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Nostalgic Vibes: Exploring Classic Japanese Anime with a City Pop Mood

Nostalgic Vibes Exploring Classic Japanese Anime with a City Pop Mood

In the bustling urban streets of Tokyo, from the late 70s to the 90s, a destination where music and city lifestyle fused in the most endearing and unforgettable way, city pop was born. A genre of music that is marked by its catchy melodies and funky rhythms. Concurrent with this musical movement, a wave of anime warranted this city pop mood, the beautiful and infectious music serving as the final touch to these unforgettable narratives. Here’s a crash course on the timeless anime treasures that capture the spirit of this unforgettable trend.

Understanding City Pop: Tokyo’s Soundtrack of the 70s and 90s

City Pop is a form of music that has been popular in Japan since 1970s to 1990s. It’s typically smooth in its melodies, catchy in the verses, and uses forms of jazz, funk, and disco rhythm. Besides, City pop invokes the idea of urban living and the atmosphere that the music is about, capture the liveliness and big picture city mood like Tokyo. This period of Japanese culture focused on the economic expansion and development of art and popular culture. Therefore, this represented Japan’s city-based lifestyle, customs, and fashion, which will be popular in the 80s. It also offers the window to the culture landscape of that period.

City Pop has grown in popularity over the past few years, both among the Japanese folks themselves and the international audience alike. The current era of the good old days has paved the way for the comeback of City Pop albums and artists, hence bringing the genre to new audiences, while at the same time initiating an awakening of tranquil feelings in older ones.

City Pop is very popular in Japan and lots of soundtracks of anime series from the 1980s to the 1990s. It’s used in the soundtracks of some anime, and thus this genre starts having link to the anime culture. It is not just about the representation of the music trends of a particular era but also about the nostalgic aspect as many of those who watched the series in childhood still enjoy them now.


City Hunter (1987-1991)

Ryo Saeba’s world, where he strolls the streets of Tokyo in elegance and comfort is an awesome place to be. A mixture of action, humor and romance City Hunter follows Ryo as he takes on cases and deals with his past. With music full of funky and smooth jazz notes that perfectly complement its urban backdrop, the anime has a retro aura: follow Ryo and Kaori Makimura on this thrilling ride through neon-lit alleys of Tokyo.


Cat’s Eye (1983-1985)

Join the Kisugi sisters – Hitomi, Rui, and Ai – as they lead a double life as art thieves known as “Cat’s Eye.” The sisters operate out of their cafe in Tokyo, plotting daring heists to steal valuable works of art, all while evading capture by both the police and the ruthless art collector Toshio Utsumi. But that’s not all they’re up to. As the “Cat’s Eye” logo might suggest, their second objective is to locate their long-lost father, a painter with a habit of getting involved with dangerous, shady characters. In this comedy-action-romance series, you’ll get a glimpse of 80s Tokyo nightlife, along with the city pop songs and retro fashion that come with it.


Dirty Pair (1985-1986)

Buckle up for an out-of-this-world adventure with Kei and Yuri, otherwise known as the “Lovely Angels” of the World Welfare Works Association. Following the intergalactic exploits of two problem-causing agents in the WWWA, “Dirty Pair” is set in a distant futuristic where crime is commonplace and the combat-ready girls are accountable to varying missions. Featuring stylish animation and futuristic backdrops, this anime is an homage to ’80s pop culture along with some groovy beats to follow along.


Megazone 23 (1985)

“Hell bent for leather in his quest for Rock ‘n’ Roll!”, Megazone 23 is set in a future-shocked Tokyo, where motorcycle rider and all-around bad boy, Shogo Yahagi, becomes ensnared in the schemes of a secret cabal known as ‘Bahamut’. With a group of friends at his side, Shogo uncovers the sinister truth behind both Bahamut and the ‘artificial city’ known as Megazone-23 as the neon lights blaze and electric guitars wail in the mean streets.


Bubblegum Crisis (1987-1991)

In the resound coming from an awful earthquake Tokyo is taken over by rogue artificial entities named Boomers. Enter Knight Sabers, a group of armored avengers that combat these cybernetic issues that threaten to destroy the city. “Bubblegum Crisis” has a blend of fast-paced action and futuristic nor that is against the backdrop of the city lights of neon and the city pop beats. Lend Priss, Sylia, Linna, and Nene as the four try to defend the earth against the evil enemy in this magnificent anime.


Macross: Do You Remember Love? (1984)

A reimagining of the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross series, Do You Remember Love? transports viewers to a universe where humanity’s destiny hangs in the balance amidst an intergalactic war. Against this backdrop, the love story between pilot Hikaru Ichijyo and idol singer Lynn Minmay unfolds, underscored by an iconic soundtrack that merges city pop with mecha anime grandeur.

Looking back at these old anime series, one feels as though the city pop sound of the 1980s Tokyo had permeated our every street and the world was full of limitless possibilities. From 1980’s “City Hunter” with neon-lit streets to “Dirty Pair” with flying heroes of 1980’s each anime captured the mood of the time and left a permanent mark of an era’s pop culture. Okay, take your headphones, hit play, and let the endless tunes of city pop be with you until that moment when you go back to Tokyo again!