10 Best Anime Series For Those Who Are Nostalgic For The 90s

2022 was another big year for anime, with several TV series such as Mafia Psycho 100 and chainsaw man ready to premiere, and the recent Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero movie enjoys box office success. The genre enjoys much of the mainstream spotlight with a promising future to boot, but there are all-time classics worth revisiting.


While the genre was not that popular on a global scale back then, the 1990s was a great decade for anime. Colorfully violated like Dragon Ball and pokemon dominated pop culture and some exciting adult anime, such as Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the shell hold up impressively well as nostalgic throwbacks.

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Yu Yu Hakusho (1992 – 1995)

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Writer Toshihiro Togashi is more known for his work on the critically acclaimed Hunter x Hunterto be Yu Yu Hakusho series received a strong critical reception in its own right. The series follows the main character, Yusuke Urameshi, after he is killed in a car accident but is brought back by the afterlife as an Underworld Detective.

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Yu Yu Hakusho‘s premise evolves into a creative mix of supernatural and martial arts action. It manages to balance these tantalizing concepts for a shounen with equally captivating character development for the main cast, and animation studio Pierrot’s anime adaptation is arguably the best way to experience it – especially since it’s a truly complete story. .

Cowboy Bebop (1998 – 1999)

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Often cited as one of the best anime ever, Cowboy Bebop was an anime original series that masterfully blended the sci-fi and western genres. The series follows a crew of bounty hunters from space, consisting of Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and their corgi, Ein, as they navigate a world where humanity is forced to subsist off Earth after greed and evil nearly destroy the planet. inhospitable.

Cowboy Bebop is excellent at creating atmosphere, with stylish art direction and an acid-jazz/blues-inspired score complementing the immersive world and cast of characters. The series is usually structured in an anthology/episodic format to make the most of the space bounty hunter premise, but it also tells a thematically in-depth overarching story of the human condition.

Berserk (1997 – 1998)

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Though it’s a shame the late Kentaro Miura is excellent Berserk manga hasn’t modified its story beyond a single attempt at the Persuasion arc, studio OLM’s ’97 anime series is one of the best signs of that decade.

This 25-episode show includes abridged versions of the black swordsman and Golden Age arcs and tells a harrowing dark fantasy epic about the mercenary Guts who rips through a world in a quest for vengeance after the betrayal of his former brother-in-arms Griffith. And though it begins as a revenge story, Berserk evolves into a story of healing, psychologically and physically, but also punctuated by thrilling action.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995 – 1996)

Stream on Netflix

Neon Genesis Evangelion is another important series in the history of the anime genre. The sci-fi series was partly responsible for the anime’s revival in the ’90s, spawning a collection of four films that were retellings of the original 26-episode show.

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The plot follows the story of Shinji, a boy who is recruited by his father as a soldier in the mysterious organization Nerv, to command the titular Evangelion mechas against an alien invasion. It’s not your typical mecha anime fanfare, as the series deconstructs it to tell a complex exploration of moral ambiguity, the human psyche, and the effects of depression.

Dragon Ball Z (1989 – 1996)

Stream on Funimation

Arguably one of the most influential anime series of all time featuring some of the most iconic anime characters ever, Dragon Ball Z was a juggernaut for the genre as it helped build its influence westward. Original from Akira Toriyama Dragon Ball was critically successful in its own right, but z catapulted the franchise into the mainstream in general, with the concepts of “Super Saiyans” and characters like Goku and Vegeta being almost instantly recognizable in pop culture.

z continues with Goku after his victory at the Budokai Tenkaichi against King Piccolo, now vastly expanding the story and world-building with the Saiyans, power levels, stylized new forms and even more high-octane action. Dragon Ball Z dominated many childhoods in the 80s, 90s and 00s, with its influence palpable today.

Trigon (1998)

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It didn’t get quite the limelight as the aforementioned sci-fi classic, but Madhouse’s anime adaptation of Trigun is an excellent anime for fans of Cowboy Bebop checking out. At the same time, Trigun‘s own brilliant storytelling enables it to stand firmly on its own two feet.

The series arguably leans a little harder on the “western” element of its sci-fi/western setting, beginning with the episodic adventures of sought-after protagonist Vash the Stampede as he is pursued for the destruction of a city he can’t imagine. can remember. Starting with a more light-hearted tone, it gradually delves into an emotionally deep exploration of Vash’s origins, relationships with his supporting cast, and the effects of his actions.

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Stream on the Roku Channel

On the theatrical front, the 1995 Ghost in the shell movie is next to the will of Akira as one of the driving forces behind the anime genre in the west. It helped give anime the attention it deserved as a legitimate art form — and animation as a whole — and made for one of pop culture’s most memorable cyberpunk-themed productions.

RELATED: 10 Best Anime In Which The Protagonist Is Hard To Love, According To RedditTakes place in 2029, Ghost in the shell tells the story of the cyborg Motoko Kunasagi, a public security agent, who tracks down a dangerous hacker in a neo-noir Japan. Exploring themes of computer identity and self-awareness, Ghost in the shell is an admirable tribute to people like Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner​​​​.

Sailor Moon (1992 – 1997)

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The will of Dragon Ball Z and pokemon certainly the lion’s share of the spotlight in the 90s, but one cannot underestimate the impact of Sailor Moon. What the aforementioned anime series did for the shounen demographic, Sailor Moon achieved the same for shoujo.

The series was great for expanding the female audience in anime, cleverly combining typical shoujo plot devices with a superhero “magic girl” theme, following the adventures of Usagi Tsukino and the rest of the Sailor Soldiers as they explore the Earth. defend against a variety of villains. Sailor Moon‘s influence can still be seen today, as the franchise has been praised for its unique cast of characters and exploration of their respective personalities.

Pokemon (1997 – )

Stream on Amazon Prime

It has long been the world’s most profitable multimedia franchise of all time, with pokemon spanning beloved video games, trading card games, and anime. The anime TV series still runs to this day, and while it may feel like it kept its welcome to some extent, the show’s classic days after Ash, Misty, Brock, and co. through the Kanto and Johto regions are practically incarnate nostalgia.

pokemon was part of countless childhoods, perhaps as many – or more – than Dragon Ball Z. Given the premise of meeting, capturing, training, and befriending unique supernatural animals, the “monster of the week” formula was a seamless fit to make the anime an addictive watch.

One Piece (1999 – )

Stream on Pluto TV

While it certainly pushes the boundaries of its time frame since it premiered in 1999, it would still be hard to leave out A piece as one of the most important anime of that decade. Eiichiro Oda’s sprawling manga began publishing just two years before Toei Animation adapted it and is still running, as is the source material.

With over 1,030 episodes under your belt, A piece As a franchise, it has proven to be one of the most enduring anime/manga in the industry, and arguably the best of Shonen Jump’s “Big Three” era. Which begins with Monkey D. Luffy aspiring to become a pirate after his role model Shanks evolves into a colorful pirate-themed odyssey with excruciating attention to detail in lore, world building, and character arcs.

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