Top 50 Best Mecha Anime [Must Watch List]
Top 50 Best 80s Anime [Must-Watch Anime List]
Kay-Updated June 7, 2021
The beginning of 1980 marked the beginning of a new Era for anime medium. The number of anime released in a year went to definite 3 digits and over 20 for the most part.
And this new era gave birth to some of the most amazing anime series out there.
So today, we will be taking a look at the Top 50 Anime From The '80s out of all the 256 anime that was released during that period.
So if you ever wanted to look back and experience what the Classics felt like, make sure to check out these entries.
Especially the Top 10! Let's Begin!
Let's start our list with an anime from 1981, Yuki. Yuki is an animated movie adaptation of a book.
The movie is directed by Imai Tadashi. It is about the story of Yuki who is sent to earth by her parents in heaven.
She is on a mission to save a village from Bandits and their attack. Once Yuki becomes a part of the village, she intends to save the orphans and farmers from Bandits as well as Goemon, the landlord.
However, her biggest challenge arrives when the Demon God residing in the volcano decides to destroy everything underneath.
How will Yuki and the others survive the predicament? Let's find out!
This is a wholesome adventure fantasy series that would give you an idea of how simply beautiful anime used to air back in the 1980s.
49. Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam
This 46 episode anime aired back in 1983. It was also one of the first Mecha anime out there.
Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam is an original anime from Studio Sunrise. This anime was directed by Kanda Takeyuki.
Being set in AD 2058, the anime is about the journey of the residents of Clayad.
Clayad is the 3rd planet of the Ypserlon system. Moreover, it is 43 light-years away from planet Earth.
However, all of a sudden, there is an alien invasion on the planet of Clayad.
The residents of the Planet decide to leave the planet and reach out to another one.
However, during this commotion, the children got strayed from their parents. Luckily, these children get in the training ship named Janous.
By striving hard and sacrificing a ton, they managed to get on the 4th planet named Belwick.
However, Belwick is already in a state of war. Therefore, these children now decide to go back to planet earth.
But how easy is this voyage going to be? Will these kids make it there alive?
This series was one of the first Mecha/Space anime out there. Thus, it will give you a great idea of how the beginning of the genres looked like.
This 1 hour-long special episode was released back in 1980. It's a part of Animated Classics Of Japanese Literature.
However, this episode follows a different storyline than the original. Bocchan is an anime adaptation of a Novel.
This special episode is produced by Dezaki Osamu. The story revolves around a graduate named Botchan.
He begins his first assignment as a teacher only to be bothered by his students.
These students not only spy on him but also pull some nasty stunts on him.
To add up to his struggle, he also faces a landlord who sells him worthless antiques.
However, soon Botchan realized that the cause of all his misery is his only friend Hotta.
To add even more to his problems, the punishment given to students for bothering Botchan is extremely soft.
Is the dean involved in this? Was Hotta really the culprit? Thus, begins the journey with Hotta and Botchan to seek the truth.
The truth about the dean and bring them down. This Historical Comedy series is looked upon as some of the earliest works of TMS Entertainment.
If you don't know, TMS Entertainment is the same studio that made Dr. Stone. So if you like this studio, make sure to have a look at some of their initial works.
47. Vampire Hunter D
One of the oldest anime based on the Vampire Setting, we have Vampire Hunter D.
This movie was released back in 1985. The anime is an adaptation of a novel series.
This novel series is written by Hideyuki Kikuchi. The story is set in the future where the world is ruled by Vampires and Demon Lords.
A young girl named Doris comes under the radar of Count Magnus Lee. The count is a Vampire Lord who wants Doris as his plaything.
After she gets bitten by Count, Doris tries to seek help from Vampire Hunter D.
Vampire Hunter D decides to help this girl by killing the Vampire Lord and his underlings.
Will he be able to put an end to Doris's misery?
It is an old anime movie based on the very popular Vampire setting so if you want some old series that depict the early stages of Vampires and Demons, Vampire Hunter D should be your choice.
46. Ganbare Genki
This 34 episode TV series aired from 1980-1981. It was done by the renowned Toei Animation.
Ganbare Genki is an anime adaptation of a manga of the same name. The manga was written and illustrated by Koyama Yuu.
The story focuses on Horiguchi Genki, a boy who lost his mother at the time of his birth.
His father, who was a professional boxer, took care of him from the beginning. Later on, his father also faces death and Genki gets adopted by his Grandparents.
Keeping his father as an idol, Genku desires to be a professional boxer as well.
Although his grandparents have been against boxing, Genki continues to train and become stronger. Thus the story follows his journey as a kid who dreams to be a professional boxer.
Ganbare Genki has a different approach towards the sports element in anime. If sports anime have been your favorite, Ganbare Genki would be a great add-up.
45. Patlabor The Movie
Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor the Movie is a sequel to Patlabor: The Mobile Police, released in 1989.
The movie is an original work directed by Oshii Mamoru. The story revolves around the Metropolitan Police Division 2.
They have been assigned the task of finding out the truth. The truth about the laborers in Tokyo going berserk.
