Wednesday, January 28, 2009

:anime: Decade's Best…So Far (2008 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
Previous Spot: #15

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

Personal Note: While I still 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. Its age and style, unfortunately, may preclude it from a “license rescue” or re-release by FUNimation, as a number of Geneon’s titles were lost in limbo when the company went down in late 2007.

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

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 others and its influence can still be seen today.

Personal Note: FLCL is still 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 (purposefully, but erroneously, retitled as "Gunbuster 2" in North America), and Gurren Lagann, and it would also help propel its creator/director, Kazuya Tsurumaki, into prominence. While the company that released it in North America, Synch-Point, recently closed shop, it will most likely be more of a matter of "when" than "if" it will get picked up by another distributor.

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

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 dampened the enthusiasm of the series—or my wanting to see it. Perhaps if more people had seen it, in order to better gauge support, it would be switching places with #12...

12. Last Exile
Format: TV (26 episodes)
Debut: April 7, 2003
End: September 29, 2003
Studio: GONZO
Website: Japanese, English [1] [2]
Previous Spot: #12

GONZO’s 10th anniversary project became one of the studio’s biggest and most well reviewed hit at the time. The series, bringing 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 styles that have been a trademark of many of their anime, as well as a unique, 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 has nonetheless 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 [1] [2]
Previous Spot: #11

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 the staff still pulled it off and created a masterpiece, both in story and production, in the end. 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 one of my absolute favorite shows for a good reason. This list, however, is still unbiased, and thus is not comprised only of my opinion, which is why it is lower than I would otherwise have it)...

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