Another year of firsts for Japanese Animation, and no signs of slowing down. A number of series kept anime rolling in good times throughout the year, and still managed to include less mecha than resident writer Hss would like.
Hello once again, and welcome back to another A Year of Anime in Review post! For those you joining in on the fun for the first time, I thank you very much for taking the time and reading my article. For the returning readers, thank you just as much as well, because I wouldn’t be doing this without your support! Any way, lets get down to some details!
1984 is a special year to me, not only because of the anime that were released; it’s also the year of my birth. Very interesting things happened in this year, as it was another year of firsts. Not the kind that one would expect however. Lolita Anime holds the crown title of being former resident writer McNagah’s favorite anime, but also being the first Hentai OVA to be released. Some say that was Creamy Lemon, I say some people are wrong. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Ümlauts was the first anime that Studio Ghibli ever made, again, some say that because the studio wasn’t formed until after the release, it’s not the first. Most people and sites (although MAL credits it to another studio, but the fact remains that it was retroactively added to the Ghibli family of movies) recognize it as being the first Ghibli anime, so there you have it.
JAPANESE ANIME… AND THE NOOZLES TOO
THE NOOZLES – This Totally Counts
Oh boy, the Noozles. Most people would be really suprised if you told them that this was an anime, and rightfully so, because it came on Nickelodeon. It may or may not have been part of your childhood memories, but who could forget the dulcet tones of the intro to Noozles?
I’ll take the time to note that in ’84, American cartoon producers found out real fast that animation costs a lot of money. It was a much simpler time, and if you were trying to push your latest toy line, the only way to get the exposure was to advertise the toys on tv and in ads of various flavors. That’s not the problem, the problem is retaining the children’s interest in the product so they could tell their parent to go buy them the toys.
The solution? An expensive, 30 minute weekly ad with a storyline to keep the kids hooked. However animation can take time, skill, and most importantly, money. So the solution was to draw from the pool of talented artists and designers in Japan, and the ease of which they could do that was aided by the burgeoning economy of Japan in the 80’s. Use of this cheaper talent led to many of the endearing cartoons we remember with a slight hint of sadness and nostalgia, from the halcyon days of our youth, but never truly forgotten, like the Noozles.
MACROSS: DO YOU REMEMBER LOVE – All You Need Is Love, Again
I really like this movie, and as you know, I really like Macross. The really interesting thing about this movie is how it fits with the canon of Macross: It’s treated as a movie within a show; Do You Remember Love? is a movie made in the fictional universe of the Macross series. Hard to follow, but fun to watch.
However it fits in the canon, there is no doubt that this movie really changed up the feel of the Macross series. It featured a whole host of changes like mecha redesigns, the Zentradi language, the fact that the Zentradi speak it, and some other minor details that gave the series a much deeper feel, obviously benefiting from the worldbuilding. In my opinion, the Zentradi speaking an alien language is bit less impacting, as it seemed more harsh and brutal to be fighting and killing aliens that spoke the same language as us. It made the Zentradi feel more human and made it just that more gruesome to watch them get killed.
More prominently though, are the huge deviation from the canon and storyline, but that’s more nitpicking and up to viewer if they really care or not. Do You Remember Love is a solid addition to any library, and I really recommend you give it a try.
NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND – Something About Bugs
Environmentalism sure is fun. It’s fun for everyone, those affected by, and those that cause it. Sometimes, just sometimes, we get good, solid Chinese cartoons like Nausicaa. It’s about the respect for nature, the acknowledgement that nature is just as living and breathing as we. The story pulls from real life events and other stories, Dune, being one of them. It doesn’t explicitly share any common terminology or make up, but the concept of the Worm, and that the people best suited to surviving in the wasteland world are those who have respect for the planet and nature.
Warriors of the Wind. Watch it, love it, feel the pulse of 80’s US commerce lifestyle. Bring your katana, because there’s a ton of content to cut. Like the environmentalist preaching.
LUPIN III – You’ve Been Struck By A Smooth Criminal
A lot of US fans of Lupin III need to own up about watching this on Adult Swim. You wouldn’t think it’d be a problem, but enough act like hipsters and make up johns like having seen it “on VHS” or etc. Any who, Lupin III is really just the silly version of James Bond and other assorted crime thriller protagonist, but that’s his charm: He can bumble like an idiot and make a fool of himself, but still retain the swagger of an international criminal. A lot of modern character have a hard time balancing their act, sometimes when a scene is played for laughs, all it does is add on negative characterization, case in point is the smart guy being socially inept, and flounders around communications with girls. It’s a staple of the anime Romance genre. Lupin, does not.
It’s a definite watch for anyone serious about getting into 80’s animation, and it’s also fun. So kick back, steal some finery and jewels, and wait for INTERPOL to bust you for copying that floppy.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR – Japanese Mel Gibson Will Punch You
Tomes can be written about Fist of the North Star. Thank goodness someone made a song to fill in for what words couldn’t inscribe.
VOLTRON, DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE – It’s Morphin’ Time!
I deliberately reposted this image. Why? In the US, a storm was brewing. That storm was fucking VOLTON, DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE. Oh fuck, this show was rad. It pretty much became the bulk of my later childhood, and a big reason why I’m such a weaboo, even though I live a rather normal life. This is it right here, if you need a reason to watch early 80’s animation, Voltron will light a fire in your heart that will never burn out. Like Centralia.
10bit: In commemoration of my birth year, I have made a new avatar. No more Antoinette for me, sadly. Any who, another fun A Year Of Anime in Review post as usual, this time a little more unfinished then the rest because I didn’t include the release of Transformers or any other notable US cartoons. I’d like to give my condolences to IllegalCyrus-kun, I’ll start adding in a section for your favorite robots in disguise.