Most Influential Japanese Anime in the US

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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Dragon Quest

dragon quest

A Nintendo game adapted into an anime series in 1989, Dragon Quest had a total of 43 episodes, supervised by Horii, with characters similar to the original Dragon Quest game. The first 13 episodes of this anime series was translated into English and released in North America.


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Ghost in the shell sac

An anime television series based on the manga series, Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex revolved around the story of the members of a team called Public Security Section 9. Written and directed by Kenji Kamiyama, it first aired in Japan in 2002 and released in other parts of the world a year after. Its lead character, Agent Motoko Kusanagi, turned heads because of her beauty and fighting skills which was crucial to the appeal of the series.




A manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Urushibara, Mushishi was adapted into an anime television series in 2005 and featured some ubiquitous creatures called Mushi. These characters had supernatural powers and had a purity beyond normal living things. The main character in the story, Ginko, was among the few who possessed the ability to interact with the divine Mushis.


Future Boy Conan


Future Boy Conan first aired in Japan and China in 1978 with the official title Conan, The Boy in the Future. The story was set in 2008, the time when human kind was already in the face of extinction. Its story revolved around a devastating war fought by two nations armed with ultra-magnetic weapons. This war resulted in a series of earthquakes and other massive movements that eventually devastated the Earth until everyone else died except for three survivors, including Conan.


D Gray-Man

d gray man

A Japanese manga series created by Katsura Hoshino, D Gray-Man followed Allen Walker, a member of the Exorcists—an organization that made use of an ancient substance called Innocence to fight the Millennium Earl and Akuma, its demonic army.

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