Watch More Older Anime

In a world were airing anime can be watched in a nearly instantaneously, the latest and greatest series are always on the fore front of conversation. It makes sense why. Most of these series are readily available on most legal streaming services, unless they are licensed by Netflix, and have the latest visual effects that anybody could ask for, have a completely bright color palette, having the best voice actors in the business right now, and many other latest and greatest achievements that I can keep on going with. I cannot explain why you shouldn’t watch these shows, because I am in the seasonal watcher camp as well. (These shackles are hard to take off). That being said, watching older anime could be just as important and interesting as watching the newer stuff. I know that I might sound crazy to a lot of you, but that is just the kind of guy I am.

Before I jump into the pool, I think you might want to know where I am coming from. I admit early on a lot of posts and pages that I started watching anime when it was toonami years ago. A lot of the shows that were on the typical stuff, but that’s not what I fell in love with. The first anime series that truly caught my eye was Mobile Suit Gundam. A show that came out in 1979, so it doesn’t have the most perfect visual aspects. There was just something special about it that drew me toward it. I don’t think I was old enough at that point to figure out themes or character motivations completely, but it was the most complex world building and character driven thing that I have ever watched at that point. At that moment, I chose the path in which I would live my life.  The path of a mech fan. You can tell, because the name of this blog is Mechanical Anime Reviews. What I am saying is that I do not have a completely unbiased opinion when it comes to the content of this post.

I know that this isn’t something the normal anime fan does, but I love connecting the dots and figuring out how one thing became another and another. The history and escalation of how things came to be. Anime is one of these things that I still trying to uncover and unravel. There are so many interesting things going on that I have to find out. To me, that is one of the many important aspects of watching older anime. Uncovering how some story lines have evolved over time or how one-character type has become so popular is just so cool. While I haven’t watched all the anime that have ever existed and probably never will. That doesn’t mean that the journey isn’t worth traveling though. Watching Fist of the North Star has helped me to understand how shonen anime has become the way it is. Watching Rose of Versailles last year has helped me to see were the female prince character archetype has come from and how this anime has changed so many other things in its wake. I know that working a fulltime job and going to school part time has taken a lot of time away from me researching history, but watching older anime fills this hole for me right now.
Of course, it’s not all about the history that drives me toward watching older series. There is also the fact that many of these series are fantastic. Especially the classics that everybody likes to talk about. Why else would they stick around in people’s minds for so long? Maybe not many of them have the animation or the art style that a modern anime fan works for, but a lot of them make have writing and character work that more then make up for that fault. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, for instance. It’s a series that doesn’t look good at all most of the time with bad aspects of animation and a lot of out modeled stuff, but there are so many things that make up for it. Every single character is loveable in some way, this is one of the few shows that has a perfect love triangle, the plot is one of the most complicated yet nuanced thing that I’ve ever seen, and the love of music really flows through it all. Or what about Rose of Versailles? Another classic that suffers in the visuals departments, but is perfect everywhere else. So many shows are like this and need more attention then what is given to them.

Even if you afraid of watching an older show because of visual aspects, there are older series that have amazing animation and art to them. I know that my knowledge is limited to things that are science fiction, giant robot, and shonen battle based, but I can list some great examples. Yu Yu Hakusho, for one, is a series from the early 90’s, but has a lot of great action scenes that are still on par with a lot of shonen series that are airing right now. Despite being insanely old, for some people, I think that Fist of the North Star still has a lot of great cuts of animation as well. So do shows like Patlabor, the original Dragon Ball, Cowboy Bebop, Gasaraki, Votoms at points, and Blue Gender. Even if you don’t want to watch a series, how about a movie? There are a lot of recap movies that have high production values because well, they are movies. How about Macross: Do You Remember Love, Akira, Ghost in the Shell (1995), or Ninja Scroll? I know that there are a lot of good movies out there. Please give an older series or movie a shot. See if you like it.

