80’s Anime Characters Who Know How to Wear a Pair of Sunglasses

Ever heard of the song Sunglasses at Night? This hit song by the Canadian singer/songwriter Corey Hart was released in 1984 and is one of many popular tracks that has a character beyond the stereotypical bright flash and dazzle of the decade of the 1980s. The 1980s also had a darker side that was more subversive, hidden and mysterious. These three qualities are apparent in this song amongst many others, I.e. The Police’s Every Breathe You Take. Sunglasses, or shades are a fashion statement as well as a protective measure for many of us and can often become a distinctive trademark of our identity as well.

As I write mostly about 80s anime the idea of wearing Sunglasses at Night, or during the day, sometimes even indoors!, appealed to me. 80s hit song… can I think of any 80s anime characters that are defined by the wearing of these ocular accessories? Oh yeah for sure… I have twelve listed here and I am sure I have more than likely missed a couple. If you can add any names you will be my hero!


Sunglass_wolfe

Jonathon Wolfe
Genesis Climber Mospeada / Robotech
Many call you a hero sir, but what secrets are you hiding underneath those shades? Could you possibly be a traitor?


Sunglass_olson

Olson D. Verne
Super Dimension Century Orguss
What you don’t recognize me Kei? I may be a couple years older and wearing these stylish frames, but I am still your old parent in crime.


Sunglass_bean

Bean Bandit
Riding Bean
A fast car, a pretty sidekick, a bulletproof bandana and a pair of sunglasses is all this speedster needs to get the job done.


Sunglass_quattro

Quattro Bajenna
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam
That helmet and mask from the first Gundam was getting too heavy… better to switch to some sunglasses and let my golden locks run free in the wind.


Sunglass_roshi

Master Roshi
Dragon Ball
Shonen fighting anime’s greatest instructor would be nothing without his shades. He may be fashionable with those shirts as well, but often strikes out with the ladies


Sunglass_louie

Louis Ducasse / Louis Nichols
Super Dimension Calvary Southern Cross / Robotech
The 15th Tactical Armored Corps nerdy computer geek wouldn’t be the same without those thick framed specs. Dude how do you see out of those?


Sunglass_remi

Remy Shimada
GoShogun: The Time Étranger
You know what helps in a car chase? Sunglasses… I thought the answer would be another engine and suspension.


Sunglass_napolipolita

Captain Napolipolita
Project A-Ko
Like an overly drunk Captain Harlock, with more colorful clothes and a pair of specs. More wine please… hey have we found the princess yet?


Sunglass_golgo13

Golgo 13/Duke Togo
The Professional: Golgo 13
Golgo 13… that stone grim look, those finely tailored suits, your nasty smoking habit and that accurate trigger finger look so much better when you add on a pair of aviators.


Sunglass_geist

M.D. Geist
M.D. Geist
Though he is known as the Most Dangerous soldier and for wearing some nasty body armor, he also can look cool in a pair of sunglasses.


Sunglass_bd

B.D.
Megazone 23 (part 1)
Hello Mr. Yahagi, I see you found the Garland. Don’t I look so official and dangerous in these pair of specs.


Sunglass_madoka

Madoka Ayukawa
Kimagure Orange Road
A woman of mystery and many talents loves a great pair of sunglasses to compliment her enigmatic personality.

#210 : Take the X Train

If ever an anime made me scratch my head and go what in the world did I just watch, then Take the X Train is perhaps near the top of the list. Just exactly what genre is this OVA? It’s like a comedy and a suspense thriller and perhaps a horror flick(?) and I may be stretching it… a mecha production. Not so much piloting a robot, or cybernetics, but consider this concept… the combining of man and machine on a metaphysical as well as a physical level. Take the X Train is a ride you will never forget. ALL ABOARD!!

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 100“This work is dedicated to the Jazz great, Duke Ellington,” proclaims the opening credits. A send up to one of his well known hits, Take the A Train, Take the X Train is not so much like the Duke in terms of style. Maybe more like Miles Davis in his more experimental works, or even better, Ornette Colemen, or Cecil Taylor. Why I say the later two is because while the plot is comprehensible, this anime is a free form piece of art, more like Free Jazz than the Duke’s sophisticated Big Band style. Do I love Jazz by the way? Oh yeah, John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk I wear on my sleeve. Jazz is even used as the background music, bur only occasionally… hmm?

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 100Visually this is a very tasteful movie in the style of the already mentioned Jazz in pictures. The editing, design, everything seems to be to be like an art house film, not at all pristine and mainstream. This is not in the same vain as say Angel’s Egg, but maybe more like California Crisis: Gun Salvo (my opinion). Then a familiar name appears… actually make that two. First was the studio, Madhouse, who always makes anime with a little bit of edge and artsy flavor no matter the genre, or the director. The second is the director, a favorite of mine due to his visual narrative approach mixed with a little avant-garde attitude, Rintaro. His work is definitely an acquired taste; examples include: Space Pirate Captain Harlock, the Galaxy Express 999 films (GE999 and Adieu), Bride of Deimos, Dagger of Kamui, Harmeggeddon, and the Labyrinth section from Neo Tokyo.

