I've made a personal list of the 10 anime shows that influenced me most. Here they are:
2. Mobile Suit Gundam - The classic one where Amuro and Char blurted out each other's name while fighting in their 'suits to no end. I was kind of a late bloomer for this, having watched the movie edition in college first, before Animax aired the TV series in its entirety. Gundam for me, is a vision of the future and many of us otaku might feel the same way as I do about the series. After that there was no turning back, since then I've watched almost all Gundam series shown.
3.Magic Knight Rayearth - MKR introduced mo to CLAMP, at that time I didn't know that they were mainly work on shojo manga. But I never cared as MKR has almost everything for everybody: a nice plot, magic, a catchy theme song cool characters and of course mecha that's every bit as lovable for girls and boys alike.
4. Yu yu Hakusho - Which kid in the early '90's didn't love Yu Yu Hakusho(known locally as 'Ghost Fighter')? Funny story: my buddies and I knew Yu Yu as a SEGA Megadrive game first rather than an anime. In my opinion Yu yu was more gratifying than Dragonball, in that Yu yu's protagonist Yuusuke is much more relatable.
5.Ninja Scroll - I was reluctant to watch this at first given the level of violence and other mature content in it. But going through teen angst with all that identity crisis going on, Ninja Scroll actually felt just what I am looking for: something that is perfectly otaku and out of this world. Well for the mundanes I bet.
6. Ranma 1/2 - I have to confess, if the word 'Ranmatard' existed way back in the '90's then I would have been one of them. I was a teenager and having all these raging hormones inside of me and Ranma put all those at ease with its healthy dose of innuendo and comedy. And know what? I still love the series, I'm extremely ecstatic when I found out that after 16 years, they made a new OVA for it. Hooray.
7. Ghost in the Shell - was the one that pounded some fine anime taste into me. Before GITS, I was content in anime having good art and a good enough plot. GITS (aside from Akira) showed me that anime can be dark, gritty and avante garde all at the same time.
8. Aim for the top! Gunbuster - The anime which showed me that science, space drama, epic plot twists and bouncy boobies can work together.
9.Bubblegum Crisis - the 80's was all about cyberpunk and at that time I was really into Ridley Scott's Aliens and Blade Runner. BGC was one of Japan's answer to all that, heightening my cyberpunk fanaticism and teaching me that burly men aren't the only ones that can wear powered armor.
10. Neon Genesis Evangelion - What's will all the mecha anime in this list? Evangelion is the reason why. A lot of Mecha shows were a run-of-the-mill, enemy -for-the-week fare before Evangelion changed all that. I can't really describe it as a robot show, it's more of a surreal experience that started out from a seemingly mundane premise. I have never looked at another mecha anime the same way again after watching Evangelion.