30 Must-See 80’s Animations

In this day and age, it’s hard to be an anime fan. There are people who try to convince you that Japan isn’t producing good cartoons anymore. Parents who are afraid of your hobby. Kids at school who look at you like you’re a freak. Animation has a rich history. It is an entertaining way to impart values and lessons.

Many consider the 1980s the golden age for anime. Studio Ghibli, Kyoto Animation and J.C. Staff were all founded. Daicon Films (now Winax), began producing films in a wider range of genres. The 80s was the peak of anime. These characters were fun and had great stories. They often proved to be very action-packed. Let’s look at some classics that are well worth revisiting.

Dragon Ball

30 Must-See 80's Animations

This anime adaptation of Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball manga is a cartoon adaptation. It follows Gokuu Son’s adventures in the woods until he meets Bulma, who seeks a set magical items called Dragon Balls. Bulma wants to find the perfect boyfriend and collect all seven artifacts. They grant one wish to anyone who collects all seven. Bulma is aware that Gokuu owns a dragon ball. He refuses to give it up, so she offers him a deal. If he allows Bulma to borrow the power from the dragon ball, he will accompany her on her journey. They embarked on a journey of a lifetime.

It’s not a one-way trip. They meet Muten-Roshi, his wannabe disciple Kuririn and help Gokuu to become a better martial artist in preparation for their World Martial Arts Tournament. It isn’t all fun and games. The ability to grant wishes can be very powerful and there are many people who would rather wish for a boyfriend than a girlfriend. They train to be stronger fighters to prevent others from abusing the power. They use their newfound strength to support others.

Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam (Space Castaways Vifam)

30 Must-See 80's Animations

This anime originally aired in 1983 and has 46 episodes. It was also the first anime to include mecha characters. Kanda Takeyuki directed this original anime, which was produced by Studio Sunrise. In 2058, the aliens invaded the third planet in the Ypserlon solar system. It is located 43 light-years away from EarthEarth. The aliens forced the emigrants to flee the planet. During the escape, children were separated from their parents and ended up in Janous. This is a training spaceship. They were able to reach Belwick, the fourth planet, despite many sacrifices. Belwick had been at war. The 13 children traveled to EarthEarth alone as a result.

Touch

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Uesugi Kazuya is his twin brother Tatsuya and Asakura minami are the main characters. Kazuya is a well-known middle school baseball player in his area. Toshiya, who is a lazy slacker has accepted this role of letting Kazuya shine, despite the fact Toshiya being more gifted than Kazuya. Minami, Minami’s kind, beautiful childhood friend, treats them both equally.

Tatsuya and the general public believe that Minami and Kazuya will make a great couple. Tatsuya soon realizes that he will do anything for his brother, other than losing Minami to Kazuya. The story tells the story of Tatsuya’s struggle with his younger brother and how they are trying to fulfill Minami’s dreams.

Captain Tsubasa

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Captian Tsubasa recounts the story about a young boy who is obsessed with soccer and whose entire life revolves around it. Tsubasa Oozora, just 11 years old, developed a passion for soccer despite it being a hobby for his friends.

Tsubasa’s mother moved the family to Nankatsu to help him achieve his goal at the highest level. Nankatsu is a city known for its outstanding elementary soccer teams. Nankatsu was the best in his neighborhood but he now has to stand out from the rest.

Tsubasa makes new friends and is able to compete with his rivals. Genzo Wakabayashi and Sanae Nakazawa are goalkeepers who share the same passion and will support him in his pursuit of his goals. Tsubasa hopes to represent Japan at FIFA World Cup. But it will take more talent than just talent.

Saint Seiya: Knights the Zodiac

30 Must-See 80's Animations

The classic anime from Toei Animation shows ancient men who dedicated their lives to Athena, the Goddess Wisdom and War. These men could rip through the sky with a single swing of their fist and break the ground below them. These brave heroes were called Saints because they could summon the power from the Cosmos.

A new generation of Saints is emerging in the present. Seiya faces a difficult task to obtain the Sacred Armors of Pegasus. He isn’t going to let anything stop him from achieving his goal. His victory and title are the result of all the hard work and training that he put into becoming one among the Saints athena. Seiya’s journey doesn’t stop there. He and the Saints will face many perils and dangerous enemies throughout the series.

