AWA 2021: So What Am I Supposed to Watch? (Panel)

So, what am I supposed to have watched again? Here’s a list.

If you’re active in the anime community, you’ll hear a lot of popular names that seem to almost be household anime shows. Some of those shows might even be older than you, but you’ve watched them (even in passing) on Toonami growing up. This panel took me through the timeline of influential anime over the decades following a strict set of rules.

Those rules are:

It must have cultural relevancy in and outside of Japan
Not ongoing
Must be popular and have content made for it
No (or not including) live-action
Must be the first in its own franchise
Not the first of its kind, but the first of its kind to make a cultural impact outside of Japan
Picked apart to death by critics

60s | 70s | 80s | 90s | 00s

Some of these names may be commonplace, but I will say some of the ones mentioned by attendees were completely over my head. The panel, like the con, allowed attendees to share what anime they thought fit the criteria after meeting each decade’s top picks. While some names would be obvious to mention, if they did not meet the criteria, they did not pass the “test”.

The 60s

Astro Boy – America’s first introduction to anime

Cyborg 009

Speed Racer – Who’s anime was a bigger success than the manga

Ribon no Kishi (Princess Knight)

The 70s

Lupin the 3rd


Space Battleship Yamato – The first great anime space opera movie that became a cult classic and was more influential than Star Wars in Japan

Mobile Suit Gundam – Initially canceled due to poor ratings, but re-released with more popularity after gunplay was a success

Rose of Versailles

The 80s




Castle in the Sky


Grave of the Fireflies

The 90s

Sailor Moon – first to be a worldwide phenomenon of magical girl anime, but not the first of its kind

Slam Dunk – started  the wave of sports anime

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Rurouni Kenshin

Cowboy Bebop

The 00s


Death Note

There are countless anime that could fit those criteria, but for content sake, I’m only sharing what made the cut and was shared in the panel. How many of these shows have you watched?


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