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Toons of the 2000s: Top 25 Animated Television Series Countdown #15-11

by on December 9, 2009

You are reading #15-11 of the Top 25 Animated Television Series Countdown
25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 5-1 | Go back to the Toons of the 2000s Intro.  



Dates: 2007-2009

MBS (Japan)

50 episodes

Directed by Seiji Mizushima

Starring (English dubbing): Brad Swaile, Alex Zahara, Richard Ian Cox, Samuel Vincent


In the future, a private force armed with Gundam mobile suits fights to put an end to war.

Why It Made The List

It sounds like a simple struggle between good and evil: a fight between idealists trying to end violence and unite humanity, and those who would provoke or fund war. But Mobile Suit Gundam 00 shows the conflict, and its consequences, from all sides. The Gundam pilots’ motivations are born from brutal personal tragedy. The opposing soldiers are mostly honorable and likable, and the civilians simply struggle to understand what’s happening.

Its thoughtfulness, and its awareness of the ambiguities on all sides, provoke the viewer into pondering its world—and by extension our world—more carefully. But 00 also triumphs as pure entertainment. Its plot and premise are given life by plenty of exciting, gorgeously animated giant robot battles that rivet the attention.


Dates: 2004-2005 (Japan), 2005-2006 (USA)

Fuji TV (Japan), Adult Swim [Cartoon Network] (USA)

26 episodes

Created by Shinichirō Watanabe

Starring (English dubbing): Steven Blum, Kirk Thornton, Kari Wahlgren


Three wanderers search for
the “Samurai That Smells of Sunflowers”. 

Why It Made The List

A thin plot becomes a flexible thread on which hangs a series of stories about three very endearing and memorable characters. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since Champloo is director Shinichiro Watanabe’s follow up to Cowboy Bebop, another series that featured strong characters.

And, as with Bebop, the action is thrilling, with minutely realized and perfectly detailed fight choreography that shows off each fighter’s distinctive style. It even improves on Bebop by showcasing more melee battles. The excitement is only abetted by a catchy hip-hop theme and the excellent use of an anachronistic jazz score.


Dates: 2007-present

Disney Channel

79+ episodes

Created by Dan Povenmire & Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

Starring: Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, Ashley Tisdale, Dee Bradley Baker, Dan Povenmire


Two pre-tween boys stave off summer boredom with outrageous adventures.

Why It Made The List  

This wide-eyed, optimistic exercise in wish fulfillment shows suburban boys having the kind of summertime fun any boy has ever dreamed of. Cartoony and completely unrealistic, it is as unbounded as the imagination of its two protagonists.

The series also benefits from an eccentric secondary plot, in which the family’s pet platypus battles an incompetent evil scientist.


Dates: 2001-2002 and 2006


27 episodes

Created by Jhonen Vasquez

Starring: Andy Berman, Richard Steven Horvitz, Rosearik Rikki Simons


An incompetent alien tries to conquer the Earth.

Why It Made The List

Well, what other children’s show would feature a cartoon about an alien harvesting kids’ internal organs?

Unabashedly morbid and gloriously macabre, Invader Zim revels in its portrait of human folly and depravity. It bleakly portrays a civilization given over to madness, stupidity, and grotesquerie; even men of science are shown to be oblivious and lacking in common sense. Nor are the aliens excepted from scrutiny: Zim’s malice is exceeded only by his stupidity.

Beyond that, the show had a marvelous sense of the absurd, delighting in word play, non sequiturs and (in the form of Zim’s defective robot, Gir) a random but antic sense of fun.

Like Gulliver’s Travels, another fang-toothed satire that has entertained children, Invader Zim is a series that can deliver different messages for different audiences, and be appreciated by all ages. 



Dates: 2003-2004 (Japan), 2004-2006 (USA)

MBS (Japan), Adult Swim [Cartoon Network] (USA)

51 episodes (plus 5 OVA)

Created by by Hiromu Arakawa

Starring (English dubbing): Vic Mignogna, Aaron Dismuke, Caitlin Glass, Monica Rial, Travis Willingham


Two boys seek the philosopher’s stone so they can repair their injured bodies.

Why It Made The List

A strong story is driven by its strong lead characters. In a nice break from typically underdeveloped shounen shows, Edward and Alphonse Elric are likable, relatable, and fallible, but also courageous enough to try correcting their past mistakes. They also gain definition from a set of secondary characters and villains who are also well-developed. The villains in particular are intriguing; they start with an air of mystery, but become even more interesting as they reveal themselves.

Fullmetal Alchemist also benefits from excellent animation, in both its quiet moments and during the superb fight sequences.

You are reading #15-11 of the Top 25 Animated Television Series Countdown

25-21 | 20-16 | 15-11 | 10-6 5-1 | Go back to the Toons of the 2000s Intro.  

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