One more point, before I close my argument on this. Once again, I know that I am biased toward watching older anime, but I honestly think that the redone HD versions of older anime are some of the most beautiful things that exist in this age. Bold claim I know, but I will stand by it. For starters, while Cowboy Bebop was always well animated and has excellent art design, but it’s Blu-Ray release is just so beyond this earth in quality. It could be airing right now OR maybe in a couple years, because it just looks fantastic. Moving a little farther back than that, Escaflowne’s HD version looks fantastic as well. Everything that has been redone about it brings out all the magical world of Gaea by making it feel real. Yu Yu Hakusho already looked pretty good to begin with as well, but it’s Blu-Ray release makes it look timeless. The Big O does too. I feel like I can keep going here, but you see my point, right? All those shows with solid cell animation and art design look their greatest in HD remasters. Especially when it’s the master copies of the show that are redone. Please look out for HD remastered of shows, if you are having trouble with older anime.

With all that said, please watch more older anime series if you get the chance. If not for the history, the visual aspects, or even how good a show is, do it to get out of the chains of watching seasonal anime shows. These are shows that are fully released and can be watched at your own leisure. They can be either binge watched, watched like seasonal series, or somewhere in between. That is the true advantage of watching older series. Watching at a piece that feels comfortable to you.

This post was influenced by Lethargic Rambling’s problems with watching older anime and Zeria’s defense of watching older anime. I doubt that I explained my points as well as them, but I had to share my take on this important topic anyway. Please check out both of their works.

27 Comments Add yours

  1. Pete Davison says:

    It always pays to look back at older stuff. Any kind of creative work — be it anime, manga, books, music, video games, whatever — remains relevant for a lot longer than when it is “current” in most cases. Sometimes things have an influence on what comes after. Sometimes they just provide a fun snapshot of a particular moment in time. But I agree entirely; while modern, current stuff is fun to keep up with and be able to discuss with people, there’s plenty of value in looking back, too.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Scott says:

      Yes, agreed. There are so many things you can learn about a time period by watching media from back in the day. They are a reflection of what has happened during a decade or a certain set of years.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shokamoka says:

    I guess for most people, there is indeed a limit as to how old something can be before they decide that it would be best not to touch them.

    I think this (horrible) idea serves as the biggest contribution as to why old traditions quickly died one by one, anime or not.

    Though, I’m not even in part of the solution lol!
    Halp, the chains of seasonal life strangled me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      The shackles of seasonal watches keeps us all prisoner. I barely have time to look outside from my cell from time to time.

      Like

      1. Shokamoka says:

        You could say that we make a film based on our lives through seasonal anime, then break out of the chain in the most dramatic way possible.

        We will call it “The Seasonal Redemption”.

        Maybe Cour instead of Seasonal, whichever one you fancy~

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scott says:

        That sounds about right.

        Man that prison would be filled to the brim.

        Like

      3. Scott says:

        Oh, I think Cour works better.

        Like

  3. ennadune says:

    I really love a few older anime and thoroughly enjoy the nostalgia that pops up everytime I rewatch them. They are tied to my childhood – a simple time with simple pleasures. Some of these old shows are pure gems and I’m not just talking about Cowboy Bebop. Things like Rurouni Kenshin, Cardcaptor Sakura, and heck, even stuff like Akazukin Chacha are so precious!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      I have a few older shows that are stuck in my mind too. Rurouni Kenshin being one of them as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ospreyshire says:

    Scott…THANK YOU!

    I have only been getting back into anime since last year and even more so ever since I started Iridium Eye Reviews as a hobby outside of work and my other creative projects. For me, it’s been baby steps with watching stuff I wanted to see back then, but never had the chance to. Interestingly enough, most of my anime reviews were from series or movies from the 90s to roughly the mid-00s.

    Much like watching older live action stuff, I began to expand my horizons by watching the older series I missed and by checking out anime that came out before I was born. There have been times where I was shocked by how well the animation and/or the story held up. That and connecting the dots to other series was fun in itself. Watching Key the Metal Idol was a big one because I could see that Evangelion and Lain may have been influenced by some aspects of that 90s OVA series.

    Only focusing on the newest anime can be so draining and it comes off as trend-hopping at times.

    Watching the GoShogun movie was interesting. Sure, one can tell it was made in the 80s and it has a couple of flawed aspects in the plot, but I really liked the surrealist take on action movies and the main character Remy would probably be even more popular now with her strong willpower and being able to kick just as much butt as her male teammates. You might be into that and one doesn’t need to watch the original TV series.

