List: My Favorite Anime From the 2000s

I’ve already made a list of my five favorite anime from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a list of my five favorite anime from the 1990s. So now I’m going to follow it up with this list, which is my five favorite anime from the 2000s (2000-2009). What’s very interesting to me about this particular era is the fact that I began writing about anime for BellaOnline in September 2007, so near the end of this particular decade is when I started seriously delving into anime. At the time this list is posted, I will have written about anime on the Internet in some way, shape, or form for a little over 11 years. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long already!

But, like I do with my lists, it will be presented in alphabetical order, rather than being  a Top 5 list.

Fruits Basket

This is one of the earliest anime series I delved into when I first started writing for BellaOnline, and it’s also the first shojo anime that I watched and reviewed for the site. Having Fruits Basket as the first shojo anime I truly paid attention to, it set the bar pretty high for me when I review shojo anime. The only drawback to this series is the fact that the manga was still ongoing when the anime was in production, so the story of the anime doesn’t truly end. The ending of the manga was much more satisfying.

For those who don’t know about Fruits Basket, the series focuses on a high school girl named Tohru Honda. She’s orphaned after her mother is killed in a car accident, and she went to live with her grandfather. But when her grandfather’s house needed to be remodeled, Tohru ends up living in a tent in the woods. Unknowingly, she is camping out on property near the home of one of her classmates, Yuki Sohma. Yuki and his cousin, Shigure, offer Tohru a place to stay in exchange for cooking and housework. And when Kyo Sohma appears the house, things get a little crazier, especially after Tohru discovers that the Sohmas have a secret. 13 members of the Sohma family are possessed by the 12 animal spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, as well as the spirit of the cat that was left out of the Zodiac. The members of the Sohma family that are possessed by the curse transform into animals when they are hugged by a member of the opposite gender, are under a great amount of stress, or are weak in any way. Tohru promises to keep the family’s secret, and she is allowed to keep her memories instead of having them hypnotically erasing them.

Inuyasha

Inuyasha is another anime series that I started delving into during my early days at BellaOnline. It was also the first anime adaptation of a Rumiko Takahashi manga that I had watched. The setting of feudal Japan fascinated me, and the relationship that develops between Kagome and Inuyasha, as well as Miroku and Sango’s relationship, was interesting to follow. When I first saw Inuyasha, it was before Inuyasha: The Final Act had been created and aired, so the ending for the original anime was a little disappointing. But with the follow-up series, I appreciated how all the loose ends were tied up, and that audience got an actual conclusion for the story.

Kagome’s jumping between our world and feudal Japan made for interesting plot situations, especially since Kagome would end up missing a lot in school. It got even better, of course, when Inuyasha found a way to come into the modern world. Trying to hide his ears in our world made for some good humor.

There was also a strong villain in Naraku, and the resurrected Kikyo also became quite the obstacle for Inuyasha and Kagome. Honestly, I thought a lot of the characters were wonderful, and I’m glad that the anime version of their story got the conclusion that it deserved.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

If you asked me a few years back if I would have ever considered this title to be among my favorite anime from the 2000s, my answer would have probably have been “no.” For my first exposure to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, I was stuck having to watch it in the original broadcast order for the first series, and then later seeing the second series. With viewing order, a lot of the story wasn’t in chronological order, so it made it hard to follow. When I was able to watch the series again after FUNimation put out their release of it, I was able to see it in chronological order. Being able to see it in the proper chronological order, I realized that the anime was a lot better than I had initially given it credit for. Unfortunately, I have to dock a few points from this series due to the Endless Eight arc.

Outside of Endless Eight, the story of Haruhi Suzumiya and her interest in aliens, espers, and time travelers is actually rather fun to watch. And Kyon as the “straight man” is just perfect.

Millennium Actress

This film by Satoshi Kon uses the same idea of psychological storytelling as his other works, but it’s not in the same blurring of fantasy and reality as Perfect Blue and Paprika. Millennium Actress instead focuses on a blurring between memory and reality. The execution of the story is very well-done, although there are a lot of layers to the storytelling, and you really have to watch it more than once in order to pick up on details that you may have missed the first time you watch it.

