AD Top 10 List # 2: Wintermuted Vs. The 2000s (UNCUT)

Oh Crap.


As promised on my mother site, this is the unfettered, unbound version of a Top Ten TV Anime Of The 2000’s I’ve been stewing over since December. Not all of these favorites may be surprises by any stretch, but the reason behind these choices might make some eyebrows defy gravity. (But then wasn’t that pretty much how this whole decade played itself out?)

So let’s get down to it. These are the winners, the champions, the survivors of the ever-brutal Zeroes(2000-2009). So break out the plastic, it just might get a little juicy in here! (don’t forget to hit Show for all the gory details!)

Let The Carnage Begin !(Click Me First)

Smarts? You'd better believe it.

10. Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

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And speaking of lesser detected gems….

Longing for the days of Masterpiece Theater-style anime...

09. Victorian Romance Emma

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Jarring tonal shift in 3…2..1…

Think Like Osaka.
8. Azumanga Daioh!

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The eyes of the young is something we should never lose ourselves, and from those we love. Which falls comfortably within the next entry..

They often see what we fail to..

7. Dennou Coil

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You hear that rumbling in the background? Well…That’s hyperbole coming. And it’s well-deserved!

GAINAX...Punch! (S&%$@)

6. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan

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And I guess it only makes sense to transition from one great risk-taking studio, to the next generation. No matter what one may think, this next selection had all the necessary cards, and took everything but our home and underwear..

There's still no stopping her.

5. The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya

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And this is a perfect place to segue into the endgame folks. This is where the play stops, and the collision of art & mind have domain. And what better way to start the top four, than with one of the medium’s most fascinating voices?

Tokyo has gone mad..And I feel fine..

4. Paranoia Agent

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And while we’re on the subject of mature, visceral anime…It’s probably time to break out the big guns. Big guns, and even bigger brains. I mean it.

Abandon All Doubt.

3.Ghost In The Shell:Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig

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New identity is at the forefront of what could be considered one of the underappreciated giants of not only the decade, but of the mecha drama genre altogether…

Love Is Elliptic.

2. Rahxephon

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A true rarity for even television.

1.Haibane Renmei

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Wintermuted’s Honorable Few!

– GitS SAC (original series) (2002) Why is this not up there with the big ones? Simple. It serves as fun exposition, where 2nd Gig raises the stakes in ways this one just couldn’t with all that thematic baggage.

– Gunslinger Girl (2003) Intensely executed science-fiction drama, as well as a scathing critique on a growing social disconnect with adult males.

– Last Exile (2003) Possibly this decades’ anime equivalent to Star Wars. Lovely characters, and an exceptionally realized world.

– Eureka 7 (2004) Exciting is hardly the word. Exhilarating might be more appropo. Anime escapism at its finest.

– Monster (2004) A VERY good version of Urasawa’s masterful manga. Endlessly intriguing.

– Windy Tales (2004) A total left-field winner that takes a simple concept of looking at the sky, wondering what its like to fly, and leads it into a winning look at some very interesting individuals. A true original.

– Kurau: Phantom Memory(2004) Brilliant science fiction that rubs antennae with the very best anime has to offer. A little wobble later prevents it from top ten status, but it’s still a potent experience.

– Kemonozume (2006) Masaaki Yuasa & Madhouse’s experimental take on the “Oni-in-our-midst” is a captivating view. Truly unique and not to be missed.

– Lovely Complex (2007) What is quite possibly my favorite shoujo adaptation in years wins largely due to its keen direction and cast. But most notably for the brilliantly dorky performance of one Akemi Okamura(Yes,Nami), in a hysterical turn as an unlikely romantic heroine.

– Toradora! (2009) Quite possibly, a penultimate high school romantic comedy, encompassing the notion of contrasting image with reality. Refreshingly funny, and heart-rending. A must!

– Higashi No Eden (2009) Kenji Kamiyama takes on JJ Abrams, with his thrilling cross-country mix of post 911 paranoia and world malaise. And all done with a smile & wink reminiscent of a certain master thief. Brilliant!

– Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (2009) A last-minute stunner as Studio Bones takes on the harrowing possibility of natural disaster, and the resilience of life. All the more potent these days. An wonderfully executed series.

OAV of the Decade?

Oh that’s easy, even if it’s a technicality..FLCL . Have a nice ten years!

8 thoughts on “AD Top 10 List # 2: Wintermuted Vs. The 2000s (UNCUT)”

  1. That was a very nice write up. It avoids heaping generalized praise and instead is a collection of well considered thoughts that get at the heart of each series. I’m really awed that these shows were “made for TV”, more like creative artistic endeavors.

  2. Oh totally agreed. It seems that the whole “edge” movement opened op the canvas for many studios to play not only with genre, but with what the general public expected out of anime. And even as a lot of the market began to slowly corner itself again (and this time into sometimes cringe-inducing territory), there have been works that pushed back. Here’s to hoping that the legacy of some of these shows keeps the spark alive in the minds of future animators/storytellers.

  3. I must admit that I haven’t seen many of the shows listed in the top ten, though I’ve seen nearly all the honorable mentions. I was glad to see Azumanga Daioh and RahXephon in the mix however, as both series touched me in certain ways. (Good ways, not the bad ways.) Very thoughtful write-ups on the shows too. Not bad, Wintermuted – a well fought battle, indeed.

  4. FLCL is about equal to R.O.D. for me, with R.O.D. just edging it out due to it’s randomness.

    And Emma… oh man. I absolutely loved the first season and watched it religiously. I don’t know what happened, but in the middle of the second season I just stopped watching. I think I’m going to just pick up the second season a sit down and watch it.

  5. I loved R.O.D., but over time, it has fallen into mere Bruckheimer with a brain blockbuster formula for me, which while fun doesn’t age as well as FLCL has for me. In fact, I re-watched it recently and was taken aback by how lean it was. But for me, FLCL’s claim to fame is the incredible amount of complex characterization it gives Naota & Haruko throughout the surface chaos.

    Agreed about EMMA, around season two, things began having problems. This is where I let the manga take over. But that first season is just plain dreamy.

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