Thursday, January 03, 2008

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2007 Edition) :: Anime (Top 20) ::: #15 to #11

And now, #15 to #11...

15. Haibane Renmei
Format: TV (13 episodes)
Debut: October 9, 2002
End: December 18, 2002
Studio: Radix
Website: Japanese, English

Haibane Renmei was an early sensation of the decade, winning accolades for its story and great score.

Personal Note: While I haven’t seen this series, I have read enough reviews and fan responses to know that many hold a certain reverence for it, hence its spot on the list.

14. FLCL
Format: OVA (6 episodes)
Debut: April 26, 2000
End: March 16, 2001
Studios: GAINAX, Production I.G
Website: Japanese

The first anime of the decade from studios GAINAX and Production I.G, FLCL became a major hit (especially in North America) in 2000 and remains a top favorite years later. Its eccentric storyline, rambunctious style, superb production values, and now-legendary soundtrack, as well as its myriad of references, helped separate it from many other anime before it.

Personal Note: FLCL is remains a unique entry in the anime landscape. The OVA was especially instrumental in shaping GAINAX’s future, as its stylings would later show up in other well-regarded titles from the studio, such as Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, Aim for the Top 2! Diebuster, and Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, and it would also help propel its creator/director, Kazuya Tsurumaki, into prominence.

13. The Twelve Kingdoms
Format: TV (45 episodes)
Debut: April 9, 2002
End: March 11, 2003
Studio: Studio PIERROT
Website: Japanese, English

One of the most celebrated anime in any decade, The Twelve Kingdoms has been lauded by many critics and by the fans who have laid their eyes upon it, enraptured by its lush production and compelling story.

Personal Note: TK is another one of those title that has been high in the minds of those who have seen it—a somewhat small number of minds. Despite its acclaim, it has yet to catch on with a wider audience. Also, the final arc and the ending have been generally regarded as “weak.” However, none of that has truly dampen its impact or the enthusiasm for the series—or my wanting to see it.

12. Last Exile
Format: TV (26 episodes)
Debut: April 7, 2003
End: September 29, 2003
Studio: GONZO
Website: Japanese, English

GONZO’s 10th anniversary project became the studio’s biggest and most well-reviewed hit at the time (with perhaps a slight except in the earlier SaiKano). The series, which brought back a number of the staff members who contributed to its premiere work, Blue Submarine No. 6, presented a superb blend of the 2D/3D animation style that has been a trademark of many of their anime, as well as a unique and top-notch setting, story, and score.

Personal Note: Though GONZO has had its share of fans and detractors, many have agreed on the high merits of LE. Though it does not have the sort of fanbase that other popular series possess, it nonetheless has retained a sense of accomplishment from the studio. It has also been a major source of influence for them (as (#14) FLCL was for GAINAX), with aspects of it seen in a few of their latter shows, including Solty Rei and Trinity Blood.

11. Gungrave
Format: TV (26 episodes)
Debut: October 6, 2003
End: March 29, 2004
Studio: Madhouse
Website: Japanese, English

From the staff that worked on the hit anime adaptation of Trigun came Gungrave, a mixture of science fiction elements and mafia drama based on a PlayStation 2 video game. The anime version has since become a critical hit and regarded as one of the best in the past few years.

Personal Note: As far as video game-to-anime adaptations go, Gungrave is certainly a rarity as far as quality is concerned. It is perhaps the best of its kind, yet it is not limited to solely that. It is also one of the best mafia stories in any medium and one of the best anime, period. Managing to weave two totally different subject matters while trying to stay close to the plot of a video game is no small feat in of itself, but its staff still pulled it off and created a masterpiece, both in story and production. Its background and its first episode most likely alienated many from watching it, but those who have, like a few of the shows on this list, were rewarded well. It is my favorite show, next to two others, for a good reason… (this list, however, is still unbiased, and thus it is not comprised only of my opinion, which is why it is lower than I would personally have it otherwise)

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