Big hair. Hypercolor t-shirts. Snausages. Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars. Punk rock. Acid green. And 1001 reason to Save Ferris.
Ah, the 80s.
It was such a good time in my days as a young'un that it's always a fun thing to look back. For the curious, I was born in 1976. A good chunk of what makes me me is a result of the 80s. Of course, like most things in life, we can't really appreciate those things at the time. During my time growing up in the anime-starved world of Utah, I never really noticed that anything would be significant later on in life. A lot of it is more nostalgia than anything else, as some of the things I noted at the top there will demonstrate, but there was something special about growing up in the 80s. And it was more than just pop music. (Although 1983 and 1985 were EXCELLENT years for that...)
Yes, my education into the world that I now live in was started in 1981. A year noted for several milestones. Video killed the radio star with the birth of MTV. Whips and fedoras become cool by virtue of Indiana Jones' adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Hollywood met Washington as Ronald Reagan was inaugarated as President. But even more personally significant was the advent of a little show in Japan called Hyakujuou Goraion. I didn't know it at the time, but in the coming years, this would be the beginning of something that would have hold of my life and would refuse to let go. Of course, our "Golion" friends wouldn't make thier grand North American appearance for another 3 years. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
1984 came along and life changed in my world forever. I didn't know it at the time though. Until then, I was stuck in the world of things like the new Apple Macintosh computer and The Smurfs. (I still use a Mac and Gargamel still sucks after all these years too.) The very first Japanese animated title I can recall ever seeing came on our local UHF station. Hyakujuou Goraion was a go, transformed into Voltron: Defender of the Universe. At the same time, an even bigger thing was coming, Tatakae! Cho robot seimeitai Transformer, better known to all of us here in the U.S. as The Transformers. We were headed for a quick flood of Japanese animation and we really didn't know what we had until it was gone.
The next year, another Japanese series hit the airwaves in the U.S., Chojiku Yosai Macross. And Macross, as most of us in the world of anime know, is the beginning of the ever-controversial series produced by U.S. import pioneer Carl Macek, Robotech. It was all uphill from there.
Now, you may ask why I've taken you on this trip down Amnesia Lane. Cheesy animation and horrible acting aside, the basic foundations for a lot of what we see in the anime world can be seen in those early anime series. I was reminded of this as we began to get a steady stream of things coming in for our writers here at Ionfuse to review. I think the thing that really reminded me of the 80s was when I was watching the first volume of Gravion Zwei. Now, I've never seen the original Gravion, but the concept by seeing the first volume of Gravion Zwei is farily similar to things that I lived with when I was growing up. I saw the Gravion team and noticed the great similarities to our friends on the Voltron Force. A group of "youngsters" traveling around in the battle machines and at the crucial moment in the battle with the bad guys, we get the obligatory Mecha Combination Transformation. Inevitably some sort of sword or gun-type item appears and splatters the heck out of the offending party. Oh yeah! After watching the Gravion disc, I was like, "Wow! That is sooooooo Voltron..."
Now, back when all the fun that is @anime! started back in 1999, our first issue came out at the same time as the now-popular Toonami block was created by our friends at Cartoon Network. Back in 1999, Toonami started out with a set of the classics. Robotech and Voltron. Even back then, Cartoon Network knew what was what. It was an appropriate place to start. A majority of the anime fans of the day started out their lives with those shows. It's amazing how far things have come, yet how much the same they still are.
I guess it all comes down to formulas. There are things in this world that just work. The team-of-young-punks-kicking-the-bad-guys-trash-around-the-block concept is one of those things that just works. Cheese is almost always there, but that's another part of the formula.
And oh was that formula used in the 80s. Without it, we wouldn't be where we are today.
Yep, i sure do love the 80s. Cheese and all.
Until next month,