The story of the film is done in the style of a “play within a play.” Genya Tachibana is working on a documentary about a famous actress named Chiyoko Fujiwara, an elderly actress who has withdrawn from public life. As Genya talks with Chiyoko, we see the story of her life from her teenage years to being a middle aged superstar; the flashbacks that appear are interspersed with segments from Chiyoko’s films. While Chiyoko’s life takes place surrounding World War II, the characters in her films span from the Sengoku period to a futuristic space age.

One of the big elements of the story has to do with a dissident artist that Chiyoko helped to escape from the military; she became attracted to him, but he had to flee. However, he left behind a key to his suitcase, and Chiyoko wants to find him. She initially became an actress in order to have the opportunities to travel and try to find him.

Noein: To Your Other Self

Noein: To Your Other Self is another anime that I was first exposed to early on at my time writing about anime for BellaOnline. The sci-fi angle really grabbed me, especially the exploration of the concept of parallel universes.

The series takes place 15 years in the future, where a violent battle is taking place between two “timespaces”: La’cryma and Shangri’la. La’cryma is a possible future of our own universe, which is 15 years in the future from where the main characters of the series are. In this timespace, all beings have been transformed into quantum beings at a macro level due to an incident that occurred in the past. There is a group in this timespace known as the Dragon Knights, who protect La’cryma from Shangri’la and enter into other timespaces to find the Dragon Torque. It is believed that the Dragon Torque is the key to stopping Shangri’la’s invasion. Shangri’la is a dimension that is intent on the destruction of all space and time. This timespace was created by a being known as Noein.

The main characters of the series live in present day Hakodate. At the beginning of the series, a 12-year-old girl named Haruka Kaminogi and her friend Yu Goto are about to run away from home. Before they can leave, they meet Karasu, a member of the Dragon Knights. Karasu believes that Haruka is the Dragon Torque, and it appears that Karasu is Yu from 15 years in the future. The series follows Haruka, Yu, and their friends as they find themselves getting mixed up in the battle between La’cryma and Shangri’la.

Not only did the parallel universe concept intrigue me, but I also really came to care about Haruka, Yu, and their friends. Not only was I interested in the present day characters, I was also interested in their parallel universe counterparts and seeing how they differed from each other.

Crunchyroll Adds Five More Anime Titles to Its Streaming Catalog

Crunchyroll has announced that the site has added the five following anime titles to its streaming catalog:

  • Ouran High School Host Club – available to Crunchyroll members in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
  • Noein – to your other self – available to Crunchyroll members in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
  • Yū Yū Hakusho – the first 28 episodes are available to Crunchyroll members in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Crunchyroll will release more episodes at a later date.
  • The Galaxy Railways – available to Crunchyroll members in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V – Crunchyroll first streamed the first 40 episodes of the series in November 2016. The site plans to add 4-5 new episodes every week.

Source: ANN

FUNimation Licenses Speed Racer and Noein: To Your Other Self

FUNimation Entertainment announced at its Otakon panel that it has licensed Speed Racer, Noein: To Your Other Self, and Assassination Classroom season 2.

FUNimation will release Speed Racer (Mach Go Go Go) for the first time on Blu-ray and in Japanese with English subtitles. The set will also include the English audio. The collection will include episodes that have not yet been released in North America. The company has not yet announced a release window.

The 1967-68 car-racing anime Mach Go Go Go was licensed by Trans-Lux and released in the United States in 1967 as Speed Racer. The worldwide rights for the Speed Racer property reverted to Tatsunoko Production from American licensing company Speed Racer Enterprises (SRE) in 2011, though Tatsunoko filed lawsuits against SRE to uphold the reversion, and they were not dismissed until 2014.

Tatsunoko announced in May 2015 that it was planning a new license program to reintroduce the property and make the episodes available in high definition for the first time.

FUNimation will release Noein: To Your Other Self on Blu-ray for the first time in November 2015. The television anime debuted in 2005, and Manga Entertainment previously released the series on DVD.

The second television anime series based on Yusei Matsui’s Assassination Classroom will premiere in 2016. FUNimation streamed the first series as it aired in Japan.

Source: ANN

Anime CD Review: Solua – “Yoake no Ashioto”

“Yoake no Ashioto” by Solua is the ending theme song for Noein: To Your Other Self, and the full-length version of the song was released in Japan on a CD single on November 23, 2005. This four-track CD single contains two versions of “Yoake no Ashioto,” as well as two versions of a song called “Unmei no Boat”; however, “Unmei no Boat” is not used in Noein: To Your Other Self.

