Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Anime has risen in popularity across the world through exposure and access. However, there are a few animes that have help shape the anime community to what we know today. Back when anime was limited to VHS tapes and limited screen time at late/early show times, we didn’t have the access we have today. Not everyone was aware of what was happening in the anime community because of this. So many animes fell through the cracks as more popular anime overshadowed them. These are some that helped forge the anime we know and love today. For the record, I will be staying away from the “classics” and “mainstream” anime such as Neon Genesis, Sailor Moon, Cowboy Bebop, ect. and highlighting the forgotten world of anime.
10. Devilman Lady (1998)
Genres: Yuri, Action, Psychological, Drama, Horror
1 Season, 26 Episodes, Rated:R
Fudo Jun is a beautiful supermodel who is idolized by many. She also has a dark secret that not even she knows about at first, for within her veins run the genes that hold the next step in the evolution of mankind. The same blood as the beastlike superhumans that terrorize the city. Unlike the rest of them, though, Jun has managed to hold a tenuous grip onto her humanity. How much longer can she keep her sanity in a situation she never chose in the first place?
Devilman Lady is part of the Devilman series. If you like Devilman Crybaby, then you will most likely enjoy its predecessor. A dark tale of betrayal, romance, and conspiracy as the demons’ wage war against the humans for supremacy of the earth. The animation is good but not as fluid as other 90's title. However, the detail and character design for this anime is well done. Overall, this is a must watch anime if you enjoy dark, and violent animes with good plot.
9. Slam Dunk (1993)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, School, Shounen, Sports
1 Season, 101 Episodes
Hanamichi Sakuragi, infamous for his temper, massive height, and fire-red hair, enrolls in Shohoku High, hoping to finally get a girlfriend. Hanamichi is left with two unwavering thoughts: "I hate basketball," and "I desperately need a girlfriend." However, when the girl he likes asks him to do a slam dunk, Hanamichi is dragged to basketball team.
Slam Dunk is one of those classics of sports anime you always hear about. It is my opinion that this anime helped forge the way for many sports animes we have today. This anime has the suspenseful scenes to thrill of teamwork and many other rollercoaster emotions. All from its witty jokes to its inspiring speeches, it’s a masterpiece from the 90s. The characters are charismatic and charming making it hard for you to dislike them. The characters help solidify the show. If you liked Kuroko No Basket or Haikyuu then you’ll love this anime.
8. Ranma ½ (1989)
Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, Action, Fantasy, Shounen
1 Season, 161 Episodes
Ranma Saotome is a top-class martial artist and prodigy at the Saotome "Anything-Goes" school of martial arts. While training in China, he and his father meet a terrible fate when they accidentally fall into a cursed spring. Now, Ranma is cursed to turn into a girl when splashed with cold water, and only hot water can turn him back into a boy.
Now this anime holds a special place in my heart because my older sister introduced me to this anime. It is one of animes that helped foster my love for anime. This anime is hilarious with its outrageous scenes. This anime has an episodic format but with some larger arc in the series. The characters are hilarious, charming, and interesting. They draw you into the anime.
7. Fushigi Yuugi (1995)
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Action, Comedy, Romance, Historical, Drama, Shoujo
1 Season, 52 Episodes
While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, "The Universe of The Four Gods." Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes. Stuck in unknown world, will Miaka be able to return to her own life?
This one of the classic reverse harems that helped inspire some other romance animes. The characters are exciting and sensational for its time. The animation itself is smooth, and well done but nothing extravagant. The plot isn’t complex or breathtaking, but it is a great anime to sit back and watch.
6. Hajime No Ippo (2000)
Genres: Comedy, Sports, Drama, Shounen
1 Season, 75 Episodes
Makunouchi Ippo has been bullied his entire life. Constantly running errands and being beaten up by his classmates, Ippo has always dreamed of changing himself, but never has the passion to act upon it. One day, in the midst of yet another bullying, Ippo is saved by Takamura Mamoru, who happens to be a boxer. This life changing encounter has changed Makunouchi for the better. Will Makunouchi be up to the challenge?
The is another anime the helped shape the sport anime genre. Unlike other sports anime, you can’t do much with boxing but the characters in this series make the anime. You watch the struggle of our protagonist on the mission to better himself. The battles he goes through in the ring and out of the ring are truly inspiring. This anime captivates you, making you hold your breath the whole way through. This anime was wonderful to watch, to the eye and to the heart. It was amazing to watch the intense fights and you couldn't help yourself but to cheer on Ippo when he was fighting.
*5. Bubblegum Crisis (1987)
Genres: Adventure, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Cyberpunk
The year is 2032, seven years after the Second Great Kanto Earthquake decimated Tokyo. Now, the city is reborn as MegaTokyo, built from the labors of mechanical beasts known as "Boomers." Originally created to benefit humanity, the mysterious corporation known as Genom now produces Boomers with incredible destructive power as a new type of advanced weaponry, capable of disguising themselves as humans.
