Why 90's Anime Is Considered The Golden Age Of Anime
by Carlisa on Aug 09, 2022
The 1990s is considered a golden age for Japanese anime, with a variety of popular and influential anime series that continue to have a lasting impact on pop culture today. From action-packed adventures to romantic dramas, the 90s was a time when anime truly came into its own, both in Japan and around the world.
One of the most significant factors that contributed to the popularity of anime during this time was the increase in availability of home video releases. Anime series that were once only available on Japanese television could now be purchased on VHS tapes and DVD, making them accessible to a wider audience. Additionally, the rise of the internet and online communities also helped to spread the popularity of anime beyond Japan's borders.
Here are some of the most iconic and influential anime series from the 1990s:
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)
Perhaps the most well-known and controversial anime series of the 90s, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a sci-fi mecha anime that explores complex themes such as depression, existentialism, and the nature of human consciousness. The series follows Shinji Ikari, a teenage boy who is recruited by his father to pilot a giant robot called an "Evangelion" to fight against mysterious beings known as "Angels" that threaten to destroy the world.
What sets Evangelion apart from other mecha anime is its emphasis on character development and psychological drama. The series' portrayal of its flawed and deeply traumatized characters, as well as its unconventional storytelling and complex themes, has made it a cult classic and an enduring influence on anime and pop culture.
Cowboy Bebop (1998)
Cowboy Bebop is a sci-fi Western anime series that follows a group of bounty hunters as they travel through space in search of dangerous criminals. The series is known for its stylish visuals, jazz-inspired soundtrack, and blend of genres, which includes elements of film noir, Westerns, and space opera.
What makes Cowboy Bebop so beloved among fans is its dynamic cast of characters and the way it seamlessly weaves together episodic adventures with an overarching plot that culminates in a powerful and emotional finale. The series' influence can be seen in numerous other anime and pop culture works, and it remains a fan favorite to this day.
Sailor Moon (1992)
Sailor Moon is a magical girl anime series that follows the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy and carefree middle school student who discovers that she is the reincarnation of a powerful moon princess tasked with protecting the Earth from evil forces. With the help of her fellow Sailor Scouts, Usagi battles against various villains while also navigating the ups and downs of adolescence.
Sailor Moon was one of the first anime series to be widely popular among female viewers, and it helped to pave the way for other magical girl anime such as Cardcaptor Sakura and Pretty Cure. The series' themes of friendship, love, and female empowerment continue to resonate with fans today, and it remains a beloved and influential anime series.
Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996)
While Dragon Ball Z technically began in the 80s, it continued throughout much of the 90s and remains one of the most popular and influential anime series of all time. The series follows the adventures of Goku and his friends as they battle against powerful foes, both on Earth and in space.
Dragon Ball Z is known for its iconic fight scenes, its memorable cast of characters, and its blend of action, humor, and drama. The series' influence can be seen in numerous other anime and pop culture works, and it remains a cultural touchstone for many fans around the world.
Pokémon is a franchise that began as a video game in the mid 1990s but quickly expanded to include an anime series, trading card game, and various merchandise. The anime series follows Ash Ketchum, a young boy who dreams of becoming a Pokémon master and travels the world with his friends as he captures and trains various Pokémon creatures.
Pokémon quickly became a cultural phenomenon, with its catchy theme song, lovable characters, and addictive gameplay capturing the hearts of children and adults alike. The franchise has since expanded to include numerous video games, movies, and spin-off series, and remains a beloved part of pop culture to this day.
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Ghost in the Shell is a cyberpunk anime film that explores complex themes such as identity, consciousness, and the relationship between humans and technology. The film follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg who works for a government agency tasked with investigating cyber crimes and terrorism in a futuristic world.
Ghost in the Shell is known for its stunning animation, its thought-provoking themes, and its influence on the cyberpunk genre. The film has since spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, including a popular anime series and a live-action Hollywood adaptation.
Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997)
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a surreal and subversive anime series that deconstructs and critiques traditional gender roles and fairy tale tropes. The series follows Utena Tenjou, a teenage girl who attends a prestigious academy and becomes embroiled in a complex power struggle involving a mysterious student council and a series of duels.
Revolutionary Girl Utena is known for its surreal visuals, its complex characters, and its unapologetic exploration of gender and sexuality. The series has since become a cult classic and an influence on other anime and pop culture works that explore similar themes.
Rurouni Kenshin (1996-1998)
Rurouni Kenshin is a historical action anime series that takes place in Japan during the Meiji era, a time of great change and modernization. The series follows Kenshin Himura, a former assassin who now wanders the country as a "rurouni" or wandering swordsman, using his skills to help those in need.
Rurouni Kenshin is known for its intricate fight scenes, its memorable characters, and its exploration of themes such as redemption and the consequences of violence. The series has since become a fan favorite and an influence on other historical and action anime series.
In conclusion, the 1990s was a golden age for Japanese anime, with a variety of popular and influential anime series that continue to have a lasting impact on pop culture today. These series explored complex themes, featured dynamic and memorable characters, and pushed the boundaries of what was possible in animation. Whether you're a longtime anime fan or just getting started, the 90s is a great place to start exploring the rich and diverse world of Japanese animation.