37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Today we are going to talk about some of the best classic 90s anime series that you can still watch and enjoy.

I understand that the animation maybe outdated in compare to today’s standards, But You will get see great stories and plots.

I bet this list will give you a nostalgic experience with these best 90s anime series and also get to know why some of anime fans still watch these 90s anime series.

Lets begin the countdown for the best classic 90s anime series that you can still enjoy.

37. Key the Metal Idol

30 key the metal idol anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Unfortunately, it’s common to feel unhappy in your own skin.

But when you start to wonder if you’re even human, things can only get worse.

That’s what happens to our main character, Key. To become fully human, she has to go on a big Pinocchio trip and make 30,000 friends.

Don’t ask why the number is what it is; just go with it.

Along the way, we get some harsh feedback and a look at what it means to be an idol in Japan through a story.

The show can get very strange and really mess with your head sometimes.

But that’s what makes the show so funny and so easy to remember.

36. Blue Submarine No. 6

29 blue submarine no 6 screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

In Blackfish 2: The Aquarian Avengers, most of the world is under water, and alien fish-people are attacking it.

So, our “I’m too old for this” hero dusts off his old snorkel and joins the crew of Blue Submarine No. 6 to beat the scientist behind all of this.

I still like the show. It’s only a 4-episode OVA, but it does a good job of setting up its world. Plus, fish girl waifus become a thing.

You want to cry because of the CGI, but at least it makes you miss the 90s. At the very least, it’s a very different show from what you can watch today.

So, if you want something to clean your taste and have a few hours to kill, check it out.

35. Fushigi Yuugi

28 fushigi yuugi anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Now sing along: “Oh, it’s a 90s isekai, yes, it’s a 90s isekai.”

So, two girls get sucked into a book and have to find all the celestial fighters to call Shenron, I mean Suzaku, in order to get three wishes.

But really, none of that is important. This is mostly a shoujo anime, though. Since there are always sparks between these characters, you’ll definitely feel the love tonight.

Also, the main couple’s love is put to the test at every turn, which is very sweet.

Later on, there are some problems that make things even harder, but the show is really all about love.

So, if you want a good old-fashioned romance, this show has it, all with a nice 90s feel.

34. Master Keaton

27 master keaton anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

It doesn’t feel like you’re watching a single story when you watch Master Keaton. It’s more like watching a bunch of different stories all put together, with Keaton being one of the few similarities.

The man is very smart and has a very wide range of skills, which makes him useful in most scenarios.

Keaton can help you with any question, whether it’s about history, insurance, or a survival situation.

There is also a fair amount of romance, since Keaton is kind of a dreamer and lover. Even more so when Keaton’s dad is there.

Overall, it’s a show that makes you feel good and can teach you a few things along the way.

33. Martian Successor Nadesico

26 martian successor nadesico vr 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Out of all the mecha shows on this list, Nadesico is possibly (kind of) the one with the most humor.

The show is almost like a slice-of-life or harem show with giant robots thrown in for good measure.

It makes fun of and uses a lot of tropes from the time it was made, like Gurren Lagenn. And the mecha show even has a mecha show inside of it.

How cool is that?

It’s not all fun and games, though. This anime is very thorough and deals with a lot of serious issues.

And, boy, does it show us how many people die in wars. It’s still one of the funnier shows, though.

The 1990s were a sad and dark time, right?

32. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor

25 the irresponsible captain tylor 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a great show if you want to watch something with a “genius protagonist.”

It’s mostly about Tylor and how he works his way up the ranks while a space war is going on.

This person is very smart. He’s as smart as a Rick and Morty fan, but he’s also very chill and weird.

He is such a great tactician that he can lead one ship against a whole force without getting hurt.

He must also be good with women because he wooed a spy and got her to join his side. He also got some… favors?

From a princess!

He is really setting too high of standards for guys, and I can’t stand that.

But the actual show?

I can see what you mean.

31. Digimon

23 digimon anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Think of every isekai you’ve ever seen if you want to say that Digimon is just a copy of Pokémon.

Let’s talk about the show now that that’s out of the way.

