Within the last 2 or 3 years, I have reached a point where I try to find an anime that I want to watch and every year I fail to find more than one to grab my attention. Sure, a lot of my friends recommend Attack on Titan and I am making a second attempt to see if it’s my cup of tea and so far, it’s mixed for me. Others have recommended Cowboy Bebop as well as Kill La Kill and I find that both are too silly for me Maybe my tastes have really changed since I have gotten older and some anime that’s popular now doesn’t appeal to me the same way like they would have 10 or 15 years ago. Having said that, to many of you that are new into anime or maybe been around long enough to appreciate some of the material but haven’t seen the classics, let me share some of the anime I remember that laid the groundwork to what many of you are watching today.
To me this will always be one of the penultimate anime shows for me. I grew up on this and Ultraman back in the early 70s. Before there was Initial D, Oban Star-Racers and F-Zero Flacon there was a story about a boy, his car that could do so many wonderful stunts, the mysterious Racer X and Chim-Chim. This show is always a classic.
Robotech, Original Series (SDF – Macross)
To be totally honest, this was the first ‘space soap opera’ style anime I was exposed to. Many of us Americans were so used to watching cartoons that settled everything within the 30 minutes that they were on. Sure Speed Racer had cliffhanger endings but it was very inconsistent when it was aired. If they had more than 3 episodes on a Saturday, you were lucky. But when American TV broadcast Robotech, they got it right and many of us were hooked. Our jaws dropped when Roy Fokker died as we were not used to seeing our characters die in cartoons, the love triangles that resulted with Rick, Minmay and Lisa Hayes and the resulting alliance between human and Zentradi. A must watch if you have never seen any Robotech.
This is one of the first anime I was introduced to after Robotech back in 1992. In my opinion it’s held up well for nearly 25 years of existence. All the elements are here: Men who can transform into cyborgs and monsters, shadow organizations as well as damsels in distress. Very easy to follow and nearly episode has an epic fight at the end. It will make you wonder why some of today’s anime can’t follow this standard. Also whatever you do, skip the live action movie.
Somewhere in all of the porn, tentacles, rape and graphic violence there is an actual story. This was the first hentai video I was exposed to and when it was described to me, I didn’t believe what could occur…and then I saw it. Out of all the video tapes (when video tapes was still a thing) that 20 something year old people could be interested in, among us anime fans, this was a must have. The tape was stolen from me no less than 3 times before I finally got the DVD. Truth be told, the first one was great, the 2nd one was ok and by the 3rd one it was time to quit.
Vampire Hunter D
It’s a shame that only 2 of these animated movies were made but they were worth watching, especially the 2nd one. For the manga readers, they can tell you the whole story behind D and his complicated story with the undead, his half breed lineage and the symbiote residing in his left hand.
Goku: Midnight Eye
The plot may seem silly, but it’s also chilling in its own right as bioterrorism that was just an idea then is a reality now. As police suicides rise, a private eye that used to be a former cop goes out to find the cause of the mysterious deaths. He somehow gains an computer enhanced eye allowing him to control everything. It’s very hard to find it on DVD although full episodes can be found on youtube at times.
This is another one of my favorite mecha anime with an equally silly plot. A young boy finds out that he harbors the mind of a mad man inside of himself as he is forced to control a large mech and in each episode he is forced to face off against different opponents for control of the “Underworld”. While the plot is a bit threadbare, the action scenes are fun to watch.
I found this almost at the same time I found the Guyver. This was almost a theme in the early 90s; young boys finding mysterious space suits and all hell breaking loose. Yet another somewhat cheesy plot that gets thicker by episode 3 but epic fight scenes throughout this short OVA. You may have a chance to find this on DVD if you look hard enough.
Battle Angel: Alita
This OVA showcases the first 2 manga giving us the creation of Gally and her fateful love for Yugo. It was a good yet sad story about people who wanted to ascend to Zalem. I always felt that this OVA was too short and wished for more but as it stands, it’s a classic.
Record of Lodoss War
Long before there was a Lord of the Rings movie and the Slayers anime, there was this anime which came out in the US around 1991 or 1992. This was probably the closest thing to a D&D cartoon you would get for a very long time. It followed the exploits around a party of different characters and the quests they were on. Always very fun, a sometimes quirky plot, this was a good way to waste away a weekend if you weren’t table topping.
There are many more that I haven’t mentioned such as Ghost in the Shell, Fist of the North Star, Akira and Ninja Scrolls as most people may already know about those works. What I hoped to accomplish is to give some ideas of shows and movies to watch that you may have rarely heard of or not at all. I am still looking for good ideas of anime to watch so if you have anything, just drop some in the comments section and I will give it a go when I can.