20+ Of The Best Anime Shows From The 1990’s Worth Watching

anime from the 90's

Are you feeling nostalgic, wanting to watch anime from the 90s, but don’t know which one?

Or maybe you want to watch a series that has different animation from the newer anime series?

Whatever the reason may be, watching classic anime series could be different animation or even storytelling compared to the anime that are today.

It may be old as it has been years, but the anime series may surprise you if you watched it even for a few episodes.

 

Here’s some anime you may enjoy from the 90’s:

 

1. Pokemon

misty with vulpix, bulbasaur and pikachu

Pokemon is known as Pocket Monsters and the anime came out within the late 90s.

It was a huge hit once it started airing on television and pretty soon the first movie of Pokemon was released. But there were video games when the series came out in Japan.

The original video games were:

  • Pokemon Red.
  • Yellow.
  • Blue..

Different versions of the manga even came out:

  • The Electric Tale of Pikachu.
  • Arceus And The Jewel of Life.
  • etc.

Even to this present day, Pokemon is a huge hit as the company celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pokemon in Japan.

Many kids that watched Pokemon in the beginning are now adults and have kids of their own. And now their kids are doing the same.

The storytelling is still the same as it’s about a 10-year-old kid named Ash Ketchum who is trying to become a Pokemon Master.

 

2. Fushigi Yuugi

fushigi anime characters photo

After reading a mysterious book, two friends are pulled into a magical version of ancient China.

It’s mostly about fantasy and romance but there are some aspects that you see and don’t see: sexual assault, school, etc.

There’s about 50 episodes in the series, OVA’s, and then there’s the light novel with the manga.

The animation is old and the storyline is a bit different from other anime’s that you may know.

 

3. Gundam Wing

gundam wing characters

It’s about 5 teens that have mobile suits which were designed by the scientists that are known as Gundams.

There’s a war going on as they have to free the colony. The storyline was good to watch and was unique in a sense of any other anime.

It’s one of the classics and the animation of the anime doesn’t seem like its aged.

With different lead characters for the anime, it took a lot of storytelling as there’s almost 50 episodes.

The anime and manga came out at the same time. Besides those, there were even novels, video games, OVA’s and soundtracks.

Related: 53+ Classic Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Quotes With A Purpose

 

4. Yu-gi-oh

yugi from yugioh

It’s about a high school kid named Yugi Mutou who used to be bullied in school until he solved the millennium puzzle.

He has an alter ego.

Once he has solved the millennium puzzle, Yugi became friends with the bullies and excelled in a card game of Duel Monsters.

He was able to beat the world champion: Seto Kaiba thanks to his alter ego.

Yugi was the beginning of the franchise of Yu-gi-oh, it’s a card game where you battle against your opponent.

After Yugi and his friends, new rules were placed in each series within the card game making it more difficult for new and old players.

Yu-gi-oh became a hit with season 0 in Japan as it aired in the late 90s, but it wasn’t aired in the U.S. due to being “violent”.

To this present day, Yu-gi-oh is still airing in Japan with the current series called: Yu-gi-oh Sevens.

Related: Old Vs New Anime: Here Are The Biggest Differences Worth Mentioning

 

5. Slam Dunk

slam dunk basketball characters

It’s about a high school boy who used to be a gang leader.

He keeps getting rejected every time he tries to meet a girl until one day, a girl shows up and isn’t afraid of him.

But the girl wanted to see the boy do a slam dunk in the gym. The girl informs the basketball’s coach team about the boy’s slam dunk and he reluctantly joins to impress the girl.

Slam Dunk series started in the early 90s and became popular. The series is old and so the animation may not be good but it is one of the best sports anime out there.

There was even an announcement earlier in 2021 that there was going to be a new film.

Besides the anime series that has 100 episodes, there’s also films, video games and the manga.

Relevant: 13+ Of The BEST Old School Anime Series

 

6. Digimon

digimon characters

Digimon called Digital Monsters came out almost at the same time as Pokemon was in the late 90s.

It was due to the giga pets that Digimon had their own virtual pets around that time that the anime came out right after.

The first series called Digimon Adventure was about 7 children who are called Digidestined that went to summer camp one day.

They were transported to the Digital World meeting their own Digimon. Then later on revealed that there was an 8th child.

It was so popular that Digimon Adventure got another series called 02 and then another and another.

