15 Best 90s Anime That Take You Back In Time

The 1990s were a heyday for anime, giving rise to some of the most cherished and enduring programmes in the genre’s history. Millions of people were captivated by this animated series, which had a long-lasting effect on pop culture. The anime landscape of the 1990s featured a varied range of storytelling and animation techniques, from grand adventures and riveting dramas to amusing comedies and endearing tales.

Among the 15 best 90s anime of the decade, “Neon Genesis Evangelion,” a psychological masterpiece that rewrote the rules of the mecha genre; “Cowboy Bebop,” a space western with enduring characters and a jazz-infused aesthetic; and “Sailor Moon,” the magical girl series that captivated a generation, stand out. Join us as we rediscover these timeless classics by taking a trip back to the 1990s.

15. Great Teacher Onizuka

90s Anime Series Great Teacher Onizuka

Episodes – 43
Seasons – 1
Genre – Comedy, Delinquents, School, Workplace, Shounen

GTO, or Great Teacher Onizuka, is a well-known manga and anime character. The main character, Eikichi Onizuka, is a former member of a motorcycle gang who is now a teacher and has an unconventional method of instruction. Onizuka tackles a variety of societal concerns and motivates his students to overcome their own obstacles with his street smarts and sincere concern for them.

His unwavering commitment, contagious enthusiasm, and distinctive approach to education have made him a legendary figure among followers. We learn from Great Teacher Onizuka that unusual approaches and sincere passion may change people’s lives and leave a lasting impression.

14. Cardcaptor Sakura

90s Anime Series Cardcaptor Sakura

Episodes – 70
Seasons – 3
Genre – Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Mahou Shoujo, School, Shoujo

The magical girl anime series Cardcaptor Sakura won over fans’ hearts in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Sakura Kinomoto, an average elementary school kid, is the focus of the narrative. She comes across a curious book that contains magical playing cards. Assuming the role of the Cardcaptor, Sakura sets out on an exhilarating quest to gather and seal the mystical cards while overcoming obstacles and developing as a person.

Cardcaptor Sakura stands out as a cherished classic with its captivating fusion of fantasy, friendship, and romance. The programme has become a beloved and important component of the magical girl genre thanks to its bright animation, engrossing plotlines, and appealing characters, especially Sakura’s devoted pals and her adorable guardian, Keroberos.

13. Revolutionary Girl Utena

90s Anime Series Revolutionary Girl Utena

Episodes – 39
Seasons – 1
Genre – Award Winning, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Mahou Shoujo, Psychological

A ground-breaking anime series that violates accepted narrative conventions is Revolutionary Girl Utena. It centres on the mysterious Utena Tenjou, who defies social conventions and contends with an intricate network of deceit and power conflicts inside the mystical Ohtori Academy. Revolutionary Girl Utena pushes limits and investigates complex philosophical ideas with its intriguing fusion of surrealism, symbolism, concerns about gender identity, and societal expectations.

The series provides viewers with a visually gorgeous and thought-provoking experience that holds their attention and solidifies its place as a cult classic in the anime genre.

12. Slayers

90s Anime Series Slayers

Episodes – 104
Seasons – 5
Genre – Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

The fantasy-comedy anime series Slayers, which ran from 1995 to 1997, is still regarded as a classic of the decade. The plot follows the escapades of Lina Inverse, a strong and impulsive sorceress, and her friends as they make their way through a magical, monster-infested, and action-packed world. Slayers attracted a devoted following thanks to its distinctive fusion of humour, action, and fantastical themes.

The characters’ witticisms and friendship, along with Lina’s fiery nature, formed a pleasant and enjoyable dynamic. The show’s vibrant animation, timeless soundtrack, and astute storytelling all helped it become a fantasy anime genre classic and sustain its enduring popularity.

11. Berserk

90s Anime Series Berserk

Episodes – 25
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Gore, Military, Seinen

With its powerful and gut-wrenching storytelling, Berserk, a dark fantasy anime series adapted from Kentaro Miura’s manga, has mesmerised viewers. The narrative, which is set in a world with mediaeval influences, follows the adventures of Guts, a sullen and tenacious swordsman seeking vengeance against the demonic powers that have tormented his life. The series Berserk has a reputation for being sophisticated and thought-provoking because of its frank presentation of violence, complex characters, and examination of issues like fate, treachery, and the nature of humanity.

