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Top 45 Anime Recommendations from the Last Decade (Part 1)

The first decade of the new century has past. It saw the anime industry boom and bust in the west and it was also the decade I started watching anime. I saw a lot of shows during that time but the quality was not the same as the shows I watched from the previous decade. It was a case of quantity over quality, a blight that continues to this day. However the decade still had its share of great shows, and perhaps a few brilliant ones too. Here is the first part of my top 45 anime recommendations from 2000-2010, in no particular order.

Date: 13-3-2010
Subject: Anime
Article By: Bradley Beeck

Air Gear Ė a group of middle school friends discover the thrills of the dangerous world of Air Trek riding. The characters have some attitude/immaturity and if youíre tired of school dramas itís a breath of fresh air. The sense of freedom with Air Treks is another factor. The soundtrack is also really awesome - funky & lively.

R.O.D ova Ė Yomiko Readmen has the ability to shape paper to her will. A sinister organization is resurrecting historical figures to serve their ends and Agent Paper herself is the only one who can stop them. Itís got crazy ideas but R.O.D is a cool and enjoyable show. Watch this first instead of the T.V series because itís not as good and Yomiko is not the main character.

Vandread Ė men and women have been living separately on different planets for generations. Following an accident during a battle some of them come to live together on the same space ship. Together they learn the truth of their existence. Vandread has some cool ideas but itís also just a fun show to watch. Read my full read in-depth review here.

Cross Game Ė on the face of it a series about baseball but itís really about the death of a sister and a girlfriend. A slice of life look at dealing with the loss of someone precious years down the track, and how they can still influence a life. It perhaps drags on for too long but Cross Game is a show with feeling and meaning. Something thatís not very common in anime these days.

Hoop Days Ė a dysfunctional highschool basketful team rises from the ashes after the arrival of a new player. What makes Hoop Days so fun to watch is the combination of romance and drama with the on court action. If youíve ever played basketball or have an interest in it I highly recommend this series. Read my read in-depth review here.

The Third: the Girl with the Blue Eye Ė centers around Honoka, the ďSword DancerĒ, a mercenary who takes on jobs in a desert wasteland with the aid of her Sand Tank. Itís hard to describe why The Third is a good show. Maybe itís the mixture of action and story, or maybe itís the well developed characters and world. Itís all good either way.

Spice & Wolf Ė Kraft Lawrence is a merchant trying to earn enough money to buy his own shop. Horo (or Holo) is a Wolf worshipped by local villagers as a god but wants to return to her home land. The two strike a deal; Horo will advise Lawrence on business while Lawrence takes her to her homeland. Spice & Wolf is one part economics and one part drama. What makes this show worth watching is the complex relationship between Horo and Lawrence.

Witch Hunter Robin Ė witches still exist in the modern world and are hunted by an organization of fellow witches. Itís a very slow paced show but the reward is a story that slowly unfolds in an interesting way. If you like the opening theme song youíll probably like the show as it captures the essence of it.

Vampire Knight Ė Yuuki Cross was attacked by a vampire but rescued by the Pure Blood Kaname. Zero Kiryuu is Yuukiís step brother and was also attacked by a vampire. The three of them attend a school with both vampires and humans. The show features an intense and dramatic story line that unfolds across two seasons. Itís one of the better shows to air in recent years.

Kaleido Star Ė a young girl called Sora joins the circus and works hard to master the ultimate trick, the Angels Maneuver. Kaleido Star is like an afternoon cartoon. Nothing terribly bad happens but itís none the less entertaining. Although itís got more depth than the average cartoon with an over arching plot and the characters facing challenges on the way to putting on a spectacular show.

Le Chevalier DíEon Ė DíEonís sisterís body was found floating down the river filled with mercury. Along with three companions, DíEonís quest for revenge leads him into the mystic world of the poets. Superbly animated Le Chevalier has a unique story that sprawls across old Europe and encompasses the entire series. The four central characters have their own agenda which means the show doesnít stick to a simple unchanging formula. Read my review here.

Special A Ė is a series mostly about the competition between Hikari Hanazono and Kei Takishima. Kei has a crush on Hikari but he hasnít told her, while Hikari views Kei as her eternal rival and is too much of block head to notice Keiís feelings. Both are members of the Special A class, the top members of their highschool. This series has a lot of charm and what begins as an over the top comedy becomes a more serious romance/drama.

Last Exile Ė Claus and Lavie dream of crossing the Grand Stream in their fatherís Vanship. Before they can achieve their dream they get caught up in the struggle against the Guild and the battle for the sky. Gorgeously animated Last Exile has a sense of adventure and although the storyline could do with more explaining it still manages to entertain. Read my read in-depth review here.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Ė Makoto discovers she has the ability to leap through time and correct her mistakes. However she soon learns her actions are having unintended consequences on the people around her. If thereís one area of anime thatís still going strong itís movies. Better than any of the Ghibli movies this decade The Girl Who Leapt Through Time emphasizes that point.

Ah My Goddess - Keiichi (K1) is a hapless college student until one day he makes a contract with a goddess, Belldandy. Sheíll stay by his side forever and the two, along with Belldandyís sisters, live together. Ah My Goddess is the quintessential romantic comedy. The group gets into comedic trouble and then through magic/understanding everything is returned to normal. The original manga is still going after 22 years, so thereís something about the formula that really works.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of my epic recommendations list covering a decade of anime.
Click here for Part 2.
Click here for Part 3.