Ever since the Pokemon series debuted in the 1990s, I have always wondered what it would be like to live in the Pokemon universe. I would imagine waking up as a child, excited to choose my first Pokemon. I usually picked Pikachu or Abra. Playing out my adventure, I would travel from city to city, collecting badges and Pokemon. During my journey, I would meet new friends and gain fame as one of the greatest Pokemon trainers. As I got older, these fantasies dimmed. However, Pokemon remained a part of my life. Playing hundreds of hours, I could experience what it would be like to live in the Pokemon universe.
Catching, training and naming these digital Pokemon was an acceptable substitute for the dreams of my childhood. I always thought it would be cool if the world of Pokemon was real. The Pokemon anime series seems based on the actual world, anyway. I would image that it would be like various sports. With the release of Pokemon TwilightWings last year, the series took another step towards breathing life into the series. I may be too old for my childhood dreams of catching them all, but Pokemon remains a world I would love to live in.
After a delay due to COVID-19, Pokemon: Twilight Wings returns with “Assistant.” The fifth episode of the limited series follows Oleana. A secretary for Chairman Rose, as well as his companies, Macro Cosmos, vice-president. As a researcher, she invented the Dynamax Band. Oleana has been a recurring character in the Pokemon: Twilight Wing series, this time she takes center stage. In the past, Oleana is portrayed as working very hard, which impresses Chairman Rose.
One thing you will notice is that Oleana’s appearance changes from her younger days as a scientist to today. She originally appears wearing large glasses, somewhat unkempt hair, and a turtle neck sweater. As the vice-president of Macro Cosmos, she has gotten rid of the glasses, wears more high fashion clothing, and high heels. Oleana is constantly endured with questions from employees and expected to solve them. When she finally attempts to take the rest of the day off, Chairman Rose arrives. He offers her a ride back to the office and she accepts.
Oleana seems stoic but devoted to her job and Chairman Rose. She exhausts herself. Oleana is also devoted to the knowledge of Pokemon, as shown when she corrects the driver’s misunderstanding of Gigantamax vs Dynamax. Anyone that played the Pokemon: Sword and Shield know that Oleana is a villain, in Twilight Wings she is giving more nuance.
When Nessa was first revealed in a trailer for Pokemon Sword and Shield she became an instant fan favorite. Many fans created beautiful fan art. This latest episode of the Pokemon: Twilight Wings mini series focuses on her. After a defeat, her second loss in a row to Milo, Nessa is sitting in a locker room. Feeling down she sulks. Chairman Rose arrives noting that Nessa’s modeling career is going well. Rose suggests that she needs to choose between one.
The following morning Nessa tells her best friend Sonia what happened. Sonia tells her that it doesn’t matter what Rose thinks, only what she does. At a modeling shoot, Nessa recalls her childhood experience, petting a Feebas. As Nessa takes pictures with various water Pokemon, a school of water Pokemon, lead by Milotic begin to surface. Nessa dives into the water. She tells Sonia what happened with the Milotic.
Nessa rides on the Milotic, as it jumps in and out of the sea. It’s suggested that the Milotic was the Feebas from her childhood. Inspired, Nessa storms into Chairman Rose’s office and tells his assistant she aims to be the “best Gym Leader and the best model.” She heads to the stadium promising to win.
Brock is the Pewter City Gym Leader. He raises his 9 siblings after his parent abandon them. Brock hopes to become a Pokemon Doctor. As anime perverts go, Brock is G rated. He’s obsessed with woman, although he’s always ends up heartbroken. He particularly “loves” Nurse Joys and Office Jenny’s. The running gag in Pokemon is when Brock sees a beautiful woman he over reacts and is dragged away by someone in the group. It was originally Misty, but in Advanced Generation Max did it, followed by Croagunk in Diamond & Pearl.
