Anime is a term that comes from the English word Animation. So basically, it's a slang term from 1917. Sorry to burst your bubbles, but there is no secret translation here. I hear you saying, "Well, Google said that it's a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children." Which you'd also be correct. That's the modern definition. But if you go to Japan and watch Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, it'll also be referred to as an anime. Just for now. Let's stick with the modern termination of the word. This list will be Five shows you most definitely watched but had no idea it was an anime, probably.
5. Lil Lulu and Her Amazing Friends (Ritoru Ruru to Chitchai Nakama)
Twenty-six episodes from October 3, 1976, to April 3, 1977, ZIV International dubbed it in 1978 for American audiences. The series is about Little Lulu and her friends getting into all manner of light and adorable hijinks. From clips, the show feels like episodes of Peanuts. I honestly didn't realize this one counted until I started researching this article. Don't get too confused as there is another show based on these characters from 1993 called, The Little Lulu Show.
4. Voltron (Beast King GoLion)
Voltron is one of those series we have all watched at some point in our lives. Some of us like five times. It's a series that has been re-imagined multiple times. Five pilots drive five robot lions mechs to form one super robot. With their power combined comes Voltron and drama. The rights to reproduce this franchise have changed hands several times. Each change over has brought along a modernization of the series each time. Created by Toei Animation, it ran as GoLion from March 4, 1981, to February 24, 1982, across 52 episodes. GoLion was then modified run in American markets in 1984. Voltron has only one season because the GoLion series ended. Now you know America had to keep the cash cow going, so the series Armored Fleet Dairugger XV was adapted and folded into the Voltron mythos and renamed Vehicle Voltron. This time the Voltron Force formed a new super robot comprised of various vehicles. The franchise will be readapted a few times for new generations, eventually spawning film rumors.
3. Battle of the Planets or G-Force (Gatchaman)
Depending on the circumstance and timing, you likely know this anime in 3 different forms.
The Tatsunoko Productions origonal,original Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman from 1972.
The first adaptation is known as The Battle of the Planets from 1978. This version of Gatchaman came with heavy alterations in dialogue and in scenes deemed too risque for American audiences. Maybe, you caught the 1986 remake of a remake called G-Force like I did and later got angry at Disney for tricking you into watching a movie about spy hampsters. I'll never forgive them for sullying the good name of G-Force. Anyway, the Gatchaman IP is still going strong with new series created often. It's definitely worth watching some of the crossover series, as well. I'd even say go look up the history of how this series made it to America and get an inside scoop on how these port-over works.
2. Speed Racer ( Mach GoGoGo)
Despite being an American mainstay and spawning many interactions, this show was only done right once. That's the original anime version from Tatsunoko Productions in 1967. Even so, its ABC English simulcast dubbing will always be legendary. The action is fun, the sound effects are top-notch, and the dialogue is the godfather of bad dubs. There are running jokes and memes all over the internet to prove it. Even with all that campiness, this show holds one of the most significant twists of all time; the identity of Racer X. That alone is worth the price of admission. No matter how many versions try to remake that storyline, it never tops the original. The charm is always missing. By the way, this one could have been number one.
1. The Boondocks
The Boondocks is a legendary anime for many reasons. Perhaps, its biggest claim to its goat status is it's a Black, American-created anime. In fact, it's the first of its kind. Created by Aaron McGruder, this comic strip turned tv show distributed by Sony Entertainment and would run on Adult Swim for three seasons. After season 2, McGruder would leave the show due to differences with Adult Swim/ CN/ Sony. The third season ran in his absence and won't be received as well as the initial two. The Boondocks is full of black and pop culture references with heavy use of the "N" word. At first glance, it could come off as just ignorance and attack of the black community. But in reality, it's so much more once you listen and look past the packaging. It's beautiful, fun, and rewards those who are willing to invest the time to listen to the message. The social commentary from the show is still exposing the areas that it touched from the very beginning. This show is top-notch, especially the first two seasons. I love all the characters, even the super ignorant ones, but that's because of the lessons the supporting cast helps bring the story full time.
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