Otaku USA Magazine
Beautiful Anime You Can (And Should) Watch Right Now on RetroCrush

Time to watch some classic beautiful anime!

A lot of things go into making an anime worthwhile. Story, music, voice acting, and (of course) animation are all part of the package. A show doesn’t have to have stunning animation to be memorable. But when it combines all those other factors with beautiful visuals, it becomes a classic. And fortunately, lots of those classics are easier to watch than ever!

If you have a RetroCrush account, you can get watching these beautiful anime and more right away. Which will you be digging into this week?


Adolescence of Utena

Adolescence of Utena

Revolutionary Girl Utena is already famous (or perhaps infamous) for being a stunning piece of anime. The TV series, in all its mind-bending glory, is still a classic to this day. But when it comes to truly beautiful anime, the 1999 film Adolescence of Utena goes above and beyond.

All the familiar pieces are there, from the haunting Ohtori Academy to its dueling student council and its Rose Bride, Anthy. But Utena’s story, the stories of the students surrounding her, and even the structure of the school itself pass into an even more surreal space than they did in the TV series. If for some reason you haven’t taken the dive yet, now is the time. Just be ready for anything. Including a surprise car race.


Honey and Clover

Honey and Clover

Chica Umino’s gorgeous character designs are already familiar to fans of March Comes in Like a Lion and Eden of the East. But if you’ve missed out on Honey and Clover, you’ve missed out on one of the most gently beautiful anime of recent years. And it’s all about art school.

The series, based on Umino’s manga of the same name, follows a motley crew of art school students, centered on Yuta Takemoto and his attraction to new student Hagu. Love geometry ensues as the show’s five protagonists tackle romance, heartbreak, senior projects, and encroaching adulthood. There’s also a live-action adaptation that’s a bit harder to find, but this anime will do plenty to both warm and break your heart.


Dear Brother

Dear Brother

A mainstay of yuri storytelling and a beautiful anime to boot, Dear Brother is based on the manga of the same name by Riyoko Ikeda. (Yes, Rose of Versailles Riyoko Ikeda.) The series takes its name from the letters its heroine, Nanako Misonoo, writes to a former cram school teacher she addresses as her “brother” in correspondence. And those letters are full of drama as she navigates the elite Seiran Academy.

After finding an unlikely place in the school’s sorority, Nanako is in equal parts bullied by her peers and supported by the school’s most popular (and troubled) young women. The entire 1991 series is available on RetroCrush, and extremely worth a watch.

Need more classics? Watch these shows turning 20 in 2024.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.