Hello dear readers and welcome to the first of my 2020 roundup posts here on Shoot the Rookie. As we approach the end of 2020 I want to use this chance to look back at some of the awesome anime I’ve watched in the last year, so why not join me for a trip through my year in anime and you never know you might pick up some new favourites along the way!
As I’ve written before, this year has thrown my usual anime traditions out the window, as the physical screenings at Scotland Loves Anime were cancelled and there has basically been no cinema at all. However, pre-lockdown there was a very short window in 2020 where cinemas were open, and that’s where my review of the year in anime starts…
My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising
This was a really fun cinema trip with everyone receiving free posters for the film as we arrived. The film itself was quite standard My Hero Academia fare, full of action, drama and one of those annoying twists at the end that meant that nothing that happened in the film would carry over into the series – at least that is what I presume it meant, otherwise the series is going in a whole different direction from what I expected!
After that I was unable to attend any other physical anime showings so the rest of my year was defined by Crunchyroll and Screen Anime. Amongst the things I watched were a number of continuing series that I’ve been following for a while…
My Hero Academia
Haha! You thought I was done with My Hero Academia didn’t you? Well not quite, as 2020 also saw me watching the tail end of Season four of this wonderful series. Season four was very much a season of two halves, with the first being super dramatic and quite devastating, and the second being extraordinarily silly. My Hero Academia does both of these things really well and I enjoyed both halves, but it was quite striking how different the two parts were.
Sword Art Online
More total madness from Sword Art this year saw the climax of the Alicization arc and my overall impression was that it was really really patchy but good enough in parts to be worth watching. I really enjoyed the first bit which focussed on the friendship and motivations of Kirito and Eugeo, but at some point it descended into war-based lunacy where I couldn’t follow what was going on. It made a fatal error in bringing back literally every character who had ever featured in Sword Art and expecting me to remember who they were and it wasn’t until the last few episodes where it really got back to its best.
Aside from these long-standing projects I started an absolute ton of other shows. I wrote a bit about what I’ve been watching back in June, but here I just want to pick out a few of my favourites…
Digimon Adventure: 2020
As a teenager I was a proper Digimon fangirl so was obviously excited when I heard about this remake of the original series and let me tell you it has not disappointed! It started a little shakily, but by episode 3 or 4 it had really got going. The characters, the action and the mildly absurd story are all as awesome as I remember in the original, and now being on episode 30 I am very curious as to how much more we’ve got to go as I genuinely don’t want it ever to finish. An unexpected highlight of the series has been the Digimon Encyclopaedia introduced by Koshiro at the end of each episode. It seems boring at first, but the more you watch the more you realise it is just an excuse for Koshiro to talk about fashion!
This is one of the funniest anime’s I’ve ever seen and is the perfect piss-take of all those other hero anime’s you’ve seen. About a man who can defeat any enemy with one punch, the show follows the protagonist Saitama’s totally normal life and his struggles with the fact that he finds hero work really boring. It’s a gem that I’d recommend to all!
How many times can I write about this show without it getting repetitive? I was initially unsure about it but it had enough humour to keep me going and at some point evolved in to being one of my favourite shows in ages. It features protagonist Senku trying to rebuild civilization using the power of science after everything is turned to stone. An interesting idea is backed up with likeable characters and an interesting antagonist who I can’t wait to see more of in the second series which starts in January 2021.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Everyone seems to have an opinion on Demon Slayer and I for one really enjoyed it. Again it was a slow starter, but once you get to know the characters, and most importantly the main antagonist, this show really takes off. It excels at delivering tense and creepy horror and the action sequences are great too. I also noticed lots of little details in the show I liked, particularly the interaction between Zenitsu and his sparrow companion Chuntaro. I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to watch the feature film – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train – but based on its popularity in Japan I’m very excited for it!
I don’t have a huge amount more to say about Mushi-Shi than I did in my previous post on it, but I would repeat that this is a show which creates atmosphere like no other. It is probably the most melancholic thing I’ve ever seen, and its depiction of the relationship between humans and the natural world is quite compelling in a strange, slow, eerie way.
This is one I picked up recently and am enjoying a lot so far, although it took a twist around episode 6 which made it much darker than I was expecting. Revolving around the exploits of a young band, it is a really character driven show and they are a generally likeable lot if all a little mysterious and/or a bit odd. I’m only about halfway through but am looking forward to seeing where the story is going and if Mafuyu will in fact ever say more than one word to Uenoyama (I’m gonna take a punt that the answer is yes!)
As I said earlier the main event in my anime calendar – Scotland Loves Anime – could not physically take place this year, but as I wrote about extensively already the online event proved a wonderful experience and provided a sense of being at the festival even though we were all just at home. There were a lot of great films at the festival but lets just take a look at a couple of my favourites…
This was such a good film and I’m so glad to have finally got a chance to watch it! About two civilizations on the same planet that exist in opposite gravities, it is an excellent examination of how we can look at things from different points of view, both literally and metaphorically.
Love Live! The School Idol Movie
I adored this film about school idols and will admit that I am now watching the series it is based on on Crunchyroll, which is just as good if not better. There is something just right about the characters that allows it to be completely hilarious but also really moving.
…and that rounds off my year in anime! The year may have been terrible in a lot of ways, but the anime has been anything but and I can’t wait to see what next year brings (especially as it is bringing more Dr. Stone!).
So what do you make of my anime choices this year? Any favourites of your’s on this list? Perhaps you have something cool to recommend to me and the other readers for next year? Let me know below in comments and make sure you check out my year in gaming post coming out in a couple of days!
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Why not make 2021 the year you watch PROMARE!!!!!