By Epidehl 9 Comments
(Oof, I recommend going to it on the blog page as the forum formatting is kind of a disaster)
Throughout this year, I've gone back and watched a bunch of "classic" anime I had never seen/missed. Part of this was just access to some (Sentai Filmworks and Discotek have been re-releasing a lot of cool stuff), but others were because of a cool panel I went to at Otakon this year highlighting 80s Mecha anime that wasn't Gundam. Most of this isn't actually stuff from that panel, but it lit a fire in me to watch a bunch of stuff I'd never seen. Ordering this as some kind of actual top 10 would be impossible due to the diversity of times/genres, but these are easily the best. (Apologies if the gifs/videos might be too much?)
Gatchaman (1972) (Dubbed in 2004)
I got this show for Christmas last year and spent the first couple of months this year watching through all 105 episodes with my brother. It was one of the best times I've ever had watching an anime. At it's base, Gatchaman is a pretty standard superhero team anime/toku show, hell it's aruably the original I believe. Galactor makes an evil robot/convoluted plan, the Science Ninja Team stops it. Rinse, repeat. The animation is pretty above-average for the time and it had some truly nuts fight scenes. But then there's the dub. In the 2000s ADV did a proper, uncut, dub of this show and it's SO amazing/weird. All the voices are great (Berg Katze is a LEGEND) and it gives the show this weird almost Batman '66-esque tone making the whole thing an utter joy.
Madoka Magica (2011) (Subbed)
First and foremost: I went into this show knowing the "twist"/that it was not the light/fun magical girl show the orignal marketing made it seem. That said, I think it says a lot about how good this show is that I enjoyed it IMMENSELY. I'm not usually one for "dark and gritty"ing genres, but something about this show really worked. The characters were all really likable in the middle of all the bullshit they had to deal with, and stylistically the Witches were super cool. I also deeply appreciated that by the end the show, while dark, didn't seem as "cynical" as a lot of dark stuff does (Attack on Titan, for instance, to compare it to another anime), and it end it was still a positive and hopeful series. It was the first of many shows I watched this year that made me cry super hard, and not really for the reasons I expected. (I still haven't watched the sequal movie actually and should fix that)
Cromartie High School (2003) (Dubbed)
Someone finally re-released this after being out of print some years ago, and man, I'm sorry it took me so long to watch this. Easily one of the funniest things I've ever watched. The dub cast and acting is incredible (I don't think the guy who plays the main character has ever starred in anything else, but he's unbelievably good), and just all of these super tough guys (I'm a sucker for Japanese Delinquent Guy) being really weird, and really dumb, worked for me. Ranging from "Trying to fit in with the other tough guys" to "An entire class missing their stop on the train for their school field trip" it never disappointed and every episode was great. (Also Takeshi Hokuto is literally Satsuki from Kill la Kill and I still can't get over it)
Getter Robo (Manga) (1974-2004)
The first thing on here in my true favorite genre of all: Super Robots. And boy, Getter Robo (especially the manga) might be my favorite. The original combining Mecha, Getter Robo is, in a word, SAVAGE. The robot uses TOMAHAWKS, the pilots are MURDERERS, it's all INSANE. To give you a good idea on the pilots, one of them (Hayato Jin) is introduced in the original manga by RIPPING A MANS FACE OF WITH HIS BARE HANDS. It's said at one point that all of the Getter pilots are either incredibly skilled or incredibly insane, and that couldn't be more true. The manga is 5 (Original, G, Go, Shin, Arc) series spanning over 30 years (not continuously) that sadly ends on an insane cliffhanger because the creator passed away, and there's never been a truly great anime adaptation. The original ones are significantly toned down violence-wise and changes a lot of the characters, and the OVAs made in the 90s/2000s are better, but are still not direct adaptations story-wise (Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo is the best one). Also, it's worth noting everything Gurren Lagaan did it learned from Getter Robo.
Super Sentai (Kakuranger + Ohranger) (1994-1996) (Subbed)
The only thing that has kept Saban from being a truly awful company after their actions towards the creators of Chroma Squad is this. They've been working with Shout Factory to release the original Super Sentai series that Power Rangers were based on and it's great. The first two (Zyuranger and Dairanger) came out last year and were okay shows. This year, Kakuranger and Ohranger (The Ninja stuff and Zeo from Power Rangers) came out and were both amazing. Just some good fun times with spandex suited heroes and rubber suited villains all through the lens of mild insanity that seems to be pre-2000s toku.
