Top Ten Anime from the 80’s & 90’s

As the decade comes to a close, I figure that I would join in on the best decade listing. I was born in the late 80’s so many of the anime I grew on are from that period. I decided to combine the two decades. Looking back at the anime on the lists, I would say all of the anime on this list stand the test of time. That doesn’t necessary mean that they’re superior to anime that has come after, but they still are magnificent. The animation was more grainy and the colors were muted. The plots were more mature that the current top series. Most of these series are considered to be among the “most influential” of all time.



10. Rurouni Kenshin – 1996

Himura Kenshin is a wandering swordsman that was formerly the assassin Hitokiri Battosai. The creator, Nobuhiro Watsuki want to make a different kind of shonen series. One that was more serious, focusing on themes like atonement, peace and romance. The anime series is one of the most popular, with a sophisticated plot and epic action scenes. It took a while for me to warm up to this series, but the series grew on me. The anime only adapts the series up to the Shishio fight, then focuses on material that’s new.


9. Tenchi Muyo (Tenchi Universe) – 1995

Generally I don’t like harem series, but Tenchi Universe was an exception. Based on the six episode OVA series, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, the series focuses on Tenchi. The grandchild of legendary warrior and prince of the the Juraian Empire, Yosho. Tenchi’s life changes after a series of intergalactic women arrive in his life. There’s the space pirate Ryoko, snobbish princess Ayeka, her sister Sasami, Goddess Tsunami, the clumsy Galactic Officer Mihoshi and her partner Kiyone and finally the legendary mad scientist Washu. As the ladies bicker with one another over trivial matters and Ryoko and Ayeka battle for Tenchi’s love, they group become fugitives. Together the evade detection and manage to save the Juraian Empire from the control of Kagato.



8. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing – 1995

There are some many different Gundam series it can be difficult to tell them apart. However, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is credited with “globalizing the franchise.” The first Gundam series to air in American and the sixth anime in the series, Gundam Wing focuses on the war between Earth and it’s orbital colonies. The series introduces us to five pilots, Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Change Wufei. They are tasked with using their Gundams attack the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) and free the colonies from oppression.


7. Yu Yu Hakusho – 1992

Adapted from the manga series of the same name, Yu Yu Hakusho follows 14 year old, Yusuke Urameshi. In an act of heroism he sacrifices his life to same the life of little boy. He learns that the after life is real and is given a chance to redeem himself. He becomes an Underworld Detective, tasked with investigating supernatural activity in the Human World. Yu Yu Hakusho was twice voted “anime of the year” in 1994 and 1995 by Animage Anime Grand Prix. The series has been featured on many lists of the all time greatest anime series ever. Yu Yu Hakusho remains one of the most influential anime series.



6. Sailor Moon – 1992

Lazy crybaby Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon) meets a magical talking cat Luna and is asked to save the universe. Joined by Sailor Soldiers, Ami Mizuno (Sailor Mercury), Rei Hino (Sailor Mars), Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter), Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and supported by the mysterious Tuxedo Mask. They learn that in their past lives that they Usagi was Princess Serenity, the Sailor Soldiers were her friends and bodyguards and she was in love with a prince from Earth. However they were all killed by the Dark Kingdom. Queen Serenity sent the fallen to the future to be reborn.


5. Pokemon – 1997

With over 1,000 episodes to its credit, Pokemon is one of the most watched anime series of all time. Pokemon is credited with mainstreaming anime in the United States. Since then it has been released in over 169 different countries. The series generally focuses on the eternally youthful Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu. The first season of Pokemon, follows Ash, as he travels the Indigo League collecting eight badges. He’s joined by Misty and Brock. The series featured the iconic OP, “Pokémon Theme Song,” and the PokeRAP that ended every episode. Watching Ash battle each gym leader and enter the League is some of my fondest memories period.



4. Akira – 1988

Regarded as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, Akira is a must see anime for any fan. Considered a “landmark” anime film, responsible for increasing anime’s popularity and it’s manga art (by Katsuhiro Otomo) influencing many authors like Naruto’s Masashi Kishimoto. Featuring many sci-fi elements, Akira is held by many as being one of the best sci-fi movies as well. Bloody and violent, Akira is set in a dystopian 2019. It tells the story of Shotaro Kaneda, a biker gang leader. His childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident. Tetsuo eventual threatens Neo-Tokyo, rampaging through the city in search for Akira.


