There is nothing like nostalgia to make you think back and remember the good times when anime was bright, shiny and new. I can remember a time before internet was widely available and the only way you could get a taste of your fandom was to either get up ridiculously early in the AM or race home from school, ditching your homework in the corner not to be even thought about until last minute to watch a single episode. That was, until glorious satellite came in. Those were the days! So in the spirit of nostalgia, I am going to countdown my top 5 nostalgia bomb anime that, when you see them, you can’t help but think of the good old days.
Let’s bring on the nostalgia!
Digimon & Pokémon
Obvious ones to start with and, yes, technically they are both in some way shape or form still running, whether it is adding hundreds upon hundreds of Pokémon into the mix or recreating Digimon in such a way that now the Digi destined are now the Digimon. I don’t even know anymore! If they see any way to squeeze more money out of these two, they will.
The reason these series makes the list in terms of nostalgia is down to those original 150 Pokémon and maybe a little Johto in there too. And we have all seen the excitement surrounding the Digimon continuation series for Digimon Adventure. There was nothing better than hearing that first opening theme, from both series, and even now you cannot help but belt out the tunes at the top of your lungs. These two shows manage to pretty much sums up the after-school cartoon rush.
Tenchi Muyo (Various titles)
Now I know I could be losing some people here, as this was not a show that everyone had growing up since it was part of the satellite age and, more specifically, the Toonami age of anime. For a lot of anime fans this was a gateway anime for them, and this is particularly true for the harem genre of anime. I know that, for me, this was my first experience of a harem anime. When it comes to Tenchi Muyo, no matter what series you watched, whether it was Muyo itself, Universe or Tokyo, you experienced the absolute insanity of Tenchi’s supernatural filled life. Between the chaos that the women in his life brought him to the space action side of the series, this show had everything you need to enjoy an anime series.
Needless to say, my top three are cliché, so cliché in fact they literally personify nostalgic anime. For those who were dedicated enough, you will remember watching Cardcaptors at a very young age, very very early in the morning on Irish television. That’s right, back in the day even The Den was cool enough that our early morning cartoons included anime classics like Cardcaptors. The first of the nostalgic magical girl anime on this list, and also the newer of the two, this anime is everything that is childhood.
It is cute but yet full of action; each and every episode had its own charm and adventure. Tuning in every episode brought a new card to obsess over and another Sakura costume to wish for. There was also a theme tune that had you rapping along with it. It’s an anime that is filled with childhood innocence until you read the manga and realise what is in fact going on (as if it wasn’t obvious, I highly recommend the manga as well!)
Again, there is no big surprise that Dragonball and Dragonball Z is on this list and that is not cheating because they are (basically) the same show, with Dragonball Z a continuation. Whether you were an anime fan or not, you probably knew someone obsessed with one or both of these shows when you were younger (most still are). Another anime from the Toonami age of Cartoon Network, this anime was and remains to be the ultimate gateway anime for people to introduce new people to anime and is, thankfully, still running with Dragonball Super continuing on the series as if Dragonball GT never existed – thankfully.
This anime, although pretty much only aimed at young boys and men, can be enjoyed by any gender and any age because, even looking back on it now, there were far more adult innuendoes used than I remembered or noticed as a kid. You watched each episode with baited breath to see which Z fighter would triumph and which one would kick the bucket then have to be wished back to life. Hook ups, break ups, intense battles between good and evil, earth and space and slapstick comedy moments that will have you in knots. The ultimate anime soap opera really.
No one is shocked, really, and I can hear the wails of ‘Nooo!’ at Sailor Moon being my number one nostalgia bomb anime but, in reality, it is. Most pre-internet age anime fans would consider Sailor Moon to be the ultimate nostalgia anime. Back in the time of Fox Kids (I can nearly see the confused faces of people who do not remember this… that makes me feel old now) there were classics like Monster Rancher, Shinzo and, more specifically, Sailor Moon.
Arguably the most notable and famous of all the magical girl anime, Sailor Moon, is as iconic as they come; even those who have never seen an anime in their life will know these characters. This anime literally had everything; where Dragonball was mainly aimed at young boys/men Sailor Moon‘s main audience was young girls and women. However, there was so much more depth to this anime from trialling relationships, depression, abandonment, kidnapping, world destroying action, lesbian relationships and talking cats. What more could you want?
What do you consider your top nostalgic anime? Did I forget something here? Let me know!