    Even though I like edgier and more adult things like Texhnolyze, Perfect Blue, or Monster, I will admit that I also enjoyed Kimba the White Lion. That was the first anime series to be created in color before Speed Racer existed. yes, it has some of that 60s cheesiness and censored aspects in the dub, but I was shocked how much depth there was with the themes and plot. Yes, I do admit that one of my big reasons for watching it was because of that infamous controversy tying it to another movie that Kimba predates by decades, but it certainly surprised me with Osamu Tezuka’s work. That and watching his experimental films was interesting even though I didn’t like all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      You’re welcome.

      Ah, that’s one way to get back into it all. I don’t think I ever stopped watching anime, but I’m still trying to fill in some gaps too. There are always gaps.

      I still need to put key on my list so I can it at some point. My to be watched list is way too long.

      It’s interesting that you bring up GoShogun. I’ve been slowly going through the series recently. Yes, it’s very 80’s, but the character interactions remind me a little bit of Netflix Voltron.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ospreyshire says:

        No problem, Scott.

        Yeah, I’ve had my ups and downs in addition to focusing on other endeavors all this time, but I’m happy that my affinity for anime, world cinema, and obscure movies became rekindled. I also felt more confident in what I like and able to be more honest with my opinions about anything. Also, doing some filming myself and storytelling, I can analyze those mechanics pretty well.

        I can say the same about my own to be watched list. Hahaha! I’ve got a ton of movies and series on there.

        Nice! I’m glad you know about that series. I haven’t seen the Netflix remake of Voltron, but I’ve seen reruns and that awful 90s CGI American remake though. It would be interesting to see the original GoLion or Dairugger XV series where Voltron got its footage from. Seeing the GoShogun series would be interesting, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. TPAB~ says:

    I like older anime for their discipline. the effort behind the production is more sincere and heartfelt that most of todays work. it’s the sign of the times, i guess.
    i also love the time capsule effect of old shows. dead tropes like crows going “aho”, or those rose Versailles shoujo eyes, and villains using diskettes to destroy the world makes me laugh sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      I agree. A lot of older shows have so much more passion behind them then a lot of mass produced shows that air today. Not saying that not all shows are passionless, but the fraction was a lot higher back then.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Krystallina says:

    We need more older manga as well. Both anime and manga publishers keep chasing after the latest licenses, but so many untouched and out-of-print gems are out there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      I am not much of a manga reader, but I agree. While more and more older series are getting licensed, yet, well, yeah you said this point already.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. magicconan14 says:

    Series in the past were more planned out, so you get less surprises like cliffhanger endings for entire seasons and forgotten plot twists. I think that’s the main thing I appreciate about older series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      It depends on the genre of the show, but that is definitely true.

      Like

  8. Glad to see my post about old Anime managed to inspire you to write this!

    You make some very solid arguments as to why we should watch older shows and Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the best examples you could give of an old Anime series that still holds up today animation wise, despite is fairly weak directing and art design in some areas. The fight animation in particular has held up fantastically, and HD remasters of various older shows, such as Cowboy Bebop, are gorgeous.

    All around, this is a very good post, and has me rethinking my stance on older Anime a little bit more. I definitely need to give the older shows more of a chance and overcome my minor annoyances. We’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Wow, I wasn’t expecting a response like that. Thank you for reading.

      Just don’t force yourself to watch every older show ever…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Any time man!

        I’ll do what I can 😛 Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A Library Archivist says:

    Once you watch Gundam, Voltron, and Getter Robo you can see Martian Successor Nadesico and get all the jokes. Similar situation with Record of Lodoss War, Slayers, and get the references in Rune Soldier Louie, all of which are influenced by the Japanese translation of the D&D dice game for Japan from the late 80’s. They are also in the same setting, but different time periods. Most anime with a fantasy sword and sorcery setting reference those too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. VZ Madness says:

    oh how i love this post, all of this year i have been watching older anime with a couple new anime here and there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      That’s the way to live. I barely escape from the shackles of seasonal anime to watch some older shows. So the reverse I suppose.

      Liked by 2 people

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