Interest Stacks

Old is Gold (Pre-90's Classic Anime)

Anime
byAsh_li
Dec 28 2023, 8:59 PM | Updated Apr 11, 7:37 PM
A list of some notable anime from the 70's & 80's. Since many grew up with anime in the 90's or later, this list features some well known and culturally significant anime that are underappreciated due to their age and relative obscurity.

It's perfect for anyone that wants to dive into older anime but has no idea where to start.

Part 2: https://myanimelist.net/stacks/42282
Ashita no Joe
TV, 1970, 79 eps Me:- Author:10
This legendary series is known for its massive impact on the anime and manga industries as well as Japanese culture and society in general. Directed by Osamu Dezaki, it features a gritty tale of boxing where the main character Joe is a delinquent orphan who finds his purpose in life and adjusts to living in society. It inspired a generation in Japan, influenced its politics and changed the Japanese perception of what manga and anime could achieve in storytelling. Some of its characters are the most beloved fictional characters in Japan.

A must watch for fans of: boxing, sports, delinquents and anime history
Ashita no Joe 2
TV, 1980, 47 eps Me:- Author:10
Ashita no Joe 2 continues from where episode 53 leaves off...

Ten years later, the latter half of this anime was continued. With updated animation and music, Osamu Dezaki continued this adaptation. The ending has cemented itself as one of the most iconic in anime/manga history and has been referenced many times.

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Waga Yuku wa Hoshi no Taikai

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Waga Yuku wa Hoshi no Taikai
Movie, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:10
Prequel movie to Legend of the Galactic Heroes

This movie is the pilot episode for Legend of the Galactic Heroes. It features the first battle the two main characters, Reinhard and Yang, face off in as well as sets up the series in a grand fashion.

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Arata naru Tatakai no Overture

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Arata naru Tatakai no Overture
Movie, 1993, 1 ep Me:- Author:10
Better version of the first two episodes of Legend of the Galactic Heroes

A remake of the first two episodes, this movie has aged spectacularly and has nicer animation and cinematography than the first two episodes. Having a longer runtime, it also adds more detail to the story and is a definitive way to begin the series.

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu
OVA, 1988, 110 eps Me:- Author:10
This highly regarded show is the anime adaption of Yoshiki Tanaka's celebrated Space Opera novel series. With its grand sweeping narrative, massive cast of characters and universally relevant themes in politics and human nature, this sci-fi epic has established itself as a benchmark in anime storytelling.

A must watch for fans of: space, politics, history, military, scheming, classical music and strategic battles
Kidou Senshi Gundam
TV, 1979, 43 eps Me:- Author:9
The legendary mecha series that kick-started its own sub-genre. Mobile Suit Gundam is one of Japan's most successful franchises and is beloved all over the world. This first entry was the birth of the "Real Robot" genre where mechs were used more as tools for war and were not romanticized. Being a much darker take, it also focuses on the psychological effects of war on its cast as well as humanity's desire and ability to transcend itself.

A must watch for fans of: space, mecha, politics, military, drama, anime history and Star Wars

Kidou Senshi Zeta Gundam

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

Kidou Senshi Zeta Gundam
TV, 1985, 50 eps Me:- Author:9
Zeta Gundam is the sequel to the original series that takes everything up another notch. With a bigger focus on characters, politics, worldbuilding and themes it manages to be a more than worthy successor.

Kidou Senshi Gundam ZZ

Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ

Kidou Senshi Gundam ZZ
TV, 1986, 47 eps Me:- Author:6
ZZ Gundam is the third entry in the series. Following Zeta Gundam, it continues the previous conflicts with a new cast of characters.

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Gyakushuu no Char

Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack

Kidou Senshi Gundam: Gyakushuu no Char
Movie, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:8
The final entry in the main Gundam series, this movie concludes the rivalry between two major characters and serves as the end to the general story of this timeline.

Kidou Senshi Gundam 0080: Pocket no Naka no Sensou

Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket

Kidou Senshi Gundam 0080: Pocket no Naka no Sensou
OVA, 1989, 6 eps Me:- Author:8
A short side story that takes places near the end of the original Mobile Suit Gundam. Being the first release outside of the main story it contains a wholly unique perspective to the One Year War and is a must watch for Gundam fans.

