Making Old New Again

Hmm…how “retro” should one go to call an anime or manga “retro”?

This Angry Anime Bitches post on High School Girls has this statement near the beginning (slightly edited for clarity and blog standards):

Girls’ High was a show that aired in Spring 2006 and is currently about 12 years old, making it a retro anime.

It really jumped out at me because 1) it made me feel old and 2) 2006 isn’t that retro to me. I mean, I was still using a Nokia candybar phone from 2010 to 2016, so flip phones aren’t the ancient things you think they are…or maybe I’m the antiquated one…

But the real question is: how “retro” do you think an anime should be before it deserves the term? “Classic anime” is probably a subset of that and I’ve discussed that in a Konobi post.

Knowing today’s simulcast culture, anything over a year old could already constitute “old” anime, with “retro” being a nicer name for that. We also have anniversaries for 10 year old anime (notably Eden of the East had some new merch come out for this purpose).

Interestingly, I was looking at this set of seasonal simulcast pages from 2010 and 2011, then laughing. Hindsight is 20/20 and while the critics got the legacy of Steins;Gate right, they didn’t do the same with Occult Academy (and Hanasaku Iroha is arguable, at least within English-speaking circles). The first time I’d heard of Occult Academy was through a “hidden treasures” thing which occasionally appears as a feature on Crunchyroll sometime in the past few years…and the other two I’d heard of before that.

This makes me think the right line to draw is maybe about 15 – 20 years old – the anime of 1994 – 1999 or thereabouts hit nostalgia sweet spots without being entirely forgotten due to being part of the anime boom, but they’re enough to show their age. Anything else is either “too obscure” or “an enduring classic” by its own merit…but the great thing about the internet is that everyone will care about something, even the obscure stuff.


Anyways, what do you think? Is drawing this line in the sand necessary?

Personally, regardless of whether you agree with this or not, people who like so-called “old anime” and “new anime” should really just learn to get along. I mean, you might just learn a thing or two from each other…

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5 thoughts on “Making Old New Again

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  1. To what end the term “retro”? Is it only to classify shows from a certain set of years? For instance, TV shows before the year 2000 are retro? So anything from the beginnings of televsion to 1999? I suppose that’s fine if that’s the only reason, but is there an implication of something more? Being out of date? A relic? Irrelevant, even?

    Questions and more questions.

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  2. I guess it all depend on the anime you watched and when they were make. Yes Sailor Moon can be considered old, but I did watch anime made in the late 70′ and beginning 80′, does that make the “fossil” anime from the jurassic?

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  3. 12 years is older, but not retro. I guess they consider retro 10+? I mean, that’s not even an age where everyone can have kids. I agree with you, 15-20+, as although that’s a short timespan for a generation, at least it has more of a feeling of “original watchers have grown up and they can have kids”.

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  4. It’s such a strange concept to think about because everyone has their own line in the sand for this. I guess I still don’t know where mine is, but it’s definitely a lot farther back then some peoples opinions. Maybe 1995 or so?

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