Wicked City

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Yoshiaki Kawajiri directs this anime that combines graphic horror action and eroticism. It was adapted from Hideyuki Kiruki’s work and published by Tokuma Shoten. Wicked City is home to a familiar world called EarthEarth and a parallel dimension known only as the Black World.

To maintain relative harmony, it is necessary to renew, negotiate, and establish the pact that has existed for hundreds of years between the two worlds. A militant faction appears to be trying to stop the signing of a treaty for interdimensional peaceful coexistence. Two agents from the elite Black Guard are responsible for maintaining the balance between these two worlds.

Bocchan

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Botchan has no idea of the challenges he will face during his first teaching job. Botchan must deal with nosy students, and a landlord trying to sell him useless antiques. Botchan takes a fishing trip as a way to lift his spirits. Hotta is his only friend in the village.

Following a meeting with Botchan’s students to discuss their lack of respect for Botchan, he now faces many problems. The proposed punishment is surprising considering the seriousness of the offense. Botchan’s alleged adversary defends him. What was the truth about Hotta’s activities? Botchan will soon discover the truth as evidence of Hotta’s activities will emerge. He and Hotta will have to work together in order to stop the dean from getting away with his scandalous ways!

Dirty Pair

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Our show’s protagonist is a couple of women who share an 80s vibe and tone. The Dirty Pair is a notorious trouble consultant known for breaking things more than fixing them. This cop show is as silly and funny as you’d expect from the 80s.

Vampire Hunter D

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Vampire Hunter D was a cult favorite in the years that followed its release. This is partly due to the fact that it was one of the first animated films to be released in America during the early 1990s. This anime adaptation was directly based on the Vampire Hunter D novel. It was published just two years before. Doris Lang, a blonde-haired and blue-eyed farmgirl, hires the vampire hunter in order to kill the vampire noble that bit her. Similar to Marvel’s Blade D is a halfblooded vampire that has few vampire vulnerabilities.

Forbes reports Vampire Hunter D was a huge success from the moment it was released. The film’s combination of sci-fi settings and high fantasy settings made it a huge hit and people still talk about the film today. Bloody Disgusting revisited the macabre masterpiece in 2019, describing it as “delightful” due to its mix of “cheese, gore”, and other horror elements. Vampire Hunter D’s world, according to the horror website, is truly original. It includes D’s robotic horse, Gothic castles, and beings with psychic abilities. The 1985 film can be enjoyed without any prior knowledge.

Maison Ikkoku

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Maison Ikkoku is an old boarding house that can be found in Clock Hill. Although the home appears to be quite normal, many of its inhabitants are not. Yuusaku Godai is the oldest and most quiet tenant. He has reached his limit because of his neighbors’ constant partying, disruptions, and other activities. He is ready to leave and seeks a more peaceful place to study.

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He is making plans to leave when he is interrupted by Kyoko Otonashi who is the new manager at the boarding house. He falls in love with her and realizes that the boarding home may not be so bad after all. Unfortunately, Kyoko is also having trouble with romance. Her husband died six months after they were married. Despite her feelings for Godai, she believes that no man can fill the void left behind by her husband. Godai’s persistence and other eccentric tenants can help her find love again.

Glass Mask

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Tsukikage, a reclusive actress, discovered Kitajima Maya (13 years old), who was gifted in acting. Maya is almost 20 years old, but she grows up and goes through intense training. She eventually blossoms into one the most well-known actresses her generation. Himekawa Ayumi’s beautiful daughter is Maya’s biggest rival. They ultimately fought for the “Crimson Goddess” role. Another subplot concerns Maya’s relationship to Hayami Masumi. He was an entertainment mogul and became a secret fan. However, misunderstandings, bad timing, and poor timing kept their romance from moving forward.

Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honneamise

30 Must-See 80's Animations

An anime classic from 1987. Hiroyuki Yamaga directed the film and Studio Gainax animated it. This story is about Shirotsugh Lhadatt (or Shiro) who dreams of flying in the Royal Air Force. He failed to achieve the required grade point average. However, the Space Force is an obscure organization. He has given up on this training after his failure.

He meets Riquinni, an ambitious young woman who is passionate about space exploration and seeks to understand its limits. Shiro discovers that he has a new purpose and begins the journey of Shiro To Space. Unfortunately, the government has put many obstacles in his path. Are these obstacles going to stop him? An inspirational space and military movie. If you like these themes, this movie will please you.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Kiki, a 13-year-old witch-in-training, must spend one year alone in a faraway place before she can become a true witch. Kiki, along with her black cat Jiji rides a broomstick and leaves behind her family and friends to venture out into the wild.

Kiki struggles to adjust to the life in Koriko’s coastal town. Kiki wanders the streets in search of shelter, until she meets Osono who offers her accommodation and does deliveries to her bakery. Kiki is one step closer towards independence when she starts her own courier service with a broomstick. Kiki discovers the importance of responsibility while trying to find her place among the townpeople. Kiki’s Delivery Service is an anime adaptation of a novel. The anime was directed by Hayao Miyazaki in 1989.

Kimagure Orange Route

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Kyousuke Kasuga meets Madoka Ayukawa after moving to a different city. She is cold towards him even though he was friendly when he spotted her red straw hat while they first met. Yousuke must also avoid Hikaru Hiyama’s heartbreak. Hikaru is a man who fell in love with Yousuke after seeing him play with a basketball. He loves to show him affection. His grandfather, Kyousuke’s sisters, and his cousins also possess different abilities (teleportation. hypnosis. time travel. personality transference), that the rest of his family can’t resist using in public.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold

30 Must-See 80's Animations

A 12-year-old foundling, Esteban is called the “ Esteban discovers that he was saved by his adoptive father when he was just a baby. Esteban’s mysterious gold medallion is believed to be from a New World city called Mysterious Cities of Gold.

 

Esteban travels to Spain in search for his parents and his identity. On the way, he meets Zia, who was abducted from her people years ago and has the same medallion. Tao, a robinson hailing from the Galapagos joins them eventually. Tao is a descendant of Heva Empire, which was the empire that created the Cities of Gold. They follow Coyolite, the shining star represented by the medallions and travel to the new land believing this will take them back to their parents.

Urusei Yatsura

30 Must-See 80's Animations

The lecherous Ataru moroboshi is a matter of little concern, aside from his terrible luck. Ataru is chosen to represent humanity against an alien known as the Oni during an invasion of aliens called the Oni. Ataru is blessed with good fortune when he finds himself engaged in tag with Lum, the daughter and leader of the Oni. Lum puts her pride before victory, as Ataru discovers after she secures Lum’s bikini cover and becomes a thriving victor.

Lum misinterprets Ataru’s offer to marry Shinobu Miyake as a desire for her to marry him. The alien princess uses her influence and moves in with him. Ataru must face the consequences of womanizing Lum while keeping him happy. He also has to balance his crumbling relationship with Shinobu and flirt with other women.

Sakigake! Otokojuku

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Original broadcast in 1988, the series aired 34 episodes. The manga’s anime adaptation follows the same story. Miyashita Akihara is the manga’s author and illustrator. Ottojuku is a private school that educates juvenile criminals. These people are expelled from normal schools and end up here. This school teaches Japanese Chivalry through feudal and military methods. The classes are full of violence and brute force, as seen in many movies. These are the true men. If you enjoy action comedy with great fights, this series is for you.

Barefoot Gen

30 Must-See 80's Animations

If you like historical dramas, this historical drama may be of interest. Barefoot Gen was adapted into anime in 1983. Nakazawa Keiji illustrated and wrote the manga. Madhouse animation is responsible for the movie. The story is inspired by the war between Japan & the U.S.

Gen is our protagonist. He does everything possible to ensure his family’s survival. Due to food shortages, he and his pregnant mother are both malnourished. In these difficult economic times, Shinji in Hiroshima and Gen in Hiroshima have to work hard to support their families. His life will likely undergo major changes as Hiroshima will be afflicted by its unfortunate fate.

The Oufuji Noburou award, a Mainichi Film Awards honor, was presented to this film in 1983. This movie is a must-see for drama lovers due to its realistic expression and compelling award.

Angel’s egg

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Tenshi no Tamago’s surrealist universe is atmospherically desolated and devoid any traditional daily life. Instead, we are faced with terrifying phenomena such as floating orbs with goddess-like figures, gargantuan army tank that appear unmanned, armies pursuing phantom fish and glass-enclosed caves.

