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Top 10 Animations of the 2000s

Updated on January 18, 2012

One of my first hubs, The Best Animated Films of 2010 has become somewhat popular -- at least compared to most of the other hubs I have written. And while I'd love to do a follow-up for 2011, that's currently impossible due to a lack of subtitles for a number of movies that I want to watch first. So instead, I decided to do something else, and follow that article up with a list of my favorite animated movies of this past decade. So here it is, my favorite animated movies from 2000 to 2009.


10. Steamboy

Director: Katsuhiro Ohotomo
Country: Japan
Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes

I don't think I've explicitly stated it in any of my pubs that have been published to date, but here it is: I adore steampunk. There's just something about it, the way steam technology looks and behaves, that makes it appealing. Now, if steam technology were at all effective we might actually make use of it... so when it comes to movies, I tend to be willing to overlook some of the sillier applications of science. Steamboy is loaded to the brim with such silly applications. Nonetheless, it's a very exciting steampunk adventure, and it happens to look great. That's about as much as I was hoping for.

Mary and Max
Mary and Max | Source

9. Mary and Max

Director: Adam Elliot
Country: Australia
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes

I'm not going to lie to you: Mary and Max is an ugly looking movie. It takes a really great artistic vision to make a clay-animation look good, and this is no Nightmare Before Christmas. Mary and Max has something to make up for this though: flawless writing, and two absolutely amazing characters. The character of Max, who has Aspergers, is particularly well done and is probably my favorite on-screen representation of a person on the autistic spectrum. The movie, I feel, may help those not on the scale to better understand those of us who are. It's insightful without being at all heavy-handed. Actually, the movie is consistently hilarious throughout.


8. Ratatouille

Directors: Brad Bird, Jan PikavaCountry: United States
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

For the longest time, I passed on watching Ratatouille. The idea of a French rat living in someone's hair cooking didn't appeal to me. I'm still not sure how Pixar made such a brilliant movie from an idea like that, but I'll admit it. I was wrong. The movie is actually a lot of fun. In fact, I found it more enjoyable than the generally more-popular Finding Nemo. It's hard to break this movie down and pinpoint the reasons I like it, but if I were to place a wager, it'd be that it kept me guessing as to what would happen next at every given moment. I think we all kind of knew how something like Finding Nemo would end

Sword of the Stranger
Sword of the Stranger | Source

7. Sword of the Stranger

Director: Masahiro Ando
Country: Japan
Runtime: 1 hour, 43 minutes

For as many amazing shounen series as there are that bend the rules of reality in favor of something more exciting, I've always been somewhat curious about what a more grounded action series centered on feudal Japan would be like. I'm still looking for one, but for the time being Sword of the Stranger fulfills the requirements as far as movies go. The characters aren't particularly likable, which is the reason for it not being higher on the list, but the animation is incredibly high-quality, and the action is great.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete | Source

6. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete

Directors: Tetsuya Nomura, Takeshi Nozue
Country: Japan
Runtime: 2 hours, 6 minutes

Let's be honest: the original Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was little more than fan service for fans of the video game it was based off of. And... well, Advent Children Complete kind of was too. The difference is that Advent Children Complete adds enough scenes to make the plot followable; and all of the other minor updates were welcomed as well. It may still be nothing more than fan service, but now it's extremely enjoyable fan service. If there's one thing Square's really good at, it's making a pretty cutscene.

Ponyo | Source

5. Ponyo

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Country: Japan
Runtime: 1 hour, 41 minutes

Do you need a movie that makes you feel like your a great deal less than sober? Ponyo is for you. The animation style is really innovative, with backgrounds bearing resemblance of having been colored with crayon, characters and foreground objects as traditionally hand-drawn, and the waves of the ocean as vector animations. It's pretty crazy stuff, but the story is just cute enough to make it work without standing out too much

WALL-E | Source


Director: Andrew Stanton
Country: United States
Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes

I respect the fact that Pixar had the guts to do what they did with WALL-E, and I'm glad that it was accepted so warmly by movie-goers. It eventually steps into standard Pixar territory (that is, it's effortlessly good,) but what causes it to stand out in my mind is the first thirty-minutes. There's virtually no dialogue, so the fact that I was able to feel for WALL-E as a character -- who, remember, is a discarded utility robot -- is something special. This is also Pixar's most ambitious movie in terms of visual scope. The post-apocalyptic world looks incredible.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time | Source

3. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Country: Japan
Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a time travel movie that's good enough to be compared to the classic Back to the Future trilogy. And for the sake of being somewhat controversial: I'd argue that it's better. The movie can almost be divided into two parts. The first part introduces us to the way time travel works in this movie, and entertains us with the ways Makoto makes use of this time travel. The second part is an effective emotional rollercoaster.

Kung Fu Panda
Kung Fu Panda | Source

2. Kung Fu Panda

Directors: Mark Osborne, John Stevenson
Country: United States
Runtime: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Kung Fu Panda is a movie that really surprised me. When the commercials for it were airing, I mistakenly assumed that it'd be mediocre. I expected some jokes, and I expected some action, but mostly, I just expected a throw-away film. I couldn't have imagined Kung Fu Panda going on to become one of my most frequently watched blu-rays. The effort they put into making the fights exciting really shows, and the movie secretes way more charm than I would have thought it capable of. It's also really visually beautiful.

Spirited Away
Spirited Away

1. Spirited Away

Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Country: Japan
Runtime: 2 hours, 5 minutes

My personal lifts shift around a bit, from time to time, but at the moment I'd have to say that Spirited Away holds the distinct honor of being my favorite movie of all time. The best word that can used to sum it up would be "perfect," but stepping away from qualitative words like that, perhaps another acceptable word would be "magical." Watching Spirited Away for the first time as a child, I was taken on a journey like few movies are capable of taking me on. Over ten years later, watching this movie is every bit as special as it once was.

Spirited Away can be purchased on Amazon here.


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    • Chris Qu profile image

      Chris Qu 5 years ago

      Tokyo Godfathers was a great movie. I like it as much as I do Steamboy, and were I to write this hub on another day, I may have included that one in Steamboy's place... The Cat Returns was also more or less tied for tenth.

    • DSPickett profile image

      DSPickett 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I've seen 7 of these, but will try to catch up with all of them. I'd add Paprika to the list myself. (And I'm really sad that there will be no more animated films from Satoshi Kon.)

    • klanguedoc profile image

      Kevin Languedoc 5 years ago from Canada

      My son is an avid fan of Japanese animation. Very nice. I am not surprise about the number Japanese entries.