Old School Anime That Made Our Childhood Amazing
The year 1999 marked the turn of a new millennium. The world was excited about a new age, but these were also dark times as we were only a few months from the feared Y2K bug and the impending doom that it promised. Still, contrary to public expectations, nothing serious actually happened.
In the world of anime, things were changing as well. New series were emerging with their own unique styles but, as years went by, a nostalgia for the ’80s and ’90s anime hit us like a train. As the world of anime continues to explode in popularity and diversify today, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when anime was a niche product, at least worldwide. The classics that we remember so fondly today were once new and edgy. In some ways, the ’80s and ’90s were the golden age of anime, with series like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Yu Yu Hakusho becoming cultural touchstones for generations of fans.
We all know good times don’t last forever, and neither did those series. So why don’t we go back in time for a moment and take a look at some of the best old school anime produced in the 20th century?
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1997 | 2h 13m
One of the most acclaimed ’90s anime movies, Princess Mononoke puts its emphasis on how the protagonist deals with the curse that haunts him. Ashitaka’s journey to find the cure for the curse ultimately brings him into contact with San, who’s been raised by wolves. The movie is a landmark in the world of animation and representative of Studio Ghibli.
Yu Yu Hakusho
1992 | 112 episodes
Teenage delinquent Yusuke Urameshi is killed in a car accident while trying to save a child’s life. For this heroic act, Yusuke is given a second chance at life and becomes an Underworld Detective, for which he investigates cases involving demons. Despite the older animation style being difficult for some fans to get used to, it helps the show’s aesthetic and nostalgia.
The show I looked forward to when Toonami would come on after school
My Neighbor Totoro
1988 | 1h 26m
When two young girls move to the countryside to stay with their sick mother, they meet the magical spirits who live in the nearby forest. The film is partially autobiographical. Hayao Miyazaki had said that his mother’s long stay in the hospital when he and his brothers were kids inspired this movie, and it would have been too painful for him to make if the protagonists had been boys instead of girls.
Dragon Ball Z
1989 | 291 episodes + 9 special episodes
Dragon Ball Z is the long-awaited sequel to the series Dragon Ball. It starts off five years after the original series, with Goku now an adult and a father to Gohan. With the help of other powerful fighters, Goku defends the Earth from extraterrestrial enemies. Get ready for a long journey through the plotlines and events that made Dragon Ball Z so iconic!
Ghost In The Shell
1995 | 1h 22m
2029. Cybercop Motoko Kusanagi is a member of a cyborg police force that investigates cybercrimes ranging from hacking and malware to code piracy, identity theft, and data breaches. Motoko is on a mission to track down the Puppet Master, a brilliant cyber-criminal capable of hacking the minds of cyborgs like her. A cyberpunk concept where man and machine are so closely interwoven that they operate as one.
1998 | 26 episodes
Cowboy Bebop, a sci-fi neo-noir anime series set in 2071, follows a bounty-hunting crew as they capture criminals. But it’s not all fun and games; Cowboy Bebop also addresses the issues of isolation, despair, and the futility of escaping your own past. Since its release, Cowboy Bebop has been consistently hailed as one of the best animated series ever because of its style, characters, plot, voice acting, and soundtrack, making it a huge commercial success.
Castle In The Sky
1986 | 2h 4m
Studio Ghibli springs yet another thrilling tale on the world: it’s the story of two children with a magic crystal who must race against pirates and foreign agents searching for a legendary floating castle. Castle in the Sky shows off Studio Ghibli’s unique strengths with great storytelling and its typical animation style.
1996 | 95 episodes + 8 special episodes
The adventures of a young wandering swordsman who stumbles upon a struggling martial arts school in Meiji-era Japan. One of this classic anime’s main characters, Hajime Saitoh, was a real person. Saitoh was a swordsman for the Shinsen Gumi throughout the last days of the Shogunate government and the fighting leading up to the Meiji Restoration.
Kiki's Delivery Service
1989 | 1h 43m
This ’80s anime represents a heartwarming, gorgeously rendered tale of a girl finding her place in the world. In her year of mandatory independence, a teenage witch learns what it’s like to live in the world. She finds it challenging to fit in her community while trying to support herself by running an air courier service. When she begins questioning herself and loses her magic abilities, she’ll have to overcome her self-doubt to get the powers back.
