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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Analyzing Anime Movie type from 2000-5

Having been able to collect data up to 2005, I got a bit curious about how the segmentation of the movies and how many ‘original’ anime films are actually released in each year, as opposed to ‘sequels’ or ‘franchise’. The root of this comes from the fact that in my top anime of 2000s analysis, there are only 34 films good enough to be listed in the whole decade (3.4 films a year). The number sounds a little on the low side (Only under 4 good anime films released per year?), so I want to substantiate that by looking at all movies being produced during the same period and put this number into a bit more perspective.

When analysising the group type of the films, I have separated them into 3 categories as followed:

a). Original – Films that are not based on any prior anime series or franchise

b). Sequel – Follow-on from anime series or movies

c). Franchise – Part of a franchise of anime or game series. Tend to relate more to more popular series

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Analysis of Animes Released in 2000-2003

I will briefly take a break from all the anime of the decade analysis and dive into a new topic that I have been working on. Having worked on all the anime people love enough to mention as the best of the decade, it left me wondering, how many shows are there really out there?

This led me to start compiling data of all the animes basing it on the the wikipedia page that list all the animes produced by year. It also has all the data so far that I find useful for other analysis like demographic, year released, director. It is a rather time-consuming exercise so I have only managed to cover 2000-2003 so far. The rest will follow. Also, do let me know if there is any other website which may offer a more comprehensive animes that were released by year. I still have to browse around Anime News network to cross-check the wiki list but so I may have to update this number later in case wikipedia is not as all-knowing as I hope it is… As for the date, I have categorized each one based on their release date in Japan, which is consistent with how I treat the top anime list.

First, let’s look at the total number of productions during these four years

Year Movie OAV Series Total
2000 11 19 40 71
2001 18 42 71 131
2002 23 37 69 129
2003 14 36 76 126
Total 66 134 256 456

A few observations from this:

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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: