Here are some of the must watch Vintage Anime!

When people talk about “Anime Classics”, they will usually name some of the most popular anime from the 90s, or sometimes as early as the 00s. While the 90s started what I personally refer to as the “anime boom”, when anime and manga became more well known worldwide, anime is almost as old as animation itself. In order to qualify for this list, all the anime we will be listing will be created before 1990. If you like our list, leave a like! If you don’t see your fave, feel free to leave a comment! Anime Gem tries not to repeat anime over multiple lists, so check out our other lists for other recomendations!

  1. Astro Boy (1963)

If you know anything about anime or manga, you should probably recognize the name Osamu Tezuka, who is referred to as the “God of Manga”. If you’re not familiar with his work now, you should be by the end of this list. Astro Boy is probably one of the most well known out of this list due to the 2009 American and Hong Kong made movie of the same name with an all star cast, which was a bomb in box office but recieved average ratings. Astro Boy follows the story of a young android, who was to replace his creators son who died in a car accident. Astro Boy soon becomes a well known hero, and learns to feel like a real human. Astro Boy is influential for being the first anime released to the US, and although the voice acting was quite notoriously bad, the translation was actually handled with care, although unfortuntely over 80 episodes didn’t make it to the US, although fan translations can be found for most of them. Astro Boy continues to be influencial in both animation and the superhero genre, and while it has outdated aspects, overall it still holds up in modern times.

2. Speed Racer (1967)

You might be thinking “Wait, that’s an anime” if you are familar with the series due to its several reboots airing on mainstream channels such as Nickeloadeon, and the original series often running along side Hannah Barbara cartoons in the late 60s and 70s, and the unsuccessful live action movies made by The Matrix creators (although if you ask for my personal opinion, which may be entirely nostalgia based, it’s actually good). If you know anything about this series, it’s probably the painfully catchy theme song you still hear hummed around to this very day. The plot is relatively simple, Speed Racer wishes to be the best racer in the world, and episodes revolve around things preventing his goal to be achieved. With only 4 voice actors in the English verison, and reused animation, some aspects of the show are laughably bad. However, it’s still a good time if you like old cartoons, and surprisingly Speed’s girlfriend Trixie is more than a damsel in distress. This anime kickstarted every little boys and girls love for cars, and continues to be entertaining in modern times.

3. Candy Candy (1976)

Although more recently western media has been vastly influenced by anime, anime in the 60s and 70s were often heavily inspired by North American and European Literature. Candy Candy stars Candy, an orphan girl who lives in the early 20th century America at an orphanage known as Pony’s Home. Candy is known for her mischievous behavior, and her closeness to another girl named Annie who was abandoned on the same day as Candy. After Annie is adopted, Candy is devestated, and soon follows the dramatic tale of her life. Although some of the animation is dated, the character designs in Candy Candy are quite charming. And although melodrama can sometimes be exhausting, Candy Candy handles its soap opera-ish format well, and takes the time to develop its characters. Candy is just as lovable as Anne of Anne of Green Gables or Little Orphan Annie, and is deserving of the same praise.

4. Cutie Honey (1973)

Although famous creator Go Nagai is more well known for his Devil Man series, Cutie Honey is arguably just as important to anime history, if not more so. Cutie Honey stars Honey, a seemingly regular girl who causes trouble at her Catholic school. One day, Honey discovers that she is an android, and her creator/father has been killed by an evil organization known as Pather Claw, which she swears revenge on. Honey learns that she can transform into 7 different forms, with her warrior form Cutie Honey being her main. Cutie Honey is known for being credited as the first Magical Girl Warrior anime (a genre that will later be seen in Sailor Moon and Madoka Magica) and also created the traditional magical girl transformation. Honey is also the first shonen anime to feature a female lead, who appealed to both boys and girls. Despite some of its questionable moments of “Fan service” (uncomfortable sexualization of the lead character) the show is honestly as good as any modern day superhero anime. Cutie Honey also features several other adaptations, including a shojo version in Cutie Honey F and a live action movie directed by Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno. Honey was also recently adapted in 2018, it’s safe to say that we will be seeing more of this android girl in the future.

