Best of 2020 – Anime Awards
Welcome to AllYourAnime.Net’s fifth and final Best of the Year Anime Awards! We’ve reviewed every season over this past year, giving us the confidence to pick out the titles that shone above the rest and are worth going back for if you somehow skipped them over. These are the titles that deserve to be remembered past 2020, exemplifying the best anime the year had to offer.
Below you’ll find the awards broken down into seasons, with winners for each and a couple runners-up potentially that were too good to ignore outright. At the end only one of the four seasonal winners will be crowned Best of the Year. So, without further delay:
(Note: only TV anime were considered for these awards.)
Best of Winter 2020:
Tom: Eizouken! claims top spot for Winter 2020 thanks to its lovable trio of aspiring animators, the animation knowledge the show imparts to fans of the medium, and the wildly fantastical imagery the series’ crafts in order to depict the vibrant imagination our three leads frequently become engulfed by on their quest to produce their very first animated project. It’s low stakes, but consistently charming, making it a stand out title.
Check out our review for more on Eizouken!
Linny: In/Spectre blends the supernatural with detective work as our leads, Kotoko and Kurou seek to solve not only mysterious deaths but also the poignant emotions behind the incidents they encounter. The chemistry between the very spunky, confident Kotoko Iwanaga and the reluctantly roped in Kurou Sakuragawa makes for wonderful banter and charming comedy. These factors come together to form a show that’s as intriguing as it is amusing. At times the show can even prove to be quite moving, especially as we dive into the torrent of emotions behind each of the cases Kotoko and Kurou seek to solve, making it a solid runner up for the Winter season. If I were to critique the show, it would be that when it moves from an episodic story format to a singular, ongoing narrative, it starts to feel a bit tedious and at times drawn out. Not only that, the story becomes very monologue heavy as Kotoko ruminates episode after episode while in an online chatroom on how to deal with the show’s ultimate issue, which doesn’t make for the most dynamic visual entertainment. It’s these factors that keep the show from taking top spot.
Check out our review for more on In/Spectre!
Tom: Uchitama may not be Winter’s winner, but this fun title about a group of lovable pets, anthropomorphized for comedy’s sake, is an absolute joy ride for anyone who has a little furry baby all their own. The series perfectly captures the lovably inept nature of the very animals we love, and is sure to warm any pet lover’s heart.
Check out our review for more on Uchitama!
Best of Spring 2020:
Linny: Kakushigoto is all about a loving father trying to protect his adorable and innocent young daughter from the truth about his occupation that he considers a shameful secret; He’s the author of a naughty gag manga! This desire to keep things under wraps leads to all sorts of hilarious hijinks as well as heartwarming moments between father and daughter, especially when you’re pairing a neurotic dad with a precocious daughter. And thus solid comedy served alongside some genuinely touching emotional content easily pushes Kakushigoto into top spot as Spring 2020’s best anime offering.
Check out our review for more on Kakushigoto!
Tom: Wave, Listen to Me! is a quirky comedy that toys with a more personal, ‘where is my life going?’ kind of drama that’s the perfect kind of introspection for an older anime audience. The only thing that keeps it from really winning top spot for the Spring is how it can be a bit uneven at times, and a certain level of consistent homophobia running through the series, which is extremely disappointing when there’s so much else to love here.
Check out our review for more on Wave, Listen to Me!
Best of Summer 2020:
Tom: Deca-Dence offers a unique, sci-fi world that zig and zags when viewers least expect. The first episode sets viewers expectations, only to upturn them in the very next. Deca-Dence toys with conventional sci-fi anime tropes and finds new ways of approaching them, crafting a decently fresh experience that stood out over every other Summer anime.
Check out our review for more on Deca-Dence!
Linny: Let me be honest, Summer 2020 wasn’t a great season for anime overall. Thanks to the pandemic, quite a few anime were delayed, or suffered cancellations mid way through their televised runs. Heck, Appare-Ranman was even a Spring show at one point! So, even though Appare-Ranman did end up winning the runner up spot for the Spring season, it did so simply because of the literal lack of competition. Obviously, it did get enough right to have us watching till the end. Some of those factors were its unique aesthetics, mixing steam punk with the wild west of America and its staunchly Japanese leads. While it starts off as our two lead Japanese heroes simply trying to earn enough to make their way back home to Japan by winning the first ever cross-continent race, it turns into a much more serious matter as conspiracies and deceptions are uncovered. Throw in some heart pounding action and zany characters and you got yourself a show that’s entertaining enough to prove itself as one of the better titles to come out of a troubled Summer.
Check out our review for more on Appare-Ranman!
Best of Fall 2020:
Tom: Akudama Drive may be a little thin when it comes to its characters, and its world building won’t entirely satisfy more attentive viewers, but what it manages with its pacing, and animation crafts a constantly exciting experience packed with action and thrills that never lets up and rarely disappoints. Follow an ordinary girl who stumbles into a criminal life as a member of the “Akudama;” deadly criminals that Kansai’s executioners stop at nothing to pursue. This girl, taking up the code-name of Swindler, becomes caught up in a deadly mission that pits the Akudama directly against the Executioners of Kansai, in a quest to steal a mysterious package from a high-security bullet train that travels from Kansai to the even more mysterious Kanto region.
Check out our review for more on Akudama Drive!
Linny: Shounen titles are a dime a dozen, so much so that one often has to sift through quite a few duds to find something that feels fresh and impressive. And this year we found a winner in Jujutsu Kaisen. Not only does the show boast amazing animation throughout its entire run thus far (a rarity in a genre that is known to cut corners to keep up with extended seasons and constant output) but it puts in enough of a spin on classic tropes to avoid feeling like just another pretty copy paste. And the show packs in many impressive combat and showdowns which are further boosted by the superior animation making it all the more appealing. There’s enough here to renew or invigorate anyone’s lost love for the genre but not enough to convert anyone tired or done with the genre completely, which is what relegates it to the runner up position.
Check out our review for more on Jujutsu Kaisen!
And Finally: Winner of AllYourAnime.Net’s Best of 2020 Awards:
Anime of the Year:
Tom: For anyone who sifted through the 100+ anime titles to come out over 2020, it shouldn’t be much of a shock that Eizouken! takes the top spot. It’s cast really is just that lovable, and the atmosphere the show generates through the combination of whimsical visuals, charming writing, and easy-going music is just too delightful to pass up. Slice of Life often become too easy going in their pursuit of relaxing entertainment, but Eizouken! strikes a difficult balance that gives our characters obstacles, while maintaining a pleasant vibe that makes it perfect to unwind with. 2020 doesn’t get better than this.
Linny: Thanks to its unique art style and very likeable main cast, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is undoubtedly THE anime of 2020. It gave us a very creative look at animation and the imaginative visualizations in every episode put this show in a league of its own. From those besotted with anime to those who think it has nothing new to offer, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! offers something so remarkable and so innovative that it’s worth a watch for all. While not without its flaws and the undeniable truth that taste and enjoyment of media is so subjective, the visuals alone are enough to have Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! soaring above the rest.
Thanks for reading! This Best of 2020 Article marks the end of our seasonal anime coverage. Thanks to all our readers who stuck with us over these last five years. We hope 2021 brings with it a slew of new, fun anime titles for everyone to enjoy.