The 25 Best Animated Series of the Decade

Find out where we rank ‘Rick and Morty,’ ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Bob’s Burgers,’ and more!
Decade Animatedseries
By  · Published on December 8th, 2019

15. Rick and Morty


Who doesn’t love Rick and Morty? People who think they’re being cool by not giving it a shot, that’s who. The bizarre mental lovechild of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, Rick and Morty is a glorious blend of tight-as-a drum scriptwriting and chaotic ad-libbing, of extreme smartness and absolute stupidity, all bound up in a snarled jumble of acute self-awareness. Rick and Morty doesn’t care if you think you know what it is. It knows damn well what it is, and that’s an original and brilliant take on traditional sci-fi that goes so far beyond the genre it’s referencing that it’s become something of a genre unto itself. And Cartoon Network has already renewed it for an impossible number of episodes, which means we can keep riding this weird train until it explodes or we get thrown off. Rick and Morty for a thousand years! (Liz Baessler)

14. March Comes in Like a Lion

March Comes In Like A Lion

March Comes in Like a Lion focuses on Rei, a 17-year-old professional shogi player who lives by himself after the rest of his family is tragically killed in a car accident and he then has a falling out with those who later adopted him. As you can imagine, grief and depression linger over him like a cloud, but the encounters he has with random people who eventually become his friends change his perspective on life. March Comes in Like a Lion is a great depiction of depression and how it can physically and mentally cripple you from taking part in society. But unlike other shows, March Comes in Like a Lion shows how being surrounded by people who care about you can bring you out of the dark. On top of that, the series boasts beautiful animation, music, and highly detailed shogi matches that educate people unfamiliar with the game. (Carl Broughton)

13. Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby

Japan’s confused but enthusiastic fascination with Western theology is on full display in Masaaki Yuasa’s bizarrely beautiful adaptation of the popular 1970s manga Devilman. After being possessed by a demon at a rave, overly sensitive “crybaby” Akira is transformed into a “Devilman,” a demon with a human heart, and is enlisted by his childhood friend Ryo to help combat the demon invasion of earth. Devilman Crybaby features absolutely wild animation that eschews character shading, much like the work of Mamoru Hosoda, in order to allow for increased expressiveness and off-model. Forms twist and contort in a nightmarish dance that ultimately emphasizes the show’s themes of sexual repression and surrealism. But the series never becomes too experimental or artsy. It follows its young characters through the most tumultuous period in their lives, through jealousy, insecurity, and puberty. Devilman Crybaby is a masterwork of animation with the heart of a classic 1970s anime. (Hans Qu)

12. Haikyuu!!


The decade’s premier sports anime has taken the scene by storm, much like its protagonist, Hinata Sho, who in classic anime form wants to be the very best at volleyball. Haikyuu!! features some of the most gorgeous body animation in years, which manages to maintain the integrity of human anatomy while achieving an incredible level of expressiveness through body language. And that’s just in the parts where the characters aren’t dominating the volleyball court. This delightful story about determination, perseverance, and teamwork is a dose of classic sports anime for anyone looking to explore the genre. (Hans Qu)

11. Gravity Falls

Gravity Falls

I love Gravity Falls. If you want to hear me blather on about it for 3,300 words, have I got the link for you. If you just don’t have time for that, or if you haven’t seen the show, I can give you the spoiler-free elevator pitch here. Created by wunderkind Alex Hirsch (who also voiced a good half of the main characters), Gravity Falls is a kids’ show that trusts its young audience, very deeply and sincerely, with mystery and adult themes while never losing sight of its identity as a cartoon for children. Peddling in very real intrigue and horror, it distracts you with cute pigs and clever writing while it lays the foundation of a fantastic and dark mystery, eventually springing the trap and surprising you that you’d ever dared not to take it seriously. It’s a gorgeously, carefully crafted show riddled with clues and hints (some in plain sight, some quite literally in code) that hides a dark and emotionally rich story just beneath its surface and dares you to figure it out. (Liz Baessler)

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Central Florida based Film Critic striving to be the best. Fighting for the ten percent.