5. Cyborg 009 (1968)

An early sci-fi anime, Cyborg 009 has a plot that could easily be created into a block buster hit. Cybor 009 tells the story about 9 people who were kidnapped and turned into cyborgs in order to use them weapons. A scientist helps them rebel and the 9 eventually escape, but continue to have to fight against corrupt people. Despite being in black and white and over half a century old, Cyborg 009 still has a following, and for good reason. It continues to get adaptations, including a Netflix original, and the plot is just as epic today as it was back then.

6. Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974)

As described early, anime in the 70s was often inspired by European literature, and this includes direct adaptations of it as well. World Masterpiece Theater had a “Classic Children’s Literature” period from 1974-1997, with their most popular one being their adaptation of Heidi. Following the plot of the original novels, Heidi is a young girl who moves to the alps and lives with her grandfather and befriends a young goat herd named Peter. Heidi later on moves to the city and becomes close with a sickly girl named Clara, before moving back to her beloved alps. This anime was directed by Studio Ghibli’s co-founder Isao Takahata, and featured animations from the more well known Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki. Although some character designs were rather simple, they work, and some of the scenery is some of the best in animation peroid. Plus, it is as sweet and endearing as any other adaptation of the story.

7. The Rose of Versailles (1979)

Outside of just being a great anime, The Rose of Versailles is a great period piece. The story takes place during the French Revolution, and stars noblewoman Oscar, a woman raised as a man in order to be captain of the royal guard. The story later focuses in on the government of France at the time, and most noticeably takes a realistic approach to Marie Antoinette, instead as being potrayed as an evil, lustful woman who isn’t too bright like most believe her to be, or more recent potrayals of her being a victim, Rose of Versailles paints her in a sympathetic light while acknowleging that she was flawed. Oscar soon becomes a revolutionary leader as she realizes how horrible the French people are being treated. Featuring themes of feminism, sexuality, and gender, along with having one of the most gorgeous art styles that even high end fashion label Moschino took inspiration from, The Rose of Versailles doesn’t have a single aspect that feels dated.

8. Lupin the Third (1971)

Out of all the anime on this list, Lupin the third has the strongest modern following. The anime follows Arsene Lupin the III, the grandson of the gentleman thief from the 1905 French Arsene Lupin novels, and his escapades. The release of the series saw a birth of a franchise, with the second movie Castle of Cagliostro directed by Miyazaki inspiring other works such as Cowboy Bebop. Every installation has recieved critical praise, including the recent 2019 film Lupin III: The First, which is known for being the most visually appealing CGI anime to date. The character of Lupin and the rest of the cast are very appealing, and can be enjoyable to anybody.

9. Princess Knight (1967)

As mentioned, Osamu Tezuka is a name you should know. Princess Knight is a traditional fairy tale story starring Princess Sapphire, a girl who was born with both a male and female heart. An angel named Tink attempts to remove her boy heart, but Sapphire fights him off because she wishes to take over the kingdom. Although some outdated gender roles are presented, Princess Knight is a feminist story that inspired other works like the previously mentioned Rose of Verasilles and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Princess Knight is also known for being the first anime to be targeted toward girls, and its impact can be seen in modern day shoujo.

10. Gigantor (1963)

Known for being the first Mech anime, Gigantor helped pioneer stories of robots in sci-fi. The story follows a young 12 year old robot polite in the year 2000. Gigantor is later programmed into being a defender of peace, and becomes a superhero of sorts. Gigantor’s influence can be seen in cult classic The Iron Giant and the very popular Pacific Rim series of film. It may seem somewhat cliche now, but this was the beginning of the giant robot phenomenon, it’s a piece of history in a way.

SOME of the best Shonen titles!

Shonen, one of the most popular genre of anime. Mostly known for its fight scenes, Shonen anime has more than what meets the eye. Like our list? Didn’t see your favorite? Comment below and let Anime Gem know! Anime Gem tries to find different anime for every list we make, so if you don’t see your fave, check out our other lists.

