Best 80s Anime [Old School Anime]. Part one (Topic)

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Best 80s Anime [Old School Anime]. Part one


We continue to delve into the history of anime of the past decades through meeting its best representatives. Last time we told you about the best old anime from the 70s. Today we will turn our gaze to the most beloved era, for which many are nostalgic, and especially people who did not live in it - the 80s. 80s anime today is considered a golden classic, because it was then, in the era of disco, that anime began to gain worldwide popularity and otaku culture appeared. At the same time, the studios that are considered iconic were formed [Studio Ghibli, Kyoto Animation, JC Staff and Daicon Films]. Many projects of that time are remembered today as an example of the coolest that ever happened. We'll also try to remember the best anime from the 80s.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

"Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds" is one of the first anime of the newly formed Studio Ghibli, based on the manga of the same name, written by Miyazaki. The story is inspired by the mercury-polluted Minamata Bay in Japan. The plot of the anime takes place a thousand years after a certain apocalypse, after which the planet remained in ruins. Thousands of hectares of land are covered with toxic forests inhabited by mutated insects. The main character is a princess of a small valley of people named Nausicaa, who is trying to make her people survive. She sees this possible only if humanity lives in harmony with nature.


This is essentially an anti-war story. The event that destroyed the world [the so-called "Seven Days of Fire"] was triggered by human-made biological weapons, and the plot of the film revolves around two nations fighting over an embryo that can be used to recreate these weapons of mass destruction. Akira

We have already written about "Akira" as one of the coolest anime for acquaintance. Katsuhiro Otomo filmed a real masterpiece in 1988, harmoniously placing all the main events of his own manga into his work, according to which Akira was made. The aesthetics of a metropolis set in action that was destroyed three decades earlier continues to inspire the cyberpunk genre to this day.

The neon streets of Neo Tokyo have been meticulously created using painstaking animations and the hard work has really paid off. The film looks much better than anything that came before it. Computer technology was not yet in use, and everything you see is hand-drawn.

In the story, two members of the street gang Kaneda and Tetsuo are caught up in a whirlpool of events related to Akira, a kind of secret weapon that destroyed Tokyo several decades ago. After the accident with a strange child, in which Tetsuo fell, he unlocks powerful telepathic abilities, comparable in strength to Akira.

Anime has also become popular overseas.

Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise

In 1987, the newly launched Gainax made her debut with the film Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise. The plot was set in an alternative future, in which mankind has yet to visit space. Inspired by the girl he meets, the protagonist Shiro voluntarily becomes the first astronaut.


I often hear that anime is called a rougher Ghibli-style film, and is considered a must-see, as its production, direction, story, color tones and perspectives are worthy of detailed attention.

Vampire Hunter D

Based on a series of novels by horror author Hideyuki Kikuchi, Vampire Hunter D became known as a cult anime, in part because it was one of the first anime films to appear in the United States in the 90s.


A professional vampire hunter is hired by a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl named Doris Lang, who wants to kill the vampire noble who attacked and bit her. D is a half-breed, child of a vampire and a human, due to which he has extraordinary abilities, but not so vulnerable. The first film is considered an immortal classic

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

In the 70s, the fur genre was just born, but the anime created in the 80s popularized it, giving us several cult works, which we will talk about in this material. But perhaps the most important mech of the eighties anime was "Macross Hyperspace Fortress". And in my humble opinion, it stands head and shoulders above even the same Gundam.

The action takes place in 2009, a decade after the collapse of a giant alien spacecraft to Earth. Humanity was able to rebuild it [dubbed Macross SDF-1], but it comes at a cost as war breaks out when an alien race identifies the Macross as a vessel that once belonged to their nemesis.


"Super Dimension Fortress Macross" anime with a lot of action, but also loved for its epic soundtrack and romantic elements. The creator of the anime, Soji Kawamori, called it "a love triangle amid great battles."

The franchise has always relied on soundtracks, and some of them have become as famous as the anime itself. It was also the first anime to give birth to the idal genre. Mari Iijima, the voice of singer Lynn Minmei, began her musical career amid the success of the anime. Our portal named "Super Dimension Fortress Macross" one of the anime ahead of its time.

Angel's Egg

Mamoru Oshi is probably better known to you from 1995's "Ghost in the Shell" [we will talk about him in the following materials], which is rightfully considered one of the must-see among all anime fans. We recommended this movie as one of the reasons to start watching anime. This cyberpunk story captured the minds of audiences around the world, just like Akira did. However, anime seems like child's play compared to Angel Egg, filmed in the 80s.


Oshi created it together with the legendary artist Yoshitake Amano. There are only two characters in the anime and they talk a lot. It lasts a little over an hour and one of the first conversations lasts about 25 minutes. He is supposed to be admired for his unique style and intimate photography, but there is a story behind it.

