Review: Retro nostalgia

Though anime has been more popular than ever, some of the best Japanese animated shows are from decades ago


Emmanuel Gastelum

Many consider the anime “Dragon Ball” the most successful manga and anime series of all time. Goku is its main character.

Paulina Borowski, Staff Writer

The ’90s and early ‘2000s were the early era’s of anime, that was when the prime time of popularity for these japanese animated shows. But, these specific anime are the most known and loved by the anime community. These are the 10 animes that inspired every other masterpiece that has come after it.

10) “Fruit Basket” (2001)

“Fruit Basket” captures the feelings of even the most hesitant of viewers with its cute and charming animation along with its compelling storyline. Tohru Honda is an orphan girl who learns that the thirteen members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac, and the protagonist mentions a game called “Fruit Basket” that doesn’t tie into the main plot but is still significant enough to be the name of the show. From the relatable characters and comedic elements, this is a really charming anime that is a really significant throwback.

9) “Sailor Moon” (1992-1997)

The original “Sailor Moon” was one of the first animes to feature a female protagonist named Usagi Tsukino. She befriends Luna, a talking black cat who gives her a magical brooch enabling her to transform into Sailor Moon. “Sailor Moon” was first created as a TV series and then made in commemoration of the original series called Sailor Moon Crystal. This manga-adapted series has a deep message for courage, friendship, and even love. With the colorful animation, likable characters, and great themes makes “Sailor Moon” one of the key masterpieces of old anime.

8) “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (1995-1996)

“Neon Genesis Evangelion”‘s complex storyline is dramatic and action-filled and it is a great throwback in anime history. A student, Shinji, is recruited to be a pilot against a giant biomechanical robot created to fight mysterious alien-like entities. This series is filled with so many beautifully animated action scenes especially for an older series, but that opening music is what really brings people back to Neon Genesis. The series’ music is what truly makes this anime a staple in anime history, right when people hear the opening title music it ropes them right back in to “Neon Genesis Evangelion.”

7) “Pokemon” (1997-Now)

This one is a classic that even non-anime lovers know. Though many disregard it as an anime, it originates from Japan and has a series animated in Japan, making it one of the most beloved anime in many people’s childhoods. The original Pokemon games were made a year before the series was made, but the series follows Ash Ketchum, a young trainer of fictional creatures called Pokémon. Joined by his partner Pokémon Pikachu, Ash is on his rightful journey to become a Pokemon Master. The characters are hilarious, and it’s appealing to all ages, old or young. Even for people who don’t like anime can find the hilarity and appeal in “Pokemon.”

6) “Naruto” (2002-2007)

“Naruto” is still popular even today and sends us back to the good old days of anime. This anime is about a young ninja named Naruto that seeks recognition from his peers and dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. The character development throughout the entire series is really special because the fans grow up and learn along with the characters. “Naruto” begins with Naruto being alone with no friends but his adoptive father. He believes he will become the best and will not give up until he reaches his goal. This anime is inspiring and heartwarming, making it even more significant and heartwarming.

5) “Bleach” (2004-2012)

“Bleach: is a story about a hot-headed teenager named Ichigo Kurosaki who inherits his parent’s destiny to a power called the Soul Reaper. This is an anime with a story that is quite different from the animes before it because it puts the heroes through the really tough things. Like having Ichigo lose just as many fights as he can win, which gives the villains character of being very hard to beat. With each and every arc of the show The Soul Society arc is the one that really is an emotional roller coaster that makes this anime so powerful and well known. The characters feel more human than many before them and it allows the viewer to become invested and truly fall in love with the show.

4) “Sword Art Online” (2012-2019)

“Sword Art Online” has such an engaging futuristic and science-fiction plot, with an appealing story of Kirito. Kirito is the main protagonist that gets trapped in a Virtual Reality (VR) game called Sword Art Online along with other players of the game. In this VR he and the other players intend to beat the game. The kick is that if the players die in the game, they die in real life. The animation, effects, and even the music give the viewer chills during every intense fight scene animated in the series. Fans are easily invested with its plot including its many twists and turns. Sword Art Online deserves more recognition than it gets in being a revolutionary anime.

3) “One Piece” (1997-Now)

This anime follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy who has a great passion to become a great pirate along with his pirate crew in order to find the greatest treasure ever left by the legendary Pirate, Gol D. Roger. “One Piece” is an old anime that is still continuing on with over one thousand episodes as of today. “One Piece” one of the most popular manga/anime series in the world! That is, because of its incredible storyline, and it is supposed to be a humorous show (though it can get seriously emotional) especially with the animation style. Each character is so unique with their own individual fighting styles, whether or not it’s hero or villain the animation and humor really make this show what it is.

2) Dragon Ball (1986-1989)

“Dragon Ball” tells the action-packed story of a warrior by the name of Son Goku. He is a young peculiar boy with a tail who embarks on a quest to become stronger and learns of the Dragon Balls, when, once all 7 are gathered, grant any wish of choice. It’s an anime filled with action and even has a touch of the supernatural. “Dragon Ball” was the first anime to be introduced to the Western part of the world meaning that anime would no longer only have significance in Japan but in other parts of the world as well. The suspense with the fights between Goku and the villains are what make this show one that keeps the viewer invested and on your toes for each intense fight with the main villains and the heroes.

1) “CowBoy Bebop” (1998)

Set in 2071, where Earth has become largely uninhabitable, the story follows a ragtag group of bounty hunters, known as cowboys, aboard the spaceship “Bebop.” They travel across various planets and moons in search of wanted fugitives, unlocking the story of the past that they can’t outrun. “Cowboy Bebop” is the first, more mature anime with a more “realistic”animation, dramatic episodes, and serious plot points. This is what really made this anime skyrocket in popularity with it’s sci-fi and mystery undertones. Not only that but also the crisp animation and iconic intro soundtrack is what really makes “Cowboy Bebop” the best of the classic animes.

Retro Anime may feel like it’s completely separate from the world of modern anime most are accustomed to today. But, the reality is that these Retro Anime’s are what shaped the anime world that everyone knows and loves today.