I kind of just forgot I hadn’t actually written and posted this already, but here it finally is! Small disclaimer: Attack on Titan 4 is not included in 2020 as far as I’m concerned, it had like 2 episodes – same goes for Higurashi, so don’t expect either in this post.
Runway de Waratte – Lion
Jashin-chan Dropkick 2
There were a lot of comedy anime this year and most of them pretty good. I almost made this Bofuri, but thinking from a strictly comedic point of view I had to go with Jashin-chan 2 – as funny as Bofuri is and for how comedy focused it is it’s still more along the lines of a slice of life so it’s the main runner-up. Jashin-chan 2 however is definitely pure comedy, the only negative I really have to say about it is that it wasn’t as fun to me as the first season. It’s pretty much just more fun antics of the demon girls just like season 1, though a bit more focus on a new angel character who was kind of unenjoyable. Really though, it was more Jashin, and there’s nothing more enjoyable (????) than hearing more of that squishy-slimy-slidey sound whenever Jashin is ‘walking’ around. That Gal & Dinosaur show may have been here instead, but because of the delays I never finished it.
Best “I hadn’t seen this before now”
I had very little knowledge of what this show was – I thought it was a typical harem with slight comedy set in another fucking isekai. The isekai part is true, but this is a pure full-on hilarious comedy and the “harem” doesn’t exist either, there’s 3 girls that are probably interested in the lead but it’s never really a thing at all, the humor comes from so many other sources with the girls doing their own things as well rather than anything relating to feelings one way or another. The show being what it is was not the only thing I was mislead on and mistaken about, no, something even more important was beyond my knowledge! Dustiness! Everyone knows about EXPLOSION girl and the blue haired one, and sorry but Megumin is kind of…not that great? She’s fun, she’s cute, but she’s very bland and by the book – I was surprised at first that I didn’t like her that much until I realized it’s because she’s basically lacking any personality beyond her character’s archetype. Aqua is a little better (yes, I really just said that) because while she is also pretty typical she’s got a lot more to who she is and so she has more versatility. Now Dustiness, oh, she is as one-note as Megumin but she pulls it off so much better and she is so fucking great for it and somehow I had NO clue she even existed, I thought this was just about Aqua and Megumin up until this girl was introduced while watching it (and even then, I thought she’d be like a one time joke character). She’s just a super masochist and nearly everything she does is just to feel more pain or be talked down to more – her pure complete devotion to her fetish leads to some of the best comedic moments in ages even during sequences where you wouldn’t expect it to be so hilarious, she’s like Sa-chan from Gintama turned up to 11. She’s great and made the show for me.
Konosuba is genuinely one of the best ‘recent’ (both from when it aired and when i watched it) comedy anime to come out. I hope to get to season 2 soon.
Runway de Waratte
While they repeatedly used the same tracks for the most part, there were a few that every time they used them really had the full intended emotional effect even by the final episode. I don’t have an example song so oops!
Best Short Length Episode Series
Zashiki Warashi no Tatami-chan
This was really cute and simple and every episode was a delightful little joke for a couple minutes, primarily focusing on the perspective of a zashiki warashi (and friends) view of modern-day Japan.
Runway de Waratte
This is a great uplifting type of show, a generic yet impactful motivational push telling you something as simple as “you can reach your dreams if you don’t give in to adversity or excuses” yet presenting it in a way that really gets to you as much as it does the characters. Speaking of the characters, it does a great job having and managing its dual-leads, one trying to be a successful top model and the other trying to be a successful top designer, with both of their stories continually intertwining. Visually it’s usually pretty damn nice to look at, the music has some great stuff as I mentioned, and there are these really fantastic moments peppered throughout the show – even in episode 1! While Runway isn’t perfect – especially with a few confusing elements like whatever the fuck happened with the guys mom for an episode and his sister being 8 feet tall when she’s in middle school – it is a great example of simple storytelling being done properly and so coming out with a result that is far better than “typical” or “generic”.
Best Anime Film (That I Finally Saw*)
Tanya The Evil : The Movie
This came out in 2019, but I didn’t get to it until like April of 2020 or so, and this was really fucking good. It has all the fantastic shit of the series and everyone’s favorite militant loli but turned up even further with loads of commie-bashing, great action sequences, and a great propaganda scene that would feel right at home in Starship Troopers. Absolutely must see for any fans of the series or people who hate commies!
Best Character Design
Everyone in this show looks cute as fuck or cool as shit. Mostly the former. The clothes and weapons also really fit the setting and look absolutely like things you’d find in an MMO which really added to the overall charm of the show.
