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Ramona and Scott running getting ready to fight Image: Netflix

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You’ve seen Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, now watch these other great Science Saru anime

Take off, Scott Pilrgim: There’s plenty more anime where that came from

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Toussaint Egan is a curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, the anime adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s hit comic series by studio Science Saru, premiered on Netflix last friday. Produced and written by O’Malley and co-creator BenDavid Grabinski, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off diverges significantly from the source material, morphing into an adaptation that at once functions as both a sequel and a remake of O’Malley’s original comic.

If you’re new to anime, Scott Pilgrim Takes Off might be your very first introduction to the work of Science Saru, the Japanese animation studio co-founded by Masaaki Yuasa and Eunyoung Choi. In recent years, Science Saru has garnered a reputation as one of the most memorable anime production houses of the past decade, thanks to a wildly idiosyncratic body of films and TV series and Yuasa’s flair for expressive, comically-inclined animation.

If you’ve already watched through the entirety of Scott Pilgrim Takes Off and are looking for something else to watch as you puzzle over what exactly that ending might mean for Scott and his friends, not to worry: We’ve got just the list in mind.

We’ve pulled together our favorite Science Saru anime for you watch, from freewheeling romantic comedies, to macabre supernatural action dramas, and more.

Adventure Time, “Food Chain”

A pink caterpillar with a red bow, a purple caterpillar version of Jake the Dog, and a blue caterpillar version of Finn the Human in the “Food Chain” episode of Adventure Time. Image: Science Saru/Cartoon Network

Run time: 11m
Where to watch: Max

What better place to start on a journey through the weird and wild animation of Science Saru than the studio’s first production? Directed by studio co-founder Yuasa, this 11-minute episode of the beloved show Adventure Time follows Finn the Human and Jake the Dog supervising a field trip to the Candy Kingdom’s Natural History Museum. After being transformed into birds by the mischievous Magic Man, the pair experience the circle of life firsthand as they transform into bacteria, plants, and eventually caterpillars which eat and are subsequently eaten by bigger birds.

It’s a beautiful and trippy short that hones in on Adventure Time’s distinctive brand of surreal humor while coming across as a great sampler for Yuasa’s particular approach to animated comedy and storytelling.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl

A short-haired girl drinking a soda by a river in Night Is Short, Walk On Girl. Image: Science Saru/GKIDS

Run time: 1h 32m
Where to watch: Max

The 2010 anime The Tatami Galaxy is commonly regarded as Masaaki Yuasa’s magnum opus and one of the best anime to come out of Science Saru. Adapted from Tomihiko Morimi’s 2004 novel, the 11-episode anime follows the story of an unnamed college student who, paralyzed with indecision, is bounced between multiple parallel universes as he re-experiences his freshman year over and over again. Unfortunately, at this time of writing, The Tatami Galaxy is not available to stream. But The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, the standalone spiritual sequel to the series, is just as good a place to start if you’ve never watched a Science Saru anime before.

The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl follows a hapless senior student at Kyoto University who plans to confess his feelings to his classmate at the school’s yearly night festival. Unfortunately, the two are separated while taking in the local nightlife, creating two parallel storylines of a comedic bar crawl and an over-the-top series of mishaps and shenanigans. If there’s one anime on this list that feels the closest to Scott Pilgrim Takes Off in terms of comedy and premise, it’s this one.

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Midori Asakusa looks excited and determined while holding her sketchbook in Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! Image: Science Saru/Crunchyroll

Number of episodes: 12
Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! won its way into our hearts, and onto our list of the best anime of the year, back when it first aired in 2020. Based on Sumito Ōwara’s manga, the 12-episode anime follows a trio of high school girls who form a bond over their mutual love of animation. The series follows the girls’ journey through the wild world of amateur animation, first establishing a “film club” to circumvent the resistance of their teachers and parents, before creating a short film to sell their first commercial anime project.

