The late 90’s and early 2000’s were a magical period for the Japanese animation industry, as over 400 titles were produced in Japan every year from the period of 1998 – 2003. This period was considered by many as the “Golden Age” for Japanese animation.
Although there were many other periods which were considered the “Golden Age” of anime, like the late 80’s – early 90’s or the late 2000’s, many considered the period between 1998 – 2000 as the real one because of the sheer number of titles being produced.
With all that anime being produced during that period, there are several titles that people should like nowadays, especially the ones who were too young to appreciate these titles during that time. We take a look at 10 of these great titles, which people should check out, or watch again.
Without a doubt, Cowboy Bebop is a great classic, and is considered the era’s quintessential anime. It is considered as one of the most important anime of the 90’s, and has influenced many animators, writers, and directors (even those outside of Japan). Oh, and the series has also won plenty of awards too!
From one quintessential anime to another, Cardcaptor Sakura is considered by many as one of the greatest magical girl series of all time, taking the flame from Sailor Moon and then passing it on to Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and then to Madoka Magica. Based on CLAMP’s classic manga, the series has captured many hearts, and with a new anime being planned for its 20th anniversary, it is never too late to binge watch this classic.
Many people, including yours truly, were introduced to the harem genre by this very anime, and one does not easily forget their first! The series propelled mangaka Ken Akamatsu into stardom, and made him one of the most influential mangaka today. The series has a great mix of comedy and its fan service is just right and not very overpowering, unlike many of the harem anime we have today.
Anime’s Girls With Guns sub-genre may be common nowadays, but back in the late 90’s/ early 2000’s, it wasn’t that common. One of the sub-genre’s most influential titles is Noir, which like its title is a pretty dark and gritty anime. The anime is full of action, suspense, and drama, and the yuri subtexts certainly help a lot, especially when the two leads explore more about their relationship with one another, as well as their past.
Turn A Gundam
Story-wise, Turn A Gundam is considered one of the best ones out there, and is highly recommended for any mecha anime fan. Gundam fans are kind of divided when it comes to the main mech’s design, but the story is intriguing despite the slow start, so it is definitely worth a look.
Yes folks, we are featuring TWO Gundam series in our list, and this second one is the very series which has re-invigorated the Gundam franchise, Gundam SEED. While some of the concepts from the series are taken from the original UC timeline titles, the series has introduced a new generation to Gundam, and re-awakened the interest in GunPla.
Zoids: Chaotic Century
While most mecha anime featured humanoid robots, Zoids deviated from the trend and featured robots which are completely based on animals. The series is based on Tomy’s line of plastic model kits, and the anime has definitely re-energized the interest in them. For many, such as yours truly, Zoids is also one of the anime titles which defined their childhoods, which leads us to the next one in our list…
Digimon Adventure 01
There is a reason why people got so hyped up when the new Digimon Adventure Tri. movie series was announced, and it definitely involves a lot of childhood memories being invoked. More than 15 years since it was first released, the anime is still loved by people who grew up watching it. 15 years on, people still when Greymon finally Digivolved to MetalGreymon to take out Etemon, people still when Leomon and Wizarmon died, and people still get excited to see the anime once again.
With the successes of Digimon and Pokemon, the period in Japanese animation considered the “Golden Age” saw a rise in monster-related games and anime, and one of them is Monster Rancher. Largely forgotten because it was overshadowed by its Pokemon and Digimon rivals, the anime adaptation of Tecmo’s popular monster-raising franchise became a hit when it was aired as a 73-episode anime from 1999 – 2001, which was about the same time as when Pokemon and Digimon were being aired in Japan. True, it may not be as significant now, but it did give its two big-name rivals a run for its money for a time, and that alone is why the anime is worth checking out.
We end our list with one of the era’s greatest-yet-mostly-underappreciated anime, Ghost Stories, which is one of the rare anime that can be enjoyed being watched in both its original Japanese dub as well as its English dub. The anime centres around a group of friends as they try to seal or exorcise the spirits which were released due to their town’s recent urbanization. The anime is considered one of the best ones in the horror genre, and that is certainly saying a lot.
The era also featured several classics, which are still going strong today, such as Pokemon, One Piece and Naruto, but they were a bit too obvious so we chose not to include them.
So, what did you think of our list? Any anime from the “Golden Age” that we missed out? Let us know in the comments below.