9 Worst 80s Anime Trends, Ranked

Each decade comes with its own trends that appear in the media, and anime is no exception. In the 1980s, when western fans still thought of anime as “Japanimation”, things like poofy hair, glam rockers, and sweatbands not only started showing up in anime, but other trends as well. specific.

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Many of these trends may have technically started in previous decades and may have lasted well into the 1990s, but these are things that clearly showed popularity in the 1980s. remember that what anime has defined a decade for some may depend on the viewer. For example, some Western anime fans might be surprised to learn dragonball started in the 1980s.

9 Japan couldn’t have enough koalas in the 1980s


During the decade, koalas began to get a lot of media attention. Two series for children on the theme of koalas, The adventures of the little koala and Nozzles, broadcast side by side. Many series have used an Australian setting, such as Southern Rainbow Lucy-May and Lady Georgiaand prominently features koalas in promotional materials.

An urban legend once claimed it was triggered by koalas donated to a Tokyo zoo, but a few of those aforementioned anime series predate the event, suggesting it was the other way around. Animated koalas made people want to see the real thing.

8 Anime based on foreign comics has become a trend

Animated films and series based on Western media, from fairy tales to literary works, have been around for decades, but it all but peaked in the 1980s. This decade saw things like two different animated series based on Little woman. But one oddly specific trend was anime featuring characters from foreign media, especially comic books.

Some examples include Italy Topo Gigio and Other Mondiwhich has been adapted into Uchusen Sagittarius, beef talesbased on Dutch boes comic, and wowserbased on Belgian comics Ulna. Same Little Nemo entered the action at the end of the decade, with Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland.

7 Science fiction versions of the decade continued to be made

dirty pair anime

Sci-fi anime was already growing in popularity in previous decades, but, in the 1980s, sci-fi anime really started to have a pronounced contemporary aesthetic.

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Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Megazone 23, Chewing gum crisisand dirty pair all take place in the distant future, but things like fashion, hairstyles, and music all reflect the 80s. Even the technology of the decade was often seen as still popular. In fact, it has been theorized dirty pair had issues rebooting because it’s so aesthetically tied to the decade.

6 Anime was starting to get really merchandise driven

Minky Momo Truck

At the start of the decade, Magical Girl label saw the heroine get a magic wand designed as a toy, and an actual toy based on it ended up being marketed to children who watched the show. This is one of the earliest examples of a magical girl anime having such merchandise and would highlight a huge push in anime being more merchandise driven, something that would continue well into the decade.

Minky Momo, for example, proved so popular that it eventually became a commodity, from keyboards to sewing machines. Reliance on toy sales could also adversely affect anime; the aforementioned Minky Momo was killed by a toy truck when a toy sponsor withdrew funds.

5 Remakes have really started to come into fashion

Sally the witch

Throughout the 1980s, many classic anime series began to get remakes. Some examples include Astro Boy, Kimba the white lion, Osomatsu-kun, Sally the witch. and Himitsu no Akko-chan. Even the first remake of Cyborg 009 borders on the example, released in 1979 and lasted until 1980.

This would have a transformative effect on the anime industry, allowing popular series to grow into franchises that would increasingly see spin-offs, sequels, and remakes.

4 Doraemon clones were everywhere


While Doraemon is a classic anime and considered one of the greatest anime of all time, the 1980s saw a multitude of similar anime, even though based on older manga, with a child welcoming an unusual stranger , often a robot or alien, in their home. As many of these shows were from the same creators, even the art style was similar between these shows.

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Examples include Chimpui, Ninja Hattori-kunand Kiteretsu Daihyakka. These similarities have often not been lost on foreign audiences. In Spain, the hero of Kiteretsu Daihyakka was renamed Nobita’s cousin.

3 There were way too many magical girls changing their ages

A popular trend in shojo anime during the decade was of magical girls transforming into older alter-egos: creamy mom, Minky Momoand Magic Fairy Pelsia, Magic Emiand Lala Fashion. Often these stories gave the heroine older love interests and even used those old alter-egos for fan service.

Technically, similar anime predates the decade, such as Wonderful Melmo, but it certainly proliferated during the 80s. These stories were eventually suppressed in 90s media. Notably, early episodes of Sailor Moon often had Usagi disguise herself as a professional woman, but, unlike previous examples, this simply involved a costume change rather than a physical transformation.

2 Goofy, sitcom-like romances plagued the decade

Anime focusing on goofy romances and love triangles, like Kimagure Orange Road, Urusei Yatsura, and Ranma 1/2, peaked during the decade, arguably replacing the love stories more soap operas than ’70s anime were known for. Harem anime mostly started to become popular in the 1980s.

Even shows that started out as more serious love stories feel more like a sitcom as the show progresses. Often these shows employed gender roles, from girls being pressured to become housewives to playful violence with their love interests, which haven’t aged well over the years either. On top of that, the romance sometimes got more attention than it necessarily needed; Kyōsuke being an esper in Kimagure Orange Road feels more like an afterthought and probably would have been the main focus of the series if it had been made in another decade.

1 The OVA boom happened and things got really experimental

Cipher Anime

Thanks to the invention of the VCR, anime saw an interesting trend in the early 1980s: “OVAs,” or “original video animation,” which were often released straight to video.

Some of these early examples might get a little too experimental, like the Encrypt video OVA, which consisted mostly of music videos and brief animated inserts, and the Royal Family Crest OVA, which featured an “illustrated story” with voiceovers rather than typical animation. Some of these OVAs went memetic on limited animation, like Twinkle Nora Rock Me!who became infamous for his “cave dance” streak.

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