Anime and manga have become the most famous Japanese cultural exports throughout the world. Many Japanese people love watching anime and reading manga; they are both deeply connected to their lives. It is no exaggeration to say you can tell in which generation someone belongs from the anime that they watched in their childhood.
Today, I would like to introduce to you some anime and manga which make Japanese people feel ‘Oh, the good old days!’ when watching them.
Anime 1: ‘Dragon Ball’
Dragon Ball is one of the most beloved manga and anime, not just in Japan, but throughout the whole world. It is so surprising how a story which was written over 30 years ago still has tons of enthusiastic fans to this day.
Having such a long history, Dragon Ball is a work that many Japanese people have seen at least once during their lifetime. Dragon Ball Z, one of its anime adaptation series, is especially loved by fans, and I’m sure many people in Japan recall their memories from childhood and feel nostalgic just by listening to the opening song of the anime.
Anime 2: ‘Pokemon’ (First Anime Series)
Pokemon is another anime that Japan can boast about. Although Pokemon started out as a game series, its anime adaptation has gained so much popularity that there are even people who say, ‘If you say ‘Pokemon’ I think of the anime!’ Pokemon’s anime has been broadcast in 95 countries and regions; it is a world-class anime.
The Pokemon anime is something that makes people feel nostalgic, especially the young generation in their 20s. The anime adaptation has received many series and is still continuing today, but the most memorable one for the fans is the first series, which is known as ‘mujirushi-ban’ or ‘no mark’ in Japan (as it doesn’t have a subtitle, unlike the later seasons). This series makes people recall their good old days from childhood.
The animation cels, the background music, the main characters, the slightly chubby Pikachu… These are all aspects that have changed throughout the new series, and young people remember and say, ‘Oh, yeah! They were like this in the beginning!’
Anime 3: ‘Digimon Adventure’
On Sunday mornings, there was an anime which was broadcast on TV along with the Super Sentai series and Kamen Rider series, and this anime is Digimon Adventure. The anime’s opening theme, ‘Butter-Fly’, is such a famous anime song in Japan that I’m sure many anime otaku living overseas have heard of the song even if they’ve never seen the anime.
Digimon Adventure is another anime that has gotten many seasons, but like Pokemon, fans feel that the ‘mujirushi-ban’ ( the first series, which was released in 1999) is what makes them feel most nostalgic.
The anime illustrates the story about elementary school children who are sent to the Digital World and their encounters with creatures called Digimon. Together with the Digimon, the children fight against their severe fates. This anime has made so many Japanese children’s hearts pound with excitement.
Whenever there is a TV program that shows the rankings of Japanese people’s favorite anime and anime theme songs, ‘Butter-Fly’ almost always ranks high.
Every time the people who were watching Digimon see these programs, it makes them shout out, ‘Ah, the good old days!’
Anime 4: ‘Magical DoReMi’ (Ojamajo Doremi)
Magical DoReMi is another anime series that has given good memories to the young people in Japan. Because it was aired in the same slot as Digimon Adventure, both girls and boys have watched this anime, although the target viewers were girls. That is why it is normal for Japanese men to say, ‘I used to watch Magical DoReMi! There were many touching episodes, and I think it was a good anime.’
This anime also has a wonderful opening theme, and if someone sings the song at karaoke, I’m sure most people who are close in age will feel that they have heard the song somewhere. Even people who are not big anime fans may get excited and say, ‘Wow! I saw this anime when I was a child!’
Anime 5: ‘Ranma 1/2’
Ranma 1/2 is a manga series written by Rumiko Takahashi that has a very famous anime adaptation. The anime was broadcast on TV from 1989 to 1992. Because the anime was aired between five and six in the evening, many children got glued to their screens after coming home from school. The anime has gotten many reruns on TV, so even people who could not watch the anime when it was airing became fans later.
Ranma 1/2 has various entertaining aspects, including comedy, romance, sexy scenes, sci-fi, battles, and so on. Over 25 years have passed since its first airing, and the anime still has numerous fans.
The cast members who are voicing characters in this anime were still newbies at the time, but have now become famous voice actors, so even in that sense, it makes anime fans very nostalgic.
The Good Old Days
So, did YOU get nostalgic? While doing research for this article, I’ve realized that the majority of the people who feel nostalgic by watching anime or manga are people in their 20s and 30s. The anime which I have picked up today are all works that were airing when these people were children. Many of the anime in the past aired in the evening after school or on Sunday mornings, so it may be that many children watched an episode by chance, and they just continued watching it every week as a routine.
Do you have cartoons or anime that make you feel nostalgic? What did you watch when you were a child? Please let me know!