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Top 10 Cartoons For Anime Lovers

VO: DP WRITTEN BY: Sean Aitchison
Written by Sean Aitchison Run out of Anime to watch? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 cartoons for anime lovers. For this list, we’ll be looking at critically acclaimed cartoons that evoke elements of anime. Meaning, cartoons not originating from Japan that feature anime-styled art, animation, references and or just inspiration.
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Top 10 Cartoons For Anime Lovers



Run out of Anime to watch? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 cartoons for anime lovers.

For this list, we’ll be looking at critically acclaimed cartoons that evoke elements of anime. Meaning, cartoons not originating from Japan that feature anime-styled art, animation, references and or just inspiration.

#10: “Castlevania” (2017-)


Partially adapting the third “Castlevania” game, this Netflix animated series combines a highly-detailed art-style with insane dark fantasy.

Despite the Japanese origins of the video game it’s based on, “Castlevania” is a completely American production, though it has a ton of anime influence.

The designs draw heavily from anime as well as the artwork of Ayami Kojima, the artist for “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.” But, it’s not just how the character’s look, they also move in ways similar to Japanese animation; featuring fight scenes with insane fluidity and explosive execution.



#9: “Teen Titans” (2003-06)


While fans might be mixed on “Teen Titans Go!” most will agree that the original series was one of the best superhero shows of all time.

It was known for it’s “americanime” art style, the combined efforts of series creator Glenn Murakami and character designer Derrick J. Wyatt.

The character designs draw elements from ‘90s anime, particularly the over-the-top reactions.

A lot of the cartoon’s humor was also derived from anime, featuring sudden style changes and imaginative expressions.

With how popular the show and its style was, many credit “Teen Titans” with sparking the growing influence of anime in American cartoons.



#8: “Megas XLR” (2004-05)


Chicks dig giant robots, and so do the creators of “Megas XLR,” since the cartoon was an awesome amalgam of mecha anime and video games. The series followed Coop, a video game loving mechanic, Jamie, his slacker best friend, and Kiva, a mech pilot from the future.

After modifying Kiva’s robot, including replacing the head with a muscle car, Coop becomes Earth’s only hope of fending off an alien invasion. “Megas XLR” combined aspects of anime and kaiju movies, rolling these elements together into a monster-of-the-week action comedy perfect for anyone who loves goofy references.



#7: “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir” (2015-)


Here’s a fun fact, did you know the original promo video for Zagtoon’s “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir” was done in a 2D anime-style? This promotional video, as well as the series itself, were produced with the help of Toei, a veteran Japanese animation studio. But the production isn't the only appeal for anime-lovers, since the main characters, Ladybug and Cat Noir play a lot like Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask; their english voice actors are even known for their anime dub roles! With clear anime influences, “Miraculous” is a great love-letter to the magical-girl genre.



#6: “Star vs. The Forces of Evil” (2015-)


Speaking of magical girls, here’s another great cartoon that pays tribute to the genre. It follows Star Butterfly, princess of the kingdom of Mewni. Star has recently inherited her family’s magic wand and book of spells, and after accidentally setting her castle on fire, she is sent to Earth to sharpen her magical skills.

The show began as a reflection of creator Daron Nefcy’s childhood obsession with “Sailor Moon,” an influence that shines through the main character, a butt-kicking princess who loves cute things and always fights for good. The show is also rife with anime references and tributes that are sure to attract any Magical Girl fans.



#5: “Steven Universe” (2013-)


Another cartoon creator with plenty of anime influence is Rebecca Sugar, and it shows in this Cartoon Network original series. In fact, Sugar has stated two specific anime as the main influences for “Steven Universe,” “Future Boy Conan” and “Revolutionary Girl Utena.” Other influences such as “Dragon Ball Z” can clearly be seen with elements like fusions and the Homeworld Gems, as well as all the characters named after food! Though it has a more traditional American cartoon art style, “Steven Universe” is a beautifully animated combination of anime elements and deep emotional lessons that every anime-lover needs to check out.



#4: “Samurai Jack” (2001-04; 17)


When developing this series, creator Genndy Tartakovsky was inspired by Frank Miller comic books like “Ronin” as well as his own childhood fascination with samurai and the bushido code. The Japanese influence in “Samurai Jack” is ever present, seen in the Kurosawa-esque approach to action as well as more obviously anime-inspired episodes like “Samurai Versus Ninja” and “Robo-Samurai versus Mondo Bot.” But it doesn’t stop there, as the final season of “Jack,” a revival after more than ten years of cancellation, amped up the Japanese influence, elements and imagery as Jack finds his way back to his time period and homeland.



#3: “Voltron: Legendary Defender” (2016-)


This one might be a bit of a technicality, since the original “Voltron,” and the subsequent franchise, were built on the 1981 Toei anime “Beast King GoLion.” But, we’ll still count it, since Netflix’s “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” is an American production of Dreamworks. Though, not entirely, since it’s animated by Studio Mir, a Korean animation studio known for their work on other anime-inspired shows like “The Legend of Korra" and “The Boondocks.” It goes without saying that the visual style of “Legendary Defender” is heavily influenced by anime, and the anime roots of the show’s premise, as well as the sci-fi and mecha elements make for one exciting anime-styled cartoon.



#2: “RWBY” (2013-)


Often referred to as an “American Anime”, “RWBY” made history by being the first American-made anime-styled series to be exported to Japan, resulting in the production of a Japanese dub and companion manga. “RWBY,” created by the late Monty Oum, centers around four young huntresses, Ruby, Weiss, Blake and Yang as they attend Beacon academy where they learn to fight the creatures of Grimm. The Rooster Teeth original series was inspired by anime and European fairy-tales, featuring plenty of high-intensity action sequences, uniquely designed weapons, and powerful magic abilities. Seriously, what’s more anime than that?



#1 “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-2008)


Don’t act like you didn’t see this coming. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s “Avatar the Last Airbender” is without a doubt the most recognized anime-influenced cartoon there is.


The series takes place in a world where “benders” can control the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, And Air, and only the Avatar, a young airbender named Aang, can master all four. With a Japanese-inspired art style, infusion of asian culture, and incorporation of martial arts, the anime influence in “Avatar” is pretty clear. “The Last Airbender,” along with its sequel series “The Legend Of Korra,” are full of lovable, relatable characters, intense fight sequences, and asian fantasy elements.



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