Some 80s animes have stood the test of time remarkably well and are still enjoyable to watch today.
The 80s are a period that many people feel oddly nostalgic for. One can always choose to watch one of the many classic anime from this time.
Many of these shows might have slipped past the stream of consciousness today, but they're still worth watching for anybody willing to give them a go. Some of them are even still relevant today or are about to make a grand return after an absence of many decades.
Ten great 80s animes that are still enjoyable today
#10 - Maison Ikkoku
Years active: 1986 - 1988
Romance is still in the air in the 21st century, and there are always people interested in a TV show that handles that topic well. Maison Ikkoku does a masterful job expressing romance more realistically than what other 80s animes can boast of doing.
There is tension and misunderstanding, so it isn't a rose-tinted glasses representation of love.
#9 - Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Years active: 1985 - 1986
It would be challenging to imagine mecha anime today without Gundam's influence back in the 80s. For some people, it's the best in its genre by a wide margin. However, there have been several different TV shows throughout the years.
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is the second installment in the highly influential series. It's considered one of the best in the entire series, so anybody interested in Gundam should check it out.
This show can be dark at times, mainly since it tackles themes of war and can also be misogynistic. Nonetheless, one won't find many shows tackling war in such an intriguing way from this period.
#8 - The Mysterious Cities of Gold
Years active: 1982 - 1983
The Mysterious Cities of Gold is an 80s anime with a diverse cast. As far as the topic goes, this 80s show tackles South American history with the main characters looking for The Seven Cities of Gold. It's surprisingly still a basic plotline that is underexplored in modern shows, mainly since South America is rarely visited as a primary setting.
Aside from that, the characters are enjoyable (even with some silly voice acting), and the mini-documentaries can be educational and fun to watch simultaneously.
#7 - Ranma ½
Years active: 1989 - 1992
It might have only been an 80s anime for what seems like a hot cup of coffee, but it still has that 80s-style that some fans know and love. One of the most exciting aspects is that the protagonist can change their gender at will.
Besides that, Ranma ½ is funny and has several fight scenes to entertain its audience. Even the romantic moments are entertaining in their own right, making it an excellent 80s anime that feels fresh to watch today.
#6 - Kiki's Delivery Service
Years active: 1989
Hayo Miyazaki is arguably the most famous Japanese anime director of all time. His films are beloved by the masses, and Kiki's Delivery Service is no different. It's heartwarming and is an excellent coming-of-age movie without ever feeling too forceful with the main message it's trying to get across.
Very young viewers might not understand something like the importance of finding a job and self-doubts, but it's something that can feel all too real for older audiences.
#5 - Fist of the North Star
Years active: 1984 - 1987 (original), 1987 - 1988 (the sequel)
Fist of the North Star is a classic from Shōnen Jump that has sold over 100 million copies as a manga. Unsurprisingly, the anime adaptation was also excellent in its own right, with most modern fans most likely recognizing "Omae wa mou shindeiru," given its meme status.
Aside from that, Fist of the North Star is action-packed and is a must-watch for anybody seeking a badass protagonist and fun fight scenes.
#4 - Captain Tsubasa
Years active: 1983 - 1986
Football (soccer for American readers) is the most popular sport worldwide. Unsurprisingly, there have been numerous TV shows based on it, such as the 80s anime hit Captain Tsubasa. This 80s show starts with a kid named Tsubasa Oozora who fantasizes about winning the FIFA World Cup while representing Japan. He's practically obsessed with the sport, and he manages to win a lot in the series.
There are also several movies and OVAs of this lighthearted classic, so there is no shortage of content for anybody who wants to watch more.
#3 - Akira
Years active: 1988
It's common to see Akira rated as one of the best anime movies ever made. One of its most iconic moments is the "Akira slide," where a character applies brakes to the vehicle as the viewer watches them in a single shot. Several other TV shows have referenced that scene, but that's not the only thing that makes Akira worth watching.
This 80s movie is bloody, yet it tackles social issues in a way that makes it enjoyable. Given that it's only 124 minutes long, it's advisable to watch the movie and not be spoiled about its premise here.
Also, the music is still a treat to one's ears.
#2 - Urusei Yatsura
Years active: 1981 - 1986
Urusei Yatsura is an exciting story where the protagonist Ataru Moroboshi meets an alien princess who mistakenly thinks that Ataru will marry her. It's a wacky but incredibly iconic anime. The aforementioned foreign princess is Lum Invader, easily the most recognizable character in the TV show and is still identifiable in the modern era.
Interestingly enough, there will also be a 2022 version of the show made by David Production, so it will be interesting to see this fantastic 80s anime return to the limelight. One is strongly recommended to watch the original Urusei Yatsura see the philandering Ataru get into some silly hijinks with Lum.
#1 - Dragon Ball
Years active: 1986 - 1989
It's implausible that anybody who considers themselves an anime fan wouldn't be aware of the Dragon Ball series. However, the original Dragon Ball TV show felt very different from the modern incarnations of what modern fans love. The original show paralleled Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West and wasn't about power levels and fights that modern fans are obsessed over.
It featured Goku and his early adventures, so watching it today will still be familiar to fans of the series. Of course, there are still other fan-favorites like Krillin and Bulma, and there are arguments to be had that the original Dragon Ball was better than the later shows simply because it had a more vulnerable protagonist, more human characters, Tournaments and Dragon Balls were more critical and the humor was better.
On a side note, Dragon Ball Z also counts as an 80s anime that stood the test of time exceptionally well. It debuted in 1989, although its overall premise feels different from the original Dragon Ball.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.
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