28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

Today we are going to talk about the classics 1980s anime how good are they and which are the 1980s anime that you should watch.

This industry has been just booming in the past couple of years with new hits shows coming one after another and these days are like everything can be considered as an anime.

But today we are going to tell you about all those traditional 1980s anime yes all those anime series with those weird anime moves.

Lets continue with the list of some awesome 1980s anime to watch in todays times.

28. Silver Fang

80s8 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

Don’t call me a furry because I added this to the list, but Silver Fang is next. This TV show ran for 21 episodes in 1986. It is an anime version of the manga version of the same story.

Takahashi Yoshihiro was the one who wrote and drew the manga. This fight is being led by Gin, a silver Tora-ge whose name comes from the color of his fur.

Not long after he was born, he saw a murder. His father, Riki, was killed by Akakabuto. Akakabuto is a wild bear that will destroy anything that gets in its way. Gin is getting more and more dogs to help him fight.

After 3 generations, this fight will put an end to Akakabuto. As I already said, this anime would make you feel much more inspired than furry.

So, Silver Fang is the next show you should watch if you want a series that will make you feel sad but is also full of cute things.

27. Ashita No Joe

80s6 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

For all of you who like sports anime, we have a great series in the works. You must have heard about how great Ashita No Joe is, right? It is an anime version of the manga version of the same story.

This book was written by Kajiwara Ikki, and Chiba Tetsuya drew the pictures. Joe is a student who doesn’t listen and isn’t very nice. He has nothing going for him. But his strength is not the same.

He seems to be the best fighter in the world. He gets into a fight with a gang because he is too violent. Still, Joe beat them all without much trouble. A coach takes notice of this move.

The coach tells Joe that he can become a pro boxer. At first, he says no, but after some talking and events, Joe decides to take him up on his offer. Joe is now on his way to becoming the best boxer in Japan.

At the time that the anime came out, everyone loved it. This sports series set the stage for all of the sports programs that came after it. Ashita No Joe is the best show of its time that you can watch if you like shows like that.

26. Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind

80s3 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

Miyazaki Hayao wrote the manga and drew the pictures. He also was in charge of making this movie. The story takes place in a world where terrible things used to happen.

This was called “Seven Days of Fire.” But the days have passed, and now there is a poisonous forest where no one can live. Valley Of The Wind is a small country with a humble queen named Nausicaa.

The country has stopped this dangerous forest from growing further. But one night, an airship full of Giant Warriors crashes in the valley, and the next morning, forces from another country come to take over.

They would do everything they could to cut the trees down. But Nausicaa thinks that humans and insects can live together. She needs to find a way to stop these people from hurting the forest and save it.

Otherwise, she might lose everything. At the Mainichi Film Awards in 1984, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind won the Oufuji Noburou Award. It also won the award for Best Short Film at the 1985 Fantafestival.

This movie is a great mix of action and feelings. It’s not a joke that it’s popular.

25. Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D 1980s anime

This anime will get us started.

It does have some problems, but it also has a certain charm and a history.

It doesn’t have as much atmosphere or be drawn as well as some of the other shows on this page.

But one thing is certain: it’s fun to watch.

You get vampires, technology that looks like it’s from today, and technology from the 1800s.


Who cares!

Put them all together, give them some nakedness, abilities, and fighting, and you have Vampire Hunter D.

So Castlevania could run, it had to walk.

24. Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura

The next thing on our list is a show! (Who’d have thought?). Anyway, this time it’s from a series called Urusei Yatsura. This 1984 movie was 1 hour and 35 minutes long.

It is based on the manga version of the same story. Rumiko Takahashi wrote the manga and drew the pictures for it. The story is about the weird town of Tomobiki, where nothing seems normal.

For the first day of the school fair, the kids are working hard. The next day, this school fair will happen. But the kids’ view of reality changes when they find out that the ‘Next Day’.

What is this thing, and why does it keep happening? These students try to find answers to these questions so that they can learn more about Reality and dreams as a whole. Back in the day, Urusei Yatsura was a pretty famous show.

I’m sure you can see why it’s so well-known with this unique story.

23. Dirty Pair

Dirty Pair

If there wasn’t at least one cop show, it wouldn’t feel like the 1980s.

Well, in this world, they are called Trouble Consultants, and they seem to help with everything.