Aside from being a delightful anime in its own right, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is a passionate tribute to the craft and dedication of traditional cel animation that puts an unsparing focus on the struggle that goes into taking a creative vision from an idea to reality. Filled with brilliant fourth wall-breaking sequences and charismatic characters, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is as entertaining as it is educational.

Devilman Crybaby

Two young men sit on a motorcycle together in Devilman Crybaby. One looks back at the other and smiles Image: Science Saru/Netflix

Number of episodes: 10
Where to watch: Netflix

Long before Scott Pilgrim Takes Off was even announced, Yuasa’s adaptation of Go Nagai’s apocalyptic superhero manga Devilman was a breakthrough success for both Science Saru and Netflix when it debuted back in 2018. An alternate modern retelling of the original story, Devilman Crybaby centers on Akira Fudo, a lonely high school student who is transformed into a powerful human-demon hybrid shortly after reuniting with his childhood friend Ryo Asuka. A hyper violent dark fantasy with intense action sequences and an ambiguous ending that borders the line between implicitly hopeful and explicitly nihilistic, Devilman Crybaby is a modern classic that’s strongly recommended for fans of anime like Neon Genesis Evangelion, Chainsaw Man, and the supernatural thriller anime X.


Two women in blistering greens and pinks in Inu-Oh Image: Science Saru/GKIDS

Run time: 1h 38m
Where to watch: Max

Masaaki Yuasa’s latest film is also, as of this writing, his final production with Science Saru, having announced his retirement from the company shortly before the movie’s premiere in 2021. That doesn’t necessarily mean Yuasa won’t ever direct another project at the studio again, but if it is, Inu-Oh is one hell of a way to cap off his time there. As critic Kambole Campbell noted in his review for Polygon, the film is, “a psychedelic, bombastic rock opera [that] ponders what stories have been lost as society’s more controlling elements attempt to control how art is made and distributed.” Music has always been a large part of Yuasa’s animation, and here, that love for the tightly wound relationship between the visual and the musical erupts into a howling display of breathtaking scenes and foot-stomping musical numbers. If you’re looking for an anime that matches Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’s energetic beat, Inu-Oh is an easy recommendation.

The Heike Story

Biwa dressed in an orange kimono standing in front of a cloudy sky in The Heike Story. Image: Science Saru

Number of episodes: 11
Where to watch: Crunchyroll

The Heike Story is an undersung entry in Science Saru’s body of work. That’s a shame, because it’s an achingly beautiful series that more than deserves appreciation.

Directed by Naoko Yamada (K-On!, A Silent Voice), this adaptation of the classic Japanese epic follows Biwa, a traveling orphan who is brought into the home of lord Shigemori, a powerful lord whose servants killed Biwa’s father. Framed as a classic tragedy, the series follows the members of Shigemori’s family as his empire crumbles from the inside out, with Biwa documenting the various twists and turns of their destruction while playing her lute. The Heike Story was one of the best anime of 2021, and for good reason: It’s a beautiful, complex story of power undone by hubris with a delicate and beautiful art style and an evocative musical score.

Ping Pong the Animation

Makoto “Smile” Tsukimoto and his coach Jō “Butterfly” Koizumi preparing for a table tennis match in Ping Pong. Image: Science Saru/Funimation

Number of episodes: 11
Where to watch: Crunchyroll

Ping Pong the Animation is one of the best anime of the past decade. Based on Taiyō Matsumoto’s (Tekkonkinkreet) original manga, it follows the story of two young men: Yutaka “Peco” Hoshino, a cocky self-assured high school student who’s a local Ping Pong whiz, and Makoto “Smile” Tsukimoto, his reserved childhood friend.

The series follows the diverging lives of Peco and Smile, as the former is humbled and eventually forced to grapple with the limitations of coasting on sheer talent alone, and the latter is coaxed out of his shell to live up to his own potential as a ping pong player. Animated entirely in Flash, the series is one of the most unique productions of its era: A coming-of-age psychological drama, brought to life with idiosnycratic blend of misshapen lines and odd proportions that coalesce into an inspired display of visual and emotional storytelling.


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