These iconic series, spanning sci-fi to sports, were instrumental in paving the way for anime of subsequent decades.

Sometimes there’s nothing better than revisiting your favorite series of yesteryear for a healthy dose of nostalgia. That’s exactly what Japanese video advertising site CM Site recently asked men in their 30s through 60s to do by choosing their favorite 1970s anime series. 7,414 total participants selected their top series, which were then compiled into a list of the most popular ten. Even if you were born well after these shows aired on TV, it’s more than likely that you’ve at least heard of them or have seen one of their various descendant series that continue to pop up almost 50 years later. Let’s take a look at the results for the top ten and specifically the top five in greater detail now.

Top Ten 1970s anime

10. Ikkyu-san (first aired in 1975)
9. Future Boy Conan (first aired in 1978)
8. Heidi, Girl of the Alps (first aired in 1974)
7. Dog of Flanders (first aired in 1975)
6. Galaxy Express 999 (first aired in 1978)
5. Doraemon–TV Asahi version (first aired in 1979)

Who can resist the blue robotic cat from the future with his pocket of nifty gadgets? There’s a reason why Doraemon is a symbol of modern Japan as well as an official government-appointed anime ambassador. The original Doraemon manga was created by Fujiko F. Fujio and first adapted into a 1973 anime series which is now considered lost. The second Doraemon anime series began airing in 1979 and eventually concluded in 2005…but was then adapted into a third series which is still going strong to this day.

▼ Doraemon is a beloved symbol of childhood for people all over the world.

4. Mobile Suit Gundam (first aired in 1979)

Think of giant Japanese robots and probably the first thing that comes to mind is the Gundam franchise. Created by Yoshiyuki Tomino, 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam is where it all began, with numerous sequels and spin-offs still being released to this day. The series is known for its stark portrayal of war, depiction of soldiers as regular people, and the rivalry between protagonist Amuro Ray and antagonist Char Aznable (who perfected that eye-mask look seen on many subsequent Gundam antagonists). Gundam is so beloved that visitors to Japan can even see more than one life-sized, moving Gundam statue in person during their travels.

Mobile Suit Gundam‘s theme song also makes you feel like you can accomplish anything you set out to do.

3. Lupin III (first aired in 1971)

What started out as a manga over 50 years ago by the late Monkey Punch has now become one of the most popular Japanese franchises around the world. The series follows master thief Arsène Lupin III and his motley crew as he’s pursued around the world by Inspector Zenigata. Despite his womanizing antics, there’s something that compels you to just love that scoundrel Lupin.

The anime adaptation was actually broadcast twice in the 1970s: Part I in 1971 and Part II in 1977. Part II (“Red-jacket Lupin”) is widely loved by adults and children alike due to its lighter tone and zany antics. Even Hayao Miyazaki left his mark by directing multiple episodes of the series as well as the 1979 theatrical film The Castle of Cagliostro.

▼ The first opening of the 1977 series is perhaps the catchiest of all of the theme songs by Yuji Ohno.

2. Ashita no Joe (first aired in 1970)

Troubled youth Joe Yabuki has some run-ins with the law and ends up in a juvenile detention center–an act which ultimately sets the ring for this beloved boxing and “fighting-against-the-system” story adapted from a popular manga series. In particular, Joe’s ongoing rivalry with fellow boxer Toru Rikiishi captivated all of Japan at the time.

The anime’s staff was one of the biggest forces behind its success, with Osamu Dezaki, an iconic director of the Showa era (1926-1989), at the helm and with live-action film actor Teruhiko Aoi providing the voice of Joe. Many anime series continue to reference Ashita no Joe to this day and it still inspires promotional product tie-ins.

▼ Isao Bito’s singular vocals in the theme song are also remembered fondly.

1. Space Battleship Yamato (first aired in 1974)

This sprawling science fiction story takes place in the year 2199, when the Earth is being poisoned by radioactive contamination and the human race is critically endangered. Set amid an interstellar war, the series is as much a coming-of-age story for protagonist Susumu Kodai as he and the crew of the Yamato set off into space to find a way to reverse the radiation of the planet.

Ratings were low during the show’s first airing but rebroadcasts led to a “Yamato boom,” paving the way for a never-ending stream of continuations, theatrical films, and remakes. Its mature themes and serialized format, new to the medium at the time, were hugely influential to anime as a whole afterwards. The heavily edited English dub version known as Star Blazers had a similar influence for anime fans overseas.

Space Battleship Yamato heavily influenced Gundam, Macross, and Neon Genesis Evangelion, to name just a few.

If the grip of anime nostalgia now has you chomping at the bit for more, we might next suggest visiting the Eternal Shojo Cafe of the ’90s in Tokyo while its open until March 21.

Source: Otakomu via Yahoo! Japan
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!