The Top 35+ Vintage Anime & Movies For Retro Fans

It’s finally time to share with you our list of what we consider to be the best vintage anime you can watch.

For those who follow us, you know that this is an important topic for us since our project started as a site that brings together the old and the new of anime.

Enjoy our list of the best retro anime and movies according to the Nihonime staff, whether you’re nostalgic like us or a novice looking for new experiences.

N.B. It was hard to rank each anime so don’t take the actual ranking in a strict sense. We will also update this article every month.

36. Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho

Yu Yu Hakusho is undoubtedly one of the finest vintage fighting anime series. It was originally released in 1992 and spans 112 episodes, adapted from a manga by Togashi, the same author behind Hunter x Hunter.

The story centers around Yusuke Urameshi, a young delinquent with a compassionate heart, who sacrifices himself to save a child during an accident.

Impressed by his selfless act, the Spirit King offers him a chance to return to life as the detective of the spiritual world.

Without the hint of a a doubt, if you’re seeking a blend of vintage, combat, supernatural elements, and even a hint of romance, Yu Yu Hakusho is not only among the top choices on this list but in the anime world in general.

35. Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball needs no lengthy introductions, right? We mean, it’s Dragon Ball, guys. Even people who don’t watch anime know about Goku’s adventures.

Now, since we’re diving into classic anime territory, we’d love to include the whole series, but Dragon Ball Super is still ongoing.

That’s why we’re focusing on Dragon Ball Z, the most iconic and famous part of the series, but you can also consider part of this list the original Dragon Ball series and GT, which is pretty famous even if it’s not canonical.

Honestly, what more can we say? If you haven’t experienced Goku and his crew’s story yet, you’re missing out on a piece of Japanese animation history.

34. The Vision of Escaflowne

The Vision of Escaflowne

The Vision of Escaflowne is a unique and possibly inimitable anime released in 1996 in 26 episodes. If you enjoy series that break away from the usual mold, then this is a must-watch.

The protagonist, Hitomi Kanzaki, is a typical high school girl with two passions: running and tarot cards. One day, during her tarot readings, she experiences a vision of being transported to an unknown world.

Initially dismissing it as a mere dream, she soon realizes its reality when a dragon and a swordsman named Van Fanel appear before her during a training session.

Van rescues Hitomi by defeating the dragon, and they find themselves mysteriously transported to the war-torn planet Gaia, where a battle against the Zaibach empire rages.

Nearly 30 years have passed and to this day few, if any, anime have been able to replicate the magical blend of genres and themes that this series offers.

It’s not every day that you come across isekai, action, mecha, fantasy, war, and romance all in one series, right?

33. Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yuugi)

Fushigi Yuugi

Imagine stumbling upon a mysterious old book that transports you to a strange world, full of danger and magic.

That’s exactly what happens to Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo in Fushigi Yuugi. But it’s not just a tale of adventure and battle, at the heart of the story lies a love story that will leave you breathless.

Miaka’s journey to save the kingdom with the help of the handsome Tamahome and the powerful emperor Hotohori is an epic one.

She must gather the seven Celestial Warriors in order to summon Suzaku, the kingdom’s protector god.

Mysterious Play is a story of love, friendship, loyalty and even betrayal that has that lost retro vibe you are looking for.

Mind you, this show didn’t age well and characters, tropes and even the plot are obsolete for today’s standards.

32. Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star, like some of its peers on this list, is a classic in the realm of old-school fighting anime. It has been airing since 1984, and we’re confident that most of you have at least heard of it.

In a different and grim end of the 20th century, planet Earth turned into a desolate and harsh place.

People who survived live in camps and tiny safe spots, but they’re frequently attacked by groups of lawless bandits.

In this world, we meet Kenshiro, the main character and a master of the powerful Hokuto martial art on a mission to defend the vulnerable and find his lost girlfriend, Julia.

But that’s just the beginning. There’s a lot more to this intricate story with unexpected surprises waiting to unfold.

If you’re in search of a vintage fighting anime set in a post-apocalyptic world, complete with numerous plot twists, then Fist of the North Star is a perfect choice that you won’t regret starting to watch for a second.

31. Urusei Yatsura

Urusei Yatsura is a colossal in the 80’s romance genre, based on a manga by Rumiko Takahashi, known as the legendary queen of manga.