Berserk has made a lasting impression on fans and cemented its status as a dark classic within the anime landscape with its recognisable art style, compelling story, and unforgettable moments of sorrow and victory.

10. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

90s Anime Series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

Episodes – 49
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Mecha, Military, Space

Portable Suit Fans all over the world have a particular place in their hearts for the 1990s mecha anime series Gundam Wing. Gundam Wing is a sci-fi television series that centres on a group of adolescent pilots who control powerful mobile suits known as Gundams in a future in which Earth and its colonies are engaged in a battle for independence. The show explores topics including politics, war, and the effects of having power.

Gundam Wing made a huge contribution to the Gundam franchise with its complex plot, captivating characters, and exciting fights. Political intrigue, moral quandaries, and visually amazing mecha designs have made the programme a treasured classic that appeals to viewers even today.

9. Ghost in the Shell

90s Anime Series Ghost In The Shell

Episodes – 1 (Movie)
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Award Winning, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Adult Cast, Detective, Mecha, Psychological, Seinen

The cyberpunk classic Ghost in the Shell has had a significant influence on science fiction and animation. The plot follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg law enforcement officer, as she looks into cybercrime and ponders the meaning of identity and consciousness in a futuristic society where humans and technology can coexist invisibly.

With its breathtaking visuals, complex storylines, and philosophical reflections on the nature of humanity and technology, Ghost in the Shell pushes the boundaries of our sense of reality and poses important questions about how people and machines interact in a society that is becoming moare interconnected.

8. Trigun

90s Anime Series Trigun

Episodes – 26
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Adult Cast, Shounen

The well-known anime series Trigun expertly combines comedy, drama, and action to produce an amazing viewing experience. Vash the Stampede, a charismatic and peaceful gunman with an enormous bounty on his head, is the focus of the narrative. Vash travels through a barren wasteland, slowly revealing his contacts with ethically dubious individuals and his enigmatic past.

The combination of thrilling gun battles, lovable characters, and thought-provoking ideas about atonement and the intrinsic worth of life in Trigun captivates spectators. Trigun has made a lasting impression on the anime scene thanks to its legendary protagonist and gripping story.

7. Yu Yu Hakusho

90s Anime Series Yu Yu Hakusho

Episodes – 112
Seasons – 4
Genre – Action, Fantasy, Mythology, Shounen

A legendary anime series called Yu Yu Hakusho combines supernatural action with a moving narrative. Yusuke Urameshi, a teenage miscreant who unintentionally transforms into a spirit detective tasked with defending the human world from supernatural dangers, serves as the protagonist of the television series.

Yu Yu Hakusho has amassed a devoted fanbase over the years thanks to its compelling characters, gripping battles, and examination of themes like friendship, sacrifice, and the hazy lines between good and evil. Fans of action-packed anime with depth and heart must see it because of its spectacular fight scenes and emotionally gripping arcs.

6. Pokémon

90s Anime Series Pokemon

Episodes – 1243 (Present)
Seasons – 14 (Present)
Genre – Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

The iconic franchise Pokémon, which swept the globe in the 1990s, has gained worldwide renown. The narrative follows the exploits of Ash Ketchum, a young Pokémon trainer, and his devoted sidekick Pikachu as they explore different locales while catching and raising Pokémon animals. The brand has won over fans of all ages with its imaginative environment, engaging characters, and the thrill of gathering and battling Pokémon.

Pokémon has become a cross-generational cultural phenomenon thanks to its bright animation, catchy theme song, and message of friendship and resilience. Pokémon has made a lasting impression on popular culture through its animated series, video games, and trading card game, and it continues to enthral fans all around the world.

5. Rurouni Kenshin

90s Anime Series Rurouni Kenshin

Episodes – 95
Seasons – 3
Genre – Action, Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Historical, Samurai, Shounen

Audiences have been enthralled by the popular anime and manga series Rurouni Kenshin because of its compelling plot and captivating characters. The story, which is set in Meiji-era Japan, follows Himura Kenshin, a former assassin turned wanderer looking for atonement for his murderous past. As he fights both internal and external enemies, Kenshin develops into a symbol of justice with his reverse-blade sword and unflinching resolve.