3. DBZ – 1989

Dragon Ball Z debuted in 89, but it wasn’t until the 90’s that the series really took off. A sequel to Dragon Ball, like Akira before and Pokemon after marked a tipping point in anime relevance and popularity. Following the now adult Goku and his family and friends as they battle search for the Dragon Balls and battles intergalactic aliens, androids and other creatures. The original Dragon Ball focuses on Goku’s his childhood, Dragon Ball Z focuses on Gohan’s (Goku’s son) childhood. DBZ was so popular that it outperformed shows like Friends and X-Files. Dragon Ball Z remains one of the most important anime series of all time.



2. Cowboy Bebop – 1998

The iconic anime neo-noir series, praised for it’s jazz soundtrack, production values and a all star voice cast. Cowboy Bebop has to be among the most popular and significant anime series ever. Highly praised by critics, Cowboy Bebop, follows the bounty hunting trio, Spike Spiegel, Jet Black and Faye Valentine. They are joined by eccentric hacker, Ed and Welsh Corgi (a dog) that has been genetically engineered to have human-like intellect. Cowboy Bebop follows the aftermath of Spike escape from the criminal enterprise, Red Dragon Syndicate. He also hopes to flee his former friend, now enemy Vicious.


1. Neon Genesis Evangelion – 1995

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most controversial and acclaimed anime series. A deconstruction of the mecha genre, Evangelion is stated to have “led to the rebirth of the anime industry.” The series features many complex themes, touching on mental illness, philosophy and religion. Evangelion manages to embed religious symbolism. Like Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered to be a masterpiece. Personalty, I always found the main protagonist, Shinji, to be incredibly annoying. However, he is one of the most nuanced characters in anime history. Evangelion can be seem too complex at first and probably requires several viewings, but once you understand it, you’ll get the praise this series receives.

Want more: Top Ten Anime and Manga Franchises

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Top Five Eldritch Abomination creatures in Anime and Manga

Eldritch Abominations are a type of creature that is “defined by its disregard for the natural laws of the universe as we understand them.” Humans often go mad in their presence or lack the ability to comprehend these creatures altogether. Their actions are usually incomprehensible to mortals. They aren’t “evil” exactly, as they tend to be beyond such binary morals. They exists “somewhere beyond the stars,” “before our time,” or “outside our universe.” They can appear in various forms but often are massive in size, but are generally bizarre in appearance.


5. Devilman – God

We never get to see what God really looks like. However, God chooses to take the form of a “huge sphere of light that kills any demon in its reach and turns any human who gets too close to it into salt.” God even causes Satan to have a nervous breakdown simply by seeing God on television. Within the Devilman universe, God controls the cycle of life and death of the universe. God uses this power to torture Satan, by ruining what Satan cares about over and over and over.

Truth from FMA
Truth

4. Fullmetal Alchemist – The Gate of Truth

The Gate of Truth is a “central nexus of all knowledge in the universe.” It’s nearly impossible to reach. It unclear if it’s sentient or not and whether it is actively collecting knowledge or not. Regardless, it possess a great deal of knowledge already. It’s possible that God or something similar to God is protecting it. Knowledge can be gained from the the gate, for a price. In FMA, Truth appears as a white, featureless godlike being. It resembles the person that enters its realm. In order to gain the ability to transmute without a circle you must exchange part of yourself that Truth will wear.

The Anti-Spirals from Gurren Lagann
The Anti-spirals

3. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – The Anti-Spirals

In Gurren Lagann, the Anti-Spirals have godlike powers that allow them to “break up laws of physics, create living battle ships as they want, create power-draining oceans in the middle of space, or trap people into a Lotus-Eater Machine at will, live in their own pocket dimension they created, create galaxy-sized Humongous Mecha at an instant, without using Spiral Power, and having very creepy forms, similar to a Living Shadow, with the Anti-Spiral King resembling a living chalk drawing.”

The Anti-Spirals are different from your typical Eldritch Abomination, in that they are beings of “order,” and aimed to become an all powerful Singularity to stop another Eldritch Abomination, Spiral Energy.

2. Neon Genesis Evangelion – The Angels

Most Angels in Evangelion are considered Eldritch Abominations. They are capable of erecting barriers that are impenetrable and can sometimes be “entire sub-universes.” Leliel is a thin disc that leads to different dimension. It possess a three dimension shadow (that casts it’s own shadow). Arael is a creature of light that can fire mind altering beams from space. Finally, Armisael is a gravity defying Angel that attempts to assimilate with the EVAs. The EVAs themselves are artificial abominations that must be piloted by mentally scarred children and are clones of Angels with a human soul installed.

The Godhand from Berserk
The Godhand

1. Berserk – Godhand

The Berserk series probably has the most famous abominations. The Godhand are the five most powerful demons in the Berserk universe. They are tasked with creating more demons and are summoned by Behelits. They can manipulate reality and string of Causality. They aren’t physical beings. When they do become corporal (once every 1,000 years) the are able to manipulate dimensions. Each Godhand is chosen by previous members begging the question, who chose the first one?