The story takes place in the quiet town of Tomoboki, which is suddenly disrupted by the arrival of an alien spaceship filled with Oni with a very specific intention: to conquer the planet.

However, there’s a way for humanity to save itself: if one person, chosen at random by a computer, can touch the horns of the Oni princess Lum, the planet will be spared. And this task falls to our protagonist, Ataru.

Urusei Yatsura has been, is, and likely will continue to be one of the most renowned and significant Sci-Fi-themed romance anime ever created. Not to mention that it’s one of the pioneers of the harem subgenre.

Do we really need to say more?

N.B. The movie Beautiful Dreamer is another vintage masterpiece by Mamoru Oshii, that is uncompletely related to the main series but we recommend watching it.

30. Space Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato

Space Battleship Yamato originated in 1974 as a manga by Leiji Matsumoto, the same author of Captain Harlock, and was adapted into an excellent vintage anime in the same year.

In the far-off future, Earth has become uninhabitable due to a devastating war with a terrible alien race.

But a ray of hope emerges when Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar offers assistance through an advanced device capable of restoring Earth’s habitability.

This sets in motion the journey of the space battleship Yamato, with just one year to complete this crucial mission.

Space Battleship Yamato is a series that will appeal to fans of space-themed anime, offering a more psychological and adventure-oriented experience with less emphasis on action if compared to other anime in this list.

Nonetheless, it remains a must-watch series from an author who is still considered one of the best ever.

29. Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise

Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise is an anime movie released in 1987, unmistakably bearing the distinct style of Studio Gainax.

The plot revolves around two rival nations competing to conquer the celestial vault and establish space supremacy. The main character is Shiro Lhadatt, who belongs to one of the two sides and dreams of becoming an astronaut.

But his life takes a dramatic turn when he’s assigned a mission and encounters Riquinni, a mysterious girl…

This movie is celebrated for its impeccably and brilliantly executed flight and action sequences, remarkably advanced for a production over 30 years old.

But it’s not just about that. This movie delves into profound and intricate themes, including war, religion, identity, and the hunger for power, not to mention the iconic soundtrack by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

It’s the little gem you are probably missing in your collection of anime movies and you’d be amazed to realize how underrated this movie is.

28. Initial D

Initial D

Initial D is one of those series that you absolutely shouldn’t miss, so if you haven’t experienced it yet, make it a priority.

It’s based on one of the most iconic manga ever created by Shuichi Shigeno, and consists of 26 episodes released in 1998.

Takumi Fujiwara is an 18-year-old who, in the late 1990s, assists his father in their tofu shop by making deliveries to a hotel located on Mount Akina using his reliable Toyota Sprinter Trueno.

However, as he navigates the challenging hairpin turns of this mountain daily, Takumi will evolve into a skilled driver with impressive abilities.

This newfound skill will introduce him to the world of auto racing, which will soon become his passion and purpose in life.

Initial D is packed with tension-filled moments that will keep you glued to the screen, with characters that are written to perfection.

So if you’re a fan of vintage and sports anime, this series is a must-have for your collection.

27. Ashita no Joe

Ashita no Joe completes this list the trio of what can be considered the three most iconic sports anime, alongside Slam Dunk and Initial D. It first aired in 1970 and ran for 79 episodes.

The series follows Joe, an orphaned boy trying to survive in the slums of 1970s Tokyo. Like many in that era, he often finds himself in street fights.

However, his life takes a significant turn when he encounters Danpei Tange, a former boxer turned alcoholic, who recognizes Joe’s potential. Danpei decides to teach him the sport of boxing, believing it can offer them a chance at a better future.

Ashita no Joe is a powerful narrative that explores the transformation of a character’s life as they pursue their dreams.

It combines this character-driven story with intense and hypnotic boxing matches.

26. Mobile Battleship Nadesico

Mobile Battleship Nadesico

Mobile Battleship Nadesico is a 1996 series that, while slightly more niche than some of its counterparts, is a must-watch for fans of mecha and Sci-Fi.

The story takes place in the year 2196 when Earth is under attack by the Jupiter Lizards, an alien race.

