Compilation of top anime of the decade lists around the internet – Series

This is my first blog post ever so I would appreciate any comment on this:) It’s a little long but I hope if you are an anime fan, you will find something interesting in it.

Having been a huge fan of anime for a while, I always enjoy seeing people’s top anime list, seeing where my personal favourite animes rank alongsides. So when the last decade ends and lots of bloggers put out their best of decade list, it has always been good fun to read all of them. Seeing so many on the list makes me wonder though, what the most popular anime out there are. I know that people’s opinion are vastly different and some anime that come top in one list may never make it in another. However, the wisdom of the masses cannot be that far wrong right? I am also intrigued how well my favourite shows are really doing. With so many lists out there, one can easily get an impression that certain shows are more popular than others and I just want hard statistics to prove that.

This got me thinking and I decided to compile the results into a list. I came up with a criteria as follow

1). It has to be published in a proper blog or in a forum post with substantial comments to describe each ranking (rationale being that the writer has to put quite a bit of thought to articulate the list and it is not just some random throw-whatever-together thing)

2). It has to have a ranking (I ignore those lists which are in no particular order. Since I’m a stats guy, I get a lot of kick out of seeing how things rank against each other:) )

3). The anime has to start airing this decade. This means that for those lists that are the favourite of all time, I intentionally exclude those animes outside the 2000s. This also excludes the likes of Great Teacher Onizuka or Infinite Ryvius which start airing in Japan in late 1999 (according to Anime News Network anyway)

4). I cap the rankings to 50 (i.e. if there is a top 60 list, I only use 50)

With aids of sites like … that already has a few listed on (Many thanks!) I started to compile all the best of the decade list together. Currently, I am on 45 blog results and 8 forum comments which should definitely be enough to get a somewhat reliable result.

Having done all the groundwork of data collecting, putting the results together is always the most fun part. I toyed around with a few weighting methods but without getting into too many technical details, the scoring system that I find to be the most appropriate is based on a combination of rankings and frequency.


The top 50 anime series results are presented below:

***[See this post for more information on the top 10 series in this list]***

A few comments:

1). Haibane Renmei owns the poll by an enormous margin. 26 out of 47 blogs that list anime series (a staggering 55%) actually place this little gem of an anime in their best ranking. It has also come number one a record 7 times. There is no denying the quality power of this one.

2). Also ahead of the rest of the pack and bested by one anime is Mushi-Shi. This appears in 22 out of 47 blogs. Very interestingly, none of the blog actually put this as their first choice but a list-high 7 rate this their second favourite anime this decade.

3). Monster also comes first 6 times.  Pretty high praises for this amazing series

4). Looking at the top 10, it is very fascinating it is a somewhat neat split between slower shows and high octane action ones. The former are Haibane Renmei, Mushi-Shi, Kino’s Journey, Monster. I would probably add Honey Clover in the list as well. The latter are FMA, GITS:SAC, Gurren Lagaan and the craziest one of all Baccano!. Suzumiya Haruhi I probably should throw into the latter too for good matter. Also, the fact that the consensus top three (Haibane Renmei, Mushi-Shi and Monster) are all more serious shows seem to strongly suggest that when the light comes on, it is these shows that leave a more lasting impression that any action or comedy can provide.

6). With qualifier of having 6+ frequency, the best ranking anime is ARIA The Origination at 5.4 (the 7 blogs that rate this anime place it at their 5-6 spots). Second place is Mononoke at 5.8 average ranking followed by Planetes at 6.2. Number three is ARIA. These animes may not be on a lot of people’s radar, but when they are on, they do rank pretty high. (Bear in mind though that average ranking alone may not mean much since an anime can rank 40 in one top 50 list and that would totally tank the average score for that anime).

7). A few series are also surprisingly left out of any top anime series list. The likes of NOIR, do not make it in any list at all!

