From Cowboy Bebop to Sailor Moon, the 1990s was a pivotal decade for anime. The Ghost in the Shell manga had just launched and, within the same decade, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dragon Ball, Lupin, and many other anime series now considered classics first hit movie and TV screens.
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While many anime series from the era are still popular and beloved among fans, some fizzled out and haven’t been seen since. Here’s a look at a ten titles with a unique angle, a great combination of genres, or a truly classic vibe that deserve a modern-day reboot.
10 The Vision Of Escaflowne Had A Unique Mix Of Romance, Fantasy, Mechs, And Adventure
The Vision of Escaflowne follows the story of Hitomi Kanzaki, a high schooler who is transported to the planet Gaea after a boy named Van appears at her school fighting a dragon. She’s caught up in a war where Van, who ends up being a king, commands a mech called Escaflowne, and Hitomi discovers she can foresee the future. The series ran for 26 episodes, and fans praised its animation style and story that had so much to offer.
9 Otaku No Video Was Innovative And Fun
Otaku no Video aired during the summer of 1991, with a story loosely based on the start of Studio Gainax, which had been formed by a group of university students in the early 1980s. The two-part OVA was one of the first to have fun with the otaku lifestyle.
The series was controversial for its use of life-action documentary footage where an otaku was interviewed, usually ashamed of their obsession. A modern reboot could show the way the culture around anime and manga has evolved since that era.
8 Bubblegum Crisis Had A Dystopian Anti-Corporate Message And All-Female Crew
It’s late 2032, and it’s been seven years since an earthquake split Tokyo into two halves that are becoming more and more disparate. Genom is a huge corporation that produces Boomers, aka cyberoids. They’re supposed to be an aid to mankind, but can be used by criminals. The all-female mercenary group the Knight Sabers use their exoskeletons to tackle troublemakers.
Cut to only eight episodes because of corporate issues, the series saw a number of reboots through the 1990s, including the A.D. Police, which was set in the same universe.
7 Serial Experiments Lain Offers A Cyberpunk Thriller That Goes Beyond The Usual Tropes
Lain Iwakura is a teenage girl who lives in suburban Japan. One day, she discovers the Wired, a kind of communication network like today’s internet. The imagery is often surreal and out of this world, and the series explores deep themes like the nature of reality and identity.
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It won awards at the time, and keeping in mind that it aired in 1998, was visionary. Given how foresighted the creators were at the time, what kind of cyber-realities would they dream up now?
6 Outlaw Star Was A Space Adventure That Balanced Comedy And Drama
Gene Starwind is a rebellious outlaw, and his ship is named Outlaw Star after him. He and his crew of misfits scour the galaxy for something called “the Galactic Leyline.” Gene’s caster gun uses shells that are created with pre-loaded spells to be used against Tao Magic, and spacecraft can travel beyond the speed of light. The series is an action-packed adventure ride, and with its balance of comedy and drama, cool tech, and captivating animation style, it’s worth another try.
5 Slam Dunk Influenced Japanese Culture
In 2010, Takehiko Inoue won an award from the Japan Basketball Association for the huge influence Slam Dunk, the story of the basketball team from Shohoku High School, had in the country. Even Washington Wizards player Rui Hachimura has credited Slam Dunk with getting him interested in the sport.
The story focuses on delinquent student Hanamichi Sakuragi and his introduction to the game, and fans loved the way the series followed Sakaguri’s rise from novice to star player. In this case, more may actually be in store; early in 2021, a new anime movie was announced.
4 Great Teacher Onizuka Turns High School Tropes Into A Comedy About The Education System
Studio Pierrot (Naruto, Bleach, Tokyo Ghoul) made this shonen anime based on the manga by Tooru Fujisawa, a writer with a few axes to grind when it came to the Japanese school system. He examined the problems with the education system through comedy.
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In Great Teacher Onizuka, Eikichi Onizuka is a 22-year-old ex-gangster who decides to leave his life of crime and become…a high school teacher. He’s assigned to the problem class, where his off-the-wall teaching methods keep his budding street thug students on their toes.
3 Yu Yu Hakusho Was A Fast-Paced Adventure With Great Characters
Yusuke Urameshi starts the series as a street fighting delinquent teen with no direction in life, until one day he puts his own life at risk to save a kid from an oncoming truck. He’s killed, but given a second chance at coming back to life – this time as Earth’s Spirit Detective, aided by friends and demons from another world. With an inventive lineup of villains, a fast-paced storyline, and great characters, Yu Yu Hakusho was enormously popular.
2 Key The Metal Idol Is A Trippy Allegory About Being An Idol
Tokiko Mima, nicknamed Key, is a girl who comes to suspect that she’s a robot built by her grandfather, Dr. Mima. Each year, on her birthday, he simply builds a new robot while she’s sleeping.
After he dies, she discovers she was right when she finds his will recorded on audio tape. She learns she can become human if she makes 30,000 friends, and she decides to achieve this by becoming a pop idol. The series combines existential philosophy, culture critique, conspiracies, supernatural powers, and much more in a unique blend.
1 Fushigi Yugi Is A Classic Romantic Fantasy Anime
Fushigi Yugi is a classic isekai anime. Miaka and Yui are two middle school students who are swept into The Universe of the Four Gods, a book at the National Diet Library. Elements of the story come from Chinese mythology as the girls are transported back to ancient China. When Yui goes back to the real world, Miaka becomes the Priestess of Suzaku, destined to gather seven Celestial Warriors. She falls in love with Celestial Warrior Tamahome, and has to battle against Yui’s jealousy when she returns.
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About The Author
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I’m a long time freelance writer, blogger, and editor with a specialty in entertainment, arts, culture and travel. I’m also a longstanding science fiction/fantasy/comic book fan. My work has been cited and referenced in numerous books, magazines, and academic publications all over the world.
I teach creative writing courses at the college level and in my other identity, I’m also a singer-songwriter known as Anya Mia.
You can check out me and my work on my website at AnyaWassenberg.ca, and follow me on Twitter at @AnyaArtsMaven
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