The best anime series transcend the animation medium. These Japanese animation series have been enjoyed by anime lovers for years. Whether through video release or television reruns, anime fans continue to watch these outstanding classics.
"Urusei Yatsura" While "Ranma ½" was very popular stateside, anime fans in Japan have a higher regard for “Urusei Yatsura.” It was also originally a comic book and was then released as an anime series in 1981. This comedy about lewd young man who must defend the Earth by playing a game against aliens who intend to take over the planet.
"Mazinger Z" Created by the venerable Go Nagai, "Mazinger Z" was among the first of the “Super Robot” genre. Here, a “monster of the week” is introduced almost every episode and it would be up to "Mazinger Z" through pilot Koji Kabuto to defeat and destroy the creature.
"Mobile Suit Gundam" The original series introduced fans to the concept of the “Gundam.” These were large mobile mechanical suits with a cockpit in the torso area for the pilot. Unlike the old “Super Robots,” the designs of these humanoid robots or mecha are rooted in reality. Some of the science used in the anime series were even derived from existing technology.
"Neon Genesis Evangelion" Another mecha-based series, "Evangelion" took it a step further by incorporating a plot with complex philosophical and religious undertones. While the plot was rather confusing at times, fans loved the unique character designs and the quirky feel of the series. Huge robots piloted by young adolescents fight off marauding alien automatons known as “angels.”
"Dragon Ball" From Akira Toriyama, Dragon Ball is based on “Journey to the West,” a classic Chinese novel. The series follows the adventures of a young, monkey-tailed boy named Goku and his motley group of friends. The series was produced by Toei Animation and was initially shown in 1989.
"Dragon Ball Z" While "Dragon Bal"l was based on Goku's adventures, Dragon Ball Z is all about action. The focus was martial arts aspect of the series and powerful antagonists were introduced on a regular basis. One of the most popular anime series of all time, Dragon Ball Z was remastered in high-definition and was re-released as "Dragon Ball Kai."
"Fullmetal Alchemist" The series follows two brothers who sacrificed their bodies in an attempt to resurrect their mother. They failed horribly so they began looking for the Philosopher's Stone to regain what they had lost. The series has fantasy, action, supernatural and even dramatic elements that work very well together.
"Cowboy Bebop" The series definitely has one of the strongest fan following. It is basically a Western set in outer space. It follows the adventures and misadventures of a group of bounty hunters or “cowboys” who travel the cosmos in their spacecraft called the “Bebop.”
"Rurouni Kenshin" Set in the Meiji period in Japan, this popular series tells the story of a peaceful wanderer who used to be an assassin. He travels throughout the country offering his aid and protection for those who need it in an attempt to atone for the all the killings he committed. It was first shown in 1996 and had a run of 96 episodes.