Minora Mineta is the short hero named Grape Juice. He has the Quirk, Pop Off. It allows him to “produce and pluck ball-shaped objects from his head; the balls grow back just as fast as they’re plucked. The balls are incredibly sticky and will stick to any surface.” Mineta is infamous for his perverted behavior. Almost no one finds this behavior appealing, except Denki. Mineta’s mind often wanders off as he thinks of lewd thoughts. He’s not beyond peeping at unsuspecting girls and is often depicted drooling. His main reason for becoming a hero is to be popular among women.
3. Master Roshi
Master Roshi is the hermit, pervert, and martial arts master in the Dragon Ball series. He trained Gohan, Goku, Ox-King, Krillin, and Yamcha. He’s over 300 years old and spends most of his time reading, watching t.v., and using the internet to search for porn. He really enjoys watching “Wide Thigh Aerobics,” and has a fondness for Dirty Magazines. Roshi once gave Bulma a dragon ball after she offers to show her “panties.” (She’s not wearing any). He often lusts after any woman in his presence.
Even if it kills me, I refuse to kick a woman!!!!
Sanji is the cook of the Straw Hat Pirates. A chivalrous perv, he has earned the name “ero-cook.” He constantly flirts with any woman he sees. He claimed that Nami was “98.72% of the reason he joined Luffy’s crew in the first place.” His perversion increases after being trapped on Momoiro Island. Sanji often lusts after his crewmates Nami and Robin. His amorous feelings don’t just stop at humans but extend to mermaids and minks. Sanji can get caught up in what he calls his ” hurricane of love.” His chivalry results in Sanji being unwilling to fight women. Sanji has sworn to “never let women be insulted or injured while he can still stand, regardless of how attractive (or unattractive) they are, even in life-or-death situations.”
Jiraiya is one of the legendary three Sannin. He’s generally light-hearted and over the top. He considers himself to be “super-pervert with no equal.” He loved spying on woman bathing. Jiraiya even wrote an adult novel series called Icha Icha. Based on his experiences with love, the series is comical and highly successful. He is occasionally punished for his perversion. When he was younger he spied on Tsunade and was caught. She “broke both of his arms, six of his ribs, and ruptured a number of organs as punishment.” As anime perverts go, Jiraiya is by far the most complicated.
The third episode of Pokemon: Twilight Wings, “Buddy” focuses on Hop and his Wooloo. Watching his brother, Leon compete in the League Championship Hop is transfixed. While studying the footage Hop ignores Wooloo. Frustrated, Wooloo leaves. Made insecure by Hop’s constant comparisons with Charizard, Wooloo keeps trying to breathe fire. It comically attempts to fly at one point crashing into the ground. Wooloo rolls into a pin containing other Wooloo. Gym leader Milo. He sends Hop’s Wooloo with the taxi driver back home. While in the back seat, Wooloo begins to cry remembering the close relationship between other Pokemon and their trainers.
Meanwhile, Hop rushes to find Wooloo. Screaming for Wooloo in a meadow he finds him in the taxi. He gives chase, apologizing and promising to reach the League with Wooloo. Pleased, Wooloo jumps into Hop’s arms. The taxi driver gives them a ride home. After the last episode and other Pokemon series, the emotional depth of Wooloo wasn’t surprising. However, It’s rare to see a Pokemon become jealous due to their training making a comparison to another Pokemon. It’s generally a Pokemon that’s in their line that causes insecurities. Once again the sutle expressions on Wooloo tell us everything we need to know about its state of mind. Pokemon: Twilight Wings is well done.
The second episode of the seven-episode Pokemon Twilight Wing’s miniseries, Training, focuses on the fighting Gym leader Bea. After a humiliating loss to Galar Champion Leon, she heads to the Wild Area to train. Bea is a young girl with grey hair and eyes. She’s an expert in Galar karate and appears to be quiet serious. She arrives in the dusty wild area. Accompanied by her Machop, Machoke, and Machamp she begins her training. First, they battle (off-screen) against a wild Rhydon.
The training consists of exercise, lifting rocks, long-distance running and even sparring with Machamp. Considering the fact that Machamp is a Pokemon capable of “moving mountains with one hand,” watching Bea spar with him was impressive. While resting in a cave, they become trapped. Without her phone (she dropped it) she explores the rest of the cave. Realizing that she’s been selfish, she finally learns to rely on her Pokemon. Together they manage to escape the cave.