Action, drama, and historical elements are skillfully woven together in Rurouni Kenshin as it explores themes of atonement, honour, and the conflict between violence and pacifism. The series has become a beloved classic that continues to be popular with viewers thanks to its exciting action scenes, intricate character development, and exploration of morally ambiguous situations.

4. Sailor Moon

90s Anime Series Sailor Moon

Episodes – 200
Seasons – 5
Genre – Fantasy, Romance, Mahou Shoujo, Mythology, Shoujo

With her magical girl appeal and powerful ideas, Sailor Moon, a well-liked anime series from the 1990s, has captured people’s hearts. The narrative centres on Usagi Tsukino, a typical middle school student who, along with a group of other Sailor Guardians, learns that she is destined to become the superhero Sailor Moon. They search for the fabled silver crystal while defending Earth from the forces of darkness.

Sailor Moon became a worldwide hit thanks to its unique blend of action, romance, and friendship, as well as its messages of love, bravery, and female empowerment. Sailor Moon has forever changed the magical girl genre with its iconic transformation sequences, endearing characters, and compelling narratives. It also continues to inspire fans of all ages.

3. Dragon Ball Z

90s Anime Series Dragon Ball Z

Episodes – 291
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Martial Arts, Super Power, Shounen

Since its introduction in the 1990s, Dragon Ball Z, a pillar of the anime industry, has had an enormous influence on popular culture. Goku, a formidable Saiyan warrior, is followed in this action-packed story as he protects Earth from different dangers. With its thrilling bouts, iconic transformations, and emphasis on camaraderie, Dragon Ball Z enthralled viewers.

The show expertly combined comedy, sci-fi, and martial arts to produce a distinctive and compelling formula. The show’s themes of endurance, self-improvement, and the struggle between good and evil made it a timeless classic that continues to inspire new generations of fans. Goku’s journey to protect his loved ones and realise his true potential resonated with viewers.

2. Cowboy Bebop

90s Anime Series Cowboy Bebop

Episodes – 26
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Award Winning, Sci-Fi, Adult Cast, Space

The 1998 release of the genre-defying anime series Cowboy Bebop created a lasting impression on the genre and attracted a devoted fan base. The plot follows the diverse crew of the spacecraft Bebop in a dystopian future when bounty hunters prowl the solar system. This ragged crew sets out on exhilarating adventures with action, jazz-infused elegance, and a dash of melancholy nostalgia, led by the mysterious Spike Spiegel.

With its captivating animation, enduring characters, and outstanding soundtrack that perfectly blends into the story, Cowboy Bebop stands out. Cowboy Bebop has established a reputation as an anime masterpiece that enthrals audiences to this day with its genre-bending, engaging storyline, and exploration of existential issues.

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

90s Anime Series Neon Genesis Evangelion

Episodes – 26
Seasons – 1
Genre – Action, Avant Garde, Award Winning, Drama, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Mecha, Psychological

The groundbreaking 1995 anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion had a profound influence on the genre and beyond. The novel dives into the psychological battles and existential crises of its characters in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity faces off against enigmatic beings known as angels. Neon Genesis Evangelion questions the norms of the mecha genre while exploring issues of identity, loneliness, and the meaning of existence.

The series provoked passionate debates and propelled various interpretations thanks to its deep plot, fascinating characters, and thought-provoking symbolism. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a legendary and divisive work that continues to amaze and enthral viewers thanks to its blend of beautiful animation, a menacing soundtrack, and deep emotional depth.

Conclusion

The 1990s saw the emergence of anime as a major global phenomenon, and during that time, many everlasting classics were created. The top 15 anime series from the 1990s demonstrated the enormous variety and innovation within the genre. From the psychological complexity of Neon Genesis Evangelion to the daring exploits of One Piece, these television shows enthralled viewers with their endearing characters, compelling narratives, and gorgeous animation.

Each anime on the list left a lasting impression on fans, whether it was the magical girl appeal of Sailor Moon, the mecha brilliance of Gundam Wing, or the introspective trip of Cowboy Bebop. The vast and varied anime environment that we enjoy today was made possible by the beloved 1990s anime era.

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