They recently announced a new Digimon and Dragon Ball series and I remembered that 70s-80s-90s anime are probably the greatest thing mankind ever created.
In Italy every child born after 1960 grew up watching Japanese anime (I found out that many popular anime, sadly, never aired in North America nor have been translated in English). Italian TV used to replace the original Japanese opening with an Italian one, most of the time sung by Cristina D’Avena and/or Giorgio Vanni, especially in the later years. Some openings truly are great, some are lame, some are just ridiculous but we don’t care. These songs are our national anthem and we still remember the lyrics, after all this time. (Always.)
Sharing is caring. The lyrics are in Italian but you can still enjoy the song.
Dragon Ball is part of our popular culture and a gift to humanity. Italian television reran Dragon Ball multiple times due to its popularity.
- Pokémon 2nd opening (this is the BEST ONE)
- Pokémon 3rd opening
- Pokémon 4th opening
- Pokémon 5th opening
I’m not going to dig deeper here. Pokémon is like The Bold and the Beautiful and One Piece: will it ever end? We don’t know. These are the five series featuring the original trio: Ash, Brock and Misty.
- Sailor Moon
- Sailor Moon 2nd opening
- Sailor Moon 3rd opening
- Sailor Moon 4th opening
- Sailor Moon 5th opening
There’s nothing to say. Sailor Moon is one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
According to Urban Dictionary, Digimon Adventure is “The greatest anime series, no, the greatest creative work of any sort ever made.” and “The last eighty-four episodes of the anime series Digimon Adventure are far better then any equivalent stretch of any television series, though many fools do not realize this.”. I see no lies here.
This anime is about football. It inspired people such as Alessandro Del Piero and Zinedine Zidane to become footballers. Captain Tsubasa was very popular, we still remember the never-ending football pitch and the impossible things the characters would do during a game.
There was a time in which every kid owned a spinning top because of this anime.
- Case Closed (Detective Conan)
Another anime that will never end. Better than Sherlock.
- Hokuto no Ken (Ken il guerriero)
It’s about HAMSTERS. Why is it relevant? Because after the show came out every kid wanted an hamster.
- Orange Road (E’ quasi magia Johnny)
- Marmalade Boy (Piccoli problemi di cuore)
One of my favorite anime ever, and one of the cutest. A boy and a girl find themselves living together due to circumstances when an UFO lands. Inside the UFO there’s an alien baby who can fly. They decide to take care of the baby. Problems ensue.
Based on the French novel Sans famille. One of the most popular anime of the 70s, in which almost every character dies. I used to watch this show with my mom. Remì was the anime of her childhood after all.
- Once Upon a Time… Life (Siamo fatti così)
A French-Japanese production and also one of the coolest show ever made. It tells the story of the human body for children. My aunt used to make me watch the show for educational purposes and I loved showing off my knowledge at school. I never studied biology, basically all I know about the human body comes from this show.
- Once Upon a Time… Space (Ai confini dell’universo)
It’s an awesome sci-fi show with a multiethnic cast that tells the story of two space cops and galactic conflicts.
- Trapp Family Story (Cantiamo insieme)
- Touch (Prendi il mondo e vai)
A beautiful anime about baseball. One of the main protagonists dies. Yo!
- Tiger Mask (L’uomo tigre)
- Flint, The Time Detective (Flint a spasso nel tempo)
Better than Doctor Who.
A famous 80s anime about fishing. (It really is about fishing)
A masterpiece that tells the story of a galactic space pirate.
- Little Monster (Carletto principe dei mostri)
- Neighborhood Story (Curiosando nei cortili del cuore)
- Maya the Honey Bee (L’ape Maia)
The most famous bee in the world.
- The Adventures of Hutch the Honeybee (L’ape Magà)
Another famous bee.
- Dragon Quest (Dai - La grande avventura)
Iconic 80s anime.
- Mrs. Pepper Pot (Dolce signora Minù)
Tony Stark does not make an appearance.
- Rescueman (I predatori del tempo)
This has nothing to do with Naruto.
- Ronin Warriors (I cinque samurai)
- Future Boy Conan (Conan il ragazzo del futuro)
- Demetan (La banda dei ranocchi)
MECHA ANIME were extremely popular among the young kids during the 70s-80s. Robots!
- Mazinger Z (Il Grande Mazinga)
- Steel Jeeg
- UFO Robot
- UFO Robot 2nd opening
- Daitarn 3
- Vultus V
- Trider G7
Special mention for two mecha I loved as a child:
Gundam Wing is awesome, with a great plot and great characters, and so is Gear Fighter Dendoh. The story is really good.
FEMALE-LEAD ANIME. Our childhood has been blessed with numerous female lead-anime.
- Lady Oscar (The Rose of Versailles)
As Wikipedia says, Lady Oscar is incredibly popular in Italy. The story is beautiful, sad and tragic and had an huge impact on girls.
This show inspired many young girls to play volleyball. It’s the story of a redhead who becomes one of the greatest volleyball players of her time. The main protagonist is hilarious, I remember her saving two boys from a group of assholes.
- Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water (Il mistero della pietra azzurra)
Another popular show. Inspired by Jules Verne’s books, tells the story of a dark-skinned girl, Nadia, who wants to come back to Africa, which she believes to be her home. (It’s not. The story centers about Nadia’s journey to discover her origins. No spoiler here.)
A show about a girl who gets superpowers through the internet and fights computer viruses. Seriously.
- Creamy Mami (L’incantevole Creamy)
The story of a 10-years-old girl who is given the ability to transform in a 16-years-old singer. This show is legendary. Don’t ask me why.
A 10-years-old girl is given the ability to transform in a skilled prestidigitator. Huh.
In which every Italian kid got interested in Greek Mythology.
The anime based on Jean Webster’s novel.
One of the SADDEST anime I have ever watched.
Based on the Swiss novel, used to air in the morning (every morning since 1978, my aunt and I both grew up watching Heidi) and Hayao Miyazaki worked on the layout and screenplay, so you know it’s quality.
- Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair (Fiocchi di cotone per Jeanie)
Based on a song. Set in Pennsylvania in 1838. Tells the story of a girl, Jeanie, and her friends: Stephen and Bill, a black guy who plays the banjo. The Italian opening is beautiful and the lyrics are about freedom and democracy.
- Cat’s Eye (Occhi di gatto)
The story of three sisters who are skilled art thieves. However, they steal for a particular reason.
- Kodomo no Omocha (Rossana)
The anime is different from the manga as the manga is definitely more mature than its animated counterpart. Heric and Rossana were more popular than Romeo and Juliet at the time. One of the most famous love stories of our childhood, probably.
- The Crayon Kingdom of Dreams (Luna principessa argentata)
This show aired only once in 2001. It’s about a 12-years-old spoiled princess whose parents are turned into stone. To defeat the enemy and save her parents, she must get rid of her bad habits. I used to watch it every morning before going to school and there’s a line in the Italian opening that’s stuck in my head since then: growing up really is about doing what we want?
Doremi was ridiculous but plenty of girls used to watch it. Yeah, me too.
The first series, the one with Nagisa and Honoka. I LOVED these two girls. Believe it or not, this show was also popular among young boys. The plot is simple: Nagisa and Honoka, two very different girls, get superpowers to protect the Earth. And they do. Just like Sailor Moon, they’re part of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
How do you even explain this show? The girl befriends the kid and his cat and then falls in love with the kid’s brother, who is a rockstar. It’s one of the most iconic anime romance.
Both Georgie and Candy Candy are about a blonde orphan. Both love stories do not end well. Especially Georgie’s.
The anime adaption of A Little Princess
- Persia, the Magic Fairy (Evelyn e la magia di un sogno d’amore)
- Miracle Girls (E’ un po’ magia per Terry e Maggie)
- The Slayers (Un incantesimo dischiuso tra i petali del tempo)
- Aim for the Ace (Jenny la tennista)
- Glass Mask (Il grande sogno di Maya)
- Princess Knight (La principessa Zaffiro)
- Anna of Green Gables (Anna dai capelli rossi)
- Pastel Yumi, the Magic Idol (Sandy dai mille colori)
The anime adaption of The Secret Garden.
- Saint Tail (Lisa e Seya un solo cuore per lo stesso segreto)
BONUS: NON-JAPANESE CARTOONS
A French cartoon set in Ancient Egypt.
- The Triplets (Tre gemelle e una strega)
Something is missing, but I am pretty sure all the most important stuff is here. Enjoy, and consider watching one of these shows if available in your mother language. Warning: most of them have a bigger death toll than Game of Thrones, even what it seems the most “childish” show (who am I kidding? Especially the most childish shows) can be an emotional rollercoaster.