Versailles no Bara

The Rose of Versailles

Versailles no Bara
TV, 1979, 40 eps Me:- Author:9
A Dezaki adaptation of one of the most culturally significant Shoujo manga ever made. The Rose of Versailles challenged gender stereotypes and norms, and left a profound influence on manga, Shoujo, theatre and anime as well as how Japanese women viewed themselves, even earning the mangaka Riyoko Ikeda the French Legion of Honour. It's dark and complex historical tale filled with drama, mainly featuring Queen Marie Antoinette and her female soldier and friend Lady Oscar. Referenced by many anime and manga, The Rose of Versaille helped shape how people viewed storytelling in those mediums.

A must watch for fans of: historical fiction, drama, romance, politics, breaking gender norms and anime history
Dragon Ball
TV, 1986, 153 eps Me:- Author:8
The beginning of one of the most popular and beloved anime franchises of all time. Dragonball is famous the world over and its success is undeniable to this very day. Starting out as a gag manga and transitioning into an action series, Dragonball is known for pioneering the "Battle Shounen" sub-genre and influencing a countless amount of stories and fans.

A must watch for fans of: comedy, action, adventure and anime history
Dragon Ball Z
TV, 1989, 291 eps Me:- Author:7
The second part of the legendary Dragonball series. This is arguably the part that brought this series worldwide acclaim and introduced some of its most beloved characters and villains as well as taking the action up another notch. This is where many staples of the Battle Shounen sub-genre were introduced or popularized.

Hokuto no Ken

Fist of the North Star

Hokuto no Ken
TV, 1984, 109 eps Me:- Author:-
An incredibly influential series from the 80's, Fist of the North Star is known for shifting the anime and manga industry's views towards depicting violence in fiction and has inspired plenty of later works in both mediums. It features a post-apocalyptic tale of a man on the path of revenge for the sake of a peaceful world and is known for setting the trend of hypermasculinity in 80's anime and manga

A must watch for fans of: action, post-apocalyptic worlds, ultraviolence, hypermasculinity and anime history

Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac

Saint Seiya
TV, 1986, 114 eps Me:- Author:-
A massive hit in Japan and overseas, Saint Seiya was a major player in laying the groundwork for modern Shounen. With its Greek mythology backdrop and aesthetic, Saint Seiya was a cosmological action series featuring a group of heroes fighting for the Goddess Athena. It is also notable for creating diverse male leads each with their own form of valid masculinity.

A must watch for fans of: action, Greek mythology, themes of friendship and camaraderie and battle shounen anime
Area 88
OVA, 1985, 3 eps Me:- Author:9
A dark and gritty story of a young man tricked into fighting as a mercenary in a war-torn region by his best friend. Shin is a peaceful and kind man who is forced to be a fighter pilot in order to earn enough money to buy back his freedom and go home to his fiancé

A must watch for fans of: action, military and drama
Top wo Nerae! Gunbuster
OVA, 1988, 6 eps Me:- Author:9
Being Studio Gainax's and Hideaki Anno's first big hit, Gunbuster was major influence on anime that paved the way for Neon Genesis Evangelion. It was also the originator of many staple tropes of Gainax. The story features two female leads that are trained to use mecha to combat an alien invasion.

A must watch for fans of: space, sci-fi, mecha, military, drama, anime history and badass female protagonists
Densetsu Kyojin Ideon
TV, 1980, 39 eps Me:- Author:7
Written by Yoshiyuki Tomino, the creator of Gundam, Space Runaway Ideon features a tragic war between humans and an alien race. The humans end up piloting an ancient Lovecraftian Super Robot which is a source of great mystery throughout the series. This is the series Tomino is most proud of and its ending was Anno's biggest influence for End of Evangelion.

The movie, Space Runaway Ideon: Be Invoked, should be watched in place of the final episode.