But there is one pair of “officers” who are known for breaking more things than they fix because they don’t follow the rules.

Can you guess who the main people in our story are?

A pair of women who remind League players a lot of Vi and Caitlyn, who are also known as the Dirty Pair.

Will they just mess up your house, date some guys, or hit some guys in the mouth over and over again? Who can say?

22. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross


You didn’t have enough Mechas?

Well, here it is. This 36-episode TV show went on the air in 1982. It is a new anime made by Tatsunoko Production and directed by Ishiguro Noboru. When a strange spaceship crashes, people on Earth learn that there are other beings in space.

In order to be ready for these creatures, everyone on Earth gets together and makes a new United Nations group. The new UN chooses to fix up the spaceship and call it SDF-1 Macross.

But on the day of its trip, a group of aliens called Zentradi show up on Earth. In this situation, SDF-1 Macross shoots one of these ships, which starts a war between galaxies.

Now, Macross wants to get away, so it tries to launch itself into the Moon’s orbit. However, Macross and the whole city are moved to a random place in space. How will the people of Macross and the city get through this!?

Macross is another great Mecha show that helped make the genre what it is today. Macross is worth your time if you like this type of show.

21. Angel’s Egg

Angel’s Egg

This show is possibly the oddest one on this list.

Just to be clear:

It’s not for everyone, and you have to think about it.

I can’t tell you what the show is about because it’s a piece of art that can be seen in any way you want.

The only theme that stays the same is religion, which is shown through many images and allegories.

Since there isn’t much talking, it feels like a performance piece.

I don’t know what else to say because you’ll either think it’s weird and want to watch something else right away, or you’ll jump right in and want a hug right away.

20. Wicked City

20 wicked city anime screenshot 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

Oh man, I don’t even know where to start with this one.

In short, it will make you afraid of women and want to stay single. Why?

Because in Wicked City, there are monsters as well as normal, boring people.

The two sides agree to stay out of each other’s way until. Of course, everything goes wrong, and now everyone wants to kill everyone else.

But by far, the most scary figures are the women, especially when they are doing something intimate.

The movie is so violent, weird, and oddly horny that the story is kind of thrown out the window and all you see is blood and naked people.

Awesome, right?

19. Crusher Joe

Crusher Joe

Crusher Joe should be a good 80s show to watch if you’ve seen almost all of the other shows on this list.

It’s a very simple idea for a movie: the Crushers are mercenaries who are given a very important job.

Space pirates mess with them, and now they have to put everything back on track.

Not too complicated.

What makes the show stand out, especially considering how old it is, is how well the animation and songs still work.

Also, the characters are more fun and interesting than you might think at first.

18. Captain Tsubasa

18 captain tsubasa anime screenshot 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

In the 1980s, this show was so popular that it had real-world effects.

It’s a pretty interesting story, but when it aired in Japan, soccer wasn’t as popular as it is now. And it was still able to be successful.

People from all over the world, not just Japan, would try the sport because of Tsubasa.

In terms of the show itself, it’s like a less intense version of a current sports anime.

You get the odd super kick and the story of the underdog, but mostly it’s just soccer with a lot of emotional buildup.

The anime version from the 1980s had more than 120 episodes, so there’s a lot to keep you busy here.

17. Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku

A seinen series called Maison Ikkoku is so high on the list because it is so good. This TV show with 96 episodes aired in 1986. It is an anime version of the manga version.

Rumiko Takahashi wrote the story and drew the pictures. The story takes place in Clock Hill, where a tall building called Maison Ikkoku serves as a guest house.

But Yuusaku Godai, who lives there, is tired of his noisy neighbors and wants to leave the boarding house.

But plans change when Kyoko Otonashi takes over as manager of the boarding house. Godai falls completely in love with her, and so he starts his journey to find Kyoko. Kyoko, on the other hand, lost her husband after only 6 months of marriage.

She thinks that no one else can fill the space he left in her heart. But if Godai keeps trying, she might fall in love with him again. If you like LOVE, you should know about this seinen romantic story.

16. Magical Princess Minky Momo

16 magical princess minky momo anime 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

I’d feel bad if most of the shows on this list were R-rated or about big robots, so here are more beautiful girl shows.

Minky Momo was one of the first books in this type. And it’s exactly what you’d expect.

The land of dreams in this universe has started to move away from Earth, so Momo has to come see us and make sure everyone is having a good time.

