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Mathew’s Top 20 Anime of 2020: #5-1

Mathew finishes his top 20 list with some long awaited sequels, and a number one that might surprise some! How close has his list been to yours?

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The time has come to bring this anime list to a close as we talk about the final 5 animes of 2020. There was plenty of great anime this year but these were the five that I thought were the best.

Let’s see who takes over the top 5!

Previous Lists:

5. Moriarty The Patriot

– I’m sure everybody knows the story of Sherlock Holmes, it’s something that has been told in various formats such as books, television series, movies, and now anime. This one, however, has a different approach for it and it’s that William James Moriarty is the protagonist of this series. The story follows William, Albert, and Louis Moriarty as they are on a crusade to help change society by destroying the current structure of corrupted nobles and wealthy people who think little of people beneath them. William is such an interesting character and how he is portrayed here is calming but also downright scary. Ever since childhood, he was always someone that people came to for consulting due to how highly intelligent he is but uses his gifts to help people commit crimes, telling them how to do it perfectly without getting caught. Albert was so influenced by him due to how much he hated his family talking down so little of the poor that he would take both William and Louis in to be adopted after a request from his father. It reminded me of Death Note with a genius wanting to change society and create it in his perfect image but there’s no magical notebook that kills people this time around. Each act always has something unique to bring to the table, finding specific targets to prey upon as every plan William provides it executed flawlessly, with no fuss.

William doesn’t act out on this alone and his brothers, he also has two other members on his team who also believe in his cause, Sebastian Moran and Fred Porlock. Halfway into the season when they were on a boat, we finally meet Sherlock Holmes who made quite an impression on William on their first encounter, making small talk while trying to describe the other person with both of them being one hundred percent accurate about one another. While Sherlock is still someone who gets excited about cases and being deep in his thoughts, this one is still slightly different as he has moments when his morality is questioned. When he had the option to find out who orchestrated a murder with the person who played it out involved, he would have to kill him and there was a moment of hesitation since while he wanted to know about the criminal mastermind, he couldn’t go as low as to kill someone to get there. We learned after that event, he had thoughts about killing him and was questioning if he should’ve just to satisfy his curiosity of finding someone that matched him intellectually. Psychological, gorgeous animation with amazing visuals, a look into the mind of a criminal, it’s a different tale of Sherlock that is welcomed with open arms.

Favorite Moment: While the series as a whole is fantastic with so many great moments, the one I enjoyed the most is something quite simple. Sherlock was on the train as he happens to see the Moriarty brothers there, so he buts in to have a chat with William. He talked about his case and thinks it’s William is the evil mastermind but it turns out that he was joking (little does he know), and admits that he wishes that someone like him was a real mastermind. This amused William and made him lean back and say one of the story’s famous lines to him “Catch me if you can, Mr. Holmes.” He says in perfect English, a sinister smirk on his face, the devilish and exotic red eyes, the expression on Sherlock’s face, getting excited about the fact that it could be him. But, William was also playing along with his little ‘joke’ and they talked friendly still. It was simple but also a memorable scene of what’s to come.

4. Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Season 2

– They were in my Top 5 last year and they found their way to make it back on the list with Kaguya-Sama: Love is War, presenting us with another season that is just as good. For those that haven’t followed the series, it’s about Shirogane and Kaguya who are apart of the student council who love each other but don’t want to admit it, so it’s a mental game of trying to make the other say it so that they could claim victory. Every time they try to get close in certain moments, their plan would always go wrong by their own miscalculation or by other members of the student council. Nearly every episode has something wholesome, comical, or just depressing and execute all those elements perfectly. We also get introduced to two new characters such as Miko Iino and Kobachi Osaragi who are great additions to the cast with Kobachi being supporting and Iino being apart of the student council as a new member. Even Shirogane’s father gets some extra time in or as I like to call him, Daddy Dio since he’s DIO’s VA, plus he’s also your sugar daddy, so accept it.

One of the biggest things they were able to step up is the character development of Kaguya’s maid, Ai Hayasaka. Hayasaka played a bigger part in this season by following Kaguya’s plans as a badass spy or plays this ditz character to hide her true self with a completely different personality to make it seem like she’s a totally different person to people outside of Kaguya. She even gave herself a complete makeover to try and seduce Shirogane to prove to Kaguya that she could make him fall for her if she wanted to due to Kaguya calling her out on her skills but it would backfire since Shirogane’s heart was set on another. The best episode of this season that people would talk about the most is when we see the backstory of Ishigami. In the flashback, you see how different he is and even had a girl he liked but it all went wrong when he assaulted her boyfriend after he told Ishigami that he was practically using her for sex and Ishigami wanted to defend her. But since this was a school where the boyfriend was extremely popular, they took his side when he lied over Ishigami, who was telling the truth and even the girl didn’t believe him, making Ishigami antisocial. Only one person came to his aid years later and that was Shirogane who knew he was innocent and that was when you see the two becoming friends, causing Ishigami to tear up since there was finally someone who understood him. This gave him the confidence to tell the girl to “Go to hell, dumbass” due to her telling Ishigami he ruined her life after that day after seeing him at the school games years later. We have a third season coming and if it keeps up like this, I have no doubt it’ll be on the Top 5 again, maybe even number one. If you’re into rom-com stories, this is something that should be on your watch list.

