Okay, all. I know this is a little on the late side. But I figured since Anime Diet will be hosting my Director's Cut of these views, it felt only right to go ahead and share my personal top ten Anime TV series of the Zeroes! (2000 - 2009) Shockingly for me, this was actually a pretty tough list to create and come to terms with.. But I hope it reflects or reminds many of just how surprisingly diverse the last ten years were.

Again, those looking for a more in-the-trenches view of my choices, AD will be sharing them all within a few days. So Let's dive in hard shall we?

10. Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien

Ok. Now this one's bound to get me into some trouble. Perhaps because of various personal factors, this series has the distinction of not only transcending the visual novel that inspired it, but of being one of the most painful series I've ever had the pleasure of re-watching. Well-written, acted, and executed. KimiNozo is still an incredible surprise of delicate emotional power.



9. Victorian Romance Emma

Taking a page from the Sumitomo Seimei Seishun Anime Zenshū TV series of the 80s, we have one incredible little anomaly of a show. Another series that truly lost its audience this decade came from one of the more underappreciated manga works as the medium itself gathered steam unheard of on these shores. I miss Masterpiece Theater style anime, and Emma is that, and then some.



8. Azumanga Daioh!

Looking back at the decade for comedy, fewer anime series had the heart, intelligence, and re-watchability of this hysterical suckerpunch of an adaptation. Think every bit as observational as Peanuts, and a yen for the original like Calvin & Hobbes with a soothing bent only the Japanese could deliver. A true pick-me-up classic.



7. Dennou Coil

Who would have thought that giving the post-Pokemon subgenre a serious dose of science fiction would be so great? Mitsuo Iso and company take a pilfered concept, and deliver a charming & utterly exciting kids series. It's what if William Gibson pulled off a head-on collision with Isao Takahata at near tachyon speed. With all the surreal imagery DC brings to the table, it may seem strange that I somehow believed it all a great deal. This truly does feel almost inevitable. A wildly inventive and effective ride.



6. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan

If hyperbole has a name, it is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagaan. And when I say hyperbole, I mean it in the most literal meaning possible. GAINAX comes out of its Akiba-kei pandering stupor to deliver the mecha-action event of the decade. Ferocious in its love of the classics, this belongs right next to Top Wo Nerae! GUNBUSTER, the studio's original claim to fame.



5. The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya

Perhaps this was an inevitable consequence. We can say what we want about a modern age awash in a need for irony. But it is something else completely when the medium entire is turned inside out within the confines of a clever story. As much as one would want to ignore or chew out our central lead, there's no denying that ambitious weirdos are part of life's greater pleasures. All of us have known a Haruhi once or twice in our lifetimes. And very often, our lives are richer as a result. Geeky brilliance!



4. Paranoia Agent

At the end of the 90's, the mutual worlds of the international film community as well as the anime camp were knocked silly by the debut film by former Otomo collaborator, Satoshi Kon who's debut delivered a shellshock rarely seen. And yet his vision of a Tokyo plagued by the desperate as the walls of progress come closing in is a startling, thrilling masterpiece.


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

Upon first catching news that Production IG was hard at work in a television version of Masamune Shirow's classic, my first reactions were a mix of unadulterated joy and apprehension. In the early 2000s, could there possibly be any way to make such a rich, and complex universe work for tv? IG and Kamiyama deliver come second season where the first was merely a fun ride in complex exposition. As thrilling for the intellectual mind as it is for the senses.


2. Rahxephon

Initially, I had strong reservations regarding Yutaka Izibuchi's "edge-anime" take on the mecha drama. But one episode in, it became clear to me that beneath the trappings of the series was a clear-cut, visionary plan. Part Raideen, part Gundam, part Evangelion with a little extra Matrix for measure, and the rest sheer high anime art.


1.Haibane Renmei

Had to re-watch this over the week to make absolutely sure I wasn't lulling myself into a corner, and am happy to report that it wasn't all some kind of rosy-eyed nostalgia. Yoshitoshi aBe's return to anime post the thematically ambitious Serial Experiments Lain, and curiously funny brilliance that is Niea Under Seven, brings us a visionary half season punctuated by a vision and wisdom rarely witnessed in most visual media. Elegaic, emotionally devastating, and ultimately hopeful, Haibane Renmei is anime at its most expressive, and transcendent.