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Halex

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Best Animes from 1990 to 1996

Only the first 7 may be worth it on this list, but the rest is worth mention and you may want to give them a try. These years were not the best for anime. I only included the animes I have watched from over these years. I'm not including Sequels when quality declines or when the story started in previous years. I am including Sequels where it makes sense to keep watching, in order to complete the story.
1 Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

This film is so ahead of its time that even today fits perfectly at current anime standards. The intricate plot, the futuristic designs and the philosophy and ideas presented in this work have created a timeless Masterpiece that has influenced movies like The MatrixAvatar & Surrogates to name a few. Not to mention its latest live-action adaptation with Scarlett Johansson.

This is a must watch for any Sci-Fi fan.

Ghost in the Shell Series Watching Guide

"Story and Characters

Our story follows Motoko Kusanagi, AKA the Major, as she searches for an elusive hacker named The Puppet Master. This notorious figure had been hacking into important people, such as governmental officials.

Oshii has managed to craft a very clever film that doesn't just rely on lots of action. Action scenes are used sparingly but effectively, building up tension before each scene. It's grounded and keeps you watching.

The real meat is the stuff in-between the action, most notably Motoko's struggles with her own humanity. She is a full cyborg, consisting of a fully cybernetic body with her human element being her 'ghost', a word used in the GITS universe to stand for one's consciousness. Upon meeting the Puppet Master her own perceptions on what makes someone human are really challenged.

The characters in the film are strong, especially Motoko. I really liked the working relationship she had with her partner Batou, they played off each other very well and it felt like they had a genuine friendship.

The film is paced very well, with slow scenes soaked in the atmosphere of the setting followed by the upping of the tempo leading to action.

The Technical Stuff

For a 1995 film this is certainly a great looking anime and holds up pretty well by today’s standards. It has a strong art style that goes for a grimy, realistic look and it just works wonders. A great scene to demonstrate this is the one where Motoko travels on a boat atop a river filled with rubbish, really showing how society is very much showing signs of desecration.

The music used is fantastic and works really well with the feel the film is going for, that of a more philosophical approach to cyberpunk.

Conclusion

This film consists of cyberpunk themes, what it means to be alive or human and cyborg fun. This is a big yes from me!

We have an anime classic that everyone should try and see especially if you are a cyberpunk fan. I recommend you watch this film first if you haven’t watched any Ghost in the Shell." -SpanglishJC

The dub sounds ok, but "The dub completely changes an enormous chunk of the lines in the movie, mostly for no other reason that I can see but to make it more edgy." -XenophonTheAthenian

So it's better you stick to the Sub for a first watch.

2 Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Continuation of the original movie storyline. Although focusing mostly on a new case by Batou and barely touches in the Major's main story, so it's more of a standalone movie. It does have excellent visuals and still poses great philosophical questions about the psyche and what makes us human, it may not be as great as the first movie, but it's definitely worth watching if you like sci-fi.

The dub is good.

3 Porco Rosso

Porco Rosso

Another great anime from Studio Ghibli. Like many of their movies, the theme is quite unique, dealing this time with forgiving yourself the mistakes you have made in your life and the ability to move forward despite them. Great female characters.

The dub is good.

4 Ninja Scroll

Ninja Scroll

The first great Ninja anime I'm aware of up to these years and probably up to Samurai Champloo in 2004 & Basilisk in 2005. It is cited as an influence for The Matix. Brutal & gory it may not be for the faint of heart. In the middle of all this brutality, there is a ninja love story, if such a thing exists.

The dub is ok, but I recommend the Sub, which is better.

5 Tekkaman Blade

Tekkaman Blade

One of the great Robot animes from these early years, it perfected the style with the most futuristic robots up to this point in time (Tekkeman is actually an exoskeleton, so it's technically not a robot by today's standards, lol). It's an epic story that has a little bit of everything, good pacing, and lots of sci-fi.

The dub is good. The Latin Dub is also very good.

6 Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk

Funny and entertaining from the very first episode, you won't stop watching until the end. Unfortunately, it doesn't end, the anime misses the last arc of the manga but its still worth watching up to that point. You'll see a delinquent transform into a sports junkie with a strong determination to succeed since he found what he likes in life.

The dub is ok but incomplete, only about 82 episodes were dubbed and is missing Episodes 52-53. So I recommend you watch the Sub, which is better.

7 Ganba Fly High

Ganba Fly High

A bunch of losers discover the joy of gymnastics and get new self-confidence through that and a love for sports.