She has been a nurse, a police officer, a firefighter, and just about everything else.

And if you like urban tales, you should definitely look into the history of this show. It gets a little bit scary.

15. The Mysterious Cities of Gold

The Mysterious Cities of Gold 1 1 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

This TV show with 39 episodes aired in 1982. A book was turned into an anime called The Mysterious Cities of Gold.

Nishikubo Mizuho was in charge of making it. The main character of the story is a boy named Esteban, who was saved by a man from a ship that was sinking.

This happened to Esteban when he was still a child. But he finds out soon enough that his father is not real. Esteban wants to find out who he really is, so he goes to the mysterious towns of gold that might be able to help him.

On his way, he meets two more people who are a lot like him. So, Esteban’s journey to find the truth about himself and the Mysterious Cities of Gold starts.

The story sounds like an adventure, doesn’t it? The series is also just as exciting. Definitely watch it!

14. Attacker You!

Attacker You!

I’m not calling you an attacker, dear friend. People often confuse it with a basketball show, but it’s actually a volleyball show.

But yeah, Attacker You! is a sports anime from the middle of the 1980s that follows a well-known pattern:

The main character is bad at a sport, but they feel emotionally driven to keep trying, and wouldn’t you know it, they slowly get better.

The art style is definitely a little on the “uf” side. But if you can get past that and don’t mind paying for a gym pass you won’t use much, I’d say give the show a shot.

13. Daicon

13 daicon anime screenshot 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

This post is worth reading. We have graphics for the beginning of Daicon. Back in 1981, these two special shows were shown. They were created by Studio Gainax, and Yamaga Hiroyuki was in charge of the show.

In these episodes, a girl without a name is given a glass of water. She should put water in that glass and use it to water a radish.

But this simple job involves a lot of made-up characters, such as Mecha, Lizardmen, and so on.

Will she make it through this!? In the next episode, the same girl, who is now older, is the main character. She fights with her lightsaber against monsters all over the galaxy and saves the day.

As a big ode to science fiction, Daicon III and IV were made. If you like this type of show, I don’t see why you shouldn’t watch it.

12. Ranma ½

Ranma ½

The story of Ranma 12 is about a boy who gets a curse that turns him into a girl whenever cold water is splashed on him.

When warm water turns Ranma back into a boy, he gets into a lot of funny trouble and has to deal with all kinds of strange situations.

Even now, gay anime fans still like the show a lot because of its themes of gender fluidity and breaking the rules of gender roles.

11. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam

11 mobile suit zeta gundam anime 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

Now we’d talk about Gundam, which is one of the most well-known robot series. Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam is a TV show that has 50 episodes and first aired in 1985. It is a new anime that was made by Studio Sunrise and directed by Tomino Yoshiyuki.

The story happens in the year 0087 of the Universal Century. The Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon have finally ended their war. To get rid of the last Zeons, Earth puts together a special task group called Titans.

But this task force doesn’t work out as planned and leads to another group. The Anti-Earth Union Group is the name of this group. As Kamille Bidan fights a Titan Officer and takes a Gundam, he runs into a number of problems.

Because of these things, he gets into some big fights. How will he get out of there? The question is still open! In the Mecha field, Gundam has always been a groundbreaking work.

This series is a must-see if you want to enjoy some of their work from the 1980s.

10. Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac

 Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac

Next is Saint Seiya, which is one of the most famous anime shows of all time. This OVA show with 114 episodes aired in 1986. It is an anime version of the manga version of the same story.

Kurumada Masami is the one who writes and draws the manga. The story is about a group of young guys called Saints who are very strong. Saints spend their whole lives trying to keep Athena, the Goddess of War and Wisdom, safe.

There is a new group of Saints coming up in the present. Seiya is one of the people who are working hard to get the Armor of Pegasus. Seiya finally makes it a Saint after many years of hard work and determination.

But this win is only the start of a new journey. A trip that was full of problems, hurdles, and life-threatening risks. Will Seiya and the other Saints be able to keep Athena safe?

A fun fact is that Saint Seiya got the Anime Grand Prix Award in 1987. If you haven’t seen this old favorite, you should.

9. Akira

Akira 1 1 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

If you want to see something truly new, you should watch the great anime movie Akira. This 1988 movie was two hours long. The anime version of Akira is based on the manga version.