A must watch for fans of: sci-fi, mecha, space, drama, military and cosmological horror
Densetsu Kyojin Ideon: Hatsudou-hen
Movie, 1982, 1 ep Me:- Author:9
The shocking and avant-garde ending for the Space Runaway Ideon Series featuring the conclusion to the war between Humanity and the Buff Clan, This movie was Hideaki Anno's biggest influence for End of Evangelion.
Lupin III
TV, 1971, 23 eps Me:- Author:-
A pop culture icon, Lupin III is one of Japan's most successful long running series. It's a comedic crime thriller that was worked on by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli and is famed for introducing more adult characters and topics into the mediums of anime and manga

A must watch for fans of: crime thrillers, comedy, action, adventure, mystery and anime history

Akage no Anne

Anne of Green Gables

Akage no Anne
TV, 1979, 50 eps Me:- Author:9
One of World Masterpiece theatre's most celebrated works, Akage no Anne is the adaptation of the famed Anne of Green Gables directed by Isao Takahata. It features the coming of age of an eccentric young orphan Anne when she is accidentally adopted by two elderly siblings.

A must watch for fans of: drama, slice of life, historical fiction and classic literature

Alps no Shoujo Heidi

Heidi: Girl of the Alps

Alps no Shoujo Heidi
TV, 1974, 52 eps Me:- Author:-
Heidi: Girl of the Alps is an adaptation of Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning directed by Isao Takahata. It's notable for being the precursor for the World Masterpiece Theatre series

A must watch for fans of: drama, slice of life, historical fiction and classic literature

Princess Sara

A Little Princess Sara

Princess Sara
TV, 1985, 46 eps Me:- Author:-
Princess Sara is World Masterpiece Theatre's adaptation of The Little Princess. It features a young girl who must adjust to a harsh life at an all-girls boarding school and popularized many tropes commonly seen in shoujo.

A must watch for fans of: drama, slice of life, historical fiction and classic literature

Ie Naki Ko

Nobody's Boy Remi

Ie Naki Ko
TV, 1977, 51 eps Me:- Author:-
Nobody's Boy Remi is an adaptation of the French novel Sans Famille directed by Osamu Dezaki. It is a critically acclaimed story of a young boy travelling with animal friends performing musical acts and searching for a place he belongs. All while enduring the harsh lessons of life.

A must watch for fans of: drama, slice of life, adventure, historical fiction and classic literature

Takarajima

Treasure Island

Takarajima
TV, 1978, 26 eps Me:- Author:-
Takarajima is an adaptation of the classic novel Treasure Island by Osamu Dezaki. It is the story of a young boy teaming up with a pirate to search for the legendary treasure left by a famous pirate.

A must watch for fans of: drama, pirates, adventure, historical fiction and classic literature
Mirai Shounen Conan
TV, 1978, 26 eps Me:- Author:7
Future Boy Conan is a series based on The Incredible Tide worked on by a star studded cast with names like Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Yoshiyuki Tomino. It features a young boy in an post-apocalyptic world that goes on a journey which shapes the fate of everyone in it. In many ways it feels like a classic Miyazaki film spread out into a full TV series.

A must watch for fans of: sci-fi, post apocalyptic worlds, action, adventure and Ghibli/Miyazaki films
Macross
TV, 1982, 36 eps Me:- Author:8
A famous mecha series created in the 80's, Macross features a war between humans and the alien race Zentradi. Another real robot anime, Macross sets itself apart by introducing idol culture, love triangles and drama to the genre.

The movie version, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, is not a substitute for the series but is something every anime fan should experience.

A must watch for fans of: space, mecha, military, drama, romance, Japanese pop, idols and Star Wars

Uchuu Senkan Yamato

Star Blazers: The Quest for Iscandar

Uchuu Senkan Yamato
TV, 1974, 26 eps Me:- Author:-
Nearly unrivalled in its impact on space operas, Space Battleship Yamato is a Leiji Matsumoto story which set the groundwork for all space anime going forward. The story features humanity's last hope of the human race on the ship Yamato racing to a distant planet before the Earth is annihilated by an alien Empire's asteroid bombardment.