However, despite such an issue ongoing, the world is focusing on the construction of the Babylon Project.
Moreover, the lead architect committed suicide for some reason. Can the Metropolitan Police Department figure out the issue of berserk laborers in the midst of such chaos?
The series has an interesting narrative and a lot of techno-savvy ideas. If you like some unique shows, make sure to take a look at this one.
44. Armor Hunter Mellowlink
Another Mecha anime up on our list, we have Armor Hunter Mellowlink. This 12 episode OVA series is an original work that aired back in 1988.
It was directed by Kanda Takeyuki and episodes were directed by Watanabe Shinichiro. The story focuses on Mellowlink Arity who was the sole survivor of a squad.
This squad was killed and sacrificed as scapegoats. This was done for the sake of military resources of the 100 years war.
With the idea of Vengeance in Mind, Mellowlink swears to kill every one of those police officers who betrayed his comrades.
On this vengeance, he might uncover the actual truth behind this entire plot. This mecha anime has a serious tone that explores itself really well.
If it sparks your interest, you can go ahead and prepare for a watch.
43. Shiroi Kiba: White Fang Monogatari
This Historical drama special episode aired back in 1982. It is adapted from a novel and directed by Yoshikawa Souji.
The story focuses on White Fang who was born on the planes of Alaska. He was born to a wolf father and half wolf and half dog mother.
One day, white fang and his mother come across Mitsah who has always dreamed of having a dog.
Fortunately, the wolves end up with the humans and stay in Alaska. However, life in Alaska is no joke.
Therefore, the humans and wolves face a lot of hardships throughout. The story is about these hardships and human nature in such an extreme situation.
If drama is something that makes you happy then this single episode would work for you!
Make sure to have a look.
42. Giant Gorg
Mecha fans I have good news for you. This is another mecha entry on our list named Giant Gorg.
This 26 episodes original anime aired back in 1984. It is directed by Yasuhiko Yoshikazu and animated by Studio Sunrise.
The story focuses on Yuu, a boy who was sent to America after his father's death.
In America, Yuu used to stay with Doctor Wave. Doctor Wave is a friend of Yuu's father who is also researching the lost islands of New Austral.
However, on the first meeting of Yuu, Doctor Wave and his sister Doris were attacked with a slamming ball.
It is assumed that the organization GAIL is after New Austral as well and they want to endure that Doctor Wave doesn't end up their first.
But instead of losing hope or calm, Doctor Wave gathers a team to find the secrets of New Austral.
Will he along with his team be able to realize the truth in one piece?
A great sci-fi, mecha series awaits you in the form of Giant Gorg. This opportunity is well worth it.
41. Shouwa Ahozoushi Akanuke Ichiban!
We have a Shoujo series up next weebs. It's Shouwa Ahozoushi Akanuke Ichiban. This 22 episode TV series aired back in 1985.
It was animated by Tatsunoko Production. It focuses on Koujirou residing in Hokkaido. He shifts to Tokyo Japan and wishes to bring Hikarikin with him.
Hikarikin is Koujirou's horse. Koujirou receives a belt from Alien King Rel that would allow him to turn into a Miracle Hero.
This miracle hero is supposed to save the world from aliens. However, he is more interested in impressing Yuka.
Still, his rival Michinari is after her as well. Who of the two would get miss beautiful?
This anime is one of the oldest Shoujos out there. So if shoujo is your jam, this anime can make you happy!
40. Bemubemu Hunter Kotengu Tenmaru
This 19 episode TV series aired back in 1983. It is a fantasy adventure series done by Toei Animation.
The script of the series was done by Yamaura Hiroyasu. The series revolves around the story of a Demon Slayer.
Tenmaru is the demon slayer involved in this series and his adventures are the ones subjected to be talked about in the series.
It is one of the lost anime that can't be found in today's age. People say that it was a great show when it airs but isn't talked about much nowadays.
If you somehow get your grasp on this series, make sure to take a look before it's gone forever.
39. They Were Eleven
Very rarely do we come across a sci-fi, shoujo movie like They Were Eleven which was released in 1986.
It is an anime movie adaptation of a Manga of the same name. The manga was written and illustrated by Hagio Moto.
The story is set in a world where universal peace has been established. And with that, there is also the presence of the most elite school in existence called Cosmo University.
A University which guarantees the students basically any job they wish for. However, this exam is held once in three years.
This makes the competition much harder. Lane Tadatos managed to get to the final stage of the examination.
However, in actuality, they are supposed to stay alive for 53 days on a ship named Esperanza.
In a group of 10, they are sent to Esperanza. However, in actuality, the group had 11 members.
This means that one of them is a wolf amongst sheep. Having such an interesting narrative is really compelling in itself.
So if you want some thriller space anime, this movie might be for you!
38. Adieu Galaxy Express 999
Another sci-fi, space adventure series incoming. Adieu, Galaxy Express 999 is a movie that aired in 1981.
It's an anime movie adaptation of its Manga counterpart. The manga was written and illustrated by Matsumoto Leiji.
The movie was directed by Rintaro. It revolves around Tetsuro Hoshino, who wants to avenge the death of his mother.
