Anime in the 80s was Japan’s best-kept secret. Sure there were some cartoons that made it over, but movies were hard to find if you were a kid, and there was no internet to even let you know what to look for.

Most good animes would remain hidden to the mainstream for several years until word of mouth propelled them to fame. Some had to wait even longer until the internet made it easier to look up and find.

Today anime is huge. So huge that it can be difficult to determine what to watch. And there is so much out there, you may have missed something good.

In case you missed them the first time around, we are going to break down 5 animes from the 80s that are still worth watching today. 


Akira was released in 1988 and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo and is based on the manga by the same name. This movie is one of the best-animated films of all times in regards to its storyline, animation, and visuals.

Akira Is the best anime movie from the 80a

The story is set in Neo-Tokyo in 2019, which was destroyed 30 years ago in an explosion that also caused World War III. A modern city that barely hangs on between biker gangs, corruption, and a government that is doing anything to get what it wants.

The main characters are Shotaro Kaneda and Tetsuo Shima, who are best friends and personal rivals.

Tetsuo starts developing strong psychic abilities that make him frightening and destructive, a reason why the government wants to possess and take control of him.

As Tetsuo realizes his potential, Kaneda is torn between friendship and choosing to do what is right. The story cites the struggles of the characters, each trying to deal with the situations in their way.

The high level of animation and craftsmanship is made Akira an epitome of success all over the World. It is also a reason why this anime is a must-watch even now.

With its bouts of violence, a compelling storyline, and breathtaking visuals, Akira will stand on top of its genre for years to come.

Dragon Ball

Most of us are familiar with Dragon Ball Z, which is fun and exciting. But the prequel is where the story starts. 

Dragon Ball is still one of the best anime series ever made

The plot revolves around Bulma, a girl who is looking for the magic dragon balls to ask for a wish when she collects all the seven balls. She meets Goku, a boy who lives alone in the woods and partners with him for a journey in search of the Dragon Balls.

They meet a few other people, and they end up fighting alongside each other to save the dragon Balls from misuse.

Overall, it is a very entertaining and funny show where the characters are all lovable.

Goku seems to stand out with his attitude and is a treat to watch. If you know about the character from Dragon Ball Z, you will want to know how he was like as a kid.

The fighting scenes are more strategically planned and happen at intervals so that the anime doesn’t look like an elongated fight scene.

If you look at the visuals and animation, then it’s average, but the humorous and exciting storyline makes it a must-watch for anime lovers.

Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind

Nausicaä got released in 1984 and is the second movie by Hayao Miyazaki, which is based on the manga series of the same name.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

This anime is a Miyazaki classic set to leave you spell-bound with its fantastic storyline. It does an excellent job of blurring the differences between good and evil. 

The storyline is set in a post-apocalyptic world that was destroyed hundreds of years ago in a global war. Now, the jungles are an imminent threat for humans with poisonous trees, radioactive soil, and mutant insects.

Nausicaä is the princess of the Wind Valley civilization where it is somewhat safe to live. But she gets involved in the fight between two neighboring superpowers that aim to resurrect a weapon that destroyed the World years ago. 

Nausicaä moves out of the same old genre of just good and evil. If you are tired of watching shows that run on propaganda then this anime will give you a breath of fresh air. It depicts people and their need for existence in a world that was a result of the failures of the entire humanity. 

The quality of animation was vivid, nothing wow, but the storyline and the character development will mesmerize you till the end.

With Nausicaä, Miyazaki drove his point home about having a storyline that shows people as far from our definitions of ‘good’ or ‘bad.’

My Neighbor Totoro

If you want to break away from the routine and monotonous lifestyle and get into some childhood adventures, this anime is a perfect choice.

My Neighbor Totoro is one of Studio Ghibli's greatest movies

My Neighbor Totoro is an 80’s classic that will take you on a journey of magical experiences in the woods surrounding fantastical creatures. 

The story revolves around two sisters Satsuki and Mei, who start living in the countryside with their father and terminally ill mother.

They encounter ‘Totoro’ who is a giant mystical forest spirit and befriend him. And this is where their friendship begins as they embark on adventures that are picturesque, vivid, and hidden away from the World. 

The animation visuals are breathtaking, and every detail has been taken care of so that the emotions and facial expressions are visible.

My Neighbor Totoro is like a child’s dream brought to life. And the amazing musical score helps to capture the magic.

It clearly states the relationship of children with nature. The anime is simple yet at the same time beautiful and can transport you to a world that is filled with mystical creatures and beings that lurk in the dark rooms or lush green forests.

Plenty of reasons for you to include this anime in your must-watch anime list.

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Macross is a treat to your eyes, and it will teleport you to a future that is way ahead of us. Although it finished airing in 1983, the futuristic storyline and the camera work used can quickly put our sci-fi movies to shame. 

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

The story surrounds a spaceship that lands on Earth, and the people come together under the banner of the  ‘United Nations’ to redirect the ship into space.

The spacecraft is named ‘Macross,’ which, on its maiden voyage, faces a threat from another alien race that attacks the Earth. As the ship tries to escape, it is teleported to a distant place among the stars.

Not only that, the city on which the spaceship landed also gets teleported into space. The main characters are Hikaru Ichijyo, who is a pilot, and Minmay Lynn, an aspiring singer who gets involved in this mess. 

Macross shows the struggles and hardships of the crew and the people adjusting to their new surroundings. It gives screen time to each character so that the audience can relate to their developments and how they impact each other. The show portrays how characters can have vices in them as they are mere people who are flawed. 

Macross is a must-watch, as it will satisfy your inner space geek with beautiful characterizations and a developing plotline that will keep you hooked and want more.