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Best Anime Shows of the Decade - 2000 to 2009


Wow... another decade almost over. And what a decade it's been! We've seen a wide variety of new anime over the last ten years... some good, some bad, and some that was absolutely amazing! So, which anime titles blew us away in the 2000's? Here's my top picks for that list.

1. Afro Samurai

Featuring the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Afro Samurai is based on the graphic novel by Takashi Okazaki and tells the story of a lone samurai who wants some revenge for the death of his father. To get this revenge, he of course, must travel the lands, making both friends and enemies along the way.

Jackson co-produced the series and it is without a doubt, one of the best anime releases you'll find in this decade. Distributed by FUNimation, the series premiered on Spike TV in 2006 and hit your DVD shelves in 2007.

2. Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage

Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage is the on-going story of the Lagoon Company, a group of pirating mercenaries and the adventures they stumble onto along the way.

This anime series is a freaky and most definitely grisly collection so be warned: this is not for the faint of heart. That said, it's one of my favorites and has a knack for making you want "more".

Since "freaky" is not an official genre, you can classify this one as a psychological action thriller. Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage debuted in the U.S. in 2008 after making a run in Japan in 2006.

3. Death Note

Based upon the manga by writer Tsugumi Ohba and artist Takeshi Obata, Death Note is the story of a young student who finds a mystical notebook that gives him the power over life and death. Deciding to rid the world of some of its less-desirable elements, he begins using the book to "knock off" criminals. But it's not long before the infamous Detective L decides to track down the vigilante.

Death Note premiered in Japan in 2006 and ran for 37 episodes. It debuted on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim in late 2007.

4. Hellsing

Hellsing is the story of a group of vigilante vampires - the Hellsing Organization - and their target, Millennium, a mysterious Nazi organization that specializes in artificially creating vampires.

Created by Gonzo and rReleased in Japan in 2001, Hellsing didn't hit the States until much later - 2006.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist

Premiering in Japan in 2003 and then in the U.S. in late 2004, Fullmetal Alchemist is based on Hiromu Arakawa's manga of the same name and ran for 51 episodes.

The story of two brothers - Edward and Alphonse Elric - Fullmetal Alchemist takes us on a fantastic science fiction journey where we get to learn all about the principles of alchemy and see first hand what happen when you don't obey them.

6. Bleach

Based on the shonen manga series written by Tite Kubo, Bleach is the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a young boy who accidentally acquires the powers of a Soul Reaper. Similar to the more familiar "grim reaper", a Soul Reaper must assist souls to the afterlife but they have another responsibility as well - they must protect humans from bad spirits.

The anime series began airing in Japan in 2004. VIZ media acquired the North American rights and brought Bleach to the states in 2006 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block.
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7. Mushi Shi

Although not an edge-of-your-seat kind of story, Mushi-Shi makes my Anime of the Decade list because the stories are so original and more importantly, the animation is absolutely enchanting.

Unlike most anime shows, Mushi-Shi doesn't exactly have an on-going plot with the exception that our storyteller Ginko is a wanderer who can see the "mushi" - supernatural entities - and travels around trying to minimize the chaos they cause in the human world. But beyond that one little constant, each episode is a self-contained story, complete with beginning and end, something I find refreshing in the midst of so many stories that continue for 200+ episodes.

8. Gungrave

This supernatural thriller was adapted from the Gungrave video game and debuted in Japan in 2003. It was acquired by Geneon Entertainment and was part of the 2008 release deal with FUNimation.

The story of Brandon Heat and his vengeful life after death, Gungrave is grisly, gripping and gory, thus the rating of "M" for mature audiences.

9. Darker Than Black

This post-apocalyptic release debuted in Japan in 2007 and then hit the States via DVD in late 2008. The story of a futuristic Earth where, in addition to a strange electronic "distortion" in the atmosphere, there is also a new breed of "human" called contractors. These contractors have a number of different powers and abilities and are using them for an equal variety of reasons, some good and some, well.. not so good.

The anime series was created by Tensai Okamura and produced by Studio Bones - on an interesting side note, unlike most anime titles, the manga wasn't created until after the anime.

10. Naruto

Based upon the manga by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto is the story of a young, motivated ninja who learns that he is actually a vessel for a dark and evil force, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. This evil entity was captured by a village leader when Naruto was only a baby. The leader put the demon into baby Naruto and then died - the people of the village blame Naruto for this loss. Naruto sets out on a quest of self-discovery in the hopes of becoming the next village leader, called Hokage.

Naruto premiered in Japan in 2002 and then in the U.S. in 2005 via Cartoon Network's Toonami programming.

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