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Anime of the decade: Prologue

More information about the video, YouTube version (may not be available everywhere)

Ten years of anime. Somewhat fitting to pick the ten shows that personally rank as the best. This is a case of comparing apples to oranges, but some releases transcend their genre and, most of all, this is opinion rather than edict. One cannot of course have seen all that is released within the decade, some will slip through the cracks or just be ignored due to indifference, cynicism or underappreciation.

In the lead up to the new decade a ten article series, in descending numerical order and ranked wholly arbitrarily, will be posted at 20:00 GMT (15:00 EST, 12:00 PST) every day, culminating in the pick of the decade on the 31st December 2009.

Below is a short list harvested from the brilliant AniDB which, if you tweak the search settings correctly, you can peruse as well. To make the list the series, movie or OVA must have been released or started on or after January 1st 2000 and must have completed by 31st December 2009. This is why series such as Bleach and Book of Bantorra are not present.

Missed any big ones? Let fly in the comments.

2000

  • Boogiepop Phantom
  • One Piece (Movie)
  • Sakura Taisen
  • Love Hina
  • Furi Kuri
  • Nie Under 7
  • Jin-Roh (Movie)
  • Escaflowne (Movie)
  • Hand Maid May
  • Vandread
  • Gravitation
  • Argento Soma
  • Inuyasha
  • Blood the Last Vampire (Movie)

2001

  • Arjuna
  • Sister Princess
  • SoulTaker
  • Noir
  • Galaxy Angel
  • Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust (Movie)
  • Read or Die (OVA)
  • Metropolis (Movie)
  • Scryed
  • Fruits Basket
  • Sekai ni Senki II
  • Happy Lesson (OVA)
  • Cowboy Bebop Movie
  • Final Fantasy Unlimited
  • X (Series)
  • Vandread Second Stage
  • Mahoromatic
  • Hikaru no Go
  • Hellsing
  • Groove Adventure Rave

2002

  • Fullmetal Panic
  • Onegai Teacher
  • Aquarian Age
  • RahXephon
  • Kanon
  • Hoshi no Koe - Voices of a Distant Star
  • Rockman.EXE
  • Rizelmine
  • Tokyo Underground
  • Full moon o sagashite
  • .hack//SIGN
  • Chobits
  • Azumanga Daioh
  • Ai Yori Aoshi
  • Gate Keepers 21
  • Armitage III (Movie)
  • Witch Hunter Robin
  • Saikano
  • UFO Princess Valkyrie
  • Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte
  • Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex
  • Gundam SEED
  • Kiddy Grade
  • Haibane Renmei
  • Green Green (OVA)
  • Macross Zero

2003

  • Stratos 4
  • Mouse
  • Wolf's Rain
  • Licensed by Royal
  • Hand Maid Mai
  • Gunparade March
  • Air Master
  • D.N. Angel
  • Kaleido Star
  • Stellvia of the Universe
  • Narue no Sekai
  • Dear Boys
  • Last Exile
  • Scrapped Princess
  • Gad Guard
  • Texhnolyze
  • Divergence Eve
  • Green Green (TV Series)
  • Onegai Twins
  • Wonderful Days (Movie)
  • Ikkitousen
  • Fullmetal Panic Fumoffu
  • Tokyo Godfathers (Movie)
  • Read or Die (TV Series)
  • Full Metal Alchemist
  • Planetes
  • Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
  • Gungrave
  • Peace Maker Kurogane
  • Gunslinger Girl
  • Gilgamesh
  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi
  • Chrno Crusade