My ABSOLUTE favorite movie of all time!!!! Nothing compares to the artistry of the flying scenes. So beautiful on so many levels. No conflict, no great drama, just a quiet, sensitive, beautiful story. Think I'll watch it again tonight for the 10,000th time and have a good cry. So uplifting...
Hunter X Hunter
1999 | 62 episodes
Though the 2011 Hunter x Hunter series follows the manga more closely, the original anime deserves a special mention! Gon Freecss is an orphan boy about to take the exam to become a licensed Hunter, allowed to track down secret treasures, rare beasts, and dangerous individuals. And that’s basically enough to know that the plot will be soaked in action and adventures.
1997 | 25 episodes
From its beautiful art style to the way it uses color, Berserk is a manga that grabs your attention. A skilled swordsman joins forces with a mercenary group named “The Band of the Hawk”, run by the charismatic Griffith, and fights with them as they battle their way into the royal court. Did you know the original manga heavily influenced the Dark Souls video game series? Yeah, sick.
Great Teacher Onizuka
1999 | 43 episodes
Eikichi Onizuka, an ex-gangster, has lost all hope of finding a job. That is until he meets the principal of a private school! With his unconventional manners, Eikichi becomes the teacher of a problematic class and a role model for his hopeless students, guiding them toward a society that had given up on them. A landmark among the greatest anime of the ’90s!
Neon Genesis Evangelion
1995 | 26 episodes + 2 special episodes (complementary ending)
When the world descends into violence and destruction, Shinji becomes a reluctant member of a pilot squad using sentient machines to defend humanity. It’s been almost 30 years since the release of Evangelion, but it’s still one of the most hotly debated animation titles in existence! In the end, it doesn’t matter what you think about it; Evangelion is, without any doubt, a Japanese animation milestone.
1998 | 26 episodes
Vash the Stampede is the most famous outlaw on the planet Gunsmoke. With a sixty-billion double dollar bounty on his head, he’s also the most wanted. However, the real Vash is not the same man as rumor portrays him. The enigmatic and conflicted lead character of Trigun is actually more heroic in nature, as well as an idiot at times!
1992 | 200 episodes + 5 special episodes
One of the most emblematic examples of the majokko genre and a great representation of the emotional maturation of a young girl, this series chronicles the adventures and emotional growth of five schoolgirls reborn as the incarnations of princesses and given magical abilities. A guilty pleasure of mine from my childhood and a great piece of entertainment!
1986 | 153 episodes + 2 special episodes
The original Dragon Ball series was adapted from the first 194 chapters of Akira Toriyama’s manga. The first time we meet the monkey-tailed Goku on-screen, he’s on a quest to find all seven mystical Dragon Balls. With all its storylines beautifully uniting into one series, there’s no way that Dragon Ball could ever get boring!
1977 | 155 episodes + 27 special episodes
Follow the legendary gentleman thief Arsène Lupin and his gang as they continue to cause havoc around the world! With over fifty years of history, the franchise shows no signs of giving up its incredible popularity. The characters’ appeal is cited as the primary factor in the series’ success.
1996 | Ongoing (1000+ episodes)
A teenaged detective whose physical age is involuntarily reverted to a prepubescent boy, who solves the most complex cases, all while hiding his true identity: that’s the premise of Case Closed. Over one thousand episodes have aired over the past 25 years, not including the film adaptations and countless video games.
1998 | 27 episodes
The very first series from the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise. Yugi Mutou is a shy boy who has finally completed his grandfather’s ancient Millennium Puzzle. Little did he realize that the puzzle unleashed an alter ego who challenges anyone who hurts Yugi to dangerous games. The Shadow Games reveal the true nature of someone’s heart, and the losers are often subjected to dark punishments. The author initially wanted to make Yu-Gi-Oh a horror anime and, despite the change of plan, some horror aspects still influenced the story as we know it.
1998 | 26 episodes
Gene Starwind and James Hawking run a small handyman agency and are hired to protect Captain Hilda, who drives a spaceship, the XGP-15A II, also nicknamed Outlaw Star, in search of a legendary place that enshrines an incredible treasure. This anime will impress you with its animation style and balance of dramatic and comedic elements.
Whisper Of The Heart
Dominion Tank Police
The funny thing is they get Kagome and InuYasha's VAs in the dub