Anime is a growing industry that has seems to be taking the world by storm recently, with anime franchises gaining major popularity in Western countries. So much show, there are now websites and streaming services, such as Crunchyroll and Funimation, that simulcast some shows as soon as 30 minutes after they debut in Japan. With the new year and fantastic new anime content being created in 2017, it is also time to celebrate, as anime turns 100 years old this year.
The first professionally released anime is credited to a few Japanese animators that produced short clips of samurai that dated back to 1917. However, it was not till the 1960’s that the first anime television series was aired. Osamu Tezuka produced a series called Three Tales, which aired on television in 1960, and was the first anime shown on TV. The first anime series, Otogi Manga Calendar aired from 1961-1964. The 1970’s was a time a great growth and popularity in Manga and Japanese graphic novels. Osamu Tezuka was a pioneer who inspired characteristics and genres which laid the foundation of the elements that make up anime today. The 1980s was a time for acceptance and production boom for the industry. Anime became to be more accepted in mainstream Japanese culture and started to gain popularity. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s and early 1990’s till anime gained acceptance in overseas markets. The 21st century was when popularity in the west started taking shape, with Studio Ghibli and director Hayao Miyazaki heading the charge. There has been countless memorable and fantastic anime that has come in the span of the genres life.
To celebrate Anime’s 100 year birthday we made a list of the best anime television series from each decade. Let us know what you think of the list, and if there is anything you think is missing.
1960-1970: Astro Boy
Astro Boy is one of the most well known characters of all time. The series first premiered on Japanese television on January 1st, 1963, and ran until December 31, 1966. Astro Boy was the first popular animated Japanese television series, and is credited as being the embodiment of the aesthetic that is now known as anime. The show was so impactful that it was adapted for American television by NBC and was shown on american television in 1965. This was America’s first taste of Anime, and because the response was positive, more anime were translated and adapted for America.
Astro Boy is a science fiction series set in a future world where robots and humans coexist. The story follows the adventures of Astro who is an android created by a doctor who lost his son. However unlike his real son, Astro has incredible powers and ends up using them to fight crime and protecting the people he cares about from evil.
Doraemon is loveable, cute, blue robotic cat that travels time. He is an iconic figure in Japan, and is compared to the Japanese equivalent to America’s Mickey Mouse. In 2008 Doraemon was appointed as the “anime ambassador”, to promote Japanese worldwide.
Doraemon was originally a popular manga that was first adapted as an anime in 1973, however it was poorly received. But then a new animation studio picked it up again in 1979 and the series became a huge success. The series was so popular that it ended up with over 1000 episodes and didn't end airing until 2005.
The Doraemon series is arguably one of the most influential anime of all time, and he even made an appearance in the Summer Olympics of 2016 to promote the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
1990-2000: Cowboy Bebop
Cowboy Bebop was released in 1998 in japan, and was stopped after only 12 episodes due to the controversial adult themes and content. The entire 26 episodes were broadcast later, and the show then became a huge success in Japanese and American market. The show is a masterpiece as it introduced anime to a whole new wave of viewers in America. Bebop essentially created a new genre by mixing all the genres of its time as well as pushing the limit of Japanese animation. The show is known for its appeal with the adult audience as well as opening up a whole new world of cyberpunk space goodness. It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack is amazing either.
2000-2010: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood is the second adaptation of the original Fullmetal manga. The series premiered in 2009, and at first received flack for being the second adaption of the series, it has come to be revered as one of the best anime of all time.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood transports the viewer into a whole new world where magic exists, and morality is faced in many different ways. It follows the story of two brothers that are forced to grow up too fast, and their journey to repair their past and their bodies. One of the reasons the show is so infamous is the fact that there is no filler at all, and follows one of the best stories ever written. It is impossible to not get emotionally involved with the main characters, and each episode leaves you either feeling smiling, sad, laughing, or simply in shock.
2010-2017: Attack On TItan
Attack on Titan is the infamous series that was released in 2013 and electrified the world with excitement. It has been one of the top selling TV anime series of the decade and won many awards and has received global recognition for bringing something different to the genre. Attack On Titan is known for its mixture of beautiful visuals with brutal and intense story. It shows the true terror and destruction of a city attacked by giant beasts, and the frailness of humanity trying to stand up against them. It is a show that leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat from the first episode, and leaves them wanting more.