Digimon rebooted Digimon Adventure last year (2020) and is still airing in Japan with the same characters as before.

The franchise has video games, collectibles, manga, etc. Many anime fans think that Digimon rivals Pokemon.

Related: Remember Digimon? Here Are All The BEST Quotes

 

7. Great Teacher Onizuka

Onizuka funny face in class GTO

GTO is about an ex-biker gang leader who wants to start teaching in high school.

Once he is enrolled in a high school academy, he becomes the homeroom teacher of class 3-4.

Class 3-4 is infamous for troubling students and so the students start to learn a bit about school with an ex-bike gang leader.

GTO anime was released after the television drama during the late 90s, the manga became popular prior. When the manga became popular, there was more of the drama series even when the anime series ended.

There was only one live action film and was successful on being a hit. The last drama of GTO ended in 2014.

 

8. Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z takes place after the original Dragon Ball where Goku and his friends defend Earth from villains and aliens.

Just like it’s previous successor, Dragon Ball Z became popular during the 90s and even has its own spinoff titled: Dragon Ball Z Kai.

It was so popular in the 90s, that there were numerous video games, films, OVA, etc.

After Dragon Ball Z aired in the late 90s, a few more series aired until the recent one titled: Super Dragon Ball Heroes.

Dragon Ball Z became a popular culture during the 90s and even celebrities know about the anime.

Relevant: The BEST List Of Rappers Who Like Anime, Know About It (Or Grew Up Watching It)

 

9. Rurouni Kenshin

Kenshin himura holding sword

Himura Kenshin is once known as Hitokiri Battosai, he participated in a war beforehand.

He wanders around Japan until he meets Kaoru Kamiya and where she teaches swordsmanship in her dojo.

Kenshin doesn’t want to kill anymore and he tries to help people in need as he meets new friends while staying at the Kamiya dojo.

The series was aired in Japan in the middle of the 90s, Rurouni Kenshin isn’t for kids as it has violence, drugs, and profanity.

Sony Pictures even created their own English dubbed version of Rurouni Kenshin and the series now has 2 versions of the English dubbed.

Rurouni Kenshin has live-action films, OVA, stage shows, video games, etc.

A new live-action film supposed to be out in Japan summer 2021 called: Rurouni Kenshin The Beginning.

 

10. Detective Conan

detective conan one eye

Detective Conan is about a high school detective who was going after an organization. But the boy named Jimmy was forced to take something and instead of murdering Jimmy, he was turned into a young child.

Detective Conan was released in the middle or late 90s, to this day, the anime is still airing with over 1000+ episodes.

The animation and storyline has improved since the 90s but Jimmy is still a young kid since it started.

Besides the anime series, the popularity made it to the live action drama, spin-offs, video games, films, etc.

Detective Conan is one of those anime that may or never end. Even I heard about the series when it first began but at first, I thought it was cartoon as I was still a kid in the 90s.

And when you first watch the series, it does look like it’s for kids (like Pokemon).

 

11. Sailor Moon

usagi tsukino sailor moon

A girl named Usagi Tsukino encounters a black cat one day, she is transformed into Sailor Moon to protect Earth from evil.

During the 90s it became so popular as the series wasn’t meant for just girls.

The series became more broader and I think Sailor Moon became sort of like a princess during that time.

The series has fighting, magic, romance, etc. Once it became popular, a sequel titled Sailor Moon Crystal aired for the 20th anniversary.

Besides that, there are now stage musicals, video games, theme park rides, ice skating shows, etc.

To this day, there’s even a new movie titled: Sailor Moon Eternals and the ice skating show was supposed to happen last year but it was postponed due to covid19.

 

12. Neon Gensis Evangelion

neon genesis evangelion characters

Angels are causing harm, it’s up to the Evangelion pilots and members of Nerv to try and stop them.

The series may be old due to the fact that it came out in the middle or late 90s, but it’s a classic.

The storyline is quite good and the series is still popular. Even to this day, Evangelion has a new anime movie that came out titled: Evangelion 3.0 + 1. 0 Thrice Upon A Time and was released March 2021.

Even if the series is short with almost 30 episodes, there’s a lot of action, animation and the characters with deep undertones.

 

13. Cardcaptor Sakura

sakura kinomoto angel wallpaper

Sakura made the mistake by releasing these magical cards called: Clow Cards. With the help of her teacher, Sakura passes the test of becoming the new master Clow Cards.

Once passed, she and a boy named Syaoran have to capture all the Clow Cards that have been released.

Cardcaptor Sakura came out in the late 90s; it has video games, manga and even an art book that was released.

I remember watching a few episodes on the Kids WB block in the U.S. version and I didn’t even realize that it was out of order with the episodes and it was edited.

You can clearly tell that the Kids WB version of the series looked like it was meant for kids as they cut out the “inappropriate” stuff from the Japanese version.

Even with the many changes, Cardcaptor Sakura got more popular and became one of the best anime shows.

 

14. Oh My Goddess

belldandy goddess smiling blue background

Keiichi calls the Goddess Help Line, Belldandy (who is a goddess) arrives telling Keiichi that he has one wish.

Keiichi wishes that Belldandy would stay with him as he didn’t believe her and Belldandy granted that one wish.

Oh My Goddess is still fairly known as the manga has 25 million copies in circulation.

You can tell that it’s a 90s anime series due to the animation and the narrating. Not many anime do narration anymore.

There’s even a spin-off called Adventures of Mini-Goddess, several OVA’s, light novel, manga, video games and the anime film.

 

15. Revolutionary Girl Utena

Utena and anthy from revolutionary girl utena

Utena was a popular series back in the late 90s. The series is about a tomboyish girl named Utena who wants to be a “prince’ one day.

She begins to duel against the other student council members in the school that she’s attended. And becomes engaged to Anthy, the “rose bride.”

Utena learns that Anthy is connected to the organization of the engagement of the duels.

The series was criticized in the late 90s because Utena has lesbians and is Yuri.

Relevant25+ Of The Best LGBTQ Anime Shows

 

16. Ranma ½

ranma and family

A boy named Ranma is training in Martial Arts. An accident during his journey made him turn into a girl if drenched in hot water, and then a boy if it’s cold water.

Ranma ½ is the same author that did the Inuyasha manga. It even got rebooted back in the early 90s from the original series as it was cancelled making it almost 145 episodes.

Besides the series, there was a lot of OVA’s, live-action films and even video games!

 

17. One Piece

one piece characters

It’s about a captain and his pirates crew, the captain’s dream is to get the treasure of the Pirate King that was left behind.

One Piece became so popular within the late 90s in Japan that it has 1000+ episodes currently.

One Piece is considered as one of the best anime because it has characters that are well-written, the adventure is so long and even the animation is quite different from the other anime.

People are wondering if the anime is ever going to end as it’s a long anime like Pokemon.

 

18. The Vision of Escaflowne

Escaflowne screenshot

A high school girl gets transported to a planet called Gaea as she witnessed a boy battling a dragon. So she is part of the war in Gaea as she helps the prince overcome the enemy.

The storyline is good and even though there’s almost 30 episodes, the animation is a bit different as it was still the 90s.

Even though Escaflowne got cancelled for the U.S. version, it was still popular within the U.S. rather than Japan.

Relevant: What I LOVE About Older Anime (Better Than New Anime)

 

19. Cowboy Bebop

cowboy bebop characters

The anime is about a space crew where they’re bounty hunters and catch criminals.

The series is mostly like for older kids as there’s a bit of violence within the series. There’s almost 30 episodes and there’s a manga and film.

There’s also a live action series of Cowboy Bebop that’s coming soon on Netflix this year (2021). it was supposed to be released last year but got delayed due to the pandemic.

 

20. Yu Yu Hakusho

yu yu hakusho characters

It’s about a teenager who gets killed by a car while saving a child’s life.

Yu Yu Hakusho is mostly comedy and action, it’s a bit violent and is mainly for teens. The anime is a classic and is a pretty good fighting anime but it isn’t like Naruto.

The anime series has at least 112 episodes. An announcement was made from Netflix last year (2020) that a live action series of Yu Yu Hakusho was going to be made.

It’s one of the best anime series because of the fighting style and different elements within the series.

I think that the 90s anime series for the best ones has to do mostly with the animation and storyline. And making the anime series interesting to be able to last so long.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out the anime titles above and maybe one might interest you.

 

Other 90’s Anime:

  • Serial Experiments Lain.
  • Blue Seed.
  • Slayers.

Featured image: source

 

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