Anime pre-2000’s is a weird thing. The 90’s is arguably one of the time periods that brought about some of the most famous anime of all time, such as Dragon Ball Z, Neon Genesis Evangelion (more on this later…) and Sailor Moon.
Yet, it’s not uncommon for someone, when talking about anime, to tell you that they ‘don’t watch old anime’, meaning anime from pre 2000’s. Not only does this make me feel ancient (and heck, I was born in the 90’s!), it also makes me feel pretty sad. Whilst there’s a lot of shows I am yet to see, there are a lot of shows that aired in the 90’s that I believe to hold up even today. In this post, I’ll cover some of my favourites!
YUU YUU HAKUSHO
Whilst many are familiar with Hunter x Hunter, there are a surprising amount of people unfamiliar with its big brother, Yuu Yuu Hakusho. Once part of Weekly Shounen Jump’s famed ‘Big 3’, YYH follows the adventures of Yusuke Urameshi who becomes a spirit detective (hunting down spirtual craziness in the human world) after being brought back from death. Expect demons, possibly the most insane tournament arc in all of anime, and fights that will leave you with your jaw hanging open. I did not expect to love this as much as I did, especially since I was comparing it to Hunter x Hunter. However, YYH holds its own ground well, and continues to stand tall as one of the all time greatest shounen. Yu Yu Hakusho (2020), please?
NEON GENESIS EVANGELION
Neon Genesis Evangelion – or simply Evangelion, is a must watch for all anime fans. Whilst many are put off by the ‘mecha’ tag, which proves to be loved or hated in the community, to miss out because of this would be a huge loss. Evangelion is a story of adolescence, depression, and violence. The strong themes piloting Evangelion are down to the series creator – Hideaki Anno, who whilst trying to revive the then-dead anime scene in Japan (if you can believe it) fell into serious depression, with his mental instability reflected in the gruesome images and most noticably, the main character Shinji. With these dark themes often the centre of conversation when discussing Evangelion, the show has often been met with a polarizing response. Is it good, or do people merely just want to like it for the sake of understanding something deeper? Whilst I went into Evangelion well aware of the controversy surrounding it, I still recommend it even without wanting to get too deep into it. The show still boasts wonderful animation and colours, an interesting story, and characters with a lot of depth. Plus, who can forget possibly the most iconic anime opening ever? If you only ever watch one anime from the 90’s, this should be it.
NOW AND THEN, HERE AND NOW
Ohhhh boy, you thought Evangelion was the darkest of the 90’s? Whilst Now and Then, Here and Now is a great watch in the sense that it does everything right, an enjoyable one it is not. The story starts off as your typical isekai – an average boy is transported to another world 10 billion years in the future in order to protect a girl he cares about. And then from there, darkness sets in. The future isn’t so bright, with the story involving child soldiers committing mass genocide, raping children, poverty and starvation. Everything that we hate to see all around us is used in Now and Then, Here and Now. Of course, none of this is done in to glorify the subject matter. Each one of these things is shown to be the monstrosity it deserves to be, and thus creates perhaps one of the most sickening villains in all anime. A difficult watch for sure, but definitely a worthwhile one. You’ll be thinking about it long after it ends.
That concludes my picks for 90’s anime that is definitely worth a watch! The 90’s is a lot more than just big eyes and cheesiness. Of course, neither of those things are a bad thing – but its time to show something a little different!
What other shows should I be watching, or what are your favourite shows from the 90’s? Let me know!
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Until next time!