Talking about the favorite 90s anime requires an understanding of the period and its relevance in the artistic practice of storytelling. Anime of the 90s has been classically revered and is often considered a timeless example of perfection, experimentation, and aesthetics.
While anime in general has evolved over the years, it is undoubtedly the 90s that shaped a lot of generic ideals and practices for anime. Recently, r/anime conducted a survey where the users were asked to vote for their favorite anime during the 1990s, and in this article, we will be listing out the top 5 favorite 90s anime according to r/anime users.
Top 5 favorite 90s anime according to r/anime users
5. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
- Ghost in the Shell is a sci-fi crime thriller from the 90s that explores the adventures of a cyborg policewoman and her partner in the hunt for a mysterious and threatening hacker known as the Puppet Master.
- It is set in the year 2029 and shows a world where technological advancement has given common space to cyborgs and other mechanical beings.
- It is a world where the human brain and the internet are interconnected, and in such hubris, it is the Pupper Master who takes control of cyborg brains to commit crimes.
Ghost in the Shell remains a classic of the genre as it blends the philosophical with the real and the fictional. It is an imaginative masterpiece that holds the significant position of being an anime started that Japanophilia in the modern West.
The anime is well laden with flaws but these are often ignored and subdued due to its bold stance at exploring something which was never properly done before, making it a hallmark achievement in the history of sci-fi anime.
4. Perfect Blue (1997)
- Perfect Blue explores the theme of crime and horror and is an anime that has been extensively studied and researched in the wake of feminist literature.
- It explores the idea of women’s horror and how the lead protagonist is terrified by a ghost from her past.
- It is the story of an aspiring actress who is deemed insane and obnoxious because of her fears, and it becomes one of the most alluring examples of female subordination from a literary and social point of view.
It remains one of the favorite 90s anime according to r/anime users because of its exploration of the theme of identity. Moreover, the illusion which has been created in the anime feels very real and creepy, and the mystery never fails to leave one’s side during the course of its runtime.
Perfect Blue has been considered a dark anime and it is an extremely mind-bending piece of art that explores mature themes and fears related to womanhood and women’s identity within and outside social norms and practices.
3. Princess Mononoke (1997)
- Princess Mononoke is one of Studio Ghibli’s timeless masterpieces which explores the themes of loss, death, and intrusion of the natural space.
- It is intrinsically aimed at exploring the devious nature of human beings and at the same time the relevance and importance of nature and its preservation.
- It treats the conflict between man and nature very explicitly and doesn’t spare either.
The story of Princess Mononoke is entirely extravagant yet subtle in the most basic senses. It is a narration of a dozen different voices that try to justify both sides, man, and nature, yet all fail when they encounter fate and God.
It is also a satire of the industrialization in Japan and the rapid urbanization that has resulted in the loss of habitat for wild animals and beings. This particular anime remains a timeless testament to Hayao Miyazaki’s provoking storytelling and his immaculate understanding of social conflicts.
2. Cowboy Bebop (1998)
- Cowboy Bebop is set in the year 2071 where mankind has apparently colonised the stars and still remains to be desperate and greedy.
- It is about bounty hunters in space who take on adventures while reminiscing old jazz and classic stories along the way. The central protagonist, Spike Spiegel, is primarily an antihero.
- He is the kind of man one would generally see in a Hemingway classic, filled with wits and gusts but driven by a nihilistic worldview.
Cowboy Bebop is highly postmodern and it manages to perfectly blur the lines of genre and merges these boundaries to develop a sense of worldliness. It has a fair share of noir, gothic horror, black comedy, slapstick, parody, tragedy, science fiction, crime, action, and romance.
While these elements are in themselves contrasting and condescending, the show manages to merge a lot of them together to bring out a sense of familiarity. It is like all good shows merged into one and all familiar tones emerge out of one.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion is a sci-fi action drama that explores a post-apocalyptic world where the Angels have attacked the earth and the only people who can save it are a handful of 14-year-old EVA pilots.
- It is set in 2015 and the story follows the adventures of the central protagonist Shinji Ikari and his boundation to pilot EVA-01.
- The theme of mecha anime in this particular show is central and it remains a classic in the genre of mecha to this day.
Neon Genesis Evangelion has been voted as the leader among the favorite 90s anime according to r/anime users because of its symbolism as well. While a lot of the symbols and motifs are religious in nature, there is a sense of nihilism in the narrative as well.
It starts as a simple mecha story but evolves gradually into a thrilling psychological adventure filled with conspiracy and emotional downfalls. It is undoubtedly one of the best classics of the 1990s that any anime fan can watch during their lifetime.
The favorite 90s anime are not the ones that were simply visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing. Rather, they chose to experiment with and explore social cues and establish order through examples and innovative methods of storytelling.
It is important to understand that such forms of storytelling are extremely rare and are still very rudimentary in the present day. For more anime updates, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter at Spiel Anime!