Japan was not far behind the US or Europe when it came to animation. Even in the earliest days of animation, in the second decade of the twentieth century, there were Japanese animators such as Seitaro Kitayama making animations. The production of animation in Japan ran parallel to that elsewhere, and wasn't happening in a bubble, as you could often find Japanese takes on American and European characters in shorts. As the Japanese film industry grew, so did the number and complexity of the animations made in Japan. Costs were always an issue, and producers depended on sponsorship, thus making animations for education was a big market, followed by governmental production. The Second World War spurred innovation and film production, leading to the production of propaganda films, one of which, Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei, was the first feature-length Japanese animation.
After the war, several things helped to re-establish the Japanese film industry. A wave of filmmakers quickly came to create films, and Western film festivals began to discover the films and filmmakers from Japan. Perhaps the most important part of the post-war development of animation in Japan was the founding of Toei, which would become one of the most important of all production houses. The animated films began to make waves, and a lot of money, but it wasn't until the large-scale adoption of television in Japan, especially in the early 1960s, that animation began to explode, with series like AstroBoy, Speed Racer, Sally the Witch, and Kimba the Lion. These series were essential in developing the styles that we see through to today. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, series would launch, sometimes moving beyond Japan to the international market, with titles such as Star Blazers, Speed Racer, and Tiger mask all finding viewers outside of Japan.
The 1980s were incredibly important to the acceptance of anime around the world, and especially in the US. At the beginning of the decade, and used through the 1990s at times, Japanimation was the most widely-used term for series like Robotech or Starblazers. Oddly, the term 'anime' wasn't in regular use until the 1980s, and actually came as a shortened version of the Japanese version of the English word Animation (though often misidentified as a French term). The films of the late 1980s and early 1990s made their way around the run, with Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Vampire Hunter D, all becoming incredibly important, but at the same time, Japanese television series, and original video animation (OVAs) becoming massively popular around the world, leading to the founding of massive fan conventions, hundreds of websites, and even fan edits of existing series.
This list looks at series that were intended for home enjoyment, including television series, OVAs, and web-series. We've also not included Adults-only titles.