  1. Trigun (1998)

Often overshadowed by the more well known space western of the same year Cowboy Bebop, Trigun is one of the best underrated anime of all time. Following famous gunsman with a sixty billion dollar bounty on his head known as Vash the Stampede, insurance agents Milly Thompson and Meryl Stryfe track him down in order to prevent more damage to the town. Despite being known as an outlaw, the girls begin to realize that he is a true pacifist, and Vash himself doesn’t seem to remember much of his past. Eventually teaming up with priest Nicholas D. Wolfwood, Vash and the insurance agents get caught up in dangerous scenarios and learn more about Vash’s past. With incredible characterization and twist and turns along the way, Trigun has something for everybody.

2. Mob Psycho 100 (2016)

Mob Psycho 100 may be the weirdest anime I’ve ever seen, but it is also most definitely one of my favorites. Shigeo Kageyama is an average middle school student nicknamed Mob for his lack of presence, but he is secretly an esper with incredible psychic powers. Shigeo reached out to a self-proclaimed psychic Reigan Arataka in order to regulate his powers despite Reigan being a con-man. In order to prevent himself from losing control of his powers, Mob supresses his emotions, which isn’t too hard until dangerous espers like the Claw organization use their powers for bad. Mob Psycho has an art style that is very 60s psychedelic inspired, which has a strong visual appeal. And despite the weirdness of the plot, Mob Psycho surprisingly has a lot of emotional moments between the characters, and it has a very refreshing take on what makes a hero.

3. Samurai Champloo (2004)

Influenced by both western culture and Edo period Japan, Samurai Champloo is really a stand out anime. The story goes back to the post to when Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa Shogunate, but in an alternate universe with a distinct hip-hop and rap inspired flair. The story follows Fuu, a 15 year old girl who teams up with samurai Mugen, who is very brash and rude, and the more stoic samurai Jin. The three are in search of the mysterious “Samurai who smells of sunflowers” and go on their journey together. Despite its noticeable hip-hop elements, Samurai Champloo offers a mostly accurate vision of Edo Japan with actual historical pieces of history woven into its narrative, which only adds to the main story. The soundtrack is also notoriously good, being listed on IGNs Top Ten Anime Themes and Soundtracks of All Time.

4. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

It was hard to put this on a shonen list because Evangelion is so much more than a shonen. In fact, the show itself is a deconstruction on the traditional shonen format. Originally this would be placed on my beginners list, but honestly Evangelion may be a little too intimating for a first time anime watcher despite it being one of the most important series of all time. It’s a must watch, but be warned, it’s a lot. 15 years after a global cataclysm known as the Second Impace, the story follows 14 year old Shinji Ikari who is sent to the city Tokyo-3 by the paramilitary force Nerv to fight alien beings refered to as angels. Shinji is joined by two other girls his age, the quiet Rei Ayanami and the insufferable Asuka Langley Soryu, and they fight along side each other in bio-machines known as Evangelions. The plot may seem like a typical dystopian anime at first, but it slowly dives deep into themes of trauma and mental health, and features religious symbolism and Freudian and Jung theories in its core plot. Along with the extremely disturbing yet artistically beautiful story featuring a great cast, also includes one of the greatest opening and ending themes of any show, which you won’t want to skip even if you watch the entire series in one sitting.

5. Hunter x Hunter (2011)

Although it’s already a decade old, Hunter x Hunter remains one of the top most popular anime list. The story follows Gon Freecss, an 11 year old boy who dreams of becoming a hunter. Hunters are liscensed elite members of society who can track down secret treasures, animals, or even people. Gon joins the Hunter examination in order to find his father he presumed dead, and believes that becoming a hunter like him would help him become closer to him. Gon becomes close to 3 other applicants, Kurapika, the last member of his clan who vows to avenge, Leorio, a 19 year old who wants to become a hunter to make money, and Killua, a boy Gon’s age who escaped his family of assassins. The story follows distinct arcs that all have their own appeal, but be warned that the ending will feel a little rushed. This is due to the manga still being incomplete, despite it starting over 20 years ago. Due to several health concerns of the author, the manga series is on hiatus but is promised to be finished no matter what. Despite the ending not being totally resolved yet, the show is great anyways, and fans are more than willing to wait to see its perfect conclusion.

