This spring season has brought about quite the beastly sense of nostalgia for me. I am honestly not sure if I’m feeling a tad bit more emotional due to recent personal growth, if it’s my atrocious allergies constantly trying to get me to sneeze my little brown head off, or if I’m merely getting old. Whatever the motives, I have been craving the aesthetics and storytelling beauty of retro—dare I even say vintage—anime serials. As such, for Spring this year I’ve decided to centre my anime shenanigans on titles from the 80s and 90s!
For my watchlist this year, I have a few shows that I began before I took a mental health and Life-is-Being-a-Ho break, which I shall pick up and continue until completion, along with four or five other serials that I’ve yet to begin but have been calling out to me for the last few weeks with weighty enthusiasm. I tried to diversify the genres, but I’m sure there are similarities since a very unique mood is the driving force behind the urge to return to the classics.
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to review each and every single title listed here once I’m finished with it, as I tend to do reviews for stuff when there’s something specific I’d like to discuss. But! If you would like me to review anything in this post, just leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do, chum. 😊
Anyhoo, let’s get to the list! If you see something interesting, click on the purple title to be magically transported to the AniList pages via a technical unicorn ride (I definitely need more coffee…). I’ll start with the new things and then share the continuations below that (in no particular order afterwards).
A seinen, space opera comedy series following the Dirty Pair—two lady agents in a duo team thing. Unlike other capable and highly trained agents sent out to deal with troublesome folx, if these ladies come your way, solving your problems shall come with a shite tonne of collateral damage.
Scott has spoken of this series a lot on his blog, Mechanical Anime Reviews, and my cousin was a huge fan of it as well (it’s thanks to him that I’m able to see these older golden hits), so they awoke my desire to watch Dirty Pair. While I have caught an episode here and there, I have never really sat down and watched the entire thing from start to finish.
A shōnen, isekai, fantasy mecha anime that actually started simulcasting on my eighth birthday (holy Christ, I’m old), revolving around a high school lady named Hitomi that gets transported to a magical world called Gaea from her comfort zone of Earth. Upon arriving, she bumps into a prince and gets immediately swept away in an epic quest to unite the warring countries, a journey that helps her discover that she has an awesome hidden ability all her own to turn the tides of conflict.
Um… it’s a mecha series that is quite famously renown and as a humongous fan of the mecha genre, I’m a bit ashamed I haven’t seen this yet (then again, I am finally making my way through Gundam, so it could be worse). Plus, I’ve owned this on Blu-ray for quite some time and I have no legitimate excuse for not having seen this anime yet, oops.
A shōnen, space opera parody about a dude named Tylor who’s always wanted to join the military for an easy and luxurious desk job with the cushy life it grants. But when he accidently falls into a hostage situation, and then saves the freaking admiral, Tylor ends up finding himself with the sweet gig of being captain of the space cruiser Soyokaze. The only real problem is that Tylor wouldn’t know responsibility and discipline from socks and bloomers, even if it bit him in the arse.
This looks and sounds fucking hilarious, I ain’t going to lie, chums. My cousin had been telling me for years and years to watch this because he felt it would be my cup o’ comedy chai. I’m not usually the best audience for parodies due how lost their puns and punchlines can be on me (at least where American parodies and media is concerned, maybe it’s a foreign kid thing). Even so, I have learned to trust my cousin’s judgment, especially when it comes to me. He always knew best.
A shōjo, supernatural horror series that initially began as a manga, and was then adapted into an OVA (I plan on watching this as well) before the tele series hit the screens. Evil Shinma are shape-shifting monsters and vampires that roam the Earth, seeking to unleash their badass malevolent bullshite onto the human race. Miyu, who’s a royal princess, is the Chosen One (there can be only one, after all) that’s tasked with banishing the wicked shenanigans from Earth, yet even Miyu herself is trapped between the two worlds of good and evil.
I have been craving good vampire media lately. Short of re-watching The Vampire Diaries yet again (don’t judge me), I thought it would be neat to see what anime offerings there were. I know this is considered to be a classic for many reasons and I always gravitated towards the GIFs way back when I had a Tumblr (soooo fucking old…), so naturally it found its place on this list.
For anime that I began in the second half of 2021 but ended putting a pause on for life, I’m going to briefly touch on them here. The first is Dragon Ball (1986). When I initially started this anime about ten years ago, I made it approximately forty episodes in. But then I let a friend borrow my DVDs and never ever got them back (we are definitely not friends anymore). After replacing that set, I am excited to start and finish the series this time. Seeing the uncensored Japanese originals is quite a bit more fun(nier) than the Western releases.
Berserk (1997) was another anime I began last year, but after Kentarō Miura-sensei’s passing… I just haven’t been able to pick up the series—manga or otherwise—without sobbing. His brilliance literally moves me to tears every time, particularly when I think about how young he was and the immensity of the talent that the world lost upon his demise. Nevertheless, even if it makes me cry, I want to complete it all and truly celebrate his work by the phenomenal feelings it gives me.
Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) is not technically an 80s anime, but since it finished in 1980 (the first series anyway), I thought I could sneak it in. Last year when I began Gundam, I was expecting good storytelling but, to be frank, I was also expecting it to be extremely corny and hefty in its datedness. But it quickly shut me the fluff up because it not only has some of the best storytelling I’ve seen in the mecha genre, but the animation quality, the music, and the sheer level of evocativeness is astounding. I’m both vehemently excited yet horribly reluctant to finish this, even more so as a Second World War history buff (from the Asian perspectives).
Mecha-doc (1984) is something I started this year. It’s one of the serials I inherited from my cousin after his passing and it had a bright pink sticky note on it that said, “Watch this first, or I’ll haunt your weak ass for life, killing your Initial D game.” I kid you not. It made me laugh and then cry and then curious. So, I started ‘er up. I’m only a handful of episodes in but… I understand why my cousin wanted me to see this. I’m really sad I didn’t get to watch it with him because that would’ve been the greatest thing in life, second only to my cats. Even so, I’m incredibly grateful to make my way through it now. It’s been helping me with processing his loss.
That is my slightly ambitious watchlist for the Spring season. I haven’t had a chance to check out the simulcasts yet, and I will be honest, I don’t know if I will have the time to devote to simulcasting shindigs with working 80 hours a week, not including author work, and trying to keep my old cats from eating my new cat. But if something does strike me as irresistibly curious, I will for sure share those with you.
For anyone who has ever been hesitant on picking up retro and/or vintage anime for the simple reason of it being “dated” in various forms, don’t let that deter you, please. A lot of the anime as you know it today had their foundations laid out in these much, much older serials and stories. It actually makes me appreciate the modern industry even more intimately because we get to witness how it has grown with Japan and Japanese artistic culture and contemporary society over the decades, particularly in a post-war era. So… go watch the vintage things. All the vintage things. (Samurai Pizza Cats… go watch this gloriousness; I should do episodic musings of this; it would just be posts of me laughing my arse off and going ‘oooh samurai kitty!’)