The Golden Years of Anime

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http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/bt/the-sage/anime-abandon/38742-anime-abandon-macross-plus-part-ii
For those of you who follow him, Bennett the Sage's webseries, Anime Abandon, has spent the last two episodes talking about the OVA Macross Plus, which he considers one of the greatest animated series of all time. Towards the end of the second video, he talks about how he fell out of Anime for around six years, because the oversaturation of the market and the higher emphasis on fanservice drove him away.

It got me wondering: are Anime's golden years behind us? Whenever I see the bi-weekly anime list threads pop up around here, the majority of the shows I could not identify. Sure, they might be good shows, but I never felt the same impact that the heavy hitters of the 90s provided. There is just something that goes beyond mere nostalgia with older titles that really sticks with me. I'm not sure if it is the visual styles clicking better with my retro sensibilities, or if the market during the 90s helped distill anime of the time to its best shows only, weeding out lesser titles. (I know, a lot of crap came out in the 90s too, but most of them get forgotten)

I mean, shonen series for example. There are hundreds of them out there. The three giants in the industry at the moment are Shonen series. But I don't feel the same way about them that I do Dragonball. I'm not sure why that is. I mean, Naruto started airing in Canada in 2005. I was 12 at the time, so I would have been in the primary target demographic for the show. But it never stuck with me the way DBZ did, which I watched when I was six.

Is the more open market for anime, with sites like Crunchyroll, allowing more series to dilute the art form? Thanks to the law of averages, more shows being streamed means more good shows arrive as a statistical fact. But while we are getting more good series, are they truly "great" series, or just decent? With an anime market that aggressively targets smaller and smaller niches in Japan to appeal to the money splurging otaku, and a western market that has never been larger devouring any new release they can grab, are we seeing a negative effect on the medium? I can hardly tell two highschool anime apart these days, while I can immediately tell the difference between two sci-fi series like Macross/Gundam, or Cowboy Bebop/Outlaw Star.

I want to say that I am not trying to harp on modern anime here. Particularly with regards to films, I have found a bunch of really good things in modern stuff as well. (Sword of the Stranger is a fucking good movie)

What do you think? What would you consider the Golden years of Anime? This is not a lists thread, I am not looking for recommendations. Give me your opinions, not your list of stuff to watch.

EDIT
Allow me to reiterate: I do not want to see your goddamn lists. If you can't articulate your point without relying on a list saying "this is good stuff" without anything to back it up, just don't post until you have something useful to say.

I wouldn't consider myself knowledgeable in anime at all, but using the few series' I have watched I'd say the overall quality has probably remained rather consistent depending on where you're looking.

I'm in the process of watching Outlaw Star for the first time, for instance. While I will admit it's got a pretty neat premise and really good animation, both the Japanese and English dubbings just seem... off. The English voices feel like they fit better, but because they tried matching the flow of the original Japanese, there are many instances where the dialogue feels fast, forced, and stilted. And then the original Japanese voices just don't really feel like they suit the characters they're placed to.

On the other side of the coin, Cowboy Bebop holds up like a masterpiece, outside of one particularly terrible English voice actress in a bit part of the very first episode and the fact that they seemed to completely forget Edward's character and abilities.

Dragonball Z... for all the nostalgia I have for it (considering that alongside Pokemon and Digimon it was one of the three anime I actually watched as a child), it varies more wildly in quality than any other series I've watched. The two 'Mon shows are pretty terrible, but consistently so and they reach a level of being so bad that they're pretty enjoyable to watch regardless of that. DBZ has a ton of really good stuff, and then gets marred down by the sheer amount of padded filling they put in (which I've heard is actually less than the manga series had?) and the convoluted nature of how dying is a serious thing, but only sometimes when the plot dictates.

Then I look at three "modern" anime series' that I've really enjoyed as well: Baccano!, Steins;Gate, and Persona 4: The Animation. I would definitely say that they hold up against the likes of Cowboy Bebop pretty well, even if they don't have the advantage of Steve Blum.

With my limited exposure and knowledge, I would say that the state of anime is probably not that far different from the state of most other things in the entertainment industry - That is to say, there was always a huge amount of crap out there, but it was much more difficult to find a decade ago than it is today.

I loathe most (popular) modern anime. It's just so packed with creepy, blatant fanservice, shitty writing, shitty dialogue, tired cliches played straight, and sterile animation with no soul.

Now, that's not to say that this didn't exist in older anime, but I think that the core viewership is spooning all that shit down their mouths, smiling, and then asking for seconds. It makes it terribly hard to actually find[1] quality animation.

I think the only really new anime that I've watched and liked has been Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.[2]

[1] And produce, I'd imagine.
[2] Which, by the way, is fucking awesome. Go watch that shit.

Meaning of Karma:
I loathe most (popular) modern anime. It's just so packed with creepy, blatant fanservice, shitty writing, shitty dialogue, tired cliches played straight, and sterile animation with no soul.

Now, that's not to say that this didn't exist in older anime, but I think that the core viewership is spooning all that shit down their mouths, smiling, and then asking for seconds. It makes it terribly hard to actually find quality animation.

I think the only really new anime that I've watched and liked has been Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.