XTrain_3Trains of course are at the focus of this OVA, as well as our main protagonist, Tour Ishihara. An average guy, though a bit goofy and kind of eccentric, Toru works for a company that is planning to revitalize and market a more retro attitude for the train market. One train is at the focus of this committee, which goes by EF 5861, a train that Toru thinks is a junk heap. Watch what you say my friend, as this train has a certain destiny that coincides with yours. In other news, one night after a fun time with his girlfriend (this was the most awkward love scene I have ever seen), Toru waits for the next train in a crowd when all of a sudden the lights go dark and sparks fly all over the atmosphere and in particular the tracks. Then passes a mysterious locomotive… could it be a ghost train…is this all for real? May I introduce our other main character, the X Train.

XTrain_4With no expectations coming in I was amazed I found another interesting gem of an OVA buried in the garden of lost anime titles. While a little bizarre, the artsy nature of Rintaro brought out a certain charm in Take the X Train, which is by the way based on a novel by Koichi Yamano (I give credit to fansub ending credits for this bit of info). The only thing I won’t miss are Toru’s twitching pulse and occasional nose bleeds; every time it always gives me the creeps. Now for a send off, check out Duke Ellington’s recording of Take the ‘A’ Train. It swings!

#209 : SilverHawks

Now this may just be me, but these pre-intro trailers really spoil the plot of each episode! … Are you a hardcore 80s cartoon fan? Several 80s creations have had life outside the decade either by nostalgia, reinvention, or a combination or the two. Many more exist as rumors, or more like a secret code that big kids like us never grow tired of. I pull a couple DVDs off the shelf and after gazing at the covers remember many things, but will they still hold up in terms of entertainment? Fun, adventure and deep space science fiction on today’s episode of The Classic Anime Museum… with… SilverHawks.

SH_11986… September 8, a Monday afternoon… If I am doing my math right I was in the beginning stages of the second grade in my elementary school years when a new cartoon would catch my eye. If memory serves me correctly I had anticipated the arrival of the SilverHawks for a couple of weeks knowing that it was created by the same folks behind ThunderCats and it was set in space this time. Seven year old me was drooling at the mouth as SilverHawks would become one of my favorite shows at the time hitting crucial buttons of joy. Cyborg soldiers, “partly metal, partly real” who act like the new sheriffs in town who take on the criminal gang of Mon-Star. And those SilverHawks were buff as all hell, true hard bodies. Do you remember the workout videos featuring Tamilee Webb? Buns of Steel, Abs of Steel, etc.…Yeah that sounds like the SilverHawks to me!

SH_2Sci-fi obsessed as we were in the 1980s, SilverHawks was very typical of depicting a future with high technology, space travel and alien encounters. Star Wars looked to be a huge influence, but also the American comic book hero character. Though based on a toyline, SilverHawks exudes the Marvel and DC type of characters who work as a team: X-Men, Fantastic Four, or Justice League. And while I am sure anime influence may not have been top on the listing I can compare the SilverHawks to sentai groups like Gatchaman, or more appropriately to the cyborgs of Cyborg 009. Once completely human both the cyborg soldiers of Cyborg 009 and the SilverHawks have been enhanced to become the ultimate fighting machines. Of course for Cyborg 009 this was done outside the characters’ wills for a criminal organization. These nine would rebel to fight against their creator. SilverHawks featured volunteers who fight for justice and peace and all the usual American apple pie sort of things that in reality is not always the picture perfect truth.

SH_3Every show needs some sort of identity markers from logo and typography, toys, characters, plot points and even a mascot at times. For SilverHawks the concept of mascot became legendary with the cybernetic enhanced Tally-Hawk. How many times did I want his talons to grip my forearm as I stare into his eyes; such a beautiful bird. Hawks and birds of prey in general have always been a personal favorite for me. The elegant grace, power and intensity of these birds are truly beautiful. While SilverHawks featured many characters from the heroic, to the diabolical, to the sly and even the goofy, none compare to Tally-Hawk whose only dialogue was a screech that said more than the length of a Russian novel. If Tally-Hawk was a Pokemon, I choose you!

SH_4Like many other Rankin/Bass titles, the design and pre-production was done in the U.S. while the heavy lifting of paint and pen ended up with a Japanese studio. In the case of the mid-1980s this was Pacific Animation Corporation. Though this show may not technically be anime in name it is certainly in spirit. Watch the opening credit sequence as an example. With ThunderCats lightning struck in a bottle in terms of success and in many ways SilverHawks would ride that wave as a sort of phase two. Does this show still hold up for me today? Yes and no. The early episodes still hold merit in my fandom, but the overall mythology lacks the breadth of ThunderCats and often times SilverHawks is a one trick pony that repeats itself. Yet as a single ride pony show it still is fun, in short bursts… “Ya know what I mean.” … a little nod to you Seymour 😉