The end of an anime (or anime season) is difficult to do in a satisfying way – all too often, an engaging show will drop the ball in its final episode and either leave plot threads unresolved for a sequel that may never happen or will wimp out of giving the ending the kind of weight and reverence it deserves. Luckily, though, that’s not always the case, and we’re here today to celebrate the shows that got it right with the 5 best season finales and series endings of 2020. Let’s begin!
This entertaining little slice-of-life comedy about ecchi mangaka Kakushi Gotou’s increasingly ridiculous efforts to hide his profession from his precious 10-year-old daughter Hime featured an oddly somber framing device at the end of each episode that showed an older Hime discovering her father’s work in an abandoned shed. We finally get the full explanation of that moment in the last couple of episodes, where we see that Kakushi retired out of shame and started working at a warehouse, where an unstable pallet of manga periodicals fell on his head and caused him to lose much of his memory. When Hime shows him the manuscripts, he finally recognizes her as his daughter and promises to draw manga with her and his other assistants as one big team. In this anime all about secrets, it’s the truth that won out in the end!
4. Fruits Basket 2nd Season
Much of Fruits Basket’s second season dealt with the Zodiac members’ relationships with family head Akito – his violent possessiveness and verbal abuse strongly affected who they are as people, and they’re all at varying stages of healing from it. But why would he act this way, and why does everyone put up with it? It’s only when Tooru talks to Kureno, the bird of the Zodiac who Akito rarely lets out of his sight, that the truth is revealed: Akito is actually a girl, and her toxic attitude comes from her own abusive upbringing. On top of that, Kureno’s curse is already broken, but he stays with Akito out of a supernatural sense of guilt and love that none of the Zodiac members can control. It’s a moment that Fruits Basket fans have been waiting over a decade to see in animated form, and this new adaptation absolutely did it justice. Now we just have to wait for season 3 to get answers to all of the other questions...
3. Kamisama no Natta Hi (The Day I Became a God)
At first, The Day I Became a God just seems like a cute romantic comedy about a down-to-earth high schooler named Yota and a hyperactive girl named Hina who insists that she’s actually a god who can predict the future. Yota entertains her childish antics and even begins to fall in love with her, but eventually, he realizes that she’s suffering from a severe illness that will slowly eat away at her mental aptitude and motor skills until she’s little more than a vegetable. The only thing that’s keeping her stable is a microchip in her brain, which is seized by mysterious government agents near the end of the series, so Yota is forced to start his relationship with Hina over from square one. It’s a bittersweet ending that left viewers divided, but we appreciate the moxie that it took to subvert the audience’s expectations like that. What do you think?
2. Jujutsu Kaisen
One of the golden rules of shounen anime is that every villain can eventually become a friend, especially if they’re characterized as a morally good person who fell in with the wrong crowd. We were 100% convinced that Yuuji would be able to save Junpei from Mahito’s bad influence and convert him to the side of good (the OP even made it look like that would happen), but Jujutsu Kaisen operates on gritty realism rules, so Mahito mercilessly kills Junpei before he has a chance to redeem himself. At least Yuuji got to give the jerk a well-deserved sakuga-filled beatdown at the end of it! For pulling off an ending that we didn’t expect and infusing it with more emotion than we thought this anime was capable of, Jujutsu Kaisen gets a spot on our list.
Sometimes all an anime needs to do for the perfect ending is one big action scene, and that’s pretty much exactly what Appare-Ranman does. In a rousing homage to classic westerns like The Magnificent Seven (which was in turn based on the Kurosawa film The Seven Samurai), Appare and the other racers use their wits and martial arts skills to blow through Gil T. Cigar’s henchmen and save the damsel in distress from a train that’s been rigged with explosives. Then they finally get to finish the race and go their separate ways, having grown as people and cherishing the friendships they made along the way. Is it cheesy? Yes. But is it our favorite anime ending of 2020? Hell yes!
We also loved the film club’s presentation of their completed work from Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, as well as Moriarty and Sherlock’s detective competition at the end of Moriarty the Patriot. But what were your favorite season finales and series endings of 2020? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!