6. Beastars (2019)

Probably the most recent selections from my list as its second season started airing in 2021, Beastars may not be for everyone, but it’s defintely worth the watch. Often criticized by nonviewers for seeming like a Zootopia fanfiction, Beastars is more than what meets the eye. A society where carnivores and herbivores seem at surface level “equal”, the increase in violence towards herbivores by carnivores has caused several clashes between the two groups. The story follows Legoshi, who is shy and timid, the exact oposite of a traditional carnivore. Legoshi begins to develop complex, yet romantic feelings for Haru, a small white drawf rabbit who is tired of being pitied by those around her. The series tackles mature themes with a unique animation style and an actual well developed romance between the two leads. It’s dark, but the story will defintely get you hooked.

7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (2012)

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is known more notoriously for it’s -well, rather outspoken fanbase rather than the show itself. Which is unfortunate because the show actually very good. The story follow the Joestar family across several generations, who are all given the nickname JoJo. The Joestars have special ablities, the first two parts have the titular JoJo’s use a breathing techique known as Hamon, and later Jojo’s have Stands, a manifestation of their fighting spirit. The show itself is bizarre (pun intended) but has some of the funnist action scenes ever seen in a show, and music geeks will love the fact that a large majority of the stands and even some of the characters are named after songs or famous musicians, the ending theme also features a hit song usually from the decade the part takes place in. Although you might prefer some parts over the others, it is worth it to watch the entire series as it really does enhance the rest of it. And with part 6 starring the first female JoJo, Jolyne in the works, it would be the perfect opportunity to catch up.

8. Lucky Star (2007)

This might seem like a bizarre choice compared to the other series on the list, but I didn’t put it here for no reason. Although just a silly gag slice-of-life series, Lucky Star is very endearing. Following lazy girl Konata Izumi who spends all of her time gaming, watching anime, and reading manga. The story features her friends and teachers in various day to day, yet ridiculous activities. This show can only really be enjoyed by those who already watch anime as most of the humor is based around jokes about other anime, but if you’re already an anime fan and just want something light and funny, I couldn’t recommend it more!

9. Ranma 1/2 (1989)

A shonen classic, Ranma 1/2 is often overlooked by younger anime fans. Maybe it’s the silly plot or because it hasn’t recieved any recent reboots, but it’s still an enjoyable series. The story follows Ranma, a martial artist with a curse that turns him female every time he is splashed with cold water, and hot water turns him back into a boy. Ranma tries to get rid of his curse, but his friends, family, and many fiancees get in his way. Despite mostly being a comedy, Ranma actually has some insightful things to say about gender, and its way of story telling has inspired many western series like Scott Pilgrim and the Shantae videogame series. Although a shonen, the show was written for both woman and young children in mind, which makes it appealing for everyone.

10. Fist of the North Star (1984)

The oldest of the list, Fist of the North Star is the most popular anime you probably won’t even recognize the name of. The story follows Kenshiro, the decendent of an ancient martial artist who becomes a hero to the post apocalyptic society he lives in. With its visual style obviously resembled the later Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series, but also the more known by name Beserk anime, and also served inspiration for Mortal Kombat. Even though it’s not as big in the US, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Omae Wa Mou Shindeiru” (“You are already dead”) at least once, and it’s also the favorite anime of WWE fighter John Cena. Despite being the oldest anime on this list, this series still remains popular and relevent, becoming one of the most highest grossing franchises of all time and continuing to remain influencial.

Here are 10 of the best shoujo titles!

You might think that because a series is aimed towards young girls it might be overally cute with no real substance, but that isn’t the case with these series! Shoujo anime, which can translate roughly into “Girl’s anime”, is one of the most popular genres in the medium, for both boys and girls.

Like our list? Don’t see your favorite series? Comment below! Anime Gem tries not to repeat anime on multiple lists, so check out our blog page to see what else we recommend!

