expected of a series sporting a mere eleven episodes and Zankyou no Terror definitely left screens in September 2014 with a bang!
4. Higashi no Eden (Eden of the East)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 2009 – June 2009
Careless Monday, a strange terrorist incident which befell Japan in which a missile strike claimed no victims; a deadly game involving cell phones and money; and an eccentric amnesiac all suddenly bear much relevance in Morimi Saki’s life when she meets the enigmatic Takizawa Akira while on her graduation trip to the United States. Their curious meeting was even more so due to his public nakedness at the time, as well as the fact that he was in possession of a gun and a strange cell phone bearing 8.2 billion yen in digital currency, and claimed to be a terrorist. Somehow unable to resist him, Saki befriends Takizawa, not knowing his significance as a central figure in the Careless Monday incident and the supposed fate of Japan.
Higashi no Eden is different. In eleven episodes, this noitaminA anime is able to explore several plot lines that all feed into the main story in a way that is unique and unforgettable. Characters are all quirky in one or another and even though some draw from basic anime character archetypes, there is a beautiful depth to the majority of the characters, especially our main boy and mystery, Takizawa Akira. The art style of this noitaminA anime is beautiful, the soundtrack is glorious and the story’s conclusion is excellent – Eden of the East is a somewhat obscure must-watch series that no one can really forget once it is over. Much like the Careless Monday, Eden of the East makes a silent impact; being both hidden from most, but outspoken in its very existence.
3. Boku Dake ga Inai Machi (ERASED)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2016 – March 2016
29-year-old aspiring mangaka, Fujinuma Satoru, has a strange ability which sends him back in time to minutes before tragedy strikes. He calls this ability “Revival” and he uses it to save many lives; however, when implicated in the death of someone he held dear, the ability sends him back to 1988, to the time when Satoru’s life was extremely tumultuous due to the murders of his elementary school classmates. He comes to the realisation that the death for which he was framed may very well tie in with the disappearance and subsequent killing of his classmate, Hinazuki Kayo. Now given a chance to live that period of his life again, can Satoru save Kayo and hence, change the future which appears so bleak for him?
When January of 2016 had lurched forward into the usual yearly pace, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was already a major talking point for anime fans everywhere. For pretty simple reasons: Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was a standout noitaminA anime in 2016 and signified a year that would be rich in great anime. The series is dark and the premise is intriguing, again we are exposed to time travel as a plot device; however, this time, it simply isn’t as convenient as we normally would think. Long story short, Boku Dake ga Inai Machi is an intense and thrilling roller coaster ride involving emotion, suspense and even betrayal. One thing is for sure – anime fans will never forget being forced back from the haze of the holiday season into a brilliant anime year.
2. Psycho Pass
- Aired: October 2012 – March 2013
- Episodes: 22
22nd Century Japan enjoys many privileges of being an advanced society. With the implementation of the Sibyl System, society runs like a well-oiled machine and the very act of law enforcement is completely different. In this society, all individuals’ psychological states are carefully monitored in order to determine their likelihood of committing crimes – this reading is called their Psycho Pass and Sibyl decides on behalf of the authorities what level of subjugation should be used. Tsunemori Akane is a young woman with fairly traditional ideals of justice who refuses to be forced into assuming that all of Sibyl’s judgements are right. With this very traditional approach to law enforcement, Tsunemori has to come to an understanding of what true justice is, all while learning about the true nature of the Sibyl System.
Imagine living in a world where your very personality and aptitude were taken into account when determining the best area in which to maximise your contribution to society overall. Imagine not being able to have any hopes and dreams. Imagine living in a time where the least bit of stress could be seen as malice and dealt with harshly. Such is the Japan that Tsunemori lives in and at first, it is quite easy to come to believe that all that Sibyl does, it does in the best interests of the people. The moral and ethical dilemma that arise from such a situation really bring into question the current trajectory of human existence – are we really destined to live machine-like lives under the guise that society as a whole will benefit? Or is that just a new way in which freedom will be taken away from people? Watch Psycho Pass to find out!
1. Katanagatari (Sword Story)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – December 2010
Japan during the Warring States Era is an extremely violent and volatile place. During this time, a legendary blacksmith crafts twelve unique swords known as the Deviant Blades. Yasuri Shichika is a young man who lives in exile with his sister and practices one of the most curious sword-fighting styles: the sword-less Kyotouryuu, a style which employs the user’s own body as a weapon. His quiet life continues, until the eccentric strategist, Togame, finds her way to the island where Shichika lives and demands that he help her in her mission to find the twelve Deviant Blades for the Shogunate. Smitten, Shichika accepts and the two set sail on a journey across Japan upon which they will encounter powerful fighters and the true oppressive power of the Shogunate.
Yet another NisioIsiN masterpiece, Katanagatari is the story of two adventurers and their relationship as it develops throughout the course of their journey. Over the span of the twelve 45-minute long episodes, we are whisked away into a beautiful world not unlike many that NisioIsiN has created before it – rich in multi-layered, quirky characters whose casual interactions are some of the most intricately laid out and at most times, the most comical dialogues one could have the pleasure of hearing. The art is definitely different and constitutes a more minimalistic approach to anime art, all while maintaining a colourful vibrant look and feel which is quite awesome to see, especially when characters’ blades meet. The story is brilliant and the way in which the protagonists are found centred in the various plot lines which develop as a result of their relationship constantly gives new meaning to the words “plot twist”.
