The anime medium has seen a resurgence of popularity in the West in the past decade. Following hits from the newest generation of battle shonen, young fans have been falling in love with anime like never before. But for many older fans, the '90s is where true anime began to blossom and fandom developed outside of Japan.

For these fans, anime has been a consistent source of entertainment for upwards of three decades. While animation has continued to evolve, with new technology and unique storytelling tropes, nothing beats a classic, late-night anime from the '90s.

10 One Piece Defied The Odds And Survived Two Decades

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Many fans may not realize that One Piece originally started in the '90s because unlike most other franchises, One Piece continues to flourish to this day. One Piece has consistently been delivering thrilling adventures and touching stories of friendship for over two decades and has a long life still ahead of it.

It's uncommon for an anime to be as long as One Piece, with well over 1,000 episodes and even more chapters. It's hard to imagine how One Piece has been successful for as long as it has, but no one can deny that Luffy has entertained anime fans for years.

9 Slam Dunk Became The Template For Sports Anime

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Modern anime fans have fallen in love with shows like Haikyuu and Kuroko no Basket, but older viewers know that these anime owe it all to shows like Slam Dunk. Slam Dunk changed the world of sports anime forever, with its massive popularity redefining the sport for many Japanese fans.

It's been said that following the rise of Slam Dunk, Japan saw a surge of interest in basketball unlike any other point in history. It's an exhilarating anime that can compete today against the best of them.

8 Berserk Is The Best Adaptation So Far

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The Berserk manga is one of the most important stories told in anime/manga history. Many critics consider it to be one of the most influential manga to ever exist. Berserk has received a number of adaptations over the years, and yet very few of them have ever managed to impress.

Some fans consider Berserk to be unadaptable entirely, with an art style too detailed for common anime. But even skeptics consider the 1997 adaptation of Berserk to be the best by far. It may not be perfect, but it's fantastic nonetheless.

7 Pokémon Is The Most Recognizable Franchise In The World

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Pokémon is so popular that many fans don't even realize it could be considered an anime at all. For many people in the West, Pokémon is a cartoon like any other. But real fans know that Pokémon has its roots in Japan and is just one of many monster-catching anime in existence.

But no monster-catching anime has been as popular and influential as Pokémon. Pokémon has evolved into one of the most recognizable and profitable franchises in the world, largely in part due to how successful the '90s anime was.

6 Yu Yu Hakusho Defined What A Battle Shonen Should Be

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The most popular anime genre is the battle shonen. It's a story archetype that continues to be made by the dozen each year, with new and interesting twists on the genre attempting to make their name among the greats.

But if any anime could be considered the leader of the genre, it would be Yu Yu Hakusho. This series defined many of the tropes fans would come to love and appreciate from battle shonen and has been absolutely vital in popularizing anime overall in the West.

5 Hunter X Hunter Proved Togashi Wasn't A One Hit Wonder

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Yu Yu Hakusho was one of the biggest manga of all time, but it's hard to imagine how a great writer could create not just one, but two series as acclaimed and successful as that. Yu Yu Hakusho's creator, Togashi, did just that when he followed up his most popular series with the manga hit Hunter X Hunter.

While 2011's Hunter X Hunter adaptation has brought the anime to a new fandom, many older viewers remember the series' original adaptation from the 90s. That series proved that Togashi may just be the greatest shonen writer of all time.

4 Digimon Was More Than Just A Pokémon Clone

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Many anime fans feel that Digimon was a poor knockoff of Pokémon. But those who have seen Digimon know that it breathed a life of its own and told compelling stories completely unlike Pokémon. Digimon explored a world similar to viewers and had characters and creatures that felt more real than anything from Pokémon.

Digimon could've been a shameless clone made to sell toys for children and instead, it became something unique and amazing that continues to evolve to this very day.

3 Detective Conan Brings New Mysteries Every Episode

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The Murder Mystery genre is one of the hardest to write of all genres. These stories require delicate plotting and characterization in a way that few other stories do. It makes sense that the greatest mystery writers only produce the occasional movie or novel.

Detective Conan manages to impress by writing some of the most compelling mysteries on an episode-to-episode basis. This series has consistently delivered intriguing mysteries that grip its audience and drag them through a roller coaster of suspense for over 1,000 episodes.

2 Akira Showed The World The Power Of Animation

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Anime has a special place in the hearts of young adults across the world, but Akira managed to break through an even wider demographic and impressed the most skeptical movie buffs.

Some of the world's most successful and visionary artists have credited Akira as being a masterpiece work of film. It legitimized the anime medium to a wide audience in a way that few other anime have even gotten close to. Anime's acceptance in the West is largely owed to the work of Akira.

1 Dragon Ball Z Inspired A Generation Of Anime Fans

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When asking most seasoned anime artists what their inspiration was, the most common answer will be Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z was the height of bombastic, shonen battles for decades and shaped the interests of many fans at the time.

Dragon Ball Z is cited as a massive influence among various creators and viewers alike. It is a show unlike any other that managed to establish a fanbase bigger than most anime to this day.