To fight back against the invaders, the planet turns to Nergal Heavy Industries, a private company that has created a powerful armed spaceship called the ND-001 Nadesico.

However, because the ship’s technology is incredibly advanced, finding people to pilot it is not an easy task.

This is how Akito Tenkawa, a talented young man who hates fighting and would rather stay at home watching anime, is hired for this duty. And here he’ll meet Yurika, Nadesico’s captain, his future love interest.

Nadesico remains enjoyable thanks to its blend of comedy, mecha action, and romance.

It’s the perfect addition for mecha lovers who want to enjoy some bizarre satire of the genre, as you can notice by checking this old Animerica issue.

25. Laputa – Castle in the Sky

Castle in the Sky

Laputa: Castle in the Sky holds significant historical importance, as it is the first movie produced by the iconic Studio Ghibli, released in 1986.

The movie follows the journey of Pazu and Sheeta as they embark on a quest to find the mythical flying fortress of Laputa.

Along the way, they encounter a crew of eccentric air pirates led by Mama Dola, who are also in pursuit of the legendary treasures hidden on the enchanted island.

With Colonel Muska and his army relentlessly chasing them, Pazu and Sheeta must collaborate to save their homeland and uncover the powerful secret weapon hidden in Laputa.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky is a fantastic movie filled with adventure, plot twists, breathtaking settings, and even a hint of romance.

It inspired the entire fantasy genre and there are countless references here and there, as shown in Ghibli’s successive movies and Hollywood.

24. Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk

Slam Dunk is an institution in the sports genre, and many consider it to be the best series of its kind ever created.

It started as a manga written by Inoue, the same author of Vagabond, in 1990 and was later adapted into a 101-episode anime series in 1993.

The main character Hanamichi Sakuragi is a young brawler who enrolls in the first year of Shohoku High School in Kanagawa Prefecture.

He is a walking cliché: every girl rejects him, his grades in school are not great, and for these reasons, his friends tease him.

However, things soon change for Hanamici when he meets Haruko Akagi, a high school girl who is passionate about basketball.

The girl convinces Hanamici to join the basketball team as she is impressed by his height and muscular physique. And Hanamichi, in love with Haruko, agrees to join the club just so he can impress and win her over.

During the games, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen until the final whistle.

Not to mention the fantastic characters that make up this series, each with a different and well-written personality.

23. Ranma ½

Ranma completes the trio of legendary works by Rumiko Takahashi in this list, leaving Inuyasha aside, which might not quite qualify as vintage yet.

The story revolves around martial arts expert Ranma Saotome, who, due to a curse, transforms into a girl when exposed to cold water.

His engagement with Akane Tendo sets the stage for a series of hilarious misunderstandings and mishaps as they are compelled to live together and navigate their unconventional predicament.

Ranma, like all of Takahashi’s creations, continues to captivate audiences even today with its remarkable innovation, perfectly weaving together elements of comedy, romance, and supernatural.

So, if you were considering a marathon of this author’s works, you’ve just discovered another series to add to your watchlist.

22. Trigun


Trigun is an iconic action anime set in a post-apocalyptic world that has inspired other series in this subgenre for years, along with Fist of the North Star. It was released in 1998 and consists of 26 episodes.

The story revolves around Vash the Stampede, an infamous outlaw who leaves a trail of destruction in every town and village he visits.

To put an end to the chaos and save their failing insurance companies, two agents are sent to apprehend him. However, upon encountering Vash, they discover that he is actually a kind and generous individual.

To this day, Trigun remains one of the best choices you can make if you’re looking for action, plot twists, and characters written to the limits of perfection.

All while it all comes with a Sci-Fi twist that makes the whole thing perfect.

21. Super Dimensional Fortress Macross

Super Dimension Fortress Macross

Super Dimensional Fortress Macross is a 1983 anime released in 36 episodes that in our opinion is a timeless must-watch that we recommend to anyone.

The story begins when a massive alien ship crashes on Earth. Fearing an impending alien invasion, humanity quickly dismantles the ship to construct the formidable spacecraft called Macross as a defensive measure.

Their fears are confirmed when the alien race known as Zentradi attacks Earth on the day of Macross’ unveiling, leading to an intense and thrilling space battle.

But don’t be fooled by the premise, this anime is way beyond the typical action/mecha series.

