VRV x HIDIVE is a match made in Heaven
It's that time of year again! We've already filled our stomachs and watched the earth's mightiest defender soar over the streets of New York City. With the holiday season marching on, we're all gearing up to shelter ourselves indoors from the cold weather, curl up with a bundle of blankets and some hot cocoa, and enjoy the company of the greatest gift of all: anime. Though the year may be ending, VRV and HIDIVE have come together to make sure your watchlists stay as full as your stomachs this holiday season!
In case you hadn’t already heard, exciting things are happening at VRV. Among them is the recently announced HIDIVE channel! With this channel, premium subscribers have access to HIDIVE’s full library of 500+ subbed and dubbed shows. It’s an exciting time to be a part of VRV! Are you excited? Because I sure am. I’m so excited, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to tell you all about the HIDIVE anime I’m most excited to start watching on VRV! Some of these are personal favorites, but most are ones I’ve been wanting to check out for a long time now. So, in no particular order, here are the top ten HIDIVE anime I can’t wait to start watching on VRV.
I doubt many in the Crunchyroll community need to a reminder about how good MADE IN ABYSS is. After all, you all voted it the Best Anime of 2017! For the few of you who haven’t heard, though, let me just say that IT’S REALLY GOOD. MADE IN ABYSS follows the adventures of Riko, an orphan girl living in a town built around a giant hole in the ground called the Abyss. She dreams of becoming a legendary Cave Raider and diving deeper into the Abyss than anyone before her. On a routine excavation she finds a robot boy named Reg, and the two fast friends begin a wondrous, terrifying journey into the unknown. MADE IN ABYSS may give off airs of being a happy go-lucky adventure, but the Abyss is a strange and brutal place. It’s an ugly tale of survival wrapped in the most beautiful presentation possible. Gorgeously detailed art and a fantastic soundtrack imprint upon viewers the same wonder for the Abyss that drives the show’s characters to hurl themselves further and further in. The finale offers not only the most heartbreaking moment of 2017, but also an enticing look at what’s left to come. You don’t want to miss MADE IN ABYSS.
Land of the Lustrous has dominated my thoughts ever since it aired late 2017. I dove headfirst into the anime completely unaware of the tone and subject matter of the source material and was elated to find it incredibly suited to my tastes. Land of the Lustrous takes place in a world where humanity has long gone extinct, and in its wake an immortal race of sentient gemstone lifeforms have created a small society. While they cannot die, their existence is threatened by a race of celestial invaders called the Lunarians who wish to shatter and wear them as jewelry. It follows a young gem named Phosphophyllite, whose brittle nature and general airheadedness leaves them without any task or purpose to fulfill in their small society. Phos learns of another gem named Cinnabar, whose poisonous nature has driven them to a life of seclusion. Phos vows to find a purpose the two of them can fulfill, and begins a metamorphosis that will change their world forever. Land of the Lustrous’s mysterious, poignant journey is elevated by some of the best use of CG in anime I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Action setpieces are stylish and fluid and the benefits of CG allow the gemlike nature of every character quite literally shine through. This is all punctuated with a fantastic voice cast and a soundtrack so good that I’m listening to it as I write this entire piece. Land of the Lustrous is one of my favorite anime in recent years, and I can’t wait to watch it all again on VRV.
Have you heard of a little show called Sailor Moon? Then there’s a chance you’ve heard of a man named Kunihiko Ikuhara, who directed large swaths of the series. Following his time on Sailor Moon, he made a name for himself directing deliberately enigmatic shows such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, Yuri Kuma Arashi, and one called Penguindrum. This series focuses on a pair of brothers and their dying sister named Himari, whose life is miraculously preserved thanks to a penguin-shaped hat. An entity inside the hat possesses Himari and tasks the brothers with finding it a mysterious object called the Penguindrum in exchange for their sister’s life. Ikuhara’s signature symbolism and love of fairytale aesthetics are on full display in this enigmatic rumination on family and destiny. As a big fan of Ikuhara, I’m a bit ashamed to admit I haven’t seen this show all the way through yet. Luckily, I’ll soon be able to rectify that.
Speaking of Ikuhara, one of this year’s most visually arresting shows just so happens to come courtesy of an animator who worked under him in the form of Revue Starlight. Set in an academy for the performing arts, the 99th Graduating Class is rehearsing for a theatrical production of the play Starlight. Karen, one of the class members, doesn’t seem too concerned with stardom or landing the lead role. However, she soon stumbles upon an underground theater where specially selected girls duel for the honor of basking in the spotlight on stage. Determined to keep a promise she made long in the past, Karen forces her way into the fray. Revue Starlight was directed by Tomohiro Furukawa, who previously worked heavily under Ikuhara on both Yuri Kuma Arashi and Penguindrum. This influence is felt throughout Revue Starlight, and the result is a beautifully emotional blend of music and theatrics that has made it one of the standout shows of this year. I can’t wait to see more of it.