  1. Sailor Moon (1991)

It would be impossible to make a shoujo list without mentioning one of the first “anime for girls” popularized in the United States. Sailor Moon follows Usagi Tsukino, a middle school student given the ability to transform as a leotard clad warrior who can kick the butts of any villain attempting to attack Earth. Usagi later joins her lovable cast of friends who fight along beside her. Sailor Moon is undoubtably one of the most successful anime of all time, and with good reason too. Its storytelling manages to both be serious, comical, and at times a little ridiculous. A franchise gartering $13 billion in sales, and even having its own on ice performance coming soon, it’s safe to say that the Sailor Guardians story of love, acceptance, and girl power still resonates with mainstream audiences.

2. Fruits Basket (2001) and Remake (2019)

There’s a reason this show continuously gets praised by many. With a story that’s sweet, emotional, and magical, there is something for everybody to enjoy. The story follows Tohru, an orphan girl, who move in with a popular classmate. When accidentally falling into his arms, he turns into a cat, and learns the Soma family curse of being possessed by the Chinese zodiacs. Not only is Fruits Basket a fan favorite, but a favorite of the critics as well, being praised for characterization and pacing.

3. Princess Tutu (2002)

While it can be argued to be a shonen (yes, a show tilted Princess Tutu actually does appeal to young boys), there’s a reason I decided to put it on my shojo list. Princess Tutu follow Ahiru (or “Duck” in English), a duck who turned into a human girl while wearing a magical amulet, but later gets the ability to transform into the beautiful ballerina Princess Tutu in order to return the shattered heart of Prince Seigfried. The characters of the story are being controlled by Drosselmeyer, a ghost of an author who can make stories come to life, who died before finishing his final story. As a ghost, his main goal is to finish his masterpiece. The story follows regular story conventions of a classic shojo anime, but turns them on their head. I think a story in which a young female protagonist learns that she is control of her own story is extremely appealing to the shojo demographic, and proves that even shows with names like Princess Tutu can have some substance.

4. Nana (2006)

Fans have been waiting impatiently for any update on the Nana manga that has been on an indefinite hiatus for over a decade, it’s safe to say that the tale of the two Nanas have made an impact of people. The story follows Nana Komatsu, a small town girl who moved to Tokyo in order to follow her dreams. She then meets Nana Oosaki, the lead vocalist of a punk band. The girls then become roommates, as the story continues, it dives into the many issues they face together. Nana is praised for how it effortlessly tackles darker subject matter, beautiful art, and the incredible fashion the characters sport. The studio who made Nana stated that they will make another season when (or if) the manga is completed, which will hopefully be sometime soon!

5. Natsume’s Book of Friends (2008)

Natsume’s Book of Friends is refreshing for many reasons. Firstly, the protagonist is a teenage boy, and secondly, there is no romance. Natsumi is constantly chased by youkai spirits, and has been followed by them since childhood. The story follows Natsume as he recieves the “Book of friends”, a list of spirits who served his late grandmother, and the spirits do what they can to earn their freedom. This anime is known for the relaxing and magical feeling it radiates.

6. Revolutionary Girl Utena

Not only is Utena one of the most influencial shoujo anime of all time, but it is also one of the most influencial anime period. Utena stars Utena Tenjou, a 14 year old girl who was so inspired to by the prince who saved her in her childhood, that she vowed to become a prince herself. The ring Utena was given by the prince got her involved in a dueling organization that are fighting for the hand of the mysterious “Rose Bride”, Anthy Himemiya. Utena continues to fight in order to protect Anthy, and the two eventually become close. Revolutionary Girl Utena’s romantic relationship between its two female leads, visuals, and unique storytelling have influenced modern western cartoons, including Steven Universe and Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

7. Pretty Cure (2004)

While the previously mentioned Sailor Moon is often dubbed as “Power Rangers for girls” by people in the west, the statement can be applied more accurately to the Pretty Cure franchise. Since 2004, a new installation of an entirely different team of powerful magical superheroines is released every year. Although a lot of the success of Pretty Cure is due to the adorable weapons designed perfectly for merchandise, that isn’t to say that care isn’t put into the show itself. Each season has a totally different feel, but you can gurantee that it will have an unique story, likable characters, and fight scenes that are worthy of MCU standards.