Want more? Check out my Top Five Xanatos Gambits in Anime list

The Top Ten highest grossing anime or manga media franchises (Part 1)

10. Neon Genesis Evangelion – $16.3 Billion


Neon Genesis Evangelion was created in 1994 by Hideaki Anno and Gainax. An apocalyptic mecha series that focused on the military organization NERV as they fight beings called Angels, to save humanity. Primarily an anime series, Evangelion has expanded to include, merchandising, karaoke, music, manga and Pachinko. It’s currently owned by Khara Studios.


9. Yu-Gi-Oh! – $20 Billion


Yu-Gi-Oh was created in 1996. A Japanese manga series, written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. The plot follows the story of Yugi Mutou as he tries to solve the ancient Millennium Puzzle. The manga has resulted in a massive media franchise that includes a trading card game, video games and a anime series.


8. One Piece – $21 Billion

One Piece is the most successful manga series of all time. Created in 1997 by Eiichiro Oda, the story centers on Monkey D. Luffy as he explores the Grand Line in hopes of finding “One Piece.” Having sold over 450 million copies, the iconic series has expanded it’s reach. With several movies, an anime, video games and merchandising the series has developed into massive revenue.


7. Fish of the North Star – $22 Billion

Created in 1983, the Fist of the North Star manga series was written by Buronson and drawn by Tetsuo Hara. 245 chapters were collected in 27 volumes by Shueisha. Set in a world destroyed by nuclear war, the series follows Kenshiro as he uses his Hokuto Shinken martial art to give his enemies a gory death. While Fist of the North Star has included games, merchandise, anime and manga, the series mostly makes money from Pachinko and arcades.


6. Dragon Ball – $24.3 Billion

Dragon Ball is the storied series from Akira Toriyama. Created in 1984, Dragon Ball started out as a popular manga series. Eventually Dragon Ball became the second highest selling manga series of all time. It was adapted into two anime series, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z. Through several companies, Dragon Ball has developed merchandising, films, both animated and live action, collectibles, trading cards and many video games.

The Salty Anime Challenge Day 7: A character that ruined (or almost ruined) a show for you

Shinji Ikari

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most successful and influential anime series ever. The main protagonists in this series is Shinji Ikari. He’s the young son of Gendo Ikari, the commander of NERV. Gendo is a terrible father and is abusive towards well everyone. He abandons Shiji at one point.

This is important only because it explains why Shinji is so messed up. Shinji is described by the director of Evangelion as “as a boy who shrinks from human contact, and has “convinced himself that he is a completely unnecessary person, so much so that he cannot even commit suicide.” Simply put, he’s pathetic and he becomes grating. He has a “libido-destrudo conflict,” and several complexes.

Mainly he’s has a Oedipus complex which refer’s to a “child’s unconscious sexual desire for the opposite-sex parent and hatred for the same-sex parent.” He also suffers from what is called the “Hedgehog’s dilemma,” which is “is a metaphor about the challenges of human intimacy.”

I understand that Shinji is one of the most complex characters in anime, his father is an amoral human being, but I couldn’t help tire of his personality. I often found his voice to be annoying and wanted him to just shut up. Ultimately, the series was too good to be ruined by him and he does become less annoying as the series goes on.

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 30

Day 30

Anime you wish never ended and continued on

Neon Genesis Evangelion

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When I first started watching Evangelion I was a child (maybe I shouldn’t have been watching the series at that age), I was obviously too young to comprehend the complexity and symbolism within the series. I just thought that it was a cool violent mecha anime. However, once I got older and more mature I was able to appreciate the series as a whole. I even wrote a college English paper on the series.

Evangelion has been credited with “revolutionized the giant-robot genre“. The series was so successful that it has earned billions. For those who don’t know Evangelion focuses on a futuristic Tokyo more than a decade after a “worldwide cataclysm“. The story centers on protagonist Shinji, a teenage boy who is recruited by his father for an organization called NERV to pilot an Evangelion.

Using the Evangelion Shinji along with fellow pilots Rei Ayanami and Asuka Langley Soryu, combat enemies known as Angels. The series the focuses on deep psychological effects that the pilots experience as they attempt to prevent another catastrophe. It features heavy religious symbolism “from Kabbalah, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Shinto“. Overall, Neon Genesis Evangelion manages to combine themes centered around philosophy, religion and psychoanalysis with an amazing mecha battles. I highly recommend this series, and wish it didn’t end.

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