My Favorite Anime of 2020
2020 has been quite the year. Let’s just say I have been watching a lot of anime. Here are some of the anime that have truly moved me during this quarantine.
2020 has been quite the year. With the first pandemic, we have had in almost 100 years most of us have been stuck at home for 9 of its 12 months. To avoid going crazy most of us have turned to entertainment to keep ourselves occupied, including me. Thanks to the pandemic I have been able to keep up to date with anime (not that I wasn’t able to before). Let’s just say I have been watching a lot of anime. Like most years many are your run of the mill Anime without much to offer in terms of originality. Some are ok, some are boring, and then there are the rare gems that stand out to me. Here are some of the anime that have truly moved me during this quarantine. Now bear in mind that these are all my personal choices, I’m not really basing this off of ratings or any kind of statistic, these are just some shows for better or worse that I found enjoyable.
TOWER OF GOD
Tower of God is a fantasy anime that comes from humble beginnings. It is actually based on a Korean manga or manhwa. It was released as a webtoon, Basically a manwha uploaded published online. It is a great way for unknown artists to get their stuff seen online. Anyway, it gained popularity and was turned into an anime and is now streaming on Crunchyroll.
I can’t go into to much detail as giving any kind of coherent plot description would require way to much exposition, just know that the world centers on a tower, where certain individuals are selected to pass a series of increasingly difficult tests and climb it’s many levels. Whoever reaches the top gets whatever wish they want granted. Our main protagonist, a mysterious boy named Bam, Who has not been selected, is still able to enter through sheer willpower to follow the girls he loves who was one of the lucky few chosen. He enters because he wants to help her.
One of my favorite things about the show is it’s unique world building. The world created by the author is so creative you can’t help but be drawn into it to explore, you can’t wait to find out how this world works. But it does it in such an intriguing way. It does not spoon feed you the information, it reveals it’s secrets in its own time. It’s best to lay back and enjoy the beauty of the world you’re in.
The show is populated by interesting creative characters and environments. Highly creative and detailed. And none of it is haphazard, this world is well structured and everything has its place and purpose in the world. All of this comes together to give you a very emotional story. Our protagonist Bam starts off as a bit of a simple minded dull boy, but as the story progresses we see him grow as a character, influenced by the people he meets and the friendships he makes. And the same can be said for his friend, They influence each other and help each other grow as people. Bam and his friends learn what friendship and companionship mean by helping each other. I know it’s not new territory, but It’s still a good message to send. Tower of God may seem confusing and it may not give you all the answers, but it is such an enjoyable ride.
WELCOME TO DEMON SCHOOL IRUMA KUN!
This anime is silly and ridiculous, but I love it. It is based on a manga written by Osamu Nishi. It was released in October 2019 and ran until March 2020. Based on that timeline I felt it was still appropriate to include in a 2020 list.*
The plot revolves around Iruma Suzuki a neglected and unlucky 14-year-old boy. Besides his parents abandoning him, he discovers they also sold his soul to a demon. When the demon comes to collect him he discovers that his new adoptive father is ironically loving and fatherly in nature, only wishing to win Iruma’s affection. He brings Iruma to hell and enrolls him in demon school. Iruma, despite having no demonic power of his own, excels at demon academy, not because he is talented, but by sheer dumb luck and his fellow classmates learn to respect him believing he’s a powerful demon. The show despite its dark twisted wit is actually very cute and adorable. With Anime’s usual themes of the value of friendship and family. Iruma a misfortunate neglected boy in the real world, learns to value his friends through his newfound accidental popularity. And the show balances the irony of the situation with a well-grounded emotional core. The characters are fun and interesting. Even tho Iruma’s power is fake, his emotions are not, he genuinely wants friends.
The art style is beautiful and unique. Brightly colored and everything has long sweeping lines. It has a great Halloween look. It’s silly but cute. Just trust Japan to make hell cute. In many ways the show doesn’t cover any new territory, but I still found it entertaining.
In/Spectre is a supernatural anime based on a book by Kyo Shirodaira. It tells the story of a young girl named Kotoko Iwanaga who was selected as a young child to become the “Goddess of wisdom”, a neutral judge between the human and yokai world. She is called on to investigate affairs and dealings between the two worlds and serves as an impartial judge to maintain peace. The story begins when she meets a young man named Kuro Sakuragawa who holds a dark supernatural secret of his own. The two team up and they are called to investigate crimes being committed by a local urban legend known as steel lady Nanase. As the show continues it explores the origin of urban legends and rumors and how they can come from mass hysteria, and what role social media or the internet, in general, can play in it. This is an angle that I found to be particularly poignant considering what role social media plays in our lives today. The presence of the media and its influence on news and information, and how easy it is to manipulate it, or even how it can influence politics. This show and its commentary was a complete surprise to me, besides that The plot kept me guessing, I had no idea where it was going. the characters were engaging and interesting, nicely rounded off with a good dose of comedy. An unusual bunch of people thrown into the mix and their character arks were just as unpredictable.
SOMALI AND THE FOREST SPIRIT
Somali and the forest spirit is an anime based on a web manga by Yako Gureishi. It is set in a world dominated by Spirits and monsters. Humanity is all but extinct. One day a Golem, guardian spirit of the forest, runs across an orphaned human child. Because he has been charged to look after all living things in the forest he decides to take this young girl under his wing. However, he knows she does not belong there so he takes it upon himself to find other humans that she can live with. This is a difficult task because humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction because they are hunted down as food by the monsters that inhabit the land. The relationship between humans and monsters has been fraught with distrust for years, humans often having lashed out in rational fear towards monsters. The practice of monsters eating humans came about more from self defense. The show follows Somali and her adoptive father as they travel across the land searching for a new home. The focus of the show is the relationship between this unlikely duo. Altho he appears distant and aloof and claims he is only doing this because it is his duty as guardian spirit, it becomes clear that he does feel genuine affection for her. He is concerned when she falls ill and does anything in his power to find her the medicine she needs, He scolds her when she wanders off, or when she is late returning from playing. She likewise is affectionate to her adoptive father, and cannot imagine her world without him. A truly touching story about a creature not really designed to feel love developing genuine feelings for his charge as he tries to protect her in this world that is so hostile to humans. The anime has a melancholy better sweet feel to it and you grow to care fore these two characters. I will warn you tho, if you watch this one, there will be tears shed.
Well, that’s it for now. This is in no way the only shows I enjoyed from this year’s line up. These were the ones that really stood out to me. So, if you haven’t seen these shows I hope I have been able to give you a few new gems to keep you entertained because it looks like we still have a ways to go.
*Update was added to reflect that Welcome To Demon School, Iruma Kun ran from October 2019 to March 2020.