Bloom Into You is one of the biggest names in yuri manga right now, and the much-anticipated anime adaptation has yet to disappoint fans and first-time viewers. This elegant romance revolves around Yuu and Nanami, two high school girls who bond over their shared ambivalence to confessions of love. Before they know it, this bond ironically blossoms into something much more. I’m what one might call a bit of a passionate yuri fan, so I’ve been looking forward to this title ever since it was announced. Now that it’s airing on VRV, I can sit back with a big ol’ box of tissues and gush all I want as I binge on a good cute, girly romance.
Loved watching Himouto! Umaru-chan on Crunchyroll? Then you’ll love watching the sequel on VRV! Himouto! Umaru-chan R picks up right where you left off before with a whole new season of aggravating little sister antics. This slice of life comedy about a responsible older brother and his deceptively ill-behaved little sisteris as heartwarming and hilarious as ever. Not to mention there’s even more fun with Kirie, Ebina, and Sylphyn to be had this time than before! Didn’t see the first season? Well, now’s the perfect time to start!
Remember K-On!, the show about cute girls who sometimes made music, but usually just talked and drank tea instead? Don’t know how you could forget, because it took the anime world by storm when it aired, and soon you’ll be able to watch it on VRV! K-On! follows the daily lives of four girls in a light music club as they bond and pass time together the way only high school girls can. If you’re already a fan of K-On! Or a complete newcomer, you’re in luck. The entire series is available on the HIDIVE channel, including the movies and OVAs!
This one goes out to all the longtime Toonami fans out there. This unsung mecha title that looks kinda like Batman Beyond but with giant robots famously had its second season rescued by international popularity and co-produced by Cartoon Network. The Big O takes place in a domed structure called Paradigm City, whose inhabitants have all forgotten what happened to the outside world decades prior. It centers on a man named Roger Smith, one of the city’s top Negotiators who pilots a giant relic called the Big O. Originally airing in 2001, it came a bit before my time, but now it’s on VRV for people of all ages to enjoy! I’m certainly looking forward to finally watching it, and so should you!
My experience with Legend of the Galactic Heroes isn’t nearly as extensive as I would like it to be. I watched (and loved) Die Neue These, the first part of an ongoing LotGH remake, and it’s left me impatient for more. So, when I found out HIDIVE was joining VRV, one of the things I found myself most excited about was the addition of the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes anime. This classic space opera is set in the far future amidst a cosmic war between the governments of the Galactic Empire and the Free States Alliance. In the midst of the war rival commanders Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li rise to prominence through their military service. While each man fights for his government, he harbors his own secret ambitions that could change the course of the entire war. What makes Legend of the Galactic Heroes so intriguing to me is the special attention it gives to strategy and politics involved in large-scale conflict rather than just the flashy action. This quality has given it an incredibly timeless quality. The nations and tools involved may change, but war and politics always stays the same.
While on the subject of classic space operas, I’d be remiss to not mention one of my favorite mecha anime of all time. Gunbuster the Movie is the theatrical version of the iconic OVA series of the same name. Written and directed by the prolific Hideaki Anno years before he would go on to make Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gunbuster the Movie is set in the year 2023 where a humanity bound for the stars has found themselves at war with an alien race called the Space Monsters. The film centers on Noriko, a high school girl who enlists to fight in the war following the assumed death of her father in the war. While she struggles as a pilot, her coach realizes the potential she possesses. He pairs her up with the talented Kazumi, and tasks the two with piloting a one-of-a-kind super weapon called Gunbuster. If you love stylish, over-the-top, red-blooded action, you can’t go wrong with Gunbuster the Movie. Hideaki Anno’s signature love for giant robots, giant monsters, and incredible destruction is all over this movie. It’s earned a permanent spot on my shortlist of anime everyone needs to see. You don’t want to miss it.
These shows are just a handful of the fantastic titles the HIDIVE channel on VRV has to offer. We've barely even scratched the surface of what I've added to my own queue!
Which of these are you most excited to see on VRV? Are there any more you can’t wait for HIDIVE to add? Let us know in the comments below, then head on over to VRV and start watchlisting them!