The Misunderstood Classics of Anime

When you wander into your local Suncoast video store, it's amazing how many anime videos you'll find. There's literally something for everyone, from the youngest children to dirty old men and everybody in between. However, there are many people who get into the hobby for only a short while, destined never to become true fans of anime. Why is this? Well, there are several reasons, really, but there are a few that stand out. Most anime newbies are built on word of mouth--a friend gives them a tape of something that they'll like, and they search out more of that style. When the well starts to run dry, however, they may move on to other anime, or they may get out completely. What can make a huge difference is whether or not the viewer has a solid concept of what anime can be and why it is so impressive, that it is not just a visual style but an entire medium of thought and creativity. Unfortunately, many fan clubs go for the shows that present the best looking, most popular shows instead of showing the broad base of what's available, and they show the newest things available rather than drawing from the classics.

It's these classics that can make or break an anime fan, especially when one starts to realize that the anime output from the last five years is not really that impressive considering the work done in the 80s and early 90s. There are barriers sometimes to watching older shows, but a fan with a strong view of earlier anime will never be at a loss for great, entertaining titles to watch. My goal is to revamp a number of my older reviews and present them again with longer descriptions and more depth, and this is where some of them will first see the light of day.

But what does it mean to be a misunderstood classic? Well, for example, the first show in this series is Macross '84: Do You Remember Love?? Many anime fans have only seen it in a terribly dubbed version missing over thirty minutes of footage, most all of it vital to understanding the plot. It's a wonderful film, but very few otaku know the real deal, and so it's often disparaged. Another title that will be included is Akira. Why, you may ask? You might think that it's been covered to death, but it is incredibly misunderstood as a film. For Akira is more than money thrown at the screen to create a visual apocalypse...there is a heart beating in the core of this film, deep within the psyche of its tortured antagonist Tetsuo, that is rarely seen because the movie itself is so breathtaking.

Some misunderstood classics are acknowledged, but for the wrong reasons; others need support from fans to take their place in the libraries of anime lovers in the Western world. Either way, we'll look at why a variety of films are much richer than you'd think at first glance, and perhaps you'll find yourself taking a second look at a film you might have set aside.


Vampire Hunter D (1985)

Project A-Ko


Macross '84: Do You Remember Love?