2004

  • Ghost in the Shell Standalone Complex 2nd GIG
  • Mezzo DSA
  • Dead Leaves
  • Burn up Scramble
  • Gravion Zwei
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
  • Tenjou Tenge
  • Paranoia Agent
  • Midori no Hibi
  • MADLAX
  • Bakuretsu Tenshi
  • Monster
  • Godannar (2nd Season?)
  • Ragnarok
  • Gantz
  • Lime Iro Senkitan
  • Samurai Champloo
  • Samurai 7
  • Kurau Phantom Memory
  • Maria-sama ga Miteru
  • Soukyuu no Fafner
  • Girls Bravo
  • Otogisoushi
  • DearS
  • Steamboy (Movie)
  • Re: Cutie Honey
  • Elfen Lied
  • Mai-HiME
  • Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
  • Gunbuster 2 (Top o Nerae! 2)
  • Bleach
  • Fantastic Children
  • School Rumble
  • Futakoi
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase
  • Gankutsuou
  • Sunabouzu
  • Beck
  • Gundam SEED Destiny
  • Genshiken
  • Grenadier
  • Kujibiki Unbalance (OVA)

2005

  • Jinki:Extend
  • Negima!
  • Xenosaga
  • Ah Megami-sama
  • Air
  • Karas
  • Sousei no Aquarion
  • Ichigo 100%
  • Futakoi Alternative
  • Loveless
  • Speed Grapher
  • Tsubasa Chronicle
  • Eureka Seven
  • Honey and Clover
  • Trinity Blood
  • Kamichu!
  • Gun x Sword
  • Shuffle!
  • Fullmetal Panic! TSR
  • Ichigo Mashimaro
  • Full Metal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shambala (Movie)
  • Guyver
  • Gunparade Orchestra
  • Jigoku Shoujo (Hell Girl)
  • Aria
  • Shakugan no Shana
  • Black Cat
  • Mai-Otome
  • Solty Rei
  • Blood+
  • Noein
  • Paradise Kiss
  • Mushishi
  • Karin (Chibi Vampire)

2006

  • Fate/Stay Night
  • Ergo Proxy
  • Papillion Rose
  • Soul Link
  • School Rumble (Series 2)
  • The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi
  • Simoun
  • Strawberry Panic
  • Utawarerumono
  • Air Gear
  • Higurashi no naku Koro ni
  • Disgaea
  • Nana
  • Ouran Kokou Host Club
  • Princess Princess
  • Witchblade
  • Zegapain
  • Ah! Megami-sama (new TV series)
  • xxxHOLiC
  • Black Lagoon (+ Second Barrage)
  • The Third: Girl with the Blue Eye
  • Zero no Tsukaima
  • Welcome to the NHK
  • The Girl who Leapt Through Time (Movie)
  • Innocent Venus
  • Kemonozume
  • Stratos 4 Advance
  • Aim for the top 2 (Diebuster! Movie)
  • D.Gray-man
  • Pumpkin Scissors
  • Death Note
  • Ghost Hunt
  • Negima?!
  • Red Garden
  • 009-1
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
  • Kanon
  • Kujibiki Unbalance (TV series)
  • Mai-Otome Zwei (OVA)
  • Paprika (Movie)
  • Genshiken (OVA)

2007

2008

  • Rosario to Vampire
  • Persona: Trinity Soul
  • Shigofumi
  • Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
  • Minami-ke Okawari
  • Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino
  • School Days: Valentine Days (OVA)
  • Mai-Otome 0: S.ifr
  • Kite Liberator
  • Kurenai
  • To Love-Ru
  • Kanokon
  • Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
  • Soul Eater
  • Vampire Knight
  • RD Real Drive
  • Kaiba
  • Toshokan Sensou
  • Golgo 13
  • Ultraviolet: Code 044
  • Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora
  • Slayers: Revolution
  • Strike Witches (TV Series)
  • Tetsuwan Birdy Decode
  • Zero no Tsukaima: Princess no Rondo
  • Koihime Musou
  • School Rumble (Series 3)
  • The Sky Crawlers (Movie)
  • Detroit Metal City (OVA)
  • Lucky Star OVA
  • Shikabane Hime: Aka
  • Toradora!
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Kannagi
  • Kurogane no Linebarrels
  • Gundam 00 (Series 2)
  • Toaru Majutsu no Index
  • Ga-Rei: Zero
  • ef - a tale of melodies
  • Chaos;Head
  • Genius Party Beyond (Movie)
  • Michiko to Hatchin
  • Goku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
  • Biohazard: Degeneration (Movie)
  • Maria Holic
  • Bounen no Xamdou

