My Top Ten Retro Anime

Posted by HelloChica 89 on

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Over the past 20-something years, I've been exposed to a lot of anime. My very first anime was The Fable of Green Forest when I was 2 or 3 years old. (I still have some episodes on tape.) Toonami, The SyFy Channel, Showtime, and the local video rental store gave me access to many series and movies that I still enjoy to this day. In this post, I list 10 of my favorite retro anime of all time. This includes movies, shows, and OVAs. I love so many so this list can change from time to time. 

1. Dragon Ball (1986-1989): Like many other American children in the 90s, I was exposed to Dragon Ball Z before I saw the original series. My sister bought us a copy of the film Curse of the Blood Rubies and I was hooked. I finally got to see the series in its entirety on Toonami when it aired in the early 2000s. It was then that I realized that I loved it more than Dragon Ball Z. The pacing, the character designs, and the music are fantastic and mesh well together. But most of all, I love the fight scenes. The martial arts choreography is out of this world and it is what draws me to this series. I watched it again this past summer and it still holds up in 2020. 

2. Tenchi Forever (1999): This film is the last in the Tenchi Muyo series. What I liked about this movie is that it is very off-brand from typical Tenchi media. While it starts off with slapstick humor, it very quickly progresses into a serious storyline. The two main female characters, Ayeka (Jennifer Darling) and Ryoko (Petrea Buchard), constantly fight for Tenchi's love and affection. But their bickering runs Tenchi (Matt K. Miller) off and eventually, he's whisked away to another world. The pair have to work together to save their loved one and it is interesting to see them out of their element. 

    3. Lupin the Third Part II (1977-1980): This franchise has many movies, series, and OVAs that I've enjoyed over the years but Part II (1 of 5) is my favorite Lupin series yet. If you watched Adult Swim in the early aughts, you may have caught a glimpse of this bizarre show. Although it is from the 70s, Pioneer's English dub was funny and fresh. (Tony Oliver's take on Lupin will always be my favorite!) I enjoyed the "crime of the day" format of the episodes and the overall ridiculousness of their heist. Plus, the theme song (which is used for most Lupin media), is a catchy and memorable. Lupin, Fujiko, Jigen, Goemon, and Zenigata still hold a special place in my heart. 

    4. Dragon Ball Z: The World's Strongest (1990): I admit, I did not like Dragon Ball Z when I first saw it on TV. Everyone was just standing around and the sky was green. I was immediately turned off. However, Cartoon Network started airing the first three films. It was then that I became hooked. Although I love all three of them, The World's Strongest is my favorite one. The storyline was fresh, the animation was clean, and best of all, it features the song "Piccolo San Daisuki" (I Love You, Mr. Piccolo). I am also a huge fan of the original Ocean Dub cast and I loved hearing Peter Kelamis as Goku. (That Kaioken is everything!) Ocean Dub|Funimation Dub

    5. Sailor Moon (1992-1997): No retro anime list is complete without Sailor Moon. It's iconic. I know that not everyone enjoyed it (for various reasons) but it was enjoyable to me! Our unlikely hero was lazy, always hungry, and a terrible student. Even if you could not relate to Usagi, the other Sailor Scouts were just as ordinary and I loved it. Ami was super smart, Makoto was a tom boy, Minako was boy crazy, and Rei was super serious. They studied for tests during the day and kicked butt at night and I ate it up every day. 

    6. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989): Kiki was my first Studio Ghibli film and it is still in my top 5. Disney channel played this movie nonstop and I watched it almost every time. Kirsten Dunst's Kiki was sweet and Phil Hartman's Jiji was unforgettable. Although full of magic, this coming-of-age story is believable. Kiki's journey to become a better witch is a story that many children from the 80's and 90's could relate to. I still watch this one from time to time. 

    7. Pokémon (1996-present): To this day, I want to own a pet Bulbasaur. Although the premise is simple, you cannot deny the impact it had on pop culture in the 90s. The story of Ash, Pikachu, and their friends trying to become the "very best" is a fun one. I enjoyed seeing all of the different Pokémon and laughing at Team Rocket's antics.(They are the true stars of the show). I have not kept up with the new seasons but I still enjoy playing the games. (Pokémon Stadium for the N64 is my favorite one!) 

    8. The Big O (1999-2003): I revisited this series recently and it is still as sleek as ever. In all honestly, the show was a cross between Gundam and Batman: The Animated series and it worked! Although the storyline can be confusing, the characters and music make up for it. I got chills every time the theme song began. When Roger (Steve Blum) called on Big O, I felt like I was there with him. He and Dorothy's relationship was fun to watch and I liked to see them work together. Dorothy (Wendee Lee) is still one of my Best Girls! 

    9. FLCL (2000): I had to watch this show about 3 times, read the manga, and read the light novels to fully understand it. Pronounced "Fooly Cooly" this series about growing up is full of crude and rude comedy and it's awesome. 12 year old Naota Nandaba's boring life (voiced by Barbara Goodson) is interrupted by the pink-haired alien, Haruko Haruhara (Kari Wahlgren). The animation is sleek, the comedy is gold, and the music is perfect. The slamming soundtrack by jrock band The Pillows is the perfect companion to the series. 

    10. Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996): As mentioned before, it took awhile for me to become a fan of this series. But once I was hooked, I never let go. I love the characters, the story, the music, and the overall theme of forgiveness. Son Gohan will always be my favorite anime character and this will always be my favorite show. 


    There are many other retro anime that I could add to this list but the 10 listed here are the closest to my heart. What series would you add? What would you take off? Let me know below! 

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