A must watch for fans of: space, action, sci-fi, adventure, drama, anime history and Star Wars
Ginga Tetsudou 999
TV, 1978, 113 eps Me:- Author:7
This Leiji Matsumoto story, Galaxy Express 999, features a young boy accompanied by a mysterious woman going on a journey to a planet where he can freely obtain a mechanical body and achieve immortal life. In its episodic nature, this melancholic and contemplative story covers themes of poverty, desire, dreams, tragedy, life, death, love, and many other facets of the human experience. All while experiencing a wide array of strange and whimsical planets via a space travelling steam-powered train.

A must watch for fans of: space, action, sci-fi, drama and more contemplative stories

Uchuu Kaizoku Captain Herlock

Space Pirate Captain Harlock

Uchuu Kaizoku Captain Herlock
TV, 1978, 42 eps Me:- Author:7
Space Pirate Captain Harlock is a Leiji Matsumoto story taking place in an era where humanity is stagnant and over reliant on robots to do work. Captain Harlock is a Space Pirate rebelling against this state of affairs, but now he must defend the Earth against a secret alien invasion. All while dodging the ire of the lazy and corrupt Earth government.

The movie, Captain Harlock: Arcadia of my Youth, is a prequel to an alternate series, but is a must watch for anime fans.

A must watch for fans of: space, action, sci-fi, adventure, drama and pirates
Urusei Yatsura
TV, 1981, 195 eps Me:- Author:-
This series was Rumiko Takahashi's first major hit and was responsible for inspiring a generation of anime fans and creators. By blending romantic comedy, science fiction, the supernatural and social satire, incorporating pop-culture and meta-humor and creating a massive cast of rich character archetypes, Urusei Yatsura was able to leave an impact on the anime industry and Japanese pop culture that's felt even to this day.

A must watch for fans of: romance, comedy, sci-fi, drama and anime history
Maison Ikkoku
TV, 1986, 96 eps Me:- Author:8
Rumiko Takahashi's slow burn and grounded romantic comedy. This romance features a young man struggling in life trying to win over the affections of the manager at the boarding house he lives at all while dealing with his rambunctious neighbors.

A must watch for fans of: romance, comedy and drama
Ranma ½
TV, 1989, 161 eps Me:- Author:-
Ranma ½ is Rumiko Takahashi's popular genderbending martial arts series. It's known for its wacky comedy and plot as well as influence on the harem genre and unconventional gender dynamics.

A must watch for fans of: action, comedy and martial arts

Space Cobra

Space Adventure Cobra

Space Cobra
TV, 1982, 31 eps Me:- Author:7
A classic space series featuring a witty and comedic ex-space pirate Cobra which is directed by Osamu Dezaki. This is a fun stylish action series rather than a more serious space opera.

A must for fans of: space, action, adventure, sci-fi, crime thrillers and Star Wars

Soukou Kihei Votoms

Armored Trooper Votoms

Soukou Kihei Votoms
TV, 1983, 52 eps Me:- Author:7
This Mecha series sets up a more realistic interpretation of the Real Robot sub-genre. It's a very influential series in the military mecha genres and created a massive franchise.

A must watch for fans of: space, action, sci-fi, military, drama and mecha
Captain Tsubasa
TV, 1983, 128 eps Me:- Author:-
Captain Tsubasa is a massive Japanese franchise featuring soccer (or football). Based on one of the best selling manga series of all time, this series is beloved all over the world.

A must watch for fans of: sports, action, soccer (football) and anime history
City Hunter
TV, 1987, 51 eps Me:- Author:-
City Hunter is a large action franchise created in the 80's. Oozing with style, this series features the lecherous Ryou tackling investigations and hunting down crooks and villains.

A must watch for fans of: action, comedy, mystery, crime and anime history

Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor

Patlabor: The Mobile Police

Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor
OVA, 1988, 7 eps Me:- Author:7
This mecha franchise features a special task force of police that use specialized mechs to tackle crimes where criminals also use them. This series is highly celebrated in Japan and is a big influence on the mecha genre. It offers a more slow paced slice of life and workplace feeling as opposed to military themes common in mecha.

