1. “Digimon”

While I saw several series during my childhood like Pokemon, Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, Digimon was the one that really drew me.

Toei Animation first released the series in 1999, focusing on seven kids who got their own special summer adventure when they mysteriously arrived at the Digital World. Instead of the planned camp itinerary, they had to learn about their new companion Digimons and the strange Digivices that would help them power up.

While Crunchyroll has the latest OVA series “Digimon Adventure tri”, Hulu has the second “Adventure” from 2000. Toei will be releasing a revamp of the original series this April.

  1. “Cowboy Bebop”

This 1997 series from Sunrise Inc. is probably my most rewatched series.

“Cowboy Bebop” brings viewers into the future where bounty hunter Spike Spiegel and his crew do their best to cash in for their next meal. While there are a lot of funny moments, it gets darker and grittier towards the series end. The story and visuals are amazing but the music from Yoko Kanno and her big band group The Seatbelts really brought it together. Some of the tracks are so iconic that even fans will recognize them in some Korean variety shows.

Both Funimation, Amazon Prime and Adult Swim have the dubbed version available for streaming, Funimation and Amazon Prime have the original Japanese episodes. Sadly there is no streaming service with “Cowboy Bebop the Movie” (Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door) but Funimation has physical copies. Those wanting to hear the soundtracks can check them out on iTunes.

  1. “Yu Yu Hakusho”

“Yu Yu Hakusho” has a special place in my heart for it was a series my step-uncle introduced to me after emigrating from the Philippines. Along with video games like “Final Fantasy VII” and shows like “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”, he showed me a fan favorite of his countrymen with the VHS tapes he brought.

The series follows Yusuke Urameshi, a 14 year-old master trouble maker. However, beyond his tough exterior, he has a kind heart to the point he willingly sacrifices himself to protect a kid from being hit from a car. His untimely death leaves those of the underworld in a bit of a conundrum and they give him a second chance. His encounter with the supernatural changes him and he takes up the position as the Spirit Detective. Now he must help balance the world between the humans and those ghostly and possibly evil.

Funimation and Amazon Prime both have the series available online and the film and OVA in physical form.

  1. “Fruits Basket”

“Fruits Basket” is a series that is a mix of genres to bring a story of love and forgiveness.

Tohru Honda is a cheerful high school student who does her best. She shows her smile even though she lost both of her parents and lives in the small forest of the city. Things change when she passes by a house in the forest and discovers that the most popular boy, Yuki Sohma lives there. When he and his older cousin and homeowner Shigure find out about the girl’s living conditions, they offer her a place to stay. While things seem nice, they take a sudden shift when Kyo, another cousin, enters their lives. His reckless rage leads to the unfortunate of the Sohma family curse and Tohru does her best to keep the secret and the family members safe.

I fell in love with the first anime adaptation and knew there was more to the story. Eventually I collected manga series that showed so much more heartbreak and drama. It’s amazing that the series is back and will go beyond to show the rest of the story. Check out my review for more information on it. Season Two will be arriving this Spring.

Both Funimation, Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime have the latest series online. Funimation, Hulu and Amazon Prime also have the first adaptation.

  1. “Kuuchuu Buranko”

Also known as “Welcome To Irabu’s Office”, “Kuuchuu Buranko” (Flying Trapeze) takes the Psychiatrist Irabu short stories series into a strange animated adventure.

The show features patients trying to solve their personal problems with the help of the unconventional doctor Ichiro Irabu and his nurse Mayumi. Some include a trapeze artist, a writer and even a fellow doctor. The beauty of the show is its range of animation techniques to bring out these cases from striking patterns to the rotoscoping of actors like Mayumi’s Yumi Sugimoto, a gravure model. It is a trippy ride to reach some sort of mental stability. Feel free to read more of my review.

Sadly this series is unable since Viewster no longer exists. DVDs are available but only in Australia. There are some physical copies of the English translation of the first book, “In the Pool”. I do hope that a distributor picks this series up in the future so that more can enjoy this weird but heartwarming short series.

  1. “Mononoke”

Though “Kuuchuu Buranko” is unavailable, some of the production team including director Kenji Nakamura and character designer Takahashi Hashimoto also worked on another favorite series of mine, “Mononoke”.

Like “Kuuchuu Buranko”, “Mononoke” is a short series that consists of small stories in a colorful world. However, viewers enter an older Japan still with samurais. Its main character is a medicine seller that travels around with his box of odd treatments and a strange sword. While he could treat normal wounds, the ailments seem to need something more supernatural.

For more information, check out my review. Crunchyroll has the full series in its library.

  1. “Mushishi”

“Mushishi” is a series I go to when I need something a bit more calming but still a deep and dark tale.

First released in 2005, Ginko is a white-haired man travelling around Japan. Some would think he is like the medicine seller of “Mononoke” but his large medicine box is specifically for the spirits he calls “mushi”. Many take forms like ethereal microbes but others are larger and harm the humans around them. Ginko does his best to help those afflicted and expand his research.

A good number of its episodes are a slow grind to the action but it provides a suspenseful atmosphere while building its universe to the audience. Funimation, Hulu and Amazon Prime have the first series while Crunchyroll has the second series and OVA. Funimation also physically released the live action film adaptation.

  1. “Nichijou”

For something silly and funny, I go for “Nichijou – My Ordinary Life”. It is far from ordinary as three best friends, Mai, Yuuko and Mio constantly encounter strange characters and situations. From the young professor with her unusual family to the seemingly calm principal. There’s just too many hijinks and gags that you just need to see for yourself. Check out episodes on Amazon Prime and Funimation. If you want more from the creator Keiichi Arawi, check out my reviews of “City” and “Nichijou”.

  1. “Escaflowne”

Thanks to my step-uncle, I liked mechs and “The Vision of Escaflowne” instantly drew my attention when Fox Kids first showed it. However, it was clear that the series was not fitting for its young audience and it was no longer on TV. Luckily, thanks to Funimation and Amazon Prime, people can see the full series.

Hitomi Kanzaki appears to be a normal athletic high school girl, but she has a gift with tarot readings. Things change one day when she finds Van Fanel, a guy from another world chasing after a dragon. Amidst the action, the two end up going back to Van’s homeworld of Gaea in order to bring the dragon’s heart. Hitomi, now bonded with Van and his gigantic machine called Escaflowne must face this fantastical place as conflicts disrupt the peace.

“Escaflowne” is great for those that like mech series such as “Mobile Suit Gundam” but want something more in the historical fantasy realm. It also has a wonderful soundtrack from Yoko Kanno, composer from “Cowboy Bebop”.

  1. “Ergo Proxy”

This dark cyberpunk anime is one I tend to rewatch from time to time. Its dystopian setting and philosophical discussions have always intrigued me.

Re-l Mayer is an inspector in the city of Romdeau and works alongside a robot named Iggy. They look at some new murder cases when Re-l faces two strange humanoids. Her investigations lead to a secret government project, creating a god-like Proxy. They also take her to Vincent Law, an average looking man who may have a connection to the case. However, little do both Re-l and Vincent know how deep the rabbit hole will take them, deep into the roots of the society of Romdeau.

The series was available on Netflix for a time but now fans can check out the dubbed version on Amazon Prime.