His mother was killed by the evil Count Mecha. However, in order to kill Count Mecha, he needs to board a three-nine.
And Tetsuro is willing to give up everything to do that. After the events of Galaxy Express 999, Tetsuro is called back for three-nine.
Thus begins his journey to find some of the darkest truths that his world needs to offer.
This narrative seems interesting, doesn't it? If it does, you should check out this old yet fine anime.
37. Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland
Next up, we have an anime adaptation from a picture book, Little Nemo. Little Nemo is an anime movie adaptation based on the renowned Nemo comic strips by Winsor McCay.
He is considered the pioneer of animation. The story revolves around Nemo who used to get innumerable nightmares.
But her bedtime experience was about to change as she was invited to the wonderful Slumberland.
A place where anything is possible! In Slumberland, Nemo is summoned by King Morpheus to be his daughter's playmate.
King also provides Nemo with a key. A key that can open any door in the Kingdom.
However, King states that he mustn't open the door with the Key's sign on it.
He says that it is a door filled with nightmares. What exactly lies behind the door?
Little Nemo was the First Japanese Anime Movie to receive a nationwide U. S. theatrical release.
If that doesn't tell you how exceptional it was, then I am confused about what will.
36. Glass Mask
Shoujo fans, listen up. I have another fantastic series for you all. This time it's Glass Mask.
This 23 episode TV series aired back in 1984. It is an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart.
The manga was written and illustrated by Miuchi Suzue. The series revolves around an acting prodigy named Maya Kitajima who gets scouted by actress Tsukikage.
Thus, begins the adventure of Maya as an actress in the entertainment industry. The story then focuses on Himekawa Ayumi who is Maya's biggest rival.
And their meeting takes place for the most sought-after role of the Crimson Goddess. A romantic plot is cooking behind Maya and Hayami Masumi, who just so happens to be her biggest fans.
However, their meetings always lead to misunderstandings and chaos. What's up on the journey for Maya?
Make sure to find it out yourself!
35. Fist Of The North Star
'Omae Wa Mou Shinderu'! I am certain that you would have heard of this phrase at least 1 time as an anime fan.
Or maybe a million times. But do you know where this phrase comes from? Yes!
It comes from this Classic series called Fist of The North Star. This 109 episodes long TV series aired back in 1984.
It is an anime adaptation of a Manga of the same name. The Manga was written by Buronson and illustrated by Hara Tetsuo.
Set in the year 199X, the earth has been completely destroyed due to nuclear war.
The seas have dried, the lands have cracked, and most species from the planet are gone for good.
However, humanity is still striving in a world with no civilization or system. The only rule here is that the strong rules the weak and food & water hold the most value.
In this hellish world, a mysterious man named Kenshirou appears with his fatal martial art.
In this world where justice is never served properly, will this man be able to save the weak?
The series was really well received when it first came out and is talked about to this day.
If you want to enjoy some initial classic shounen, make sure to watch this series.
34. The Mysterious Cities Of Gold
This 39 episodes long TV series aired back in 1982. The Mysterious Cities Of Gold is an anime adaptation of a novel.
It was directed by Nishikubo Mizuho. The story revolves around a boy named Esteban who was rescued by a man from a sinking ship.
This incident took place during Esteban's Childhood. However, soon he realizes the truth and that his father is not actually real.
With the search for his real identity in mind, Esteban heads out to the mysterious cities of gold that can answer his questions.
On his way, he comes across 2 more people with similar traits to him. Thus, begins the journey for Esteban to seek truths about himself as well as the Mysterious Cities Of Gold.
The narrative sounds really adventurous, doesn't it? The series is just as adventurous too. Make sure to watch it!
33. Kimagure Orange Road
Adding up to our list, we have this beautiful shounen romance series called Kimagure Orange Road.
This 48 episodes long TV series aired back in 1987. It's an anime adaptation of a Manga of the same name.
The manga was written and illustrated by Matsumoto Izumi. The love triangle-ish story is put up in the series.
Kyousuke Kasuga is our protagonist who is in love with Madoka Ayukawa. This love took birth, right after his appearance in his new city.
The problem is that Madoka treats Kasuga in a really cold manner. However, Hikaru Hiyama is the one who likes Kasuga after she saw him make an impossible basketball shot.
But to make matters even more interesting, Kasuga and his family members are blessed with some superpowers like teleportation, time travel, hypnosis, etc.
Although Kasuga avoids using these powers in public, his family members don't share the same sentiment.
Thus, begins the humorous and fun-filled story of Kasuga and his life in this new city.
The new plot device added to the show makes it worth watching.
32. Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honneamise
Another movie is on its way to make it to our list. This time, we have Royal Space Force: The Wings Of Honneamise.
This original movie was released back in 1987. It was directed by Yamaga Hiroyuki and animated by Studio Gainax.
The story focuses on Shirotsugh "Shiro" Lhadatt, a man who always dreamed of flying jets in the Kingdom of Honneamise's Air Force.
However, his grades weren't good enough. Although, he does end up in an obscure Space Force.
