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.

The Shonen Jump Revolution of 1986

A couple years ago I gave a panel with this very title, and I am trademarking it (LOL). I thought to myself why not include a paired down version here at CAM. 1986 was a landmark year for the shonen fighting genre and while it was not invented in that particular year, it without question rose to an elite status that garners even today a place at the top of the popularity polls in terms of genre. Three titles would cement this stature and rocket Shonen Jump from one of Japan’s top manga publishers into a brand that for many define what anime means for them.

The original panel covered a cross section of Shonen Jump material from the 1980s as padding to surround the eclipse point of 1986. I had to fill an hour and this also showed that Shonen Jump is far more than fighting anime alone. Titles as diverse as Baoh, Captain Tsubasa, Cat’s Eye, Dr. Slump, Kimagure Orange Road and more would be included bringing curiosity, laughter and smiles to the approximate crowd of 25 in the room. But the main focus of anticipation would be the holy trinity of 1986 and when I got to that particular year all ear perked up. Luckily for your I left hints in the header image… spoiler alert!

First on our list is a film… an adaptation of a 1984 TV series that is often considered the “Father of the Shonen Fighter.” Who’s your daddy? … Kenshiro … Good answer! Fist of the North StarHokuto no Ken… the ultimate struggle of good vs. evil, power vs. restraint and ying and yang with enough muscle and martial arts to satisfy a healthy diet of action. (For more indepth analysis click here.)

Next comes my unabashed favorite… very heavy bias, but I will spare the details on that. Any other Saint Seiya fans out there? A show based loosely on Greek Mythological themes with aspects of astrological significations, no wonder I am in love with this show. I was heard a description of Saint Seiya that went like this… “It’s like pretty boys in armor fighting while galaxies explode in the background.” Yeah, I can vouch for that. (For more indepth analysis click here.)

And the finale, one of the most popular anime titles of all time that still continues today. The original Dragon Ball, long before Z, is perhaps the prototypical, most influential Shonen Jump fighting series of all time. As a loose adaptation of the traditional Chinese story of The Journey to the West, Dragon Ball would add Akira Toriyama’s humor to create an unexpected ‘Heroes Journey’ narrative that stretched the bounds of adventure, comedy and one’s imagination. (For more indepth analysis click here.)

This of course is a theory, my own personal opinion, and if your view varies that is ok, but one cannot deny that 1986 can be considered an important step in the evolution of the shonen fighting genre’s popularity. For many years mecha was the king of hill in terms of shonen adventures, unchallenged and towering in strength. Then came 1986. Ask a majority of casual, hardcore, or even non-fans of anime about our love of Japanese cartoons and Shonen Jump anime adaptations often comes up in conversation. Shonen Jump anime is as much part of the zeitgeist of the landscape as much as Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, or whatever else is in fashion at the time. And it is to Fist of the North Star, Saint Seiya and Dragon Ball that we have to thank for not so much laying the ground work, but solidifying the foundation.

#42 : Dragon Ball

Besides Pokemon and Studio Ghibli, Dragon Ball could be considered the ‘franchise’ in anime that equates a license to print money. Even me mentioning it here made Dragon Ball another $25… just because. Dragon Ball Z in particular cannot die if it tried and there were moments that Akira Toriyama tried to make it happen and FAILED! But I never got into all the testosterone over the top fighting of that series, which made me look at the original Dragon Ball for years as a passover. But, in due time I thought to myself, give that original a chance. Many folks say it is a gem of comedic action. So I purchased those blue Funimation boxes… and I must say I really… liked it. Who would have thought it.

DB1Seriously as repetitive and repetitive and repetitive it was, it was a good show. Did I mention it was repetitive because I will mention it again so watch out! Hot off the success of Dr. Slump and Arale-chan, Akira Toriyama thought he should make a rendition of the traditional tale of The Journey to the West mixed with his humor and splashes of 80s sci-fi. And it paid off… BIG TIME! Although to me the show goes something like this… our heroes go and look for the dragon balls, they collect them and make a wish and then we have a martial arts tournament and then we look for dragon balls again, collect them all and make a wish and then have another martial arts tournament. Over and over again with the final tournament taking place a few years later. Repetitive indeed, but entertaining even more so.

DB2A classmate of the 1986 season that along with it’s Shonen Jump brother Saint Seiya would bring about the revolution of what shonen, or more precisely fighting, anime would become. Heavy sci-fi and mecha began to wane and the super hero in the making journey of a hero who would have a number of adversaries became the new standard. The fighting genre though not born in 1986 became the defacto standard and it is because of Dragon Ball that the damn broke open wide to flood us with a multitude of popular series. Rurouni Kenshin, Naruto, One Piece, etc. all owe a debt to Dragon Ball. But, don’t forget ‘uncle’ Fist of the North Star as well and brother Saint Seiya (because I love Saint Seiya so I have to mention it again). But in terms of influence and staying power, Dragon Ball takes the cake.

DB3And what of our hero? Little Son Goku, the ever innocent feral child who is well… kind of adorable. I mean this kid is like the goofy clueless little brother I wish I had. And it is from Goku’s naivety that we get some of the best humor. The first arc of the series, which introduces a majority of the main cast family is a much watch. If you can’t commit to the whole series, give the first 13 episodes a go if you have yet to see Dragon Ball. If this would have been the series in and of itself it would be perfect. Kind of like an OVA, but as this was a TV series and a popular one at that it would keep going and going and again we get back to that old word… repetition. Make the formula and tweak it ever so slightly each time you have to repeat and you get a journey that could possibly never end.

DB4And eventually this original series did end, albeit  a few years later with the cast all grown up. Oh the end of childhood. After all we had to make way for the further adventures of Dragon Ball Z. So then I look back and think what were my favorite moments? Many abound such as Goku climbing to the sky to train with Korin, watching Emporer Pilaf bumble up again and again a lot like G.I. Joe’s Cobra Commander, the world’s most comfortable pair of underwear, watching Tien Shinhan turn from hard corp baddie into one of the most honorable characters, or Goku wondering why Bulma does not have a tail or ‘balls’. But then there was that visit to the Penguin Village where Arale-Chan lives. I may not want to dive into Dragon Ball Z, but Dr. Slump (which I mentioned earlier) is extremely tempting.

I must say, yes, I am a convert. Even that theme song is so catchy. And like in any proper fighting anime I have to get back to training, which for me is watching more stuff, or pulling what I can from memory. So the big question I have for all you… if you had all seven dragon balls, what would you wish for?