Romance stories are popular in any medium be it books, film, TV or anime because we can relate to them. Guys know how it feels to get rejected, or a girl accepted your love. Or girls know fully well that your parents are very protective of you and wouldn’t allow any guy to be on your side without strict scrutiny, or we know full well that, let’s be truthful, love can often lead to a lot of steamy night sessions after dates. Sure, there are some fantasy storylines or elements that don’t appear in real life, but the concept of two individuals falling in love is as familiar as breathing air.
What were the love stories like in anime back in the 80s and 90s though? Are they different from the ones we see in modern anime? And if they are, do these classic anime still hold up today? If you were too young to experience anime back in the 80s and 90s, especially love stories, Honey’s Anime have listed 3 romance anime titles we think are one of the best of their time.
Grab your popcorn and some tissues because here are the 3 Oldie but Godly Anime Love Stories!
3. Aa! Megami-sama! (Ah! My Goddess OVA)
- Episodes: 5
- Aired: February 1993 - May 1994
Morisato Keiichi is your average college dude with average personality, not-so average height, and average overall looks. On an average day at the dorm, Keiichi tried to call some restaurants for some take out, and to his frustration, he unwittingly dialed the Goddess Hotline. Out of the blue, a goddess came out of the mirror. The goddess introduced herself as Belldandy and she tells Keiichi that she can grant him any wish he so desires. Without a second thought and answered jokingly, Keiichi asked Belldandy to be by his side forever.
Ah! My Goddess is one of the longest-running series ever and it got its first anime adaptation in 1993, and back then, the OVA was well-received by fans with its wonderfully-drawn characters, high production values resulting in catchy music and smooth animation, coupled with a simple, yet heartwarming story of a human being and a goddess falling in love with each other. Simple, as in, some magical stuff happens that give the anime spice of mayhem and fun.
When you look at it, the story is your typical slice of life show with a guy living a good life thanks to a perfect girlfriend who can clean, cook with smarts too boot, and is surrounded by lovely ladies and other love interests, but during its time, harem slice of life shows weren’t too common. In fact, Ah! My Goddess helped popularized this so-called harem genre or the concept of an everyman living together with his extraordinary girlfriend(s). And lastly, the OVA was made long before Ah! My Goddess manga chapter 285 was printed and published, so, please, put down those pitchforks and enjoy this lovely and untainted OVA.
2. Gekijouban Choujikuu Yousai Macross: Ai, Oboete Imasu ka (Macross: Do You Remember Love?)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: July 1984
Macross: Do You Remember Love takes place during the First Space War between the Human Race and the alien races called the Zentraedi and Meltrandi. Earth was decimated, rendering the planet uninhabitable and the remaining human race escaped to the outer reaches of the Solar System in the space fortress and space colony Macross. The story revolves around a young pilot named Ichijo Hikaru who saved the popular songstress named Lynn Minmay after they fended off a small Zentraedi force that invaded the Macross residential sectors. The two became romantically close but eventually separated when the Zentraedi abducted Lynn Minmay for she posses a power than could change the course of the war. Due to some various circumstances, Hikaru and female officer Hayase Misa are both stranded on the ravaged Earth. Thinking Minmay died by the hands of the alien invaders, Hikaru and Misa’s relationship bloom as they try to survive on Earth.
We already discussed in the previous topic < https://honeysanime.com/three-anime-movies-that-are-better-than-the-tv-originals/ > that anime shows, if extremely popular, will get movie adaptations that are usually compressed versions with additional scenes, altered scenes or some plot changes. For Macross: DYRL’s case, the changes are huge with a more streamlined pacing of the story, a more consistent animation, and—while a double-edged sword—the movie focuses on key characters and didn’t bother with the majority of the supporting cast. Art and animation-wise, Macross: DYRL was one of the most beautiful anime film ever made that raised the bar on what high quality anime should be like.
As cliche as it may sound, Macross is all about the power of the universal language of love and music, and how they can shape the galaxy and connect humanity with alien beings, large or small, humanoids or insectoids. But, if mistreated, songs can be used as a weapon of mass destruction for the forces of evil.
1. Video Girl Ai
- Episodes: 6
- Aired: March 1992-August 1993
After a devastating rejection from his high school sweetheart, our hero Moteuchi Youta stumbles upon a mysterious video rental store and there, he sees a VHS tape with a picture of a beautiful girl. At home, Youta inserted the tape to his VCR and he is greeted by Amano Ai, a “video girl” who proclaims she’s here for Youta and will comfort his broken heart. Shockingly, Ai slowly emerges from the TV screen, but half-way through, the VCR malfunctioned and Ai darted across the room unconscious. The distraught Youta doesn’t know what to do as the girl from the video is now real and is with him.
At first glance, Video Girl Ai is similar to Ah! My Goddess, but apart from the love interest coming from another world and the break up theme of the final story, Video Girl Ai has less baggage like fewer characters to develop within a 6-episode time frame, the anime has a definitive ending, and the focus is strictly on the romance with no side plots like a pesky younger sister causing trouble or a villain/love rival hellbent on stopping the hero from finding his true love. The focus is strictly around unrequited love and how Youta goes to find the courage to confess his love to his sweetheart Moemi. However, Moemi sees Youta only as a close friend, and she’s in love with Youta’s best friend Takeshi. Takeshi has no interest in Moemi and is actively trying to hook her up with Youta. And at the same time, Ai, thanks to the defective VCR player, has caused her to develop feelings towards Youta, and eventually go against her role as a Video Girl--a girl that helps comfort the troubled and broken hearts of men, and nothing more.
A story about a group of young people finding love doesn’t feel right and it’s hard to sympathize or even support them, if the characters cannot express these emotions. Thankfully, Video Girl Ai delivers with masterfully done facial animations delivering genuine emotion to their characters—you can feel their pain, elation, and most importantly you can feel these characters are falling in love.
Anime romance stories haven’t changed much maybe because there’s really nothing to change. Love is a universal expression and will remain unchanged even after many cultural shifts or changes in society or beliefs. The three titles we’ve listed are such examples of love stories that withstood the test of time and can be enjoyed and appreciated today and in the future, by anyone, young or old.