However, after his failure, he takes no interest in this training. This is true until he meets Riquinni Nonderaiko, a young and enthusiastic woman who seeks to reach the limits of space.
After their meeting, Shiro realizes a new purpose for his life and thus begins the journey of Shiro to Space.
However, his journey is filled with various obstacles set by the Government. Will he be able to survive during this?
This is an inspirational movie with elements of space and military. If you are a fan of these themes then this movie can please you for sure.
31. Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy
From the renowned series of Lupin III, comes this amazing movie. Lupin III: The Fuma Conspiracy movie aired back in 1987.
It is an adaptation of its parent manga. The manga was written and illustrated by Monkey Punch.
It's about a marriage between Goemon and Murasaki Inabe. Murasaki is the daughter of a Samurai Clan's leader.
However, her kidnapping takes place and it's done by Fuma Ninjas. They ask for the family's treasure as ransom.
Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko team up again to ensure Murasaki's safety and secure the treasure before the Fumas.
Lupin III is a series that is talked about to this day and this installment has been the most popular one from the '80s.
If you like Lupin III, then make sure to watch this movie from its era.
30. Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac
Up next, we have one of the most renowned anime series of all time, Saint Seiya.
This 114 episodes long OVA series aired back in 1986. It is an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart.
The Manga is written and illustrated by Kurumada Masami. The story revolves around a group of extremely strong young men called Saints.
Saints devote their lives to protect Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and War. A new generation of Saints is showing up in the present time.
Seiya is one of the individuals fighting hard for the Armor Of Pegasus. After years of hard work and determination, Seiya finally succeeds to make it a Saint.
However, this victory marks the beginning of a new journey. A journey filled with problems, obstacles, and life-threatening dangers.
Will Seiya and his fellow Saints be able to protect Athena? Fun Fact: Saint Seiya won the 1987 Animage's Anime Grand Prix Award.
If you haven't watched this classic, you are really missing out.
29. Hi No Ame Ga Furu
All those who adore Historical Drama, open up your eyes and read this entry, we have Hi No Ame Ga Furu.
This anime movie aired back in 1988. It was directed by Arihara Seiji and animated by Mushi Production.
This is an anti-war anime movie adapted from a book. The book contained modern accounts of the fire-bombing.
It's about the incidents when fatal fire-bombing took place in the city of Fukuoka on June 19.
Being based on such a book, it is bound to have a lot of emotions and sentiments involved in it.
So if you like your human drama-heavy series then this movie might be for you.
28. Armored Trooper Votoms
Just another banger Mecha Series from the past has made it on the list. This time in the form of Armored Trooper Votoms.
This 52 episode TV series aired back in 1983. It is an original anime directed by Takahashi Ryousuke and animated by Studio Sunrise.
The story is set in a world with a constant war going on. Soldier Chirico Cuvie finds himself demotivated with whatever happens in this world.
Furthermore, he is sent on a mission to steal the secrets of the enemy. Turns out, he is sent to the base of his own nation.
Now he is stealing the secrets for his own nation from his own nation. On this mission, he comes across a woman who has the key to a political secret.
This political secret is important for the enemy. Thus they would try to stop Cuvie at all costs.
Will he be able to survive in this life-or-death situation? This interesting plot blended with the Mecha setting can please a lot of people.
Beware if you haven't watched it.
27. Chikyuu Monogatari Telepath 2500
Another lost soul has reached our list in the form of Chikyuu Monogatari Telepath 2500.
This forgotten movie aired back in 1984. The art for this original work was directed by Nakamura Mitsuki.
This adventure, drama, and sci-fi series is based on the supercomputer setting. Set in the year 2500, there's a supercomputer that chooses marriage partners.
Marriage partners who seem to have the perfect match for each other are scouted by it.
This supercomputer exists in the fifth world of the Tolphan system. This is another lost movie that couldn't pave its way in the modern era.
If you get your hands on this rare piece, make sure to watch it.
26. Sakigake!! Otokojuku
Shounen Fanboys I have good news for you. The next entry on our list is an action martial arts series named Sakigake!! Otokojuku.
This 34 episode TV series aired back in 1988. It is an anime adaptation of a Manga of the same name.
The manga was written and illustrated by Miyashita Akira. Otokojuku is a private school for juvenile delinquents.
These individuals were expelled from the normal schools and thus end up here. Using feudal and military fundamentals, Japanese Chivalry is taught at this school.
As shown in a lot of movies, the classes are filled with violence and brute force.
The one who surpasses it all would be considered True Man. If you like your action-comedy series with great fights, make sure to take a look at this work.
25. Space Adventure Cobra
Coming from the year 1982, we have yet another space adventure series in the form of Space Adventure Cobra.
This 1hr 40min movie is adapted from a manga named Cobra. The manga was written and illustrated by Terasawa Buichi.
The story revolves around a notorious pirate who goes by the name Cobra. Cobra is enlisted by a bounty hunter named Jane.
Jane asks him to save her sister from a strange being. This strange being is called Crystal Boy.
However, after getting involved in this, Cobra finds himself drawn into something unexpected. He now has to take care of the fate of the mysterious wandering planets.
