Anime fan or not, we’re sure you’ve seen some of the titles on this list
Japanese manga turned anime series Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon hit our local shores in the 90s and had many young girls styling their school uniform to look like Usagi.
The story begins when Usagi meets a black cat named Luna who gives her a magical brooch that ultimately transforms her into Sailor Moon. Together, they assemble a team of Sailor Soldiers—Sailors Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus—to help save the world from evil forces and find the Silver Crystal. And who could forget their rose-bearing ally and Sailor Moon’s main man Tuxedo Mask? This year, the series celebrates its 25th year with an anime sequel, a live musical adaptation as well as an exciting beauty collaboration!
Why it’s iconic: The transformations of Sailor Moon and the Sailor Soldiers were ev-ry-thing.
…or Yu Yu Hakusho was another Japanese anime series that took the nation by storm. The plot follows Yusuke (Eugene), a teenage delinquent who was struck and killed by a car while trying to save a child. He gets a second shot at life thanks to Koenma and becomes an Underworld Detective tasked to investigate supernatural activity in the human world. One of his missions lead to the Dark Tournament where he and his friends Kuwabara, Kurama and Hiei must fight against several other teams to face Team Toguro and save the world.
Yu Yu Kakusho also turned 25 this year and kicked off the celebration with a special anniversary website, its very own anime café in Japan and more.
Why it’s iconic: The battle scenes during the dark tournament, the special powers of each member…all of it! Go Team Urameshi!
Samurai X or Rurouni Kenshin centers on the life and love of a former Bakumatsu assassin turned Meiji swordsman. He changes his identity from Hitokiri Battosai to Himura Kenshin and lives to protect the people of Japan and his love interest Kamiya Kaoru.
Unlike many manga and anime series in its time, Samurai X was a little more grown up in theme as it explored atonement, peace and (a very PG) romance.
Why it’s iconic: The unique plot and its reference to Japanese history and tradition.
Dragon Ball Z
Taking the fight against evil to outer space, Dragon Ball Z follows the adventures of Goku as he and his friends defend the earth from intergalactic enemies. Fans of the anime would know that the Dragon Ball series essentially centers on Goku, with Z following his adult life and his sons, Gohan and Goten. It also features the evolution of Goku’s rivals Piccolo and Vegeta as they eventually become allies.
Why it’s iconic: That father-son Kamehameha, Goku turns Super Saiyan and Goku sacrificing his life a second time.
Naruto is perhaps the most popular Japanese anime series in the Philippines and beyond to date. The story revolves around Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja whose ambition in life is to be the Hokage, the strongest ninja in the village. With two other ninjas—his rival Sasuke Uchiha and his crush, Sakura Haruno—they form Team Seven and are assigned to complete missions requested by the villagers. Their missions range from the mundane (think house chores) to the extreme (performing assassinations). The series ends well of course, with Naruto finally becoming the Seventh Hokage.
Why it’s iconic: The original tag team trio, the emotional fight scenes and that epic ending.