Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Best Anime Series of 2002

I'm really interested to look at 2002 because the year contains one of my favourite series (Azumanga Daioh) and the series that came out on top on the decade list I made (Haibane Renmei). I want to know how they actually rank against other series and am rooting that they do well! Below are a list of the top 10 series from this year based on the various Western source. I have also interested a few interesting findings from this research and an initial comparison with the 2ch list, which produce markedly different results.10. CHEEKY ANGEL ()

Average rating: 7.41 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 50

Director: Okuwaki Masaharu

Animation Studio: TMS

Watch if you like:, ,

One-Line Synopsis: Megumi-chan enters high school and is looking for a book to reverse a strange spell placed upon her


The humor brings to light the way teenagers actually struggle to define themselves as individuals, carve out their place in society, and come to terms with sexual orientation, gender roles and gender identity. More importantly A CHEEKY ANGEL DOES SO IN A WAY THAT IS LARGELY NON-JUDGMENTAL AND SURPRISINGLY INDIVIDUALISTIC for a society famously conformist.()

Source: , ,

My take: This is the one series in the top 10 that I have never heard of before8=. GETBACKERS ()

Average rating: 7.45 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 49

Director: Furuhashi Kazuhiro

Animation Studio: Studio DEEN

Watch if you like:,

One-Line Synopsis: Mido Ban and Amano Ginji lead lives as 'Get Backers, retrievers of with a success rate of anything with a success rate of 100%, and frequently get themselves into dangerous situations, often leading to unwanted re-encounter with old (and dangerous) friends


It's a pretty DECENT ANIME. It's very classic [with] a couple of big tournament-oriented plot arcs, quite a number of rescue arcs, bunches of mission-oriented one-shots stuffed between them, a beach episode, and a bunch of good and bad superheroes with inconsistent abilities, and lots of humour ()

Source: , ,8=. CHOBITS ()

Average rating: 7.45 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 26

Director: Asaka Morio

Animation Studio: Madhouse Studio

Watch if you like:, ,

One-Line Synopsis: Hideki Motosuwa, a prep school student, encounters a "Persocoms" that he named Chii and realizes she might be the fabled "Chobit", am advanced Persocom rumoured to have independent thoughts


Barring the formulaic structure, it seems to have no major flaws to speak of; after all, it has characters that are interesting, delivers some truly heart-warming moments, and looks very good. If you are looking for A ROMANCE WITH A MOSTLY-SWEET-SOMETIMES-SAD FEEL, then this one comes highly recommended. ()

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My take: I have actually heard more lukewarm responses to this series than positive ones. I imagine enough people love this series to push it this high.7. RAHXEPHON ()

Average rating: 7.58 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 26

Director: Izubuchi Yutaka

Animation Studio: BONES

Watch if you like:, , Melodramatic robot show

One-Line Synopsis: Ayato Kamina's world is turned upside down after an attack by the mysterious civilization "MU" and an encounter with a woman named Reika Mishima will lead Ayato to discover the truth about their existence, who he is and the powerful angelic robot RahXephon


From start to finish THIS SHOW IS RIDDLED WITH MYSTERY, ACTION, HUMOR, AND EMOTION. Do not do what I did and just write it off as an Evangelion clone because you'll miss out on an equally good series with a unique atmosphere.()

This is one of those series that is POWERFUL, INTELLECTUAL, AND BEAUTIFUL at the same time. In conclusion, RahXephon is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest anime ever, a sublime experience that is rivaled by very few existing titles. ()

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My take: I like this series though it's been ages since I have seen it.6. VANDREAD: THE SECOND STAGE (the second stage)

Average rating: 7.61 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 13

Director: Mori Takeshi

Animation Studio: Gonzo

Watch if you like:

One-Line Synopsis: The final test of Hibiki, Dita, Meia, Jura and their friends on the Nirvana draws near as the battle with their enemy's mothership approaches. (Anime Planet)


CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IS A KEy in Vandread, and it shows in all the characters through death and experienceVandread: the Second Stage is a worthy continuation to the first series and it wraps up most of the plot at the end. ()

The overall Vandread series, both half seasons taken together, is one of my favorite series ever, and one I rewatch a lot. The combination of ENGAGING CHARACTERS, A REALLY NASTY ENEMY I LOVE TO HATE, ACTION, COMEDY, cute girls, and triumph in the end is hard to top. ()

