As another season of anime draws to a close, we must briefly hold back the hype train for the next season to discuss the best shows from this one. Fall 2020 was pretty stacked with stellar anime, from long-anticipated sequels to adaptations of rising star manga series to fresh original shows that kept us guessing at every turn. So, please join us as we take a look back at the best anime of Fall 2020!
5. Tonikaku Kawaii (TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You)
Most romances in anime never reach as far as marriage – you’re lucky if you get to see more than awkward flirting and a single kiss. But Tonikaku Kawaii cuts to the chase by having its main characters get hitched in the very first episode! Of course, there’s still plenty of awkward flirting since our two teen sweethearts barely know each other (it’s complicated), but it’s refreshing to see a tender and realistic portrayal of newlyweds trying to navigate the adult world together. Even though Nasa and Tsukasa encounter some bumps along the road with housing and miscommunications, they persevere because they really do love one another at the end of the day. If you’re looking for a feel-good anime to watch with your sweetheart, this is a wonderful choice.
4. Adachi to Shimamura (Adachi and Shimamura)
Speaking of romance anime that barely get any further than awkward flirting, let’s talk about Adachi to Shimamura! And it isn’t because of queerbaiting – our two female leads are definitely head over heels for each other, but they’re both way too shy to ever admit it. Adachi and Shimamura are two slacker high school students who originally bonded over skipping class to play ping pong on the disused second floor of the gym, and then slowly grow closer by sharing indirect donut kisses at the mall and sitting between each other’s legs while playing video games (among other too-cute-to-be-true scenarios). It’s a slow burn for sure, but those well-earned head pats and maybe-confessions are worth their weight in yuri gold. If this anime ever gets a second season, maybe these two will actually realize that they’re dating!
3. Akudama Drive
And now for something completely different... Studio Pierrot’s original cyberpunk action anime Akudama Drive! There’s not a whole lot of traditional storytelling in this one, so instead of longwinded dialogue, most of the Psycho Pass-esque plot is delivered through jaw-droppingly beautiful fight scenes and background art that vividly captures a grimy sci-fi world through stark shadows and splashes of neon. The unusual techno-rap soundtrack keeps the adrenaline pumping throughout each episode, with a particularly catchy track called “STEAL!!” by SPARK!!SOUND!!SHOW!! serving as the OP. Akudama Drive definitely isn’t for the faint of heart or the weak of eardrums, but it’s such a wild ride that it’s impossible to ignore.
2. Yuukoku no Moriarty (Moriarty the Patriot)
Growing up in the slums of Victorian England, one abnormally intelligent little boy desperately wished to dismantle the classist society that let the rich oppress the poor without any consequences or even a slap on the wrist. So, after stealing the identity of a bratty young noble who just so happened to burn to death along with his house, the newly self-christened William James Moriarty started his “criminal consultancy” business. Naturally, he clashes with the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes (here presented as more of an arrogant smartass than usual), and it’s a real joy to watch them go head-to-head, each solving crimes according to their own ethical codes and Moriarty expertly avoiding Sherlock’s grasp with only his superior wit. Stay tuned for season 2 in spring 2021!
1. Jujutsu Kaisen
Weekly Shounen Jump’s most popular new series has made the jump to anime this season, and boy is it ever a sight to behold. It boasts the same director (Seong-Hu Park) and studio (MAPPA) as The God of High School, so you know the sakuga has to be out of this world, but luckily it also has much better pacing and a more emotionally complex storyline than its predecessor. The power of friendship won’t work on the eldritch curses that the jujutsu sorcerers must exorcise daily, and the extra-powerful curse living inside of protagonist Yuuji’s body has no interest in cooperating with him for some larger goal. For its surprisingly unpredictable plot (the OP employs some clever misdirection) and truly god-tier animation, we have to give Jujutsu Kaisen a standing ovation. Let’s see if it can keep up the momentum for its second cour!
We’d be remiss not to mention Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, Golden Kamuy Season 3, Is the Order a Rabbit Season 3, Haikyuu to the Top Season 2, and Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou as well, since they’re all top contenders for best of the season. But what were your favorite anime of Fall 2020? What are you looking forward to next season? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!