One girl, a young girl, is responsible for caring for an egg in this poor world. She also scavenges for food and drink. A mysterious man, with a cross on the shoulder, meets her and becomes fascinated by what she’s carrying. They explore the broken and lost landscape together and wonder about their lives as well as the meaning of faith.

Armor Hunter Mellowlink

30 Must-See 80's Animations

We have Armor Hunter Mellowlink here, an anime about mecha. Original Video Animations aired 12 episodes in the original series back in 1988. The series was directed by Kanda Takeyuki, while Shinichiro Watanabe produced the episodes. Mellowlink Arity is the only survivor from a squad.

As scapegoats, a group of these men was killed and a squad was sacrificed. This was done to preserve resources for the 100-year war. Mellowlink is driven by the idea of revenge and vows to take revenge on every police officer who betrayed his colleagues. Mellowlink may discover the truth behind the plot to execute this revenge mission. Mecha anime is a very serious manga that explores the world of mechanics. If you are interested, take a look.

Akira

30 Must-See 80's Animations

The movie Akira is a great choice if you are looking for something truly innovative. This movie ran for over two hours and was originally broadcast in 1988. This anime is a translation of Otomo Kushihiro’s manga. Akira won the 1992 Silver Scream Award and was nominated in 2007 for the American Anime Awards for Best Anime Feature. The movie is still a favourite with critics and audiences. Akira is an emotional classic that you shouldn’t miss if you love them.

1988 in Japan. A young boy with psychic abilities causes an explosion that ignites World War III. The boy is arrested to stop further damage. In 2019, a rebuilt Neo-Tokyo is standing in its place. This region is rife with gang violence, terrorism and terrorism against the government. The leader of this group is Shoutarou Kaneda, a group of misfits known as “the Capsules”. They ride custom-made motorcycles and are often at odds with their rivals “the Clowns.”

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Shoutarou’s close friend Tetsuo Schima meets a newly escaped esper during one of the battles. He has been living on the streets of Tokyo ever since escaping confinement from a government facility. Tetsuo is able to discover his own strange abilities after this encounter. In an attempt to stop Tetsuo from unleashing the destructive force that could bring the city to its knees again, the government quarantines the psychic.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Another classic movie is coming soon, ladies and gentlemen. This is the Legend Of The Galactic Heroes. Legend Of The Galactic Heroes, an OVA series consisting of 110 episodes, was first released in 1988. Based on Tanaka Yoshiki’s novel, illustrated by Katou Nagi and Kamoshita Yakihisa.

The story centers on two organizations: the Empire of the Galactic, and the Free Planets Alliance. The war between these two organizations is now over thanks to the new generation leaders. Reinhard von Lohengramm believed that all humanity should have one ruler during his rise to power within the Galactic Empire. Yang Wenli, however, believes that democracy is the best way to rule. Aristocracy, he says, is not.

Both of these geniuses must discover the real reason for all the chaos and war that occurs when their ideologies clash. Legend Of The Galactic Heroes has been praised for its unique storylines. It is loved by both critics and casual viewers alike. MyAnimeList also ranks it #6. This means that if you have been keeping an eye on this series for some time, now is a great time to start it.

Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Gundam is a classic mecha franchise. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam was launched in 1985. It aired 50 episodes. Studio Sunrise animated the anime, directed by Tomino Yamakiyuki. The year in the story is 0087 in Universal Century. The war between the Earth Federation, Principality of Zeon has ended. EarthEarth formed the Titans, an elite task force to defeat the remaining Zeons. However, it backfires and another group emerges.

They are also known as the Anti-Earth Union Group. Kamille Bidan not only attacks a Titan Officer but also steals his Gundam. These acts lead to him being involved in very difficult conflicts. Gundam and other Mecha franchises have shown great promise. This series is for those who wish to see some of their works since the 1980s.

Grave of the Fireflies

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Isao Takahata directed the film. It is an adaptation of Akiyuki’s book Grave of the Fireflies. This tells the story of two brothers during the final stages of the Second World War, in Kobe, Japan. Their mother is killed in an air raid. Later, the film reveals that their father, a naval captain, is likely at the bottom with the majority of the Japanese fleet. Seita and Setsuko struggle to survive at the beginning of the movie. But by then, the audience is well aware that there is no hope. Seita, who is starving to death, joins his sister’s spirit and jumps back in time.