This anime deserves a Dub!

8 Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

This anime is mostly driven by characters rather than action and the action scenes, while few are pretty good for its time. It showcases the Edo period of Japan, although I'm not sure how historically accurate this is.

The dub is bad, apparently has many mispronunciations, so I recommend the Sub, which is better.

9 Battle Angel Alita

Battle Angel Alita

This is one of the reasons why I got into anime, I wanted to know the source of inspiration of my favorite directors, unfortunately, this one never has a proper anime adaptation, with only a few OVAs, still worth watching.

Alita is often referenced by Movie Directors as a source of inspiration. James Cameron has tried to make it into a movie for several years, but the project got delayed for his work on Avatar, finally serving just as Producer and leaving the directorial duties to Robert Rodriguez for the 2019 Film, which in my opinion, is one of the best live-action adaptations of a manga/anime up to date. The film actually adapts several sequences and backgrounds from this OVA and covers about the same story.

"Battle Angel Alita is a very solid anime with great aesthetics, a decent story and some likeable characters with very clear motivations. For those of you that are fans of the genre there is plenty to enjoy, and if not necessarily a fan then there is no harm in giving this OVA a try." -SpanglishJC

The dub is ok, but I recommend the Sub, which is better.

10 Casshan: Robot Hunter

Casshan: Robot Hunter

This is a good adaptation of Casshern Original Story, without the melodrama and having to watch too many episodes.

The dub is very good.

11 Iria: Zeiram The Animation

Iria: Zeiram The Animation

This is a great cyberpunk sci-fi anime, created as an introduction to Zeiramu the movie. This seems to be a B movie that hasn't aged well at all, but the anime did age well and is still worth watching for sci-fi fans.

The dub is very good.

12 Angel Densetsu

Angel Densetsu

I found this anime very funny. It's about a cowardly kind guy that looks like a sinister gangster, hence always misunderstood, getting into funny situations because of that.

This anime deserves a Dub!

13 Memories

Memories

This is broken down into 3 segments, each with its own story and graphic style. It's very experimental, the presentation of each segment feels more like a music video than a movie. The art is impressive and probably the best part.

The dub is ok (This anime finally receive a Dub in 2021).

14 Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho

The 'Classic Shonen Anime', written by Yoshihiro Togashi, the same author of Hunter x Hunter, this was his first real success. This is a more childish anime, but it's on this list because it was some of the best to watch for this these years.

The dub is ok.

15 Green Legend Ran

Green Legend Ran

Great concept OVA, very similar in theme to the more elaborated 'Origin: Spirits of the Past' but with 14 years apart its worth mentioned at this time.

The dub is ok, but I recommend the Sub, which is better.

16 Nadia: Secret Of Blue Water

Nadia: Secret Of Blue Water

This story is based on the works of Jules Verne and from a concept of Hayao Miyazaki, which is the reason why I include it on this list. At some point, they change directors and added filler episodes, so I suggest skipping episodes 23-29 and 32-34, which are totally out of place.

The dub is ok.

17 Mahoujin Guru Guru

Mahoujin Guru Guru

Funny chibi parody of Adventure Animes & Video Games. Watch a few episodes and see if you like it.

"Mahōjin Guru Guru is a light-hearted series aimed at older children; it contains occasional toilet gags and some innuendo that might startle western parents. It also is a parody of early role-playing video games (RPGs), particularly turn-based games such as the Dragon Quest games. The narrator speaks in place of the dialog in such games, and this is one of the comedy elements of the show... The overall goal of the main characters, Nike and Kukuri, is to defeat Giri, the ruler of the darkness. Since the anime is based on an RPG, several side quests need to be completed before they are able to locate him." -Wikipedia

This anime deserves a Dub!

18 The Cockpit

The Cockpit

Three 'World War II' Stories that try to depict the insanity of war. It's not by any means perfect, but it's a glorious attempt. The second story 'Sonic Boom Squadron' may be the best.

The dub is ok, but I recommend the Sub, which is better.

19 Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart

Another Studio Ghibli entry, this is a slice of life with romance, fantasy & imagination.

The dub is ok.

20 Armitage III

Armitage III

Another cyberpunk anime, although made in 1995 it feels like it belongs to the 80s, both for story and style. If you are a sci-fi fan you may want to give this a try.

The dub is ok, but I recommend the Sub, which is better.

21 Armitage III Dual-Matrix

Armitage III Dual-Matrix

ContinuationĀ of the story.