The problem with series nowadays is that they are increasingly pandering towards Otaku with expendable income to front their series. While in North America a DVD box set can go from anywhere between 40 to 70 bucks, over there they will spend insane amounts on half that amount of content. So in order to keep the Otakus happy, they pander. And pander. And pander.

You bring up another thing that bugs me with modern stuff. It looks too flat. I know, this is a weird nitpick for 2D animation, but everything looks superimposed over a background image, and then covered up with a lense flare and camera tricks. Stuff like Outlaw Star has got decent shading and some insanely detailed backdrops that give off a sense of visual depth. Everything feels like it is part of the image, with the characters interacting with objects that feel like they share the same world.

I think one of the big issues is the availability of series nowadays. Think about how hard it used to be to get your hands onto tapes. It used to be about as hard as finding the Roger Corman Fantastic Four or Star Wars Holiday Special. With stuff that hard to find, it usually weeded out the crap from the quality titles. And then once the massive boom through 1995-1999 hit, a ton of stuff began popping up. But you would still have these tape dealers to get more of the seinen series.

Now, this is nitpicking, I fully admit, but I love oldschool anime visual styles. The spiky hair, the overdone backdrops, and the big boxy robots with cheesy sound effects. Something almost synonymous with 90s anime was the use of darkness. It added an implied depth to an image without costing too much. A fair tradeoff for the atmosphere it added.

I don't keep up with new releases but rather just watch stuff that catches my eye here and there but I always had the impression that whenever people complain about fan service or sloppy writing or whatever in modern Japanese animation they just watch the wrong kind.
I mean, it's pretty understandable that you get a lot of semi-sexualisation in animation aimed at teenage boys or plots that don't necessarily make sense. I, for one, don't really watch shonen and I can't even think of an animation with sexual fan service. There's a lot of well written and animated stuff out there and always has been, it's just more difficult to find in the kid section.

As for "golden years" as you put it I don't think there is such a thing, at least not from my perspective. What I've watched and liked from around hundred series (which isn't much for a reliable estimation, admittedly) seems to be distributed pretty evenly across the last twenty years. Maybe the stuff aimed at kids/teenagers has indeed dropped in quality but that's not something I can assess.

Also you'd probably have to take the development of manga into account when discussing animation trends (at least as far as the writing goes), considering that the vast majority of Japanese animation consists of manga adaptations. Maybe it's the shonen manga that have dropped in quality and the animation studios just struggle to find good adaptation material?

Either way, I'm sure there've always been crap animations, 'cause Sturgeon's Law and everything.

For a guy who spends his time reviewing some of the absolute crap that was released back in his so called 'Golden Age', Bennett comes off as a little confused.

The very concept of golden years in any form of media is ridiculous to me. The only reason people look back at say, the 70s or the 60s (or in this case, the 90s) and say they were a golden year for anything is because all the lame, forgettable stuff has died and is barely known by anyone. From about the year 2000 to now has been astonishingly good for anime and manga, and consistently astonishing too. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original and Brotherhood), Baccano! FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Eva Rebuild, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Eden of the East, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Gurren Laggenn, Rahxephon, When They Cry, Elfen Lied, Monster, Code Geass, Hellsing Ultimate, Requiem from the Darkness ... There's a massive list of great anime that's been made in the past ten or so years. Even stuff like Highschool of the Dead was unjustifiably good. If that was made in the 90s, it would be poorly animated, badly dubbed shit.

The 90s did have some classic shows, but things only become classics over time and with hindsight. For every Cowboy Bebop there were a hundred Angel Cop's. You can complain about how modern anime is filled with fanservice, but it's no worse than it was in these so called 'Golden Years'.

FargoDog:
For a guy who spends his time reviewing some of the absolute crap that was released back in his so called 'Golden Age', Bennet comes off as a little confused.

The very concept of golden years in any form of media is ridiculous to me. The only reason people look back at say, the 70s or the 60s (or in this case, the 90s) and say they were a golden year for anything is because all the lame, forgettable stuff has died and is barely known by anyone. From about the year 2000 to now has been astonishingly good for anime and manga, and consistently astonishing too. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original and Brotherhood), Baccano! FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Eva Rebuild, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Eden of the East, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Gurren Laggenn, Rahxephon, When They Cry, Elfen Lied, Monster, Code Geass, Hellsing Ultimate, Requiem from the Darkness ... There's a massive list of great anime that's been made in the past ten or so years. Even stuff like Highschool of the Dead was unjustifiably good. If that was made in the 90s, it would be poorly animated, badly dubbed shit.

The 90s did have some classic shows, but things only become classics over time and with hindsight. For every Cowboy Bebop there were a hundred Angel Cop's. You can complain about how modern anime is filled with fanservice, but it's no worse than it was in these so called 'Golden Years'.

Thank you for writing for me.

yeah, there's plenty of good stuff if you look hard enough. Hell, 2011 brought us Puella Magi Madoka Magica and steins;gate, so I'd say that was a pretty awesome year.

00's has way way way more great animes than the 90's.

I do agree however that nowadays the artstyle most animes choose isn't very pretty. I love art like Lain. But even then, we have good artstyle right now, look at Usagi Drop or Mushishi.