Despite the short length of these episodes they manage complete an entire story arc. It’s not really necessary to know Bea’s entire backstory to see how determined she is. Throughout the episode, she changes. While I liked this episode, a small part of me wanted to see more battles. However, I think this series is supposed to focus more on the human characters. The Pokemon themselves feel more realistic. Looking at the emotions on the face Machop was particularly effective. Finally, the animation remains stellar making Pokemon: Twilight Wings a must-watch miniseries.
Pokemon: Twilight Wings is a seven episode limited animated series. Set in the Galar Region, the short anime series will follow the citizens of Galar. According to the Pokemon Company, the seven episodes will “show in detail the dreams of Galar’s residents, the realities they face, the challenges they must overcome, and the conflicts they must resolve.” Nintendo revealed last week that they will be adding new content to the Sword and Shield games through expansion packs. Coupled with an official anime and this new limited series, suggest that they intend on focusing this region a lot longer. Pokemon: Twilight Wings will feature episodes that run about 5 minutes each.
The first episode, “Letter,” takes place inside a children’s hospital. A boy named John wishes to see his favorite Pokemon Champion, Leon. He writes a letter to Chairman Rose to give to him during his visit. I wonder if the series will return to the characters more than once, but with the time limit I doubt it. I was left wondering if John got what he wanted or if Chairman Rose even read his letter. Despite the length of the episode John was quickly established as a sympathetic character. While his illness wasn’t clear, John’s inability to run was. I felt sorry for him as he struggled to climb the stairs to reach the roof. Japanese animators at Studio Colorido (Penguin Highway) did a great job with the animation. New episodes of Pokemon: Twilight Wings will be released monthly. You can catch the episodes on Pokemon TV or the official Pokemon YouTube Channel.
Ash begins with his Tauros and Gary uses his Nidoqueen. Nidoqueen begins with “rock smash”, while Tauros counters with “horn attack” but is KO’ed with “Hyperbeam”. Ash uses Heracross as Gary recalls his Nidoqueen. He uses Magmar and releases a flamethrower, Heracross dodges and counters with a “fury swipes”. Margar fires a “Fire blast” at Heracross, which in turn uses his wings to blow the flames away. Heracross uses his “Megahorn” to defeat Magmar.
Gary’s Blastoise is next up and it handles Heracross with a powerful “Hydro Pump”. Ash sends out Muk. Blastoise uses Skull Bash, but it doesn’t do damage. Muk uses sludge bomb, Gary counters by having Blastoise use rapid spin. Blastoise attempts to “send Muk flying” by using rapid spin but fails to budge it. Muk attempts to smother Blastoise, but it escapes with “Hydro Pump”. Ash recalls Muk, and sends out Bayleaf hoping the type advantage will work. Blastoise uses “Hydro Pump”, Bayleaf dodges by using it’s vine whip to propel itself into the air. Bayleaf, uses “Razor Leaf” but is countered by “rapid spin”.
Bayleaf uses “body slam” but is caught by “bite”, tossed and knocked out. Both Gary and Ash switch Pokemon, Gary with Arcanine and Ash with Snorlax. Arcanine uses Take Down , Snorlax responds with Body Slam. Arcanine dodges, but traps Snorlax with Fire Spin. Snorlax then uses Hyper Beam knocking Arcanine out. Nidoqueen returns using Double Kick, then a Hyper Beam. Snorlax ducks the attack and uses Ice Punchwinning the encounter. Gary’s Scizor is up next, Snorlax quickly defeated with a Metal Claw. Muk is sent back out, Muk is unfazed by Quick Attack. Scizor uses swift to KO Muk.