Otomo Katsuhiro was the one who wrote and drew the manga. The story takes place in Neo Tokyo, which was made after World War III. But Neo Tokyo is full of bad people who don’t care about rules and are ready to fight.

Shoutarou Kaneda is in a group of bikers called “The Capsules,” and they always fight with “The Clowns,” who are their enemies. Kaneda’s friend Tetsuo Shima gets involved with a strange boy during one of these fights.

But this participation leads to something that was not expected. Tetsuo himself starts to get skills that are hard to explain. The government is now trying to catch him to stop him from doing any kind of damage.

Akira got the Silver Scream Award in 1992, and at the 2007 American Anime Awards, it was nominated for Best Anime Feature. This movie is one of the most praised pieces of art that is still liked today.

So, if you like Classics and want to watch a movie right now, you should watch Akira.

8. Grave of the Fireflies

80s1 28 Best 1980s Anime Series & Movies to Watch Now

This beautiful Ghibli film first came out in 1988. It was made based on a book by Akiyuki Nosaka.

Takahata Isao was in charge of making the movie. The movie is based on what happened to Akiyuki Nosaka before and after the Americans bombed Kobe with firebombs in 1945.

It’s about Seita and his sister Setsuko, who lost everything because of the war, including their parents, home, money, and future.

Now that their parents have died, the kids have to walk across the country to try to stay alive. But every step they take shows them that adults don’t have feelings.

They know that people change based on what’s going on. Even the nicest people can become mean. But these siblings keep a smile on their faces and hope in their eyes the whole time.

The movie has won many awards, including the 1988 Japan Catholic Film Award, the 1988 1st Moscow International Children’s and Youth’s Film Festival Grand Prix, the 1989 31st Blue Ribbon Awards Special Award, and the 1994 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival Animation Jury and Rights of the Child Awards.

7. My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro

Anime fans who have been around for a while would have definitely heard about this movie. My Neighbor Totoro is an anime film that was first shown in 1988.

Hayao Miyazaki was in charge of making it. Tatsuo Kasukabe and his two girls, Mei and Satsuki, are at the center of the story. The family moves to a new area so they can be close to Mei and Satsuki’s mother while she is in the hospital.

But in this new place, something strange is going on. Mei meets a small bunny who shows her the way to Totoro, a spirit who lives in the wild. Satsuki finds out about Totoro in the end.

So, their lives are full of magical tales and things that don’t make sense in this world. Do you want to know how many wins this movie got?

Well, it won the Grand Prix at the Animage Anime Awards, the Special Award at the 31st Blue Ribbon Awards, the Best Japanese Film award at the Kinema Junpo Awards, the Best Film and Reader’s Choice Award at the Mainichi Film Awards, and the Best Film and Ofuji Noburo awards at the Kinema Junpo Awards.

I’m sure you’ll watch it now.

6. Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star

‘Omae Wa Mou Shinderu’! If you like anime, you’ve probably heard this saying at least once. Or maybe even a million. But do you know the origin of this phrase?

Yes! It comes from a series called Fist of the North Star, which is a classic. This TV show with 109 episodes aired in 1984. It was made into an anime based on a manga with the same name.

Buronson wrote the manga, and Hara Tetsuo drew the pictures. In the year 199X, a nuclear war has destroyed the world. The seas have dried up, the land has broken up, and most species are gone for good.

But even though there is no civilization or order, people still try to make a living. The only rule is that the strong rule over the weak, and food and drink are worth the most.

A mystery man named Kenshirou shows up with his deadly martial art in this hellish world. Will this man be able to save the weak in a world where justice is never done right?

When the first season came out, people liked it, and people still talk about it now. Make sure to watch this series if you like basic classic shounen.

5. Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky

Another Ghibli movie has done well enough to get a high spot on this list. Now we have “Castle in the Sky.” Castle In The Sky is a 1986 romantic movie that was made from scratch.

Hayao Miyazaki was in charge of making it. Sheeta is the main character in the story. She is a girl who was taken by Government officials because of an amulet made of crystal.

During this kidnapping, a group of pirates take over the airships, which lets Sheeta get away.

She runs away, and right away, she meets a boy called Pazu. Sheeta joins Pazu in his dream about reaching the flying castle Laputa.

So, Sheeta and Pazu start their trip to this castle in the sky that brought them together.