There might be more crap, but there's also more great animes recently. Well, I too lost interest during the last year, but I'm sure some of them are good, maybe 3 per year are very good.
It's just sturgeon's law.

There was a lot of great stuff that came out in the 90's, yeah. But, there is still plenty of awesome modern anime as well. You just have to look for it.

I am in agreement with what most people above are saying. The "Golden Years" didn't really exist as such. There was just as much terrible anime with fanservice and such in the 90's as there are now. The difference is most of it was not brought outside of the Japanese market, or to North America at any rate. We got a combination of classic anime and stuff that would market to children (e.g. Pokemon). But even then, you still would have had the fanservice problem.

Look at Outlaw Star, for instance. When it originally playing on Adult Swim, they cut out an entire episode (the hot springs planet) because of all the censoring they would have to do. Not to mention the swimsuit style clothing they added to Melfina, since she is originally naked when she first appears and whenever she is in the ship.

Or, take Cowboy Bebop and the way Faye dresses. Pretty skimpy, right? And look especially at some of the camera angles used that occasionally focus on her T&A. There's no nudity, but it still qualifies as fanservice to me. It's still a fantastic series, a classic in every way, despite this.

Hell, even DBZ has nudity and such (when unedited), though not necessarily used for fanservice. But then you have all the nosebleeds Kame-sennin (Master Roshi) suffers when around pretty women.

Many of the classic anime movies have this too. Vampire Hunter D, one of the oldest anime's that I have seen, had a boob shot right at the beginning and a nude scene (Doris in the shower, though I think that was more used to express her feeling of vulnerability rather than just fanservice). Ninja Scroll had a near rape scene and a sex scene. Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell is constantly naked in the movie (and her getup in Stand Alone Complex is ridiculous and I'm glad it was better in 2nd Gig). All of these were classic movies and fantastic in my mind, but they do have elements of fanservice to them.

There's plenty of fantastic anime out currently, it's just now we also have access to a lot of the drek which we didn't have in the past, so sometimes we have to wade through the crap to find the gems. Reviews from others can help, but opinion always factors into the equation. I don't think I have seen an anime yet that I decided was crap and not worth watching (though there are sections of filler for long running shows that fall into this category). I have enjoyed Shonen shows like Naruto and Bleach when I was watching them. I've enjoyed zany off the wall shows like Excel Saga, FLCL and Gintama. Serious or complex things like Ghost in the Shell, Death Note, or Ergo Proxy. Classic comedies like Ranma 1/2 or mecha shows like all the Gundams. I enjoy it all. But some people are turned off my one thing or another so may hate something you would love and vice versa.

There is no 'golden age of anime' because each period see's its share of the shit and the good. I'll watch the older stuff like the slayers and DBZ, but to be honest the present is a better time for anime if you are a westerner. As we have the internet and Steve Blum, whereas in the past we wouldnt have been exposed to much other than DBZ on cartoon network.
Now Anime is creeping nearer and nearer towards the main stream we will get more dubs and interest from voice actors, and we will get the old stuff released in 'hd' re-releases.

So there is no golden age there will always be good stuff and bad stuff being released, and all anime will become increasingly more available as sharing technology grows in prevalence.

I could never get into DBZ, or Bleach, or Naruto. Anything like that really.
Big fan of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Ghost in the Shell, and Berserk though.
The new Berserk films are the only anime I've watched recently.

There was also a Devil May Cry series, it was not too bad.

I think the problem is that shows like Sekirei, Queens Blade and other 'moe'/fanservice type shows grab more attention than they deserve, often through the misconception that these kind of shows are the big and popular things in japan right now. They aren't popular, they are profitable, but only because they laser target themselves at a small niche audience of 500 or so fans with the right tastes and disposable income to be willing and able to drop $250-500 on boxsets that would cost a tenth of that outside of Japan. (as a sidenote, this is why the US Bluray release of the Persona 4 anime has no Japanese language track - to stop Japanese fans from importing it at a fraction of the price of the domestic boxset)

To me I would say the Golden age is either the birth of anime sweeping across the West during the 90's (Dragonball Z Tenchi Muyo and Gundam Wing) or the birth of it becoming mainstream (pretty much somewhere around or after Cowboy Bebop hit the West).

Soviet Heavy:

I mean, shonen series for example. There are hundreds of them out there. The three giants in the industry at the moment are Shonen series. But I don't feel the same way about them that I do Dragonball. I'm not sure why that is. I mean, Naruto started airing in Canada in 2005. I was 12 at the time, so I would have been in the primary target demographic for the show. But it never stuck with me the way DBZ did, which I watched when I was six.

DBZ? Well, that thing just dragged on too much. What, they're STILL on Namek? Didn't they say the planet was about to go kablooey in five minutes, seven episodes ago?

I personally don't think that anime was "better" in any past year, it's more like that I didn't even encounter it much for years, what with having my day eaten up by other things, so I most likely did miss out on a lot of stuff.

It's all a matter of personal preference in the end though.

Meaning of Karma:
I loathe most (popular) modern anime. It's just so packed with creepy, blatant fanservice, shitty writing, shitty dialogue, tired cliches played straight, and sterile animation with no soul.