Anime is a medium that bears the brunt of quite a lot of misconceptions and strange ideas and as a result, it isn’t always viewed with the respect it deserves. However, through ideas like the noitaminA programming block, anime can extend its reach to more than its intended demographic and make more of an impact than it already has. Given the quality of the shows that have aired on noitaminA in recent years, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it grow and evolve with leaps and bounds and continue to give us the kind of stories we can just never ever forget. Are there other noitaminA shows that we forgot to mention? Drop a comment below and tell us what we’re missing!
Starting in 2008 and reaching its peak in recent years (2010 onwards), Noitamina is a programming block that airs late night on Fuji TV. Dedicated to the promotion of anime to the common masses, it had seen a steady increase in viewership over the years and gaining more awareness as well as garnering more attention from a broad age group of viewers rather than the always targeted young demographics.
The coined name, Noitamina, is simply Animation spelt backwards because the creator wanted to revolutionize the showcasing of anime titles. In present times, Noitamina is known for showcasing high quality animes despite the programming block being placed late in the night (usually between the hours of 24:00 - 26:00).
Today, we count the top 10 programmes that were aired by Noitamina and you, the readers will see for yourself the quality that Noitamina sets for its programmes. Most of the titles will be familiar to you as these are hyped animes or animes that did very well in their respective airing time.
10. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jul 2009 - Sep 2009
This is a realistic scenario of the occurrence of a jishin (earthquake) in Japan. The setting for this story is based on a true hypothesis of what will become of Japan should an earthquake occur in the next few years or so. The series follows the Onozawa siblings - Mirai and her younger brother, Yuuki as they become separated from their parents during the earthquake and have to return home by foot. Along the way, the after effects of the earthquake can be seen with many suffering and struggling to live.
The anime itself is a realistic representation of the hardships as well as the psychological effects of experiencing a precarious situation such an earthquake and that is the reason for its popularity - for it reminds us that anime is not just fun and games and that there are life lessons to be imparted as well.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 - Trailer [HD]
9. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr 2012 - Jun 2012
This is a story about how an Honours student, Nishimi Kaoru meets a delinquent, Kawabuchi Sentarou. Both have a passion for playing music. Together with the class president, Mukae Ritsuko, the trio embark on a musical journey into the world of jazz and Kaoru will finally see the world differently as he indulges in jazz music.
This is a josei anime which is typically targeted at older women and is also an example of how Noitamina expands their horizon by broadcasting a whole array of anime titles that suits the general populace. The anime itself is well-received and the josei category is often enjoyed by older working women who only have time for television late at night. I would say that this is a smart move by Noitamina in attracting a specific group to its content and then exposing them to other genres that are similar.
Kids On The Slope Trailer
8. Nodame Cantabile
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: Jan 2007 - Jun 2007
The music genre in anime is not that popular, but when there is outstanding title on the market, it leaves a lingering feeling of satisfaction.
Nodame is a classic anime and a classic example of what a music anime should be - beautifully presented with a roster of lovable characters. Noda Megumi, an unorthodox pianist who simply do not follow the music sheets meets Shinichi Chiaki a technical pianist upholding the value of perfection and fulfils the heavy demands from the master composers of the past. What happens in the anime is a mismatch of style and personality but as they all say, 'opposites attract' which gives this anime its romance tag.
Light hearted and heart warming, it is suited for all age groups and Noitamina made a good choice in picking this title for their programming.
Nodame Cantabile Opening
7. Honey and Clover
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 2005 - Sep 2005
This is a simple story about 3 young males: Yuta, Takumi and Shinobu. They live in a compact house and enjoy the small things in life. Life is well and they are contented but a fourth character is introduced - Hagumi, the talented and innocent girl. She is considered a prodigy and is admired by all. This simple tale is about to turn just a tad bit complicated as a love triangle forms between them. What will happen to their simple life and their simple tale?
This is yet another hot favourite amongst anime fans and also a top show of its time. Noitamina does not feature sub-quality titles, and that is the reason for its exponential growth over the years. Honey and Clover is a classic anime and it is meant to be enjoyed just the way it is - a never changing original style that is much beloved.
Honey and Clover Trailer
6. Gin No Saji (Silver Spoon)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jul 2013 - Sep 2013
You don't need an exaggerated presentation of action and super powers to leave viewers in awe.
Gin No Saji is a simple tale of a young boy, Hachiken Yugo undergoing his education in agriculture. The story presents a brief overview of what it is like to be a student in the agriculture industry on a daily basis. The story is amazingly simple and down to earth and while it takes a while for the story to pick up, it is well worth the wait.
It's simplicity is comparable to that of Barakamon (for those who have watched it) and it is due to this simplicity that allows viewers to inject their personal feels and touches into it which is why it is a beloved favourite amongst many, contributing further to the popularity of Noitamina. Gin No Saji is an anime that is simple but yet leaves you feeling utterly satisfied.