Bofuri – Play The World
Runner-up: I can’t cheat and say Monkey Majik’s song for Fruits Basket 2…I love Furuba and I really do want to get around to this second season, I just wasn’t able to and so I couldn’t include this as a possible choice because I didn’t actually watch it so it felt kind of weird to even consider it. I’ve been a fairly moderate fan of Monkey Majik ever since they did a song called Picture Perfect with M-Flo fucking years and years ago so this was really cool to find out about.
Burn The Witch
While I’d call it a movie, it technically is a 3 part OVA! This is easiest to explain by saying “it felt like the good parts of Bleach again” and that’s no surprise given it’s by the same creator. I’d love to say “I wish this had a full series” because I kind of feel that way…but knowing him this would turn into another complete fuck up like Bleach did. Great as a short movie/OVA though. Great character designs and art, fun world, interesting concepts all introduced very smoothly, some good action sequences against dragons, and enjoyable dual leads.
Third Best Anime
I almost didn’t try this and it ended up being basically the only show from the season it aired that I actually finished from that season! Taisou Samurai is a story about a few people but primarily focuses on a father who is an aging and recently injured professional gymnast and is basically about him trying to prove to himself, to the world, to his new friend (another of the main focuses), and especially to his daughter that he isn’t out of the fight yet. This ends up with some pretty good dramatic moments and a lot of feel-good bits as well; but alongside his story is that of his cute little daughter (and her big retarded bird from South America), a ‘mysterious’ ninja performer, and a rival. The art is really nice even though there are a few bits of CG but for the most part even the gymnastics are shown properly animated, though for the most part you rarely see any anyway – this isn’t some kind of Yuri On Ice or anything like that, the focus is definitely on the characters rather than showing off the sport. While this has a lot of drama around the sport aspect, most of the show is pretty lighthearted and fun.
Second Best Anime
Runway de Waratte
Runway absolutely deserves this spot – it was one of the more emotional anime of the year and just overall one of the best in most areas of its production and viewing experience. I kind of already went over this in the earlier Best Drama category so I don’t have too much to add. I really liked this.
Anime Of The Year
This was incredibly easy for me – right at the start of 2020 I fell in love with Bofuri right when I started it up as one of my typical seasonal “eh…I guess I’ll try this but I don’t know why…” picks and it just got me immediately and was everything I’ve always wanted out of a VR anime, an MMO anime, and just a fun light hearted comedy anime all mixed into one exactly how I’d want it and it did it all perfectly. It really is hard to say more than that, which is why my review is still so ‘pending’ that I don’t believe I’ve even started or made notes for it. I just completely loved this show – and not in some “I grew to love it” way, no, the very first episode made me completely enamored by it even though I worried for a few more episodes that it WOULD turn into a “stuck in the game” thing, but the love was maximum from episode 1 and it remained throughout.
It brings me back to the feeling that I can only relate to something like Girls und Panzer which also was the first show I had as much fun as I did with it in years before it – and this was the first time since it that I felt that same sense of just pure full total enjoyment with my time spent with an anime. I love the cast, I love the simple story, the comedy is fantastic throughout and fully uses the set-up in every way it possibly can, and just everything is fucking great about it. I was also really happy to know, just by watching it, that the creator has played not only MMOs but also used VR a pretty good amount. There are things about both that you wouldn’t get right, small details, one-off jokes, overall things too, without having personal experience. It makes it all even more fun because it was created without guesswork – it made it so all the jokes and such really worked because they just actually DO work, there’s no need for this big leap or some soaring suspension of disbelief and it makes for much more fun simple things even if you personally have no experience with VR or MMOs (but extra fun if you do!).
I have ABSOLUTELY no complaints about this show. Not a single fucking one. Even the very final credits sequence has one of the most funny moments in anime, so literally from the very start to the very end this is fantastic. Bofuri is not just my AOTY but truly one of the most fun and enjoyable overall series I’ve ever seen. Absolutely a must see for slice of life, comedy, or VR/MMO fans. I’m even planning on rewatching it in VR myself soon!
I’m glad to see you selected Bofuri as AOTY. I had a lot of fun with that show and was probably my favorite of the year as well. Most shows in the latter half of 2020, that I watched at least, weren’t all that good.
Yeah, even beyond my own reasons for not keeping up with much a lot of anime last year just felt disappointing or entirely uninteresting in the first place. Bofuri would still be my favorite probably even in a better season though, it’s probably a personal overall like top 15 favorite for me at this point even.