Romance takes center stage, particularly the iconic love triangle involving pilot Hikaru Ichijo, Macross officer Misa Hayase, and idol singer Lynn Minmay, who plays a significant role in the war effort.

This anime affected the mecha genre and had quite a lot of sequels but the magic of the series and the movie “Macross: Do You Remember Love?” is unforgettable.

20. The Rose of Versailles

The Rose of Versailles

The Roses of Versailles is a cult anime released in the 1980s and based on one of the most important shojo manga ever, written by Riyoko Ikeda.

The story is set in a historical context in 18th-century France, portraying life at the court of Versailles from the coronation of Louis XVI until the Revolution of 1789.

The events unfold through the lives of Marie Antoinette and her noble friend Oscar François de Jarjayes, the commander of the Royal Guard who was raised as a boy.

The Roses of Versailles is a cult vintage anime that you should definitely catch up on if you are a fan of anime adapted from shojo works.

It presents an incredibly comprehensive and captivating story filled with emotion, twists, adventure, action, and even romance.

19. Berserk 1997


There’s no need for extensive introductions when it comes to Berserk, right?

Kentaro Miura’s prime creation is now widely recognized as one of the most magnificent masterpieces in the history of this medium, and that says a lot.

And clearly we’ll talk about the 1997 version, so the first animated adaptation.

As many already know, Berserk delves into the story of Guts, the black warrior, as he struggles with his relentless quest for revenge against Griffith, his former best friend turned nemesis.

Berserk unfolds as a remarkable tale of betrayal, vengeance, growth, war, and particularly stands out as one of the most mature and intense series you can come across.

If you miss those violent ’80s anime with gruesome details and free violence, you are in the right place.

The manga is still undoubtedly the best way to delve into this work, but this adaptation still holds up perfectly.

18. Revolutionary Girl Utena

Revolutionary girl Utena

This iconic ’90s romance anime tells the story of Utena Tenjou, a 15-year-old girl who refuses to be confined by society’s expectations of femininity.

But when Utena discovers that her Rose Ring, given to her by a prince who saved her as a child, holds great power, her life takes a fantastical turn.

She enters a world of magic and duels, fighting to save Anthy Himemiya, the Rose Bride, from a group of Duelists battling for her ownership.

As Utena’s determination to prove herself as a prince leads her to take on the Duelists, she and Anthy’s relationship evolves from close friends to chosen family and eventually to a romance that will tug at your heartstrings.

Revolutionary Girl Utena is not your average romance anime, with its action moments, vintage elegance and rich symbolism that explore themes of choice and self-discovery.

17. Angel’s Egg

Angel's Egg

The first independent production for Mamoru Oshii, Angel’s Egg is a 1985 movie that master Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy) also collaborated on its character design.

The work follows a helpless nameless child in an abandoned town. She cherishes an egg that hides under her robe, even as she goes to search the rubble of the city for food and water.

In the prologue, we witness the descent of a strange eye-shaped figure surrounded by various statues, who heads toward the town where the little girl is.

Angel’s egg is an almost silent movie, but rich in symbolism and Christian references. Indeed, Oshii himself has said that it is up to the viewer to find meaning, creating their own narrative.

This is one of the most unique experiences in the entire history of anime and a great example of movies that would be hard to produce today.

16. Belladonna of Sadness

Belladonna of Sadness

This is a movie from 1973, openly inspired by the legends of the Middle Ages, particularly the book La Sorcière by French writer Jules Michelet.

It tells a story of a recently married woman who lives with her husband in a rural village in medieval France. She gets raped by the local lord in a ritual deflowering where she loses her virginity.

This experience will obviously scar her for life and even her husband will not have sympathy for her.

Jeanne, this was her name, starts receiving visits from a spirit who suggests she takes revenge on the lord. To accomplish her plan, she will become a moneylender, gaining a lot of influence in the village.

This caused her to be kicked out of the village since the kingdom considered her a witch.

It’s at this point that she will make a pact with the devil and try to lead a riot against the lord.

Belladonna of Sadness is another avant-garde and stylish anime that doesn’t even look from the ’70s and deserves way more love than it gets.

15. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade

Jin Roh

Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade is a political thriller anime that came out in 1999, and (another) masterpiece by Mamoru Oshii.

The plot takes place in an alternative version of Japan during the ’50s and revolves around the protagonist Kazuki Fuse, who is a member of the Kerberos Panzer Cops, a counter-terrorist organization.

Kazui’s inner self is put to test when he refuses to shoot a young terrorist that ends up detonating a bomb in front of him. She killed herself in the process and damaged the reputation of the Kerberos.

He visits the girl at the cemetery and meets her sister by chance. The 2 begin to develop a weird and complex relationship.

Meanwhile, a sinister conspiracy is brewing deep in the labyrinth of the police system, pitting a secret group of extremists against the politically inclined bureaucrats of the police force.

If you love political intrigues and ucronia, Jin-Roh is a great choice and something we recommend you watch anyway due to its meaningful ending and message.

14. Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell is a 1995 movie that could easily be considered the best thriller/cyberpunk anime ever.

This movie follows Major Motoko Kusanagi, a member of Public Security Section 9, in the year 2029, and an incredibly skilled agent and fighter.

She is tasked with investigating a case involving a powerful hacker, the Puppet Master, who leaves victims without memories. But as she delves deeper into the case, things get more complicated with other factions getting involved.

Along the way, Motoko is forced to confront some deep philosophical questions about her existence. And as she learns more about the Puppet Master, she realizes that they hold the answers she’s been searching for.

To this day, Ghost in the Shell remains one of the absolute best choices if you are looking for Sci-Fi, cyberpunk, thrillers, and plot twists.

It has left an indelible mark on the genre, inspiring series popular today such as Psycho-Pass.

13. Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin is one of the milestones of samurai-themed anime and consists of a 95-episode anime adaptation based on the manga of the same name by Nobuhiro Watsuki, released in 1996.

Follow the journey of legendary warrior Kenshin Himura as he seeks to protect people from injustice and atone for his violent past actions.

Along the way, he meets his one true love interest, Kaoru Kamiya, and together they embark on thrilling adventures filled with love and conflict.

Rurouni Kenshin is one of the best vintage anime you can come across under multiple aspects.

It presents a tale full of honor, action, and life-or-death battles, all within the captivating backdrop of feudal Japan and with the inclusion of a fantastic love story that complements the story perfectly in its interludes.

12. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa is a 1984 movie set in a world where humanity barely survived a nuclear war known as The Seven Days of Fire.

The remaining humans now struggle to survive in a hostile environment filled with mutated creatures that inhabit a dangerous jungle.

Our main character is Nausicaa, the princess of the Valley of the Wind, a peaceful kingdom sheltered from the perils of this post-apocalyptic world.

One day, an airship from the Kingdom of Tolmekia crashes into the Valley, and the inhabitants discover a sinister pulsating object among the wreckage.

Suddenly, the Tolmekian military invades the Valley with the intent to resurrect a deadly weapon from the time of The Seven Days of Fire.

Nausicaa must fight to prevent them from triggering a catastrophe that could spell the end of humanity.

This is another movie that has left a mark on Japanese animation history, as it stands as Miyazaki’s most significant work before the establishment of Studio Ghibli.

Nausicaa and Laputa are living proof of the genius of Hayao Miyazaki and unmissable movies for retro lovers.

11. Lupin III

Lupin III is a hugely popular anime series based on the works of Monkey Punch that sterted back in 1971.

The iconic protagonist Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin, the gentleman thief. He is following in the footsteps of his grandfather by becoming a world-famous thief who is both feared and admired.

Many people decide to join his gang, such as Daisuke Jigen, a skilled gunman, and Goemon Ishikawa, an expert samurai. Lupin is also hunted down by the law, represented by Inspector Zenigata, who is always left speechless by the cunning of the thief.

As you may know, Lupin’s adventures are still ongoing to this day, so Lupin per se isn’t vintage.

The early series are iconic, to say the least, so including them in this list is a must.

10. Kimagure Orange Road

Kimagure Orange Road

Kimagure Orange Road is another ’80s masterpiece of the romance genre that brought significant changes with its fantastic plot that merges romance and supernatural.

Kyosuke Kasuga is not an average 16-year-old boy, as he possesses unique ESP powers inherited from his family, which he has promised never to use in public.

