Top 20 Must Watch Anime from the 1990s

There are more anime than ever to watch as the anime business expands quickly. As a result of the numerous anime that was produced throughout this decade, the anime industry underwent a permanent change. Even though some of the anime from the 1990s might not be the most appealing to a novice, it is crucial to see them at least once because of their profound influence on the field. Anime from the 1990s are a different vibe altogether. In light of this, we have included the Top 20 Must Watch Anime from the 1990s for fans to enjoy.

Key the Metal Idol

Tokiko Mima is the story’s central character. Murao Mima, her scientist grandfather, created Key, a robot. Dr. Mima builds Key a new body every year on her birthday, each one size larger. Mima records his will on audio tape on his deathbed. Revealing that Key can become human with the help of 30,000 friends. Key must act quickly before her battery dies. It is one of the Top Anime from the 1990s.

Cowboy Bebop

Jet Black, Faye Valentine, and the others aboard the Bebop, Bebop is an interstellar craft. They have their sights set on a lucrative reward in this acclaimed Japanese animation. If they want to collect it, they’ll have to bring in the man responsible for releasing poison on Mars. Although it appears that their biggest challenge is catching up with the infamous Vincent Volaju. The skies in the 2070s are even more difficult than the Bebop team realizes. It is one of the Top Anime from the 1990s.

Cowboy Bebop is a different genre in itself! With none of the episodes connected together, it’s just a different story each episode. This might leave someone with a different feeling at every single episode. Filled with Sci-fi elements, great characters, great setting in every episode, it’s incredible.

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot currently has seven playable characters that the player will guide throughout the story. Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Piccolo, Future Trunks, Gotenks, and Vegito are among them. The player will unlock new characters to play as they progress through the game. In addition to the playable characters, the player will be able to choose two supporting characters to assist them. Each with its unique special moves. Krillin, Yamcha, Tien Shinhan, Chiaotzu, Android 18, Goten, and Kid Trunks are some of the current characters. It is one of the Top Anime from the 1990s.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Seele, the secretive committee, learns that Shinji’s father, Gendo Ikari, intends to exploit Nerv, the paramilitary group that deploys the Evangelion units, for his purposes. Seele sends the Japanese Strategic Self-Defense Force to seize Nerv, killing the majority of the employees. Misato Katsuragi, a Nerv major, orders Asuka to transfer into Evangelion Unit 02 and placed at the bottom of a lake before rescuing Shinji from Self-Defense Force troops. Determined to have Shinji defend Nerv, he pulls him to the bay doors of Unit 01. However, he’s shot in the process. Misato begs Shinji to pilot Unit 01 before she dies, kisses him, and forces him into the elevator. Shinji comes across Unit 01, which has been immobilized in bakelite. It is one of the Top Anime from the 1990s that I can recommend anytime.

However, do not expect things to unveil as the episodes progress. Expecting for a massive twist at the end that completely changed your perspective on the story? Don’t, because that moment never comes. It’s not exactly a story based anime, but more of a different take. “No one understands Evangelion”, is a popular quote among the community. You can’t apply logic to Evangelion, but, it’s something that will stay with you for decades!


Best anime from 1990s

Guts is a lone warrior who was born from a hanging corpse. Raised by his adoptive father Gambino as a mercenary, Guts suffered a terrible childhood. In the end, Guts was forced to kill Gambino in self-defense. Griffith, the flamboyant commander of a mercenary organization known as the Band of the Hawk, is drawn to Guts’ frightening reputation. After defeating Guts in battle, Griffith compels him to join the group.

Guts rises through the ranks when the band’s recruited by the Midland Kingdom. It was during its century-long war against the Chuder Empire. Griffith’s goal is to control his own country and his mystery pendant known as a Behelit. It was instrumental when they were spared by Nosferatu Zodd, which would eventually be revealed to Guts. It is one of the Top Anime from the 1990s.

However, in this case, instead of the anime, I highly suggest you to read the Manga since the anime doesn’t completely adapt the story. Coming to the story, it’s an absolute masterpiece in addition to the beautifully crafted art by Miura Kentaro.

One Piece

Best old anime
Best 90s anime

Monkey D. Luffy’s a young man made of rubber. Inspired by his childhood idol, the powerful pirate “Red-Haired” Shanks, Luffy sets out from the East Blue Sea to find the mythical treasure, the One Piece. Also to proclaim himself King of the Pirates.

