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!

#208 : Super Dimension Century Orguss

The opening theme says it all, “Where are you going, when are you coming home?” … Atomic, biological and chemical weapons are all heavy duty in terms of destructive power… but this pales in comparison to dimensional weaponry. For a young and carefree pilot who ends up completing the arming sequence for a space time oscillation bomb, the consequences of dimensional weaponry would alter not only his life, but affect the entire structure of the Earth itself. Anything was up for grabs for this stranger in a strange land, yet how much of a sacrifice must he yield himself towards in order to return the world to equilibrium. It all began in the future of 2062, but we remember this tale from a mecha anime from 1983… Super Dimension Century Orguss.

Orguss_1Following up the success of 1982’s Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Big West advertising and Studio Nue would strike out again the following year with Orguss. Retaining much of the staff from the previous year including director Noburo Ishiguro, character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto and music composer Kentaro Haneda to name a few, Orguss would despite similarities adapt to change. Shoji Kawamori did not stay and the services of Tatsunoko, who did the heavy lifting of animating Macross, would be supplanted by Tokyo Movie Shinsha. Thus we have a slightly different product. As a Macross fan I am often jealous of Orguss as TMS in general always has a certain patina that cries quality in terms of line work and color palette. Orguss is for that time (and even now!) an attractive looking show, but what about the bigger issue? What of the story and the characters?

Orguss_2Speaking of characters, let’s start with our protagonist Kei Katsuragi. Fighter pilot, happy go lucky and the biggest ladies man I have ever seen, Kei is a complete 180 from Macross’ Hikaru Ichijo. He eyes all those who are cute to his ocular perceptions, but in the end he is ever faithful to the ones he is truly in love with. The series begins with him in an intimate moment with his girlfriend at the time, quite bold, which is interrupted by her father barging in with a shotgun. Not many times I have seen that to open a piloted robot show. And like Lupin III, he escaped unscathed to be picked up by his best friend and fellow pilot Olson (or is it Orson?). Together they are part of a mission to use the previously mentioned space time oscillation bomb in order to get rid of a space elevator. The mission goes awry, but Kei feels it is only right that the mission

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 100Arriving in a parallel alternative Earth, which at the time he does not know, Kei is thrust 20 years into the future into a world born of his consequences. Here he meets friendly nomadic traders known as the Emaan, who oddly have tentacle like antennae coming out of the back of their heads, the aggressive Chiram, a militaristic society and Jabbi (I’ll let you figure out who he is!). All parties involved have interest in capturing, or obtaining Kei… why? Because he is the chosen one, or in more precise language the singularity (or, differentiated idioblast… what did you call me?) This makes him quite valuable on the market. So what are the issues that the Earth is facing in Orguss? First it is suffering from excessive heating, global warming to the extreme. And second, the mixing of races and landscapes on Earth are appearing from different dimensions due to the explosion of the previously mentioned space time oscillation bomb. Space and time are unstable and guess who is the one who can right these events? A little hint, he’s a womanizer fighter jock who happens to be named Kei! Now I know that name from somewhere? (sarcasm)

Orguss_4Oh Kei, look what you have done! Orguss is an interesting show in that we have a character that has to come to terms with fixing past issues that resonate with the present. Call it karma, fate, or what have you, Orguss is a show that strikes a chord as a mech show for a more mature audience looking for an alternative to the usual space opera of the time. Like Macross, we again have transforming mechs and a heavy romantic subplot which makes Orguss ever more enjoyable. Just be ready for the final climactic moment, as the scene appears to be very open ended, but from my eye brought in an element of the tragic, which really left me surprised… and a little teary eyed.