More and more people keep jumping into anime each day. Naturally questions about to watch come up quite frequently to the point that these people ask the same question over and over again.
Hopefully, this series of articles will help people like you by giving clear direction by answering these basic questions.
Today we are tackling modern and classic anime. This is a comparison article but not a versus. A more accurate description would be what you should know before you pick one.
Because unlike other aspects of anime this really comes to preference and is very subjective. However this may suggest that two are equal would be inaccurate.
In fact, those differences are why these question even exists. I will attempt to provide information to help explain the difference.
So by the end of this, you should have a good idea of what to watch.
I think you get the idea let’s get this started.

Classic Anime

Spike Spiegel firing his gun
Classic anime is a category that is constantly evolving as time passes.
Every time a decade goes by the Modern becomes Classic and the Classic becomes ancient.
This makes it very difficult to decide what is a classic anime.
Eventually fans might have to compare anime by the decade instead of modern vs classic.

How do you Define What a Classic Anime is?

I classify any classic anime that came out before the year 2010. However when most people refer to classic anime they usually mean anything before the year 2000. To be more specific anime from the ’80s and ’90s.
If you do any search on google for classic anime. That is what you will mostly find. I include the early 2000’s because some of the greats came out in that decade. Also anime during that time shared elements of anime from the ’80s and ’90s.

Why You Should Watch Classic anime

Water Drops from Yukion's Sisters
The best Experience of Anime Iconography
The first thing you are probably asking is what is Iconography?
There are many things that Iconography can refer to. For this article, Iconography refers to symbols that we normally equate with something.
For example, the lamb in Christian painting represents Christ.
Anime uses iconography and other stylized animation which differentiates it from western animation. The iconography can range from artistic symbols to character tropes.
Here are some examples of Anime iconography:
1. Large sweat drops that come down the head
2. Spirals or Xs on Eyes during moments of confusion and passing out
3. Dialogue Bubbles
4. Even the different hair colors have meaning
5. The Otaku fanboy found in much older Mecha Anime
This is a topic to itself the point here is the classic anime will give you the best anime Iconography experience.
Watching anything that Gainax made in the 90s alone will give you the real anime iconography experience.
You will find these symbols in modern anime but it has been refined and the appearance is uncommon.
Not all classic anime use the “usual” Iconography. But if you want to experience what makes anime … anime then watching classic series for the Iconography is the way to go.
Classic Anime is Way More Violent when compared to Modern Anime
This may not be a selling point if gore and violence is not your thing. Anime has changed over the years and one of those changes is in the violence.
Not to say that modern anime is not violent in fact with computer animation some anime are as gory as ever.
My Gripe is that gore in modern anime is too clean and not as disturbing as seen in classic anime.
Anime directors from the 80s and 90s based their art style on the 80s gore style seen in action film during that time. Which is why it can be over the top and down right disturbing at times.
I am not sure how many modern animes show a guy nailed to a hospital bed with his skin opened up like in Genocyber.
Every gore scene in classic anime has content that either modern does not or does but is inferior.
Here are some examples of what I am talking about.
1. The gore and violence happen indiscriminately
2. Extreme dismemberment
3. Terrified expressions in the victim’s faces
4. The blood spurts
5. The overall scale of deaths
Something that indicated to me that the violence in anime has changed was the Goblin Slayer controversy.

For those who do not know the controversy here is what happened.

In the first episode of Goblin Slayer, goblins pin down and rape a female character.
The actual rape is not shown but you see the before and after of the event. The fan response was not good and it remains controversial to this day.
I bring this up not to make of light of the scene or the show or even the backlash but to point how fan’s tolerance levels have gone down over the years.
There were so many animes in the ’90s and ’80s that were way worse than Goblin Slayer in every way they depicted violence.
If an anime on the level of Goblin Slayer with lesser violence than some classic anime bother people then the level of violence in anime has gone down over the years. Because people back then tolerated more which is why the the anime back then were more violent.
Violence Jack, for example, had violent content that was way worse than Goblin Slayer in every way imaginable. It received harsh criticism and backlash from the US, UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

We can learn much from what is considered controversial now and what was controversial back then.

If you are bloodthirsty and want to experience the best violence anime can offer you need to watch the classic stuff.
To Recieve a Visual History Lesson on the Evolution of Anime
Anime has been in existence since the 1910s and with each decade the medium improved and changed.
For example, during the 80s cyberpunk and mecha dominated the majority of anime. This gave birth to so many classics like Macross, Gunbuster, Gundam, and Akira.
Much of the old style of hand drawing anime is gone now and has been replaced by computer animation.
Some have argued that this how ruined the quality of anime.

I would not go that far but the level of detail is not as strong as it was in the past.

