Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here! Over the years we’ve had some really wonderful anime that time seemed to forget. Let’s do ourselves a favor and dig through the decades to find those old gems.
These are anime that are pivotal to the medium, and helped to make the anime industry what it is today. If you haven’t seen these series, you really should. The anime in this list aren’t in any particular order of importance. These are just ten amazing anime that should be forgotten.
Mind you, there is an anime that’s on this list simply for being amazingly bad, and no I’m not joking. Could there be a worse one? Sure, but I haven’t found it yet. That particular anime made the list because it is the worst trash heap I’ve seen in 70’s anime, but we will get to that later.
The rest are real gems though, so don’t bypass them. This thing is going to be long enough without my rambling, so let’s just dig into the list.
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#1: Space Battleship Yamato
Originally run from 1974 to 1975 this twenty-six episode anime became widely popular, inspiring a wide range of other shows taking place in the vast world of outer space. It has plenty of sequel and remake fodder to keep an anime fan entertained for hours.
The series boasts a nice collections of games to accompany the franchise, so you won’t be hungry for more content. Space Battleship Yamato is almost required viewing for any science fiction fan. This thing is the epitome of a space opera, and for its time it even looks very pleasing to the eye. You won’t regret watching this classic masterpiece.
#2: The Rose Of Versailles
Okay fans of Utena, this one is for you. Historical anime have always been popular, and that’s no joke. In 1979, though there was a massive shift in how we think of these types of shows. All of it thanks to series like this one. Carrying its way into the cusp of the eighties, this anime refused conformity and gave a big middle finger to anyone that might be offended.
The Rose of Versailles was very unique back then, and it still is today. You’re not going to find many anime like it. The series totaled forty episodes, completely embracing the slice of life genre and blurring the lines of performative gender role as expected by society. All of these themes are wrapped with several layers of romantic intrigue and political drama. The fact that it takes place during the French Revolution is just another interesting bone to chew on. If you like series such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, this is not an anime you pass by.
#3: Ashita no Joe
If you like boxing anime, this one is your classic bread and butter. In recent years we’ve had Megalo Box as a spiritual successor, but you just can’t beat out this incredible classic. In 1970 this anime literally came out swinging and sports anime was never quite the same after that.
This anime had a little bit of everything. Great ring matches, wonderful commentary on the boxing world at the time, and a main protagonist you couldn’t help but love. There was a lot of heart and soul in this series, and at a robust seventy-five episodes, you can be strapped in for one hell of a ride.
#4: Mobile Suit Gundam (The Original)
Alright, come on guys, you knew this bad boy was going to be on the list. Mecha series are an anime staple for a damn good reason, and this anime was the forefather of the Gundam series. Yes it’s old. Yes it is very dated. Yes there are better Gundam series out there.
Any Gundam fan will already know this is not the cream of the crop, but that’s not why it’s on this list. It’s here because the original 1979 Gundam anime was foundational to mecha anime. Let’s be real honest with ourselves. Ignoring this landmark title is not something we can meaningfully do. Besides, it heavily inspired other mecha series too, and we can’t forget that.
The only mecha series that could be more foundational would be Mazinger Z, one of the first mecha anime ever made. It’s an honorable mention, because this this is one of the forefathers of mecha anime. However, I’d argue that Gundam is more paramount in the long run, and that’s why it’s on the list.
#5: 3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother
If ever there were a series that needed to be given the full remake treatment, it’s this one. In 1976 anime fans were gifted a journey about a boy traveling from Italy to Argentina all on his own.
3000 Leagues In Search Of Mother is a heartfelt period piece taking place during Italy’s depression. It tells the story of a young boy who leaves in search of his very ill mother when he stop receiving letters from her. This anime is just so amazing, it’s hard to imagine it’s been left alone and forgotten. The heart and soul that permeates the series is not something easily described, because for as heartwarming as the adventure can be, the main protagonists is a little boy who goes through a great deal of trouble reach his destination. As much as there’s joy and adventure, there’s a lot of sadness and heartache too. At fifty-two episodes you’re in for an experience you won’t often find elsewhere.
#6: Future Boy Conan
1978 gave us one hell of a special anime series. Future Boy Conan is the first complete run of a series that Hayao Miyazaki ever fully directed. Do I really need to say more than that? Prior to this. he’d had a hand in directing Lupin the 3rd for about fifteen episodes, but that was about it as a director.
