Most of us are not even aware of it, but there is one anime studio that has literally shaped up our childhoods with its incredible long-running anime. That Studio is Toei Animation and most of its evergreen classics go back to the late 90s and early ’00s. The world of anime as we know it today would have never been the same without the popular titles of this studio. So out of the massive list of anime that they have produced over the years, it is not an easy task to determine which ones are their best works. While some titles on this list will be the obvious favorites of almost all anime viewers, there are others that you might have never even heard of. With that said, here’s the list of top Toei Animation anime ever made:
14. Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003)
Unlike most other Toei creations, ‘Interstella 5555’ is a film and it only requires a little time commitment. It is a strange anime with almost no dialogues and sound effects and the only thing that is really prominent in it is its colorful visuals and daft punk background scores. It begins with the kidnapping of 4 alien musicians by a team of human space travelers who then wipe out their entire memories and make them form a band called The Cresendolls. They start making music that is very bland but still has something that appeals to everyone and through them, the kidnappers a earn a whole lot of money.
But along the way, one of the humans behind the kidnapping falls in love with an alien named Stella. During one of their shows one day, he decides to set them free and even successfully does so with only Stella being left behind. The three aliens who escape set out on a journey to recover their lost identities and also try to rescue their friend who has been left behind. Even though it’s a very old movie, you can still watch it on Amazon Prime.
13. Mononoke (2007)
‘Mononoke’ reminds me of ‘The Tatami Galaxy‘ because of its bold colorful representations that go well beyond the standards of the medium. While Toei Studio is mostly known for shows like ‘Dragon Ball Z‘ and ‘One Piece‘, this edgy looking mystery thriller is often overlooked. It tells the story of a mysterious wanderer known as the Medicine Seller who is the only person who possesses the power to vanquish evil spirits known as the Mononoke. The entire series revolves around his journey all across Feudal Japan where he destroys all these spirits with his exorcism sword.
12. Fist of the North Star (1984-1987)
Buff men with unrealistically sharp jawlines, attack screams and blowing up heads — that’s what ‘Fist of the North Star’ is all about. This anime was quite iconic back in the day which was mostly because of its super cool main protagonist. This series was such a massive success that it was followed by a season 2 right after its first run. And then even an OVA and a controversial live-action movie of the same were created. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where only the strongest survive by preying on the weak. But one man named Kenshiro sets out to make a difference in this evil world by helping those in need using his ancient style of martial arts known as the Hokuto Shinken.
11. Saint Seiya (1986-1989)
Everyone has heard of the 80s classic ‘Saint Seiya‘ but most are not aware that it’s one of Toei’s creations. During its original run, the anime was canceled after 114 episodes but after realizing how popular it became, the Studio was later forced to release its uncovered arc in the form of OVAs. It centers around the titular character Seiya who is one of the 88 warriors of the Goddess Athena. It is on her to protect the Earth from other jealous gods who have been waging a war since the past 1000 years. It is later discovered that one of the 88 warriors is a black sheep and it’s on Seiya and a few of her friends now to find out who this traitor is.
10. Slam Dunk (1993-1996)
‘Slam Dunk’ came out when sports anime was not even a thing but it still managed to be popular in Japan and even inspired many youngsters to pick up the sport of basketball. The main protagonist of the series is Hanamichi Sakuragi who joins the Shohoku High School without having a clue about what lies ahead. When he meets a beautiful girl named Haroku who is obsessed with basketball he decides to join the basketball team of his high school just to impress her. Initially, he commits himself to the sport just to get Haroku’s attention but after a while, he falls in love with the game itself as he slowly learns the value of sportsmanship, teamwork and most of all, the friends he ends up making on the court.
9. Pretty Cure (2004-2005)
If you go by the reviews, ‘Pretty Cure’ is nowhere close to being the best anime out there. But looking at its popularity, the anime has clearly skyrocketed since its release and now has 11 spin-offs and sequels. Not only that, but it also has videos game adaptations, toys and even soundtracks. Commercially, the entire series has been a huge money-grabbing machine for Toei.
Two ordinary high school girls named Nagisa Misumi and Honoka Yukishiro run into Mipple and Mepple who are both refugees from the Garden of Light. After they befriend the two girls, they are gifted with magical powers that they have to use to protect the Garden from all the dark forces that are trying to conquer it. The anime does complete justice to its well-toned story-line.
8. One Piece (1999-)
‘One Piece‘ is an unstoppable anime that has been consistently producing episodes after episodes since its release in the late 90s. Over the years, it has acquired an enormous fan base and it still remains to be a huge commercial success for the Studio. With over 800 episodes by now and 13 movie adaptations, ‘One Piece’ is still going strong and the rate at which its fan base is still growing, the anime will always be one of the greatest shounen ever made. It tells an adventurous tale of a 17-year-old pirate named Monkey D. Luffy who sets out to look for a hidden legendary treasure along with his crew full of eccentric characters. But little does he know that the treasure holds a lot more than the materialistic riches that he’s presently seeking.