What his destiny has in store for him? This is another space, a sci-fi series that you can add to your never-ending watchlist.
24. Daicon III and IV
This entry is an interesting one. We have opening animations of Daicon. These 2 special episodes aired back in 1981.
They were animated by Studio Gainax and directed by Yamaga Hiroyuki. These episodes involve an unnamed girl who is entrusted with a glass of water.
She is supposed to use that glass and water a radish. However, this simple task includes a lot of fictional beings like lizardmen, Mecha, etc.
Will she survive this situation!? The next episode is about the same girl who has grown up now.
She fights with monsters all around the galaxy using her lightsaber and saves the day.
Daicon III and IV were created as a grand tribute to science fiction. If you are a fan of this genre, I don't see a reason for you to NOT watch it.
23. Space Runaway Ideon: Be Invoked
Mecha fans would love this list as another one joins. This time we have Space Runaway Ideon.
This original movie aired back in 1982. It was directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino. This Mecha series focuses on human survival.
Members of the Solo Ship are facing the highest degree of difficulty to keep on living.
With multiple hurdles in their way, the crew seeks all the possible ways for them to stand and hope for the best.
Their chances of survival are just above zero. But will they survive at all in this fatal situation of space?
If you like a gripping movie that keeps you on the edge throughout, this one might be it.
22. Arcadia Of My Youth
Picking up the next spot in our list, we have Arcadia Of My Youth. This space adventure movie aired back in 1982.
It is an adaptation of the Senjou Manga series. The manga was written and illustrated by Matsumoto Leiji.
Our planet is invaded by evil monsters from Illumidus Empire. Captain Harlock with his team begins his journey to fight this empire.
With the idea of restoring the freedom of Earth, the journey of Captain Harlock tackles the most difficult hurdles.
Will they be able to bring back Earth's liberty? A great sci-fi series is always appreciated by fans.
Even back in the day, these genres had so many great installments and this is one of them.
21. Doraemon: It's Winter!
This TV special episode aired back in 1986. It is adapted from the Doraemon franchise created by Fujiko Fujio F.
Do I even need to tell you about this franchise? Really? Good! The Doraemon franchise has always been the talk of the town.
And this special episode has been a remarkable one from the '80s. Therefore, if you like the Doraemon series and want to live your great childhood back again, make sure to watch this special.
Refresh those beautiful memories.
We are in the Top 20 Ladies And Gentlemen. And to start this phase we have a classic series that goes by the name touch.
This 101 episodes long TV series aired back in 1985. It is an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart.
The Manga is written and illustrated by Adachi Mitsuru. This love triangle revolves around Uesugi Kazuya, his twin older brother Tatsuya, and Asakura Minami.
Kazuya is a successful individual thanks to his talented and hardworking nature. Whereas Tatsuya is more of a slacker living in the shadows of his brother.
Society places Kazuya above Tatsuya but our girl Minami treats them both as equals. Tatsuya accepts his brother's success wholeheartedly.
However, he soon realizes that the one thing he can't accept is to lose Minami from his brother.
Thus, these brothers try their level best to ensure that they have Minami at the end and make her dreams come true.
Touch is a classic Romance Shounen that was liked by a lot of people. Therefore, if you are someone who likes this notion, Touch is the anime for you.
To add up the Mecha anime dominated list, we have Gunbuster. This 6 episode OVA series is an original anime from Gainax Studios.
It is directed by Anno Hideaki. The story is set in a year where humanity has achieved space travel.
And while searching the boundaries of the galaxy, they come across an insectoid alien species called 'Space Monsters'.
These space monsters seek Earth's demise. However, Earth has developed Giant Robots to counter that.
Noriko Takaya takes admission to a school to learn about piloting these robots. However, she is not as talented as her famous father.
Moreover, she is put up in a team with a talented girl named Kazumi Amano.
Together they both have to fight this war as well as the feelings inside them.
I am certain that Mecha fans are loving this list so far. And this entry adds even more to their love for the list.
You Are Welcome Mecha fans!
18. Urusei Yatsura Movie 2: Beautiful Dreamer
Next up on our list, we have a movie! (Who would have guessed?). Anyway, this time it's from the Urusei Yatsura franchise.
This 1hr 35min long movie aired back in 1984. It is an adaptation of its Manga Counterpart.
The Manga was written and illustrated by Takahashi Rumiko. The story revolves around the strange Tomobiki where nothing is said to be normal.
The students are working hard for the first day of the school fair. This school fair takes place on the next day.
However, the reality is bent when the students realize that the 'Next Day'. What exactly is this phenomenon and why is it happening?
These students try to answer these questions and receive a new understanding of Reality and dream overall.
Urusei Yatsura was a pretty popular series back in the day. With this unique narrative, I am sure you understand why it's so recognized.
17. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
Now we would talk about the classic mecha franchise, Gundam. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a 50 episode TV series that aired back in 1985.
It is an original anime directed by Tomino Yoshiyuki and animated by Studio Sunrise. The story is set in the Universal Century 0087.