Yoake no Ashioto
Publisher: Lantis
Release Date: November 23, 2005

The first version of “Yoake no Ashioto” is the full-length version of the song, and not the edit that was included on the second Noein: To Your Other Self soundtrack CD that was released in Japan. There is also an instrumental version of the full-length version of “Yoake no Ashioto” included on this CD single.

I have to say that the full-length version of “Yoake no Ashioto” is stronger than the edit used as the ending theme music for Noein: To Your Other Self. The instrumental version isn’t bad, although the instrumental isn’t quite as strong as the instrumental of “Idea,” the opening song for Noein: To Your Other Self, that appears on the “Idea” CD single. If you have enough knowledge of Japanese and know “Yoake no Ashioto” rather well, then you could use the instrumental to perform a karaoke version of the song.

After listening to the single, I have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed with “Unmei no Boat.” While it isn’t necessarily a bad song, it’s a song that just didn’t stand out to me or grab me when I first listened to it. And since I wasn’t impressed by the actual song, the instrumental version didn’t do anything for me, either. However, if you like the song and know it well enough, the instrumental could be used to perform a karaoke version of “Unmei no Boat.”

The single for “Yoake no Ashioto” is not available for purchase in the United States. In order to obtain a copy of it, you will have to find a retailer who can import it from Japan for you. Your best bet would be to go through an online retailer that specializes in importing music from Japan.

If you like the ending song for Noein: To Your Other Self, then I would recommend importing this CD in order to acquire the full-length version of “Yoake no Ashioto.” While the TV edit isn’t bad, I think the full-length version of “Yoake no Ashioto” is a stronger version of the song. This would be a good addition to an anime music CD library, especially for fans of Noein: To Your Other Self.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of the “Yoake no Ashioto” single that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

Anime CD Review: Eufonius – “Idea”

“Idea” by Eufonius is the opening theme song for Noein: To Your Other Self, and the full-length version of the song was released in Japan on a CD single on November 2, 2005. This four-track CD single contains two versions of “Idea,” as well as two versions of a song called “Eidos”; however, “Eidos” is not used in Noein: To Your Other Self.

Idea
Publisher: Lantis
Release Date: November 2, 2005

The first version of “Idea” is the full-length version of the song, and not the edit that was used for the opening song of Noein: To Your Other Self. The TV edit of “Idea” appears on the second Noein: To Your Other Self soundtrack CD that was released in Japan, instead of this full-length version.

There is also an instrumental version of the full-length version of “Idea” included on the CD single. This instrumental is actually rather nice, because the music is able to stand on its own without having the vocals layered on top of it. If you know enough Japanese to be able to sing along with “Idea,” then you could also use the instrumental version to perform a karaoke version of the song.

“Eidos” is much slower in tempo than “Idea” is. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad song, however, because “Eidos” is enjoyable to listen to. But the instrumental version of “Eidos” can be hard to listen to. “Eidos” is rather repetitive musically; without having the vocals layered on top to diminish the focus on the music, the repetitive nature of the instrumental is much more noticeable. Again, if you have enough familiarity with Japanese and with this song, the instrumental could be used to perform a karaoke version of “Eidos.”

The single for “Idea” is not available for purchase in the United States. In order to obtain a copy of it, you will have to find a retailer who can import it from Japan for you. Your best bet would be to go through an online retailer that specializes in importing music from Japan.

If you like the opening song for Noein: To Your Other Self, then I would highly recommend importing this CD single in order to acquire the full-length version of the song. While the TV edit isn’t bad, I think the full-length version of “Idea” is a stronger track. For fans of Noein: To Your Other Self, this would be a good addition to an anime music CD library.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of the “Idea” single that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

Anime Soundtrack Review: Noein Original Soundtrack 2

Noein Original Soundtrack 2 was a soundtrack released in Japan in 2006 for the Noein: To Your Other Self television anime series. This disc contains 20 tracks; the first 18 songs are orchestral background music, while the final two tracks on the CD are the songs from the opening and closing credits. The orchestral score pieces included on these CDs are in the same league as the orchestral film scores done by such composers as John Williams. And, if I’m not mistaken, the orchestral songs on the discs are arranged in the order that they appear in the series.

