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Best Anime Series of the 00’s

The 2000’s were, well, a decade that had anime in it. They weren’t even a decade by most standards, since there’s no year zero or whatever and the real decade began in 2001. Doesn’t really matter one way or the other, since we’ll all be Pororocian meat-slaves after the world explodes come 2012 when all of the Mayan prophecies come true, but whatever.

All that moe stuff came to a head, but that’s just the latest guise that crap anime has taken. There’s nothing that we, as non-Japanese anime fans, can do about the dismal tide of lolitas, maids, and fetishizing innocence, just like how there’s nothing we could do about the rise of harem anime or wannabe Evangelion giant robot shows or any other annoying trend in our hobby. We’ve just had our eyes open to just how mediocre the anime industry is at heart, and all we can do is find the good stuff amidst the horrors of suckitude.

Most of my favorites from this decade either subverted popular trends or found some sort of narrative quirk that elevated the story to something truly special. Baccano, Haruhi, and to a lesser extent Ga-Rei Zero, all showed us the ending before we saw any other parts of the series, and by revealing “too much” they managed to create mystery rather than spoil things for the audience. While those series were pulling “mindfucks” on the audience, the likes of Air Master and Astro Fighter Sunred lovingly mocked the traditions upon which they built themselves.

If any one thing defined “quality” this decade it was crushing audience expectations, and most of my favorites did just this.

Just because I get a kick out of this stuff, here’s a Top 20 list. All of my “best of” posts were comparatively vague when it came to ranking stuff. Sure, I have a “best of the year,” but I didn’t bother to rank the “honorable mentions” or anything like that. To clear things up for anyone that’s obsessive with lists and stuff (myself included), I present this list:

The following list has long since been rendered obsolete, but we’ll preserve it for future research when aliens find this blog frozen in a glacier 1000 years from now.

20: Cromartie High School
19: Gunslinger Girl
18: Noir
17: Eden of the East
16: Ga-Rei Zero
15: Astro Fighter Sunred
14: Welcome to the NHK
13: Paranoia Agent
12: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
11: Book of Bantorra
10: X
9: Black Lagoon
8: Darker than Black
7: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
6: Boogiepop Phantom
5: Azumanga Daioh
4: Genshiken
3: Air Master
2: Baccano!
1: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

And here’s a handy index of all the “best of” posts:

2005 (doesn’t exist)

7 Comments leave one →
  1. MsteaK permalink
    March 10, 2010 7:31 AM

    If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d recommend watching Seirei no Moribito and The Twelve Kingdoms. Both are full-fledged fantasy series with amazing female protagonists. Obscure gems if I have to say it myself.

    • Torggil permalink
      July 21, 2011 6:35 PM

      I have watched Seirei no Moribito and was extremely impressed. I enjoyed they way the show developed the characters and included the legend in the rice planting song. I also love the Shaman Torogai. I ended up being slightly disappointed with the lead character as she turned into more of a mother figure as the series progressed. She could have been slightly more morally ambiguous and perhaps been a more effective lead.

    • Carrots9000 permalink
      August 29, 2011 5:30 PM

      Thank you so much! nobody I know has seen it so I cant rant about it to anyone T_T. I cant agree with you more

  2. May 11, 2010 10:49 PM

    That doesn’t look like my list of the best shows from the decade…

    • Landon permalink
      May 11, 2010 11:33 PM

      I’d call that a good thing. If everyone’s favorite list looked the same, lists (and people) would suck.

    • zammael permalink
      September 9, 2011 8:51 PM

      Sorry, 21stcenturydigitalboy, but your link is broken. :(

  3. zammael permalink
    September 9, 2011 8:48 PM

    Landon, thanks for this list. To date, I’ve seen only 8, and tried Genshiken. Two thumbs up, two big toes up! I may spring for the manga.

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