Do you remember the magical 80s?
When faced with this question, most people would talk about the music, the clothes, the fashion and even the politics of the time. I’m not saying that these are and were not important issues. Of course they were. They are things which can define an age. However personally, having been a child in the late 80s, what I remember most were the cartoons.
When I say cartoons, I’m actually referring to Japanese cartoons, the ones most commonly known as anime. At the time, I would rush home from school expressly to plop myself at the kitchen table, put the T.V on, and finally watch that most beloved childrens’ comic Italian programme of the time, BIM BUM BAM, which used to air on Canale 5 and Italia 1 respectively. Unfortunately, this programme was last aired in 2002, and I admit, that was really the end of an era.
Gone forever was the funny pink talking soft toy Uan, as well as the orange Ambrogio. Gone as well were those jocose conductors who had literally enchanted me for two straight hours every day of my childhood and adolescence. BIM BUM BAM was also the launching pad of the present-day famous Italian showman Paolo Bonolis, who was the main presence in this programme at the very young age of 21.
Image: Paolo Bonolis and Uan
BIM BUM BAM was however, only an introduction, a break and a conclusion; it was the glue which held the four or five different anime airing during the season together. I loved the programme, but what I adored most were the cartoons, or anime, themselves, which are today being supplanted by more modern series, and many of which, unfortunately, were never aired on Italian T.V. again.
Today, children tune in to other channels, primarily American or English ones. Channels such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, though they have very interesting content, still do not air many of the 80s and 90s anime classics I was used to as a child.
Some of those 80s anime I recall with most fondness and nostalgia include:
Candy Candy – An anime relating the coming of age story of an orphan girl, who through the perils of a hateful adoptive family, a strict boarding school, not to mention the Second World War, still continued to smile and showed the importance of surviving against all odds.
Lady Oscar (or The Rose of Versailles) – Based on the French Revolution, yet focusing on a particular number of characters, this anime was a treasure trove of knowledge about Queen Marie Antoinette, life at the court of Versailles, as well as other more evanescent issues like honour, pride and valour.
Pollon – This was an anime that set on Mount Olympus, and revolves around the adventures of the giddy little girl Pollon. Together with Pollon and her best friend Cupid, we meet and get to know all the Greek gods and heroes, not least of whom are Pollon’s lazy father Apollo, and her lecherous grandfather Zeus.
Mila e Shiro – This anime was my main inspiration for becoming a member of the volleyball team at school. It shows the problems and passions of the ‘crazy’ schoolgirl Mila, as together with friends and enemies, she pursues this sport with enthusiasm, while also having fun.
There are so many other anime I’d love to mention, and to which I was introduced thanks to BIM BUM BAM. Sailor Moon, E Quasi Magia Johnny, I Gemelli del Destino, I Puffi, Lupin III, Georgie, Kiss Me Licia, Jem e le Holograms… the list could go on and on. It seems a real pity that the new generations will never enjoy these anime, unless that is, their parents make an effort to tell them about them.
Which 80s anime do you miss most? Which anime would you want your children to watch?
Let us know in the comment section below.