What era had the better anime?

Topic started by justanormalguy on Jan. 6, 2012. Last post by MrASSH0LE 2 years, 8 months ago.
Post by justanormalguy (270 posts) See mini bio Level 10

This has gone through my mine and I'm sure a lot of yours as well. Time to talk about this.

20th century vs. 21st century anime.

Now, obviously when it comes to animation, the 21st century has the superior technology, allowing for superior animation. But that's not what anime is about. It's about telling a wonderful story through animation.

We also need to look at it as a whole, though. But the storytelling aspect could be a deciding factor over the animation.

For example: 20th century - Macross, Mazinger, Captain Harlock, Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion / 21st century - Bleach, Gurren Lagann, Elfen Lied, Fullmetal Alchemist, Katekyo Hitman Reborn! /

Taking everything into account, from character development to story progression and everything in between, which era overall has the better anime?

Post by sickVisionz (4,289 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

20th because there's like 70 years of content to pick and choose from while the 21st is barely more than 10 years old.

Also, man it's kinda bad to list straight up critical classics from the 20th and then the first title in the 21st list is Bleach with Elfen Lied and Hitman Reborn presented as a representation of 21st century quality in the same way that stuff like Macros, Cowboy Bebop, and Evangelion are used to for the 20th.

Post by MohsinMan99 (1,777 posts) See mini bio Level 21

20th century no question about it. :)

Post by justanormalguy (270 posts) See mini bio Level 10

@sickVisionz: It was just what came to mind right when I made the thread. I mean Elfen Lied is a masterpiece. I think that series is fantastic. I could've thrown in RahXephon which, in my opinion, is better than Evangelion as a series and as an anime by far. But I didn't think about that until right now typing this. Lol.

I mean, if there are series out there that you think should be better representations of 21st century anime, lemme know. I wouldn't consider Naruto or One Piece or Pokemon (for example) 21st century since their origins are in the 20th century, even though they stretch out into the 21st century.

Post by PenguinDust (1,008 posts) See mini bio Level 13

You should have broken it down into decades rather than centuries. Even that's not right but as sickVisionz pointed out, it's an unfair comparison to stack 70 years against 10. When I look back over the years that I've been aware and watching anime, I'd say that the stuff I found in the 80's and anime I've since seen from that decade is my personal favorite. This was before the "anime boom" of the 90's, when the shows were a bit sharper than what aired in the 70's but still retained an innocence long since abandoned for boobs and power levels (I happen to be a proponent of both, but I don't need them all the time). When I look at my list of all-favorites anime shows, it breaks down like this:

  1. 1 show from the 1970s
  2. 8 shows from the 1980's
  3. 6 shows from the 1990's
  4. 19 shows from the 2000's
  5. and 1 show since 2010

On the surface of that information, I should be answering "The 2000's", but that decade has had an unfair advantage; accessibility. I've seen more shows from the last decade because more shows are available. The farther I go back, the rarer it is to find English versions (sub or dub) for me to watch. Only the most popular are available, and so I can only go with what I've seen.

VOTOMS (1983-84)
VOTOMS (1983-84)

I do know that I love watching those old shows more than the newer ones. There is an aesthetic personality in earlier anime that I crave not found in modern titles. I believe a lot of that has to do with the use of computers throughout the creative process currently. In the old days, everything was hand drawn and hand painted on sheets of celluloid before going under the camera. There was a Xeroxing treatment that shortened some of the labor time, but that too had its own look; thick, bold and rough. Muted colors and a flatness to the perspective were also characteristics of those earlier works. The combined elements plus the audio effects and music finished into a final product that I still find captivating. Without question, some of my affection can be attributed to nostalgia. I fell in love with anime when this style was the norm. So, revisiting the shows from that era evokes pleasant memories of my childhood. That lack of kinship might explain why some younger fans have trouble favoring shows from three or four decades ago. When I watch Armored Trooper VOTOMS or something from Rumiko Takahashi's mind, I appreciate it with the eyes I had when anime was brand new to me.

Maison Ikkoku (1980-87)
Maison Ikkoku (1980-87)

Story required more patience on behalf of the viewer back then, I believe. While many shows followed looser story arcs or a one story per episode format (Urusei Yatsra, Dirty Pair, City Hunter), there were a notable few that told grander tales. My personal favorite is a romance called Maison Ikkoku. It's about a college student who lives in a run down rooming house alongside some meddlesome tenants and the love that develops between him and his landlady. There are no robots or super powers; no one get shot although I'm sure someone got punched somewhere along the way. It just pulled me and kept my attention throughout the telling. It's also a perfect example of a show that would not be made today. I sincerely doubt any anime studio would want to tell the tale of two ordinary people falling in love stretched out over 96 episodes. It's not a perfect show and there were times, especially toward the end when I became frustrated by the one-step-forward-two-steps-back momentum of the couple's relationship; however the perfect happiness I had by the end made it all worth it. Very few shows have left me with such complete satisfaction (Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is another). Experiencing that connection to a show is something I treasure.

Art comes in many forms
Art comes in many forms

In closing, I do need to reiterate that I really do like current anime. I'm usually one of the defenders of the so-called "crap" that makes up the majority of what airs today. I like harem comedies, unnecessary ecchi and clichéd plots. But, I watch them differently than I do shows from the late 70's to mid 90's. It can best be described as the difference between a Renoir painting and a top-notch movie poster. Both have artistic value and provide pleasurable viewing, but only the Renoir has lasting pertinence. Old anime is like that for me. I savor it.

Post by MrASSH0LE (2,329 posts) See mini bio Level 12
I can name tons of anime better Bebop,like Steins Gate or even Champloo.
The problem with this is that inevitable people pick the oldest era due to the nostalgia factor or because we always like to think that the past era was  better this way it gives us an excuse to bash the new era.It's the same with music when Tupac died his old records were immediately regarded as better, classical music is seen as classy and highly regarded while rap music is looked down on for being shallow  and vulgar when classic generally has no message in it aside from the dedications here and there.I swear 1 century from now Eminem and Pac(just examples) are going to be our Mozarts.And ten years from now this decade in anime will be seen as the greatest. It is also that the old ones get a pass based on sometimes ridiculous arguments like the popularity or the influence of  the show on the anime world.
I will however say that the classics from this era were far less complex in plot.Example: Naruto's plot is much more deep then DBZ and FOTNS.
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