Upon moving to a new town, he meets the beautiful Madoka Ayukawa, with whom he develops a special relationship.

But this relationship soon becomes complicated when Hikaru, Madoka’s best friend, falls in love with Kyosuke too.

Kimagure Orange Road combines one of the best love triangles ever with an incredibly innovative and unique storyline featuring superpowers and supernatural themes.

The idea behind this series is simple yet so effective and the City Pop soundtrack is among the best ever created in anime history.

9. Akira


Akira is a timeless masterpiece and one of the most prominent anime movies in the West back then. It was originally released as a movie in 1988, adapted from a much more complete seinen manga.

In the ’80s, the city of Tokyo has been destroyed by a boy with mysterious psychic powers, and the government is forced to take him into custody as World War III rages on.

In 2019 the Japanese capital was rebuilt into a new city called Neo-Tokyo and it is riddled with crime, violence and acts of terrorism.

Tetsuo Shima, a member of a criminal gang is starting to develop weird abilities after a mysterious encounter so the government seeks to capture him to prevent another apocalypse.

Akira checks all the boxes if we talk about action, top-tier Sci-Fi and psychologically rich characters, and a plot filled with twists and turns.

Do we need to say more to convince you to watch it if you haven’t already?

P.S. It’s often mislabeled as cyberpunk by novices even though it barely features any elements to be considered such.

8. Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes

Legend of the Galactic Heroes originated in 1988 as an adaptation of a novel and was divided into 110 episodes.

The story is set in the distant future, where humanity has colonized and expanded throughout the cosmos.

Amidst the chaos of war, two protagonists emerge: Reinhard von Lohengramm and Yang Wen-li. Both characters possess exceptional leadership skills, intelligence, and talents.

Reinhard is a natural leader with charismatic qualities, while Yang’s extensive knowledge of military history allows him to draw from past battles to his advantage.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an unfailing choice if you are looking for psychology, warfare, and Sci-Fi in your vintage series.

And despite its years, it still manages to be incredibly deep in terms of the depth of the characters and their plots.

7. Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke is another one of Studio Ghibli’s masterpieces like many others on this list, released in the summer of 1997.

In a remote land in the eastern part of Japan, the remnants of the once glorious Emishi people reside.

Here, Prince Ashitaka is compelled to confront the boar god Nago, who has transformed into a demon, in order to protect his village. Unfortunately, this act results in a terrible curse being placed upon Ashitaka.

As the curse spreads and threatens his life and the lives of his people, Ashitaka embarks on a journey to find a cure for this affliction.

Princess Mononoke is an excellent blend of supernatural elements, a traditional Japanese setting, thrilling adventure, and even philosophical themes.

All of these elements are intertwined with a rich lore and many details that require multiple runs.

6. Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue

In his debut as a director, the legendary Satoshi Kon in 1997 gives us a rare gem like Perfect Blue, one of the best anime movies ever in our opinion.

Mima Kirigoe is a young girl belonging to the Chams, a trio of idols who sing J-Pop songs. The group is having a fair amount of success, but Mima wants to become an actress, so she leaves the group.

Amid the discouragement of the fans, Mima will start acting in a small role in a drama and some strange events will begin to take place.

A fax will be delivered to her in which she is accused of treason, and even more disturbing is the existence of a website called Mima’s Room in which someone describes her days in great detail.

Perfect Blue is the perfect representation of how to create a drama-centered story with an ever-increasing climax.

It has perfect direction, with a plot that will make you feel constantly anxious and in danger just by watching it.

5. Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku is a must-have for any romance fan and continues to inspire anime in the genre to this day. It ran from 1986 and concluded in 96 episodes.

The story revolves around Yusaku Godai, a young man who is preparing for his college entrance exams. Yusaku resides in Maison Ikkoku, a bustling boarding house where distractions make it challenging for him to concentrate on his studies.

Initially planning to leave, Yusaku’s decision takes a turn when Kyoko Otonashi, the new building manager, arrives, and he falls in love with her and decides to stay.

Maison Ikkoku has left a significant imprint on the landscape of ’80s romance anime and still manages to be a profound and even innovative series today.

So, if it’s missing from your collection, catch up as soon as possible because you’re missing out on one of the best romance series you could watch in your entire life.