But is that a new thing, or is it something that you loathe "now" while "back then" it was a novelty, something new and worthy of attention? Because I do remeber a lot of blatant fanservice, bad writing, and cliches in the animes that basically did the foothold-securing part for the genre in the West...

I mean, seriously, didn't you say Namek would be destroyed in five minutes, seven episodes ago? >.>

I haven't watched that much anime recently, I don't know if the number of 'annoyingly pandering fanservice'-animes is much bigger than it was.

But I have read some comments lately, from Bennett and elsewhere, that glorifies things about older anime that I dislike, and rallies against modern developments that I like. The art style is a big one. Many people seem to love the highly detailed art styles where nothing moves. Or where the three layers of the picture move at slightly different speeds to suggest that the perspective is totally changing.

And they recoil in horror when, in a modern anime, acharacter goes 'off-model' which they seem to apply to any moment when the character is drawn slightly less detailed during scenes where he moves and changes position a lot. As opposed to the old style of movement, which is a still image or a short loop of the character with speed-lines in the background.

I'm pretty much the opposite on this. I like more mobile characters and shots, even if that means not being able to see every speck of dust on the character. There's only so much enjoyment I can get out of martial arts scenes that are displayed entirely by still shots of one opponent shouting in front of speed lines (his fist moving slightly in the x-y direction on the screen with respect to the x-y position of the character. OMG it's like totally as if his fist is closer to the camera guys!), then a shot of the other opponent doing the same, a white flash, and then one opponent falling down.

Give me the fight scenes of Samurai Champloo any day of the week.

FargoDog:
For a guy who spends his time reviewing some of the absolute crap that was released back in his so called 'Golden Age', Bennett comes off as a little confused.

The very concept of golden years in any form of media is ridiculous to me. The only reason people look back at say, the 70s or the 60s (or in this case, the 90s) and say they were a golden year for anything is because all the lame, forgettable stuff has died and is barely known by anyone. From about the year 2000 to now has been astonishingly good for anime and manga, and consistently astonishing too. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original and Brotherhood), Baccano! FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Eva Rebuild, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Eden of the East, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Gurren Laggenn, Rahxephon, When They Cry, Elfen Lied, Monster, Code Geass, Hellsing Ultimate, Requiem from the Darkness ... There's a massive list of great anime that's been made in the past ten or so years. Even stuff like Highschool of the Dead was unjustifiably good. If that was made in the 90s, it would be poorly animated, badly dubbed shit.

The 90s did have some classic shows, but things only become classics over time and with hindsight. For every Cowboy Bebop there were a hundred Angel Cop's. You can complain about how modern anime is filled with fanservice, but it's no worse than it was in these so called 'Golden Years'.

Pretty much this. Anyone who makes an argument about anime's "Golden Years" knows nothing about the medium as a whole. Sturgeon's Law applies and so does subjective opinion. Just because you think something is bad doesn't mean it isn't. 2007 and 2011 are widely regarded by most anime enthusiasts for being some of the best years ever in regards to anime due to the sheer amount of high quality anime from a variety of genres. The industry is thriving after all. Here, have some images that mock such arguments.

sextus the crazy:

FargoDog:
For a guy who spends his time reviewing some of the absolute crap that was released back in his so called 'Golden Age', Bennet comes off as a little confused.

The very concept of golden years in any form of media is ridiculous to me. The only reason people look back at say, the 70s or the 60s (or in this case, the 90s) and say they were a golden year for anything is because all the lame, forgettable stuff has died and is barely known by anyone. From about the year 2000 to now has been astonishingly good for anime and manga, and consistently astonishing too. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original and Brotherhood), Baccano! FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Eva Rebuild, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Eden of the East, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Gurren Laggenn, Rahxephon, When They Cry, Elfen Lied, Monster, Code Geass, Hellsing Ultimate, Requiem from the Darkness ... There's a massive list of great anime that's been made in the past ten or so years. Even stuff like Highschool of the Dead was unjustifiably good. If that was made in the 90s, it would be poorly animated, badly dubbed shit.

The 90s did have some classic shows, but things only become classics over time and with hindsight. For every Cowboy Bebop there were a hundred Angel Cop's. You can complain about how modern anime is filled with fanservice, but it's no worse than it was in these so called 'Golden Years'.

Thank you for writing for me.

yeah, there's plenty of good stuff if you look hard enough. Hell, 2011 brought us Puella Magi Madoka Magica and steins;gate, so I'd say that was a pretty awesome year.

I agree as well.

There is still plenty of good/great stuff around today. It can be difficult to find, and it must seem near non-existant to find if you aren't even keeping up with anime in general, but it is definitely there (See the list in the above quote). Even in genres which are generally considered to be tired and dead, there are often still great titles to be had. Like with shonen, there is One Piece which was my undisputed favorite up until recently, but that position might be up for grabs as I have recently started watching another shonen called Hunter x Hunter, the 2011 version. I consider both series to be masterpieces in their own ways, One Piece for knowing not to take itself too seriously, and Hunter x Hunter for taking itself seriously, but doing it amazingly well in my opinion. Both seem to be breaking the mold within their respective genre, and are definitely amazing, and have gripped me in a way that no other show has. Granted, they both started back in 1997 & 1998, but they are still completely relevant and on-going today.

