Sorry, movies and manga are exempt. This list is for shows only.
I have a number of critically acclaimed series in the on deck circle, so this list may change rapidly. Among those are Gurren Laggan, Darker than Black, Blade of the Immortal, Baccano, and Hetalia.
10. Yu Yu Hakusho
This is one of the shows that I credit for getting me in to anime. It is also probably the singular reason why I didn't develop a hate for dubs. Justin Cooks performance, in retrospect, singlehandedly made this show worthwhile. After trying to watch subs of this show I realized that without the Yusuke that Cook developed, Hakusho was just an exceedingly average shonen property. So thank you Justin Cook. (He also does a great job in the number one on this list)
9. Gundam Seed
Freedom = Best gundam ever
Just ignore the whiny bitch that was Shinn in Gundam Seed Destiny. Gundam Seed was a perfect modernization of the original Gundam, containing both emotional complexity and fun, if not great mech fights.
8. Cowboy Bebop
Ed for President
I'm well aware that Bebop would be on the very top of most peoples lists, and there is little question that it is a stepping stone in the medium. I didn't enjoy it as much as some of the other shows on this list, but that takes nothing away from what an achivement this show was, especially in its heyday.
7. Gundam 08th MS Team
Short and sweet. Well, by short I mean dozens of meters tall
This is the first gundam that I watched after the awesomeness that was Gundam Wing, and I was struck by the more serious tone and setting. It really showed me that anime could be more than just tournaments and energy attacks. I didnt realize until recently that I hadn't actually seen the end of the show, and proceeded to fix that. The ending was a little cliche, but that doesnt take away from the overall experience.
As a shonen property, you could do much worse
Please dont hate me for including Bleach. I've been following (and loving) it ever since I saw the first preview in the american Shonen Jump, and the huge cast of characters seems like it was tailor built for me. There are few characters that I dont like, and soooo many that I love (as evidenced by my favorite characters list
). The action is top notch, even if the animation isnt (the quality can be very sketchy). Besides all that, every once in a while the show has a good story, as exemplified by the betrayal of he who must not be named. But in the end, Bleach is all about the action and the characters.
Finally, I'll own the series in a week or two
Trigun exemplifies what I look for in an Anime. A show focused on action, but with a good dose of humor thrown in, is a show on the fast track to my heart. The funnies may be laid on too thick for some people, but in my opinion, Vash has the perfect mix of nuttiness and awesomeness for a lead role. Its worth mentioning that he pretty much single-handedly carries this show, as there aren't a lot of recurring characters and the story, while interesting, isnt deep enough to justify the series.
4. Fullmetal Alchemist
Also short (lol) and sweet
What hasn't been said about FMA? A cast of loveable characters, a mature storyline, high level animation, and a number of high level themes running throughout made this series a revolution in anime fandom a few years ago. The hoopala surrounding this show was bigger than any new series since FLCL, and the people involved (especially Vic Monaga) still garner huge lines and crowds at anime conventions. The new series follows the manga on which this series was based on more closely, but it will be interesting to see whether it can match the quality or fandom of the first edition. Also, HUUUGHESSSSSSSSS!!!!!
3. Fate Stay Night
No, I haven't played the source material. Yet.
Looking back, I'm not sure why I love this one so much. The characters are good, but other than the few leads, none of them are fleshed out very much. The fights are great, but there aren't all that many of them. It looks very good (thank you Type Moon), but while I like nice visuals as much as anyone, it never makes a show good by itself. The best I can figure is that it's all thanks to the end. I wont spoil it for anyone, but it is a heartbreaker, or at least it was for me.
2. Great Teacher Onizuka
I have a new idol
I just watched this one this past week, and It was a ton of fun despite the outdated visuals. The audience for the series is treated to a maturation of a man through teaching his students and helping them solve their various problems. The students and staff dont make it easy for him and his unusual methods, but this former delinquent knows how to reach students who have lost trust in teachers. top notch character development combined with first class humor and the occasional suspenseful scene make this an instant favorite.
1. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Yes, his performance is better than Haruhis
Maybe it's just my love for alternative music that makes me gush over this anime, but I see Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad as an achivement not just as an animation, but as a TV show in general. Throughout my viewing session (singular, because once I started watching it I couldn't stop), the cast constantly had me feeling a number of emotions, and I'd often come out of a scene realizing that I either had a great big smile or clinically depressed frown on my face. I nearly cried when Yukio spent months getting his borrowed guitar repaired, only for it to be destroyed again. I felt his pain when he went on stage and was betrayed by a rival. Between all of that, I laughed at Chiba's antics, and smiled when Yukio and Maho had their pool scene. The dub performance is extrordinary, with a number of characters played even better in the dub than in the sub (remember me talking about Justin Cook earlier? He plays the goofy grunge rocker Chiba, and excels). The music is so good that I have every track on my Ipod and listen to them regularly. On top of all of this, the story progression, character development, and ending, for lack of a better word, rock. There is no bad aspect to Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad.
By the way, This Ugly Yet Beautiful World is the worst money that I ever spent.