Japanator's Top 50 Anime of the Decade: #30 to #21


This week, it will be the end of the first decade of the 21st century. To celebrate this milestone, we here at Japanator picked the best fifty anime of the last ten years (the best of the ’00s!). The only rule of this week-long series is that each title was released between 2000 and today.

We're entering serious business territory here. We've counted down from #50-#41 and #40-#31 already, and now it's time to dive right into the midsection and make our way towards the top twenty titles of the last ten years. Isn't it exciting? Can you feel your blood boiling already?

Well, just wait until you make your way through this next section of our lists. I'm glad to see you all fervently debating our lists, and I appreciate your efforts in the cblogs. I'd like to see more, and hopefully I'll get to hear your own votes for top series of the decade once our list is finished.

Now that we're breaking more ground, a few more movies are popping up. This time, there are three films on the list. Will there be more later on? You better believe it. So, let's get into this next section of our list and debate away!

Frankly, Ghost in the Shell 2 makes it onto our list because of the muscle-flexing Production I.G. put into its animation. The story isn't really important in this one, because I can guarantee you were too busy drooling to really pay attention to what anyone was saying.

The film's plot gets extremely heavy, and a bit more entangled, making it somewhat hard to follow. We love and respect Ghost in the Shell 2 for pushing the boundaries of quality animation, and it deserves a place on your shelf if for no other reason than you'll need to watch this a number of times in order to disentangle all the plot elements.

All those harem series that you've come to know and love? They wouldn't be anything without Love Hina. This show set the standard for one guy and multiple girls, and its influence is still there. The character archetypes, the story situations and just about everything in between has the mark of Love Hina on it.

For many who got into anime back at the turn of the decade, Love Hina was one of the big gateway anime, dragging people along with the fantastic mix of romance and comedy. For many, our own Colette Bennett included, this show holds a special place in their hearts as the series that first made them fall in love with 2-D characters.

Even today, the show still holds up, proving just how good of a piece it is.

Have you ever felt utterly tiny when watching something? Creating that sort of experience -- a lone figure amongst towering machines -- is hard to do, but the effect is profound. Metropolis, based on one of Osamu Tezuka's first manga titles, explores the lives of robots before Astro Boy came about.

One of the cool things about Metropolis is it's retro art style. You'd think the film came out much earlier than 2001 by the way things look, and yet it's still crisp and clean. Supporting this feeling is the film's jazz-inspired soundtrack, which adds a unique feel to this surprisingly touching Tezuka tale.

I have a feeling many of you have passed over this one, but it's worth the watch.

A bold concept not only in design but in distribution, Xam'd: Lost Memories was an anime title developed in Japan, but debuted in America across the PlayStation Network -- a handful of months before the Japanese got to watch it. A bold tale of a schoolboy caught in the middle of a war between rival nations, he has to not only deal with his newfound life but his new powers as well, after he's abducted by a band of outsiders.

What really made Xam'd shine, beyond its story, was the animation. So much detail was given to the characters, they key scenes and the facial expressions that it carried the show through every single scene. The lush scenery and intricate designs in clothing and characters made this show a feast for the eyes, keeping you entranced episode after episode.

Xam'd makes our list not only for a good story and fantastic animation, but also for challenging the mold of distribution for anime. The industry finally decided to pay more attention to America, their largest niche market.

Naoki Urasawa has been producing some of the biggest seinen hits for a while now. Pluto, 20th Century Boys and of course his epic mystery thriller Monster. Both the manga and anime versions of this title shine like a brilliant star, providing one of the most satisfying shows in a long time.

The show is a serious investment in time, but every minute you put in is rewarded with this show, as the twist and turns explore the concept of evil and the monster within us. To back that up, the show was fantastically animated by Madhouse, so you'll enjoy staring at it just as much as you will contemplating it.

Ostensibly, Dennou Coil was developed as a children's show, airing on NHK Educational Channel, but proved to be something more than a flight-of-fancy show featuring augmented reality and Internet glasses. The show jumps back and forth between light-hearted children's play and something much more heavy and sinister.

Jarring as though it may be, Dennou Coil provides an astounding "what-if" world that sets your mind a-wander. It's reminiscent of when you were a kid and you have this whole fantasy world at your disposal. The show features some wonderful character designs and a strikingly unique color palette that's deftly animated.

Dennou Coil finds itself in a strange position, straddling the area between a show that kids could watch and something else, giving the story something of a unique atmosphere.

Music can be extremely powerful. It moves you. Inspires you. Breaks you down. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad is about all of that and more. We follow Koyuki as he goes through those formative years as a teenager, discovering music beyond the generic pop that's pushed out and finding love as he works to create his own music.

The show is marred by a shoestring animation budget which lead to numerous corners cut, but through all that, the show's soul speaks volumes. The Japanese dub was heartfelt and honest, and somehow FUNimation managed to improve upon the show's soundtrack, with one of the most amazing dubs I've ever heard, especially considering all the technical problems of re-dubbing songs.

This show celebrates one of the glories of growing up, and the importance of never letting that sense of wonder go. It will inspire you.

This is not simply an update of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The Rebuild of Evangelion project has taken the original Evangelion concept and played with it a lot. The story has been morphed, new characters introduced, and something sinister lies beneath the surface. While we won't know the scope in its entirety until the last two movies premiere in Japan, this has proved to be something different from the original TV anime.

For longtime fans of the series, the Rebuild project brought the show into beautiful HD, smartly used CG, and utterly subverted your knowledge of Evangelion. When I first watched the film, there were points where my jaw went slack and I couldn't believe what happened.

For those who have never watched Evangelion, this is an interesting way to hook in new viewers, as the films are totally approachable. Somehow, Gainax has managed to make one of the most important shows of the last decade relevant once again.

Admit it, you're entranced by the Hypo-Penis. One of the breakout hits from the beginning of the year, it was no surprise that Eden of the East was licensed right away. One of the few original stories in anime, Eden of the East presents us with a grand mystery: a guy wakes up in Washington D.C. naked, holding a gun and a cellphone.

It's a hell of a hook, you've got to admit. And from there, we watch as our protagonist, Saki, grows and evolves through the unraveling of the mysteries of the show, all while taking in commentary on modern Japanese society. The show feels oddly relevant, as though you're peering in on something going on right now.

The show does a grand job of presenting something that's truly unique. Everything from the character designs to the infamous cellphones of the show ooze originality. You're not going to regret owning this title one bit. 

Code Geass is one of those shows that just about every anime fan I know has watched, and they have a strong opinion on it. It's really taken the anime world by storm, mixing the character designs of CLAMP with mecha, plots for world domination and Pizza Hut.

The show's greatest asset is its melodrama. The show gets so bombastic and over the top that you can't help but get swept up in its waves and dragged along for the ride. It's like G Gundam, to an extent. And so we find ourselves cheering on the characters, forgiving the overtly blatant Pizza Hut sponsorship and beg for more Spinzaku.

Once you start watching this show, you'll find yourself begging for more episodes quickly. Be warned, it's addictive, like the delicious and affordable pizza from Pizza Hut.

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Brad Rice
Brad RiceFounder   gamer profile

Brad helped found in 2006, and currently serves as an Associate He's covered all aspects of the industry, but has a particular preference for the business-end of things, more + disclosures



Filed under... #anime #Anime of the Decade #Japanator Original #top stories



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