FargoDog:
For a guy who spends his time reviewing some of the absolute crap that was released back in his so called 'Golden Age', Bennett comes off as a little confused.

The very concept of golden years in any form of media is ridiculous to me. The only reason people look back at say, the 70s or the 60s (or in this case, the 90s) and say they were a golden year for anything is because all the lame, forgettable stuff has died and is barely known by anyone. From about the year 2000 to now has been astonishingly good for anime and manga, and consistently astonishing too. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original and Brotherhood), Baccano! FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Eva Rebuild, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Eden of the East, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Gurren Laggenn, Rahxephon, When They Cry, Elfen Lied, Monster, Code Geass, Hellsing Ultimate, Requiem from the Darkness ... There's a massive list of great anime that's been made in the past ten or so years. Even stuff like Highschool of the Dead was unjustifiably good. If that was made in the 90s, it would be poorly animated, badly dubbed shit.

The 90s did have some classic shows, but things only become classics over time and with hindsight. For every Cowboy Bebop there were a hundred Angel Cop's. You can complain about how modern anime is filled with fanservice, but it's no worse than it was in these so called 'Golden Years'.

Eh, I don't know.

You look at some of the features from the 80's and 90's, like Akira, Neo Tokyo Labyrinth, Robot Carnival, Ghost in the Shell, and Memories, and you see a skill there that doesn't seem to be present in modern anime anymore. This is mostly due to masters like Katsuhiro Otomo and Koji Morimoto no longer being active in the industry anymore, and no new talent really taking their place.

There was a lot of weird crap back then, but that's kinda what made a lot of it so interesting. You never really knew what you were going to get.

I also feel that ever since anime went digital it's lost a lot of its visual texture and warmth. You look at shows and movies from the 80's and 90's, and you can really feel the penmanship in the animation and the brushstrokes of the backgrounds. Now it all just feel too clean and sterile. Perfect example are the new Berserk movies. Jesus Christ.

There's still good stuff scattered around here and there, but nothing that truly breaks out and shows us what the medium of animation is capable of. Back in the 80's anime really gave Disney a run for its money in terms of pure animation prowess.

Show me something modern that can stack up to this.

Casual Shinji:

FargoDog:
For a guy who spends his time reviewing some of the absolute crap that was released back in his so called 'Golden Age', Bennett comes off as a little confused.

The very concept of golden years in any form of media is ridiculous to me. The only reason people look back at say, the 70s or the 60s (or in this case, the 90s) and say they were a golden year for anything is because all the lame, forgettable stuff has died and is barely known by anyone. From about the year 2000 to now has been astonishingly good for anime and manga, and consistently astonishing too. Fullmetal Alchemist (the original and Brotherhood), Baccano! FLCL, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya, Eva Rebuild, Paprika, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Eden of the East, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Gurren Laggenn, Rahxephon, When They Cry, Elfen Lied, Monster, Code Geass, Hellsing Ultimate, Requiem from the Darkness ... There's a massive list of great anime that's been made in the past ten or so years. Even stuff like Highschool of the Dead was unjustifiably good. If that was made in the 90s, it would be poorly animated, badly dubbed shit.

The 90s did have some classic shows, but things only become classics over time and with hindsight. For every Cowboy Bebop there were a hundred Angel Cop's. You can complain about how modern anime is filled with fanservice, but it's no worse than it was in these so called 'Golden Years'.

Eh, I don't know.

You look at some of the features from the 80's and 90's, like Akira, Neo Tokyo Labyrinth, Robot Carnival, Ghost in the Shell, and Memories, and you see a skill there that doesn't seem to be present in modern anime anymore. This is mostly due to masters like Katsuhiro Otomo and Koji Morimoto no longer being active in the industry anymore, and no new talent really taking their place.

There was a lot of weird crap back then, but that's kinda what made a lot of it so interesting. You never really knew what you were going to get.

I also feel that ever since anime went digital it's lost a lot of its visual texture and warmth. You look at shows and movies from the 80's and 90's, and you can really feel the penmanship in the animation and the brushstrokes of the backgrounds. Now it all just feel too clean and sterile. Perfect example are the new Berserk movies. Jesus Christ.

There's still good stuff scattered around here and there, but nothing that truly breaks out and shows us what the medium of animation is capable of. Back in the 80's anime really gave Disney a run for its money in terms of pure animation prowess.

Show me something modern that can stack up to this.

I love animation like that, but they're rare unfortunately. And it's usually only found in movies.

Check Sword of the Stranger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xryoNr_qhyI *(last battle, don't watch it if you're going to watch the movie.)
Also check 5 cm per second if you want great art.

Anoni Mus:
I love animation like that, but they're rare unfortunately. And it's usually only found in movies.

Check Sword of the Stranger http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xryoNr_qhyI *(last battle, don't watch it if you're going to watch the movie.)
Also check 5 cm per second if you want great art.

It looks pretty good, though I've never been a big fan of anime shaky cam.

It's not just anime though. Western traditional animation peaked early too, and then sloped down never to reach that height ever again. You take a look at Pinocchio, specifically the end with Monstro the whale... The fact that all that was achieved with hand drawn frames is mind boggling.