Macross (1982-2016) (Subbed)
It started with original Macross becoming legally available on Amazon Prime Video in August. Then I discovered it was cutting off the opening and that the subtitles were just generally bad so I took the dark turn of "other means" to watch it. I have now watched all but this years Delta and man, I'm kind of obsessed.
My current Macross tier list:
S-Tier: Macross 7 (94-95), Do You Remember Love? (84)
A-Tier: Macross (82-83), Macross Plus (94), Macross Frontier Movies (09-11)
B-Tier: Macross Frontier Series (08)
C-Tier: Macross Zero (02)
Not really sure where to start with these. Basically, every Macross series has a similar premise: Group of humans battling some kind of alien threat using ~*SONG*~. Also love traingles. If there's one thing to know about me, it's that I love mechs, and I love things that make music/song in intricate part of the plot especially if it has very literal power of song. Macross in all it's forms is a beautiful marriage of these two things to the point where they feel like they were made FOR ME.
It also does a cool thing that I enjoy where each series is actually a sequel/prequel to eachother, kind of like the Universal Century Gundam series. This allows for references to characters/events from other shows in an interesting way. Such as my favorite thing: "Do You Remember Love?" is an alternate telling of the original Macross series as a movie. However, it exists IN UNIVERSE as a movie based on the actual war the happened, which is a cool, weird thing to me.
I could write so, so much more about each individual series, but I'll move on for now with this song from Macross 7's band Fire Bomber (aka the best Macross musical act):
(Fuck Harmony Gold)
Gunbuster (1988-1989) (Subbed)
Gunbuster is basically perfect to me. It's paced great, has amazing animation, great characters, one of the best mech action scenes ever created, and one of the best endings in all of anime. And all in just 6 episodes. It's from Hideaki Ann, creater of Evangelion, and I honestly prefer it in every way. Mixing some just really relatable, human problems, such as losing touch with your friends from high school, with the high sci-fi problems of light speed travel and nearly unstoppable alien threats. I honestly don't want to right more just because spoilers, but for real, watch Gunbuster.
Giant Robo (1992-1998) (Subbed)
Giant Robo made me realize Yasuhiro Imagawa (also known for G Gundam and another show on this list) is probably in my top 3 anime directors. Similar to Gunbuster, Giant Robo takes very human problems and puts them through a fairly crazy sci-fi plot. In Giant Robo's case it's almost the core tennant of most mecha series: Fathers and Sons. Legacies, justice, understanding, and maturing. It's got heart for miles and the crazy "wuxia" style characters mixed in also give it this flair that is unlike anything else I've ever watched (except maybe G Gundam).
Nichijou (2011) (Subbed)
While I love me some Cromarite High School, Nichijou hits a thing a love which "a lot of money clearly being spent on a very stupid thing". Nichjou is done by Kyoto Animation who typically does very well animated slice of life stuff (Sound! Euphonium, Free!) where for the most part normal people do normal things. Nichijou is practically a sketch comedy/slice of life show with some of the best animation I've ever seen used on some really dumb jokes and I love it. The show starts with someone tripping into another person and literally detonating, and it only gets better from there.
Tetsujin-28 (2004) (Subbed)
The second Yasuhiro Imagawa series on this list (only not of 3 because I never finished the Mazinger series he did). This time a Tetsujin-28 (Gigantor) reimagining that takes place in post-WWII Japan and deals with a lot of issues of American occupation, Japan finding it's place in the world, and lingering feelings/regrets about a lot of what Japan did in WWII. It's a pretty facinating show that hits some seriously emotional beats within these stories, as well as does a really good job of creating a sense of awe with Tetsujin throughout, which a lot of mecha stuff doesn't really hit as well.
Special: Daicon IV (1983)
Created by Gainax before they were Gainax, and also one of the coolest things I've ever watched. Seriously, it's only a couple of minutes, just watch it. (It also got me way into ELO, or at least Time)
I might also do a thing for this year, but a lot of these have become my actual new favorite shows of all time and I wanted to write some words about them and recommend them. Thanks for reading!