Rurouni Kenshin

Best 90s anime
Best anime from 1990s

During the revolutionary Meiji period, Japan underwent tremendous political changes. This is a time when vagrants and terrorists will use every method to prevent their country from being modernized. Even if it means trampling on the innocent in the process. At that time, Himura Kenshin, a wandering samurai, dedicated his life to protecting weak and desperate peasants from those who would oppress them. However, Kenshin has a dark past that threatens to destroy the values ​​he fights for. When he meets his new friends, Kaoru, Sanosuke, and Yahiko, and tries to build a peaceful life with them, events plot against him. Will Kenshin defeat the demons inside and out and finally ensure the peaceful future that Japan deserves? It is one of the Top Anime from the 1990s.

Yu Yu Hakusho

The series follows Yusuke Urameshi, a teen delinquent, hit by a car while attempting to save a child’s life. In the afterlife, he’s dubbed the Spirit Detective by Koenma and Botan. Tasked with investigating cases involving demons and apparitions, Yusuken must unveil many mysteries.

Yu Yu Hakusho is what gave birth to the likes of Hunter x Hunter. Yu Yu Hakusho set a different standard for anime at that time and it’s definitely one of the top 20 Must watch Anime from the 1990s.

Slam Dunk

Hanamichi Sakuragi isn’t interested in girls at all! It doesn’t help that he’s notorious for throwing down at the drop of a hat and always winning. Rejected by 50 females in a row, he’s become a hopeless bruiser! All of that changes when he meets Haruko, the girl of his dreams, and she isn’t frightened of him! When she introduces him to the game of basketball, Hanamachi’s life changes forever! It is definitely one of the Top Anime from the 1990s.

Slam Dunk is one of the greatest sports anime out there. Want to get an even better experience? Read the Manga!

Serial Experiments Lain

Lain Iwakura, a junior high school girl, lives in suburban Japan with her middle-class family, which includes her uncommunicative older sister Mika, her emotionally distant mother, and her computer-obsessed father; Lain herself is awkward, introverted, and socially isolated from the majority of her school peers. The status quo of her life, upended by a series of bizarre events that begin after she learns that girls at her school have received an e-mail from a deceased student, Chisa Yomoda, she pulls out her old computer to check for the same message. Lain receives an email from Chisa stating that she is not dead but has “abandoned her physical self” and is alive deep within the virtual realm of theWired.


As he progresses through the ranks of the world’s many Pokémon Leagues, Ash makes many human and Pokémon friends. As Ash travels through the Kanto Region, he meets Misty, a Water Pokémon trainer and former Cerulean City Gym Leader, and Brock, a Pokémon Breeder, and Pewter City Gym Leader.

The three trainers work together to foil the plans of Jessie, James, and Meowth, low-level members of the criminal organization Team Rocket who want to steal Ash’s Pikachu and any other rare Pokémon they come across. Giovanni, Team Rocket’s Boss, introduced three new high-ranking Team Rocket members: Cassidy, Butch, and Raticate, who want to kidnap Pokémon to use their moves. Ash obtains eight badges from Kanto Gym Leaders to compete in the Indigo Conference League.

At this point, everyone knows Pokémon, it’s in their “childhood blood”. However, if you didn’t obtain the Pokémon blood, it’s still not too late to watch it. Even though it isn’t heavily driven by characters, it doesn’t need to be. Pokémon is just so enjoyable!


Leader of a biker gang, Shotaro Kaneda and his childhood friend Tetsuo Shima are the leads of the anime. The setting of the anime takes place after WWIII broke out and Tokyo is destroyed due to it. Tetsuo gains powers after a tragic motorbike accident, the anime ascends with his telekinetic powers.  

With the duration of 2h 4m, at first Akira seems pretty understandable. Later, with many twists, new developments, Akira takes a very different turn (one that I liked). Akira’s animation’s way ahead of it’s time with incredible character designs and key frames! It’s confusing, but a beautiful watch!

Great Teacher Onizuka

With these realizations, he sets out to become the greatest teacher ever, employing his brand of philosophy and the ability to do almost anything under duress. Hired as a long-shot teacher by a privately run school in Kichijji to tame a class that has driven one teacher to an undetermined death, another to a nervous breakdown, and yet another to join a cult, Onizuka goes through it al!

Onizuka embarks on a self-discovery mission, reaching out to each student one by one and assisting each student in overcoming their problems and learning to genuinely enjoy life. He employs unconventional, illegal, and potentially life-threatening methods, yet he is successful in educating and opening up to his students.

