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 Movie

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

Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep

* The second season of Made in Abyss, Made in Abyss: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun will premiere tomorrow. I preparation for the next season I thought reviewing the movie that preceded it would be helpful.

Made in Abyss Movie 3: Dawn of the Deep Soul is the third Made in Abyss movie focusing on the Ido Front Arc, which covers chapters 27 – 38 of the manga. Deep Soul opens with Reg, Riko, and Nanachi exploring the “Garden of the Flowers of Fortitude”. Reg and Nanachi hear the screams of some Delvers. When Reg goes to investigate they encounter an Umbra Hand. The man explains that he caused the scream and returns the Blaze Reap to Reg. Made in Abyss quickly gets into the dark tone it’s known for when Riko notices an insect that resembles a leaf. The “Amaranthine Deceptors” disguise themselves as Flowers of Fortitude, they attack any organisms and lay their larvae inside.

Made in Abyss illustrates this with the semi-living corpses of delvers. The Deceptors feed themselves to these corpses so they may survive longer. These corpses reflexively scream and repeat the word “who”. It’s a gruesome scene that reminds you of how unforgiven nature can be in this series. As the Umbra Hand begins to burn the deceptors and the delvers, Reg accepts that he can’t do anything to help and returns to Riko and Nanachi. The Umbra Hand tells him that the “Sovereign of Dawn” awaits. 

Bondrewd, welcoming Nanachi, Reg, and Riko in Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul.
Bondrewd, welcoming Nanachi, Reg, and Riko.

The Fifth Layer, the Crossing Sea

Nanachi explains the location of Ido Front, the “final point you can return from while remaining human”. Inside is the “Last Dive” where the Sixth Layer can be accessed. She anticipates conflict with Bondrewd. As they approach the Ido Front, they’re spied on by a mysterious young figure. She turns out to be the “daughter” of Bondrewd, Prushka. As they introduce themselves, Bondrewd arrives with several Umbra Hands. He is weirdly polite, telling Nanachi that her “hat suits her” and congratulates her for “releasing” Mitty. Sensing Reg is going to erupt with rage, Nanachi quickly asks Bondrewd to let them pass. He’s willing, but they need a “white whistle” to activate the Altar. Such a whistle can only be activated by the original owner, so Riko’s mother’s whistle won’t work. While in the room Bondrewd prepared for them, Nanachi and Reg realize that Reg has a limit on the number times he can use the incinerator. 

Nanachi and Bondrewd

Restless, Nanachi leaves the room in the middle of the night. She encounters Bondrewd on the way. He tells her that he’s glad she returned and they have much to talk about. When Riko wakes up she’s alone. Panicked, she rushes to find her friends only to discover that she been locked in. She attempts to climb the forbidden steps that climb through the curse and is overcome. Prushka saves her and with the help of her pet Meinya, she escorts Riko through. By inhaling Meinya’s scent, Riko is able to visualize the trail with her eyes closed. Meanwhile, Bondrewd asks Nanachi to work for him again. She agrees only if he doesn’t harm, Reg or Riko, and permits them to reach the Sixth Layer. Unfortunately, Bondrewd has already taken Reg. His men have Reg strapped to a chair naked. They sever his arm off resulting in blood gushing, have a tube attached to his penis to collect urine, and subject him to pain to test his receptors.

The Umbra Hands

Before they can cut open his stomach to see inside, Nanachi arrives to save him. The Umbra Hand’s surround her, but Prushka orders them to stop. With her help, they escape on a boat. However, Bondrewd follows their footsteps. He offers to repair Reg, but Nanachi, Reg, and Riko spring a trap. Using the ax, Riko begins setting off explosions. As Reg and Nanachi escape, a nest of violent insects called the Kasshou-Gashira (Stingerhead), eviscerate Bondrewd’s Umbra Hands. They don’t harm Bondrewd as he has his weapon the Sparagmos. Unphased, he applauds Nanachi’s efforts. Riko, Reg, and Nanachi spring into action. Reg attacks with a bomb. When that fails Riko shoots him in the side with an arrow that releases some Amaranthine Deceptor larvae into his body. Then Reg unleashes a barrage on him, knocking him into the water, and exposing him to the Sixth layer. Finally, he crushes him with a bolder. 

Bondrewd, Prushka, and the blessing

Despite all this, Bondrewd survives. He knocks out Reg with his tail and shoots Riko with “shaker needles” that only “slightly turns viscera”. Bondrewd reveals that each Umbra Hand is another version of himself. He tells Nanachi that she received what he calls the blessing. The key to this is “love”. He leaves Nanachi devastated. Later, he is shown experimenting with Prushka. Riko wakes up, recalling an artifact called Zoaholic that allows you to “plant yourself within another person”, but you may go insane. They plan on blowing up the Zoaholic. Reg heads to absorb the power plant’s energy reserves, causing a blackout. Elsewhere, Bondrewd discovers Nanachi and Riko again. During their discussion, he tells them that the substance necessary to create a white whistle is a human being. Riko actually deduces that Bondrewd used his original human body to create his white whistle. 

Riko fighting against Bondrewd

Reg attacks Bondrewd, who wishes to test his power. However, Nanachi interrupts the fight, and Reg returns to normal. During the second part of the fight, Bondrewd reveals that he turned Prushka into a cartridge, curse repellent created from humans remains. We get a flashback from Prushka’s early life. She was caught in an accident while traveling through the fifth layer. Subjected to tremendous pain, she is saved by Black Whistle Gueira. However, all attempts to help her failed, leaving Bondrewd to save her. He gave her the name Prushka, the creature Meinastoirim (Meinya), and her mind back. Bondrewd is defeat, for now, having many other bodies. Riko cries while holding the cartridge of Prushka’s remains. The cartilage turns into stone, becoming the Riko’s white whistle. 

A movie for the fans

Made in Abyss Movie 3: Dawn of the Deep Soul is everything that one would expect from the series. All the hallmarks are there. The stunning animation, lush environments, the horrifying creatures, and creative lore. Made in Abyss is still full of body horror, that can shock, but never seems overdone. This movie played with my emotions, much like the main series. I was always on edge afraid of what would happen. Made in Abyss still has it’s creep sexual aspects. Prushka is a child but her breast are large. The weird penis contraption Reg was in during his torture and Riko’s explanation of Reg’s penis and what an erection is. This results in Prushka creepily saying “you mean like Papa’s rod”. I don’t know what she actually referring to but it definitely sounds like she has seen Bondrewd naked. 

Speaking of Bondrewd, he’s a fascinating villain. Manga and anime are full of horrible villains, but Bondrewd feels different. No matter how much the heroes destroy his lab or harm him he never gets mad. The always calm and weirdly cheerful. This is in contrast with how violently he fights. Bondrewd is a character that you both look forward to seeing but regret it later. The main trio remains the same dynamic from the anime series. Nanachi is the stoic, highly intelligent, and cute victim of Bondrewd’s cruelty. Reg is still brave, tough, and really shows how he can handle himself in a fight. Riko can come across as the weak link, often having to be rescued and protected. However, she ultimately proves her worth. Riko has knowledge Made in Abyss: Dawn of the Deep Soul requires you to have watched or read the manga to understand. Overall, if you love the series this movie has everything that makes Made in Abyss so great. 


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