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Top 10 Anime Influenced Animations

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake Anime is a gorgeous medium, and the fusion of anime style animation and storytelling with western themes is a match made in heaven. Join WatchMojo.com down our picks for the Top 10 Anime-influenced Animations. For this list, we’re taking a look at animated programs created outside of Japan, but with obvious visual, story, or tone inspired by anime. This naturally excludes anime native to Japan as well as Japanese animated features like the Studio Ghibli films. Special thanks to our users arimazzie, Tony Brown, Gloyd Orangeboar for suggesting this idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Anime-Influenced Animations


Anime is a gorgeous medium, and the fusion of anime style animation and storytelling with western themes is a match made in heaven. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Anime-influenced Animations.

For this list, we’re taking a look at animated programs created outside of Japan, but with obvious visual, story, or tone inspired by anime. This naturally excludes anime native to Japan as well as Japanese animated features like the Studio Ghibli films.

#10: “Star Wars: Clone Wars” (2003-05)


Long before anime was a mainstream term, Japanese cinema was already inspiring the legendary George Lucas. Fittingly, anime played a huge hand in shaping this 2D animated series. While art direction stays true to the look of “Star Wars,” much of the imagery is also reminiscent of “Akira” or “Neon Genesis Evangelion” . Action is played out in that familiar anime style of quick cuts with minimal animated shots. Its emphasis on visual storytelling over corny dialog is an added bonus.

#9: “Jackie Chan Adventures” (2000-05)


Given Jackie Chan propensity for over the top action and mayhem, it not surprising that the cartoon series Jackie Chan Adventures is a perfect fit for an anime style. What is surprising, however, is how fun “Jackie Chan Adventures” truly is. The freedom to experiment and have fun with the medium goes a long way, with Jackie taking on everything from demons to dragons, while performing stunts worth of the real life Chan himself. In what could have been a gimmick cashing in on Jackie Chan’s brand-named, the show turned out to be full of humor, adventure, and culture with and animation style that made it really stand out.

#8: “Kim Possible” (2002-07)


When you think of energetic, over-the-top action mixed with high school drama, your probably thinking of anime. It only makes sense that “Kim Possible”, a cartoon about a crime-fighting high school student is gunna have anime influences. The parallels between this hit Disney show and anime are right out there in the open, especially when considering its charismatic schoolgirl lead. Premiering when most women in action shows are supporting characters, Kim Possible was a strong, independent heroine, helping western culture tear down gender barriers.


#7: “Over the Garden Wall” (2014)


“Over the Garden Wall” borrows elements from a variety of classic stories like the Grimms’ Fairy Tales and “The Wizard of Oz.” The anime influence is also prevalent throughout this miniseries, particularly in terms of its bizarre characters and otherworldly atmosphere. Sometimes creepy, sometimes funny, and always unique, it draws on the lines of Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away.” Like “Spirited Away,” “Over the Garden Wall” is a new entry in popular culture, but the story feels as if it’s been around of centuries and will undoubtedly stick with us for sometime.


#6: “Batman: The Animated Series” (1992-95)


DC animations have seemingly adapted a more anime-esque look with each new series. Although not blatant in its anime-influences, “Batman: The Animated Series” was arguably the first DC show to take a page from Japan. Its dark tone, exceptional choreography, and stylistic backdrops have anime written all over them. Interestingly, the Art Deco design of “Batman” would go on to impact anime like “Cowboy Bebop” and “The Big O.” The Silk Road travels both ways.


#5: “Samurai Jack” (2001-04)


Every episode of “Samurai Jack” is a perfect blend of ancient legend meets a futuristic space opera, amounting to a new timeless fable. Much of the show’s appeal derives from the animation itself, which often plays an even greater hand in moving the story along than the writing and dialogue. “Samurai Jack” owes its success to the art and mood of various anime, not to mention the films of Akira Kurosawa. Of course creator Genndy Tartakovsky also gave the show its own original signature through playful humor, diverse characters, and fast-paced timing.


#4: “The Legend of Korra” (2012-15)


A sequel series to another anime-influenced show that may or may not appear later on this list, “The Legend of Korra” continued the “Avatar” mythos in all the right ways. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko not only brought their wonderful eastern-inspired world into the future, but delved further into the Avatar origins too. “Korra” maintained everything that made its predecessor terrific while also distinguishing itself with political drama. Being a Nickelodeon series, “Korra” may have been too sophisticated for its own good, but its legacy will live on for generations.


#3: “The Boondocks” (2005-14)


From cartoonist Aaron McGruber, “The Boondocks” draws a lot of it influence from Samurai Champloo. Except instead of wandering samurais, our protagonists are two African American brothers and their grandfather living in a white, suburban community. You wouldn’t think that anime and hip-hop would ever go hand in hand, but this melting pot is surprisingly fitting for a show that’s largely about culture clash. “The Boondocks” even squeezes in some intense and thrilling action sequences that are undeniably anime and the style lends itself to any genre, including piercing satire with strong social commentary.


#2: “Teen Titans” (2003-07)


Aside from putting the spotlight on five heroes that are typically regarded as sidekicks, “Teen Titans” is one of the most distinctive DC animations for its self-aware anime twist. The exaggerated visual style is always effective here, whether an episode is mainly played for laughs or centering on a character’s emotional turmoil. It additionally works magnificently from an action standpoint with the combat consistently being vibrant, speedy, and thrilling. This interpretation proved so successful that now it’s actually hard to picture the Teen Titans outside of anime.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Xiaolin Showdown” (2003-06)

“Code Lyoko” (2003-07)

“Ben 10” (2005-08)

“Justice League” (2001-04)

“Æon Flux” (1991-95)


#1: “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)


Just as our hero is charged with maintaining harmony between the four nations, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” finds the perfect balance between eastern eastern animation and western appeal. Everything from its art direction, creative use of martial arts and its spiritual themes all scream anime. Even if you’re not a diehard anime fan, this is a masterful piece of animation worth watching for its rich characters, action, and story. Just dont actually call it anime, Im pretty sure otaku hang you for that.


Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite anime-influenced cartoon? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

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