You may recall that we recently brought to you an article introducing five old-school anime that we thought were cool even today. While writing that story, we were reminded of how many awesome anime theme songs there are from over 20 years ago — so much so that we decided we just had to share some of the songs with you! So, join us for another trip back in time, this time a musical one, as we present you with videos of five old-time anime theme songs that still rock today even though they’ve been around for over two decades. Hopefully, you’ll agree with us that these songs are worthy of having withstood the test of time!

1.”I’ll Give You Romantic”(Romantic Ageruyo) from Dragon Ball

We thought we’d start the list with a song from one of the best known and loved anime series of all times, Dragon Ball. The story of Goku and his friends, which begins as a quest for the magical dragon balls, hardly needs an introduction, and no doubt anime fans around the world are familiar with the more popular opening themes like “Cha-La Head-Cha-La” and “We Gotta Power”. But do you remember the very first ending theme that was used in the series when it began back in 1986 — you know, when Goku was still a little boy and Dragon Ball wasn’t all about fighting to save the universe? It was an awfully cute and poppy number titled “I’ll Give You Romantic” (Romantic Ageruyo) with visuals featuring the young Bulma. The song basically tells you it’s all right to live a little wildly and adventurously, and that you shouldn’t pretend to be all grown up and give up on your dreams. While it’s nowhere near as well-known as some of the other songs from the series, we think the bright melody and message makes it a joy to listen to. Plus, who doesn’t like to hear an attractive girl like Bulma say, “I’ll give you romantic,” right?

2. “Do you see Byston Well” (Mieru Darō Byston Well) from Aura Battler Dunbine

This song is from Aura Battler Dunbine, an anime from the early 1980’s that expertly combined the fighting mecha genre with elements of fantasy. It too is an ending theme, and the name Byston Well in the title of the song refers to the fantastical parallel world the anime is set in — a world where small winged fairies live and where battles are fought with fighting suits called Aura Battlers. However, this ending theme doesn’t focus on the mecha and battle aspect of the story; rather, it’s a lovely ballade that sings of how the magical world of Byston Well can be found in anyone’s heart and how you can look into that world if you just open the door to your memories. With an almost hauntingly beautiful melody, the sequence is also visually stunning, and we just had to include this song on our list as it is such a work of art, at least in this writer’s opinion. If the song is to your liking and you’d like to hear the full three minute 44 second version, you can watch the video here.

3. “Hello Sadness” (Kanashimi yo Konnichiwa) from Maison Ikkoku

We’re sure there were many fans who fell in love with Kyoko-san, the beautiful young widow who manages the boarding house Maison Ikkoku in this anime that aired from 1986 to 88. The opening song, “Hello Sadness” (Kanashimi yo Konnichiwa), was sung by Japanese pop idol Yuki Saito and was quite a successful hit at the time. While the story of the anime focuses on the relationship between Kyoko and Yusaku Godai, a college-age student who boards at Maison Ikkoku, the song is about staying strong in the face of sorrow, even after loosing someone precious, which overlaps with Kyoko’s experience of loosing her husband soon after their marriage. The theme has a lovely and soothing melody with inspiring lyrics like “I’ll be all right. Once the tears dry, a door to new dreams will open,” and “Sadness can strike suddenly, but I’ll learn to make friends with it. That’s a promise,” which we think makes it an excellent “feel-good” song even today.

4. “Like it Delicate” (Delicate ni Suki Shite)” from Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel

Of course, we had to have a theme from a magical girl anime on the list, right? Well, here it is, the theme from Creamy Mami, the Magic Angel, one of the most notable earlier anime of the genre, which ran from 1983 to 84. The opening song “Like it Delicate” (Delicate ni Suki Shite)”, is also sung in the anime by Creamy Mami as part of the story. The song was a big hit for both the anime and the actual singer who performed the song, Takako Ohta. The sweet and pop mood of the song, as well as the lyrics that describe the fickle and complex emotions of a young girl in love, seem to perfectly represent the feel of a typical magical girl anime. It’s a song that holds a special place in the hearts of old-time anime fans, and we’re not surprised, because who can resist lyrics like, “Yes, we girls either love or hate, and there’s no in between. But when we do love, we’ll show you some magic, and that’s the truth,” right?

5. “The Galaxy Express Three Nine” (Ginga Tetsudo Three Nine) from the movie Galaxy Express Three Nine

To finish off the list, we have this uplifting theme that’s been long-loved not just by anime fans but the Japanese public in general. We know that we mentioned Galaxy Express 999 in our previous article on old-school anime, but this song is from the 1979 feature-length film version of the anime, also known by the title Bonjour Galaxy Express 999. The song was performed by the popular rock band Godiego and has become a well-known classic in its own right. It’s a song about saying farewell to someone dear in the best way possible when it’s time to move on, and the lyrics include beautiful phrases such as, “That special person may only be a memory now, but she’ll always be looking over you from afar”, “Her eyes tell you you’re doing the right thing; saying goodbye can be an act of love too”, “Come on and lift up your face, so that the new wind can wash your soul”  and “Leave your old dreams behind so a new drama can begin”. Such words in print may seem just a tiny bit cheesy, but when you hear the song playing at the end of the movie as Tetsuro, the main character, bids a tearful farewell to Maetel, his loving guardian and travel companion, it fills you with such a feeling of energy and hope that we had to include this song on our list. Listening to this song really does make you feel like you’re embarking on a never-ending journey to the stars!

So, that’s our list of five awesome anime themes, and we hope you enjoyed the little musical trip down anime memory lane. There are, of course, many other songs that we love from 20 plus years ago, and the opening themes of Aura Battler Dunbine, Cat’s Eye, City Hunter, and Dirty Pair are some that come to mind if you’re interested for more. We’d be delighted to hear about your favorite anime songs and what you thought of our selection. There’s nothing quite like a favorite tune from childhood, and it really is amazing how many memories songs from a familiar old TV series can bring back, isn’t it?

Top images compiled from YouTube (1), YouTube (2), YouTube (3), YouTube (4), YouTube 5