Once you have experienced the art style in classic anime you might fully appreciate how far modern anime has come.
Genocyber Gory Scene

Why You Might Want to Avoid Classic Anime

The old art style may be hard to watch
If are someone who has seen only modern anime it might be hard to jump into something from the 80s. I have had issues myself in this regard.
We are so used to looking at computer-generated animation that anything hand-drawn looks awful by comparison.
Some anime has aged well over the years but most have not and this is something that could be a barrier to watching those series.
Anime from the 90s and early 20s are not as affected by this issue.
The English Dubbing is Awful
Some fans swear by Subs and will not watch anything dubbed in English. But those that watch English dubbed anime may not like the quality of dubbing in early anime.

English dubbing was still new at the time and it shows.

Unless it was a blockbuster film or series don’t expect the English Dub version to be any good.
Certain sites do not even list the English voice actor at all.

For example, the main villain in Fushigi Yuugi is named Nakago.

Most sites do not list the English voice actor for him. Even after doing some research I still am not clear who it was.

Hard to find the Series Online
Most anime from the 80s and 90s might be hard to find on any of the big streaming services.
Unless it was a well-known commodity like a Miyazaki film good luck finding it online.
Sometimes YouTube will have the series but usually, you have to find a dodgy site or get the DVDs which can be annoying.
Gunbuster from Gunbuster The Movie
Ranma from Ranma one-half

Should You Watch Classic Anime

If you are willing to accept that classic anime style then I think you owe it to yourself to watch these series.
There is a reason why they are called classics.
You would be surprised to see how many of them still hold up to this day.
Many of them influence and paved the way for modern anime and the greatest thing you can do that is not let these shows fall into obscurity.


I prefer the stories and plots for the classic over modern anime but that is something that is purely subjective.

Kenshin and Karou

Modern Anime

Jonthan Joestar

How do you Define What a Modern Anime is?

As I mentioned with classic anime defining these things can be challenging.
If you define modern anime as any anime that incorporates computers and CGI over hand-drawn. Then many anime in the early 20s and late 90s could qualify.
Modern anime in this context refers to any anime from 2010 up until now.
While it is true that the use of computers was prevalent in the early 20s the level of quality that we have today did not really peak until the last decade.
When I think of modern anime series like “Attack on Titan”, “Tokyo Ghoul”, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure”, etc. Come to mind. All of these shows came out after 2010. I understand that there is no consensus on this but for simplicity sake I am going with the last decade rule.
Snow white with red hair

Why You Should Watch Modern anime

There is are many choices to watch
There is no denying the impact of what computer animation has done for the world of anime.
It is never been easier for studios to create anime. Thanks to the jump in technology even smaller studios have the ability to produce anime that can compete on the level of the bigger names in the industry.
This has led to a huge jump in the number of animes that studios produce every year.
For perspective according to AniChart in 2004 studios created 235 animes. 97 animes came out in 1995 according to Wikipedia.
In 2019 365 animes were created. This is a huge jump and will most likely keep increasing as technology advances.

I am not going to comment if this is good or bad for the industry as a whole while moving forward in this article.

But this is great for you because you have such a wide range of options.
I love classic anime but the amount of classic anime pales in comparison to modern anime.
Ease of Access
Streaming services are always adding classic anime to their libraries. But they still will never have them all. This is the complete opposite of modern anime.
Services like Crunchyroll will have the latest episodes uploaded immediately. You should have no issues finding anime from the last decade on most streaming services.
Modern Animes is Shorter
Animes are moving more towards the 13 episode count per season. This makes it easier to binge-watch a series and catch up if you are several seasons behind.
What I have noticed is they will divide a season into parts instead of releasing it at one time. This is something that classic anime did not do often.
Here are some numbers to get this point across. I found a excel chart which lists the amount of anime released by year and the total amount of episodes of all the anime made combined.
This really shows just how much the average episode count has dropped over the decades.

In 1990 26 anime came out with an episode count that sums to 1457 averaging to 56 episodes per anime.

In 2000 58 anime came out with a total of 2680 episodes averaging to 46 episodes per anime.

2010 had 113 anime released with a total of 3030 episodes averaging 26 episodes.

Last year 187 animes were released with 2972 total episodes averaging 15 episodes per anime.

So in just four decades the average episode count per anime has gone down by almost 75 percent.

