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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

Tower of God Episode 13: Recap and Review

Headon returns in episode 13 of Tower of God.
Headon returns

In the final episode of the first season of Tower of God, we quickly learn that it was Bam, not Rachel that was chosen to climb the Tower. Despite not being chosen, Rachel begs for a chance to climb. However, when offered the test on the first floor, she considers it “cruel.” Rachel is resentful of Bam. She believes that he “gets everything.” Headon offers her another “special” test. If she “ends Bam’s story with her own hands,” then he will allow her to ascend the tower. She agrees.

However, Rachel hopes that someone else will kill Bam for her. She’s certain that she really can’t bring herself to do it. We learn that the Test Administrator colluded with Rachel. The Administrator sent a Navigator to give Hoh the note, pitting him against Rachel. Aware of this, Rachel chooses to allow herself to be stabbed. She assumes correctly that Bam would want her around all the time. This provider her with plenty of opportunities to kill him. Her jealousy permitted her to kill Bam after he became a big star among the participants. 

Rachel resumes her lies

Rachel and the Regulars pass

Rachel is released by the fish on dry land. Here she meets the remaining Regulars who want to know where Bam is. Rachel lies, telling them that his disappearance is due to the Bull. It’s a plausible lie and it works. The Regulars all pass but it’s bittersweet particularly for Rak and Khun. Remembering Bam’s commitment to Rachel the Regulars agree to help her climb the Tower on his behalf. Khun only joins them to undermine the rules of the Tower. Outraged at all cheating, Lero Ro quits and decides to climb the Tower himself. 

Of course, Bam is still alive. He’s encouraged by the Navigator to climb the Tower. She offers to train him. Bam agrees to climb to find the answers he seeks. I love this series but if Bam is still going to chase after Rachel like a puppy I’m going to be annoyed. I predict that next season, Rachel will get exposed by Khun. I don’t think she can hold up the lies for too long. One criticism I have of this series so far is that too many characters aren’t fleshed out. Overall, Tower of God exceeded my expectations. Hopefully, that will continue. 

The Top 5 Bald Anime Characters

Anime

Tower of God Episode 12: Recap and Review

Princess Yuri arrives in episode 12 of Tower of God.
Princess Yuri arrives

Princess Yuri finally arrives

Just when you think you can relax, Tower of God throws you for a loop. I fully expected Shibisu to save Annak and/or Endorsi, in a way he did. Princess Yuri and her team have been seen occasionally throughout the story but I largely forgot about them. Tower of God Episode 12, Underwater Hunt Part 2, is full of action and surprises. In a lot of ways, this episode is a bit chaotic. First, Endorsi chooses Anaak and treason over killing her friend. They attack Lo Po Bia Ren together. However, they are defeated again. Yuri arrives to save her “sisters” and retrieve the Black March and Green April. 

Meanwhile, Rak has had enough with all the running and decides to fight. He jumps on top of one of the worms. He begins to fight the goblins, while Paracule complains. They are rescued by Laure. After his plan succeeds, Khun leaves to encounters a relative that was accompanying Yuri. He accuses Khun of being Princess Maria’s “step stool” then offers to take him to her. Elsewhere, Yuri is destroying Ren. Before she can kill him, she is warned not to. If she did so, she would be aiding Anaak. Yuri finds a loophole, her hammer-wielding companion Kurdan. He flattens Ren. While accepting his death, Ren reveals that he sent the Bull to kill Bam. 

Rachel betrays Bam

The Bull strikes at Bam and makes some connection. Bam’s use of Shisui fails to make any direct hits. However, he uses the golden form of Shisui, but unlike before he allows the Bull to eat him. This is just like his initial fight with the serpent on the first floor. Finally heading toward the Queen Dolphin, Bam is excited to take Rachel to the top of the Tower. As he’s reaching for her hand, she stands up and pushes Bam out of the Shisui bubble. I hope Tower of God doesn’t try to “complicate” Rachel anymore. I was always skeptical of Rachel but after her stabbing, I felt she finally decided that Bam meant well. I was ready to move forward.

Tower of God intended viewers like me to draw this conclusion. It worked perfectly. However, there’s no turning back. Not only did Rachel betray Bam, but she also betrayed everyone else. On top of all that she pretended to be paralyzed this whole time, unacceptable. Hopefully, this marks the end of Bam’s puppy dog obsession with her as well. With only one episode remaining, Tower of God keeps shocking me. 

Tower of God Episode 11: Recap and Review

Anime

Tower of God Episode 11: Recap and Review

Bam and Rachel play the fish in episode 11 of Tower of God.
Bam and Rachel play the fish

The final examination, the Underwater Hunt

Tower of God episode 11, Underwater Hunt (Part One) begins with Bam passing the Administrators test. Bam and Rachel are permitted to move on to the final test. The final requires the Bam and Rachel to become “fish” and will be hunted by net dolphins. These dolphins seal-like creatures that hunt once a day for their Queen. They use Shinsu to creat nets to trap fish. Bam and Rachel will be placed in a bubble made of Shinsui, where the goal is to be eaten and regurgitated onto dry land. The others are charged with protecting them. Barnacle goblins use giant wetworms to steal fish from the net dolphins. If Bam and Rachel are eaten by one of these worms, everyone fails. 