I'll be honest, "Fan Service" is just fine and honestly one of the things that attracted me to Anime was that they weren't willing to pull punches when it came to the sexuality and violence the way western media did. My only problem with "Fan Service" is when that becomes the entire point as opposed to being something tacked onto an otherwise good work of science fiction or fantasy.

To be honest the golden age of Anime was during the 1990s. The relative newness of it and the expense of getting the stuff brought into the US meant that the people doing so were VERY selective of what made it to a US market, there was a reason why people were paying $30 for a VHS of a couple of anime episodes. As things became increasingly mainstream you started seeing more and more garbage being shoveled onto the market, while it was slow all through the 2000s we saw a ton of this garbage, most of it low grade, enter the market which lead at first to a fan boom, but then to eventually chasing away a fan base that didn't want to pay top dollar for low-grade, badly animated, badly written garbage. It didn't help that by going mainstream what was once ignored, flying under the radar, got attention from goverment censors who started seriously paying attention to the content and pretty much slicing out or softening a lot of the content, removing a lot of the ultra violence, or sexuality from the products. In some cases things going so far as titles like "Puni Puni Poemy" (an Excel Saga spin off) getting involved in legal battles in Canada and New Zealand. Which in turn seems to have lead to further censorship, and even Japan modifying it's work which was one time known for being irreverant in a "I didn't just see that, I really didn't" sense, to a more "acceptable" level before translation gets involved. Basically the international market and popularity having poisoned the well, leading to the degeneration of
the product itself to the point where not as many people even want it.

Such are my thoughts and observations.

I'm one of those people who can honestly say "I was into Anime, before Anime was cool" with an interest going back to the 1980s when I was pretty young (and I mean beyond Robotech), I was there when we started to see it rise during the 1990s, and then followed it after the new millenium for a while as my interest faded along with my abillity to find quality titles. Nowadays I could really care less for the most part. It hasn't gone unnoticed that even now most of the titles people talk about as being "awesome" are ones that were released as much as 10 years ago in the US. When something decent comes along it gets a lot of attention, but remains a flashpoint for anime discussion for a long time because it takes so long for anything else that is decent to come along, I look at say "Gurren Lagann" as an example of this, combined with the fact that I personally just considered it "okay", it mostly standing out due to a drought within the fandom.

I honestly have my doubts as to whether there will be much left of the anime fandom come 2020 unless things change.

The way I see it, it's a combination of two things. The first is that in the 80's and 90's, very little of Japan's animation output was making it overseas, and most of what was was the absolute best. The other thing is the moe explosion, which, while it has far from killed good anime, it has led to a drop in the kind of shows that made it popular in the west in the first place. But I think Sturgeon's law is the bigger issue here -- it used to be that only the best made it over, now the floodgates are open and we're seeing pretty much everything, so a lot of the good stuff is getting drowned out. Incidentally, for those of you living in the US, the Toonami reboot is doing what Toonami was always good at, which is introducing great new shows to its audience. I really hope they never pick up DBZ, because all that would do is fill in a slot that could be used for something new and mind blowing.

As for the art styles, late 70's through the 80's 4 lyf :P

Owyn_Merrilin:
The way I see it, it's a combination of two things. The first is that in the 80's and 90's, very little of Japan's animation output was making it overseas, and most of what was was the absolute best.

'best' is overstating it a touch. 'most attuned to blow a teen males mind and make them think this is the best thing ever' is more accurate. Stuff like MD Geist is one of the worst animes I've ever seen, but its fondly remembered for its 80's sensibilities, gory battles and nihilistic 'hero'

The other thing is the moe explosion, which, while it has far from killed good anime, it has led to a drop in the kind of shows that made it popular in the west in the first place.

As for the art styles, late 70's through the 80's 4 lyf :P

Again, 'moe dominates all' is a misconception. Moe anime dont rate that well in japan. They do however, to repeat myself, laser-target a specific audience who can drop money on boxsets that cost peanuts to make.

Virgin-Fighter Mune-Chan might make little to no impact on the airwaves with only 500 fans, but if the producers know those 500 fans will lay down $500 for a complete boxset if they include a cd, art booklet and a replica of Mune-Chans battle bra, their golden.

Windknight:

Owyn_Merrilin:
The way I see it, it's a combination of two things. The first is that in the 80's and 90's, very little of Japan's animation output was making it overseas, and most of what was was the absolute best.

'best' is overstating it a touch. 'most attuned to blow a teen males mind and make them think this is the best thing ever' is more accurate. Stuff like MD Geist is one of the worst animes I've ever seen, but its fondly remembered for its 80's sensibilities, gory battles and nihilistic 'hero'

The other thing is the moe explosion, which, while it has far from killed good anime, it has led to a drop in the kind of shows that made it popular in the west in the first place.

As for the art styles, late 70's through the 80's 4 lyf :P

Again, 'moe dominates all' is a misconception. Moe anime dont rate that well in japan. They do however, to repeat myself, laser-target a specific audience who can drop money on boxsets that cost peanuts to make.

Virgin-Fighter Mune-Chan might make little to no impact on the airwaves with only 500 fans, but if the producers know those 500 fans will lay down $500 for a complete boxset if they include a cd, art booklet and a replica of Mune-Chans battle bra, their golden.