Great Teacher Onizuka is a rollercoaster of sadness, happiness and all other emotions. The anime might seem really old than the others in the list, however, it shouldn’t let you not watch this brilliant anime. With really well-written characters, GTO brings a great experience.

Surrounding topics like bullying, difficulties of being a teacher, dreams and perversion, Great Teacher Onizuka definitely deserves the spot of top 20 anime from the 1990s!

Detective Conan

Shinichi Kudo, a seventeen-year-old master detective, possessed everything. He could solve any problem brought to his attention in record time. Ran, his high school friend, karate expert, and her father is a bumbling private investigator, driven insane by the fact that Shinichi gets all of the good cases. Shinichi and Ran become separated one day while visiting an amusement park. Shinichi becomes aware of a shady transaction and observes two men in dark trenchcoats. After being apprehended, the men intend to kill him with an experimental poison. However, things do not always go as planned.

Detective Conan is a long running series with actually good detective elements. Mind games are at a different level altogether!


The ultimate being in the Slayers universe is the Lord of Nightmares, the creator of at least four parallel worlds. The Claire Bible is an artifact that contains information about the Lord of Nightmares’ task of regaining its “true form”. This can only be accomplished by destroying these worlds and returning them to the chaos that it is. However, for unknown reasons, the Lord of Nightmares has not yet acted on this desire. Gods and demons fight endlessly on each of these worlds. If the gods win a world war, that world will be at peace. If the monsters win, the world will be destroyed and thrown back into the Sea of Chaos.

Princess Mononoke

Where the battle becomes God’s of forests versus humans. Prince Ashiktaka finds himself the peacemaker between the two amidst his quest to lift the deadly curse set upon him. He meets San, a woman raised in the wild.  

City Hunter

The series follows the exploits of Ryo Saeba, a “sweeper” who is always chasing pretty girls, and a private detective who works to rid Tokyo of crime, along with his associate or partner, Hideyuki Makimura. Their “City Hunter” company, an underground jack-of-all-trades operation, can be reached by writing “XYZ” on a blackboard at Shinjuku Station.

Hideyuki’s murdered one day. Ryo’s forced to care for Hideyuki’s sister, Kaori, a tomboy. She becomes his new partner in the process. Kaori, on the other hand, is very vulnerable and jealous, frequently hitting Ryo with a giant hammer when he does something perverted. The plot also follows Ryo and Kaori’s behind-the-scenes romance and how they work together throughout each mission. City Hunter definitely deserves a spot in the top anime from the 1990s.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

After decades of oppression from the United Earth Sphere Alliance and its secret weapons organization, OZ, a group of rebels in the space colonies send down five mobile suits known as “Gundams” to overthrow the militaristic regime in the year After Colony 195. Four of the Gundams make it to Earth safely, but the fifth, intercepted by OZ’s Lieutenant Zechs Merquise during its descent, crashes into the Pacific Ocean.

Captain Tsubasa

Tsubasa meets Taro Misaki, who has traveled throughout Japan as a result of his father’s job and soon joins Nankatsu. On and off the field, the two become best friends, forming a partnership that becomes known as Nankatsu’s “Golden Duo” or “dynamic duo.”

Soon after, Tsubasa and his Nankatsu team begin competing against the best elementary school football players, including Kojiro Hyuga, Ken Wakashimazu, Jun Misugi, and Hikaru Matsuyama, and many others. Tsubasa’s Nankatsu team wins numerous youth national championships, and he wins the U-17 World Championships for Japan by defeating Italy 2-1 in the group stages, Argentina 5-4 in the semifinals, France 4-4 in the finals, and West Germany 3-2 in the finals before leaving the country to play.

Tenkuu no Escaflowne

The series follows Hitomi, a teenage high school girl, drawn from Earth to the planet Gaea when a boy named Van appears on the high school track while fighting a dragon. Caught in the middle of a war in Gaea as the Zaibach Empire attempts to take over the country, she attempts her best to survive. Van (King of Fanelia), with the assistance of Allen (an Asturian Knight), pilots his mystical mech Escaflowne in the fight against the Zaibach Empire. In Gaea, Hitomi’s fortune-telling abilities blossom as she becomes the key to awakening Escaflowne and thwarting Zaibach’s plans.

That’s all folks! These were the Top 20 Must-watch Anime from the 1990s. If you know any more anime from the 1990s do mention them in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you!

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