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Top 10

Top Ten Anime, Manga, and Movies of 2020

Jujutsu Kaisen

I’ve heard about Jujutsu Kaisen, but I thought it was just another demon manga/anime series. Considering my history with anime (Yu Yu Hakusho and Demon Slayer), I should have known not to prejudge based on tropes. Regardless, I Iove this series. It’s still in the middle but I like the world building, characters, and animation so far.

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 1: Recap and Review


Tower of God

Manhwa (Korean comics) has become an important source for anime adaptation. Tower of God was my first exposure to the series by Lee Jong-hui. The story centers on Twenty-Fifth Bam. Trapped with his friend Rachel underneath the mysterious Tower, he follows her into the Tower. Bam encounters challenges on each floor of the Tower as he searches for Rachel. The first season is phenomenal, ending in a shocking cliffhanger.

Is Tower of God Good?


Deca-Dence

Deca-Dence is a series set in the distant future, insect-like creatures called Gadoll have forced humanity towards extinction. I had no expectation for this series, so it was a surprise when Deca-Dence turned out to be far more sophisticated. The series was full of twists and turns, while making a critique of capitalism. Its themes are topically for 2020, and it was one of the most original anime of the year.

Deca-Dence Episode 1: Recap and Review


Pokemon: Twilight Wings

One of the biggest surprises of this year was Pokemon: Twilight Wings. A seven episode limited animated series, set in the Galar Region, the short anime series follows the citizens of Galar. Despite the short length of the series and each episode, Pokemon: Twilight Wings was impactful. All seven focused on side characters expanding the Pokemon universe through the eyes of Galar citizens. Pokemon: Twilight Wings was an emotional series with great animation.

Pokemon: Twilight Wings, a short anime series based on Sword and Shield games


The God of High School

I was excited about The God of High School from the moment they announced it. I wasn’t disappointed. Like Tower of God, it based on the series created by Yongje Park. While the series doesn’t reinvent the wheel, there are enough surprises to keep you interested. The God of High School balances humor with high octane action.

‘The God of High School,’: An instant hit


Burn the Witch (Manga/Movie)

The most expected manga for me was Tite Kubo’s Burn the Witch. The series also released a movie of the same name. Both cover the same material, but I preferred the anime. We’re introduced to the principal characters, “Noel and Ninny, the world of Reverse London, and it all ends with a battle with an ancient dragon, Cinderella.” With the addition of music, sound effects, and explosions, Burn the Witch is a unique experience when animated.

Burn the Witch Episode 1–3: Recap and Review


Kimetsu no Yaiba : The Movie – Mugen Train

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie–Mugen Train is the first film from the Demon Slayer series. A direct sequel from the anime series, the film retells the Mugen Train arc. Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke join the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku in investigating disappearances on the Infinity Train. The movie centers on the themes of humanity and accepting death. Once again, Tanjiro emotional intelligence stands out.

Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie–Mugen Train Review


Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep

I can’t wait for the Made in Abyss series returns. In the meantime, Abyss has produced three movies. The first two were recap movies, with Dawn of the Deep telling the Ido Front Arc. Made in Abyss continues to flush out the harsh universe, as Nanachi, Reg, and Riko head down towards the center of the Abyss. Like the Demon Slayer movie, using a film to tell an arc is proving to be a wonderful decision.

Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul, Recap and Review


Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro follows Kaiman, a man with a lizard head, as he tries to find the one magic user that cursed him. Kaiman also has amnesia, making his search even more difficult. Dorohedoro is an odd series with a strange world. Each character has unique designs and powers to match. Dorohedoro is a stylised violent series with a intriguing mystery at its center.

Dorohedoro Episode 1 Recap & Review


Haikyuu!! To the Top

I wasn’t into anime sports series until Yuri on Ice. I was so impressed with the series I wanted to give another popular sports anime a chance. Haikyuu!! To the Top is the fourth season of the volleyball anime. It separates Hinata and rival Kageyama as they develop apart. Hinata learns more about volleyball without playing and Kageyama sharpens his skills with Japans best. Once reunited, Hinata, Kageyama and the rest of Karasuno battle in the Spring Tournament.