A must watch for fans of: action, mecha, sci-fi, crime, comedy and workplace
Yawara!
TV, 1989, 124 eps Me:- Author:-
The first anime adaptation of the critically acclaimed Naoki Urasawa, Yawara! is a story featuring a young girl that reluctantly becomes a prodigy in judo, despite wanting to be ordinary and feminine. It's a sports comedy that features romance.

A must watch for fans of: combat sports, comedy, romance and Naoki Urasawa
Touch
TV, 1985, 101 eps Me:- Author:-
A big hit in 80's Japan, Touch is the story of two twin brothers, their childhood female friend and their relationships with each other and baseball. Its a human story of growth and relationships.

A must watch for fans of: drama, romance and sports
Bubblegum Crisis
OVA, 1987, 8 eps Me:- Author:-
Bubblegum Crisis is a police cyberpunk series that perfectly encapsulates the 80's OVA era. It set the stage for future dystopian cyberpunk series in anime.

Must watch for fans of: sci-fi, police, mecha, cyberpunk and action
Akira
Movie, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:8
This iconic Cyberpunk movie is most well known for its gore filled bizarre story and animation that was ahead of its time. One of the most influential and celebrated anime movies ever made.

A must watch for fans of: sci-fi, Cyberpunk, action, delinquents, horror and anime history
Tenshi no Tamago
OVA, 1985, 1 ep Me:- Author:-
Angel's Egg is an artistic an avant-garde movie with beautiful, haunting and bizarre imagery. With minimal dialogue the story is meant to be left up to individual interpretation.

A must watch for fans of: avant-garde, fantasy and surreal art

Hotaru no Haka

Grave of the Fireflies

Hotaru no Haka
Movie, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:9
A Ghibli film featuring two orphans trying to survive in Japan during the final stages of World War II. Critically acclaimed and loved by many, this film explores how war can affect even the most innocent and uninvolved.

A must watch for fans of: historical fiction, drama and Studio Ghibli

Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä
Movie, 1984, 1 ep Me:- Author:8
This Miyazaki film is about a Princess name Nausicaä living in a post-apocalyptic world who must defend her peaceful kingdom from both a war mongering industrial country and a toxic jungle. It features themes of environmentalism and anti-war.

A must watch for fans of: fantasy, post-apocalyptic worlds, environmentalism, adventure and Miyazaki/Ghibli
Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa
Movie, 1986, 1 ep Me:- Author:10
Castle in the Sky is a Miyazaki film about two children going on a journey to find an ancient castle floating in the sky, rumored to contain many treasures. This steampunk adventure features planes, ancient lore, air pirates and greedy government agents.

A must watch for fans of: fantasy, steampunk, adventure, romance and Miyazaki/Ghibli

Tonari no Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

Tonari no Totoro
Movie, 1988, 1 ep Me:- Author:6
My Neighbor Totoro is a Miyazaki film about two girls moving to the countryside and befriending a mystical forest spirit. It's a simple film about the wonders of childhood.

A must watch for fans of: Miyazaki/Ghibli

Majo no Takkyuubin

Kiki's Delivery Service

Majo no Takkyuubin
Movie, 1989, 1 ep Me:- Author:7
Kiki's Delivery Service is a Miyazaki film about a young girl that must leave home in order to become a full fledged witch. It's a coming of age story that's relatable to anyone who has ever moved or had to gain independence.

A must watch for fans of: adventure, coming of age, comedy and Miyazaki/Ghibli

Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa

Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise

Ouritsu Uchuugun: Honneamise no Tsubasa
Movie, 1987, 1 ep Me:- Author:-
The Wings of Honneamise is Studio Gainax's first work. It features a story of a man named Shiro who's country is more interested in war than advancing scientific progress. Wanting to go to space, Shiro and his contemporaries stubbornly defy the government so that they can develop their country's space program and successfully send humans into space.

A must watch for fans of: sci-fi, drama, space, military and action
Hadashi no Gen
Movie, 1983, 1 ep Me:- Author:8
Barefoot Gen is a semi-autobiographical movie of a young boy who's family is living in Hiroshima during the final days of World War II. This harrowing film explores how war can devastate the lives of civilians.

A must watch for fans of: historical fiction and drama

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