5 Series For That Perfect ’90s Anime Aesthetic

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Kelly Knox
Kelly Knox has been an anime fan for over 20 years. She's an entertainment writer in the Seattle area who also contributes to StarWars.com, DCComics.com, IGN, and more.

If you’re on social media, every once in a while some eye-catching screenshots probably pop up on your timeline with the words “’90s anime aesthetic.” With its unique technology, gorgeous scenery and distinct character design, the ’90s anime aesthetic is immediately recognizable.

RELATED: A Look Back at the Anime Clubs of the ’90s

You already know about Cowboy Bebop and Sailor Moon, of course. But if you can’t get enough of that ’90s anime look and feel, here are five series to watch right here on Funimation that have that aesthetic and more!

Take a look below for some modern classics, gorgeous character designs and awe-inspiring space battles waiting for you in this blast from the past.


Armitage III (1995)

You can practically hear the LaserDisc spinning when you put on this futuristic crime drama. From the neon-tinged cyberpunk opening to the meticulously designed robots and technology, it doesn’t get much more ’90s than Armitage III.

The electric story follows Armitage, an unorthodox officer in the Martian Police Department, and her new partner Sylibus, who’s about to discover he might be in over his head. Bloody, in-your-face visuals make this series a hallmark of the decade.

Watch Armitage III on Funimation!


Excel Saga (1999)

No one is prepared for the first time they watch Excel Saga. Self-described as a “quack experimental anime,” the parody’s protagonist dies—twice—within the first five minutes.

Excel is a young member of the secret organization ACROSS. (Fans of Sailor Moon will find Excel’s voice very, very familiar.) The charismatic leader of ACROSS has declared their first target to be manga artists—in particular, the creator of Excel Saga.

What follows is hilarious, irreverent, frenetic and more than a little bizarre. It’s also visually stunning. And did we mention bizarre?

Enter the wild world of Excel Saga!


Initial D (1998)

Get ready to go the distance with Takumi and his friends in Initial D! Already considered a modern classic by many anime and manga fans, this high-octane drama combines the detailed animation style of the 1990s with early CG work to add even more intensity.

When delivery driver Takumi enters the world of street racing, he begins a dangerous new life. Tires screech as cars drift around the curves of the road and leave smoke in their wake. Much like Takumi, the excitement never stops. 

Start your engines with Initial D now!


Magic Knight Rayearth (1994)

You haven’t seen isekai until you’ve seen ‘90s isekai! In 2022, plenty of series show our intrepid protagonists traveling to a strange new world, but 1994’s Magic Knight Rayearth was one of the first.

Middle schoolers Hikari, Umi and Fuu are transported to Cephiro to embrace new destinies as protectors of that world. Can they save Cephiro before it’s too late? CLAMP’s luminous character designs are unmistakable and are practically a trademark of the decade. 

Escape into Magic Knight Rayearth!


Martian Successor Nadesico (1996)

Need some space? Martian Successor Nadesico delivers the sci-fi story you’ve been waiting for! In the year 2195 A.D., an alien invasion from Jupiter strikes an outpost on Mars.

The aliens, called Jovian lizards, attack without mercy. One year later, a private company on Earth retaliates by building the warship Nadesico. On board is a crew that’s “the very best, even if it means some slight personality problems.” 

Spaceship battles, slapstick comedy, space opera, and even a little bit of romance make Nadesico a classic of the mecha anime genre, all with that 90s aesthetic you adore.

All aboard the Martian Successor Nadesico!


Which anime do you watch to travel back in time? Share this post and let us know! And stay tuned to Funimation for the latest news on all things anime, this season and beyond.

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