7. Sailor Moon (1992-1997)
‘Sailor Moon‘ is one of those first few shows that had initially exposed the west to the world of anime. Despite being a Shoujo, ‘Sailor Moon’ has something for pretty much everyone and it also has its own manga adaptation that is equally enjoyable. Usagi Tsukino is the main character of the show who lives the life of an ordinary high school teenager until one day she meets a talking cat named Luna. Her whole world completely changes after this strange encounter as she is now granted the power to transform into the Sailor Moon. Using her new abilities, she has to protect the world from evil forces along with three other Sailor Moon like her.
6. Dragon Ball Super (2015-2018)
‘Dragon Ball Super‘ is set seven years after the events of ‘Dragon Ball Z‘ and for once, the world seems to be a peaceful place to live in. But yet again, an evil force named Beerus awakens, who is apparently the God of Destruction. When he comes to know about a prophecy that claims he will be destroyed by a Super Saiyan God, he starts hunting down every planet to look for him. This hunt eventually lands him on Earth where he meets Goku, the strongest warrior of them all. Now it’s on Goku and his other powerful friends to stop Beerus from destroying the world that they live in.
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5. Digimon Adventure (1999-)
Anime lover or not, you have probably heard of ‘Pokemon‘ before. Somewhere around the same time as ‘Pokemon‘, another anime called ‘Digimon’ came out and soon after its release, even this one became one of the most popular anime titles ever. The ‘Digimon’ franchise is still on and it keeps coming out with new versions of it for its die-hard fans. If you loved the Cartoon Network anime shows of the late 90s, then I’m sure you have tons of memories attached with this show.
‘Digimon’ is Isekai at its best and it revolves around a bunch of “DigiDestined” kids who get transported to a Digital World. Here they meet miniature creatures known as Digimon (Digital Monsters) who possess unique supernatural abilities. Each of these monsters finds a respective owner who can use them to fight battles. After finding out that the Digital World is being destroyed by evil forces, the kids set out on an adventure of a lifetime to save the world of their newfound monster friends.
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4. Yu-Gi-Oh! (1998-)
Yugi Moto is a shy high school kid who one day receives the pieces of an ancient Egyptian puzzle known as the Millenium puzzle. Once he manages to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, he gets possessed by the spirit of a Pharaoh. Soon, it comes to his realization that many people are behind the puzzle and wish to uncover all the secrets that it holds. Yugi and a few of his friends set out on an adventure where they battle everyone who tries to take away their treasure from them. ‘Yu-Gi-Oh‘ was one popular show back in the day, especially amongst teenagers who would also enjoy its card game. The series is still going on in one way or the other and has managed to retain some of its popularity to this day.
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3. Lovely Complex (2007)
‘Lovely Complex‘, also referred to as ‘LoveCom’, is a lighthearted romance anime about a high school girl whose height is way above average and a boy from the same school who is barely even five feet tall. Initially, the two just become friends with the intention to help each other get the attention of their respective crushes. But when their crushes start dating one another, the couple decides to give their own relationship a chance. The mismatched couple often becomes the center of all jokes at school but that is the least of all the complications they go through. If this small description of the series has gotten you interested, you should certainly check it out on Netflix.
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2. World Trigger (2014-2016)
As you might have noticed, most popular titles of Toei Studio are extremely old and have a really long runtime. ‘World Trigger’ is an exception as it is fairly new and has gained enough popularity to have mobile games adaptations of it already. The anime is about a group of young kids who learn to use special weapons called “Triggers” to fight otherly dimension beings known as the “Neighbors”. As hyped as this anime may seem, all the hype seems to be worth it and I would highly recommend it to those who are into action-packed science-fiction anime. If you have not seen it yet, you must check it out on Crunchyroll.
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1. Dragon Ball Z (1989-1996)
The ‘Dragon Ball’ franchise is still running just fine but ‘Dragon Ball Z‘ had an impact of its own that made it the most popular and recognizable anime out there. On the outside, it’s all about endless battle scenes with screaming blocky characters who even announce the name of their power moves before using them. Sounds so cliched, doesn’t it? But hold that thought right there because those who have seen it know that ‘Dragon Ball Z’ is more like a journey through one’s childhood that tells the inspiring tale of Goku, an amazing character, and his really strong friends who always end up saving the day by fighting off evil forces. The series has also given rise to several video games, spin-offs, sequels and movies, but the original ‘Dragon Ball Z’ remains a truly unique experience.
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