Most Influential Japanese Anime in the US

Posted by , Updated on December 7, 2018


Have you ever wondered what the most influential Japanese anime in the U.S. is? Perhaps, you might be surprised that is changed American animation in ways no one expected. Not surprisingly, Japanese Animation, or “Anime” as it’s known in the U.S., took America by storm in the 80’s and 90’s. Needless to say, they’re known for exaggerated features, such as big eyes and oddly colored hair. Moreover, popular anime movies and television shows portray fantastic stories, and usually, it’s about some supernatural power, that is just as beautiful to watch as they are entertaining.

For a long time, most American cartoons geared their stories toward children, making them silly and generally wholesome. Sadly (or not so sadly), it stayed away from serious storylines and ideas that pushed the envelope. Interestingly, American kids watched G.I. Joe fight a bad guy and give a life lesson at the end. In contrast, Japanese Anime broke the mold, showing dynamic Japanese anime characters struggling with nuanced emotions and concepts. You know, kid stuff, like existentialism.

With stunning animation, grounded storylines, deep characters, and serialized stories, the most successful anime reshaped American animated programming for years to come, influencing several American spins on the anime style. Here are the Most Influential Japanese Anime in the US.

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Yu Yu Hakusho

yu yu hakusho

A Japanese manga series that was adapted into an animated series in 1990; Yu Yu Hakusho revolved around the story of a teenage delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi who got struck and killed by a car as he sought to save the life of a child. After he was revived, he was appointed as an Underworld Detective to investigate the cases of demons and apparitions on Earth.




Berserk aired in 1997 and centered on the life of an orphaned mercenary warrior named Guts, who called himself the Black Swordsman, as he served the Band of the Hawk. This is an intense anime filled with great action and some colorful scenes which may not be appropriate for children.




An anime television series that was released in 1982, Super Dimension Fortress Macross featured a love triangle among its major characters, plastered against the backdrop of battles that existed between aliens and humans. When shown in the US, it was re-titled Robotech. It rose to fame because of Linn Minmay, the pop star idol in the show, along with transforming air fighter units called Valkyries.


Code Geass

code geass

Code Geass was a Japanese anime series that was directed by Goro Taniguchi and written by Ichiro Okouchi. Set in an alternate future, the story revolved around a former prince named Lelouch Lamperouge who obtained the Geass power and used it to destroy the Holy Britannian Empire.


Elfen Lied

elfen lied

Elfen Lied was a Japanese manga series created by Lynn Okamoto. Its story revolved around the interactions, emotions, similarities, and differences between human beings and the Diclonii. The Diclonii are a mutant species that resemble humans in build but have two horns and vectors. The anime series centered on the protagonist named Lucy, who sought revenge after being rejected by humans.

So, what about you? Did you have an Anime that influenced you as a kid we didn’t mention? Sound off in the comments and tell us about it!

Photo: Featured Image - Net Sama via flickr, cowboy bebop, CC BY 2.0, 1. spadge6868, dragon ball 7, CC BY 2.0, 2. Amazon (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 3. Net Sama, cowboy bebop, CC BY 2.0, 4. Net Sama, One Piece, CC BY 2.0, 5. (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 6. Net Sama, Death Note, CC BY 2.0, 7. Net Sama, Samurai Champloo HD Desktop Background, CC BY 2.0, 8. a0111201112, last exile艦長.jpg, CC BY 2.0, 9. Elilopes, Soldiers soul gold saints - saint seiya, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 10. Net Samav, Anime Fullmetal Alchemist Image 51, CC BY 2.0, 11. Danny Choo via flickr, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, CC BY-SA 2.0, 12. cocamert via flickr, Naruto Uzumaki, CC BY 2.0, 13. (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 14. via (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 15. via en.wikipedia (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 16. via en.wikipedia (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 17. Net Sama, future boy conan (Public Domain), 18. (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 19. (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 20. (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 21. altosalvationz, Elfen Lied girls -Render-, CC BY 3.0, 22. akito92HUN, Code Geass C.C. Signature, CC BY 3.0, 23. (Fair Use: Illustrative Purposes Only), 24. Net Sama, Berserk (Public Domain), 25. Net Sama, yu yu hakusho (Public Domain)

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