In 1986, the Animage Anime Grand Prix went to Castle in the Sky. Disney of Japan has made yet another great movie. If it’s not already on your list, this one should be near the top.

4. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki’s Delivery Service

We are in the top five, ladies and gents. And a Ghibli movie is a great way to start a list of the top five things. The anime movie Kiki’s Delivery Service is based on a book.

It first aired in 1989, and Hayao Miyazaki was in charge of making it. In the story, Kiki is a witch who is learning how to do her job. She needs to live alone in a town to become a full-fledged witch.

But she ends up alone in a place where no one knows her. Lucky for her, Osono agrees to let her come along. But she has to work for her small bakery as a delivery guy.

Every time Kiki makes a delivery, she learns something new. And so, Kiki’s journey to change and learn starts in this town.

During this trip, Kiki learns a lot about the real world, including what it means to be responsible.

A lot of anime fans still talk about this Ghibli movie. This movie has a beautiful mix of wholesomeness and lessons about life. A fun fact is that Kiki’s Delivery Service won the Anime Grand Prix Award in 1989.

So, if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to.

3. Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball

There is NO POSSIBLE WAY that you haven’t heard of this series. Yes, weebs, it’s time to talk about Dragon Ball, a famous anime series! Dragon Ball is a TV show that has been on since 1986. It has 153 episodes.

It was made into an anime based on a manga with the same name. Akira Toriyama was the one who wrote and drew the manga. Here’s the story for the very few people who have never heard of Dragon Ball.

The story is about a young boy named Goku. When he meets a girl named Bulma, his life changes. Bulma was on a mission to find “Dragon Balls,” which are magical objects that can make any dream come true.

And Bulma wants the best boyfriend in the world. Goku has a Dragon Ball, and he and Bulma make a deal so that he can join her on her trip. But they are both with Master Roshi, a martial arts teacher, and Krillin, who wants to be his student.

Master Roshi teaches Goku and Krillin how to become the best fighters on the planet. So, they can stop people who want to use the Dragon Balls for their own gain. So starts their journey to get stronger and find the Dragon Balls.

Dragon Ball is a groundbreaking show that changed shounen for good. It was a very famous show at the time, and people still talk about it. You’re missing out if you haven’t seen it yet.

2. Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise

Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise

We are almost done adding another movie to our list. This time, we have Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honeamise. The first version of this movie came out in 1987.

Yamaga Hiroyuki was in charge of it, and Studio Gainax did the animation. The story is about Shirotsugh “Shiro” Lhadatt, a man who has always wanted to fly jets for the Air Force of the Kingdom of Honneamise.

However, his scores weren’t good enough. Even so, he ends up in a strange Space Force. But since he failed, he is no longer interested in this training. This is true until he meets Riquinni Nonderaiko, a young, eager woman who wants to reach the edge of space.

Shiro gets a new idea for what he wants to do with his life after he meets them. This is the start of Shiro’s trip to space. But the Government has put a lot of things in his way on his trip.

Will he be able to make it through all of this? This movie is about space and the military, and it gives you hope. If you like these kinds of stories, this movie is sure to please you.

1. Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

We’re about to see another total classic, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, we’re talking about the amazing Legend Of The Galactic Heroes. Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is an OVA show that ran for 110 episodes in 1988.

It comes from a book with the same name. The book was written by Tanaka Yoshiki, and Katou Naoyuki and Kamoshita Yukihisa drew pictures for it. The Galactic Empire and the Free Planets Alliance are the two main groups in the story.

When a new group of leaders takes over, the war between these groups will end for good. Reinhard von Lohengramm moves up in the Galactic Empire and believes that all humans should have one leader.

Yang Wenli, on the other hand, thinks that democracy is not the best way for nobility to rule. When these two different ideas meet, these two geniuses need to know what’s really behind all the chaos and fighting.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes is one of the stories that has gotten the most praise from critics. It is liked by both experts and regular people. Not only that, but it has a grade of #6 on MyAnimeList.

So, if this show has been on your list for a while, now is a great time to start watching it.

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About the Author

Garima Singh

Moshi Moshi everyone! I'm Garima, an anime enthusiast with a passion for sharing my love of anime with others. I've watched over 1000 anime, and I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting shows to watch.

I love everything about anime, from the stories and characters to the animation and music. I'm also a big fan of anime culture, and I love to learn about Japanese culture and history through anime.

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