Anime is extremely popular, no doubt about it. Without me knowing it, anime changed from only being a niche hobby into something more mainstream. I’m proud to say I was into anime long before it was cool. But, like a lot of old things from the past, a lot of the anime I grew up with has been forgotten.
This week, I’d like to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and remember some of those classic animes that a lot of fans never take a second look at because they’re “so old.”
1) Macross, Southern Cross and MOSPEADA (aka Robotech)
Many purists (myself included) hate what Harmony Gold did when they translated Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. But, it was an incredibly fine “cartoon” for its day. For many, Robotech was their first taste of what anime can give. If you didn’t know Harmony Gold took three separate anime series and mashed them into one entire series, the overall story and the universe it created is pretty fleshed out.
As a kid, Robotech was fun to watch. Unfortunately, if you do watch the original Japanese versions, the Harmony Gold versions are crap. While I do thank Harmony Gold for bringing Macross, Southern Cross and MOSPEADA to Western audiences, their versions just don’t cut it.
Go watch the Japanese versions… especially MOSPEADA. Now that’s a great anime!
2) Ranma 1/2
Before Inu Yasha was a big hit, the manga/anime’s creator, Rumiko Takahashi, was already busy hashing out really creative stories and likable characters. Even early on, she had a lot of popular manga, including the incredibly silly Urusei Yatusa (Lum the Invader Girl), the romantic comedy Maison Ikkoku and the dark horror Mermaid Saga. However, the work I’m most familiar with (and probably the thing that got me interested in anime in the first place) was the martial arts fueled comedy Ranma 1/2.
If there was a case to be made for dubbing, then Viz Video’s English dubbed version of Ranma 1/2 is proof. The earlier episodes were done really well and is a testament to the hard work Viz did.
3) Kimagure Orange Road
There have been a lot of love triangles in anime history. But, for me, one of the best ones is the trio of Kyosuke, Madoka and Hikaru from the lesser known classic Kimagure Orange Road.
In actuality, the only reason why I enjoyed Kimagure Orange Road was the character of Madoka Ayukawa. I hated Hikaru with a passion and I never liked how wimpy and indecisive Kyosuke was… although I did understand why he was hesitant in breaking up with Hikaru (as he didn’t want to break her heart). But Madoka was a great character at the time! She was a strong girl who was, well, hard to understand! It was so refreshing to see a character in a cartoon where it was actually hard to understand what she was thinking about!
The best part of Kimagure Orange Road was the OAV film “I Want To Return To That Day.” After enduring 48 episodes of indecisiveness, it was great to see Kyosuke actually man up at the end. The scene where he actually confesses was done really, really well!
4) Tenchi Muyo!
There’s been a lot of anime series set in the Tenchi Muyo! Universe! There’s Tenchi Universe, Tenchi in Tokyo, Tenchi Muyo! GXP, Magical Girl Pretty Sammy, Magical Project S and the currently running Ai Tenchi Muyo anime shorts. Even the mecha anime Dual! is connected to the Tenchi Muyo continuity! All of these reboots, spin-offs, side stories and alternate worlds is a testament to how great the original OAV series is.
I did try to watch the other Tenchi Muyo! series spinoffs but I feel the original is still the best one as it’s the most consistently funny. Like Ranma 1/2, the dubbing for this OAV series is excellent! In fact, go watch the 7th episode from the original OAV series; it’s the best one and still really funny!
Oh, and I’ve always wanted to get my own plush Ryo-ohki! Yes, I’m a man and I wanted a cute cabbit by my bedside! So what?
5) Fist of the North Star / Hokuto No Ken
If you thought anime today was violent, well, you’ve never watched Fist of the North Star AKA Hokuto No Ken! Essentially, the anime revolves around Kenshiro who wanders around the post apocalyptic wasteland, protecting the weak. But he does so in the most fantastic, bloody and over the top ways 80s anime had to offer! You are already dead, indeed!
This was a huge treat to watch when I was a kid. It was just so cool to watch Kenshiro taking on huge mountains of man and just to kill them with a single strike. The best part is it takes some time for the guy to die in a glorious explosion of blood and guts! If you like your anime filled with gory martial arts action, you can’t go wrong with Fist of the North Star!
Now, this is just a taste of some of the classic animes of a forgone time. Yet all of them are still a hoot and hold up to today. If you love anime, you owe it to yourself to check them out and learn some of its history.
What other classic animes from the 80s can you think of? Let me know in the comments section below!