Ever since the Watch 70’s Anime panel I went to at Sakura-Con 2022, I’ve just been thinking more and more about it. You can read my initial thoughts on the panel here: Link. But there are so many things to think about anime from that time period that I can’t stop thinking about. For instance, did you know that Mazinger Z was not the first mecha series with a pilot-able robot. It was instead, Astroganger by Studio Knack. Yeah, the infamous Studio Knack that produced Chargeman Ken. Knack didn’t know what they were doing, but they did it anyway and that is what is so fascinating about 70’s anime.
This was a time period where the famous people we know were still coming to terms of what anime was. It was a time period where the genres that many of us knew these days. Not just mecha becoming how we know it these, but magical girl shows becoming more recognizable too. Then there is teh appearance romance dramas, sports anime, historical dramas, whatever Lupin is, and moe. Yeah, moe originated in the 1970’s and its kind of amazing to think about isn’t it? Things went from episodic shows to slowly gaining their stories as these early creators find their styles and tricks to make some foundation works. It’s incredible to see that.
I have not watched enough 1970’s anime to say this, but its really fun to see anime find its footing. For instance, the first Lupin part is the oldest anime series that I’ve ever watched and its really suffered to find its way in telling the stories in the way it wanted to. Not to mention the production was so hodge podged that you can feel all the struggle of the people behind it until Miyazaki and Takahata came around to make it a much cleaner production. That was 1971 and that show had four different openings until one similar to what we know came around.
There is another tool or things that comes from older anime that feels like a lost art now. Its the art of portraying things through minimalism. This is in early 80’s series too until the boom where animation took off like crazy, but framing a shot in a way without animation to capture the mood of a situation or impact without much animation in them. I keep thinking about so many of the shots in Captain Harlock that express so much with moving anywhere. Its incredible. I mean, there are some sakuga shots with Captain Harlock with the Arcadia, but they are rare and valuable. TV animation is still cool.
By the end of the 70’s, I think anime was completely understood. It found a form to exist and people worked hard to get it there. You can see that with Rose of Versailles, Captain Harlock, Mobile Suit Gundam, and so many series from the late 70’s that are iconic now. It was a growing time period with so many series leading finding crevices to make anime into something sustainable and lovable. So many growth pains, but it was so worth it. I need to watch more from this era. There is just so much that I haven’t watched yet and that panel really showed me that. Especially since I am interested in anime’s history.