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 1: Recap and Review

Anime

Burn the Witch Episode 1 – 3: Recap and Review

Tite Kubo’s spin-off gets animated

Burn the Witch is an anime and manga series from Tite Kubo. The one-shot was so popular that Shueisha wanted to create a movie from it. The Burn the Witch film is based on the limited four-chapter series. In other regions the film was broken up into three episodes. If you read the manga, then the content isn’t new. The episode retells the four chapters released last month. We’re introduced to the main characters, Noel and Ninny, the world of Reverse London, and it all ends with a battle with an ancient dragon, Cinderella. 

Fans already have taken to the anime, many fell in love with Noel Niihashi. The stoic member of the Wing Bind agency, Noel seems to have become an instant fave of fans. The art style and creativity of Tite Kubo have fans excited as well. Ninny and Noel are the perfect pair whos personalities balance each other. The only downside to this series is Balgo. He a typical perve, constantly harassing Noel. I find him dumb, annoying, and distracting. If the series were longer he might grow on me, but I think the series is better without him. 

However, seeing a manga series animated is often more enjoyable. The anime is visually stunning, breathing life into Reverse London. You get a great sense of danger when you can see the civilians run and hear them scream. In Burn the Witch, the dragons benefit from being animated the most. Elly is an odd birdlike, skeleton looking dragon. Her movements are almost demonic. Only anime could breathe life into Elly. With the addition of music, sound effects, and explosions, Burn the Witch is a different experience when animated. 

Burn the Witch Chapter 4: Recap and Review

Manga

Burn the Witch Chapter 4: Recap and Review

Color cover of chapter 4 of Burn thw Witch
Color cover of chapter 4 of Burn thw Witch

Chapter 4 – If a lion could speak, We couldn’t understand

Chapter 4 of Burn the Witch opens with Balgo Parks whos still oblivious to his fate, finally being told that he’s a wanted man by Bruno. Ninny and Noel plan to shoot a spark off then escape with Macy and Balgo. Suddenly, Elly ambushes Bruno from the sky. He prepares to attack her but she disappears using Stealth Scale. The technique is rare for a dragon, allowing Elly to turn invisible to avoid attacks. Elly attacks Rickenbacker’s wing, slashing through it. She then takes to the air transforming into a larger dragon, Cinderella. She resembles a bird with dragon wings. Noel, Ninny, and Bruno are shocked that Elly turned out to be a Märchen. 

Märchen are ancient dragons that existed before Reverse London. They’re “progenitors” of the Dark Dragons and are authorized for elimination. There’s seven in all, named after fairy tails, Snow White, Red Dress, Golden Axe, Bubbles, Sugar House, Band of Animals, and Cinderella. Each one has six talons on each hand, the ability to use Stealth Scale, and Star Ash dust that explodes. Noel claims that they only mature “nocturnally.” With a new threat, Bruno decides to focus on eliminating the dragon. Bruno uses paint canisters to draw a symbol on Rickenbacker’s wing. He utters the phrase, “release code 0575 unlock” which summons a Hunger Shadow. Suddenly, a dark beast emerges and jumps on Cinderella’s face. 


Battle with Cinderella

It attempts to bite her, but Cinderella blows it away with an energy blast. Ninny and Noel arrive to provide backup. Cinderella has one weakness, the Crown-Shaped Horn on her head. The three of them separate and surround Cinderella. Ninny and Noel cast Magic #68: Supernal Jail, trapping Cinderella within several beams of light. Bruno uses another symbol to summon Greedy Curtain, surrounding Cinderella in sludge. She responds by blowing up the sludge and the top of the roof. Noel, Ninny, and Bruno are injured as Cinderella takes flight heading towards them. Noel and Ninny erect a barrier, as Ninny wonders why she’s attacking them and not Bruno. 

Shockingly, Cinderella stops moving and is shot through the Crown Artery by Billy Banx Jr. Despite that harrowing fight, Ninny and Noel aren’t paid very much. Billy claims that this is due to them begin charged for the damage. Bruno was given credit for killing Cinderella, enraging Ninny further. Macy becomes a dragonclad. Meanwhile, Wolfgang Slashhuat is given an application for releasing Balgo from the status of Punitive Dragon. Wolfgang notes that during the investigation of Balgo revealed that he came into contact with Macy months ago and this may have been the “trigger” that resulted in Cinderella’s appearance. They decide to use him to attract Märchen. Elsewhere, Sullivan Squire investigates the location where Billy shot Cinderella. She says that she’s “relieved” that she didn’t underestimate the “son of a hero.” 

