Predictions for the inevitable ‘best anime of the 00’s’

Toradora vs Minami-ke

Neither of these are going to win but it's the best header image I could find

Are you ready for the inevitable? The newest and largest pub argument amongst anime fans for the next year or so is on it’s way. While others can argue how anime has changed over the decade, most notably in the internet explosion, the average folk will slam their glass on the table and proclaim that ‘Code Geass will be forgotten in a few years’ or that ‘Monster is the most under-rated anime of them all’. So I’m going to try to shed some light upon this topic. Now I won’t be saying what my picks are, oh no. I’m going to be acting like a bookie, weighing up the odds for what will be voted top of the charts. For this I’m going to assume that the winners will be decided by a poll, much like the Animesource polls, where each voter gets 5 votes. Place your bets folks. What was the best anime of the 00’s?


Remember that in these polls, the critically acclaimed anime will not win. It is a effectively popularity contest. That does not make the eventual winner any less valid. In fact, the best anime should be the one that made the most impact and generated a whole plethora of copycats. Therefore do not expect something like Monster or Mushishi to win. However I would not be surprised to see Mushishi rank quite highly. It’s managed to achieve a (relatively) high level of popularity and yet somehow still keeps it’s slightly elitist aura. Basically, it has never been cool to hate Mushishi. A top 10 spot is probably beyond it but top 20 is certainly attainable, depending on what percentage of Narutards vote. Monster, on the other hand, will not rank. It has never quite achieved the level of exposure Mushishi has, plus it has never been licensed. I doubt it would even make the top 50.

Mushishi odds: 80:1  Monster odds: 500:1


If you were going to talk about popularity, then according to Myanimelist and ANN, these would be Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist. Surprise surpsie, they’re both Shounen hits. Shounen anime have always been hugely popular these two kept it themeselves short(er) and therefore kept their pace flowing. However I think FMA’s chances have been killed with the new season. While it may have convinced younger fans to go watch the original and generate a larger fanbase, what it appears has happened has split the fanbase completely. Fans of the original manga, who might have voted for the first season otherwise, will now vote for the more faithful adaptation while the a substantial amount of the original anime fans seem to scoff at the new season. Split fanbase = no chance, though a top 10 is still a possibility. Death Note, though, has to be one of the favourites. It’s ability to get fans from both shounen fanboys, yaoi fangirls and elitists while never getting too over-the-top to divide opinions the way Code Geass did was quite remarkable. Plus it’s getting my vote 🙂

FMA odds: 15:1  FMA:B odds: 50:1   Death Note odds: 5:2


You can’t ignore the long-running shounen series. Theoretically, if it was possible to get EVERY anime fan on the planet to vote, Naruto would probably top the charts. That though is nigh impossible. Plus I think Bleach has a far better chance of winning than Naruto has, mainly down to the two season split. The first season of Naruto had that ‘year of the fillers’ and the second season has been bogged down, moving at a pace a 1-legged tortoise would be ashamed of. Plus Bleach is higher rated than Naruto, which goes to show that many of the people who watch Naruto are really only doing so out of habit by this stage. Bleach has the legs to see off challenges of the likes of Inuyasha and D-Gray Man and One Piece isn’t even guaranteed to be allowed to enter since it began in 1999. Will Bleach win the contest overall? It all depends on who votes I suppose. There’s even a chance that it won’t finish in the top 20 if voters don’t show up. It’s the most unpredictable of the lot to be honest.

Bleach odds: 12:1   Naruto odds: 25:1   Naruto Shippuden odds: 50:1


Time to discuss the elephant in the room. There is no doubt that The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was the most influential anime of the decade. All you need to do is look at the alarming increase in moe since 2006. Haruhi’s big advantage is that her fanbase is (well, was) not split. Fans of moe may love Clannad, Aria and Higurashi but they are all in agreement that Haruhi is the queen of the genre. A lot of shounen fans have their votes spread, some of them abandoning Bleach and Naruto to vote for FMA, Geass or Death Note. Mecha fans are completely divided (unlike the 90’s when Evangelion was the undisputed champion). In a way Haruhi is the rightful successor to NGE, even managing to enrage it’s loyal fanbase. Yes, it’s tough to say what effect Endless Eight had. It may have lost a huge amount of fans through frustration or it may have solidified the first seasons in their hearts, safe in the knowledge that the first season will remain the untouched masterpiece they claim it is. Before Endless Eight I would have placed my bet on Haruhi but now I’m not so sure. It’s probably still favourite but the outcome is less clear than I originally thought it would be.

