The anime business has grown a lot in the past decades because of the technological advancements. The latest anime may be blessed with crisper graphics and cleaner animation but there is no doubt that the old anime are the ones that paved the way for these new anime to get the attention they are getting now. With this being said, here are some of the biggest animes from the past decades that are living proof that the new anime’s success has a lot to do with the innovations and originality of the anime from the older decades.
Old Japanese anime about robots that you may have seen on Cartoon Network
Robots have been a craze in Japan since the 70’s and it can be seen with how they responded to the released of the very first Gundam series called “Mobile Suit Gundam”. Since a lot of spin offs has been made from the first Gundam series, this series is also known by names like First Gundam, Gundam 79’, and even Gundam 0079.
It was a televised anime series directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino and was produced by the Nippon Sunrise studio. This anime is set in a fictional advanced universe where a war is about to break out between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation. The Earth Federation soon unravels their new weapon to gain an advance in the war through a giant robot called RX-78-2 Gundam which is piloted by a simple teenage mechanic named Amuro Ray.
It was initially broadcasted on TV in Japan through the Nagoya Broadcasting Network and Animax on April 7, 1979. This series had 43 episodes which took until January of 1980 to finish airing in Japan. It eventually reached English networks in the form of Toonami and Cartoon Network.
An interesting fact about this series is that it was not welcomed well by the audience and so it was canceled eventually but it received massive help in boosting the Gundam’s popularity once again through Banda’s Gunpla models which they released in 1980. This essentially paved the way for the Gundam toys craze that is still very apparent to this very day.
Due to this surge in popularity, reruns of this anime became more frequent and it eventually was adapted into movies as well. They made 3 movies from this series which they released within the time frame of March of 1981 to March of 1982. Each of the movies had a running time of around 140 minutes. The director of the series also made a manga adaptation of the series which consists of 2 volumes which cover all events to be seen in the 43 episodes so if you’d rather read it, you can opt to get the manga instead of watching all 43 episodes.
It might not have been apparent then but it sure opened up the avenue for other “Mecha” anime and manga in the following decades. An example of such a Japanese anime is the Neon Genesis Evangelion. This was a Japanese science-fiction anime that was aired on TV Tokyo from October 1995 to March of 1996. It was also broadcast on English networks like Adult Swim and Anime Network during that time.
Neon Genesis is set in a world where the humans are being attacked by monstrous beings known as “Angels”. To fight these creatures, the humans developed a bio-machine mecha that they referred to as the Evangelion. Aside from this action-packed story line, it was such a great anime because it was the first Mecha anime genre to have a deeper plot. This is so because it was able to incorporate certain psychoanalytic concepts as well as some concepts of religion in the anime which ultimately gave it more dynamics to consider.
A number of fans that this series was able to attain made it an easy decision to make 2 movies about it in the following year of 1997 which aired in the months of March and then July. These movies were entitled “Death & Rebirth” and “The End of Evangelion”. 3 more movies followed throughout the years of 2007 to 2012 and these movies were entitled “1.0 You Are (Not) Alone”, “2.0 You Can (Not) Advance”, and “3.0 You Can (Not) Redo”. Having these many movies to follow an anime series is a great indicator of how loved it was by the fans and watchers.
Best old Japanese anime became movies and great anime films
When thinking of old anime that have really catchy songs, there is no doubt that Pokemon will be the first at the top of your mind. Every child from the 90’s is sure to know this song because, for a moment in their lives, this was an anthem for them. This says a lot about this anime but there is more to this anime than just a catchy song.
Pokemon was originally called Pocket Monsters Red and Green but its short version is the name that stuck with people so the creators and producers decided to go with Pokemon instead. It was first released in 1997 and until this very day, they continue to create new series’ that add to the incredible story of Pokemon.
Aside from the several additions to the anime series, this anime got so famous that they made at least 5 major films about it. To mention some, there are Pokemon Origins, Mewtwo Returns, The Legend of Thunder, and many other films and television specials that really showcased the vast world and creatures of Pokemon.
Another anime that is sure to be a part of this list is Dragonball. Even though the lyrics of the introduction song was in Japanese, people from all over the world would still try to sing along. Like Pokemon, this anime is also great depth considering the tremendous character developments you see in this anime.
You literally see heroes turn to villains and vice versa in this anime and if you take into account that this anime started in the year of 1986, it is pretty ahead of its time. Like Pokemon, the fans of this anime continue to grow which allowed this anime to continue making new episodes until this day.
There have also been quite a number of movies made from the storyline of Dragonball. They have released movies that tell the story of Goku’s father. They have also released movies that show the history of Trunks. Each of these movies gives viewers for some unknown information about the characters in a unique way.
There are also some old notable anime movies that did not originate from any anime series and a perfect example of such a movie is Princess Mononoke. This film may not have a catchy introduction song but you will never forget the star of the show in the form of a girl named Mononoke and you will never regret watching it because it paved the way for anime like Inuyasha and other demon fighting anime.
It was directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki and was produced by the Studio Ghibli company. It was released in July of 1997 and it is still considered by many to be one of the best anime movies ever made. There are many plots that take place in this movie but it essentially teaches all the viewers how important nature and earth are. So it must be taken care of at all cost. It’s funny to think that something made in 1997 can still be very applicable 20 years later but this is exactly what you would feel after watching this eye-opening anime movie.
Why you should still watch old Japanese anime
It has been mentioned and made obvious earlier that the old anime pioneered and ushered in the newer anime of today. This may be the case but it is understandable why old anime might be getting fewer views nowadays considering all the advancements and progress that the newer anime come with. The newer anime may have better animation and graphics but that doesn’t mean that watching these older anime is less enjoyable. It is quite a different experience to watch how anime in the past was written and made because the issues tackled then are different from the issues tackled now.
Seeing how the heroes from the old anime react to certain events or problems gives the viewers of today a great comparison to how much the values of the people have changed throughout the years. This grasp on the difference in values of now and before can be useful information in paving the way for the anime of the future to elevate itself even more in terms of content and creativity.
Aside from this, watching the older anime is worth the time because doing so honors all the anime artists of the older decade who had to draw each movement of the characters and its surroundings frame by frame with precision and skill. For some people, that might not mean a lot but if you are into anime history, then you would know just how much harder it was back then to create an epic battle scene which runs at around 30 frames per second because you had to draw every single frame for that action-packed 3 to 5 minutes. It takes a lot of devotion and love for the craft to put in that much work for the fans of your artwork and craftsmanship.
Considering how the old anime molded the new generation anime and how the old anime still contributes tremendously to the progression of all anime genres, it is pretty easy to assume that old anime is still relevant in this day and age. It might not be as eye-catching or flashy as the newer anime but there will definitely be nothing like it. With this being, appreciate these old anime while they are still available and watch them until your heart is content.