7 Classic Anime to Watch for the Ultimate Nostalgia Trip 

These anime just hit different

Whether to relive the dream that the power of friendship can solve anything, or ignite the feeling of excitement rushing home from school to catch the latest ep, here are some of our favorite anime series growing up. 

Related: ICYMI, Here are Some of the Times The Philippines Made a Cameo in Anime

Japan is one of Filipinos’ preferred travel destinations, and has been for some time. This may be because it’s one of the more accessible and affordable countries to visit with four seasons. But no one can deny that our love for anime has something to do with it. Whether your love for anime is enduring or you’re just getting started on your journey to becoming a superfan, here are some classic series for you to check out: 

Dragon Ball (1986)

Dragon Ball tells the story of Bulma and Goku, as they search for the eponymous Dragon Balls – a collection of magical artifacts that summon a dragon with the ability to grant a wish to whoever is able to collect them all. On its face, its story may seem fairly commonplace, but this is because it basically laid the groundwork for similar anime that came after it. The influence of this anime was easily felt and seen in other Weekly Shonen Jump publications, namely the Big Three: Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. While the great man who created Dragon Ball, Akira Toriyama, is sadly no longer with us, our love for his story and characters will always be over 9000. 


This show truly had us playing pretend with our friends by daylight and dreaming of our own Tuxedo Mask by moonlight. Sailor Moon, one of the OG shōjo series to grace the anime stage, completely defined the modern magical girl genre – so much so that many series to this day pay homage to and parody Usagi’s iconic transformation sequence. A tale of girlhood and friendship, it’s no wonder this coming-of-age anime still has so much recall and influence decades later – regardless of whether you’ve even watched it. 

Pokémon (1997)

Originally a gaming series that features perhaps an equally famous lovable mouse, Pokémon is one of, if not the, largest media franchises in the world. It’s no surprise that the game spawned a wildly popular TV series that spanned 25 years. Following Ash Ketchum, our protagonist who mysteriously stopped aging at 10 years old, on his quest to become the very best trainer (like no one ever was) and the different friends, human and Pokémon alike, that he made along the way has been marked with laughter and tears (I’ll never not cry at Bye Bye, Butterfree). This time last year, the immortal Ash finally became the Pokémon champion – signifying the end to his appearance in the show. Good luck, Ash and Pikachu! We will never forget you. 

Yu Yu Hakusho (1992)

Perhaps better known locally as Ghost Fighter!, Yu Yu Hakusho is another classic in the shōnen genre that helped solidify common tropes and pretty much encapsulated the soft, dreamy art style commonly associated with 90s anime. When the delinquent high-schooler Yusuke (or Eugene if you like) unexpectedly sacrifices his life to save a boy who didn’t need saving, he is given a second chance at life in exchange for helping to maintain the balance between the Human World and Spirit World, essentially becoming a “spirit detective”. The Dark Tournament Arc is perhaps one of the most memorable tournament arcs in anime to-date.  

Ranma 1/2 (1989)

Comedy. Martial arts. Romantic tension featuring various archetypes of the harem AND reverse harem genre. Who could ask for more? Ranma 1/2 features one of the most unique premises for an anime of its time – a young martial artist is cursed to turn into a girl when exposed to cold water and back into a boy when exposed to hot water. The protagonist’s strange condition naturally leads to a ton of ridiculous scenarios that play on gender stereotypes – something that we as a society have a growing appreciation for. 

Fruits Basket (2001, 2019)

Did someone order a shōjo series with a side of trauma? Fruits Basket, which recently got a reboot that completes the original story as told in the manga, follows Tohru Honda – a young high-schooler who recently lost her mother and finds herself in the company of a mysterious family cursed to turn into various members of the Chinese Zodiac when embraced by a member of the opposite sex. Filled with cute, wholesome moments as well as scenes that will have you ugly-crying into the night, this anime shows us how one can break through childhood trauma with kindness and acceptance. 

Voltes V (1977)

Just reading the title causes the iconic intro music to start playing in our heads. Voltes V was first acquired and then broadcast to the Filipino masses by the GMA Network in May of 1978 and is considered to be one of the first anime to grace local television screens. Featuring a cast of characters specially trained to man a super robot designed to defend the Earth from a race of alien invaders, so great was this anime’s influence that it even spawned a 2023 local live adaptation – Voltes V: Legacy

Continue reading: How the Cast of Voltes V: Legacy Built an Adaptation Worthy of the Storied Anime