Haruhi Suzumiya odds: 2:1  Endless Eight odds: 15,532:1


The shojo fanbase are probably one of the less divided, if admittadly quieter, of the anime world. My sister’s Fruits Basket manga proudly proclaims itself to be the best selling shojo manga in America but I can’t see FB seriously challenge the top 10. Neither will Nodame Cantabile or Lovely Complex or even the apparant king of shojo, Honey and Clover. They just aren’t big enough. But Ouran High School Host Club is a different matter altogether. I heard somewhere that Ouran outsold Code Geass in America, which is quite incredible. Ouran reall is that big. That said, I can’t seriously see it winning. Top 10 is certainly attainable though. Top 5 if it has enough support?

Fruits Baskets odds: 250:1   Ouran Odds: 25:1

Epic code geass

The mecha fanbase is a rather divided one, certainly for those who want something similar to Evangelion. RahXephon doesn’t stand a chance and neither does a Gundam or Macross. However Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann will indeed attract a mountain of votes. There are many people who believe TTGL to be far and away the greatest anime ever produced for it’s deliciously over-the-top manliness and epic battle on an inter-galactic scale. TTGL certainly stands the best chance Gainax have of winning the best anime of teh decade twice (yes, Evangelion was the best of the 90’s. It’s not my personal favourite, but nothing came even remotely close to the influence it had on future anime). The other mecha series is Code Geass, which is hardly true mecha. It’s still difficult to see how Geass will go down in anime history. However Geass attracts votes from absolutely every corner of the anime globe, such is it’s appeal. Sunrise really knew what they were doing with Geass and if you can get a large enough spread of fans voting, Geass stands a reasonable chance of topping the charts, although some votes will be split to it’s sequel.

TTGL odds: 15:1  Code Geass odds: 8:1

Elfen lied

Now let me tell you some anime that won’t win. Ghost in the Shell, Samurai Champloo, FLCL, Eureka Seven, Eden of the East, Full Metal Panic, School Rumble, Black Lagoon, Azumanga Daoih. All big names sure enough but none of these are quite big enough to challenge any of the other names I’ve put forward so far. It’s also pointless to look at any moe anime when there’s Haruhi on the table, so goodbye Clannad and Lucky Star. I also can’t see a Ghibli topping the table either. However there is one popular anime that I think could be the dark horse in this competition. Elfen Lied has a huge and devoted fanbase. They are rather quite nowadays since the anime has long since ended but you’d be a fool to forget they are still around, still utterly convinced Elfen Lied is the greatest anime ever created. I really think Elfen Lied could be the shock hit of the tournament and a top 5 place beckons.

Elfen Lied odds: 15:1

Yeah, Baccano doesn't stand a chance but a top 50 spot shouldn't be beyond it. It gets my vote anyway

Yeah, Baccano doesn't stand a chance but a top 50 spot shouldn't be beyond it. It gets my vote anyway

And that’s about it. Several things could happen of course, like 4chan flood voting Queens Blade to top the table. That could be solved by not making the tourney open to the public and having it chosen by ‘a panel of expert judges’. Although I wouldn’t trust expert judges to pick the right anime as far as I could thrown them. It comes down to what’s the main factors of a top anime and I think popularity is hugely important. If you look at the anime I’ve mentioned, most of them are centered around 06 era. Asides from being arguably the best year for anime ever, it’s also perfectly placed to collect the most votes. Many of the youtube generation of anime fans won’t have seen tha many anime that aired before 03. Also 06 is old enough so it’s had time to stew in anime fandom for word of mouth to spread and most people to have watched it by now. I know there’s still another season of anime on it’s way but I can’t see any of them blowing people away.

Wouldn't you just love it if this won. Anyone plan on voting for it?

Wouldn't you just love it if this won. Anyone plan on voting for it?

So if I had to place a bet on the top 5 I would say Haruhi, Death Note, Code Geass, Elfen Lied and Gurren Lagann. As for the winner…well….I would have said Haruhi before the whole Endless Eight fiasco but now I’m not so sure. It looks like it will turn into a final battle between Death Note and Haruhi. Personally, I’m hoping for a Death Note victory but to be honest it’s too close to call. What do you think?

17 Responses to “Predictions for the inevitable ‘best anime of the 00’s’”

  1. 1 kadian1364
    14 August 2009 at 6:17 am

    LOL @ Honey and Clover as “shoujo”. When the target audience gets into and past college age (18-30), the terms become seinen (male) and josei (female) i.e. Honey and Clover is josei and something like Bartender is seinen.

