2020 Anime Retrospective

2020 Anime Retrospective

Not a Great Year for Anime

2020 wasn’t a great year for a lot of reasons. But the only one that really matters is the overall poor selection of anime. Sure, there were a few very good anime, but I wouldn’t say there were any that were outstanding. And part of the reason for this is that there were many delays throughout the year.

Including those that are going to continue airing in the winter 2021 season, I watched 60 anime that started in 2020. Of course, I also watched older anime throughout the year as well, but they don’t count for the purpose of this retrospective.

These 60 anime range in scores from 1-8/10. And, while it should go without saying, I know I didn’t watch everything that came out this year. I’m sorry if your favorite anime of the year isn’t included. So with that, let’s take a look at how 2020 was for anime on a season-by-season basis.

Winter 2020

Somali and the Forest Spirit anime series cover art
Somali and the Forest Spirit

During the winter season, I watched 17 anime ranging in score from 2-8/10. My mean score for the season was 5.5, which is below my total mean score (ever, not just of 2020) of 6.25. Not only that, but the winter season had my lowest mean score of any season this year.

Just looking at those numbers 2020 seems to have been off to a rocky start. However, things aren’t so bleak if we actually look at the anime in this season individually. There were a lot of anime that I actually enjoyed, despite not always being anime I could refer to as “good.”

Surprisingly, one anime from the winter season is actually my pick for best anime of the year. I know most people aren’t going to agree with this choice, but I really do think Somali and the Forest Spirit was anime of the year despite my rating of 8/10 for it. I think it was a better package overall than the other three 8/10s I had this year.

Some other highlights of the season were Interspecies Reviewers, Seton Academy: Join the Pack!, Darwin’s Game, and Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! Despite not being that great, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was to watch Seton Academy and Darwin’s Game in particular.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, we had my lowest-rated anime of the season (not the year), which was Infinite Dendrogram. I know some people enjoyed this series, but it was a pretty solid 2/10 for me.

Spring 2020

BNA: Brand New Animal anime series cover art
BNA: Brand New Animal

While the winter season was the worst in terms of the mean score for me, the spring season was the best. My mean score for spring was 6.6, putting it comfortably above the prior season. However, I did only watch 13 anime during this season on account of series beginning to get delayed.

Looking at what came out in this season, it’s pretty clear to me why this one was the highest-rated. I had a whopping two anime rated at 8/10 and the lowest score I gave was only a 4/10.

Those top two anime of the season were Sing “Yesterday” for Me and BNA: Brand New Animal. Sing “Yesterday” for Me was the best drama of the year, in my opinion. However, the ending was extremely rushed and unsatisfying. BNA was an all-around good anime and is probably my number two pick for the year after Somali.

Princess Connect! Re:Dive, Gleipnir, and Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater were all a lot more enjoyable than I expected them to be. Princess Connect reminded me a lot of KonoSuba, Gleipnir was just a weird ride, and Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater was just the sort of CGDCT anime I needed.

Then, of course, we had some sequel seasons that were anticipated to be good, such as Fruits Basket 2nd Season and Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2. On the topic of Kaguya-sama, I know there are a lot of people who think this should be anime of the year, but I actually liked the first season more.

And as for the worst anime of the season, that was Listeners. It was a music-based mecha series that just didn’t work very well.

Summer 2020

Re:ZERO Season 2 anime series cover art
Re:ZERO Season 2

The summer season wasn’t quite as good as spring, but it was the second-highest season with an average rating of 6.0. The highest rating of the season was an 8/10 and the lowest was a 3/10. And just as with the spring season, many series were delayed, so I only watched 12.

Of course, the 8/10 is the first cour of Re:ZERO Season 2. If the entirety of season 2 aired during 2020, then it probably would have overtaken Somali for the number one spot for the year. However, since it was only the first cour, I can only rank it third overall.

Aside from Re:ZERO, there were some other enjoyable anime this season, including Deca-Dence, Fire Force Season 2, and Rent-a-Girlfriend. Deca-Dence was fun but extremely fast-paced. Fire Force is, well, Fire Force. And although Rent-a-Girlfriend had a lot of problems, such as the protagonist, it also had some of the best girls of the year.

There isn’t much else to say about the summer season other than that Japan Sinks: 2020 was the worst anime from it, coming in at 3/10. Overall, summer 2020 was a decent enough season, but it didn’t really stand out in any way aside from the long-awaited return of Re:ZERO.

Fall 2020

Jujutsu Kaisen anime series cover art
Jujutsu Kaisen

Despite not being the worst season of the year, fall was close to having that distinction. My average rating for the season was only 5.6, putting it 0.1 above the winter season. However, this was also the season in which I watched the most anime because many delayed series finally aired. In total, I watched 20 fall anime.

Fall was the only season of the year with no anime rated 8/10. And, it was also the only season of the year with an anime rated 1/10. With those facts in mind, it’s actually quite surprising that the winter season was still somehow rated lower on average.

Starting off with the worst anime of the season, and in fact the entire year, we have Rail Romanesque. The main problem with this series is that it’s entirely pointless. It’s a short based on a visual novel — and absolutely nothing happens in it. But what makes it worse is that multiple sites have the synopsis for the visual novel set as the synopsis for the series, which misleads potential viewers.

Of the 7/10s that I had in this season, the two that stand out the most are Jujutsu Kaisen and Talentless Nana. At the start of the season, I figured that both of these series would be pretty typical shounen battle anime. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case.

Technically speaking, Jujutsu Kaisen actually is a fairly typical shounen battle anime, but it has a darker twist to it that I like. And although not everything has been explained yet, it’s done a good job at setting up the basics of the power system of the world.

Talentless Nana is very different, though. It portrays itself as a shounen battle series, but in actuality, it’s a reverse murder mystery series. If you’re a fan of things like Death Note, then you may enjoy Talentless Nana as well. It’s a fun ride.

Conclusion

2020 wasn’t a stand-out year for anime, especially when you consider all of the delays that plagued the spring and summer seasons. But it was still full of enjoyable shows, even if they weren’t top-tier. I’m already looking forward to the end of 2021 when I’ll be able to compare this year’s anime to those of 2020.

If you enjoyed this end-of-year retrospective, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

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