8). Despite the amazing popularity, Naruto is mentioned only twice (placed 5th and 44th) and Bleach not mentioned at all…

9). The title of “least seen but highly rated” anime series go to Kaiba followed closely by ARIA The Origination (based on how many people have seen and rated them on Anime News Network website). These are probably series I will have to check out myself

Looking at anime series by year, we see a definitely concentration 2002-2007. Anime series from 2000, 2001 or 2009 seem to be so underrepresented. Not quite sure why not many series from 2000-1 make the list actually. See highest ranked anime series for each year below:

One can argue this decade list should probably be done not right at the end of 2009-beginning 2010. Most of the people are not likely to have seen many shows from the 2009 season and they are going to be severely under-represented. Only 3 series make it to the top 100 (Kemono no Sou-ja Erin, Eden of the East and Bakemonogatari). Think about shows like GTO which was released at the end of 2009. Not many people would have seen it for it to rank highly if the list of the 1990s were compile, yet when it comes to list of 2000s, they are usually not included!

This list will definitely prove pretty handy to me when choosing animes to buy in the future. Out of the top 50 above, I have only seen 24 so there are over half in there I need to check out. Simply working my way down the list and that should keep me busy until the next set of decade lists comes along!

I have also segmented the titles  into different category (drama/slice-of-life/sci-fi/action etc.) and will try to post those sometime later. That’s it for now. I will post the same for Anime series at some point in the future.


Below are the list of all the 47 lists I have used to compile the analysis you have read above. Thanks go to the authors of these blogs. As stated above, I really enjoy reading these! Apologies for not putting any description to any of these lists. It would have taken me too long… Also special thanks goes to Kitsune’s Thoughts blog for putting together a better described list then mine, one that I have used as a starting point for this analysis.


Top 50

Nihon Review – Sorrow-kun:



Mono no aware:

The Coke Machine:


The AZ Otaku:

Top 35


Top 30

The Cart Drive:

Top 20

Nihon Review – Kavik Ryx:

Behind the Nihon – Zzeroparticle:

Awesomely Shitty:

Celestial Kitsune:

Anime Dream – Lionrampant:

THEM Anime – Tim:

The Anime Review:

THEM Anime – Robert:

THEM Anime – Chad:

THEM Anime – Bradley:

Top 10


Anime Dream – Mark:

Anime Dream – Tsukasa:

Anime Dream – Viarca:

Anime Dream – Mike:

Animesuki – Upiro:


Top 50

Guri Guri Blog:

Oishii Anime:

Top 20

Star Crossed Anime:

Nihon Review – AC:

Behind the Nihon Review – Reflection:



Grand Punk Railroad:

Anime Diet – Ray:

Animesuki – Ermes Marana:

Anime Diet – DC:

Anime Diet – AD:

Anime Diet – CIAG:

Anime Diet – Wintermuted:

Top 5

Animesuki – Reckoner:

Animesuki – LifeAspect:

Anime Dream – Matt:

Canne’s Anime Review:

Animesuki – Fevvers:

Animesuki – Albafica:

Animesuki – zzeroparticle:

Animesuki – dr marronflower:

26 Comments on “Compilation of top anime of the decade lists around the internet – Series”

  1. Ray says:

    hi there! Thanks for reading and good luck with your blog! Welcome to the community!!! ^^

  2. This is amazing!!! I love it! thank you so much for compiling these statistics! It’s definitely interesting to see, especially the top 50 list because I find it would be a perfect recommendation list.

    I think the reason for the years 2000-01 not being noticed much is that from what I’ve heard, for some reason many of the shows that aired between 1998 and 2002 are unknown to a lot of the western fandom. I can’t remember what the explanation is, but it’s a very peculiar phenomenon. 2009 was an incredibly divisive year, and a lot of things could have changed if people had more time to see all the shows that year. For instance, I didn’t watch Saki, Bakemonogatari, or Canaan until 2010, and all three of them could have vied for spots in my top 50 of the decade. So I definitely think that time was not on the side of that year for the lists.

    I greatly look forward to any of your future posts!

  3. moritheil says:

    An interesting study. It’s all self-reported, so of course, from a statistical viewpoint, that’s a caveat, but it’s nonetheless good to see what reviewers like.

  4. Scamp says:

    Well that was interesting to read! I’ve always been a stats man at heart as well. Some series were notable by their absence though, the most surprising being Geass, Darker than Black, Toradora, Death Note…in fact, shounen series are pretty under-represented in that list. There’s Black Lagoon, FMA and Gintama but that’s it. Hardcore anime fans aren’t into shounen series it seems

    • Neither Code Geass nor Darker Than Black, and especially not Black Lagoon are shounen. There was plenty of shounen in the list. Gurren Lagann, FMA, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Gunslinger Girl, Dennou Coil, Eureka Seven, Gintama, and I’m not sure if FMP is shounen, but there you go.

  5. mefloraine says:

    Wow, this is a pretty well-done compilation. I’m not very surprised by the results.
    And I would be surprised if Bleach and Naruto were in multiple top lists. For one, they may be mainstream, but they’re just not good. They’ve lasted too long and the things going on are either repetitive or stupid. Or both. And most people who have been around long enough to make top anime of the decade lists know that there are much much better animes out there. (Typed this through my phone, so sorry if any of it came out oddly.)

    • Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if next to none of these bloggers have even SEEN Naruto and Bleach. While the series have been introductory to many anime fans who got into it in their early teens and such, most of these bloggers tend to either be the types who were into anime before Naruto and Bleach, or got into it when they were old enough not to have any interest. I was one of the former. Never watched either anime, though I will say the Bleach manga would be in my top 20.

      • aquabluesweater says:

        That’s a very good point you made. I definitely forgot that Naruto and Bleach are more the new generation anime…

        I have only read Bleach and Naruto in their manga forms so never have to suffer through those fillers:) Both definitely are pretty good at what they are. I probably prefer Naruto more though.

  6. Kitsune says:

    Excellent work! I appreciate the time you took to find, compile, and analyze these lists 🙂

    I also compiled lists in a post, but we have not finished data curation and analysis yet.

    Your methods are not very clear. What statistic you use to denote “average”? What is “Seen Rank”? Could you define “combination of rankings and frequency”?

    This analysis covers only series. I wonder, how you deal with lists that have both films and series?

    Do you have any plans to make the data you aggregated publicly available?

  7. aquabluesweater says:

    Thank you all for your comments so far. It is much appreciated. Pretty cool to see 6 replies already between the time when I went to bed and wake up now to read them:)

    Thanks for the well wishes.

    Hmm, I have never heard of that phenomenon. Will have to read further about that! I haven’t checked out any of the show in 2009 so I really can’t comment on that as well…

    I never question the subjectivity of these lists. What rankings aren’t! Good for one person may not do it for other (prime example is something like Koi Kaze. I listened to Anime World Order quite a lot and all I remember about this in there is how bad it is:) Yet 5 bloggers really rate it quite highly). In that sense, perhaps it’s best treated as ‘best series by the blogger world list’

    Code Geass is 56th, Tora Dora is 59th (may fall into the 2008 under-appreciation period), Death Note is 60th and Darker Than Black is 84th. So they would all feature in the top 100 list:) Your comment about shounen being under-represented is interesting. I should now go out and find some source to categorize each series into shounen, shoujo and see whether that really is the case!

    Totally buy that explanation. Naruto and Bleach may be good, but I guess when a blogger really thinks about it, it does go wayyy down in their list (not to mention all they may be able to think about are those filler episodes!)

    I actually started off with a writeup of the exact details of my calculation method but decide to discard it as didn’t think getting into too much technical detail is a good in my first blog (for fear of putting people off!). Since you asked, I’m glad to now spending some time explaining it:) One thing for you to bear in mind is that this method, although subjective, is what I consider the most appropriate and it is also subject to change. Any comment or improvement suggestion, with those in mind, are appreciated!

    For each anime listed in a list, I would give them a frequency score (x for appearing) and an adjusted ranking score (highest score for coming first, lowest for 50). I toyed around with using linear rank scoring (50 for 1st, 49 for 2nd, 1 for 50th) but am a little unconvinced if that is really the fairest method. This is when I decided to use log function to model the ranking score (to put more weights on animes that manage to get into people’s top 5 rankings (logic being a given person is more likely going to give more thoughts to what anime is number 1 and 2 than number 20 and 21, so the higher ranking should get higher weight). For the count, it is simply how many times the anime appears in the lists. I have however normalized this so that it does not totally overpower the frequency score. The final weight that I am comfortable with is around 30:70 favouring the frequency score (I want to use ranking more extensively but I don’t want the fact that an anime come 30th in a couple of rankings which screw up its ranking score and demote it,compared to another anime which may appear in only 1-2 ranks but very highly and get rewarded for it…).

    For the list that have both films and series, I just rank them the same way. However, when compiling the final result table, I need to separate them out (into film list and series list). By this way, the absolute ranking between each film to one another and each series to one another is still there. I have not gotten around to trying to put both series and film in the same list and make it fair yet since that would be a little messy to do… I also have a list for OAV too. That one is a little shorter than the other two list though. I might also decide to combine that with series at some point as well.

    As for making data public, it would be a pleasure for me to share it with others if you want to see it! Would need some time to tidy everything up first though since it is still in a bit of a mess:)

    Would love to also see the data analysis that you have done and compare it.

  8. Canne says:

    I really can’t express how happy I am that Haibane Renmei ranks at number 1. 3 out of my top five made it into the list…cool.

    I can’t believe how new this blog looks. You really do start with a bang since most bloggers get only spam comments for their earlier posts, me included. btw, you should get the ‘About’ done soon cause I want to know more about you.

    • aquabluesweater says:

      Many many thanks for your comment:) Yeah, I am also pretty happy to see many of my favourites or highly rated anime make it pretty high in the list! Haibane Renmei, in my opinion is also a worthy #1. Thinking back especially to the music (my favourite is Ailes Grises) gives me chills of how good it is!

      I also have a hard time of what other things I can post after this ranking analysis:) It’s just something I’ve worked on for a month or so. Having wanted to put it out for a while, I decided on saturday to finish the write up, create the blog and just put it out otherwise chance is that it will still be stuck in my pc for a while longer! Will definitely start filling the about page and other details sometime during the week….

  9. Just discovered this blog today.

    My, my some inspired work here. I appreciate what you’re doing very much despite my own reticence to create ranked lists (part of which is due to feeling that I never see enough shows to create a workable sample size).

    It shouldn’t be surprising to me that mecha shows do not make a strong showing, given that they are or have become niche to many viewers, but then again, the shows at the top are arguably niche as well.

    Mmm… this makes me want to do something within my pet genre (mecha obviously), let me know if this interests you. If not, I hope you feel flattered if I adopt some of your methodology and use your own findings as baseline data.

    • aquabluesweater says:

      Really glad you find the post interesting. I’m definitely flattered:) Would love to share with you the data though do give me some time to tidy the spreadsheet up a little bit. Kept adding data and doing works on it that it is probably incomprehensable to anyone else other than me! Will send you an email separately once it is in a tidier form and ready to be shared (I presume the one listed beside your name is ok?). I’m also putting together a list of all animes in the 2000s as well with the info about the genre (i.e you can browse a list of all mecha anime with all other info). It is pretty time-consuming so have only gotten to 2000-2003 so far. Once that’s done, it should be quite useful for you to dissect. Do let me know also what kind of analysis you might want to do regarding mecha. I can perhaps be able to send you just the data you will need for that…

      Yeah, true mecha anime is pretty under-represented in the list. All the mecha animes that appear in the list are the usual mainstream ( Gurren Lagann, Eureka Seven, Full Metal Panic!, Rahxephon, Code Geass, Eva movies) and no hard-core mecha series really make it onto the list (correct me if any of the titles mentioned above are hard-core as I am definitely not as well-versed in the mecha universe as you are!). You mentioned the top shows are niche, but they seem to be ones of the few that are so good they really transcend their initial reserved tone. I mean, the synopsis for both are pretty unexciting but they really leave a pretty lasting impression.

      Also, do let me know if you ever are going to publish a top 10 or top 20 best anime of the last decade list. I would be honoured to add it into my database:)

      • Great! You can use the email. It’s my friend who is the list and stat-fiend and I can’t wait for him to discover your site. But it’s fine that we all work through me since I’m more outgoing.

        I think he can answer your questions better, and ask better questions, but I want to delve in a quantitative way into the ff: issues.