    I’ve been itching to go at the topic of “best of the decade” again ever since Miao offhandedly pooh-poohed my ideas in his blog some weeks ago. Our definitions of “best of” were clearly different, but it still would’ve been interesting to go at the topic at greater length.

    Firstly, “Best” is a very imprecise word in formally uncompetitive fields, like anime, movies, or novels, so in these sort of “best of” discussion, you’re gonna have to clearly define what qualities you are specifically looking for before you go start throwing names around.

    Is worldwide popularity and sheer viewership the most important qualities? Then you’re looking at Naruto/Bleach/other Shounen Jump fare. Is tangible impact in the hardcore anime fandom your choice of measurement? Haruhi/KyoAni is there. Are you looking at intrinsic values, like production values, writing, qualities transcendent of its time and medium? This is the angle I most like to argue from and would vote from, if given the opportunity. It gives individuals a chance to voice their opinions over the din of mob rule, and lesser known shows a chance to stand on merits other than how many people have seen them. Finally, you could go with some combination of the previous measures, although each their weight would vary from person to person.

    Since this exercise is trying to predict the results of a hypothetical vote held in the near future, I identify two dominating forces:
    1) What shows do people remember?
    2) What shows would get the votes from the kinds of people who would fill out these kinds of polls (i.e. the denizens of 4chan and the blogosphere)?

    The first condition pretty much eliminates any candidates that ended airing before 2005. Short attention spans and the instant gratification mentality of the masses would sadly discounts anything not “relevant”. The second condition considers the tastes of a mostly teenage, male, internet mongering crowd, and that demographic’s “fan favorites”. They were shows that were entertaining, exciting, and fun both to watch and talk about. With modern character designs and a feel good story. Not necessarily excluding critical acclaim, but certainly isn’t hurt by a lack of it.

    That brings the list down to something like: popular KyoAni shows(Haruhi, Clannad, K-On!), Code Geass, Death Note, Shonen mag titles (Naruto, Bleach), and maybe Gurren Lagann and others. Certainly not an exhaustive list, but some likely suspects.

    BTW, my personal 5 picks (of the ones I’ve seen, of course):
    Haibane Renmei
    The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi (2006)
    Honey and Clover (and sequels)
    Crest of the Stars (and sequels)

  2. 2 fmaestri90
    14 August 2009 at 11:29 am

    Hmm… i think Death Note is going to be the first, and maybe haruhi the second.
    As I am from Venenezuela (South America) i can tell you how spanish and latin fans would vote.
    Death Note is hugely popular among latin fans, while Haruhi is not so much. Of course in latin america Naruto or Bleach would win, however naruto fans and bleach fans are not the kind of fans that would be voting on an internet poll.
    I think Death Note would be the first by far since it’s kind of mandatory among all fans

  3. 14 August 2009 at 1:10 pm

    There’s been no mention of Monster, but I really do think that could be the dark horse since the story is tightly written and the characters are definitely stellar. I don’t know how many people will enthusiastically support that show as much as I will, but if nothing else, it definitely deserves some recognition.

  4. 14 August 2009 at 4:18 pm


    I tend to lump shojo and josei in together due to the rather low amount of josei anime out there. I know H&C is josei, as is Nodame, but I generally class them as ‘older shojo’ in my head.

    As for the rest, even though we took a different approach it seems we came up with basically the same results. I really think you’d be a fool to dismiss the immense popularity Elfen Lied though, even if it was made quite a while ago by this stage. I saw that post by Miao actually and that’s slightly what goaded me into writing this post, although it had been sitting at the back of my mind for a while. I was kinda hoping to set off discussions around the blogsphere but I don’t think this blog has enough influence at the moment to do that.

    Oh, and I really need to watch Crest of the Stars


    Monster’s good but as I said, it hasn’t been liscenced which I think counts against it somewhat. I can’t see it scoring that high at all. You could place a bet if you want though, €2 bet would win you back €1000.:)

  5. 5 kadian1364
    15 August 2009 at 12:18 am

    I haven’t seen the show or read much about Elfen Lied, so I’d rather not talk about it (and other shows I know nothing about) at all rather than make some dumb statements and smear my own credibility. The most I’ve seen about Elfen Lied is its quality OP. Who knows, maybe there will be a massive resurgence of Elfen Lied rewatching and blog writing, like with Honey & Clover, then I’ll stand more educated on the subject.

    As far as sparking a best-of-the-decade debate, we’re about a year too early for most of the blogosphere to really get into it. Heck, this will be the first decade any of us with a passion for the medium will be able to debate about it at length online, so I’m sure many are wary about how to even begin. Anime’s swell in popularity, the birth of the internet’s youtube generation, instant worldwide communication and media sharing, so much has changed within the decade itself. How many people have even seen the great titles from the first half of the decade? And I wonder how many of us will be around to talk about best-of-the-decade the next time around?

