Are you nostalgic for the anime’s bygone era of exquisitely hand-drawn cels? What about the occasionally jerky animation and the hit-and-miss English dubs? It was a mixed bag when it came to 90s anime, but there’s no denying that the captivating storytelling and genre-defying storylines laid the groundwork for the countless episodes we love today.
Here is a list of 20 beloved 90s anime series that will transport you back in time. These shows were the fuel that propelled the industry during that era.
Dragon Ball Z
This action-packed series follows the adventures of Goku and his friends as they defend the Earth against a variety of powerful foes.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
A psychological and religious drama that explores the relationship between humanity and giant machines known as Evangelions.
A magical girl series about a group of friends who transform into superheroes and fight to protect the world from evil.
This samurai adventure follows the story of a former killer who tries to turn his back on his violent past and live a peaceful life.
Yu Yu Hakusho
A battle shonen series about a young man who becomes a spirit detective and fights against supernatural threats.
This mecha series is set in a future where giant robots are used in interplanetary wars. At each of the five Earth-Moon Lagrange points in the distant future, clusters of space colonies have been established by mankind.
A magical girl series about a young girl who becomes a Cardcaptor and must capture powerful magical cards that have escaped from a book.
A western-inspired series about a mysterious man with a bounty on his head who tries to avoid violence but is often drawn into it. Vash the Stampede is a hero deserving of respect, if only for the fact that in spite of the tragedy of his history, he hasn’t managed to lose his twisted sense of humor or his unwavering conviction that one should never take another person’s life.
A space western that follows a diverse group of bounty hunters as they travel the galaxy in search of the galaxy’s most dangerous criminals.
An action-packed pirate adventure series about a young man named Monkey D. Luffy who sets out to find One Piece, a legendary treasure hidden on the Grand Line.
A dark fantasy series about a mercenary warrior named Guts who battles demons, knights, and other dangers in a medieval world. The original Berserk series easily overcomes this despite its occasionally choppy animation because of its great screenplay, Susumu Hirasawa’s hauntingly beautiful and otherworldly soundtrack, and its well-developed ensemble of characters. And keep an eye out for one of the most wonderfully horrific and apocalyptic climaxes ever near the end of the series.
Ghost in the Shell
A sci-fi series that explores the relationship between humans and technology in a future where cybernetic implants are common.
In the fantasy adventure series “Fullmetal Alchemist,” Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers, employ the science of alchemy to search for the Philosopher’s Stone and heal their bodies. In the universe where the series is situated, alchemy is a prevalent technique, and alchemists can transform objects into new forms using their skills.
A romantic adventure series about a young girl who becomes embroiled in a conflict between rival factions of celestial warriors.
A fantasy comedy series about a sorceress and her companions as they journey through a medieval-like world filled with magic and monsters. This fictional world is filled with evil dragons and ruthless bandits, with shiny (and occasionally magical) wealth as the prize. Leading the charge in this loud and action-packed adventure anime is Lina Inverse, a formidable magician who should not be trifled with.
Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water
A steampunk adventure series about a young girl with mysterious powers who teams up with a young inventor to stop a secret society from obtaining an ancient artifact.
A martial arts comedy series about a young man who transforms into a girl whenever he is splashed with cold water.
A series about a young boy who becomes a master of a trading card game called Duel Monsters and uses it to defeat opponents and uncover ancient secrets.
The Vision of Escaflowne
A fantasy series about a young girl who is transported to a magical world and becomes embroiled in a war between rival kingdoms.
A fantasy series about a modern-day schoolgirl who is transported back in time and becomes involved with a half-demon named InuYasha.
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