Nostalgia: my ten favorite 90s anime songs

Lately I’ve been listening to some of my favorite anime songs from the 1990s. Even though I’ve only been into anime since 2000, I watched a handful of 90s anime during my early years of fandom, and some of those songs are still among my favorites…

Below is a list of my ten favorite songs from anime that aired from 1990 to 1999. I’m judging them solely by the songs themselves and not by their accompanying video in the anime. Since I haven’t watched very much pre-2000 anime, there are probably a lot of good songs I have yet to hear. But of the ones I have heard, these are my favorites…

10. Yakusoku wa Iranai (No Need for Promises)

(from Escaflowne)
Year: 1998
Singer: Maaya Sakamoto

The opening to Escaflowne and one of Maaya Sakamoto’s early songs. Still a favorite all these years later.

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9. Juusangatsu no Kakumai (The 13th Month’s Revolution)

(from El Hazard: The Alternative World)
Year: 1998
Singer: Fence of Defense

The opening to the second El Hazard TV series. It’s been years since I watched El Hazard and I hardly remember anything about the series – but I do remember I love this song!

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8. Moonlight Densetsu (Moonlight Legend)

(from Sailor Moon)
Year: 1992
Singer: DALI

The classic Sailor Moon opening. Since Sailor Moon was the first anime I ever saw, this was the very first anime song I ever heard (since the English version of it keeps the same melody). Regardless of what you think of Sailor Moon, this is a unique, unforgettable song.

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7. Mezase Pokemon Master (Aim to be a Pokemon Master)

(from Pokemon)
Year: 1997
Singer: Rica Matsumoto

Being the major Pokemon fan that I am, how could I leave out the song that started the now 600+ episode TV series? Rica Matsumoto has sung a number of the Pokemon songs over the years and has been the voice of Satoshi (Ash) for over ten years. There’s been a ton of remixes of Mezase Pokemon Master but the video above is the original.

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6. Somewhere

(from Slayers Try)
Year: 1997
Singer: Houko Kuwashima

This is the finale song of the third season of Slayers, Slayers Try, and is played at the end of the last episode. It’s sung in English by the talented seiyuu Houko Kuwashima. Houko has a sweet, relaxing voice and the lyrics of this song are simply beautiful.

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5. Yuzurenai Negai (Unyielding Wish)

(from Magic Knight Rayearth)
Year: 1994
Singer: Naomi Tamura

The first opening to Magic Knight Rayearth. Naomi Tamura has some good songs, this being one of them. I remember how blown away I was after hearing this song for the first time.

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4. Zankoku na Tenshi no Teze (Cruel Angel’s Thesis)

(from Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Year: 1995
Singer: Yoko Takahashi

I still love this classic. Is there an anime fan who’s never heard this song before? A great one to sing at karaoke, mostly ’cause everybody knows it.

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3. Purachina (Platinum)

(from Cardcaptor Sakura)
Year: 1999
Singer: Maaya Sakamoto

The third opening of Cardcaptor Sakura. Another of Maaya Sakamoto’s old but good hits. I love the lyrics and the gentle, mystical feel of the song.

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2. Toki ni Ai wa… (At Times Love is…)

(from Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence Apocalypse movie)
Year: 1999
Singer: Masami Okui

(The actual song starts at about 00:28 in the above AMV). This is an insert song from the Revolutionary Girl Utena movie. It was love at first listening when I heard it. I even like it better than the Utena TV opening, which is also sung by Masami Okui.

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1. Give a reason

(from Slayers Next)
Year: 1996
Singer: Megumi Hayashibara

The opening song for the second season of Slayers, Slayers Next. It’s been almost ten years since I first heard this song and it’s still one of my all time favorites. Fantastic lyrics and a great melody. Megumi Hayashibara has sung many Slayers and other anime songs but this is one of her best by far. I love singing it at karaoke XD

11 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. no name says:

    Nice list, Naomi Tamura came to Otakon 2009 on the east side of the US. Sadly I did not get to see her perform. It was during the end of the con and my friends didn’t want to watch it. I didn’t want to end the con without them though.

  2. Yumeka says:

    @ no name

    Oh, I didn’t know she came to Otakon so recently. I’m only familiar with her older anime songs though. If I’m not mistaken, Maaya Sakamoto came to Anime Expo not too long ago but I don’t think I went that year. Has Megumi Hayashibara ever come to a U.S. anime con? She’s one singer I would definitely want to see.

  3. henwy says:

    I’ve only started reading your blog recently, so I’m unaware for a fact, but I’m assuming you speak Japanese? The reason I’m curious is because I’ve only recently started paying more attention to anime music but I imagine my taste differs a lot because of my lack of knowledge of the language. For me, it’s all about how much the melody hits me, and I often know pretty quickly if I’m going to like a song or not based on that. A lot of your top picks didn’t really click with me and I was curious if it was just different musical tastes or because I don’t get something out of the lyrics that you do.

  4. Yumeka says:

    @ henwy

    Probably a little of both. I like the melody on all the songs on the list, and for some, the lyrics are another reason I like it. I’m not fluent in Japanese but I know enough to understand the lyrics of certain songs (looking up translations helps too).

  5. 2DT says:

    Platinum really IS from the 90s, isn’t it… Time waits for no one.

  6. Yumeka says:

    @ 2DT

    Yeah, but since I didn’t watch CCS until the early 2000s, it doesn’t feel like that long to me. As I was making this list, I realized that a lot of older songs I listened to that I thought were from the 90s were actually from the early 2000s. I guess I haven’t seen many 90s or earlier anime – I really should get into watching old series one of these days.

  7. mark says:

    yea old 90s anime is awsome you should check into it like yu yu hakusho and slayers was one of my favorites lisa ortiz is a great voice actor. thatnks for the list.

  8. Travis says:

    Yuzurenai Negai was the first song to lift my spirits after a recent break-up (I just started watching anime at the tender age of 19), and for some reason – as I read the lyrics in the opening karaoke – I knew I was gonna be okay. It’s safe to say that song really got me INTO anime, like it got my head in the game (and out of the suck of heartbreak).

    I sang Moonlight Densetsu at an anime convention. :))

  9. kokoniiruyo says:

    wow, c0ol! that was awes0me list, even though Zutto kimi n0 sobade of flame of recca is n0t on the list. Everytime I’m listening to this kind of music I always remember my childhood days. Thanks for sharing.

  10. SpectralM alice says:

    Great list of songs will actually disagree with you and say that, cruel angels thesis should be number 1

  11. hendriko says:

    have you try listening to stand up to the victory from V gundam yet?

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