Noein Orignal Soundtrack 2
Publisher: Lantis
Release Date: March 24, 2006

Several of the orchestral pieces on this disc almost sound as if they were inspired by Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. And some of the background music used in the scenes that take place in modern day Hakodate sounds as if it were inspired by Irish music; this is especially true for “Boukyou,” the opening song on this disc.

The music on this soundtrack may have been composed to be background music for the series, but many of the songs are enjoyable to listen to in their own right. I can put this CD on while I’m doing housework, and the music doesn’t simply get lost in the background as I work. Some of the songs grab my attention, even if I’m focusing on doing something else, and I have to stop what I’m doing and listen to the music. I honestly can’t say that about many other film and television score CDs.

Unfortunately, this soundtrack was only released in Japan, and no soundtrack for Noein has been released in the United States. I had to import this disc from Japan, and was fortunate enough to find a website that could still acquire it. If you enjoy the music from Noein: To Your Other Self and want to track down this CD, then I would highly recommend finding an online store that can help you import it.

Since there’s very little in the way of tracklist information for this CD that’s available online, I’m including the tracklist below:

  1. Boukyou
  2. Rakurima no Nichijou
  3. Mirai no Haruka
  4. Kinpaku no Bolero
  5. Shangri-La Futatabi
  6. Tatakai no Korateraru
  7. Shangri-La Kumikyoku
  8. Mysterious
  9. Jikuu no Hazama
  10. Karasu no Theme 2
  11. Yuu no Theme 2
  12. Itsumo no Fuukei
  13. Noein no Nozomi
  14. Yuu no Kanashimi
  15. Jikuu Senshi no Shukumei
  16. Kodomo Tachi mo Mirai
  17. Tomodachi mo Koto
  18. Mirai he no Jokyoku
  19. Idea (TV Size)
  20. Yoake no Ashioto (TV Size)

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Noein Original Soundtrack 2 that my husband and I purchased.

Anime Soundtrack Review: Noein Original Soundtrack 1

Noein Original Soundtrack 1 was a soundtrack released in Japan in 2006 for the Noein: To Your Other Self television anime series. This disc contains 23 tracks, all of which come from the orchestral background music for Noein: To Your Other Self. The orchestral score pieces included on this CD are in the same league as the orchestral film scores done by such composers as John Williams. And, if I’m not mistaken, the orchestral songs on this disc are arranged in the order that they appear in the series.

Noein Original Soundtrack 1
Publisher: Lantis
Release Date: January 12, 2006

On the first disc, you are instantly grabbed by “Shangri-La,” the opening song on the CD. This song, along with several of the other songs on this soundtrack, almost sound as if they were inspired by Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. And some of the background music used in the scenes that take place in modern day Hakodate sounds as if it were inspired by Irish music.

The music on this soundtrack for Noein: To Your Other Self may have been composed to be background music for the series, but many of the songs are enjoyable to listen to in their own right. I can put this CD on while I’m doing housework, and the music doesn’t simply get lost in the background as I work. Some of the songs grab my attention, even if I’m focusing on doing something else, and I have to stop what I’m doing and listen to the music. I honestly can’t say that about many other film and television score CDs.

Unfortunately, this soundtrack was only released in Japan, and no soundtrack for Noein has been released in the United States. I had to import this disc from Japan, and was fortunate enough to find a website that could still acquire it, since this CD was already “out of print.” If you enjoy the music from Noein: To Your Other Self and want to track down this CD, then I would highly recommend finding an online store that can help you import it.

Since there’s very little in the way of tracklist information for this CD that’s available online, I’m including the tracklist below:

  1. Shangri-La
  2. Kakute, Tatakau
  3. Haikyo no Chijou
  4. Lacrima, Chika Sekai
  5. Jikuu Teni
  6. Mirai no Haruka
  7. Karasu’s Theme
  8. Ryuukihei-tachi no Tatakai
  9. Haruka no Uchi
  10. Tomodachi to Tomoni
  11. Baron to Tono
  12. Yuu’s Theme
  13. Ai to Haruka
  14. Vision wo Miru Haruka
  15. Kodomo-tachi no Isakai
  16. Kodomo-tachi no Seikatsu
  17. Yuruyaka na Kanashimi
  18. Omoi
  19. Unmei to Kanashisa
  20. Kawaii Yaritori
  21. Hizashi no Naka de
  22. Unmei no Wadachi
  23. Lacrima Jikuu Kai

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Noein Original Soundtrack 1 that my husband and I purchased.