I've often thought that 2004 is the beginning of modern anime. How does my theory play out?
1. Naruto - Chuunin Exam arc ending + Akatsuki arc + Sasuke Runs Away Arc begins
2. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
3. Aishiteruze Baby
4. Bleach - beginning
5. Major S1 1st half
6. Maria-sama ga Miteru S1 + S2
7. Samurai Champloo
8. Futari wa Pretty Cure
9. Inuyasha S4
10. One Piece - Sky Island arc ends + Foxy Pirates arc begins
11. GITS 2nd Gig
12. Galaxy Angel S4
13. To Heart Remember my Memories
14. Hikaru no Go: North Star Cup ova
15. Tales of Phantasia ova
16. Macross Zero ovas
2004 is such a watershed year, even though it has the customary tiny number of shows that we've gotten used to, because it was the start of such enormous franchises. Bleach, Pretty Cure, Major, Maria-sama ga Miteru, and Nanoha will go on from here to dominate the rest of time. Pretty Cure, Major and Nanoha are still going strong!
We've gone so far back in time we actually bumped into ancient relics like Galaxy Angel and Inuyasha. Now things are heating up! Just what loch ness monsters will we find in 2003?
2004 was worse than 2005, which was already the worst year so far. But again, when you look at all the wonderful things that started germinating here, a lot is moving under the waves that will pay off later in time. 2004 may have made a greater contribution to the future quality of anime than it made to the present, but that should still count in the universal scale of things.