Ash is down to his last Pokemon, Ash sends out Charizard. Scizor uses Steel Wing, and Charizard response with Flamethrower. Charizard uses a super-effective Flamethrower to the face. Gary, sends Golem out. Golem quickly uses Magnitude, that shocks Charizard. Charizard attempts to use Seismic Toss, but Golem is too heavy. Charizard uses Dragon Rage, which KO’s Golem. Gary and Ash are now even and down to their final Pokemon Charizard’s and Blastoise.
Charizard opens using Flamethrower, but it is deflected by Rapid Spin. However, Charizard is hit in face with a Hydro Pump. Blastoise, has the type advantage. Ash commands Charizard to” burn the field” . Blastoise tries to cool the field with Hydro Pump, but steam emerges. Charizard uses Seismic Toss slamming Blastoise to the ground. When the smoke clears both Pokemon are still standing, but Blastoise faints. Ash defeats his rival moving on to the next round.
79. Neji vs Kidomaru
Neji is the only one capable of defeating Kidomaru as his “gentle fist”, is naturally built to counter his webs. Kidomaru is able to cleverly deduce Neji’s defense and able to determine that he has a blind spot. He summons a large spider that releases small spiders. This forces Neji to use his “Eight Trigrams One Hundred Twenty-Eight Palms”.
Neji was severely wounded by Kidomaru’s long range arrows. He dodges another arrow but can’t muster the energy to do it again. This time he takes advantage of the string attached to the arrow, and channels chakra through it damaging Kidomaru’s insides. Neji delivers a final strike into forehead of Kidomaru with gentle fist, killing him.
78. Kurama vs Karasu
Karasu and Kurama fight in the first battle of the finals. Karasu quickly gains the upper hand, easily destroying Kurama’s petals. He reveals that how his powers work. He creates”demon shaped dynamite sticks”. Kurama stabs Karasu in the right hand. Kurama transforms into his Yoko form. Karasu creates” a swarm of Trace Eye Bombs”, Yoko avoids them but is surround.
Yoko releases a “Ojigi Plant”, this plant destroys the bombs then attacks Karasu. He gets “caught and swallowed up by several of the plant’s leaves” , Karasu’s mask falls off int the process. He emerges from the plant having turned his own body into an explosive. Kurama reverts back to his original state. Kurama appears to become erratic and begin to attack senselessly. He plants a seed into Karasu’s chest, Kurama releases a “vampire tree” that kills Karasu.
77. Genyursi vs Juha Bach
Genyursi aims to obliterate Juha Bach, and he instantly goes and uses his Bankai, Zanka no tachi. The Bankai uses all the power in his flames into the edge of his sword. After showing his Bankai’s power, Genyursi uses his Zanka no East. Bach attacks Genyursi but his sword snaps in half. Bach is surprised and Genyursi explains that if there’s an East there must be a west. He reveals his Zanka no Tachi west, which covers himself in flames that rival the sun. Bach uses his Sankt Zwinger but Genyursi uses his sword as a stand to protect himself.
He then uses his Zanka no South, resurrecting the past kills of his. Bach notices that these resurrected corpses were former allies, upset at this Bach rushes Genyursi. Genyursi uses his Zanka no North and cuts Bach nearly in half. Assuming that he’s won he powers down his Bankai, it turns out however that the Bach that was fighting Loyd Royd R. The real Bach emerges and kills off a dying Loyd, when Genyursi uses his Bankai Bach steals it. Bach uses his sword and quickly attacks a depleted Genyursi, cutting him in half. He then cuts off his hand and then destroys him completely.
76. Sasuke vs The 5 Kages
Sasuke and his team are aiming to kill Danzo. He is stopped by the Raikage, A. A’s strength is greater than the cocky Sasuke could have imagined. He snaps Suigetsu’s sword, and defeats Jugo rather easily. A is capable of countering Chidori, so Sasuke activated his “Mangekyo Sharingan”. A sacrifices his arm trying to hammer through Sasuke’s defenses. Gaara intervenes trying to determine if Sasuke can be redeemed.