Over the years, Mamoru Oshii studied Christianity, which was significantly reflected in his paintings. "Angel's Egg" is full of religious symbols and according to known information, before the creation of the anime, the Axis had a conflict with his own faith, and this becomes clear as the anime progresses. So if you are looking for a beautiful, contemplative film about the nature of faith, then this anime classic from the 80s is definitely worth your attention.

Captain Tsubasa

Football in the 80s was not a popular sport in Japan. The country didn't even have a league of its own until the 90s. So how did the soccer manga and its subsequent anime adaptations manage to capture the imagination of this baseball-loving nation?


Manga author Takahashi fell in love with football during the 1978 World Cup held in Argentina and televised in Japan. Then he managed to perfectly convey his admiration for Captain Tsubasa and successfully sold the sport to his compatriots. Many consider the creation of Takahashi to be absolutely necessary for the development of football in the country.

Plot-wise, he talks about 11-year-old football fan Tsubasu Uzoru and how he goes from student athlete to full-fledged superstar, playing for some of the biggest teams in Europe.

Wicked City

The legendary anime studio Madhouse was created by four former employees of the Mushi Pro studio. One of the key ones was Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who became its director in the 1980s. They made their debut with the Lensman anime in 1984, a film that was less violent than their next project, Wicked City, 1987.


In the story, the world of people secretly coexists with the world of demons. A secret police force known as the Black Guard protects the border between the two worlds, which becomes dangerously blurred as the pact between humanity and demons approaches the date for renewal.

My Neighbor Totoro

The second cult film by Miyazaki, thanks to which the studio Ghibli logo itself appeared. It reflects the very spirit that reigned in those years. A cute story that does not give us clear answers to what exactly is happening in the lives of the main characters.


The plot is set in the 50s and tells about two sisters who moved with their father to the village to be closer to the hospital where their mother is being treated. There they meet a magical creature, the spirit of the forest named Totoro, with whom they forget about what worries them. This is a very simple film, and it is this spiritual simplicity that made it so significant and loved.

At the same time, he managed to be ambiguous and did not give clear answers to the question of who Totoro was. It always appears in those moments when girls really need it, so many believe that they invented it.

Grave of the Fireflies

Our top of the best anime from the 80s has two heartbreaking projects. And the first of them is "The Grave of the Fireflies". In it, Ghibli shows the final phase of World War II in Japan. The project was not directed by Miyazaki, but by the studio's second co-founder, Isao Takahata, who told his own survival story in it. The anime tells the story of a brother and sister in Kobe, whose mother died during the bombing, leaving them orphans. The father of the children, a naval captain, also dies in the fighting.


Seita and his sister Setsuko move from place to place trying to stay alive, but viewers already know it's hopeless. In the end, the film begins with Seita starving to death and joining her sister's spirit before we roll back in time.

Tomb of the Fireflies is a very difficult anime, and it's especially difficult when you realize that it has a foundation. According to Takahata, he was ten and his sister nine when they were bombed in Okoyama, which forced them into hiding. This is not an anime that you will watch on replay, but to see the horrors of war, it is still worth watching.

Dragon Ball

Many consider the first "Dragonball" much better than the subsequent Dragon Ball Z. However, in the USA, it was shown only after Dragon Ball Z, so the second season is loved there.


Premiered in 1986, Dragon Ball is very different from the sequel to the DBZ series. In the original series, the main character Goku is not a muscular master. He's just a weird little monkey-tailed boy who turns out to be very strong. It might sound a little boring to those raised on DBZ, but Dragon Ball is undoubtedly the brilliant 80s anime, if not the most iconic.

And the story of the first season is more mystical and focused on martial arts.

Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy


This is a retelling of the original Mobile Suit Gundam. While the TV show was shut down and suffered budget cuts to the very end that prevented Yoshiyuki Tomino from telling the story he wanted, this film's trilogy does it. With a clearer story and a new focus on character development, I would recommend starting your journey through this giant franchise with this trilogy of films.

Fist Of The North Star


"Omae wa mou shindeiru ..." Earlier we wrote about this anime in our material dedicated to anime memes. The action takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. The protagonist is Kenshiro, the successor to the ancient art of killing Hokuto Shinken. He roams a land ravaged by nuclear war, where the strong dominate the weak. Using his martial arts skills, Kenshiro hopes to bring justice back to a crumbling world. This popular title from the 1980s greatly influenced Kentaro Miuru, who later created Berserker.

We will tell you about 13 more cult anime released in the 80s in the second part of the article.

The Topic of Article: Best 80s Anime [Old School Anime]. Part one.
Author: Jake Pinkman