15 Of The Most Influential Animes Ever

Anime is becoming increasingly prevalent in popular culture, allowing us to cop items such as Dragon Ball Z x Adidas and One Piece x Skechers sneakers. From Astro Boy to One Punch Man, here are 15 of the most influential titles and their ultimate merch packs.

by Jumoke FernandezFebruary 25, 2019, 7:41 PM

#1 Astro Boy 

Release date: 1963

Old but gold; Astro Boy is a classic and paved the way for all the anime to follow - so much so that its creator Osamu Tezuka is credited as the “God of Manga” by many.

#2 Gundam 

Release date: 1979

Gundam was the first and most influential series in the “real robot” (mecha) genre. Mecha are mechanised and piloted weapons that look like robots. The first Gundam episode was released in 1979, and it’s still on air. 

#3 Dragon Ball

Release date: 1986

Dragon Ball is another highly influential series that has had many collabs with notable brands. The Adidas x Dragon Ball Z drops especially have been pretty damn fresh. 

#4 Akira 

Release date: 1989

In Neo-Tokyo, in a thankfully alternate 2019, Kaneda fights against the powers that be in order to save his friend Tetsuo. Akira is widely accepted as among the most iconic anime movies of all time, so this list just wouldn’t be complete without it.

#5 Sailor Moon 

Release date: 1992

Sailor Moon is one of the defining entries in the 'magical girl' subgenre of anime. The Creer Beaute Sailor Moon makeup collaboration is definitely one of the cutest product ranges on the market. They made her iconic accessories usable, opening the door for every aspiring magical girl.

#6 Evangelion 

Release date: 1995

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a mecha anime like Gundam, but with a dark streak. In its short, intense production run it won heaps of acclaim and kick-started a new era of inspired anime - and of course it gave us a ton of amazing merch.

#7 Ghost in the Shell 

Release date: 1996

Ghost in the Shell, like a few others on this list, has pretty much established itself as a household name. The story follows Motoko Kusunagi, a ‘synthetic "full-body prosthesis" augmented-cybernetic human’ or ‘cyborg,’ as she and her team fight crime across a future Niihama.

 #8 Pokémon 

Release date: 1997

The original Pokémon anime and games warmed everybody’s hearts back in the day. In the last years, Pokémon GO made Poke-trainer dreams come true, and now there’s Let’s Go, Eevee! and Pikachu on Nintendo Switch, playable USING A POKÉ BALL AS THE CONTROLLER. It’s too much. May it never stop.

#9 One Piece 

Release date: 1999 

One Piece first aired in 1999, but the original manga was serialized in 1997 in Shonen Jump. Basically, the protagonist Luffy plans to become the Pirate King and has the ability to stretch like rubber... it’s a flexible premise on 800+ episodes and counting.

#10 Naruto 

Release date: 2002

Naruto, another Shonen Jump title, was super popular back in the early ‘00s and still continues to be a classic for anime fans. The story of Naruto's journey is widely beloved, especially in the US, and can definitely be called one of the most influential anime series ever.

#11 Spirited Away 

Release date: 2003

Spirited Away is one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous movies. It’s a great film for the whole family and probably the title with the cutest art style on this list. And that’s given rise to some awesome costumes - the No Face ones in particular is worthy of copping for Halloween or the meme alone.

#12 Bleach 

Release date: 2004

Also a Shonen Jump manga original, Bleach follows Kurosaki Ichigo and his friends. Ichigo can see ghosts, which leads him to gain the powers of a Shinigami (Soul Reaper). The show sits alongside Naruto, One Piece, and Dragon Ball as one of the most classic Shonen titles of all time.

#13 Death Note 

Release date: 2006

Death Note follows Yagami Light (a bright, hard working student) and his discovery and use of the “Death Note” - a notebook that allows you to kill anyone as long as you know their name and face. It’s a delightfully spooky classic of the genre, and the posters are to die for.

#14 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Release date: 2012

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is one of the most popular anime currently on air. The manga and anime follow the Joestar family; each protagonist is a member of the family lineage (all named “JoJo” in some form), all discovering they are destined to take down supernatural foes using special powers. The author Araki Hirohiko is well known for his 💪 unique 💪 art style. 

#15 One Punch Man 

Release date: 2015

One Punch Man is a viral webcomic turned anime: the webcomic surpassed 7.9 million hits in June 2012 and the anime released its first episode in 2015. The show follows Saitama, a hero who fights for fun and is able to defeat all his enemies in one punch.