Sasuke cut several columns, causing the room to collapse. Sasuke, abandons his comrades in search for Danzo. Danzo escapes but before Sasuke can chase him the Mizukage, Terumī blocks his path with “Lava Release”. Her “acidic mist” almost kills Sasuke but Zetsu aids him. Onoki the Tsuchikage, uses his “Dust Release” on Sasuke but he’s again save this time by Tobi.
75. Straw Hat Pirates vs Neo Marines
The Straw Hats face off against Neo Marines.They begin using their various skills to fight. Chopper uses his “Guard Point”, shooting many rifles by himself. Zoro fights with Ain, as she aims to protect Z. Sanji fights with Binz, Luffy easily dispatches a group of Neo Marines. He, dodges multiple shots as he looks for Z. Zoro and Ains battle, nut she is clearly out matched. Sanji lands many hard kicks on Binz. Robin uses her “Gigantesco Mano” move, crushing many enemies with giant legs.
Brook utilizes his “Soul Solid”, paralyzing many soldiers. Chopper transforms into his new “Kung-Fu point”, and defeats several soldiers. Usopp uses “Hissatsu Midori Bosshi”, raising sharp bamboo from the ground. Nami summons a “lightning storm” on the striking everyone including her fellow straw hats. An army of “Pacifista” arrive and begin attacking. Franky shows up an obliterates them with his “Radical Beam”.
74. Goku and Vegeta vs Kid Buu
Kid Buu goes searching the universe for Goku and Vegeta. He them on the “Sacred World of the Kais” . Kid Buu quickly engages in a battle with “Super Saiyan 2” Goku. Goku seems to have the upper hand, but Kid Buu is fighting to his full capacity. He powers up, in response Goku transforms into “Super Saiyan 3” they fight evenly. Kid Buu, has greater endurance, wins over Goku, because he runs out of power. Vegeta becomes “Super Saiyan 2” to distract Kid Buu so Goku can finish him with spirit bomb.
73. Sasuke vs Diedara
Sasuke, attacks Deidara and Tobi and Deidara notes how fast he is. Although makes a clean strike through Tobi, but misses Deidara. Tobi is unaffected, and Deidara counters with his clay explosives. Sasuke uses “Chidori Senbon”, to diffuse them. Deidara uses his C2 dragon and creates smaller explosives that Tobi hides underground. Sasuke can’t destroy the dragon as it’s out of range. He’s, forcing into activating his level two cursed seal. Sasuke manages cut off one of the dragon’s wings, which falls to the ground destroying itself and the explosive underground.
Sasuke and Deidara both survive the explosions. Deidara is reminded how he was recruited into the Akatsuki. Itachi, humiliated him with his Sharingan. Resulting in Deidara hating the Uchiha, he uses his C4 explosive by eating his clay. When C4 explodes microscopic bombs are released into the atmosphere, whatever inhales them disintegrates. Sasuke uses his Sharingan to make it appear that he died, but when he thinks he won Deidara becomes a clay clone. Deidara traps him within a clay clone, but Sasuke nullifies the explosives like before. Deidara can’t accept that he was defeated, he commits suicide by blowing himself up but Sasuke survives.
72. Natsu and Gajeel vs Sting and Rogue
The Battle between the Dragon Slayers begins with Natsu and Gajeel clearly Dominating. They appear to effortlessly thrash Sting and Rogue. However, they both activate their White Drive and Shadow Drive respectively. This turns the tide of the battle in their favor. Neither Natsu or Gajeel are afraid as they continue to surprise the audience with their strength. Sting uses his best move, Holy Nova. Natsu is completely unaffected by this technique.
Sting and Rogue activate ” Dragon Force”, and take over the battle. Natsu aims to prove that both he and Gajeel have been underestimated, by taking on both a the same time. He dominates the two Dragon Slayers, they resolve to combine their attacks into ” Unison Raid: Holy Shadows Dragon Flash Bang”, Natsu counters with his “Crimson Lotus: Exploding Flame Blade”. Natsu is declared the victor.
