I was invited on to this blog pretty much to write up my thoughts on anime, so I figured the best way to kick things off would be to make up a list of my favorite anime for each year of the decade from 2000-2009. I originally thought of just doing a top 20 list for the decade, but soon came to realize that I would be forced to leave off a lot of worthy titles. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every title listed is of masterpiece quality, but rather they are titles that were very good for what they were trying to accomplish. For example, I don’t think anyone would compare any hentai to the quality of a Miyazaki title, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t hentai that came out that were not excellent examples of their sub-genre. I will be limiting these lists to 10 anime for each year, however if I feel that there were not 10 quality releases for any given year, then I won’t go up that far.
The criteria for what is to be selected is simply anime that was originally released in the given year set, so if it started on one year and continued in to another, I could include it in the first year’s list, but not the next year’s list. This is based upon the release date in Japan as well, so while it may have first come out on DVD or TV in the US in one year, it almost certainly had been released several years prior in Japan. Finally, while I have watch an awful lot of anime in my time, it’s impossible to have seen everything, so this list is not the definitive end-all be-all of anime lists. That said you are more than welcome to disagree with me on any inclusion or exclusion, however, you will still be wrong.
So, without further ado, and in alphabetical order, rather than perceived ranking order, I give you the top anime of 2000.
1. Ah! My Goddess: The Movie
At the time, the AMG franchise was just getting established, having just released the OAV series, and with the reception it had, this movie was made. What I think makes this such a fan favorite is the fact that while Keiichi isn’t the most manly of men, nor the most proactive, he’s not a completely spineless whimp like a lot of male leads in romantic comedies or harem shows. He just takes things very slowly, but still continues to make progress. I mean, he is dealing with a goddess after all, so perhaps the slow and steady approach is the way to go. At it’s core, it follows the usual conventions of the romance genre, with slowly blossoming love and trials for the couple. But, the production values of this are very good even to this day, incorporating both CGI and traditional cel animation to make an excellent addition to the franchise.
2. Blood: The Last Vampire
This was a fairly short film, coming in at just under an hour, but what it brought was some of the best animation of the year. While it wasn’t the first to do so, it still wasn’t very common at the time to see anime done entirely digital, and the way it presented itself no doubt helped usher in the digital age. The basic synopsis of this is that Saya is a vampire, tasked with killing other vampires during the time of the Vietnam War. This takes place on Okinawa, near the US military base. There is plenty of bloodshed here, but not quite to the ridiculous levels that some anime take. It presents itself a little more realistically, and is a great way to sample the series before getting involved in the Blood+ tv series which came out several years later.
3. Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card
Cardcaptor Sakura is generally the title that everyone can agree upon as being one of well known group CLAMP’s finest works. It mixes good action with touching drama, and sprinkles some budding romance in there as well. This movie actually gives full closure to the TV series, which ended with things being just a bit up in the air. Sakura has captured all the Clow Cards and converted them to Sakura Cards, but it turns out there was one more left. This card is causing all her other cards to disappear, so not only does she have to seal this away, but she also has to come to terms with her feelings for Syaoran. The ending to this gives perfect closure to a great series, and definitely should not be missed.
This is Gainax doing a series right. Forget the overrated steaming turd that is Evangelion, if you’re looking for a good anime from them that requires a bit of thought, then FLCL is what you should pick up. It’s easy enough to get through, only having 6 episodes in the series, but they manage to get everything they need to in those 6 episodes without making it feel rushed or cluttered. Plus the kid has robots coming out of his head. That’s rather cool in my book. Plus it doesn’t all end with everything being resolved happily. Not every immature brat grows up and gets what he wants after all.
5. Love Hina
From a story standpoint and technical merit, Love Hina is pretty average, however what it is is one of the best known harem shows out there. It may not have started the whole harem genre, but if you ask most anyone what harem show they remember the most, odds are that they’ll respond with Love Hina. In fact, this pretty much made the career of Ken Akamatsu. While I believe that Negima will overshadow Love Hina (at least between the manga, the anime was a pile a shit) he still has good name recognition despite only having done 3 series. The voice acting was quite good though, and Megumi Hayashibara can really do no wrong, so it’s certainly worth watching, if for nothing more than to see what all the fuss is about. It seems there’s little middle ground, either one likes it, or hates it.
So that pretty much wraps up what I consider notable and worthy in 2000. This was early on in my viewing career, so there may have been some treasures from the year that I just haven’t seen, but by and large these are the ones you’re likely to hear about. Next year will be better, I promise!