Burn the Witch Chapter 3: Recap and Review

Manga

Burn the Witch Chapter 3: Recap and Review

Chapter 3 of Burn the Witch opens with Billy Banx Jr. leering outside of the Top of Horns meeting room. He’s confronted by Sullivan Squire, who asks “why he’s here.” Sullivan admonishes him for failing to “say goodbye” despite all she did for him. Confused, Billy wonders why Squire mentioned his Ninny and Noel at all. She tells him that the elimination of Balgo Parks has been approved. Sullivan implies that Bruno Bangnyfe’s “methods” are particularly harsh. Meanwhile, Bruno tells Noel and Ninny that he’s not “trying to kill them” Noel, in her dry tone, shocks Bruno by not knowing who he is. Ninny on the other hand is fully aware of him. 

Bruno calls for a Dragon blockade on Penfront Street that excludes Balgo. After the blockade is erected, Bruno accuses Balgo of being a terrorist. Bruno tells Ninny and Noel about the execution order and that a bounty will be activated in 72 hours. Realizing that Noel and Ninny aren’t going to step aside, Bruno turns hostile. Noel grabs Balgo, while Ninny asks Bruno “why he brought Macy here?” He admits to bringing her to Reverse London but he isn’t responsible for the dragon. Bruno reveals that Macy is a “Watcher,” a human with strong magical abilities. He deflects Ninny’s, Witch Kit, which Noel grabs and fires. In the chaos of the explosion, Ninny grabs Macy and flies away. 

Bruno chases Balgo

Annoyed, Bruno calls his dragon, Rickenbacker. Macy tells Ninny how she meets Elly. Macy admits that she always hated being in their group and would have quit if it wasn’t for Ninny. Later she finds an infant Elly, feeding her all kinds of food. Elly preferred fruits and vegetables, got larger, and never used the bathroom. She finally felt special having Elly in her life. Suddenly, Bruno tears through the Cloth they were hiding in with Rickenbacker. He mocks them while revealing that Balgo’s Punitive Dragon designation has been finalized. Burn the Witch is still filling out the universe but I starting to get the feel for how the governing body of Reverse London functions. It seems like the government is draconian, delivering harsh penalties without much consideration for the criminals. I think both Noel and Ninny will become outcasts, fighting against the government to rescue Macy and Balgo. 

Burn the Witch Chapter 2: Recap and Review

Manga

Burn the Witch Chapter 2: Recap and Review

The cover of Chapter 2 of Burn the Witch
The cover of Chapter 2 of Burn the Witch

Chapter 2 – Ghillie Suit

Burn the Witch continues to build the universe. Light Dragons are distinguished from dark dragons in many ways. The first thing you notice is that they are adorable and look like cartoon characters. They serve the residents as “natural resources” functioning as radio wave boosters, Plant cultivation, water cleaners, and even mass transit. Ninny calls annoyed that Noel has gotten the headline in the Reverse London Press. Meanwhile, the Chief calls them with a work matter that pays five times the pay and points. An illegally reared dragon is allegedly being kept in the west. The duo head west with Balgo in tow. 

When they arrive in the district, they notice an explosion in another area. Noel and Balgo rush to see what’s happening. The explosion is at the empty building of the Realists a tabloid. Ninny spots someone inside the building and flies up through the window. Inside is someone that Ninny knows, Macy. She plans on destroying the building to get revenge for a negative story the Realist wrote. It’s revealed that Macy used a dragon named Elly to cause the explosion. Ninny warns Macy of the potential consequences of coming into contact with the dragon, however, Macy refuses to listen. Her dragon attacks Ninny, but Noel shoots it. 

Bruno Bangnyfe makes an explosive entrance

Ninny says that Macy “has feelings for her” and becomes jealous when other women are friendly towards her. She decides that she will attack from the roof, while Noel distracts her. However, when Ninny reaches the roof she’s caught in an explosion caused by Bruno Bangnyfe. He apologizes, kinda, asking if she died because he’ll need to write an incident report. Things don’t look good for Macy though. If this guy doesn’t kill her, then she will probably get executed. Burn the Witch is still filling out the world but we are starting to see how the society functions. That said, we haven’t learned how the combat works yet. I’m going to guess that we will see in the next chapter. 

Burn The Witch Chapter 1: Recap and Review