The war between the Earth Federation and the Principality Of Zeon is finally over. To take out the remaining Zeons, Earth forms an elite task force called Titans.
However, this task force backfires and leads to another group. This group is known as the Anti-Earth Union Group.
Kamille Bidan faces various troubles as he assaults a Titan Officer and steals a Gundam.
Due to these acts, he becomes a part of some great conflicts. How will he make it out alive?
The question stands! The Gundam franchise has always been a revolutionary work in the Mecha genre.
So if you want to enjoy some of their works from the '80s, this series is a must-watch for you.
16. Igano Kabamaru
Let's talk about some action, adventure, romance shounen. And what better one to talk about than Igano Kabamaru.
This 24 episode TV series aired back in 1983. It is an adaptation of a manga of the same name.
The manga was written and illustrated by Azuki Yuu. The story is just as it sounds.
A young man named Kabamaru from Iga. After his Grandfather's death, he was adopted by a lady.
His Grandfather was a sensei in Iga and he asked this lady to adopt his grandson.
This lady now takes him to Tokyo where Kabamaru is supposed to have a normal life.
However, things are not as simple as they initially seem. Thus, begins the journey with Kabamaru in this new world.
Filled with action, comedy, and adventure, this series is a great one to have fun with from the old era.
Yet another lost movie from the '80s has made it to our list, Oshin. Oshin is a historical drama movie that aired back in 1984.
It was directed by Yamamoto Eiichi. The story is about a 7-year-old girl named Oshin who comes from a family of poor farmers.
Her father and brother are working hard to make a living. On the other hand, her mother and grandmother are expecting another child when they barely get to eat themselves.
Due to this horrible situation, Oshin decides to help her family out. And to do so, she leaves her school and becomes a servant at a wealthy family's house.
There, she faces challenges and problems that were far bound by her expectations. This movie is an emotional roller coaster that might bring tears to your eyes.
If you ever get hands on it, that is.
14. Barefoot Gen
If you are someone who likes Historical Drama then this one might spark your interest.
Barefoot Gen is an anime movie adaptation of its Manga counterpart that aired back in 1983.
The manga was written and illustrated by Nakazawa Keiji. The movie was animated by Studio Madhouse.
The story revolves around the Japan and USA war that took place back in the day.
Our protagonist Gen tries his level best to make sure that his family survives. Due to scarcity of food, his family is malnourished including his pregnant mother.
In these tough times, Gen and his little brother Shinji must work hard for their family in Hiroshima.
However, his life is about to change completely as soon, Hiroshima will experience its unfortunate fate.
This movie won the Oufuji Noburou Award at the Mainichi Film Awards back in 1983.
This compelling award and realistic expression make this movie, a great watch for any drama lovers.
13. City Hunter
Another classic on its way ladies and gentlemen, our next entry is City Hunter. This 51 episode TV series aired back in 1987.
It is an anime adaptation of a Manga of the same name. The manga was written and illustrated by Hojo Tsukasa.
The story focuses on Ryou Saeba, a member of a famous group known as 'City Hunter'.
City Hunter has a call sign "XYZ" and they would do whichever job you want them to.
Ryou is a key member of the group and possesses a Colt Python. With his exceptional accuracy using Colt Python, Ryou works alongside Kaori Makimura.
With both of them as one, they tackle many difficult cases and dangers. However, if they are not hunting, Ryou starts to seek beautiful women but Kaori keeps him in check.
No matter the crime, the City Hunters can solve it. City Hunter is an amazing series that paved its name amongst the classics.
If you want a taste of the good old days, keep an eye on City Hunter.
12. Maison Ikkoku
Snatching such a high spot on the list we have a seinen series named Maison Ikkoku.
This 96 episodes long TV series aired back in 1986. It's an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart.
The manga was written and illustrated by Takahashi Rumiko. The story is set in Clock Hill where a boarding house named Maison Ikkoku stands tall.
However, the resident Yuusaku Godai is done with his disturbing neighbors and wants to leave the boarding.
However, plan changes occur as Kyoko Otonashi becomes the new boarding house manager. Our man Godai falls head over heels for her and thus begins his journey for Kyoko.
However, Kyoko is a widow who lost her husband right after 6 months of marriage.
She believes that no one can take his place in her heart. Yet Godai's continuous efforts might make her fall in love again.
This seinen romantic series must be under your radar if you are a fan of LOVE.
11. Dragon Ball
There is absolutely NO WAY you haven't heard about this series. Yup weebs, it's time to talk about the legendary series called Dragon Ball!
Dragon Ball is a 153 episode long TV series that aired back in 1986. It is an anime adaptation of a manga of the same name.
The manga was written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. Here's the plot for the exceptionally low number of people who don't know about Dragon Ball.
The story revolves around a young boy named Goku whose fate changes after meeting a girl named Bulma.
Bulma was on a mission to seek magical objects called 'Dragon Balls' that can grant you any wish you have.
And Bulma wants to have a perfect boyfriend. Goku possesses a Dragon Ball and makes a deal with Bulma to be a part of her journey.
However, they both are accompanied by Martial Arts trainer Master Roshi and his wannabe disciple Krillin.