This is a fantastic 80s anime! This anime is a mash up of Robocop meets an all-female power ranger. The characters themselves were a revelation, they were a new breed of tough woman leading the fight in mechanized combat suits. That was barely common to have only woman as leads in the action genre. This especially true since we did not see many strong female leads in the anime community. Though with only 8 out of the 13 episodes completed they did what they could with depth, but it’s what the characters represented that was most special. The characters drive this series with their complexities. The art style and animation are amazing for a late 80s anime. If you liked the Akira for its story and art style, then you will like this anime. Moreover, the cheesy 80s song complement this anime so well. This is anime you will not disappoint if you choose to start.
4. Fist of the North Star (1984)
Genres: Action, Drama, Martial Arts, Sci-Fi, Shounen
2 Seasons, 152 Episodes
In the year 19XX, after being betrayed and left for dead, bravehearted warrior Kenshirou wanders a post-apocalyptic wasteland on a quest to track down his rival, Shin, who has kidnapped his beloved fiancée Yuria.
This anime is the embodiment of manliness. We have a Kenshirou who is traversing a Mad-Max world in search of his love. The fight scenes are fantastic, and action packed. This anime has a dark and violent atmosphere for its day. There is a great variety of characters with expectational martial art skills presented throughout the anime. however, the characters do lack character development and depth in some areas. However, for a late 80s anime it exceeds in other areas. Furthermore, this is another anime that inspired many animes we love and know today, such as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, Charge!! Men's Private School, and many more. So, take some time and check this anime out.
3. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Mecha, Seinen, Cyberpunk
2 Seasons, 26 Episodes
In the not so distant future, mankind has advanced to a state where complete body transplants from flesh to machine is possible. This allows for great increases in both physical and cybernetic prowess and blurring the lines between the two worlds. However, criminals can also make full use of such technology, leading to new and sometimes, very dangerous crimes. In response to such innovative new methods, the Japanese Government has established Section 9, an independently operating police unit which deals with such highly sensitive crimes.
Now this an anime that does not get enough recognition but is a masterpiece. Ghost in the Shell inspired the movie The Matrix (1999) with its in-depth thoughts of man and machine. This anime is a complex anime that if you blink you will miss something. This is a multi-layered show and each layer is carefully peeled and explored. Composed of brilliant writing, insightful expositions, and an elaborate setting, Ghost in the Shell manages to create a consistent flow without relying on a collection of shock values. Furthermore, the action isn't used superficially or unnecessarily, but as a focal point to provide a worthwhile experience. This isn't the series to go to for fast-paced and continual action but long driven dialogue which can be slow for some. Regardless, the pacing is well-seasoned, allowing for a more effective and comprehensive outlook of its society. Overall, this a worthwhile series to watch.
2. Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)
Genres: Yuri, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Psychological, Shoujo
1 Season, 39 Episodes
After meeting a traveling prince who consoled her after the deaths of her parents, Utena Tenjou vowed to become a prince herself. A few years later, Utena attends Ootori Academy, where she is drawn into a dangerous game. Duelists with rings matching Utena's own compete for a unique prize: The Rose Bride, Anthy Himemiya, and her mysterious powers. When Utena wins Anthy in a duel, she realizes that if she is to free Anthy and discover the secrets behind Ootori Academy, she has only one option: to revolutionize the world.
This is a fantastic and heartwarming story of love and perseverance. The characters are captivating and unique. This an anime you have to watch to experience the greatness. If you like character driven drama, then this show is for you! This show is a lot of fun and is very engrossing. The really quirky-yet-chivalry-laden atmosphere really drew me in, kept me hooked, and still keeps me coming back to this day. I've probably watched this series more than any other. Some will say it's too episodic, and to them I say, who cares? With a show this unique, I never get sick of it.
1. Yu Yu Hakusho (1992)
Genres: Action, Comedy, Demons, Supernatural, Martial Arts, Shounen
1 Season, 112 Episodes
One fateful day, Yuusuke Urameshi, a 14-year-old delinquent has his life cut short by saving a young boy from being hit by a car. Koenma, heir to the throne of the spirit realm, offers Yuusuke an opportunity to regain his life through completion of a series of tasks. With the guidance of the death god Botan, he is to thwart evil presences on Earth as a Spirit Detective.
I love this anime. I have rewatched this anime a few times. This is a well-constructed fighting/action anime that has fantastic fight scenes for its time period. Yu Yu Hakusho is an outstanding show that encompasses comedy, romance, and action to create a solid anime. Although this anime has a few of those typical shounen clichés it does not take away from the series. However, it also manages to come up with a lot of very unique and inventive ideas. Overall, if you haven’t watched this anime then you are missing out.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing