Best Anime Series in 2000s Rank 1-10 Previews

In 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 time recognizing a lot of those titles in the top 10. I would like to use this post as previews of each series in the top 20 and hopefully entice the reader to check them out:)


Number of episodes: 13

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life

Follow up?: None

Similar anime titles (if you like this, what else you should check out): Mushi-shi, Kino’s Journey, Someday’s Dreamer

Date shown: 9-October-2002

Studio: Radix

Director: Tokoro Tomakazu

Synopsis: Rakka, a newly born Haibane (Angel), awakens into an unfamiliar world with only a strange dream of falling from the sky as her only memory. Alone and scared of who and what she is, she is cared for by fellow Haibanes as they try and search for the meaning of their existence as well as what lies beyond their town’s imprisoning walls. [ANN]

Pros:  Rife with symbolism and metaphors; completely original setting; gripping in its oscurity; rich atmosphere; [Anime Academy] sountrack is very soothing and haunting

Cons: Nothing happens; Pace can be very slow


  • Haibane Renmei started off a bit slow, but it closed off with one of the strongest finales I have ever seen. It has both a very imaginative setting, and truly excels at its character-development. [Star Crossed Anime]
  • Haibane Renmei sings of wisdom and beauty too elusive and immense for our comprehension. A truly special place is Haibne Renmei, where we can spend an eternity swimming in a pool of thoughts, or losing ourselves in its rejuvenating warmth. [Guri Guri Blog]
  • This anime is, in a nutshell, a philosophical one that concentrates on character development. So expect no high octane, fast and furious action. At thirteen episodes, the focus, plot and pacing is just right. It neither drags nor contain unnecessary fillers or recaps [THEM Anime]

In My Own Words: Story is originally based on a doujinshi produced by Yoshitoshi ABe (Serial Experiment Lain, Niea_7) Series was ranked FIRST 7 times (the highest frequency) and also rank in the TOP FIVE 14 times (also the highest). THis is also the only series on the list for Radix. I also love the soundtrack in this, especially ‘Ailes Grises’

More reviews: Anime Academy (87%);

Source: Wikipedia, Anime News Network

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Anime Studio Proficiency – Series

I have recently finished inputting the data from 2000 to 2009 (pending some quality check but that will have to come later) so now I can start doing some more anime of the animes from the last decade. The first analysis I want to do is to look closely at animes produced by each studio and how many are recognized as great. For example, Madhouse studios have by far the most anime series listed in the top 100 (18). However, it is possible that it produces so many that if you look from the ratio perspective (how many series produced to how many listed), its record may not be so prolific.

Some note before the list:
– The list is ranked on the number of anime series that appear in thetop 100 anime series of the decade list (see my previous post here for the list itself and the methodology behind it) over the total anime series production released by the studio [quality percentage] – The logic is that the higher this number, the more likely the studio is to release great series as opposed to forgettable duds (the more accurate measure should be taking an average of the anime score that it produces, from say ANN rating. I currently do not have the data to do that at this point so I am sticking with this methodology for now).

– Studios need to have a minimum of 10 series produced in the decade. This excludes the possibility of a studio being a one-hit wonder and top the list with 100%, having only done one good anime.

– The list only includes anime series. I will have a different list with movies +OAVs

– Bear in mind that I am working with an anime series sample of 974. So when I am comparing it with the top 100 anime series, on average, the quality percentage of a studio should be 10.2% or there should be 9.7 series for every one good series produced. Any studio with higher ratio than this should be considered above average.


Proficiency percentage: 60% (6/10) – 1 listed for every 1.6 produced

Listed anime: Clannad, FMP: Fumoffu!, Clannad -After Story-, Kanon 2006, Lucky Star, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Other anime: K-ON!, Sora o Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai, FMP: Second Raid, Air TV

Comment: Very low number of series produced compared to other major studios (ranked 26th in total anime series produced) but dominate the list in term of sheer quality of the outputs. The studio have released FMA Fumoffu as their first series this decade and have been releasing about 1-2 series per year since. It is also definitely riding the moe wave of K-ON! and Haruhi at the moment!

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Top Anime Directors in 2000s – Movies / OAVs

After having learnt how to put pictures on the blog and make it look more attractive, I want to present the top movie directors again in a more accessible, non-technical format. I have mentioned most of the top ones to death but it never hurt to actually highlight them out again since they all deserve as much attention as I can give them. For this exercise , I will combine both movies and OAVs together. The next eight directors (with multiple films in the list, ranked in order of how many times their works are being mentioned in all of the lists used to compile the results) are definitely among the best short-format anime directors you will find in 2000s.

1). Shinkai Makoto

Why he is listed: 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004), Voices of a Distant Star (2002)

My one-title recommendation (if you want to check one of his works out, I recommend this): Voices of a Distant Star

Other noteworthy works: She and Her Cat (1999)

Affiliated studios (studio that the direct has done the most works with): Comix Wave Inc.

Comment: The way this guy used lighting is as good as it gets. The quality of his animation is always top-notch. He can be quite a one-trick pony with his story-telling but when it’s told this well and look so good, I don’t consider that such a bad thing:) Hailed as ‘the next Miyazaki’ I really hope he can live up to such title for years to come! If anyone has not seen it yet, I would really urge you to check out Voices of the Distant Star for what this guy is capable of. This is the 25 minutes OAV that he, other than music and voice acting, essentially create by himself. It’s so well-done and the animation looks so great that it is pretty unbelievable that this is a one-man effort. Plus, it’s pretty short too so you won’t be wasting too much time if you happen not to like it!

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Top Anime Directors in 2000s – Series

This post is a continuation of the top 100 anime series analysis I posted earlier. This time, I want to look at the directors, who are most responsible for shaping the series to be as good as it is (at least that is my assumption anyway). To tell you the truth, I am as guilty as anyone in not being able to name the directors of a lot of my favourite anime series, so this is a pretty good exercise for me to recount them. Also, I hope you also find it useful as a brief guide of which director has the best track record and that you should probably pay some attention if you come across their names in any future anime. I will be listing the directors who have more than 1 features in my top 100, as that should somewhat suggest a sustained pattern of excellence for these directors, from most number of titles first.

1). Sato Junichi

Why he is listed: ARIA The Origination, ARIA The Animation, ARIA The Natural, Princess Tutu

Latest Offering: Maria’s Great Sea Story (2009)

Other noteworthy works: He also direct Sailor Moon, Junker Comes Here and Gatekeeper

Comment: He tops the list but 3 of his 5 comes from the ARIA franchise. He also directs ARIA The Arietta (Another OAV from the franchise). The only surprise for me about this guy is he directed Sailor Moon back in the day! He definitely have some longvity over 1990s and now 2000s

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Analysis on Animation Directors – Movies

While my mind is circling around the topic of movies, I will get around to looking at the directors that are responsible for these 34 titles on the list and see if there is any interesting patterns within them. I have read in quite a few blogs / podcasts already about whether general anime fans really know the directors that work on the famous or favourite movies.

The argument goes that you most likely will know who direct Schindler’s List, Gladiator or Pulp Fiction, but outside of Miyazaki Hayao and maybe Oshii Mamoru, people would not be able to recognize the directors’ names. I imagine with the names being in Japanese, a lot of people just give up trying to recite them but do you feel that this is really the case? Can you name the director of Akira, Grave of the Fireflies or Ninja Scroll (admittedly I only know 2 out of 3 here so I may also be one of the guilty ones).

Anyway, on to the list:

# Director Title count
1 Miyazaki Hayao 3
1 Kon Satoshi 3
1 Hosoda Mamoru 3
4 Various 2
4 Shinkai Makoto 2
4 Oshii Mamoru 2
4 Anno Hideaki 2
8 Yuasa Masaaki 1
8 Kawamoto Kihachiro 1
8 Matsumoto Leiji 1
8 Michael Arias 1
8 Ando Masahiro 1
8 Mizushima Seiji 1
8 Morita Hiroyuki 1
8 Nakamura Ryutaro 1
8 Nomura Tetsuya 1
8 Ohara Minoru 1
8 Aramaki Shinji 1
8 Rintaro 1
8 Gohda Kiroaki 1
8 Sugiyama Keiichi 1
8 Asaka Morio 1
8 Watanabe Shinichiro 1
8 Yamamura Koji 1

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Analysis on Animation Production Studios – Movies

This post will be similar to the last one but focusing on the anime movies and their studios instead. This list includes all the movies that are mentioned at least once in any of the list. I have also worked out a way to paste table onto the blog which looks much nicer than the pasted picture I used before. I will try to update the previous posts also. Firstly, here is the summary of each studio and how many titles it animated in the list

Rank Animation studio Title count
1 Madhouse Studios 7
2 Studio Ghibli 4
3 Studio 4C 3
5 Studio Khara 2
5 Toei Animation 2
5 Comix Wave Inc. 2
5 Production I.G 2
9 Shochiku Film 1
9 ufotable 1
9 Gonzo 1
9 Square Enix 1
9 TMS Entertainment 1
9 AIC 1
9 Imagica 1

Quick comments based on this:

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Analysis on Animation Production Studios – Series

Next thing I want to look at is the animation studios that produced these top-rated animes. The table below list the series in the top 100 as per the same methodology as my earlier post, segmented by animation studios. The ‘title rank’ column denotes the rank of the anime series as talked about in my earlier posts.

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Top Anime of 2000s Breakdown by length

In this part, I want to now turn the attention to the length of the anime in the decade list. The idea is that if my friend is asking me to recommend an anime series and he only want a shorter type series, then I can direct him towards a 13-episode series list and not recommend him something like Monster which, although brillliant, may require too much time invested than he wants.

I’m going to categorize the length into

1). 13-episode series (anything around the region of 10-19 23-minute episodes – Will take you about 5 hours to finish)

2). 26-episode series (anything around  20 to 30 23-minute episodes – Will take you about 10 hours to finish)

3).  Long series (30+ episodes – Will take you a while up to finish…)

4). OAV series (typically all the OAVs, less than 200 minutes running time)

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Compilation of top anime of the decade list – Movie / OAV

Finally got time to post the second edition in this series of posts. This time I will be talking about anime films and OAV. The sample size for this is a little smaller but there are still some very cool results and trends based on all the lists posted by everyone.

First off, let’s have a look at top 20 movies + OAV list. I am presenting the data for movies and OAVs in a combined format since most have comparable length anyway. Besides, a lot of blog seems to interchangeably list OAV in a movie list anyway. Method used to rank them is described briefly in my first post:

Figure 1: Top 30 movie/OAV in each year (Click to enlarge)

Here are some comments:

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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: