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

Dorohedoro Episode 12 Recap and Review

In episode 12 of Dorohedoro, Nikaido and Kaiman clash on the bridge.
Nikaido and Kaiman clash on the bridge

The origins of the cross-eye have been a mystery for this entire season. Episode 12 of Dorohedoro, answers some of our questions early. The cross-eye can’t use magic. Risu claims that they have a “headquarters” in Berith. He heads there to find out who killed him. Meanwhile, Kaiman and Nikaido begin to fight on the bridge. Kaiman is reluctant to fight her. She knocks him through a wall. A statue crushes Kaiman’s legs. Barely able to walk, Kaiman’s head starts to hurt. Nikaido is surprised by what appears to be Kaiman. He stabs her in the back. Asu, her devil friend, finds her and removes the contract from her wound. 

The contract is still on

Despite Asu removing the contract, it’s still in effect. Nikaido has escaped its control temporarily. According to Asu, if she lays eyes on En again the “contract will regrow inside her body.” Asu tells her that she must escape and get far from him. Kaiman has flashbacks of meeting Nikaido. It turns out that Kaiman isn’t his real name. Its the name of the reptile he resembles. When he comes to Kaiman swallows Nikaido’s head. She sees Risu and he tells her that she’s “not the one.” Nikaido tells him that the man in his mouth is Risu.

Nikaido meets the Risu in Kaiman’s mouth

Meanwhile, Shin and the others share a meal. He plans to return them to Hole tomorrow and implores them to forget Nikaido. As En follows Nikaido into the church. Asu forces Kaiman and Nikaido into a door and turns Chota into Nikaido. 

A heart to heart

Kaiman and Nikaido are sent to a ruined city. They hid in an abandoned train station to escape the devils. Nikaido explains that her magic caused her to “lose a friend.” It’s dangerous and she has highly sought after. She wanted to become human. She hoped that she could become human by fighting against sorcerers. Kaiman points out that he has no idea what kind of human he was. Why would she want to be friends with him? 

Nikaido asks Kaiman if being a sorcerer is a “dealbreaker?” He rationalizes that if she doesn’t use magic she really can’t be a sorcerer. They pinky swear. Promising no matter what Kaiman is really like they will be friends forever. 

Friends forever

The mysteries in Dorohedoro continue

Dorohedoro episode 12 ends on a touching moment. However, I can’t help but assume both promises will be broken. At some point, Nikaido will be forced to use her magic and we will find out that Kaiman was a terrible man. This episode was very well-paced. It felt quick but satisfying. Dorohedoro has set up new problems, Nikaido can’t escape En’s contract so easily. While implementing a temporary solution, Chota taking her place. Eventually, Chota (as Nikiado) will be asked to use her magic. 

When he fails En will surely kill him. Shin and Noi helping Vaux and the others could prove problematic for them. Finally, Asu is going to pay for his interference. One thing is clear, if Risu can’t use magic then he didn’t use magic on Kaiman. I can’t wait to find out who’s responsible. 

So did you enjoy this season? How did you like the season finale?

Dorohedoro Episode 11 Recap and Review

Dorohedoro Episode 11 Recap and Review

Image from episode 11 of Dorohedoro. En is eating mushrooms in Hell.
En eating in Hell

Dorohedoro episode 11 is full of surprises. After the last episode, I assumed Johnson and Dr. Kasukabe were goners. I had completely forgotten the fact that the Doctor saved Shin’s life. Meanwhile, Chota abuses Nikaido. He gives her poison tea and drops a bowling ball on her head. He’s jealous of her partnership with En. He makes her watch the autobiographical movie that En wrote and produced. Dorohedoro uses the movie as a framing device to tell us En’s backstory. The first chapter is titled “Hell.” When En was a baby, his magic turned his parents into mushrooms. A bulgar kidnapped him. Sold to low-class sorcerers, he stole smoke from higher classed sorcerers. He worked there for nine years. After that, they threw him in a river. 

Image of The Cross-eye eviscerating Shin and Noi.
The Cross-eye eviscerates Shin and Noi

En’s backstory, Surviving Hell

En was mistaken for a corpse by a devil. It took him to hell. However, due to his hatred, he survived. Two years later he was discovered by Chidaruma. He returned to the factory. After killing the owners he developed an alliance with many sorcerers. The second chapter is called “The Enemy.” Twenty years later a serial killer is loose. He targets high-level sorcerers and decapitates them. The Cross-eye was the culprit. He killed En’s men one by one until only Tenjin, Shin, and Noi remained. Tenjin locates his hideout in Mastema. Shin and Noi head there first. The Cross-eye eviscerates them. However, En arrives in time to save them. 

Check out the manga on Viz.com

Face to face with the Cross-eye En blacks out. The surrounding area was turned into mushrooms. En’s mask was broken and he had a “shallow wound” on his throat. En assumes that the Cross-eye was turned into a mushroom. Until he witnessed him walking through a door headless. The movie ends and En arrives. He tells Nikaido that he wants her to rewind time. He wants to know what happened to the Cross-eye. Despite Nikaido being under En’s control, she seems to still have her mind. 

See You At the Food Stall

Kaiman, Tanba and the others arrive. Kaiman introduces himself as Tanba’s new wike, Pieman. Inside they run into Asuka a former employee of Tanba’s. She has opened a competing Pie shop. Elsewhere, Noi heals, Vaux, Dr. Kasukabe, 13, and Johnson. Shin tells them they have to stop associating with Kaiman. Otherwise, they will become enemies. Fukuyama shows Kaiman the En family newspaper. It finally sets in that Nikaido is a sorcerer. He figures he should probably just leave since she seems happy. The contest between Tanba’s shop and Asuka’s results in a landslide victory for Asuka. She uses her magic to summon a monster called “Angel.” It can ” make any man fall in love with her.”  

Seeing an opportunity to speak with Nikaido (as En, Shin, and Fujita are distracted) Kaiman grabs her and runs towards an alleyway. Meanwhile, Asuka passes out from overusing her magic. The men return to normal. When En has a taste of Tanba’s chanterelle pie he declares him the winner. On a bridge, Nikaido tells Kaiman that she “wants to be near En.” He decides that he’s willing to take her by force. She asks “do you think you can?” Another great episode. I just can’t predict this series. Dorohedoro episode 11 scaled back the typical violence (mostly). Just when I thought En was the bad guy this episode gives me a reason to think otherwise. Furthermore, Cross-eye is starting to become a clear villain. I predict that Kaiman and the En family will join forces against him. 

Dorohedoro Episode 10 Recap and Review