Remember in 2019 when I wrote:
With 46 shows and 16 movies watched, will 2019 go down in history as my most active year in anime? Oh god, I hope so. I need to get outside.
Yeah, let's just keep that in mind. Everything I watched this year in order:
This all totals up to 86 new shows and 31 new movies. So I watched nearly double what I watched in 2019.
This review is coming a few months late, which means the glow of the most recent anime have worn off. Hopefully this means I can be more objective. We'll keep the same categories as last year.
This category is easier now that I'm tracking rewatches. By this measure, Golden Boy and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid are the clear stand outs. Golden Boy's goofy, outrageous, over-sexualized, charming tone makes it a classic watch. Dragon Maid is just too funny and wholesome to put down and, with a second season coming, will be getting rewatched by me a bunch more.
But if there's one show I think I'll come back and look forward to most, it's Mushi-Shi. The stories are so fascinating and the overall tone is so calming and helpless. It really gives you a sense of the fragility of life and how lucky we are any of this works at all. So I'm excited to find myself in a place where I rewatch this.
Emotions are wild. It's hard to get invested and so when I do it's not always in the ways I expect. But some shows really do leave that mark and I know, without even really knowing, I felt something.
This year, Gamers! gave me an emotional rollercoaster in the form of a love pentagon. So many twists and turns along the way and I couldn't stop watching. All this time later I've got sharp feelings of relief that you've already got everything you wanted and sadness you'll never have what you want, all from this one show.
March comes in like a Lion is hard for me not to relate to. Shogi is a game of pure intellect, there's no chance, just two brains fighting and it's so thrilling. But the show is more than this struggle, and there are so many side moments where the world proves itself to paint a really vivid picture of other things too. It's a very well rounded show and I took a lot away from it.
This year it was Clannad ~After Story~ that just blew past everything. Coming from the base show Clannad, you can be forgiven for not expecting much. But After Story just gets so real, I was trapped in it. Truly an after story where the glow has faded and you see what's left. It's hard to see relationships the same way after watching this show.
This category is very scattered with no clear winner, but I'll choose one anyway! Honorable mentions include Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto, Grand Blue Dreaming, and even Death Note in its own entertaining cat-and-mouse kinda way.
And then there's Carnival Phantasm. It's really hard to call this show fun just because it took so much work to be able to watch it. No doubt, it was worth watching all the other shows and movies to be able to get the references. But it wouldn't have been funny without all that pre-work. I feel like funniest really does need to stand on its own.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 2 was not as good as season one for many people. The critical flaw in season two was that the characters became more static, especially Kaguya. However it still largely delivered and, with all the hype around it, that actually means a lot.
The Helpful Fox Seiko-San is an awesome concept. Literally anyone I know who's having a bad day I'm just like 'watch Seiko.' Seriously such an awesome idea for a show to help anyone who's going through a difficult time. Very glad this show exists.
A close second, Girls' Last Tour is Made in Abyss but for the end of the world. It's haunting somber undertones blanketed over with cheer and childlike curiosity make it a powerhouse.
This year, From the New World I loved so much mainly because I was thinking about a similar idea for years. So I watched this show and all I could think was, "Wow, they nailed it and so much better than I could." A really rich world, interesting characters, and conflict told very succinctly.
2020 didn't have any major stand outs in the music department, but I also was not paying as much attention. Future Diary has a decent set of jams.
The soundtrack for Girl's Last Tour just meshes so well with the show. Much in the same way the Made in Abyss soundtrack upsets me by being so deceptive but also awesome.
This year My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU takes best soundtrack. The individual songs, especially the openings are really good. Each really captures the overall tone of its season.
Hifumi from New Game!
Much less anime, it's just impossible to top 2020.
First season of 2021 was strong, lots of continuations of really great shows. Spring season looks..not as strong. I'm hoping in the second half of the year to have more time for anime, but lately I do not.
Thanks for taking the time to reflect on some anime with me!