An elemental workshop.


Many come to a misconception that old anime is equivalent to a ragged and worn out car – little did they know, it’s actually akin to a classic roadster, i.e. innovative and original.

First off, many people with such an ideal are generally closed-minded to begin with – you wouldn’t label an anime unwatchable under the reasoning it is “old” if you were actually considering viable comparatives. The term “old” itself is vague and can go back until dinosaurs roamed the lands or it could be yesterday. One thing certain however; anime is art, and art is timeless.

“Old” anime is generally assumed as less appealing – alongside several other foolish beliefs such as it will be visually lacking with a dated story and essentially overall unenjoyable. Indeed what a terrible delusion that is.

Looking at older series in general, older being anything released before the current season and back to the start of animation, they have a higher probability of being original, avant-garde, and incredible – why? The further back you go on the timeline, the less competition there was – for example, there were less total anime series in existence overall last year than this year, thus if they came up with a story there’s a higher chance it’s unique and there’s nothing like it. That of course especially holds true when talking of series released many years ago.

Compare to modern times, right now, where there are shows that are no more than rehashed rip-offs of other series – entire plots being recycled and reused. Certain types of characters are easily seen through as they are no more than fetish-fillers – some themes are becoming so generic, they are no longer accepted by the fan-base. Take harem series for example, the concept is incredibly overused and dried out – many newer series generally fail to accomplish anything of interest with this theme.

It’s understandable that as you advance, to create something entirely new will require more and more effort, input, and imagination than ever before – however that is a simple cycle existent in life itself and we can only ask ourselves:

Where are the innovators?

The discussion of where new possibilities can take anime is something separate, but looking back on the past, shows like Mushishi, Last Exile, Galaxy Express, GTO, Slam Dunk, and Aria, just to name a few from a pool of elite animations – defined a new genre, they more or less put aside whatever nonsensical standards there were and went full throttle against a new unexplored realm of story, art, and otherwise.

For sake of example, Aria introduced a new story format that followed through on it’s 60 or so total episodes spread across three separate seasons – it rewrote the presentation of the slice of life genre as it combined aspects to focus not a typical person’s life, but an evolving, ever-changing life of a girl in an unreal environment. Keep in mind this is only going so far back as 2005 – even then Aria was amongst many not-so-great series and of course were you to travel further back you will find much more buried beneath a pile of perfection.

Not to mention, this is all still in reference to story – pages and pages can be written simply on the revolutionary artwork brought by unconventional series such as those aforementioned, alongside more recent cutting-edge entries like Bakemonogatari, Madoka Majika, Eden of the East, and Tatami Galaxy, which is once again a simple small mentioning of a grand group of few.

As anime becomes more mainstream, new series take less initiative and focus more upon driving ratings, sales, and filling timeslots – something which shamefully shows with the quality of the final product. As each new series is being created – directors, producers, and the entire staff behind the work simply start borrowing ideas and forming something no different than any other series as they are all working towards the same goal of sales without any fancier focus.

Simply stated, when you’re immediately looking for a great show – look no further than five years ago. As over time, the average profit-pusher series easily begin to outweigh the envision of artistic excellence.

8 Comments

  • KrazyKobun says:

    While you hit some good points, I kinda disagree. Does it matter what time period an anime came out in? Year date is irrelevant to me, a great anime, is a is a great anime, no matter what year it came out. There will always be bad and good anime. Simple as that.

    • Seven says:

      My main point was there is a general higher chance of original story the further back you look – although there’s definitely different outlooks on the matter and I actually agree with yours. There’s literally tons of factors anyone could specifically focus on, and many or all of them can be correct.

      There’s a lot of variety out there.

      • Anonymous says:

        Logically maybe, they should be more original the further back you go, but every season has something new and original. Still nowadays, we have Steins; Gate, MawaruPD and so on. All original shows might not be good, but they’re still original, if you’re looking for that.

        I don’t like that you rate everything that is not currently airing as “old”. Last season’s shows are not the ones that are assumed to be “less appealing”, but rather what’s been made during the 20th century.
        I’m happy to see you mentioning Galaxy Express.

        • Seven says:

          I’m not rating everything currently not airing as old, I’m saying that the term “old” is vague and represents no specific time frame. Thus one can say old is in-fact anything not currently airing, or it could be anything from over 10 years ago.

      • domme008 says:

        I can’t say I dislike series nowadays, I am generally easily entertained, but my favourite series of all times, serial experiments lain, is from 1998, so I guess it doesn’t really matter to me whether a series is older or newer. The only reason I don’t watch many old series (I am talking about series in the 90s or even before) is because of the animations and the art, as I am not used to them, but that is just trivial and as you said, older stuff is generally more original. But to be fair, “original” and “generic” are ambiguous words themselves, by now everything has been done in one way or another, true originality is impossible as everything is inspired from something else, all that new series can do is reuse old concepts but show them in a different angle

        • Seven says:

          Presentation of an older concept can be original. These days, where anime is almost strictly business, there’s less effort into hitting the epitome of emotion in scenery as there might have been. Creators of older series explored more ways to bring something out, these days, just give it a moe face and some pantsu and it’s ready to go. OF course exceptions exist, but this is the generality of it.

  • avatar yanwan says:

    I don’t think we should split up fans between “old schoole and nowadays. There are still some orginal anime…and in the end, does it matter if it’s original or not. As the author said, everything’s a rip off from something else….which is logical. It was simplier to invent stories where there weren’t many stories, now with all taht’s been created it”s gonna be more and more difficult to do something original. People will focus on scneces, how to make interaction between charactesr….
    I recently began to watch gundam zeta, and it was great(well I spoiled myself and learned that it was too sad for me to watch but it was great nonetheless!).
    If I hate todays ecchi anime (where all we see is panty shots with the story disappearing due to fan-service) some are still great to watch. (date a live isn’t bad and is funny).
    All in all, the author is right saying that stories made yesterday were more(or more easily) original (well i’m sure we’d find taht the story already existed during the XII century) than today, but I still am glad to have today’s anime as well as yesterday’s ^^.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bomberman Jetters is 12 years old. I just got hooked. I love it like crazy!

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