Sure, he had a slew of credits within animation departments, and had written and directed the Yuki’s Sun short film. However, Future Boy Conan was his first massive undertaking as a director, and this series really shows off what he was capable of in his earliest days as a director. This series showcases a world that has been devastated by war and the elements themselves after earth was thrown off its axis. As far as post-apocalypse science fiction goes, this is everything you’d expect of a good series. It has a love story, action and adventure. If you are a Hayao Miyazaki fan, this is a twenty-six episode series you have to watch.
#7: Chargeman Ken!
In the 60’s we had a real gem in Speed Racer, but in the 70’s we weren’t so lucky. In 1974 we were treated to the complete dumpster fire that was known as Chargeman Ken! This is one of those “so bad, it’s good” anime. Nowadays it has a fairly strong cult following.
Believe it or not, even when it was released, it was critically panned for low-quality production values. Knack Productions made this absolute abomination, and in turn it gives us a baseline for what 70’s anime looked like at its worst. There is no nice way to put this. Chargeman Ken! will show you what an animated shit stain in the 70’s really looked like. It is amazingly terrible. This is a series you watch with a group of friends to suffer with, or to troll the absolute hell out of them.
#8: Belladonna of Sadness
Okay, I’ll level with you, this one is way out there. I’d never fault you if you haven’t heard of it. Belladonna of Sadness is anavant garde anime film made in 1973, and dear sweet god, it is not your typical anime by far. Don’t go into it thinking it is, because it isn’t.
This film was initially coined as total commercial failure, however if you’re an anime connoisseur of the highest order, this is a must see film. It is very experimental with its animation. You’ll find beautiful painted still images that are as amazing as they are sometimes violent or explicit. There’s adult themes and imagery in this film that are not made for children. The film also inspired Kunihiko Ikuhara and its visual and thematic influences can be seen in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Having sat through the film twice now, I’ll say it’s interesting. I don’t know if I could say I liked it. but it is amazing just what this film managed to pull off.
#9: Aim for the Ace
We’re equal opportunity here, and with a sports anime showcasing athletic guys on the list, I couldn’t very well leave out Aim for the Ace! This anime has very strong female representation for an anime that came out in 1973.
It’s prolific for that alone, but if you like tennis, or sports anime in general, this is a paramount staple to have on your watch-list. Though the anime was initially aimed at girls, guys love this thing too. There’s a lot of great tennis anime out there, and this one stands with the best of them. You’ll always see it on a top list for tennis anime, and it even holds a solid foundation on most sports anime top lists too. If you need a good sports anime to watch, pick it up, it’ll be worth your time.
#10: Cutie Honey
I couldn’t avoid it forever, magical girl series are another common staple in the anime fandom. Very few anime from this decade will do you better that Cutie Honey. In 1973, this anime was a hit right out of the gate, and series is very intriguing to say the least.
This magical girl can assume a vast many personas, and when doing so she gains special abilities. The titular character, Honey is super mischievous and troublesome for a female main lead of her time. She’ll tease her male friends at school and has no qualms giving out her opinion. She’ll downright aggravate and taunt the absolute crap out of her enemies in combat too. She can be everything we want out of a magical girl. Do you like your female lead to be a bad-ass biker chick? She can pull that off. Would you rather have a magical girl with cutesy-poo pink hair that’s your typical warrior of love? She can do that too. This anime showcases one of the best female leads in a magical girl show. If you’re a fan of that, don’t miss out on Cutie Honey.
As you can plainly see, in the seventies we were given many great anime series, and this only scratches the surface. If you’re a mecha anime fan, you’ll find a lot of your classics hailed from this decade. Space operas found their calling, sports anime was heavily on the rise, and some of the earliest truly experimental works in anime can be found here.
When we think of classic anime we turn to the eighties and nineties most of all, but we shouldn’t turn our noses up at these seventies classics either. Some of the greatest names in the anime industry really found their footing here, and the foundational touchstones that many of these series had to offer influenced tropes and storytelling still used today.
If you’re hungry for truly classic anime, these choices won’t do you better. It’s an eclectic mix, so dive right in. You’ll be glad you did. Honestly, there are just too many great series that I couldn’t name them all. Maybe you’ve seen a wonderful series that I haven’t yet. Let’s share our passion for these classic treasures.
Do you have a favorite seventies anime that wasn’t on this list? Tell me about it down below.
This has been Kernook from “The Demented Ferrets”, where stupidity is at it’s finest and level grinds are par for the course. If you liked this content, please be sure to check out some other great content down below.
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