Bradford Walker has suggested we fork Star Wars, and then proceeded to suggest some other sources to look at - and said sources immediately tugged at some truly nostalgic memories.
First - Yamato. While I'd had some exposure while visiting the grandparents via Boston channels to the giant-robot cartoons out of Japan, "Star Blazers", as it was released in the states, was truly something else. Sure, the Battleship was awesome, but instead of a giant, and even then, sortof cheesy robot (despite also fondly remembering "Shogun Warriors", you had a spaceship that looked like a battleship, interesting characters, nail-biting action, beauty, fighters that still look freaking cool, and a story that dragged you in kicking and screaming and would not let you go.
Given it was before the day of practical VCR's for most families, I cursed the days the bus was late, or my mom made me finish my homework first, because it came on minutes after I usually got home. When I later started collecting anime via tape-trading groups, I made it a point to get my hands on a few of the Yamato movies, which I enjoyed.
Looking back, the animation is definitely of its time from a quality standpoint, but the style and storytelling still hold up. It has a lasting audience as well, as repeated movies, the live movie, and the newer TV remake mentioned at Walkers indicate.
Next, Macross - which I first saw as the opening third of the Robotech TV series. I'd been looking forward to it a bit since I already had a couple of the "Robotech Defenders" models and the Valkyrie-based "changer" model which of course I'd recognized as sharing the same source as a number of the early Battletech mechs. Fortunately - because I had to leave for the bus before the episode would finish, we had a VCR in the house, and I was able to record - though I later lost - the entire series all the way through the last of the "Invid" ( Genesis Climber Mospeada ) episodes.
I was hooked, and that started my hunt for any and all other anime I could track down, and from there the various mail-based swap clubs, and some truly weird stuff. Among other odds and ends I got my hands on the Monogram model for "Cy-Kill" from Gobots which was actually a rebranded Cyclone from Genesis Climber. I also could do a pretty decent rendition of the transforming bike/suit armor in ink - not my illustration included.
But Macross - along with Crusher Joe and a handful of other titles - has stuck with me over the years where most of the other stuff I saw was forgotten to time and mediocrity.
It's a pleasure when you go back to revisit something you loved in your childhood, and discover that it holds up, rather than being an artifact of Childhood Nostalgia Disorder