Goku and Krillin train under Master Roshi to become the strongest fighters on the planet.
This way, they can stop those who plan to exploit the Dragon Balls. Thus, their journey to become strong and search for Dragon Balls begins.
Dragon Ball is a revolutionary series that changed the shounen genre forever. It was one of the most popular series of its time and is still talked about.
If you haven't watched it yet, you are really missing out.
Talking about revolutionary, why not take a look at this amazing anime movie named Akira.
This 2 hours long movie aired back in 1988. Akira is an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart.
The manga was written and illustrated by Otomo Katsuhiro. The story is set in Neo Tokyo formed due to the aftermath of World War III.
However, Neo Tokyo is a place filled with delinquents who follow no rules and resolve to violence.
Shoutarou Kaneda is a member of a bikers group called 'The Capsules' and they always end up in conflict with their rivals called 'The Clowns".
During one of these fights, Kaneda's friend Tetsuo Shima gets involved with a strange boy.
However, this involvement results in something unexpected. Tetsuo himself starts to develop some unrecognizable abilities.
The government now tries to bring him to stop him from any sort of possible destruction.
Akira had won the Silver Scream Award in 1992 and was nominated for Best Anime Feature in American Anime Awards 2007.
This movie is one of the most critically acclaimed pieces that is appreciated to this day.
Therefore, if you have a sense of attachment towards Classics, Akira is the movie you should watch right now.
9. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
You were missing some Mechas? Well, here it is. This 36 episodes long TV series aired back in 1982.
It is an original anime directed by Ishiguro Noboru and animated by Tatsunoko Production With the crash of a mysterious spaceship, the Earthlings realize that outer space indeed has other creatures.
To be prepared for these creatures, the entire planet comes together and forms a new United Nations organization.
The new UN decides to remodel the spaceship and name it SDF-1 Macross. However, on the day of its voyage, an alien race called Zentradi appears on earth.
In this predicament, SDF-1 Macross ends up shooting one of these ships and causes an intergalactic war.
Now to escape, Macross tries to launch itself into Moon's Orbit but Macross along with the entire city gets teleported to a random place in the vast space.
How will the members of Macross and the city survive in such a situation!? Macross is another classic Mecha series that shaped the Mecha genre.
If you are a fan of the genre, then Macross is worth your while
8. Silver Fang
Don't call me a furry for adding this entry to the list but up next is Silver Fang.
This 21 episode TV series aired back in 1986. It is an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart.
The Manga was written and illustrated by Takahashi Yoshihiro. This is a battle led by Gin, a silver Tora-ge named after his coat color.
Soon after his birth, he witnessed a murder. Murder of his father, Riki, by Akakabuto.
Akakabuto is a wild bear that destroys anything and everything that stands in its path.
Gin gathers more and more dogs to join him in this battle. This battle is to put an end to Akakabuto after 3 generations.
As I said, this anime would give you a much more motivational sentiment than furry.
So if you want some emotional series that would be filled with cuteness, Silver Fang should be your next watch.
7. Legend Of The Galactic Heroes
Another absolute classic is on its way ladies and gentlemen. Yes, we are talking about the amazing Legend Of The Galactic Heroes.
Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is a 110 episode long OVA series that aired back in 1988.
It is based on a novel of the same name. The novel is written by Tanaka Yoshiki and illustrated by Katou Naoyuki and Kamoshita Yukihisa.
The story is focused on two organizations, The Galactic Empire and Free Planets Alliance. With the coming of a new generation of leaders, the war between these organizations halts for good.
Reinhard von Lohengramm climbs the ranks of the Galactic Empire and holds the ideology of one ruler for the entire race of humanity.
On the other hand, Yang Wenli thinks that democracy is the method of ruling aristocracy is not ideal.
When these 2 distinct ideologies clash, both of these geniuses need to know the true reason for this entire chaos and war.
Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is one of the most critically acclaimed series of all time.
It is appreciated by critics as well as casuals. Not to mention, it ranks #6 on MyAnimeList in terms of ratings.
So if this series has been on your watchlist for a while, I think now is a great time.
6. Ashita No Joe
Behold my sports anime lovers, we have a banger series up our sleeves. I am sure you have heard of the amazing Ashita No Joe, right?
It is an anime adaptation of its Manga counterpart. This manga is written by Kajiwara Ikki and illustrated by Chiba Tetsuya. Joe is a disobedient and mild-mannered student who has nothing going for him.
However, his strength is quite different. He is a brilliant fighter who seems second to none.
Unfortunately, his aggressive nature leads him to a fight with a gang. Still, Joe defeated all of them effortlessly. This feat catches the eye of a coach.
The coach offers Joe to become a professional boxer. Initially, he declines but after some negotiations and incidents, Joe accepts his offer.
Thus commences the mission of Joe to become the Best Boxer in Japan. The anime was loved by everyone at the time of its release.
This sports series paved the way for all of the upcoming sports series. If you like to watch some exceptional of its era type shows, then there's no better one than Ashita No Joe.
5. Kiki's Delivery Service
We are in the Top 5 ladies and gentlemen. And what better way to start a Top 5 than a Ghibli movie.