Source: , ,5. HELLSING ()

Average rating: 7.63 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 24

Director: Iida Umanosuke

Animation Studio: Gonzo

Watch if you like: ,

One-Line Synopsis: Two vampires employed by the Hellsing Organization, Alucard and Seras Victoria


If you're looking for an anime with GOOD ACTION SCENES, PLENTY OF BLOOD AND MORAL/SPIRITUAL REFERENCES here and there, then Hellsing is definitely a title you should not miss out. ()

the themes and plot may be too HORROR-ESQUE and choppy for some, butIt's a great movie to watch at a Halloween horror-anime fest (as I did), or if your in a good Vampiric mood()

Source: ,4. FULL METAL PANIC! ()

Average rating: 8.00 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 24

Director: Chigira Koichi

Animation Studio: Gonzo

Watch if you like: ,

One-Line Synopsis: Sousuke Sagara, a seventeen year old military specialist working for the secret organization MITHRIL, has been assigned to protect the latest "Whispered" candidate Kaname Chidori and has to deal with enemies from his past as well as the occasional panty thief. (MAL)


Though slow to start and a lot of information to absorb for anyone who hasn't already read the manga for this series, it's worth the learning curve to enjoy a fun show that does a good job of blending together two normally disparate anime genres (giant robot and high school drama) and manages to MAKE BOTH WORLDS ENJOYABLE.()

Everything clicks and it's definitely A CROWD PLEASER. It's packed with action, funny, charming, and addictingBy and large the show is everything a mecha fan dreams of.()

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My take: I like the series but did not think too much of it.3. HANADA SHONEN-SHI ()

Average rating: 8.15 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 25

Director:Ojima Masayuki

Animation Studio: Madhouse studios

Watch if you like: ,

One-Line Synopsis: After being hit by a truck and getting 9 stitches in the back of his head, Hanada Ichiro, the local troublemaker in a small village, becomes able to see ghosts, all of whom want him to fulfill their unfinished business. (ANN)


Hanada Shounen Shi is a sappy story, but I mean that in a good way. From the outside it might look like a kiddie show, and Ichiro can and WILL get on your nerves, but despite that it again and again proves that it can be a HEART-WARMING SERIES. ()

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My take: Surprised to see this series this high. I don't even recall knowing about this series much at all before compiling this list. The series is actually selected for the TOKYO ANIME AWARD in 2003 and is the only entry to be selected 'Best Entry' in the award's history.2. AZUMANGA DAIOH ()

Average rating: 8.16 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 26

Director: Nishikiori Hiroshi

Animation Studio: J.C. Staff

Watch if you like: ,

One-Line Synopsis: Azumanga Daioh is about high school life through the eyes of six girls with unusual personalities, including Chiyo (the 10-year-old genius), Osaka (the resident airhead), Sakaki (the shy one prone to cat bites), Tomo (the loose cannon), Yomi (the short-tempered one) and Kagura (the resident jock). (MyAnimeList)


I love everything about it and it stands as one of THE MOST CHARMING, HILARIOUS AND SENTIMENTAL SHOWS I have ever seen. If you are looking for an anime that marches to the beat of a different drummer, then this one is definitely up your alley.()

Azumanga Daioh is like nothing in anime that has come before it. While it is based on a four-panel gag manga, it tells an EXTENSIVE, SEAMLESS, AND VERY REALISTIC STORY WITH ENGAGING, LOVABLE CHARACTERS. It also doesn't wear out its welcome - it tells everything it wants to during the span of a 26-episode season. ()

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My take: One of my favourite series. When I need to smile, I can just replay a segment from this series. The characters are incredibly strong and unique. The jokes/gags are really funny. The soundtrack fits the series perfectly. I love to just pull out random episodes every once in a while to watch and relive the experience.1. HAIBANE RENMEI ()

Average rating: 8.17 (out of 10)

No. of episodes: 13

Director: Tokoro Tomakazu

Animation Studio: Radix

Watch if you like: , ,

One-Line Synopsis: Rakka is reborn as a Haibane, a charcoal-winged feather, and together with her new friends, is searching for the meaning of their existence in the process


Part fantasy, part coming-of-age story, and part religious allegory Haibane Renmei has just the right combination of magic and realism, and the visuals are beautiful to experience. With A LOVELY MUSICAL SCORE, CHARACTERS YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH, AND A STORY THAT BUILDS TO A MOVING CONCLUSION, Haibane Renmei is the best animated [series] I have seen. ()

