Before people started keeping up with the Kardashians or binge-watching movies on Netflix, there was nothing but pure entertainment from anime series. Back in the 90s, these Japanese originals were quite big. So big that they’ve become a daily routine for most kids and even adults.
Here are 7 anime series from the 90s that deserves a comeback today.
Number 7: Slam Dunk
This basketball-inspired anime series premiered in 1993, with a few episodes dubbed in English for American audiences.
Slam Dunk tells the story of Hanamichi Sakuragi, a notorious delinquent student who has been unlucky with girls ever since he started school. He then met Haruko Akagi in Shohoku High School. Determined to impress her, Sakuragi decided to join the school’s basketball team. Eventually, he realized that he has a true love for the game itself. With his skills and determination, matched with other key players — Kaede Rukawa, Hisashi Mitsui, and Ryota Miyagi, the once-little-known Shohoku basketball team becomes an all-star contender in Japan.
If Slam Dunk did make its way back on our TV screens, it will be interesting to see what goes down in the Inter-High School tournament, which has yet to be shown in the series.
Number 6: Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files
Originally, Yu Yu Hakusho was aired on Fuji Television from October 1992 to January 1995, with 112 episodes in total. The Engish-dubbed version of the anime aired from February 2002 to April 2006 on Cartoon Network under the title Yu Yu Hakusho: Ghost Files.
The series follows the story of Yusuke Urameshi, a teenage delinquent who was hit and killed by a car while attempting to save a child. After a series of tests administered to him by Koenma, he was revived and appointed as an Underworld Detective.
To date, some television networks around the world still do re-runs of this hit anime series.
Number 5: Cardcaptor Sakura
Known as one of the most popular Japanese shōjo manga, Cardcaptor Sakura was adapted into a 70-episode anime series, which aired on NHK BS2 from April 1998 to March 2000. Because of the franchise’s massive success, an English-dubbed version of the anime was aired on Kids’ WB from June 2000 to December 2001. Cardcaptor Sakura was also aired on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Teletoon.
It tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Sakura, discovered a set of mysterious cards in her basement. After accidentally freeing the cards, she was bestowed with magical abilities and was tasked to retrieve all the missing cards. The cards’ guardian, Cerberus, guides Sakura as she battles each card’s magical personification, sealing it away.
Despite being off the air for quite a while now, Sakura continues to be part of the entertainment scene, particularly in many cosplay events.
Number 4: Sailor Moon
Another massive 90s hit is the all-female gang Sailor Moon. Originally translated as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon and Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, this widely popular manga was adapted into an anime series by Toei Animation and aired in Japan from 1992 to 1997. American fans were able to enjoy an English-dubbed version of the series when Viz Media licensed its international release in North America.
Sailor Moon follows the adventures of a schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino, who was given a magical brooch that enables her to transform into Sailor Moon. She then formed a group of Sailor Soldiers — Ami Mizuno as Sailor Mercury, Rei Hino as Sailor Mars, Makoto Kino as Sailor Jupiter, and Minako Aino ad Sailor Venus. Together, they fight off enemies as they search for their princess and the Silver Crystal.
Sailor Moon’s success has led to three animated films, three short films, a television special, a live-action adaptation, and a sequel called Sailor Moon Crystal.
Number 3: City Hunter
This manga turned anime is perhaps one of the most successful of them all. City Hunter, which was originally released as a manga from 1985 to 1991, has seen several adaptations worldwide. Aside from the widely popular anime series by Sunrise Studios in 1987, City Hunter also turned into four more animated television series, three television specials, two original video animations, and an animated feature film. The series had three live-action versions as well — a movie starring Jackie Chan, a Korean action TV drama starring Lee Min Ho, and a new Japanese action TV drama. There is an upcoming animated film as well, scheduled to come out on February 2019.
City Hunter tells the story of Ryo Saeba, a private detective who aims to eliminate crime in Tokyo. Following the death of his associate Hideyuki Makimura, Ryo was asked to watch over Hideyuki’s sister, Kaori. Eventually, the two established friendship as they worked together as partners.
Number 2: Detective Conan
Detective Conan is undoubtedly the Sherlock Holmes of the 90s. Also known as Case Closed, this famous Japanese detective anime was dubbed in English for North American audiences by Funimation. It was aired in 2003 under the name Case Closed with Americanized names. After its initial run in Adult Swim, it was streamed in Crunchyroll in 2014, making one of the most watched anime in the platform
The series follows the story of Shinichi Kudo, an amateur detective who was forced to ingest an experimental poison by the Black Organization. Instead of killing him, the poison transforms him into a child. From then on, Kudo kept his true identity as he solves a multitude of cases while impersonating his friend’s father Kogoro Mori.
Number 1: Cowboy Bebop
Perhaps one of the most controversial anime series is Cowboy Bebop. With its adult-themed content, TV Tokyo aired only 12 episodes and a special from April to June 1998. Despite its short initial run, the anime managed to attract a lot of viewers, prompting WOWOW to broadcast all 26 episodes of the series.
Bandai Entertainment first licensed the anime for an English version, followed by Funimation. Cowboy Bebop was the first anime to be aired on Adult Swim in the U.S.
Set in the year 2071, the story follows the lives of a group of bounty hunter onboard their spaceship called Bebop. The crew is composed of Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Edward Wong, and Ein. Together, they chase criminals and bring them in exchange for a reward.