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Timeless Classics: Old vs Modern Anime (Part 1)

Plenty of anime have withstood the passage of time and aged like fine wine. How do old anime stack up against modern anime? For clarification, old anime in this article refer to anime released before or in 2000. Let us take a closer look at some old anime and compare them to their modern counterparts. This is part 1 of Timeless Classics, part 2 will be released shortly after. 

Slam Dunk vs Kuroko no Basket

Slam Dunk: Oct 1993 – Mar 1996

Slam Dunk was the first anime I watched, and I thoroughly enjoyed every episode. I can still vividly remember binge watching this anime many years back while being filled with a sense of nostalgia at the same time. Slam Dunk is a renowned sports anime that helped popularize basketball in Japan. The anime follows the legendary red-head, Sakuragi Hanamichi, as he joins his High School basketball team to get close to a girl. The girl does not return his affections as she is in love with his teammate, Rukawa Kaede. However, Rukawa is dense and oblivious because he is constantly thinking about basketball. Sakuragi is prideful, often doing silly things because of his overconfidence which makes him hilarious. Initially, Sakuragi did not have much interest in basketball but eventually became serious to the point of shaving his head as atonement for losing an important match. Sakuragi considers Rukawa to be his rival, both in basketball and love. 

Kuroko no Basket: Apr 2012 – Jun 2015 (Three Seasons)

Kuroko no Basket is also a basketball anime with the focus on two main characters, Kuroko and Kagami. Kuroko was previously from Teiko Middle School, where the school’s basketball team has an impressive record of successively winning championship titles. Teiko was at their strongest when Kuroko was still in middle school due to five members in the main team dubbed as the ‘Generation of Miracles’. The overwhelming superiority of these five players crushed all competition. Kuroko was the phantom sixth man of the Generation of Miracles, using his lack of presence to become a specialist in passing. Now in Seirin High School, Kuroko teams up with another first year member, Kagami, and challenges his former Generation of Miracles teammates for the High School title. 


Slam Dunk: Sakuragi Hanamichi

Slam Dunk: Rukawa Kaede

Kuroko no Basket: Kagami and Aomine in the Zone

Both anime are similar in that they mainly focus on action, the basketball matches. Comedy is the secondary focus while romance is very subtle, to the point of being non-existent. A huge difference between the two anime is that Slam Dunk is realistic while Kuroko no Basket relies on the usage of superpowers. The Generation of Miracles have their own respective superpower such as perfectly copying an opponent’s moves and the Emperor Eye which can predict opponents’ movements. Kagami and the Generation of Miracles also have the ability to enter the Zone, a fictional state where their senses are sharpened and reflexes enhanced. Both Slam Dunk and Kuroko no Basket are entertaining and worth watching if you like sports anime. Personally, I enjoy both anime but prefer Slam Dunk over Kuroko no Basket because of Sakuragi’s hot-headed and boastful personality.

Great Teacher Onizuka vs Gokusen

Great Teacher Onizuka: Jun 1999 – Sept 2000

GTO: Onizuka's legendary suplex

GTO: Kokkuri-San

Commonly known as GTO, Great Teacher Onizuka is an anime about an ex biker gang member turned high-school teacher called Onizuka. Onizuka is not your typical sensei. He is crude, loud and obnoxious, often causing havoc with his outrageous antics. However, this personality of his makes him a very funny and likeable character. In GTO, Onizuka is the homeroom teacher of a troublemaking class that seek to get their teachers fired. Beneath the surface of their behaviour lies many problems which they face and Onizuka will help them resolve their problems, the hard way of course! GTO is primarily a comedy and does a jolly good job at it, I guarantee the humour in this anime is top-notch. Onizuka is one of the best main characters to ever grace anime in my opinion. 

Gokusen: Jan 2004 – Mar 2004

Gokusen is very similar to GTO, the main character in Gokusen is basically a female version of Onizuka. Gokusen is an anime following a new high-school teacher at Shirokin Gakuen, Yamaguchi Kumiko. Shirokin Gakuen has a bad reputation for being a school full of delinquents. Yamaguchi is the homeroom teacher of class 2-4, one of the most problematic classes in the school. Yamaguchi is nicknamed and fondly referred to as Yankumi by her students. Unbeknownst to them, Yankumi is the grand-daughter of the third-generation boss of a Yakuza group and also the group’s successor but she chose to be a teacher instead. Initially, the students of 2-4 did not trust her and kept picking on her but as time passes, they realised that Yankumi shows her affection for them in her own way. Yankumi does not label her students as misfits and protected them from fights and unfounded allegations. Gokusen is an excellent anime with plenty of humorous moments.


