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The Japanese kind of tokusatsu TV isn’t the only medium to feature heroic teams fighting crime and fending off the monsters that shake the world. Anime, too, has its own take that’s equally flashy and innovative.
Related: What is Tokusatsu TV? Explain
Anime Sentai (felt means “squadron” or “task force”) usually falls under the anime superhero genre. But instead of one main hero, it involves many heroes who act as a team unit.
The definition is somewhat flexible, so you’ll often see felt anime mixed with all sorts of other genres, from shonen anime at isekai animeof mecha anime at anime girl magic.
Normally, felt series stick to color-coded character designs, but some have created their own way of using clearly distinguished costume designs without the usual one-color and one-character approach.
In the first years of felt, the general idea was to have a team of main heroes against different villains or threats across episodes or seasons. Nowadays, felt anime has evolved in new directions.
From classic anime series that are still worth watching to modern anime series with new twists, here are the best felt animated series.
8. Mantoman Takoyaki
Mantoman Takoyaki is a kid-friendly anime series about a group of “capped Takoyaki men” who fight crime and save the day.
This anime series was one of the most unique of its time, especially for its art style and character designs. In keeping with its child-friendliness, the villains of Mantoman Takoyaki are often ridiculous and completely non-threatening, but that’s part of the fun.
Mantoman Takoyaki was based on a 1990 children’s picture book and was animated by Studio Pierrot. It may not be as badass as the other anime on this list, but it was one of the series that many kids enjoyed.
One of the most classic anime series – and arguably one of the best anime of all time – is Yu Yu Hakushoadapted from the manga of the same name by Yoshihiro Togashi.
Yu Yu Hakusho focuses on the character of Yusuke Urameshi and his adventures as an Underworld detective.
In the beginning, the story begins as a typical story shonen series: a hero fights various monsters that have mingled with the human world. As the story progresses, he gains teammates in Kazuma Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei, which completes the team and qualifies it as felt.
This team-based conceit was further explored in the Black Chapter saga, with the group facing Sensui as he threatens to open a tunnel that connects the human realm to the monster world.
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Want a new modern twist on the usual felt anime plot? Then you have to watch Love After World Domination! This series has all the elements of a typical felt series, with a strong romantic tendency.
But this isn’t your ordinary love story – it’s the surprising romance between the two best fighters on opposite sides in a war.
In Love After World DominationFudo Aikawa (the hero known as Red Gelato) and Desumi Magahara (the villain known as Reaper Princess) must balance their relationship with their missions, resulting in a unique new take on the felt animated kind.
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5. Legend of the Celestial Sphere Shurato
Legend of the Celestial Sphere Shurato is an anime adaptation of a manga of the same name, written and illustrated by Hiroshi Kawamoto, which features strong storylines inspired by mythological names and characters.
The story centers on a boy named Shurato and his best friend Gai, who are both transported to a parallel world. There, Shurato discovers that he is the reincarnation of an ancient god-king.
Along with their fellow reincarnations, known collectively as the Eight Legions, they are all tasked with protecting the land and its leader, Lady Vishnu, from the sinister Asura gods.
Legend of the Celestial Sphere Shurato has so much to offer viewers, including creative and fun powers and character designs based on mythical creatures and their descriptions.
Combining magical girl anime with mecha anime is already a weird idea, but it works really well in Magic Knight Rayearth. Add elements of felt anime and you get an even more awesome series.
From color-coded magical girls to their respectively color-coded mech-like entities called Rune Gods, Magic Knight Rayearth clearly has a strong influence from previous felt series.
The plot follows three teenage girls who are magically taken to an alien world, Cephiro. There, they must save the land from destruction by rescuing its pillar (Princess Emerald) from her captor (Zagato).
Related: The Old-School Animated Series Is Still Worth Watching Today
Sailor Moon will always be among the greatest shoujo anime series of all time, primarily for being one of the most iconic series to take off in the West and helping usher in anime as mainstream media.
Sailor Moon features a group of girls who are gifted with magical powers and can transform into their individual Sailor Soldier outfits. It’s a heavy mix of magical girl anime and felt animated.
The series centers on Usagi Tsukino (Serena Tsukino in the first English dub) and her girl group of Sailor Soldiers who battle the forces of evil to save Earth from destruction.
Related: The best Shojo anime series of all time
Volta V was not the first of its kind, but it is still one of the best of its kind. It’s a perfect mix of mecha and felt genres, featuring the giant robot Voltes V which is co-piloted by five heroic individuals.
Voltes V is actually made up of five separate machines that “fly” together to form the massive, full-featured robot.
Team Voltes includes the three Goh brothers – Kenichi piloting the head of the Volt Crewzer, Daijiro the torso of the Volt Panzer, and Hiyoshi the legs of the Volt Frigate – as well as Ippei Mine in the arms of the Volt Bomber and Megumi Oka in the feet of the Volt Lander.
Together, they are Earth’s ultimate defense against the invading Boazanian army led by the Gohs’ half-brother, Prince Heinel.
Related: Popular anime series that got banned (and why)
Some do not consider my hero academia be a felt anime, but even among naysayers, it’s clear that he’s heavily inspired by felt.
This anime series is filled with dozens of superheroes who battle criminal supervillains, with the main characters being budding student heroes who attend a school that trains future superheroes.
unlike most felt series, which feature a core team of main heroes, my hero academia includes many groups and squads across different arcs. They are all known collectively as the Pro Heroes.
my hero academia is so popular because it creatively twists the usual superhero stories in new ways, giving a felt-inspired anime series that is truly one of a kind.