2009

About the video

The video was made using entirely free software including: Eclipse and PHP for scripting, AviSynth for video construction, Audacity for audio editing, VirtualDub for video editing and meGUI for encoding (x264 and FAAC). The construction took place on-and-off over a number of evenings spanning almost three weeks and consisted of procuring the images, sorting the accompanying data, constructing the video, choosing music to go with each year, sequencing all of the images into yearly videos, dubbing each year, splicing together including title cards and finally, encoding.

Grabbing the images was first and was accomplished through sheer chance while navigating the AniDB wiki which links to a RAR file containing most of the images from the site. For the intended purpose this was good enough and missing a few images wasn't of paramount importance. The next step was grabbing and sequencing the images from the archive into a usable format.

The pages which contained all of the anime of the decade (sixty three pages in total) were downloaded and then parsed using a PHP script to obtain the AniDB ID, year and title; the script also renamed the files with a four digit sequence number, e.g.: "1453 - 4932 - 2007 - Gekijouban Kara no Kyoukai_ The Garden of Sinners [movie].jpg". The result was a collection of images for the decade in the sequence they were aired according to AniDB. The next stage was to create images suitable for the video which included the left edge title. This involved another script which, after some tweaking of the letter counts and positioning, parsed all of the newly renamed images from the previous script and created a sequence of PNGs. The script resized some images to fit which caused some slight consternation as distortions are hard to spot when the majority of images are smaller than the target canvas.

With a folder full of video-ready graphics the next step was the AviSynth scripts to generate the video. The script template used the ImageSource function to load all of the images in at thirty frames per second and then an AssumeFPS command to drop it down to three frames per second. This rate was chosen at it struck the right balance between speed and keeping the entire video / decade under ten minutes. This template created a series of ten AviSynth movies, one for each year. From those, music was chosen from a release of that year:

The tracks are not necessarily representative of the year or of particularly good songs (with exception) however they all have a quickened tempo which makes the fact one is simply watching flashing images for ten minutes a little more engaging. With music chosen it was then dubbed to the individual videos which were then truncated to their correct length as otherwise AviSynth would artificially lengthen a video to match the audio length. Each of the videos was loaded into VirtualDub and saved into an uncompressed AVI. These were then loaded back into VirtualDub as one full AVI and saved down again as an uncompressed AVI. The full audio track from that video was exported and loaded into Audacity where upon some of the song introductions were tightened up as well as fades added to the ends; the result was saved as WAV file.

The encoding process is well tested, there is no need to mess around with VP6 as modern Flash implementations can play true MPEG4 files so h264 and AAC audio isn't a problem. The video is kept at three frames per second which meant encoding was blissfully quick. Unfortunately the bitrate had to remain high as the video is essentially three keyframes per second for almost ten minutes so it is necessary to maintain the fidelity of the images and text.

Encoded and uploaded, the last task was to construct a splash image. Another quick PHP script resulted in a collage which provides an eyecatching lead image. The end result manages to squeeze over 1500 series onto the splash screen which is less than the full total but identification is impossible and it's more for the effect than the detail. Due to the final size of the individual images, the script did not need to worry about image ratios or other complex calculations which could well have resulted in the Knapsack problem otherwise.

... What?

Responses to “Anime of the decade: Prologue”

  1. Japan Cinema

    Awesome site, I am glad I stumbled upon it. I have compiled my top 10 anime films of the decade. So far I am enjoying your list, hopefully you'll find time to check mine out :)

    http://japancinema.net/2009/12/16/top-10-anime-films-of-the-decade-2000-2009/

    Reply to Japan Cinema

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