I'll give you the first point, but I think with the second point you're the one who's laser targeting here. I'm not talking about Ecchi, I'm talking about shows like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and K-On. Not exactly niche stuff.

For me there is no such thing as "The Golden Years". Yes, there is a lot of highschool, moe and fanservice anime nowadays. But fanservice has always been around and even thought nowadays Highschool slice of life and moe are the most common genres in anime, in the 80s and 90s there were other genres that were insanely common, like action shows.
Other thing: Back there there was no internet, and most anime simply stayed in japan. Very few anime were brought to the US, and they only brought ones that were marketable(and by that I mean marketable to children and teenage males). Now, with the internet and fansubs, people get to know every anime that comes out, and this makes people have contact with all the soulless generic trash that comes season after season.
Anime is not viewed as an art form and an way to tell deep and amazing story lines by the creators and studios(Most of the time), and that's why you see so much fanservice and moe stuff around. Since it sells, other people will make similar stuff to get money.
Final thing: Despite all of that, there is still a lot of fantastic (or at least very good) anime coming out nowadays. Even we are limiting to only 2006 onwards there is Death Note, Baccano!, Gurren Laggan, The Girl Who Lept Through Time, Kara No Kyoukai, Rebuild Of Evangelion, Madoka Magica, Fate/Zero, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, Higurashi, Monogatari Series, Kids on the Slope, Spice and Wolf, The Haruhi Movie, Mawaru Penguindrum, Summer Wars, the list goes on and on.
Not saying that the 80s to the early 2000s anime were worst, god no. In fact, most of the anime I consider to be the best of all time were released in that time. The original Fullmetal Alchemist, Spirited Away, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Utena, Grave of The Fireflies and Princess Mononoke just to name a few, but that anime as a whole was better? No.

Soviet Heavy:
Macross Plus, which he considers one of the greatest animated series of all time.

But that's wrong, the greatest animated series of all time is Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

You might call this "opinion", and that pretty much correct, but it is undeniable that no anime can ever have a story that can match the scope and plot of LoGH, it is the biggest AND the best an anime can ever get, it features not only space, the final frontier, but also how politics and strife is eternal, it even tackles the difference between democracy and monarchy and how what ultimately makes a government good are the people who run it and the people they govern.

And did I mention how realistic the characters in this show feel? Even the characters in this series that have the smallest roles have their own personalities, no one is placed on where they are or the sake of convenience, every one of them, whether they're good or bad, have a purpose.

LoGH is one of the few anime that still exists that makes anime WORTH DEFENDING(as a medium). It is undeniably the Citizen Kane of anime, and the closest thing to Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek if it ever had to feature war.

I'm not really an anime fan but I know the stuff that attracts me to it is things like Full Metal Alchemist (to the point where I bought the manga which is not something I do) and One Piece. I love Akira (a fantastic piece of cinema) and Cowboy Bebop, too but not as much as the former two. And those are newer. So, yeah, maybe the classic anime is gone, although I don't think it is because when I look for One Piece, I still see things that pushed me away from it in the first place (most of the 80s and 90s stuff). But even if it is, the new stuff isn't bad. Perhaps people are just nostalgic for what they used to love? I don't say that as a bad point. I mean this stuff was pretty exclusive to those who sought it out and now everyone's into it. But can you really fault ALL of the new stuff?

Therumancer:
It didn't help that by going mainstream what was once ignored, flying under the radar, got attention from goverment censors who started seriously paying attention to the content and pretty much slicing out or softening a lot of the content, removing a lot of the ultra violence, or sexuality from the products. In some cases things going so far as titles like "Puni Puni Poemy" (an Excel Saga spin off) getting involved in legal battles in Canada and New Zealand. Which in turn seems to have lead to further censorship, and even Japan modifying it's work which was one time known for being irreverant in a "I didn't just see that, I really didn't" sense, to a more "acceptable" level before translation gets involved. Basically the international market and popularity having poisoned the well, leading to the degeneration of
the product itself to the point where not as many people even want it.

America had been doing this sort of thing with anime since forever though. Sailor Moon got heavily censored, and not just because what might've been deemed inappropriate for children, but also to apparently make it suit the taste of the American audience more. The intro to Sailor Moon is different from the original Japanese version, and so is the one from Maple Town. Heck, the latter even had Shelley Duval added as a narrative frame. Why? Just cuz.

And I've never seen it, but the butchering of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is pretty infamous too.

I always prized myself lucky having grown up in Holland. Practically all the kid oriented anime here, like the entire World Masterpiece Theater catalog, was bought over from Germany and France I think, who bought it straight from Japan. Meaning absolutely zero alterations.

Owyn_Merrilin:

Windknight:

Owyn_Merrilin:
The way I see it, it's a combination of two things. The first is that in the 80's and 90's, very little of Japan's animation output was making it overseas, and most of what was was the absolute best.

'best' is overstating it a touch. 'most attuned to blow a teen males mind and make them think this is the best thing ever' is more accurate. Stuff like MD Geist is one of the worst animes I've ever seen, but its fondly remembered for its 80's sensibilities, gory battles and nihilistic 'hero'

The other thing is the moe explosion, which, while it has far from killed good anime, it has led to a drop in the kind of shows that made it popular in the west in the first place.