    I think Monster is a superbly written story. I doubt anyone would disagree on that point. But that’s the whole extent to which any of us can recommend to somebody, that “Monster is a really good story”. What I think it lacks compared to other Great Anime is that extra punch, something to make it stand out. A Stylistic flair, highly charismatic characters, the roller-coaster-like visual and emotional ride, it lacked the things to really get hype and a zealous fandom. In that way, Monster is almost too steady and deliberate for its own good. Yet that’s what makes Monster what it is.

    Here’s the old Answerman’s take on Monster and licensing it in ’06:
    “As for the Monster anime, I hear that a lot from anime fans who think it’d do well in the states, and as much as I like Monster, I have to disagree with that. The show is a relatively slow-moving, dialogue heavy drama starring a middle-aged surgeon. There’s not a lot of action; basically, it could very easily be a live-action American serial, except for the fact that it’s animated. I don’t think it really has much of a market here in the states; were it to have a TV run, I’m not sure it’d find much of an audience. I mean, Master Keaton didn’t exactly burn up the sales charts or really generate much of a fanbase here, and it was aimed at the same general market. I think you have a better chance of seeing the show adapted into a regular primetime drama for a major network than being shown on television; it might get licensed for DVD, sure, but beyond that, eh. I just don’t see it happening. The show’s demographic is closer to Law & Order’s than Naruto’s, which is going to keep it far away from any of the channels that normally even consider showing anime.”

    Source: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2006-04-21

  6. 15 August 2009 at 11:01 am

    Funny how I never considered Death Note to be shounen until they made the anime and licensed the manga. If you were to ask me what’s the best manga I’ve ever read I’d say without a doubt Death Note. Madhouse did a great job with DN I’ll give them, that but there were some things that I didn’t like about the anime version, meaning scenes they added and all that fangirl crap that came out of it. Absolutely brilliant show? Yes. Would I call it best anime of 00’s? Not quite.

    Now, if you were to ask me what show is the best of 00’s back in 06.I could’ve told you with relatively ease that the best show I’ve ever watched would be TMoHS. I still love my other two favorite shows but Haruhi did it for me. It was one of those few shows that made me think “how can it ever get any better?” However, I’d be lying if I said that E8 and all the trolling that’s been going on over the years hadn’t made rethink about my decision of placing it #1. Sadly, I don’t like it as much as I used to. It’s going to take a while to get over that.

    I enjoyed Bleach and One piece but neither of them will ever make it to my top 50. To summarize my thoughts about long running shounen shows: “horrendous fillers sometimes are almost enough to take away any credit that these shows may have.” Personally, I’d hate see long running shows to win. Quality > quantity.

    I watched the first two eps of Ouran host club and I was forced to drop it after that. I can’t understand what the fuzz is about except for fangirls really enjoy seeing bishounens. Anyway, I can’t really talk about how good or bad it is because I haven’t finished it or planning to ever do it. That show, not for me. It seems like Furuba will remain the only shoujo I’ve ever really liked. Ha. And I even watched it dubbed. One last note, I doubt that a shoujo show will ever make it number one.

    Elfen Lied is one of those you don’t ever forget. Regardless of whether you loved it or hated it. You will not ever forget about Elfen lied. True, in terms of popularity EL is a highly popular show. It’s sure up there on my top 20’s but I can’t see it winning for best tile mostly because it isn’t for everyone

    All of this leads me to my other favorite show. Code Geass. For me CG was closest that a show could match TMoHS’s level. There were so many memorable and “epic” moments in CG to name. Then R2 came along and made everyone think that CG just a crazy/for the lulz/train-wretch show that sometimes Sunrise created when they’re on refrain and the fans decided that it wasn’t all that cool after all. Still, CG managed to provide a huge amount of entertainment for me each Sunday. Ahem, “Code Geass Sundays.” Surely, that’s another show I won’t forget anytime soon and I would like to see it make it at least to the top 5.

  7. 15 August 2009 at 4:53 pm


    Elfen Lied is fairly good I suppose. It has an excellent story and development. it’s just they made a bit of a balls of telling it with all the red paint being flung everywhere. It’s just that it hasa rather quiet fanbase, unlike KyoAni fanbase. It’s kinda easy to forget it’s a potential top 5.

    I must say I’m amazed at your ability to conjour up an old Answerman column like that. I have my own personal problems with Moster but I’m going to wait until I finish the show first.


