Figured I should try to inject some life into our forums with some relatively fresh topics, so I came up with this (while drinking at 3:30am).
Its simple in theory; just list your top ten favorite anime, maybe giving reasons if you choose to invest that kind of effort into this.
1. Revolutionary Girl Utena - This title more than any other has contributed to my undying love of anime. Surreal, moving, and incredibly artistic, there are no shows that could ever top this in my mind. If you tell me you haven't watched this, I will find a way to make it happen.
2. Giant Robo- If anything could unseat Utena, it'd be Giant Robo. A 7 episode OVA series made in the 90's, it started as an homage to the original creator and blossomed into something much more. One of the most intensely philosophical titles out there, and you get awesome people fighting. I've never met anybody who has disliked this upon watching it.
3. Infinite Ryvius- Lord of the Flies in space would be the short synopsis of this series. Intensely deep portrayal of live adrift a far-advanced space ship populated by students, pressured from their living situation and the fact that they are hunted by their own governments. Add in the fact that these ships gradually drive their crews mad, and the series gets even deeper.
4. Kimagure Orange Road- A high school student in a family of ESPers moves to a new town and meets the girl(s) of his dream. Probably the best love triangle in anime due to the completely amazing movie finale. Best ending in anime. Period.
5. Legend of the Galactic Heroes- An epic space opera OVA spanning 110 episodes and numerous movies and side stories. Political intrigue and Napoleonic warfare in space taken to the utmost. People who have watched this show in its entirety share a special bond unlike any other.
6. Touch- One of the most popular anime titles (in Japan) that has never seen any American distribution. 101 episodes of high school drama, romance, and baseball. Fucking baseball. Utilizing a subtlety unknown throughout the shounen genre, there are few shows as simple and yet refreshingly deep as Touch. One of the titles that really got me into sports anime.
7. Vision of Escaflowne- Fantasy mecha anime that is executed to perfection. It perfectly blends shounen and shoujo elements into a story that can't help but entertain any willing to follow it. Featuring the best soundtrack in anime (thanks to Yoko Kanno, responsible for many OSTs including Cowboy Bebop), this series creates a unique fantasy world populated by interesting characters and grandiose battles. Bonus: Isaac Newton is technically the main villain.
8. Record of Lodoss War (OVA)- The greatest pure fantasy anime ever made. Spawned from the author's Dungeons and Dragons game, this was the second anime title I ever watched (after recognizing what 'anime' was), and it helped ensure that I continued my descent into otakudom. The story is an epic (in the literal sense) and features some of the finest artwork I've ever seen in an anime. Add in some excellent villains and memorable heroes, and you have a fantasy anime that pleases all who manage to track it down.
9. Princess Tutu- Who could ever imagine that magical girl series based on ballet could be so good. Utilizing fairy tales for its motifs (and soundtrack), Princess Tutu crafts a remarkable story about fighting against fate, using grandiose ballet pieces as its battles. Incredibly moving and featuring some amazingly deep characters, this is a magical girl show that truly turns the genre on its head.
10. El Hazard: The Magnificent World- A group of high school students and their teacher are displaced into a magical fantasy world unlike any other, El Hazard introduces an incredibly fun cast of characters that take part in a grand adventure while still managing to provide a good bit of comedy (and fan service). Sneaks into the top ten for its moving love story, unique characters, and the fact that it has the best pure happy ending I've ever seen. I will literally cheer and/or tear up every time I watch the ending to this series.
That's my top ten for the moment. Other than the top one or two, my list usually shifts around depending on my feelings quite dramatically. Some other series that didn't quite make the cut at this moment-- Aim for the Top! Gunbuster, Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Berserk, Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal, Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket, Here and There Now and Then, Texhnolyze, Haibane Renmei, Ideon: Be Invoked, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Fatal Fury: The Motion Picture, Bastard!!, Ranma 1/2, Gungrave, Macross Plus, Kino's Journey, and Planetes.