8. Gakuen Alice (2004)

Unlike the other series listed that are dramatic with dark themes, Gakuen Alice is a lighthearted comedy anime. Sakura Mikan and her friends go to Alice Academy, a school for young students with “special abilities” called Alices. Sakura and her friends soon learn about the mysteries of the academy, which they work together to solve. If you’re just looking for a sweet power of friendship pick-me-up, Gakuen Alice definitely gives off that sweet engery you’re craving!

9. Yona of the Dawn (2014)

The fantasy genre is known for its immersive world-building and fantastic character arcs, and both of these things can apply to Yona of the Dawn. Taking place 2000 years ago in the fictional nation of Kouka, which is inspired by several ancient-Asian cultures, the story starts when the king is killed by his own nephew as an attempt to overtake the kingdom, princess Yona runs away with her bodyguard as a fugitive. Learning that her kingdom is actually in ruins, Yona follows an ancient myth in order to restore the land. With well executed coming of age adventure and an incredible soundtrack, it’s easy to see why fans and critics both praise the series.

10. Mysterious Thief Saint Tale (1995)

Often overlooked by Shoujo readers, Saint Tail has a small but loyal following. The story centers Haneoka Meimi, the daughter of a talented stage magician and a phantom thief. Meimi combines both skills she learns from both parents to become Saint Tail, a Robin Hood character who uses stage magic to avoid getting caught. What follows is a cute relationship between Meimi and the junior detective trying to catch her. A refreshing take on the magical girl genre, Saint Tail still holds up decades later.

The Best Anime for Beginners

Because Anime is one of the largest mediums in the world, there are plenty of great ones out there. However, this makes it hard for newbies to know where to start, and some won’t make as much sense unless you watch other series. Today on Anime Gem, I will be selecting a few titles for you to start out with!

My personal requirements for a “Beginner” Anime are as followed: Short in length (Under 100 episodes or average 2 hour movie length), does not rely heavily on anime knowledge, and appealing to a wide audience. This way, you can get a taste of what the medium has to offer without the temptation of giving up due to confusion.

Anime Gem tries to avoid recommending the same anime on multiple lists, so check out our blog section to look at those as well!

  1. Cowboy Bebop (1998)

Cowboy Bebop is one of the most famous and well loved anime of all time. The story takes place in 2071, in which earth becomes mostly inhabitable and humanity colonizes most of the rocky planets of the solar system. Due to the rising crime rate, the police allow citizens to register as a Bounty Hunter (also referred to as “cowboys”) to turn in criminals for a reward. The story follows Spike, an ex hitman searching to reunite with his once girlfriend Julia, who along the way teams up with other bounty hunters. The jazz music inspiration, its combination of several genres, and the overall worldbuilding makes this anime a much watch for anybody. With its short 26 episode run, you will end up wanting more, but also realizing that there would be no better way to end the series.

2. Death Note (2006)

Death Note is a psychological thriller that will always keep you on your feet. The story follows Light Yagami, a boy who finds a notebook dropped by a god of death named Ryuk. This notebook can kill somebody if you write their name in it. Light uses this power to make a crime free utopia, and adapts the alias Kira (Literal translation “Killer”). The random deaths begin to seem suspious, and the police force hires who is regarded as the best detective in the world, L. The story takes a turn as actress and model Misa Amane also finds a Death Note and is dubbed The Second Kira, leading a team up between her and Light. With so many twists and turns, it is a great introduction to the anime medium.

3. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

An unique take on the fantasy genre, it’s easy to see why Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood is so appealing. The story centers around brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who lived with their single mother as their alchemist father abandoned them them when they were very young. When their mother dies of lingering illness, Edward and Alphonse attempt to use alchemy in attempts to bring her back. This leads Edward to lose his leg, and in order to save his brother, Edward sacrifices his arm to bring his brother’s soul back in a nearby suit of armor. The brothers continue to study alchemy, and spend the next 3 years searching for the Philospoher’s Stone in order to bring back their original bodies.