Kiki's Delivery Service is an anime movie adaptation of a novel. It aired back in 1989 and was directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
The story is about a witch named Kiki who is currently training. She is supposed to stay in a town on her own to become a fully-fledged witch.
However, in a town where no one is known, Kiki ends up alone. Luckily, Osono agrees to offer her aboard.
But she must work as a delivery man for her small bakery. With every delivery that Kiki makes, she brings in more experience.
And thus begins the journey of Kiki in this town to adapt and learn. Throughout this journey, Kiki realizes a lot of reality including the meaning of responsibility.
This Ghibli movie is still in talks by multiple anime fans. The blend of wholesomeness and life lessons is beautiful in this movie.
Fun Fact: Kiki's Delivery Service won the 1989 Animage's Anime Grand Prix Award. So if you haven't watched it, you should consider it.
4. Castle In The Sky
Yet another Ghibli movie has successfully made it to a high spot on this list.
This time we have Castle In The Sky. Castle In The Sky is an original romance movie that aired back in 1986.
It was directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The story revolves around Sheeta, a girl who was kidnapped by Government agents for her crystal amulet.
Luckily, during this kidnapping, a group of pirates hijacks the airships and Sheeta manages to escape.
Right after her escape, she meets a boy named Pazu. Pazu wants to reach out to the flying castle Laputa and Sheeta joins him for his dream.
Thus begins the journey of Sheeta and Pazu to reach this castle in the sky that brought them together.
Fun Fact: Castle In The Sky won the Animage Anime Grand Prix in 1986. Another fantastic movie from the Disney of Japan.
This one should be high up in your watchlist if it isn't already.
3. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Reaching the 3rd spot on our list, we have Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind.
This movie aired back in 1984. It is an anime movie adaptation of a manga of the same name.
The Manga was written and illustrated by Miyazaki Hayao. He was also the director of this movie.
The story is set in a world where massive destruction once took place. This was in the form of 'Seven Days Of Fire'.
However, now the days have passed and a toxic forest has developed where human existence is impossible.
Nausicaa is the humble queen of a small country called Valley Of The Wind. The country has managed to contain this deadly forest from spreading.
However, one night, an airship filled with Giant Warriors crashes in the valley, and soldiers from another nation invade the next morning.
They would try their best to bring down the forest. But Nausicaa believes in the collateral existence of Insects and Humans.
She must find a way to stop this attack on the forest and save the forest.
Otherwise, she might end up losing it all. Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind won the Oufuji Noburou Award at the Mainichi Film Awards 1984.
Moreover, it was awarded the Best Short Film Award at the Fantafestival in 1985. This movie has an amazing blend of adventure and emotions.
Its popularity is no joke.
2. My Neighbor Totoro
If you have been a part of the anime community for a while, you would have definitely heard about this movie.
My Neighbor Totoro is an original anime movie that aired back in 1988. It was directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
The story revolves around Tatsuo Kasukabe and his two daughters, Mei and Satsuki. The family relocates to a new area to stay near Mei and Satsuki's hospitalized mother.
However, in this new locality, something odd takes place. Mei once comes across a small bunny that leads her to a spirit in the forest named Totoro.
Later on, Satsuki comes to know about Totoro. Thus, their lives get filled with magical adventure and happenings out of this world.
Do you want to know how many awards this movie won? Well, it has won the Grand Prix in the Animage Anime Awards, the Special Award in the 31st Blue Ribbon Awards, Best Japanese Film awards in the Kinema Junpo Awards, the Best Film and Reader's Choice Award, and the Best Film and Ofuji Noburo awards in the Mainichi Film Awards.
Yeah, I know you will watch it now!
1. Grave of the Fireflies
And finally, being at the absolute top of our massive list, we have Grave Of The Fireflies.
This stunning Ghibli movie aired back in 1988. It is adapted from a Novel written by Akiyuki Nosaka.
The movie was directed by Takahata Isao. The movie is based on Akiyuki Nosaka's experience before and after the American firebombing in Kobe in 1945.
It is about Seita and his sister Setsuko who lost everything in their life including their parents, home, finances, and future because of the war.
Now the orphaned kids walk their way across the countryside in a hope of survival.
However, with every step they take, they come across the lack of emotions by adults.
They realize that people change as per the situation. Even the kindest become cruel. But these siblings face this entire time with a smile on their face and hope in their eyes.
The movie holds many awards such as the 1988 Japan Catholic Film Award, the 1st Moscow International Children's and Youth's Film Festival Grand Prix in the same year, the Special Award in the 31st Blue Ribbon Awards held in 1989, and the Animation Jury and Rights of the Child Awards in the 1994 Chicago International Children's Film Festival.
The emotional weight and imagery of this series are impeccable which makes this movie a complete cry fest.
If you have ever wanted to experience the best of the '80s, Grave Of The Fireflies has what you wanted.
And that's pretty much it, weebs! This was the Top 50 Anime Of The '80s List you just read.
I hope you enjoyed this reading experience. Until next time, Sayonara!