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Monday, June 6, 2011

Top 100 Anime Timeline:

Now that we have such a great data set, the top 100 Anime, it would be wise to analyze it and see what other conclusions we can reach. The first analysis is simple, when did these series come out? Is anime getting better or worse? More importantly, is it possible that anime, which has long been disregarded as an uninteresting niche product, has passed a critical threshold in quality in the recent past and become the greatest art form of all time? If this theory is correct, it means people who think they know all about anime and have already rejected its worth just haven't been paying enough attention to the changes going on in the industry. This isn't your parent's anime. This is a whole new entity that deserves a whole new evaluation. If almost all good anime has come out in just the past few years, then it stands to reason that momentum, and people's prejudices, have kept anime from receiving the recognition and popularity it deserves. If only everyone knew about the wonderful variety of new anime series of incredible worth that have just come out, the world could be revolutionized by anime's artistic merit.

It's easy to add a timeline to our previous rankings. This time we'll just put in parenthesis when these series or movies aired next to their names. If a series is still ongoing, I'll add a '+' sign at the end of the date. The beginning and end dates of the series do not imply that there were continuous releases between these dates, only that material began to be released at point x, and stopped being released at point y. If you see a series with an ending point before 2011, but still has a + sign, that means that the + part hasn't come out yet, so there still is a proper endpoint before 2011. If the + part had come out, the years would have been extended all the way to the present.

1. Clannad (2007-2009)
2. One Piece (1999-2011+)
3. Code Geass (2006-2009+)
4. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (2004-2010+)
5. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005)
6. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2009+)
7. K-On! (2009-2011+)
8. Naruto (2002-2011+)
9. Dragonball (1986-2011)
10. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010)
11. Kanon (2002-2007)
12. Pretty Cure (2004-2011+)
13. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009)
14. Fairy Tail (2009-2011+)
15. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2011)
16. Katanagatari (2010)
17. Angel Beats (2010)
18. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)
19. Da Capo (2003-2011+)
20. Kobato (2009-2010)
21. Vandread (2000-2001)
22. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2005)
23. Working! (2010+)
24. Toradora! (2008-2009)
25. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998)
26. Bakuman (2010-2011+)
27. The World God Only Knows (2010-2011+)
28. Sora no Woto (2010)
29. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001)
30. Ef (2007-2008)
31. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2009+)
32. Inuyasha (2000-2010)
33. Evangelion (1995-2009)
34. Basilisk (2005)
35. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
36. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006)
37. Saki (2009)
38. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003)
39. Ranma 1/2 (1989-1996)
40. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005)
41. Major (2004-2010)
42. Air (2005)
43. Sailor Moon (1992-1997)
44. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2001+)
45. Prince of Tennis (2001-2009+)
46. Hanasaku Iroha (2011+)
47. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2011)
48. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003)
49. Utawarerumono (2006)
50. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011)
51. Mononoke Hime (1997)
52. Summer Wars (2009)
53. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2011+)
54. Battle Athletes (1997-1998)
55. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011+)
56. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2008)
57. Berserk (1997-1998+)
58. Claymore (2007)
59. Bastard! (1992)
60. Amagami SS (2010-2011)
61. Valkyria Chronicles (2009+)
62. Akaneiro no Somaru Saka (2008-2009)
63. Negima! Magister Magi Negi (2004-2010+)
64. Macross Plus (1994-1995)
65. Read or Die (2001-2004)
66. Angelic Layer (2001)
67. Mahoromatic (2001-2009)
68. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2010+)
69. Bleach (2004-2011+)
70. Card Captor Sakura (1998-2000)
71. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998)
72. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
73. Break Blade (2010-2011+)
74. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009)
75. Alien Nine (2001-2002)
76. Fatal Fury (1992-1994)
77. Bakemonogatari (2009-2010+)
78. Iria: Zeiram the Animation (1994)
79. Guyver (1986-2006)
80. Sora no Manimani (2009)
81. Saber Marionette (1995-1999)
82. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2010+)
83. Gosick (2011+)
84. Macross Frontier (2008-2011)
85. Scrapped Princess (2003)
86. Lucky Star (2007-2008)
87. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2004)
88. Spirited Away (2001)
89. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
90. Azumanga Daioh (2002)
91. Kanokon (2008-2009)
92. To Heart (1999-2010)
93. Ninja Scroll (1993)
94. High School of the Dead (2010-2011)
95. Gunbuster (1988-2006)
96. RG Veda (1991-1992)
97. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998)
98. Akira (1988)
99. Moshidora (2011)
100. Soul Eater (2008-2009)

Next up, we need to do a little arithmetic. How many series in the top 100 come from the 80's?

Answer: 8

How many series in the top 100 come from the 90's?

Answer: 25

How many series in the top 100 come from the 2000's?

Answer: 82

(The answer is over 100 because some series span multiple decades)

Does anyone see a trend here? Because I do. The 90's produced 3 times as much good anime as the 80's. The 00's produced over three times as much good anime as the 90's. Does that mean the 'teens' are going to produce 3 times as much as the 00's?? Surely not. But the trend is apparent in any event, anime is getting much better as the years go by. To prove my point, let's break things down even further. Let's take the years 2000-2005 and compare them to 2006-2011, 6 years in both cases, and see who has more quality anime:

2000-2005: 36
2006-2011: 63

Almost twice as many good series in the past six years as in the six years before them. It isn't possible to maintain this exponential rate of growth, but the trend is beyond dispute.

What is the take-away lesson from our Top 100 anime timeline? Expect good things in the future. Next, don't judge an old art form by its oldest art. There has been tremendous progress and innovation within the anime industry. Old anime can't hold a candle to new anime. There are over ten times as many good series from the 00's than the 80's. There's nothing at all from the 70's or lower. If people had tried to watch anime five years ago and decided it sucked, they would have missed the fact that anime has gotten twice as good in just the past five years.

Until this progress is taken into account, prejudices against anime are irrational. People need to give the anime of today, the anime of the here and now, a new chance. It's an incredible art form which has far surpassed Hollywood or anything being done in the western world. While the best movies of Hollywood are buried deep in the past, the best animes came out just recently or are still coming out as we speak. Anime is the art of the future. Its simply the superior medium. It's also created by a superior culture full of superior artists who are running rings around the rest of the world with original content. The gap between anime and 'everything else' is only going to widen with each passing year. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

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