4. Ouran High School Host Club (2006)

A ridiculous plot, a great sense of humor, and with the ablity to address serious subjects, it’s hard not to love Ouran High School Host Club. The anime follows Haruhi Fujioka, a girl who looks like a boy who attends the prestigious Ouran academy through a scholarship. While looking for a place to study, she accidentally walks into a room of the Host Club, a club of boys who entertain the girls of the school with tea and flirtation. Haruhi then accidentally bumps into a vase worth 8,000,000 yen, causing her to have to work as a host to pay off her debts. One of the reasons Ouran is such a great anime to start with is because it introduces Japanese terms and anime tropes in an easy to understand manner, preparing you for more complex series.

5. ANY Studio Ghibli (1985-Present)

I know it may seem like a cop out to put a whole studio of films as a recommendation, but it’s honestly too hard to pick just one. Studio Ghibli is known for their gorgeous scenery, strong female characters, themes of enviromentalism and anti-government, and a magical way of storytelling. Most fans will tell you to stay away from Tales of Earthsea and the recent CGI film Earwig and the Witch (and I personally recommend staying away from Ocean Waves, although it is aesthetically pleasing, it’s quite boring), but even those films have so much more care in them than a lot of Hollywood films. Every other Ghibli film can be regarded as a masterpiece, with Spirited Away being the only anime and foreign film to win best animated feature. Studio founder Hayao Miyazaki also has 3 nominations and the studio having 6 total, it’s safe to say that these films capture more than just anime fan’s hearts.

6. Little Witch Academia (2017)

With the sweetness of Ghibli and the nostalgia of Harry Potter brings Little Witch Academia, an adorable tale of girls at a witch school. The story follows a young witch named Akko who joins Luna Nova Academy to be like her favorite witch Shiny Chariot, despite her lack of a magical background. When she discovers the Shiny Rod, a magical relic left behind by Chariot, her adventure begins. This charming anime can be enjoyed by anyone, and is available to stream on Netflix.

7. Perfect Blue (1997)

I mostly decided to focus on series rather than movies, but when I say that this anime is one of the most influential films in the horror and thriller genre, I mean that full heartedly. When Mima Kirigoe decides to leave her pop idol group to become a serious actress, a website titled “Mima’s Room” is created that is written like her innocent idol persona. She is then stalked by an obsessive fan, with multiple murders occurring around her, and slowly starts to lose touch of reality. The film is rumored to be the inspiration for Darren Aronofsky’s films Requiem for a Dream and the Academy Award winning Black Swan, with the influence being noticeably there. Despite this film being over 20 years old, it offers a commentary on the horrors of the internet that still holds up today.

8. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (2016)

It’s a common belief that comedy anime doesn’t work outside of Japan as the culture has a different sense of humor, but I think anyone can have a good laugh with Saiki. The story follows Saiki Kusuo, a boy born with psychic powers who would rather blend in than stand out. This doesn’t turn out as well as he hoped, as his whole world is filled with bizarre individuals. It’s self awareness and its ability to not take itself too seriously will keep you hooked on the series

9. Soul Eater (2008)

An action tale with a gothic twist, it’s kind of hard to find something to complain about with Soul Eater. The story follows a group of teens who are training to become grim reapers (or their weapons) at a school run by lord death himself. With a Tim Burton influence and a fun class of characters, this show will put you into a spooky spirit.

10. Aggrestuko (2018)

With office comedies like The Office and Parks and Recreation continuing to grow in popularity, Aggrestuko has never been a more perfect show to watch! Follow Restuko, a 25 year old red panda as you follow her not-so-ideal adventures at her office job, and rocking out to death metal karaoke on her off hours to let out her pent out rage. Made by the same company that brought us Hello Kitty, be prepared to to have fun with an anime that shows the less romantic aspects of adulthood.

Did you like our list? Didn’t see your favorite show? Comment below what you think!

What are some of the best “Vintage” anime?

When people talk about “anime classics”, they rarely mention anything made before the late 80s. But anime has been a mainstream artform since the 60s, and some of the most influence anime came way before the 90s classics that are often praised. What are some of your favorites? Comment below or on our social media pages!