As the year of 2020 draws to an end (at last), it is time for me to look back at the anime I have been watching during the past few months. As usual, I’ll be celebrating all the things I enjoyed from the shows I chose to watch.
The list of shows looks a little something like this:
- Adachi and Shimamura
- Assault Lily BOUQUET
- BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS
- D4DJ First Mix
- Dropout Idol Fruit Tart
- Healin’ Good ♡ PreCure
- Is the Order a Rabbit? – BLOOM
- Iwakakeru -Sport Climbing Girls-
- Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
- Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
- Maesetsu! Opening Act
- One Piece
- Strike Witches: Road to Berlin
- Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
As usual, there will potentially be spoilers for any of the shows listed above. Also, as a side note, though Attack on Titan Final Season did start airing in December 2020, I’m just going to consider it a Winter 2021 season anime.
With that stuff said and done, let’s dive in.
Best Opening Theme
“Sacred World” by RAISE A SUILEN
The opening theme for Assault Lily BOUQUET is… well, put quite simply, a banger. I love RAISE A SUILEN’s songs, having become familiar with them through Bang Dream!. Sacred World sets the tone for what to expect for Assault Lily BOUQUET.
Runners-up: “Guru Guru DJ Turn” by Happy Around! feat. KYOKO & SAKI (D4DJ First Mix); “Nijiiro Passions!” by Nijigasaki School Idol Club (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club)
Blossoming feelings of two delinquents
The story that kept me most engaged over the season has to be Adachi and Shimamura. I guess I already knew a lot of it from the light novels, but honestly the anime adaptation does a really good job. Seeing both girls figure out what they feel about each other was a rewarding journey.
Runners-up: Tales from a witch’s travels (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina); Girls training to become Lilies (Assault Lily BOUQUET)
Elaina drifts from place to place, pretty much just doing whatever she wants. Sometimes that doesn’t pan out for her and she gets caught up in some event or other. Her carefree attitude may not be for everyone, but she certainly experiences some unforgettable moments that may make her think twice.
Runners-up: Yu Takasaki (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club); Rinku Aimoto (D4DJ First Mix)
From BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS, Deepa proved to be an insurmountable obstacle when Team 7 first fought him. Their defeat at his hands pushed them to train themselves to be even stronger, but Deepa still proves to be a challenge when they meet again. Any antagonist that motivates the heroes to improve themselves is probably worth making note of, and Deepa is one such foe.
Runners-up (basically copping out on this one, because most other antagonistic forces in the shows are inhuman beings): Kaido (One Piece); Big Mom (One Piece)
Best Female Character
Honestly, my best protagonist and best female character awards are interchangeable. Yuna, from Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, is a fun character, though. She possesses a lot of power, but doesn’t want to get caught up in troubling things. Naturally, getting involved in trouble is something she just can’t avoid.
Runners-up: Rina Tennoji (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club); Riri Hitotsuyanagi (Assault Lily BOUQUET)
Best Male Character
From Iwakakeru -Sport Climbing Girls-, Juzo Goto occasionally coaches the girls. He plays a key part in helping Konomi improves her climbing, and even supports the girls at competitions along with his daughter.
Runners-up: George S. Patton (Strike Witches: Road to Berlin); Takahiro Kafu (Is the Order a Rabbit? – BLOOM)
Best Cast of Characters
Nijigasaki School Idols
The usual formula for Love Live! gives us nine school idols. Nijigasaki is the same, but we also have the addition of Yu Takasaki. Each and every last member of the cast gets their own time to shine, and they’re a great bunch. Obviously people will pick favourites, but they’re all excellent characters.
Runners-up: Yurigaoka Girls Academy students (Assault Lily BOUQUET); Adachi, Shimamura and their acquaintances (Adachi and Shimamura)
Yashiro ChikamaFirst introduced in Adachi and Shimamura as a tiny astronaut, it isn’t too long until she reveals what she truly looks like, and Yashiro is adorable. She’s also something of an enigma, claiming to be an alien – something that the sparkles flowing from her hair really attests to.
Runners-up: Fina (Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear); Chino Kafu (Is the Order a Rabbit? – BLOOM)
Most Badass Character
Any of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing from Strike Witches: Road to Berlin almost certainly qualify for this, but it was Trude who blew me away when the time for her episode came around. A defeat resulted in her honing her body, and whoa… that’s all that really needs to be said.
Runners-up: Yuyu Shirai (Assault Lily BOUQUET); Boruto Uzumaki (BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS)
Adachi and Shimamura
Yeah, this one is going to the couple that have an entire anime focused on the development of their relationship. Adachi’s pretty obvious about how she feels, but keeps it bottled up out of fear. Shimamura is less open about her feelings, but she does occasionally show signs that she knows what Adachi feels.
Runners-up: Riri Hitotsuyanagi & Yuyu Shirai (Assault Lily BOUQUET); Yu Takasaki & Ayumu Uehara (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club)
Team 7 vs. Deepa
This fight from BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS also ties into the reason or Deepa being one of my favourite antagonists of this season. We see the culmination of Boruto and Sarada’s training here, and Boruto is finally able to unleash his new Rasengan at full force. Deepa doesn’t fall easily, though, and it takes the united power of all three members of Team 7 to eke out a victory. This fight is beautifully animated, too; BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS really pulled out all the stops for the episode.
Runners-up: Yuri Hitotsuyanagi vs. Mecha Rumpelstilzchen (Assault Lily: BOUQUET); Assault on Wolf (Strike Witches: Road to Berlin)
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
Each member of the Nijigasaki Idol Club gets their own song in Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (except Yu, for obvious reasons), and each and every last one of them is incredible. The video above features Setsuna Yuki’s “CHASE”, which we hear in the very first episode. Easily one of my favourite Love Live! songs.
Runners-up: D4DJ First Mix; Dropout Idol Fruit Tart
Assault on Wolf
The final assault against the Neuroi nest wolf in Strike Witches: Road to Berlin brings to mind the attack on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. It’s a spectacular conclusion to the third season of Strike Witches.
Runners-up: Riri and Yuyu’s final assault (Assault Lily BOUQUET); School Idol Festival (Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club)
Best Ending Theme
“WOW WAR TONIGHT ~Toki ni wa Okoseyo Movement” by Shano Himegami & Airi Amano
Sometimes simple is best, and that is what D4DJ First Mix goes for with its ending theme. It is simply Maho doing her DJ thing, with the camera slowly zooming in on her whilst she’s having the time of her life.
Also worth noting, Shano Himegami is voiced by Raychell and Airi Amano by Nana Mizuki – now that is a notable duo performing the song.
Runners-up: “LET’S CLIMB↑” by Sumire Uesaka, Yui Ishikawa, Suzuki, and Miyu Tomita (Iwakakeru -Sport Climbing Girls-); “Haiiro no Saga” by ChouCho (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina)
Adachi and Shimamura
There have been plenty of solid shows this season, but I think that ultimately Adachi and Shimamura just manages to edge the others out as my favourite. Reading the light novels probably contributed to that. An utterly fantastic adaptation, and it kept engaged week after week. Definitely worthy of sitting alongside Bloom into You as a modern yuri classic.
Runners-up: Assault Lily BOUQUET; Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
That wraps up my anime awards for the season, and also for 2020. Things got pretty rough (admittedly for some more than others) this year, but we did get some great anime.
Overall I am really impressed with what this season gave us, picking out one single favourite anime was tough.
Of course I’ll be doing this again at the end of the next season, so I’ll see you then (you know, not counting the other posts I’ll be publishing up until that point).