    Death Note for me was the anime that blew me away like no other. However for choosing the winner I’ve tried to keep personal bias out of this (Baccano and Chobits are two of my all-time favourite but I know neither of them have even the remotest chance of winning). I do agree that I can’t see a shojo winning, neither do I see Elfen Lied or Gurren Lagann winning. Geass has an outside chance and so does Bleach (please for gods sake don’t let Bleach win) but really it comes down to a duel between Death note and Haruhi.

    Plus there aren’t many people who hated Endless Eight as much as you did. There are some that actually enjoyed it. I know, mad isn’t it.

  8. 17 August 2009 at 7:39 am

    Interesting post. Though I have to say, Suzumiya Haruhi’s chance in the competition is not that high, at least if you are talking about anime fans in Japan. Sales number and popularity poles have proven this before. If you include casual fans in Japan, I’d say FMA first season, One Piece, and maybe Code Geas have the highest chance in this competition. If you combine people all over the world though, I have no idea ^^;;

  9. 17 August 2009 at 5:39 pm


    I was always under the impression that Haruhi was HUGE in Japan. I guess you learn something new everyday. That said, I’m more talking about English speaking fandom when I’m making my predictions

  10. 18 August 2009 at 7:40 pm

    TTGL is epic, no doubt about that. However, it is strictly shounen. Geass on the other hand, works both ways. Being mecha, it’s considered shounen though not entirely. Most of the time, Geass is shoujo to me. The character design was made by CLAMP after all. Easy put, Geass attracts a wider fanbase as compared to other stereotypic animes.

  11. 11 Magus
    21 August 2009 at 4:18 am

    I hate to be the bearer of good news here, but Monster has been licensed and a dub is going to air on Syfy in October with DVDs coming out in December. It’s not getting near top 10 no matter what happens, but with that considered, top 50 looks pretty attainable IMO.

  12. 21 August 2009 at 4:59 am


    Yeah I doubt TTGL will win either. Outside of Haruhi and Death Note, it certainly looks like Geass is the only other real contender for top spot.


    Thats a good point but remember how many anime there are out there. Since I’m mentally cutting this list down to a top 100, consider that over 200 series are released every year. You would think that the TV airing. would improve Monsters chances a lot but remember it’s a bit of a cult hit and there are a huge amount of popular anime I haven’t mentioned. But top 50 does look likely at this stage

  13. 17 November 2009 at 12:41 am

    There are only 2 animes from your selection that was my very faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavorite animes all! hora!! its CODE GEASS (I love LELOUCH sooooooooooo much) and of course THE ONE AND ONLY BLEACH!! ive been waiting for its ending which up to now hasn’t have the ending yet (in anime i guess) lol! thanks for posting the two!!xD

  14. 15 ShinnFlowen
    2 January 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I personally think alot of ppl gave up and never checked out alot of the series from the years 2004-6 that were pretty darn good.
    Higurashi no nako koroni (best horror) aka When They Cry, psycho teenagers killing one another in a small village is pretty freaky.
    Eureka Seven (good mecha + character development)
    Gintama or Seto no Hanayome (comedy)
    Bokura ga ita, shojo or shojou
    Dazzle had funny characters, just didn’t meet up with the manga
    Actual Predictions:
    Gundam seed
    Code Geass
    Full Metal Alchemist
    Seriously, I still cannot believe that so many ppl skipped higurashi no naku koroni

  15. 16 Loki
    21 January 2010 at 10:58 am

    Hey guys I’m going to throw some controversy at you with a few titles that haven’t been mentioned yet that i think are going to take a number of places:

    Chrno Crusade
    True Tears
    Fate Stay Night
    Macross Frontier (definetly a mention for music)
    Phantom Requiem for the phantom
    Hikaru no go
    Spice and wolf
    Cassern sins

    All of which fall into the last decade, and all of which cause their own stirs. There is an especially big following for Hikaru no go, and I can’t say I have seen any anime with more custom videos on youtube than Chrno Crusade.

    True Tears caused a stir, but i think it might have been over shadowed by a number of the other ones that followed in its wake (which I have yet to see…)

    As far ass official awards, cassern sins was very artistic and held a very interesting underlying message, so props for environmentalists/anyone who just connected with it, it had a new outlook.

    Spice and wolf also had a new outlook with the way it did things, and Its newer so is fresher in peoples minds.

    The other two just fall from my list of favorites and I will be dissapointed not seeing them on the top 50, that being said……realistically I’m thinking hikaru no go and Chrno Crusade

    –Thats my vote 😀

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