I thought the movie as a whole was great. The Digimon looked really cool, the evolutions were cool as hell, and the cast was surprisingly diverse and deep.

I really like how it dealt with serious topics like death and divorce, which means that people who watched it when they were younger can still watch it now that they are older.

Even though the anime is based on some of the game series, I think it can also stand on its own. You don’t have to buy any of the games to enjoy the Digimon show.

30. Dragon Quest: Dai’s Great Adventure

22 dragon quest dais great adventure 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

I feel like Dragon Quest games get most of the attention, while the anime is mostly watched out of memories.

I also think the show itself is one of the weaker ones on this list.

But it has still left a mark on the 1990s. It’s a pretty typical shounen, but it has some interesting skills and a lot of good fights.

I also wanted to talk about it because it will be turned into a movie in 2020, and I think it’s likely that they’ll do what they did with Hunter x Hunter and cut out the filler and make the animation look better.

Also, I don’t like you as a person if you choose Dai in Jump Force.

29. Hell Teacher Nube

21 hell teacher nube anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

If you’re looking for a good spooky horror movie from the 90s, you should watch Hell Teacher Nube.

It’s about a teacher who can get rid of evil spirits. And also has a hand that is evil. I know it’s odd.

The show is mostly a “monster of the week” type of thing, where different kinds of ghosts bother the teacher and his class.

I wouldn’t say it’s bloody, but it does have an old-school feel to it. As a lot of the monsters are just scary, and exorcisms just seem like murder with more steps.

Still, it’s as interesting as hell (for a teacher) and a great choice for Halloween.

28. The Magnificent Zorro

20 the magnificent zorro anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Even outside of anime, Zorro is such a well-known figure that I don’t think I need to say much about him.

From 1996 to 1997, this anime gave us all the sword-swinging, justice-doing, and identity-hiding we’ve come to expect from the series.

Most of the time, the tone of the show is pretty light, and each episode has a lot of funny parts. Only for things to get a lot worse by the end.

And trust me, the finish is good.

So, go back to The Magnificent Zorro if you want a great show about a vigilante and more Z cuts than you can count.

27. Initial D

19 initial d anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

I think it’s time to get fast, furious, and frustrated (sexually).

Initial D is all about street racing and the lifestyle that goes along with it.

It’s almost like a modern sports anime or shounen because every episode has a new race with a lot of tension and a big payoff.

There is a romantic plot going on in the background, but don’t watch the show if you want a love drama. To become the Drift King, it’s all about the cars and how to use them as well as possible.

You can even learn a lot about cars from the show, which isn’t something you see every day. So give it a try, but be aware that the CGI is chunky.

26. H2

18 h2 anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

“Swing batter batter” time in this great baseball anime.

The 1995 TV show H2 is about two boys whose forehands are as strong as a 40-year-old virgin’s as they try to build a baseball team from scratch.

The rest of the team is pretty bad, though. Since everything depends on our two main characters, not much will happen when they’re not on screen.

But when they’re at the plate, oof, that strike 3 noise is going to be loud.

There is also a lot of romance in the show, but if you want to know more about that, you should pick up the book. Both are great for people who really like baseball, but they are also great in general.

25. Hunter x Hunter

15 hunter x hunter anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Aside from the fact that the later version of the show has two more storylines, I think it says a lot about a person’s taste which version they prefer.

Hunter x Hunter from 1999 doesn’t do much to hide its less-than-optimistic view of the world. It also has a sad tone, while the 2011 version is brighter and more finished.

The 1999 version was my favorite because it felt more real. And I think it fit some of the characters, like Kurapika, even better.

If only Nippon Animations could make a Chimera ant arc, I could die peacefully.

24. Shin Chan

11 shin chan anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Shin Chan has the strangest mix of people, but it still works.

At first glance, it looks like a show for kids, with jokes about buttocks, bright colors, and simple topics.

On the other hand, that last part was a lie, because there are so many sexual hints in this show that I’m surprised it has a PG rating.

The show is just so silly that it’s hard to figure out what makes it funny. I guess everything in Shin Chan is just a little bit silly.

And the fact that it has been on the air since 1992 and is still going shows how good it is.


23. Detective Conan

10 detective conan screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

When they are done well, Detective Anime are some of the best ways to have fun.

And I think Detective Conan is one of these kinds of shows.

It’s about a high school detective named Shinichi Kudou who gets stuck in the body of a 7-year-old boy after taking some old-fashioned experimental drugs.

He uses this as a chance to become his new name, Conan, and starts to solve any case he can get his hands on, even though he is still a child.

The show is really, really big. Look up Detective Conan on MAL and see how many side stories it has.

Yeah, you’ll know where to start if you want a few weeks of pure detective anime.

22. Akira

05 akira anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Why, why, why did I get to watch this when I was a kid?

Akira is the movie that best shows why some people like anime more than traditional anime or live-action TV shows.

No amount of people or CGI will ever be able to make Akira’s dark, bloody, and punk world look the same.

Even though it came out in 1988, I still want to include it because it was so important to the 90s. And also because the movie is just so good.

It’s crazy to think about how long it took to make this show. It looks like so much time and care went into drawing every part of the world.

I really think you should watch this if you have a strong stomach and want to see one of the best animation movies ever made.

21. Princess Mononoke

04 princess mononoke screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Studio Ghibli was and is still a big deal in the world of anime. They have been putting out hit after hit for decades.

But Princess Mononoke might be the best of the bunch, since it shows that Miyazaki can really do it all and gives us some action scenes that will make you gasp.

Remember that the pig demon was drawn by hand every time you see it.

Along with the great action, we get a world that is very complete and detailed, making it easy to get lost in. Not to mention the great music.

Also, Disney, take note: this is how you make a strong and reliable female figure.

20. Orphen

Orphen (1998)

I really liked this 90s anime because its full of humor, action and plenty of fantasy.

It was fun to watch but I’d personally enjoy it more if it had a little more depth into it but other than that, i’d recommend this anime to people who aren’t into a very deep story line.

Pitch : A sorcerer by the name of Orphen searches for a way to bring his childhood friend, Azalie, back to her original form, whom on a quest for knowledge became a dragon.

19. Pokémon

Pokémon  (1997)

Even writing about it makes me feel old. I still remember waiting for the clock to hit 5 so I could turn on Cartoon Network and watch this 90s anime.

When Pikachu saves Ash and gets hurt, when Ash throws himself on the birds to protect the hurt Pikachu, when they are friends, when they eat together, when they fight, when they plan strikes… what else?

It was so much fun to watch, and most importantly, it helped me grow ethically by teaching me not to lie or steal, to stick together, to protect family and friends, and to do what your heart tells you is right.

18. Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star  (1998)

I remember awhile back, I use to come home from school and watch this 90s anime on Toonami. This and DBZ were the highlights of the few hours I spent watching TV before getting to homework.

I just recently found Outlaw again and decided to rewatch the series again, since it had been years since I watched it last.

Pitch : The adventures of an outlaw crew of an advanced starship.

17. The Vision of Escaflowne

The Vision of Escaflowne  (1996)

Escaflowne is known for its soundtrack, which was written by Yoko Kanno.

It is an epic orchestral journey to a fantasy land that is still original even today, when fantasy movies and 90s anime are full of music with slightly familiar themes and motifs.

The art in Escaflowne, at least on the remastered DVDs, and Kazuki Akane’s direction should also be praised.

It’s exciting, artsy, and beautiful to look at. The production staff did a great job bringing the world to life.

16. Now and Then, Here and There

Now and Then, Here and There  (1999)

A Japanese boy named Shu tries to save a strange girl named Lala Ru from being taken away by kidnappers.

As a result, he is taken to an alternate Earth that is about to be eaten by the sun. There, he meets Sara, an American girl from his time who was taken prisoner by mistake because she looked like Lala Ru.

Shu is forced to join the army of the crazy and cowardly King Hamdo, and Sara is forced to have sex with the adult soldiers so she can get pregnant and have more troops or slaves.

Lala Ru is both a savior and a victim in a world where people are ready to fight and die for her abilities and keep her locked up. She can use her pendant to make water, which was rare at the time.

15. Revolutionary Girl Utena

15. Revolutionary Girl Utena  (1997)

The story may seem pretty strange (in fact it is), but everything falls in it’s place and the driving force are the brilliant characters and their relationships.

There is love, friendship, loyalty, adoration, obsession, disgust, hate and anything in between. If you like character driven drama, than this show is for you!

Pitch : A tomboy schoolgirl finds herself forced into repeated duels for another girl who has a role in a world revolution.

14. Sailor Moon

08 sailor moon anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Sailor Moon was not only the most popular shoujo show, but it was also the most popular show that got people into anime in the 1990s.

Even if they don’t watch anime, millions of people still have a vague idea of what the show is about and have seen its impact on other magic girl shows.

Even though it first aired in 1992, it still holds up pretty well when you watch it almost 30 years later.

Here, there’s a lot of memories, and the characters can still carry the story as well as they did back then.

It might not have a lot of action scenes that stand out. I don’t think that was ever a reason to get into the show, though.

13. Slayers

17 slayers anime screenshot 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Slayers is to Dungeons and Dragons what Sword Art Online is to massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs): a pure-hearted dream you can get lost in.

The people in Slayers are very human, which makes the show even more real. Yes, even the guy who was half evil.

This is because they are not trying to beat the God King because they are good people. They often just mess around, get drunk, and fight with each other, whether they are drunk or not. Same as real D&D players.

The show also has some great “slapstick” jokes. There are a few great fight scenes where the animation of the magic took a bit more time.

I don’t think it’s the best fantasy anime ever, but it’s so much fun to watch without thinking.

12. Neon Genesis Evangelion

07 neon genesis evangelion 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

This was meant to be another Mech show, so why is Shinji crying?

But why am I crying?

What is life for?

This is pretty much how I felt after seeing the show.

Even though the action scenes were great, I couldn’t think about them because I was trying to figure out why every character was crazy and if the writers were okay.

And it’s not unusual for robot shows to have heavy themes. Gurren Lagann comes to mind, but it doesn’t usually go as far as Evangelion.

Even though Gundam Wing, which came out around the same time, also had some good writing, I’m a masochist, so I put this one a little higher.

11. Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain  (1998)

The best way to describe this show is as creative and way ahead of its time.

Even though it came out in 1998, it made eerie predictions about how important technology would be and how it would change society.

It’s way too weird, with a lot of symbols, a great music, and a few things that could make you have bad dreams.

It’s almost like a shounen, but the main character doesn’t get stronger as the show goes on. Instead, they become more self-aware and sad.

Serial Experiments Lain is a good show to watch if you like computers and want to see what people thought the future of technology would be like in the 1990s.

Or, if you’re interested in how the mind works and how it can be changed by its surroundings, this show is a must-see.

10. Ranma

Ranma  (1989 – 1992)

Ranma ½ is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi.

It was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from August 1987 to March 1996, with the chapters collected into 38 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan.

Pitch : A girl is involuntarily engaged to a boy who turns female when hit with cold water and male when hit with hot.

9. Slam Dunk

03 slam dunk anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

This 1993 anime series was a real classic as far as sports anime goes. It also did something that a lot of sports-themed shows fail to do these days: it was popular with a large number of people who don’t like sports.

This is because Sakuragi, the main character, is so well written.

He wasn’t born knowing how to dribble a ball, and he doesn’t do a Kuroko no Basket-style sharingan during a game.

He starts playing sports to meet a girl. And to look cool while hitting the ball.

But then he finds out that there is a lot more to basketball than just learning the rules and how to play. So we get to watch him go from being a nobody to a hero.

This is probably one of the best basketball-themed anime you can watch and one of the best sports-themed shows from the whole 90s.

8. Great Teacher Onizuka

Great Teacher Onizuka 1999 1 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Cut off Koro sensei’s tentacles, turn up his sexiness, and give him some strength. Boom, you have Onizuka.

