Anime has come a long way since 1997! With the advent of online streaming (especially legal sources), anime is super easy to find, but that doesn’t mean people weren’t obsessing over it 20 years ago.
In fact, some of your first anime may have been shown during this period and you discovered it late. Whether it was shown on TV or you had a shady guy with bootleg tapes, here are some anime from the year 1997!
One of Studio Ghibli’s most popular films, and Hayao Miyazaki’s first “last film.” The story follows a prince who is embroiled in a conflict between a forest princess and an industrialized nation.
2The End of Evangelion
A kinda-sorta alternate ending to the Evangelion TV series…or is it? The vague finale follows Shinji Ikari as he struggles to decide between accepting mankind or renouncing individuality. Meanwhile, Gendo and Rei go on a most trippy quest to confront Lilith and force their own ideals on the world’s future.
Considered the best anime adaptation of the dark fantasy manga. Berserk is an adaptation of the popular Golden Age Arc, which chronicles Guts’ early years as a mercenary working for the Band of Hawk under Griffith.
4The Kindaichi Case Files
One of the longest-running mystery series in Japan, The Kindaichi Case Files is often viewed as a rival series to Detective Conan. The series centers around Hajime Kindaichi, a high school student who has a reputation for being one of the smartest detectives. He specializes in solving murder cases.
5Revolutionary Girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena was a big deal in ’97: it was one of the first mainstream anime to deal with LGBTQ+ themes. The story centers around Utena, a girl who wishes to become a strong prince. When she is admitted into Ootori Academy, Utena is thrust into a dangerous game to win Anthy’s hand.
That’s right, arguably the most recognized anime got its start 20 years ago! Not much has changed since Pokemon‘s premiere: Ash is on a quest to become a Pokemon master, with Pikachu at his side.
7Tenchi in Tokyo
Tenchi in Tokyo is a bit divisive among Tenchi Muyo! fans. This entry features Tenchi leaving his harem to attend school in Tokyo, where he meets the popular Sakuya. The series focus more on Tenchi and Sakuya’s relationship and Tenchi’s harem’s growing jealousy.
Slayers was parodying fantasy tropes before KonoSuba was even a thought. Slayers Try is the third entry in the franchise and it follows Lina Inverse and her friends as they explore “the outside world” as they combat Dark Star Dugradigdo.
9Vampire Princess Miyu
Vampire Princess Miyu follows Miyu, a vampire who is tasked with defeating god demons who prey on humans. The TV is an expansion of the 1988 OVA series and re-adapts the manga.
Fun fact: the OVA was the very first anime to be fansubbed by the people who created AnimEigo. They would later license the OVA series after they became a legal licensor.
10Flame of Recca
Flame of Recca teeters between obscurity and popular. It’s a shounen series that centers around Recca Hanabishi, a teenage boy who claims to be a modern-day ninja. On day, he meets an actual ninja named Yanagi Sakoshita…who claims that Recca has the innate ability to control flames.
Chuuka Ichiban! made cooking anime cool before Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma was a thought. The series takes place during a fictional Chinese era that puts an emphasis on cooking. Liu Mao Hsing travels China in order to become a Master Chef so he can take over his deceased mom’s restaurant. Like Food Wars!, the series features actual recipes but exaggerated cooking techniques.
Hyper Police takes place in an ’90s inspired future where humans and monsters live together. Natsuki Sasahara is a catgirl and a young police officer who protects humans from powerful monsters.