Haibane Renmei truly is one of THE BEST SLICE-OF-LIFE SERIES I have ever seen! It first takes four episodes of building up, introducing its unique setting and its characters, and then it waltzes the viewer down with one of the most amazing storylines, perfectly fitted for 13 episodes. ()

There are very few shows as special as Haibane Renmei in the world. This is a work that I wish would break beyond the barriers of the animation world because it is TOUCHING AND PERSONAL, FAR BEYOND THE AVERAGE. ()

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My take: Very atmospheric and calming. Glad to see it on to of 2002 also because this is ranked as the top rated series of the decade from my blog meta-analysis list! I love the OST of this series to death. Given how underrated this series is, I would really check it out!The next five on the list are:

11: Petite Princess Yucie (7.36)

12=: Please Teacher (7.34)

12=: X TV (7.34)

14=: Legend of the Condor Hero (7.32)

14=: Kaze no Yojimbo (7.32)

Some thoughts on this year:

* The year is dominated by three series and these top three are separated by only 0.02 points

* Nearly half of the series are set in a school environment (Azumanga Daioh, Chobits, Cheeky Angel and FMP)

* As highly ranked as Hanada Shonen-Shi is in this list, (just below Haibane Renmei and Azumanga Daioh which are in the top 10 of my best of the decade list), I am most surprised by the fact that it did not even appear at all in my best-anime-of-the-decade list. Is it really that underrated or just a rating favourite

* As bad as Gonzo may have been down the years, they still have 3 series in the top 10 this year (FMP, Hellsing and Vandread), probably the first studio

Some thoughts across years:

* Only 4 series in this year have average rating above 8.00. This is significantly lower in comparison to 2007 (18), 2009 (27), 2010 (~10), 2011 (~12), 2012 (~8). Is the anime series in this year really that much worse or has the ratings been inflated in recent years? And I never realized how well rated series in 2009 are

* Still on the subject of rating comparison, if Haibane Renmei, the top anime in 2002, is compared to those from 2009, it would have been ranked 16th on that list and below the series such as One Outs and Tokyo magnitude 8.0. That is just weird to think about and makes me wonder whether the ratings are really comparable across years or that they get inflated over time

Comparison versus Japanese sources:

Taka raised a point in one of my previous post s that all of my sources are Western-based. So for this one, it would be interesting to compare my top 10 list to the top 10 from of the best series in 2002 (note that I am filtering out series that finish in 2003 (e.g. Overman, Twelve Kingdoms), which will be featured in my 2003 list)

01. Haibane Renmei (390 points) - Ranked #1 IN MY LIST

02. Tiny Snow Fairy Sugar (188 points) - Ranked #60

03. Azumanga Daioh (164 points) - Ranked #2

04. Kanon (138 points) - Ranked #22

05. Sister Princess: Re Pure (126 points) - Ranked #76

06. Figure17 (116 points) - Ranked 15

07. Galaxy Angel Z (97 points) - Ranked #21

08. Gravion (71 points) - Rank #65

09. UFO Princess Vakyrie (68 points) - Rank #62

10. Rizelmine (61 points) - Rank #80

Aside from Haibane Renmei and Azumanga Daioh, none of the other top 10 in my list makes an appearances. At least they got those two right:) It seems that the other series in the top 10 got on the list because of their moe-ness or harem appeal. I fully agree to anyone also who is suggesting that 2ch results should be taken with a big grain of salt since they have their own unique taste that probably is not the same as the general Japanese anime watchers. It's still fun to see how divergent their rankings are in most parts to the Western anime crowd.FINAL THOUGHTS

Apart from the top two, I am a little underwhelmed about this year. FMP and RahXephon are fun but nothing special. The rest have mixed reviews in general. I would also love to see a comprehensive comparison of this year against other years


Similar to the previous rankings I have done, the scores given to each series to compile this ranking are a weight average from the following set of sources:

- Ratings as given in MyAnimeList.net

- Ratings as given in Animenewsnetwork.com

- Ratings as given in AnimePlanet.com

- Ratings as given in AniDB.net

- Ratings as given in imdb.com

Review sites - Collections of different review sites, including ,, , , , ,
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