When the easy availability of home video technology began to circulate in Japan in the early 1980s, it coincided with a boom in what the anime industry calls “OVAs” (original video animations), which were direct-to-anime releases. video. designed specifically for viewing in Japan’s burgeoning home video market. OVAs generally spanned just a couple of episodes, each released individually, and thus could circumvent the content and budget limitations of television anime.

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This led to the OVAs of the time becoming home to the seedy, exploitative, and outrageously violent. There are some of the best deals in the middle here, as well as some silly action nonsense. Don’t take it as a bad thing though, although some of these games from the ’80s and’ 90s weren’t always made with the best taste, that doesn’t mean they weren’t great.

10 Lodoss War Record

Key artwork from the Lodoss war, with Deedlit prominently displayed.

Lodoss War is the fantasy anime to rule them all, loaded with enough swords, sorcery, and heroics to satisfy even the most ardent Tolkien fans. A group of heroes set out to defeat an ancient evil that threatens the future of the kingdom, and the subsequent events of the anime unfold like a D&D single-player dream campaign.

There are not many anime that present the classic ideal of a fantasy setting with both polish and Lodoss War does, which has earned him a place in the classic OVA hall of fame.

9 Devilman: the birth

Amon merges with Akira, Devilman is born.

New fans may be familiar with Evil man from the Netflix anime directed by Masaaki Yuasa – Devilman Crybaby. However, there are other adaptations of the classic manga, one of the most popular being the 1987 OVA. Devilman: the birth. Those familiar with Evil man you’ll probably know what to expect here, a lot of blood, guts, and demons.

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Akira Fudou, an ordinary high school student, has his quiet life brutally interrupted when he gains the hellish powers of the demon Amon, which he then uses to become the fearsome Devilman to fight all kinds of hellish beings. It’s a good introduction to Evil man myths, and features appropriately gruesome animation.

8 Domain Tank Police

Artwork by Masamune Shirow with the cast of Dominion.

Masamune Shirow, master mangaka of Japanese cyberpunk, presumably got out of bed with the only thought on his mind: “cops in tanks.” That seems to be all that inspired Domain, the manga that would serve as source material for the 1988 OVA series Domain Tank Police.

The premise of this series is self explanatory: in the future, the police will enforce the law by driving in highly mobile tanks, hence the name “tank police”. What follows is a bombastic action comedy in which viewers follow rookie cop Leona Ozaki as she earns her stripes as a fledgling tank cop.

7 Giant robbery: the animation

The titular robbery giant strikes a pose of action.

Giant robbery It’s kind of a weird concoction: it mixes a fascinating aesthetic from the retro future with martial arts action reminiscent of classics like Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, and then tops it all off with a generous amount of mecha fights. Fortunately, everything works, doing Giant robbery a thought-provoking and imaginative story even for those with no affinity for robot anime.

This funky setting and tone give the show a unique retro charm, which is perfectly captured by the character designs and writing. There is also some really impressive action animation here, both when it comes to mecha and wuxia battles.

6 Armitage III

A bad guy pleads with Armitage, probably to no avail.

In the year 2046, two policemen are transferred to Mars to investigate the murder of a singing android. Naturally, the crime runs deeper than it appears, and the two quickly begin to unravel a conspiracy that threatens not just them, but the future of Mars. However, before you get to all of that, you will have to learn to overcome your personal differences and work together.

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Combining stylish ’90s cyberpunk with cool mystery and classic cop buddy setup, Armitage III It’s considered a classic for good reason among fans who were raised on late-night anime offerings of the mid-90s.

5 Battle Angel Alita

Alita, or Gally in this case, seems to be out of it.

Known around the world as one of the classics of sci-fi anime, Battle Angel Alita is a post-apocalyptic story about an android girl of fearsome power who recovers from a junkyard to fight the forces of evil. AlitaThe setting is immediately fascinating; Everything has a grimy, slapped feel to it, which is essential to sell the atmosphere of the show.

Combine that with some amazing cyber-enhanced action sequences and memorable characters, and it’s easy to see why. Alita became a classic. It may seem somewhat brief due to the amount of source material it actually adapts, but it still does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the Alita story.

4 Violence Jack

Jack from Violence Jack getting ready to do some Violence.

Jack, who is “Violence” Jack, is the most appropriately named protagonist in anime history. It’s called Violence Jack because he’s only interested in violence, specifically violence carried out against the scum of the post-apocalyptic future.

After Hell Earthquake devastates humanity, Earth becomes a lawless place where the strong prey on the weak. Fortunately, there’s Jack, a massive beast of a man who travels the wastelands stabbing baddies in the face. Be sure that Violence Jack lives up to its name; there’s a lot of blood spilled along the way on this pulpy action ride.

3 MD Geist

Geist, in full battle armor, making the only face he makes in the entire OVA.

Geist is the titular protagonist of MD Geist, and one of the fiercest soldiers in this futuristic story. So dangerous, in fact, that it was placed in cryogenic storage on a space satellite. That satellite explodes for reasons, setting Geist into a new conflict. Don’t go around thinking this guy is a “medic” either: the MD means “most dangerous”, as in the most dangerous soldier.

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Those seeking logic, coherence, or any form of introspection are now turning away: MD Geist He throws all of that out the window from the first time Geist uses a grappling hook to fly up to a moving plane and shoot the pilot in the face with a rocket launcher. This is unadulterated 80s action game at its finest.

two Cyber ​​City Oedo 808

The cyberpunk skyline of the Tokyo of the future.

In the distant future of what was once Tokyo, three hardened cybercriminals in the cyber prison are offered a deal: help take down the most dangerous criminals of the future in exchange for time off from their heavy sentences for every job they do. complete. However, it will not be easy, and if they do not fulfill their duties, they can be sure of a quick disappearance through the explosive collars tied around their necks.

Attitude? Check. Violence? Check. Scandalous future technology and incredible costumes? Absolutely. Cyber ​​City Oedo It has everything anyone could want from this type of program. It’s one of those experiences that gives the viewer exactly what they would expect from seeing the bad guys from the future defeat the even badder ones from the future.

1 Bubble gum crisis

A cool photo from Bubblegum Crisis showing a great nighttime sunglasses display.

Another cyberpunk classic Bubble gum crisis sees a squad of women in power armor battling to keep the streets of MegaTokyo safe from the biomechanical beasts called Boomers. With explosive action, spectacular hair and music from the 80s, and some incredible cyber images of Tokyo, Bubble gum crisis he almost embodies the sci-fi zeitgeist of the 80s and 90s.

Bubble gum crisis is a no-nonsense action game with great music, animation, and character designs, which is really everything one wants to see when watching an OVA from this era. It immediately transfers the viewer to the days of big hair, amazing sunglasses, and excessive drum reverb on every soundtrack.

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