22 3x3 Eyes

3x3 Eyes

Not perfect by any means and with a look closer tot he 80s, this is the only mystic anime to make it into this list.

The dub is ok, but I recommend the Sub, which is better.

23 3x3 Eyes: Seima Densetsu

3x3 Eyes: Seima Densetsu

ContinuationĀ of the story.

24 Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Evangelion - Watching Guide

Let me begin by saying that contrary to the majority, I'm not a fan of this series and although I understand the message, it doesn't mean I have to like or agree with it. For me, the whole series is summarized with the very last sentence at The End of Evangelion (which I won't spoil here but if you already watch it you'll probably remember what Asuka said). 

However, this is one of the most controversial animes of all time and it does have amazing visuals which still put other animes to shame today, it is truly an amazing work in character designs by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto that deserves all praise for his creativity. Furthermore, this is a favorite of many people, so as pointed by ScorpioVelvet this list it's not complete without at least mentioning it and you should decide for yourself to watch it or not.

"Evangelion was more experimental on both its storytelling & animation at the time yet it was another "end-of-the-world" mecha story, but also focused on the psychological issues our main characters go through in life while saving the world - think Ingmar Bergman or David Lynch doing the original Macross Series in style of the films 2001: A Space Odyssey & Ordinary People into the anime universe. Some viewers can relate to some characters in the series (like myself with Misato because of her personality, for example) as well to their lives, too, along with trying to understand the philosophy & religion the series also focused on at times.

As for I'd say Attack On Titan being today's "greatest anime of all time", I would truly recommend watching both the original series & The End of Evangelion (although, the Rebuild Films are good but they're little bit same & different as for "remaking" so stick with the original then) since there are great battle scenes and also challenging to watch so it's one that requires multiple viewings, as well deciding which ending on the series works best in your opinion. Another thing I would like to point out, too, is that series director Hideaki Anno also did a little OVA series before that would later inspire portions for Evangelion & that title is Gunbuster of course (since it also has mechas). I think Evangelion is very good in my opinion because it has a very epic storyline yet hard to follow, great action-packed sequences, plenty of good or bad characters to fulfill the series' storylines/themes, brilliant animation that made GAINAX a household name, and some really bizarre moments hard to get off your head once viewing the entire series. Also watching The End of Evangelion helped a bit, too, because of how it should have ended the first place plus the storyline." -ScorpioVelvet

One of the best answers that I have read about why this series is good and loved by so much is the following by Celeriac:

"NGE seems to be tailor-made for dealing with angst, depression and anxiety that many otaku have undoubtedly experienced. It portrays the symptoms of having a small and insecure perspective on life, and shows what could alleviate such a thing.

The message that I can infer is that people want to feel safe, accepted and loved, and to have something to live for. When they don't feel that way, they tend to develop psychological issues. There's no need to justify or feel sorry for your existence and participation in this world: you're in the same boat as anyone else. Life can be a hassle sometimes, but there's not much else to do, unless you want to ponder whether to exist at all." -Celeriac

Here are some of the reasons (every link contains spoilers) why you should watch this anime and I have many reasons why I don't like it, here is one. Here is a video explaining the series and why it's good. And here is video that attempts to explain the message.

TV SERIES VS REBUILD MOVIES

If you are wondering if you should watch the Original TV Series or the Rebuild Movies, then you should know the stories diverge around the middle. Here is an article that depicts the differences, but it contains spoilers. The main difference is "The original series comes from the “inside” perspective of someone in the midst of depression, Rebuild (the movies) comes from the “outside” perspective of someone who has recovered from that state."

However, there is also a theory that Rebuild is actually a continuation of the story, since it's implied that they are on a loop, perhaps something similar to When They Cry: Higurashi and what we are seeing there is a continuation of what happened on the TV Series & The End of Evangelion. As mentioned, the stories diverge and they change some Angels. Some events are different, new characters are introduced and it reaches a different outcome.

The dub is great!

25 Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion

This is supposed to be the "True Ending", replacing the last 2 episodes of the anime. It has an expanded narrative and more amazing visuals.

"A more concrete and immediate perspective to the end part of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Showcases humanity's conflicting yearnings to be both united and apart. What is life/existence without boundaries?" -Celeriac

There are 2 versions of the dub. Both are ok, the old version is preferable due to the use of curse words. I still recommend the sub if you want the best experience.

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ScorpioVelvet Aug 1, 2018

Essential!

(Where's Evangelion? :D)