Attack on Titan Levi
Deuk fighting

Improved Animation

Studio artists use the latest computer software to create the fantastic animations of today. So obviously anything released in the last decade will be a treat for your eyes.
CGI is used more frequently in modern anime but the use is less obvious and more seamless. This is the complete opposite from classic anime where the use of CGI was about as subtle as a heart attack and the quality was not much better.
Of course not every anime will be amazing but the good ones might blow you away with the quality of animation

Why You Might Want To Avoid Modern Anime

The Current Trends are Not Good
Bob Dylan once said “Times they are a-changing” and boy was he right.
There are many trends that have affected anime in the last decade. For example, MOE which is a focus on making girls look cute and young even when they are adults has taken the anime world by storm.
So many animes have incorporated this art style to their female characters.
This has upset people and for many can be a turn-off. Many fans harken to a time where the women in anime were drawn to look like actual “Women”.

Isekai which is a type of story where someone from the earth is transported to another world has become very popular.

If you are someone who watched anime in the 80s, 90s, or even the early 2000s you might not like the direction that anime has gone.
Mami from Madoka Magica
Saeko from Wearing nothing but an apron
Way More Fanservice than Classic Anime
This the kind of fanservice that involves women who wear the bare minimum amount of clothing.
Modern anime seemed to alter the violence and increase the fan service.
In 2010 an anime called “High School of the Dead” debuted. This anime was a mix of women with unrealistic breast sizes fighting in a zombie apocalypse. The show was infamous for finding ways to show off the women’s assets when ever possible.
If I had to pick one anime that really showed the trend of the increase in fan service this would be it.
Here are some numbers to get my point across. Ecchi is a genre of anime that has the most fan service besides Hentai. Sometimes it is almost like pseudo pornography.
According to MyAnimeList 339 ecchi’s existed before 2010. Since 2010 410 ecchis have been created.
In the last decade, studios have made more ecchi anime than the total amount produced since the creation of anime.
Think about that for a while.
I am not getting on my high horse by saying that this is bad for moral reasons. Classic anime was just praised for it’s violence.
This is merely something that you should know about modern anime before jumping in.
I understand that some of you do not like fan service.
Much like the violence of classic anime this might be something that does not affect you.
There is so much Modern Anime that it is hard to find good quality shows
Even though modern technology has allowed studios to produce higher quality anime in less time that does not equate that the show will be good.
One advantage of only the best studios producing anime is that the majority was going to be good if not great.
They are so many players in the game which has given rise to an increased amount of anime that is produced annually.
I mentioned before that this is great because it gives you more options to watch. But this created another challenge where even though there are more anime created most of them are not very good.
This is a quality over quantity situation. I am very conflicted on this because I am glad more studios are creating anime, I just wish the quality was better.
Classic anime is not exactly better in this regard. But since less anime were produced back then it is easier to go through it to find a good series. But if we are talking about outside Japan then you had even fewer options which sometimes can be a good thing.
I am sure some of you do not agree with my narrow-minded view on the majority of modern anime. If that’s the case watch modern anime this is just my opinion after all.
The whole Gamers Club

Should You Watch Modern Anime

I may have sounded harsh in discussing why you should avoid modern anime.
But despite that, I enjoy modern anime a lot. Some of my favorite series like “Attack on Titan”, “Steins Gate”, “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures”, “Your Name”, “Fate Zero”, “Angel Beats” etc.
Even if what I said was completely accurate, it is still worth going through anime like “Knight’s & Magic” and “Gamers” if it means I find shows like “Made in the Abyss.
It would be nice if finding good anime was much easier. But that is just how it is. Despite the oversaturation what’s good is amazing and is worth your time.
Your Name

Final thoughts

Anime is going to continue to grow as the years go on. Modern anime today will become classic anime tomorrow.
I love the classics shows but at some point, progress has to happen and the medium needs to adapt and evolve.
The reason why I compared these two kinds of anime is so fans do not forget that there are two options. There are animes out there some older than fans today that need watching.
We cannot forget the anime that paved the way for the modern masterpieces of today. I know that hoping most fans will watch the classic anime is unrealistic.
But it can’t hurt to hope and modern anime is a great and real example of how animation can improve without having to completely turn to CGI and 3D (cough cough Disney).
If you only need to take one thing away from this article it is this.
Watch what you want and enjoy it but do not forget about all of your options.
I encourage you all to explore the world of anime and give everything a chance.

But now I turn over the conversation to you. What do you think of classic anime? Have any other pros and cons to share on Modern vs Classic anime? If you so let me know in the comment section below.

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Thanks so much for reading and have a great day

“Anichart.” 2004. 17 March 2020. n.d. 17 March 2020. n.d. 17 March 2020. n.d. 17 March 2020. 2016. 17 March 2020.
Yumeka. 21 June 2010. 17 March 2020.
“r/Anime – How Many Anime Should Be Produced Each Season?” Reddit,
“Anime and Manga Database and Community.”

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Mymediachops is a blog created by a life long anime fan. My goal is to prove that anime is for everyone. I focus on created content to help new fans get into the medium while also discussing anime that made a big impact on my life.