4. Mobile Suit Gundam (Universal Century)


Mobile Suit Gundam stands as one of the most iconic and influential series ever that even today continues to set the standard in the mecha, Sci-Fi, and warfare genres.

The most important series are set in the Universal Century, the original timeline of the very first anime.

The background of Gundam is simple, there isn’t enough space on Earth and people have moved across space colonies.

In the year 0079 of the Universal Century, Side 3, the farthest group of colonies from Earth declared themselves the Principality of Zeon and fought for independence, seeking to subdue all other space colonies.

That’s the beginning of a devastating war, that will forever alter the course of history in the universe.

From here, you have a lot of OVAs, series and movies that describe the horrors of war under different circumstances while showcasing charming mecha designs.

Mobile Suit Gundam is still a hit and the Universal Century series haven’t lost their retro charm.

3. Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic anime series ever, based on Naoko Takeuchi‘s legendary shojo manga and released in 46 episodes in 1992.

Usagi Tsukino is an ordinary eighth-grade student who encounters a talking cat named Luna during her daily routine.

To her surprise, Luna reveals that Usagi is a Sailor warrior, who must team up with other allies like her to protect the earth from the imminent arrival of evil.

Sailor Moon is the quintessential majokko anime even today, with vibrant and colorful transformations taking center stage in a lighthearted, engaging story with an iconic lo-fi vibe.

We can consider this series as one of the most stylish ever and a great example of the ’90s vibe that is still cherished today. 

The anime adaptation differs from the original manga, thanks to its high filler rate and different character design. 

But Sailor Moon isn’t only an anime, it’s a true fashion phenomenon and one of the most prominent Majokko exponents. 

If that weren’t enough, it’s also the most prominent feminist anime and a great example of friendship and bonding with friends. 

2. Neon Genesis Evangelion

You’ve all been waiting for it, but there was no doubt that Neon Genesis Evangelion would appear on this list.

Created by Hideaki Anno and the Gainax studio in 1995, the anime portrays a world under attack by mysterious cybernetic entities known as Angels that threaten the peace of humanity.

To fight them, the Special Agency Nerv uses special mechas called EVAs. The protagonist, Shinji Ikari, is hired by this group to pilot one of the robots, EVA 01, and attempt to end these attacks.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most important and well-known anime ever, period.

Even today, nearly 30 years after its release, it continues to generate new theories and interpretations about its story, especially after the Rebuild movies.

The original series culminated in The End of Evangelion, which offers a different perspective on the debated ending of the anime.

Both the series and the movie represent the pinnacle of Japanese animation and one of the biggest attempts in avant-garde productions.

1. Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop is regarded as one of the best anime series of all time, and it’s unlikely to lose this title anytime soon. Released in 1998 with 26 episodes, it’s a series that you’ll never want to end.

Set in a not-too-distant future where inter-spatial travel is the norm and Mars is a vital part of human life, the show follows a group of bounty hunters, or cowboys, as they chase down intergalactic outlaws.

Meet Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter, in the year 2071, and witness Spike’s many talents and abilities in hand-to-hand combat and martial arts, garnering a reputation as one of the strongest fighters in the universe.

He chases criminals with his partner, Jet Black, and together they team up with a con artist, a child hacker, and a Welsh Corgi to form a bizarre family.

But when an old enemy comes back into Spike’s life, he must now choose between his past and his newfound family.

All of these characters create a perfect mosaic of regrets, personal stories and struggles that are quite relatable for the viewer.

Cowboy Bebop was, is, and will be for a long time one of the best choices you can make if you are looking for an adventure, Sci-Fi, drama, and even tear-jerking series.

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Passionate about Japanese culture for years, serial devourer of manga, anime, and videogames that have now become part of my routine. My favorite series? Goodnight Punpun and One Piece.

1 thought on “The Top 35+ Vintage Anime & Movies For Retro Fans”

  1. There are so many good anime here that I have really pleasant memories for but the one I choose to highlight is often Initial D due to the fond memories I have of it during freshman college and how it would distress me and help me wind down and relax before exams. Naturally I wind up doing really well the next day. I have some real nostalgia for the cast, plotline and OSTs. Heartbeat for life!


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