An ex-biker who became a teacher and went after high school girls.

Soon, though, he comes to his senses and asks, “How can I reach these kids?” That’s when the real show starts.

It’s a very funny show with a lot of visual jokes and humor that goes over the top.

It also has a lot of important and inspiring lessons, since it talks about things like bullying and suicide. I wish I could be in his class.

7. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

09 mobile suit gundam wing 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

About as many Gundam shows have been made as there are stars in the sky.

This is because robot stories were all the rage in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

But among them, the post-colony show Gundam Wing from 1995 is my favorite.

Even though the animation looks a little old (duh), the show still holds up very well.

I especially like that there isn’t a real “bad guy” in the story. Instead, there are interesting people with different points of view, like Zechs.

This is a great choice if you want to take a trip down memory lane and watch one of many big metal boys fight.

6. Trigun

Trigun  (1998)

This 90s anime need no introduction and everyone can agree on it was a great show.

It reminded me a little bit of cowboy bebop.

Both the main character and the other figures are great.

I like how they started with fillers and then got to the story.

Also, great antagonist and side antagonist (legato).

5. Berserk

16 berserk anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Whatever praise I give in this section only applies to the series that came out in 1997.

Its CGI brothers, on the other hand, still have a long way to go.

So this is the first Berserk. One of the most popular manga series ever, but it only got one good movie version.

But this 25-episode arc was definitely a treat because you could finally see Guts’s hard life in action.

Let’s face it: the action is pretty good, and the art style still looks good. It’s just a taste of what the book has to offer, since the huge world of Berserk couldn’t fit into 25 episodes.

4. Cowboy Bebop

01 cowboy bebop anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

In this list, I’ve used the word “classic” a few times. But Cowboy Bebop is likely the one that deserves that title the most.

Many people have called it the best show of its kind, and Yoko Kanno gave it her vocal blessing, so it’s easy to see why it’s still popular.

In Cowboy Bebop, the story takes place in a future world where there is a lot of action all the time. And the art is still very good.

But the writing of the characters is by far the best part of the show.

By making the characters more real and giving them real (and sometimes sad) backstories, the show feels as close to real life as it could be.

3. Dragon Ball Z

13 dragon ball z anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

Okay, this actually started to air in 1989. But, come on, the 1990s were all about kamehamehas and yelling as loud as you could.

In general, the show is just a classic. I mean, the fact that it’s still being adapted 30 years after it was first published says a lot.

And of all the versions, Dragon Ball Z is the one I like best. It was more important than Dragon Ball, but it didn’t go all Nietzsche on me by making me fight against gods all the time.

It was where a lot of memes and great abridged shows got their start, which is why I think it’s still important today. If you haven’t seen it yet, this is by far one of the best 90s animes you should watch.

2. Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho  (1992)

I’ve already talked about Hunter x Hunter, so I think it’s important to talk about the show that came before it, Yu Yu Hakusho.

This is one of the best fight shounen ever made. The animation is crazy, the fights are fast-paced, and the characters, especially the main one, are all very different and, in a way, easy to like.

A lot of later shows aren’t even close to as good as the black tournament run. It seems like there are fights all the time, and they are always exciting and never last too long.

The story is also very thorough and interesting, but the first 66 episodes and the fights they showed are what sold me on Yu Yu Hakusho and made it my favorite show.

1. Rurouni Kenshin

12 rurouni kenshin anime 37 Classic 90s Anime Series & Movies

This is the best story about making things right, and it’s also one of the best samurai shows I’ve seen so far.

It shows how Kenshin tries to make up for the fact that he was a killing machine during the Bakumatsu era.

He has sworn he will never kill again. Which is really put to the test now and then.

But he makes the choice to help everyone he can.

And that’s really all you need to know to start. This is not a huge surprise, but it works perfectly.

Even more so when it sticks to the book.

The characters are likeable, the music is great, and the show is a classic in the world of anime.

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About the Author

Anukul Saini

Anime and gaming enthusiast with a passion for sharing my knowledge and insights. I've watched over 1000 anime and spent countless hours playing video games.

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