        1. If the under-representation of mecha shows in the list is indicative of its more niche status among viewers, is there anything in the data itself that can give reasons why?
        (corollary issue: mecha fans are very often upset by moe shows and their popularity; corollary to the corollary issue: it is our thesis too that the direct competitor of mecha shows aren’t moe shows, but rather kids’ shows like pokemon, yugi-oh, beyblade etc who are more efficient merchandising franchises; sub-thesis: most of these raters did not discover anime via robot shows, or if so, robot shows aren’t the closers that made them fans of the medium as a whole, unlike older viewers such as myself b. 1977)
        2. Similarities in the mecha shows that did land on the list. How many of them are truly mecha-centric? (theory: mecha-centricity is indicated by having the name of the robot as the name of the show e.g. TTGL, RahXephon, but not Code Geass, not Eureka SeveN which are arguably less about the mecha therefore transcendent of the genre as is your opinion of the top shows).

        This is all for now, I look forward to your email! Thanks again.

      • aquabluesweater says:

        1). That’s going to be pretty difficult one to prove using the data. We could try to track some yearly Japanese and US TV ranking and see the trend change over time from 1960s (if any poll goes back that far). Will have to think a lot more about that…
        2). This one is a little easier. We can look at the mecha shows and create rankings of their mecha-centricity. Map this onto the ranking I have and there should hopefully be some results emerging. Going over and above, we can also look at all mecha shows and use the ANN rating rankings and seen ranking as measurement gauge. I remember the website also classify mecha show as robot or something along that line too so that could also be used.

      • Oh I appreciate anything you share, and feel free to ask me for anything as well. If I know anything about it, I’ll gladly share. I look forward to the email.

  10. […] note before the list: – The list is ranked on the number of anime series that appear in the ‘top 100 anime series of the decade’ list over the total anime series production released by the studio [quality percentage] – The […]

  11. Charles says:

    Just found this list – AWESOME work. The accuracy of what you did can be seen by just scanning at the top 10 – the shows listed there are what one would expect to see.

    • Thank you for your comment:) I was pretty glad when I discovered that the list is roughly what I expected it to be. It has a good blend of the obscure (in terms of mainstream popularity anyway, such as Haibane Renmei and Dennou Coil) and the popular ones (FMA, Gurren Lagann) and I also like the fact that the list compiled from people who (mostly) know what they are talking about and have watched quite a few titles when it comes to anime. Perfect, no, but I still say it is a good list to work off if you need an anime recommendation!

  12. […] the very first post in this blog, I wrote about an analysis of the most highly rated anime of the last decade. However, the post is definitely for serious anime fans only as most people will likely have a hard […]

  13. […] blogs that give rankings instead of scores, I use the same methodology that I did for the 2000s anime ranking and convert rankings into composite scores. I then convert these scores into a rating 0 to 10, which […]

  14. Jay Boerner says:

    Just discovered this post, I am so incredibly glad that you have put this together! In the medium of anime it is very very difficult to find a “canon” list of what is considered the cream of the crop. Having combined opinions from sources who have extensively seen many shows, it gives credibility to this list that other ones I have seen lack. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    It wouldn’t be possible for you to compile a “Top List” for other decades, would it?

    • Thank you so much for taking time to comment on my post:) Really appreciate that!

      I would love to compile a best of list from other decade but the main problem is the lack of information. Blogging has not exactly been very popular a decade ago. I am having a very difficult time finding enough quantity of ‘best anime of the year’ blog list from even 2007, let along 1997 or the 1990s decade. I will obviously do a ‘best of 2010s decade’ anime list but that’s still 7 years in the making. The best I could do right now is to compile information from rating website from other decades and make a list from that. I am working on yearly list from 2007 right not so it might take a while to get anything from other decade… Do check back every once in a while, I hope to have some more compilation done!

      One thing to note though is that the best of the decade list I have put out is based on blog views, which will contain more ‘cerebral’ animes that people who have watched a lot of animes (and have the time and effort to write blogs). This is reflected in series such as Haibane Renmei, Mushi-shi and Monsters coming in extremely high. I bet that if I compile the data only from ratings sources (such as The Anime List, Anime News Network) who are frequented by more casual viewers, the list of best animes will look very different. See this for my quick analysis on this theory.

  15. […] and audiences find other favorites. The first Mushishi is old enough to earn distinction as a ”modern classic”, but a follow-up series so far removed from the original could only become a disappointment, right? […]

  16. […] My Take: I am glad to see this series topping the list considering how highly the first one was rated a decade ago. […]

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