TV Anime "Silver Spoon" Trailer (English Subbed)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Jul 2010 - Dec 2010
Shiki is a unique blend of the horror genre and the psychological genre. It presents a comprehensive view into the supposed antagonists and their motives which is atypical of a horror anime. It is set in a small village with the villagers slowly turning against each other as they fight for their survival. It is an all out battle between vampires and humans with the vampires having ever-present human traits. The psychological factor comes in when the vampires start questioning the humankind. What defines humankind? By maintaining their sanity and having human traits, does it not qualify them to be humans?
Shiki goes beyond the conventional horror setting by introducing a psychological element to it. It gives a fresh new perspective of the horror genre and many are still loyal to the series. This series appeals to a vast age group and Noitamina did good by featuring this series.
Shiki Trailer Summer 2010 [ENG SUB]
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct 2012 - Mar 2013
"Fast paced action, compelling mysteries and plot twists that leave you in doubt, awe and craving for more". This is a description of the hit series of recent years - Psycho-Pass. In a somewhat dystopian future, the tendency for an individual to commit crime can be measured by the Sibyl System. This calculation is known as the Crime Coefficient and everybody is judged by the omnipotent Sibyl System. No system is perfect however and as the series progresses, the flaws of the system are exposed and the individuals who exploit these loopholes emerge from the shadows to cause anarchy.
Psycho-Pass never leaves you bored and each episode makes you yearn for more as truths are unravelled and secrets are exposed. A dark anime by nature, the mystery and suspense it holds is what made it popular and convert viewers into diehard fans. A wise pick by Noitamina if I say so myself.
Psycho-Pass Season 1 Trailer
3. AnoHana (The Flower we saw that day)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Apr 2011 - Jun 2011
After the devastating loss of a friend, 5 childhood friends became estranged until they are visited from a ghost from the past. Will this driving force reconcile their friendship, or will it drive them further apart? AnoHana is an alluring tale about friendship, communicating the idea that even the strongest bond forged will not falter through the passage of time. A tearjerker and a masterpiece, it is undoubtedly one of the best original masterpiece of the anime industry.
It is through these values that are depicted such that we are able to empathize and pour our own emotions into it which make certain series particularly poignant to us. AnoHana has reached the hearts of many viewers and certainly it does not take a layman to understand the mutual bond and understanding of friendship and that is why this is a good series to include in the Noitamina programme list.
AnoHana Trailer Anime Series HD (The Flower We Saw That Day)
2. Usagi Drop
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Jul 2011 - Sep 2011
What does it take to raise a child? This moving series will show you the pains and effort that one will take to care for a child. Children after all, represent the innocence of humankind. When we age, we are tainted by the world and we often have bleak outlooks on our lives. Therefore the purity that children possess, reminds us of what we once used to be.
While attending his grandfather's funeral, Daikichi realised that his grandfather had an illegitimate daughter. While others cast their eyes down upon her for fear of the obligation and responsibility that she will bring, Daikichi did the unthinkable as a bachelor - he decides to adopt her as his own and is putting his all into raising her. It is no easy feat, for both of them as they proceed through the trials and tribulations of their respective lives.
Usagi Drop was adapted from a highly acclaimed manga. The animators did not put forward a shoddy animation and the series remains a popular favourite today even though this is a dated anime. It is a truly moving masterpiece of the current generation of anime being only second to the next masterpiece and the final one for our countdown.
Bunny drop - Official Trailer
1. Shigatsu Wa Kimi no Uso (The Lie you told in April)
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: Oct 2014 - Mar 2015
"Music not only transcends the spoken language, it transcends all boundaries of human emotion."
Shigatsu is perhaps one of the most beautifully crafted masterpiece of 2015 if not, for the past decade in fact. This anime combines stunning visuals, music that complements the emotions and feel of the show and outstanding character development in one whole package. This anime truly gives meaning to the phrase "music is the universal language of mankind" because more often or not, it is the script which makes you understand the character, but the music is what makes you empathize and feel with them.
Piano prodigy Arima Kousei has lost his touch with the piano after his mother died. This was not to be and he was fated to meet the violinist, Kaori Miyazono, whom revitalizes his piano career and brought the brilliance of music back to his world. To him, she is not only his guide and mentor; Kaori is Kousei's whole world.
I will note that not only has it made it to the top of this list, but it also topped the charts even till date and I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who has yet to watch it. Noitamina did not cause a gross injustice to the anime world by featuring this anime on their programming block for this anime prove that masterpieces can still be created and classic animes are not a thing of the past. There will always be a new anime to revolutionize the industry again.
Your lie in April Trailer
Eden of the East
Let's open this for discussion; do you think Noitamina has fulfilled its role of promoting anime to the common masses? It is even better if you're one of those who became an anime lover after Noitamina programming block; do share with us how it had impacted your journey.
Do you agree with this list? Since most of these titles are hit series in the first place, would these titles be some of which you will recommend to your friends? Have other titles that MUST be included in the list? Don't be stingy; share your love of anime with the whole world!