Both anime are similar in regard to the notion that teachers with complex backgrounds can become good teachers who understand and are willing to help students resolve their problems. GTO and Gokusen show that a good teacher is not one that merely teaches the students academics but also listens to the problems they face and imparts the correct values to them. Another similarity between GTO and Gokusen is highlighting the fact that conventional methods of teaching may not be effective for problematic students. Both anime mainly belong to the comedy genre but there are action and hints of romance as well. On a side note, both anime have television drama and live-action adaptations as well, which were decent in my opinion. The main difference between GTO and Gokusen is that Onizuka used to be from a biker gang while Yankumi is from a Yakuza background. I prefer GTO over Gokusen purely because I found GTO to be more humorous but I enjoyed Gokusen as well. GTO has been sitting on my top ten anime list for the longest time, I truly feel that it is a timeless masterpiece. 

Cooking Master Boy vs Shokugeki no Soma

Caution: I would highly advise against watching Cooking Master Boy and Shokugeki no Soma when hungry as it would only exacerbate your hunger pangs. 

Cooking Master Boy: Apr 1997 – Sep 1998

As the title suggests, Cooking Master Boy is about a 13-year-old boy from China named Liu Mao Xing on a quest to become a cooking master. Mao was exposed to the world of cooking from a young age as he came from a culinary background. Specifically, his mother, Pai, was a famous chef known as the ‘Fairy of Cuisine’ and had opened her own restaurant. After the death of his mother, Mao set out on a journey through the many provinces of China to learn more about cooking so that he would be deemed a worthy successor to his mother’s restaurant. Although already talented by nature, Mao’s ingenious ways of cooking combined with the experiences he garnered through his journey eventually made him China’s youngest Super Chef. Mao will meet allies and enemies during his journey and there are many exciting cooking battles in this epic anime.

Shokugeki no Soma: Apr 2015 – Ongoing (Three Seasons currently)

Shokugeki no Soma, also known as Food Wars, is probably the first anime that comes to mind when discussing about food or cooking related anime. This popular anime tells the story of a talented young chef named Yukihira Soma as he joins the famous culinary academy called Totsuki Academy. Totsuki is known for producing many renowned chefs and the level of competition between students in the academy is exceptionally high. The student council in Totsuki comprises of the ten best students in terms of culinary performance and they are known as the elite ten. Arguments and unresolved issues amongst students in Totsuki are settled through cooking duels, commonly referred to as Shokugeki. There are many amazing cooking battles in this anime that you do not want to miss out on. 


Both anime are similar in that they are Shounen of the food genre. Cooking Master Boy and Shokugeki no Soma have countless food battles that reference food from the real world. Once again, there are small hints of romance that do not develop further in both anime. Besides these similarities, there are major differences in both anime. Shokugeki no Soma contains ecchi as depicted by the clothes ripping effect due to the incredibly tasty food, whereas Cooking Master Boy does not. There are legendary cooking utensils in Cooking Master Boy which contain superpowers while Shokugeki no Soma does not. The main difference between the two anime is that there are many different types of cuisines in Shokugeki no Soma such as French and Japanese while Cooking Master Boy only contains Chinese cuisine. I personally prefer Shokugeki no Soma over Cooking Master Boy for this reason as there is a larger variety of cuisine. However, you should definitely not miss out on Cooking Master Boy if you are a fan of food anime. 

Regrettably, there are some people who do not watch old anime simply because the old animation style does not appeal to them. Old anime are usually less visually appealing than modern anime but this does not mean that they lose out to modern anime in terms of the story. There are plenty of old anime that are worth watching and exceed or are comparable to their modern counterparts in terms of entertainment. Please look forward to Timeless Classics Part 2 where more old vs new anime will be discussed.

Written by Kou

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