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Fist of the North Star

30 Must-See 80's Animations

‘Omae Wa Mou Shinderu’! This is a Japanese animation classic that I am sure you have heard at least once. Perhaps even a million times. This phrase is from where? It comes from Fist of the North Star, a classic TV series. T.V. with 109 episodes. The series aired from 1984 to 1985. This anime was adapted to a manga called the same.

Original story by Buronson, illustrated by Hara Tetsuo. It takes place in the year 1999, when the EarthEarth is destroyed by nuclear war. The planet is currently populated by extinct species, the oceans are dry and the land cracked. Humanity still struggles to survive in a world that lacks civilization and a system.

The strongest people are the most powerful, and food and water are of highest value. Kenshirou, a man of mysterious martial arts, is found in this dark world. In a world that is not serving justice properly, will a man such as this be able save the weak? It was a popular western series that was well-received when it first appeared. The series is still being talked about today. If you are looking for some classic Shounen, this series is for you.

Space Adventure Cobra

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Space Adventure Cobra, another series of space adventures, was released in 1982. Based on the manga Cobra by Terasawabuichi, the movie runs 1hr 40min. The story is about Cobra, a space pirate. Jane, a bounty hunter, has asked Cobra for his help. Cobra is asked to rescue Jane’s sister from Crystal Boy, a strange entity. Cobra is suddenly drawn into another story when he becomes involved. He is forced to make a decision about the fate of the wandering worlds. What is his destiny? If you enjoy sci-fi or space pirates, add this to your never-ending list.

Patlabor the Movie

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor, the Movie followed Patlabor: The Mobile Police’s 1989 release. Oshii Mamoru, the director, created an original work of art for this movie. The story revolves around the Metropolitan Police Division 2. Their mission is to discover why the Tokyo laborers are going crazy. However, the Babylon Project is what most people are focusing on, despite this ongoing problem. The architect ended his life for some reason. Can the Metropolitan Police Department manage to deal with the chaos created by berserk labourers in the midst? The series has a lot to offer in terms of technology and a compelling plotline.

Daicon

30 Must-See 80's Animations

This entry is interesting. Here are Daicon’s opening animations. These special episodes aired originally in 1981. Yamaga Hiroyuki directed the animation. Studio Gainax did the animation. The story involves an unnamed girl who is trusted to drink water.

The water and glass were used to make a radish. However, there are many fictional characters involved in this simple task such as mecha and lizardmen. She is in danger! Will she make it through? The next episode will feature the same girl as a young adult. She saves the galaxy by using her lightsaber to fight monsters all over the galaxy. The Daicon III & IV are a tribute to science fiction. If you’re a fan of the genre, there is no reason to not watch it.

My Neighbor Totoro

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Two sisters, who have just moved to the country for their mother’s treatment, tell the story. When they meet a bunny-like creature, the girls become more used to rural life. She chases the bunny into the forest and meets “Totoro”, a giant tree spirit. Satsuki meets Totoro soon, too. The two girls quickly get pulled into a magical world filled with woodland creatures and adventures in the natural world.

Investors were alarmed when Miyazaki announced that he would make a film set in 1950s about two girls and a forest spirit named Totoro. However, the film (and the character), would be a hallmark of Studio Ghibli for many decades.

Castle in the Sky

30 Must-See 80's Animations

Another Ghibli movie has achieved high ratings. Now, we’re discussing Castle In The Sky. Castle In The Sky was originally a romance film that aired in 1986. Hayao Miyazaki directed the film. It is the story of Sheeta who is kidnapped and taken by the government to get her crystal amulet.

Sheeta escapes from the kidnapping by escaping through a hijacked pirate-operated airship. Shortly after her escape, she meets Pazu. Pazu dreams of Laputa’s flying castle, and Sheeta will be there to help him. Sheeta and Pazu are now on their way to the castle in the air that brought them together. It was awarded the 1986 Animage Anime Grand Prix. Another great Disney film from Japan. If it’s not, you should add this video to your list.

Although we have reduced it to 30, there are many classic and retro anime. We’d love to hear about your favorite anime in the comments below. Which 80s anime is your favorite?

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