71. Mayuri Kurotsuchi vs Pernida Parnkgjas
This fight ends up being between Mayuri and Pernida, however, it starts with Kenpachi mindlessly attacking the unknown Pernida. When Kenpachi attacks, Pernida attacks his arm. Mangled, Kenpachi rips his arm off. He did manage to split Pernida’s head. Kenpachi, ignoring Mayuri’s advice, attack again. This time Pernida breaks both Kenpachi’s legs. Mayuri decides to save Kenpachi from himself. He stabs Kenpachi with his Ashisogi Jizo. He activates Ashisogi Jizo, Kyodo Yon, resulting in Jizo emitting an unpleasant sound.
Mayuri does what he does best. He meticulously probes Pernidas power. He learns that Pernida ability “The Compulsory” isn’t linked to his main body. Pernida “sends its nerves into its opponents’ bodies to forcibly control and break them.” When Pernida attacks with his nerves, Mayuri counters with a liquid that exposes Pernida’s nerves. Pernida reveals his true form, as the left hand of the Soul King. As character design goes, Pernida isn’t well throughout. A hand feels like the type of villain you create as a five year old. Anyway, Mayuri and Pernida engage in a back and fourth.
Pernida can use his nerves to control inorganic objects and is able to create duplicates of itself. Pressured, Mayuri uses his new Bankai, Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo: Makai Fukuin Shotai. A modified Bankai, Jizo can “create a modified Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo using the information he gives it.” A screaming Konjiki Ashisogi bursts out. Pernida fails to use its Compulsory on Jizo. As the “baby’s skin merely peels away,” Mayuri explains that “how it cannot be controlled because its nerves are divided into 70000 layers, each of which will simply peel away if infiltrated by Pernida’s nerves.”
Konjiki Ashisogi eats Pernida. However, this doesn’t matter as Pernida tears Ashisogi from within. Pernida use Heilig Pfeil. He begins to dominate the battle over Mayuri, forcing Nemu to intervene. Mayuri isn’t pleased. He’s furious that she would fight without his orders. Nemu fights on Mayuri behalf, which he hates. However, Nemu’s body is destroyed as the nerves of Pernida tear her to pieces. Pernida consume Nemu’s body without her brain. This causes Pernida’s cells to grow uncontrollably and forcing him to explode.
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.
Gundam is one of the most storied anime series. The franchised originated in 1979 with Mobile Suit Gundam. A series that defined the “real robot” mecha genre. Gundam has spawned television series, OVA’s, films, manga, novels, video games and Gunpla (model robots). Gunpla is 90 percent of the Japanese character plastic model market. The majority of Gundam’s revenue comes from retail sales (25 Billion).
4. Jump Comics (Shonen Jump) – $40 Billion
Primarily a line of manga magazines, Jump Comics, are created by Shueisha. Beginning in 1968 it was renamed Weekly Shonen Jump. Now including anime and video games, Shonen Jump has become a massive franchise. Most of it’s revenue is generated from manga magazines and manga sales.
3. Anpanman – $60 Billion
Anpanman is a Japanese children’s superhero picture book written by Takashi Yanase. It ran from 1973 until Yanase death in 2013. It has been adapted into a popular anime series for young children in Japan. Anpanman is a superhero with a anpan for a head. He battles against an evil germ Baikinman. Appearing on children products, from clothing to snack foods to toys. Anpanman has inspired One Punch Man and K-pop song “Anpanman” by BTS.
2. Hello Kitty – $80 Billion
Hello Kitty is a fictional character created by Sanrio. A female Japanese Bobtail, with a red bow and no mouth. She’s a third grade student, that lives outside of London. With a media franchise that includes a product line, clothing apparel, toy-line, manga and anime series. Created in 1974, Hello Kitty is worth about $8 billion dollars a year.
1. Pokemon – $95 Billion
The top media franchise is Pokemon. Created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995 the franchise became a video game in 1996. The original video games series is the second highest selling behind Nintendo’s Mario, selling 340 million copies and 1 billion mobile downloads. It’s anime series has over 20 seasons and 1,000 episodes. The Pokemon franchise includes the top selling trading card game (27.2 billion cards sold), books, manga, music, anime films and a theme park.