At the end of every year, like many of the bloggers, I feel like writing a recap of the year. I think to myself “Aaahh this is nice, it’ll be a less-detailed post. Easy peasy,”. I plan on formatting the post like an award show, picking out best’s. Sounds like a good idea. And then I open the seasonal chart and softly go “…. fudge, mission abort!”. It’s hard even to pick a single favorite in a season, let alone covering a whole year. Looking back made me realize I enjoyed 2020 in anime aspect. Well, that may be the only enjoyable aspect of this year so there’s some positivity there.
I still went with the “awards” idea but sadly it turned into one of those sketchy award shows that paraphrase the same title into 20 diffrent versions just so they can give one award to every artist attending. If you keep an eye on any K-Pop group and watch MAMA, or MMA, you’ll know what I mean. I’ll add a full list of what I watched that released this year below as well and leave you with the most’s and the best’s. Enjoy ~
The Most Unexpected
1. in a positive sense — Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha
I made it a habit of checking out almost every anime that is released that season, at least the first episode. And I usually don’t enjoy such series but Maou Gakuin kind of got me in the first episode and I sticked to it. To my surprise, it turned out quite fun! What I especially loved aboutt his show was that, usually when there is a really strong character, there is also a shortcoming, no matter how small, to provide a turning point for the plot. But Anos was …. almighty and arrogant throughout the series, it was very refreshing for me. Bonus points for his cute, loving family.
2. in a negative sense — Yesterday wo Utatte
In turn, a series I thought I’d enjoy but I ended up hate-watching. I tried hard to find something to enjoy and some take-out from the characters fumbling through the relationships but there was none. I don’t write about a show I have very negative feelings about a show, since this one seems like my personal thoughts and not exactly a criticism. Once in a blue moon is alright, I guess ~
3. in a wtf?? sense — Golden Kamuy
Now, this show…. It’s been 3 seasons and I’m still amazed at how splendid it is. Golden Kamuy is a mixture of historical, gore, cute and a big dash of homoerotic imagery and how it all blends so perfectly well, I don’t know. Amazing pace, well fleshed-out characters and while there are heaps of historical details, especially of Ainu culture, it never gets heavy or suffocating. Can’t wait for the next season!
The Prettiest — Jibaku Shonen Hanako-kun
The pretty connoisseur is here! Jibaku Shonen Hanako-kun felt like reading a pop-up fairy tale book, and I loved everything about the series; from the color palettes to character designs, from geometric shadows to story-telling tools and scene changes, to music and backgrounds…. Safe to say I watched the whole show with awe. It’s not the deepest, scariest yokai story out there, that’s for sure. However, it was fun, sweet, emotional at times and overall, you guessed it right, pretty!
Honorable mention: Kakushigoto
The Most Exciting — Jujutsu Kaisen / Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na
Not much introduction is needed for these two. Both of them had me dread throughout the week until the new episode. Jujutsu Kaisen is going strong in the Shonen manga ranks and anime adaptation is rightfully hyped, especially in terms of its animation quality. I’m sure there won’t be any problems with its continuation. As for Eizouken, its manga is licensed and still ongoing, I hope to see more adapted into anime because it was a splendid series. 2021, please don’t fail us (o;TωT)o
Biggest Let Down — Japan Sinks
What in the world was this show…. Deserved none of the hype it got.
The Funniest — Nami yo Kiitekure
I wrote about this series before in terms of its amazing portrayal of women and their solidarity, and I said it back then as well, I’d do anything for you to give Nami yo Kiitekure a chance. Unless it’s something extremely embarrassing. Other than that, I’m up for the challenge. Other than its characters, this show is strong in its comedic elements as well. Couldn’t believe I had to part ways with it and it took all my power to watch the last episode of the season. Since the manga is ongoing, I’m not gonna give up on you, Minare!!
Honorable mention: Otome Game no Hametsu Flag, Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga
The Most Mind Boggling — Id:Invaded
The world-building in this show was stunning! Kept me sitting on the edge of my couch the whole season. Character designs were interesting and similar to Psycho-Pass, it had human psychology-related inventions that were used to solve cases. If you’re a fan of murder, mystery, sci-fi, mind-boggling puzzles and enjoyed Psycho-Pass like me but didn’t manage to watch this, maybe you can add it to your 2021 to-watch list!
Honorable mention: OreGaIru… Don’t make fun of me but I didn’t understand what was going on in this show until the 3rd season and did some Wikipedia reading.
Watched it with a friend and had fun — Oshi ga Budokan Ittekuretara Shinu
This show might have escaped some people’s radars since it’s about an idol group and their fans, and if you’re not into it the least, it makes sense to skip. While I’m not into idol culture, I have been keeping up with BTS for a long time, so me and another friend wanted to give this a chance. And when I tell you I didn’t expect to have so much fun! It was so exciting and funny, seeing some of my fan experiences in it added more to the joy I got. Oshi will definitely make you laugh, and its yuri elements are very cute and subtly executed. Totally recommended.
Best Short — Bessatsu Olympia Kyklos
I watch a lot of short anime. I mean, a LOT. I check out everything I can find that is released in a season. I love the form. And I’m a bit out of social media circles to get a grasp of how much others keep up with them, but to me it seems like there’s not much talk going around even if people do watch them. My eyes were blessed with lots of fun, short series like Komatta Jii-san, Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai!, Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii, Toutotsu ni Egypt Kami and the likes but the crown had to go to Bessatsu Olympia Kyklos. I had already watched another Ancient-Rome related gag short from the same mangaka, Yamazaki Mari and this one didn’t fail me in making me laugh either. Where else you’d be singing along Honeuros and learning Ancient Greek culture? Shouldn’t miss such a chance.
Didn’t get much representation in terms of gender identity, so we have to go with binary categories. It’s always fun to watch energetic young women who are strong in their own terms. From left to right, Natsume from Deca-Dence, Arte from Arte and Kaguya Shinomiya from Kaguya-sama: Love is War.
Husband material, do I need to say more? From left to right: Shin from Dorohedoro, Nanami Kento from Jujutsu Kaisen, Fujimi Sugimoto from Golden Kamuy.
Best Setting — Deca-Dence
Dystopian or post-apocalyptic themes are very common in anime. That’s why it usually boils down to how the creatures/machinery/world-building and animation is handled. I loved all of that in Deca-Dence, and loved more that it incorporated gaming and avatars with stark differences in visuals. Plus, there was Kaburagi… whew! I plan to write more on this series, so I’ll be leaving at that.
Best Season — Winter 2020
It was simply because number-wise, I kept up with more series compared to other seasons. How couldn’t I! There were continuations of Haikyu!!, Ace of Diamond, Chihayafuru and Psycho-Pass. We also got Oshi, RikeKoi, Dorohedoro, Id:Invaded, Eizouken and many more exciting new titles. Here are the shows that were released in 2020 that I watched:
How was your 2020, in terms of anime and manga? Hope you had fun as much as I did and it brought you relief and joy amidst all the stress and unpleasant changes in our lives. I’m grateful that I managed to got back into blogging more seriously this year, and thankful that I came across such nice people. It truly makes all the effort worthwhile. Wish you a better 2021 and see you next time ~