10 best ’90s anime with a retro aesthetic

There is a tendency to always look to the future when it comes to new forms of entertainment, but anime is very careful not to forget its past and the pivotal programs that helped define the medium, in particular. particular during emblematic periods like the 90s.

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There is a fair amount of older retro content when it comes to anime. Some classic programs can effectively mask when they have been produced, but there are lots of retro animated series that shamelessly embrace their ’90s aesthetic.


ten Yu Yu Hakusho wears the 90s on his sleeve

Hiei Yusuke Kurama Kuwabara Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the most satisfying examples of the decade and still stands up to modern scrutiny. Yu Yu Hakusho presents an exciting cast of powerful characters led by Yusuke Urameshi, a young delinquent turned spiritual sleuth. Yu Yu Hakusho the pace, character growth, and heavy focus on tournament battles all help the anime excel, but it also has a distinct look that’s hard to separate from the ’90s. Yu Yu Hakusho the colors and designs of the characters seem far removed from modern times, but it becomes even more evident with their ’90s outfits.

9 Ranma ½ is a bright, silly blast of ’90s nostalgia

Akane hits Ranma

Rumiko Takahashi is a prolific mangaka whose work seems very iconic of the 80s and 90s. All of Takahashi’s series have grown in popularity, but Ranma ½ is presented as one of his most impressive works. Ranma ½ leans on martial arts staples, yet there is an inherent absurd comedy that drives the anime forward due to the transformative aspect of the series. Sweet appearance and character designs in Ranma ½ are immediately reminiscent of the 1990s, but even the premise feels like something that’s steeped in the past.

8 Rurouni Kenshin’s wandering samurai speaks directly to ’90s ideals

Kenshin and his friends at Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin is another foundational animated series that also feels intrinsically linked to the 1990s and the decade’s changing relationship with the animated series. Rurouni Kenshin dates back to the Meiji era in Japan, but the concept of a contemplative, wandering swordsman makes it seem like it comes straight from the 1990s. Kenshin is an honorable protagonist which grows in a remarkable way during its course.

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There is tense action, a lot of blood and constant death surrounding Rurouni Kenshin, but it still evokes the 90s with its color palette and the presentation of its rogue samurai.

7 Berserk uses’ 90s art to reflect his brutal, brutal nature

Bowels, Berserk

At Kentaro Miura Berserk has become one of the most famous manga series of all time and there have been several animated adaptations of the series, most of which fail to capture the intricacy and detailed nuances of Miura’s artwork. Berserk the adaptations have succumbed to a lot of synthetic elements and other factors that do the dark fantasy series a disservice. The 90’s Berserk is only 25 episodes, but it’s an impressive adaptation and one that happens to be deeply representative of the look of the decade.

6 Outlaw Star’s journey through space is full of retro charm

The 1990s were full of animated series that followed a motley team of unlikely teammates on some sort of galactic adventure. There is a natural tendency with these anime to predict the future and immerse their storytelling in futuristic technology. Outlaw star follows the exploits of Gene Starwind and his crew of space pirates in search of legendary treasure. There are many similar series from this era, but Outlaw star stands out from the crowd because of its distinct animation style – whether in response to characters, ships, or the recesses of outer space.

5 Tenchi Muyo! Drowns in the customs and characteristics of the 90s

The Harem animated series are still prevalent in the medium, but they were particularly popular in the 1990s, with Tenchi Muyo! being undoubtedly the most widespread of the decade. The series takes a look at Tenchi Masaki, an unpretentious teenage girl who befriends an unusual group of girls from outer space.

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Tenchi’s complex relationship with these women results in constant comedic misunderstandings. Tenchi Muyo! is largely a product of its time, but it also perfectly represents the look of the ’90s anime and the types of characters that were popular on the shows at the time.

4 Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is a Moody Mecha series with a 90s vibe

The Mecha series continues to dominate the anime, but in these kind of giant robot battles there is an added level of respect for the huge Mobile Suit Gundam series. There are dozens of Gundam anime, some of which hook up and others that just tell standalone mecha stories. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing is one of the most popular Gundam ramifications due to its representation on Cartoon Network’s Toonami block. It’s hard to watch Wing of Gundam and don’t think of the 90s. The outfits and even the movable jumpsuit designs push a 90s aesthetic that oddly suits the futuristic series.

3 Revolutionary girl Utena strives to redefine stereotypes of heroes

Revolutionary Girl Utena Swordfight

The Magical Girl animated series were incredibly popular in the 1990s, but some of these series work hard to subvert gender expectations and extreme gender roles. Revolutionary girl Utena is revolutionary in the way it explores the typical archetypes of the damsel in distress and the knight in shining armor.

Utena’s growing understanding of herself is rightfully moving, and the entire series is steeped in colors, characters, and transformations that scream the 1990s. Revolutionary girl Utena also works well because there are so many another magical girl series of the decade, but he actually longs for much more.

2 Escaflowne’s vision creates a classic world full of wonder

Escaflowne’s vision is a surprisingly ambitious series that draws from a variety of different genres, especially mecha, magic girl and isekai texts. Hitomi Kanzaki is a typical high school student until she is taken to a daring fantasy world filled with bizarre mechanical creatures and a monarchy facing turmoil. Escaflowne is filtered through Hitomi’s bewilderment with the new world she is entering, as well as her gradual development into one of the nation’s most important figures. The landscape of Gaea, the design of the Escaflowne, and the more classic character models are all very representative of this bygone decade.

1 The blue genre is a grim look at a horrific alien invasion

Some outstanding animes look to alien threats as sources of horror and Kind blue is one of the most breathtaking and beaten down riffs on the subject. The 26-episode animated series hit in the very late 1990s, but it still looks a lot like a product of the decade rather than a series that shares more of the 2000s sensibility. Kind blue shows a crumbling world and creeping despair. These depressing alien tales can indulge in CG, but Kind blue uses a traditional approach that manages to do the vicious blue as scary as it gets.

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