Who would have guessed this was anime from the 70s?

By | May 15, 2018

test article image
Astro Boy 1970's anime

Anime today has gone mainstream, but they have the classic anime shows and movies of the past to thank for that. You could say that today’s anime stands of the shoulders of giants… “Space Giants”, that is!...as well as all the other groundbreaking anime works that paved the way.

Fans of anime today may believe they are the first to discover the distinctively Japanese animation style that is characterized by bold colors, well-developed characters, and unique drawing methods, but anime, as an art form, is a much older than its current Millennials and Generation Zen fan base. In fact, today’s anime fans may be stunned to learn that their parents and grandparents were fans of this unmistakable film style during the 1970s.

Astro Boy, the forerunner of 1970s Anime

The anime of the 1970s owes its popularity to “Astro Boy.” The 1964 animated sci-fi television series, “Astro Boy,” was groundbreaking. The American viewing audience had never before been exposed to something so vastly different than the animated shows they had seen before. Here were wide-eyed, cleverly drawn characters that, although a mainstay in Japan, were refreshingly new to the rest of the world. Pearl Harbor and World War II were still in the collective memory of the world and “Astro Boy” represented the first time Americans embraced a part of Japanese culture post-war. “Astro Boys” main themes, according to creator Osamu Tezuka, were anti-war, anti-discrimination, and the protection of the Earth’s natural resources. Although it was wildly popular, it lost ratings to color TV shows. Even after “Astro Boy” was cancelled, it remained influential, and laid the foundation for the anime of the 1970s.

test article image
Space Battleship Yamato - 1974

Anime as a Sci-Fi Genre

Following on the heels of “Astro Boy” was the anime of the 1970s. Following the moon landing, people went crazy for films and shows about space travel and space exploration and anime lent itself well to the genre. “Space Battleship Yamato” aired between October 6, 1974, and March 30, 1975. Inspired by the William Golding novel Lord of the Flies, the series took place on an old World War II battleship that had been altered to become a spaceship. The crew of the space battleship traveled into deep space in search of a device that can remove the radiation that has made Earth uninhabitable. They only had supplies enough for one year so they were in a race against time to save the human species from extinction. In this series, we clearly see a manifestation of the public’s concern about radiation, warfare, and the possible inhalation of the human race.