10 animated series that perfectly sum up the 90s

There are animes that just scream the 90s. Some anime manage to do this by showcasing the fashion, trends, or technology of the time. Others were just such a popular or beloved series over the decade that, in hindsight, they pretty much helped define the decade for some people.

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It’s important to remember that due to the length of time it can take for a series to dub and release in the West, especially North America, some anime may be much older than fans realize. For example, not only the original Dragon ball series came out in the 1980s in his native Japan, even Dragon ball z technically created in 1989.

ten Pokémon: it was everywhere in the late 90s, even in the West

Pokemon started his anime run in the late 1990s and was already an international heavyweight when his English dub came out about a year after the original Japanese premiere.

Whether they devote their lives to it or not, Pokemon was pretty much inevitable for kids of the ’90s, with all of its promotions, games, merchandise, and pop culture references. KFC even got a promotion for the series. Everyone from South Park Norm Macdonald didn’t care, all before the end of the decade.

9 Sailor Moon: Pluto still being a planet should be a dead gift

Rei Minako Ami Makoto Usagi

In Sailor moon, not only much of the fashion, from Rei’s pink overalls to Usagi’s denim jacket, and even Minako’s red bow, reflects the fashion of the time, the science and technology of the series. even reflect the period. The bad guys used schemes involving floppy disks and video rental stores. Ami’s supercomputer and communicators seem outdated compared to smartphones. And Pluto got a Sailor Scout just in time: the planet would be officially demoted to a dwarf planet the following decade.

For many fans, the series was either so popular or so cult that it helped define the decade. In the United States, many childhood fans had fond memories of waking up early to watch it in syndication.

8 Detective Conan: at least some of the early episodes lend themselves to the decade

Detective Conan Manga Cover

Allowed, Detective Conan, also known as Case closed, still lasted beyond the 1990s, but some of the early episodes really help paint a decade-old aesthetic.

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In a late decade story, a news anchor is kidnapped and, unable to speak, is forced to send coded digital calls for help to a pager on her cell phone, reportedly overtaken by the proliferation of text messages. Even some recurring elements of the story, like Conan’s skateboarding, are relics of the decade.

7 Cardcaptor Sakura: Tomoyo’s camcorder is just the beginning

Tomoyo Cardcaptor Sakura

While Western children would have to wait until the start of the next decade to see its English adaptation, the original Sakura card sensor came out in the late 1990s, making it just part of the decade. Things like Sakura using roller skates to get around, known at the start of the first episode, really highlight the fads and trends of the decade.

Likewise, some of the technology and culture depicted in the series connects it to the 1990s, with Tomoyo using a camcorder to record everything to the setting that predated the construction of the Tokyo Skytree Tower.

6 Dragon Ball Z: even the Z is dated in hindsight


Dragon ball z Technically first aired in 1989, with its corresponding manga released the year before, but that didn’t stop it from redefining what an action series was for kids around the world in the 1990s.

A few things fit it into the decade as well, like Gohan’s childhood mullet or Trunks’ mushroom-style bowl-cut hair. Probably the oldest thing in the series is that “Z”, the last letter of the alphabet, was added as a subtitle, thinking that would be the end of the series.

5 Corrector Yui: The series helps show how people in the 90s envisioned the future

Concealer Yui in the form of a magical girl

Yui concealer came out towards the end of the decade and, rightly so, presents an exaggerated vision of what the future would have been: the World Wide Web has evolved into a virtual reality called the “ComNet”. In fact, the titular heroine is a magical girl in the online world.

The series also speculated on which technology would still be popular in the future; while it was correct to assume that computers would become a much more important part of everyday life, floppy disks are still touted as popular.

4 Video Girl Ai: the title should reveal the dates of the series

Video rental stores were all the rage in the 1990s, something that Ai Girl Video uses as main selling point. Undated loser Yota Moteuchi learns of a mysterious video store that contains special videos with holographic girls. Yota brings a video girl, named Ai, into her life this way, but complications arise due to a broken VCR.

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Released at the start of the decade, the series is also considered something of a catwalk anime series for fans of 90s anime and manga, with the OVA even getting a VHS release in North America by 1999.

3 Cowboy Bebop: A Story Is To Explain The Story Of BetaMax

Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop

Allowed, Cowboy Bebop takes place in a futuristic, neo-noir setting, even borrowing pieces from the 1970s, but the series was released in the late 90s. Like many futuristic anime from the 90s, it features plenty of topical technology, like analog televisions and even Betamax cassette players, although the latter mostly needs to be explained.

Likewise, the anime would serve as a gateway for Western anime fans, which is underlined by the fact that this is the pilot anime series of Adult Swim, although this premiere is not taking place. than in 2001.

2 Gunsmith Cats: the series is a love letter to ’90s Chicago

Vincent de Gunsmith Cats Rally

Gunsmith cats doesn’t just take place in ’90s Chicago, the animation team even went to the real city to take photos of the set, with many things that date from the show, like a refurbishment of a local museum.

Even history plays a role in the series, as one of the villains, Natasha Radino, has a story involving the fall of the Soviet Union.

1 Tokyo Crazy Paradise: ’90s would still be in fashion by 2020, with flying skateboards

Tokyo mad paradise

The series from the mid-90s to the early 2000s, Tokyo mad paradise, takes place in a sci-fi version of 2020, filled with all kinds of futuristic tech.

However, the futuristic setting doesn’t stop the characters from dressing in ’90s style, from the character’s haircuts to the casual skinny jeans. Even the technology seems to be influenced by the trends of the decade. There are even flying skateboards.

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