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The Best Anime For Every Year Between 2000 and 2020

It seems like anime is getting better and better with every passing year. With 2020 drawing to a close, we wanted to take a look at some of the amazing series that have come out since the turn of the century. We'll be looking at the best anime for each year from 2000 - 2020. There will be one winner, and one honorable mention.

From Inuyasha to Keep Your Hands Off Eizoken, the anime world has been serving up gems for the past two decades. With so many heavy hitters, there's a lot that will be left out, but the shows on the list are both beloved by fans and critically acclaimed. Hopefully, you'll see at least a few of your favorites.

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  • 1

    2000

    2000
    Photo: Sunrise

    Winner: Inuyasha

    Inuyasha is a timeless love story between a girl from modern Japan and a half-demon from the Sengoku Period. But it's not just a love story - it's also a battle shonen with awesome fights that kept fans coming back for more.

    Honorable Mention: Yu-Gi-Oh!

    Love it or hate it, Yu-Gi-Oh! was a cultural phenomenon. What other series can say it got people hyped about the outcome of a card game between a Pharoah in bondage gear and a teenage billionaire who owns a dragon-shaped fighter jet? 

  • 2

    2001

    Winner: Fruits Basket
     

    While the 2019 reboot offers a much better adaptation of this classic shojo series, there's too much competition in 2019, and the 2001 series is still pretty great. It tells the story of Tohru Honda, a pathologically kind young girl who gets involved with the cursed Sohma clan. Will she be able to make a difference in their painful lives?


    Honorable Mention: Digimon Tamers

    Digimon has always been mature for a kids' show, but Tamers takes it up a notch. From digital partners whose roles are in question to a villain who manipulates a traumatized children in order to complete its evil plan, this show is intense enough to satisfy adults while still being solidly a kids show. 

  • 3

    2002

    Winner: Naruto

    Naruto is one of the most popular anime in history, and for good reason. The first series focuses on the protagonist's first forays into the world of shinobi, while setting the stage for more complex storylines down the line. Some episodes are hilarious, which others are emotionally devastating.

    Honorable Mention: Ghost In The Shell: Standalone Complex

    Ghost In the Shell: Standalone Complex is one of those anime that even people who don't watch anime still love. In a world where humans can implant their consciousness into cyberspace, Motoko Kusanagi and the other members of Section 9 must deal with cyber crimes. 

  • 4

    2003

    Winner: Fullmetal Achemist

    Some people look down on the 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist - those poeple should give it a chance. While it isn't based on manga canon, this series does a great job developing the series themes and offers a compelling story about homunculi born from human transmutation. 

    Honorable Mention: Wolf's Rain

    In a world on the brink of collapse, only wolves can reach the promised land. Though assumed to be extinct, some wolves are still around, disguised as humans. They're trying to get to paradise by following the scent of the Lunar Flower, but they aren't the only ones trying - and their competition doesn't mean well. 

  • 5

    2004

    2004
    Photo: Madhouse

    Winner: Monster

    When renowned surgeon Dr. Tenma chooses to save a child instead of a politician, he puts his career at risk. At first, he thinks he did the right thing despite the personal consequences, but when that child grows up to be a murderer, he feels personally responsible and decides to stop him. This cat and mouse game will get your brain going while staying entertaining.

    Honorable Mention: Paranoia Agent

    A boy on roller skates has been attacking the citizens of Musashino City with a baseball bat. Detectives Keiichi Ikari and Mitsuhiro Maniwa hope to get to the bottom of the case, but the soon find out that nothing is what it seems. This series will twist your mind in the best way possible.

  • 6

    2005

    2005
    Photo: Artland

    Winner: Mushishi

    Mushi are strange life forms that can do anything from creating forests with no exit to granting the ability to make ones' drawings come to life. Ginko's job is to solve problems caused by mushi, and help humnakind live in harmony with them. This exquistely beautiful anime is both calming and thought-provoking, while never getting boring. 

    Honorable Mention: Eureka Seven

    Renton Thurston is an aimless teen who spends most of his days riding Trapar wave particles - basically, he's surfing in the air. Things change dramatically when Eureka, a member of the Gekkostate, comes to his family's mechanic shop get her Nirvash typeZERO robot repaired. Renton ends up becoming the Nirvash's co-pilot and joining the Gekkostate.