A Striped Earthpig is an “enemy” of both the barnacle goblins and worms. However, the Earthpig scares off the net dolphins. The team must stop all three creatures from interfering. The biggest challenge is the Bull, a creature that will eat anything. The team is separated by class (Spearbearers, Lightbearers, etc.), however, both Princess Endorsi and Anaak have disappeared. Shibisu runs into the Bull that has eaten Dede Cancho and Blarouge. Both are red shirts so their deaths don’t matter. The Bull quickly gets distracted by a net dolphin, Shibisu attacks it to get its attention. When it finally tries to eat him, Annak saves him. 

Will Anaak survive?

Ren makes his move against Anaak

The two Princesses decide to have a bet. If Endorsi wins she gets the 13 Month Series swords and if Anaak does, Endorsi becomes her servant for life. Elsewhere, Rak is upset that he doesn’t get to fight the Bull. However, the goblins and the worms begin to move. Meanwhile, the net dolphins begin to create the fishing net. Endorsi is dominating the Bull. Realizing its outmatched the Bull flees. Ren was in control of the Bull the entire time. Ren uses the Bull to separate Endorsi and Anaak. The later he attacks, seeking the Green April. Ren pierces Anaak through the chest and takes the Green April back. Ren reveals that the Underwater Hunt was created to take “care of” Anaak. 

As an enemy of Jahad, Anaak is considered a threat to the tower. Ren gives Endorsi the chance to redeem herself by killing Anaak. For a short period, I thought this task would be easy. How naive. I’m not sure what Endorsi is going to do. She seemed to have decided that she wanted to climb the tower with Anaak. However, she has worked so hard for her position as a princess. Which would she sacrifice? While it appears that Bam and Rachel are heading towards their goal, the others are going to have trouble helping. If something does save Anaak it might be Shibisu, although he would be outmatched. 

Tower of God Episode 10: Recap and Review

Anime

Tower of God Episode 10: Recap and Review

In Tower of God Episode 10, Rak is turned into a small version of himself.
Rak as a adorable “child”

Khun’s manipulation and Rachel’s Fate

Khun has always been a manipulative person. Khun orchestrated the downfall of Hoh to give Bam a chance. He assumes that Lauroe will pass, and during his fight with Quant, informs him that he needs to “watch Hoh”. Meanwhile, Rak is turned into a tiny version of himself because he insulted the administrator or “coffee turtle” as he put it. It’s a nice comical moment for a largely dark series. Rak and Khun discuss the likely hood that Bam would quit now that Rachel is paralyzed. However, Bam would like to continue climbing the tower for Rachel’s sake. He asks Rak and Khun to “give him their strength”. They agree. He asks them to join him at Hoh’s funeral. Somehow Bam managed to convince Rachel to attend. Not only do I find it unrealistic but cruel for Bam to ask her. Bam is kind but this doesn’t mean that he can unintentionally inflict harm on others. 

the adminastrator defeats Lo Po Bia Ren’s monster

The Administrator and Lo Po Bia Ren

Yuga or Lo Po Bia Ren is a spy for King Jahad. The administrator appears to confront Bia Ren, who responds by sending a massive creature to kill him. The administrator isn’t the least bit afraid of Bia Ren’s monster. He responds with a creature of his own that bites his monster in half, killing it. However, the administrator wants to help him or at least not get in his way. Lo Po Bia Ren has been ordered to recover the Green April and Black March, as well as kill Anaak Jahad. Elsewhere, Khun and Lero-Ro speculate that the administrator was responsible for manipulating Hoh. 

The results are in

Lero-Ro announces those that pass the test. For the Fisherman, Endorsi, Anaak, Dede Cancho, Blarouge, For Spearbearer, Rak, Ghost, Paracule, Alexay, the Scouts are Shibisu, Hatz, and Narae. Finally, the Wave Controllers Bam, Lauroe, and the Light bearers are Khun and Michelle Light (Rachel). However, Rachel is disqualified due to her injuries. One participant isn’t called and becomes upset at being left out. The administrator challenges him inflicting enormous pain with Shisui. If he can tolerate it he can pass. He begins to bleed from the nose and loses his eyesight. Eventually, he succumbs to the pain and gives up. 

Hoh funeral

Before the administrator can explain the final test, Khun raises his hand claiming that he too is not satisfied with the results. He wants Rachel to be able to participate in the final, so he offers to take the administrators test, so he can make that decision. Unfortunately, only an irregular can take the test. This leaves Bam to volunteer. He reveals that he is a irregular, shocking the other testers. If Tower of God fails at anything it’s relaying how important or dangerous an irregular is supposed to be. That will likely change but as of now, I don’t get the reaction. Anyway, I’m excited to see how Bam survives this test. 

Tower of God Episode 9: Recap and Review