As for the art styles, late 70's through the 80's 4 lyf :P

Again, 'moe dominates all' is a misconception. Moe anime dont rate that well in japan. They do however, to repeat myself, laser-target a specific audience who can drop money on boxsets that cost peanuts to make.

Virgin-Fighter Mune-Chan might make little to no impact on the airwaves with only 500 fans, but if the producers know those 500 fans will lay down $500 for a complete boxset if they include a cd, art booklet and a replica of Mune-Chans battle bra, their golden.

I'll give you the first point, but I think with the second point you're the one who's laser targeting here. I'm not talking about Ecchi, I'm talking about shows like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and K-On. Not exactly niche stuff.

Just a parenthesis, everyone talks about Moe like it's the worst thing ever, but K-on is actually good and I liked Mitsudomoe too, usually the fan-base is what sucks.

Defeated Detective:
LOGH

I have seen a lot of anime in my life, my top 5 is really solid. Logh is the only anime I know but haven't watched yet, I still have faith it might get into my top5.
I did watch the first episode already some time ago, but that's barely anything at all.

shrekfan246:

DBZ has a ton of really good stuff, and then gets marred down by the sheer amount of padded filling they put in (which I've heard is actually less than the manga series had?) and the convoluted nature of how dying is a serious thing, but only sometimes when the plot dictates.

If you're asking if the manga had more padding than the anime, no. Way off. The anime had to pad out the fights, transformations, everything they could because it was happening alongside the manga. Super Saiyan Goku v. Freeza took maybe 1 to 2 volume of the books to finish while the anime took over a dozen episodes thanks to the constant flashbacks.

Though I'd recommend tracking down DBZ Kai if you can. Most of the filler is removed, pacing and voice acting is a LOT better.

Vausch:

shrekfan246:

DBZ has a ton of really good stuff, and then gets marred down by the sheer amount of padded filling they put in (which I've heard is actually less than the manga series had?) and the convoluted nature of how dying is a serious thing, but only sometimes when the plot dictates.

If you're asking if the manga had more padding than the anime, no. Way off. The anime had to pad out the fights, transformations, everything they could because it was happening alongside the manga. Super Saiyan Goku v. Freeza took maybe 1 to 2 volume of the books to finish while the anime took over a dozen episodes thanks to the constant flashbacks.

Though I'd recommend tracking down DBZ Kai if you can. Most of the filler is removed, pacing and voice acting is a LOT better.

Ah, thanks for clearing that up.

Yeah, I'd heard DBZ Kai abridged a lot of the stuff when they re-did it, never really bothered to watch it though because that was before I actually started watching anime again, which was only just in the last half-year or so.

When I was a kid (7 or 8?) we had Sky with the Sci-fi channel. In the mornings you'd have cartoons like Bionic Six, Defenders of the Earth, Robotech (Macross), Ulysses 31 and other stuff. Then on Friday evenings they'd show anime like Tenchi Muyo, Dominion Tank Police, The Guyver and various movies (I remember watching MD Geist one time, rofl).

It took me many years later to figure out what they were again because their animations styles were so detailed and to mind, gorgeous.

OT: I'm unsure whether there is a Golden Age of anime. Every year has at least a couples of gems, and peoples' tastes differ greatly.

In no particular order... Macross Plus (series and or movie) are both excellent. Outlaw Star is really good (although it is Korean if I am not mistaken). Sword of the Stranger as you mentioned is really good for what it is. Rune Soldier Louie is worth a watch. Battle Fairy Yukikaze is good stuff, Area 88 classic and reboot are also worth a watch. (A lot of stuff that was brought out by Manga entertainment is worth a watch). Saw someone mention Robot Carnival which is modern classic (again it was Manga which brought it to western shores).

Some of the distinctions while I am thinking about it are going to be as follows...

Fantasy New/Old: The older fantasy tropes and pulls heavily from the Dungeons and Dragons paper/dice game... more to the point from 2nd edition or even earlier frameworks. While more modern works tend to pull from video games and late edition role playing game fodder. Thematically it makes some difference, with the older stuff "tending" to have a little more grit and the newer material trending towards a high fantasy setup.

Mecha/Aircraft: Older mecha and aircraft drawing used to be (to my knowledge) material for study in many architecture and design schools in Japan. As time has marched on the importance of industrial and mechanical design has fallen off and as such as representational art, within the anime medium, we see it fall off.

image

as opposed to lets say... full metal panic...

image

The good and bad are a little subjective, what I want to focus on is the difference in direction. The full metal panic stuff tends to focus more on the movement rather than the "how" the thing functions. In my estimation this is a shift in science fiction to science fantasy. Which has been a very common trend in media, and not just in the East.

Dragon Age I -> Dragon Age II could be used to illustrate the point as well.

Concept art schools still maintain the tradition for mechanical design, but I don't know how many of those folk are transitioning into the anime film industry and which ones are moving into larger film, toy, or game markets.

I suppose if I had to make a case one way or the other, it is easier and cheaper to keep narratives character focused and the designs simple. Need less specialist to do it, which in turn may make the medium a little stagnant visually.

I don't really think there are any golden years of anime. There are always 3-4 anime per year that are good while the rest are god awful, it's always been that way.

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