Favorite Moment: Another simple moment and it was something that was a running gag for the entirety of the episode that made me laugh the most. There was a time where Miko Iino would walk in at the worst possible times, Shirogane talking about liking black panties, Kaguya giving him a massage while looking like they’re talking about sex, and seeing Shitogane and Ishigami taping Fujiwara’s mouth because of her blurting out spoilers but only saw them restraining and taping her mouth. It was purely comical and got funnier each time it happened in that episode.

3. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax!

– Five years later, one of the most anticipated sequels would take place as My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU would air its final season. I must confess, I haven’t watched this series before, and after hearing all of the acclaimed praise it was getting, I’ve decided to binge the first two seasons before this one would air, making it completely fresh in my eyes and it was worth it as the series as a whole became one of my all-time favorites. The best part was that it picked up right where they left off five years ago, no time skips, no nothing, just a continuation of a story. With high school life coming to a close, Yukino wants to prove she is a more independent person and she tries to do this against her mother and sister after being told that the prom was potentially being canceled due to it not following up to code. This lead to Yukino trying to create a promo up to code and wanted to do it without the help of Hachiman to prove she can handle things on her own. In response to this, Hachiman would create a fake prom to make sure his gets canceled and make sure that Yukino’s prom would be approved.

He would be asked why by his teacher and said he wants to do it because he promised Yukino that he would save her but he said this in front of his other friend, Yui, who has a crush on him and it caused her to tear up while trying to hide what she was actually feeling, making it soul-crushing. If you’ve followed the series, we all knew that it was going to be Hachiman and Yukino in the end but I don’t think they anticipated making it depressing at the same time with Yui getting hurt in the process that it makes you feel bad for her. The animation improved over the past three seasons and here is where it shined the best in terms of quality and how smooth it went. As the series came to a close, we had some sad moments but mostly heartwarming as Yukino and Hachiman are finally together, and they have fantastic chemistry together. I think we all know who was the right choice, Saika Totsuka aka the best trap. We all knew he was going to win after season one but the creator knew it would’ve happened, that’s why he downplayed his screen time between the last two seasons. This was a fantastic series and the final season gave us the conclusion for a proper sendoff that we couldn’t ask for more.

Favorite Moment: There’s plenty of great moments in this anime like Hachiman rapping randomly during a meeting with a member from another school out of nowhere, Hiratsuka’s farewell to the school, and final dance with Hachiman but the best moment would have to be the entire episode of episode 11. This had everything in it to make it a perfect episode that you could ask for. It had Hiratsuka’s final lesson to Hachiman, Hachiman admitting he didn’t take Yui’s feeling seriously and apologized for it, seeing Yui breakdown at home while hugging her mom, and of course, the confession between Hachiman and Yukino without even saying “I love you”. It was the perfect confession and it all played out beautifully three seasons later.

2. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 1

– Nearly four years after the first season, I don’t believe anybody expected a sequel to happen until it would officially get announced for 2020. This was another series I didn’t watch until recently and I thought it was one of my favorites in the Isekai genre with incredible characters, an interesting story, the concept of his powers of being able to return from the dead at random checkpoints but doesn’t know when the checkpoints happen, making his choices on whether to continue or die extremely difficult. The season picked up right where they left off with season one and Subaru was in a carriage with Emilia, being glad she was safe and couldn’t wait to see Rem again but he would be asked who Rem ask, leaving Subaru in shock since something went wrong during the time he was trying to save Emilia. It turned out that Rem encountered Gluttony and it leads to Rem being erased from existence while her body is physically still there, this leads to Subaru killing himself so that he can come back from the dead to try and save Rem as well but it doesn’t work. He restarted where this episode took off, making it too late and that she still couldn’t be saved. This leads to the group heading to a sanctuary to help save the villagers that were evacuated and hopefully find some clues on how to save Rem. During the trip there, Subaru would encounter the Witch of Greed, Echidna and she turns out to be one of the best additions to the series. While Echidna is considered to be an evil witch, she also seems to be misunderstood and actually helps out Subaru or even talks to him but her real motives aren’t fully clear, making it more mysterious.

Outside of Echidna, we get some new characters to join the fray such as Frederica, Ryuuzu, and Garfiel. During this season, Emilia has to fight her greatest fears in a trial to help everyone leave the sanctuary safely and while she struggles, Subaru tries to save her and does the same trial as her, seeing his old life in his dreams, having that final moment with his parents, leaving it a different man while completing the first challenge as Emilia has failed. We also get some background on two familiar characters Beatrice and Roswaal with why Beatrice holds onto the Book of Witch’s Cult and explains why it’s also important to her, getting a better understanding of her. As for Roswaal, he shows he’s more than just a Fefka cosplayer, finding out more about him and his connection with Echidna, and his plans to help revive her. You also find out he knows about Subaru’s abilities in a sense, even setting up the assassinations in his castle just to make Subaru choose between Emilia or the people at the castle. Of course, Subaru dies a lot in this season and these deaths are just as brutal, especially when the rabbits bit him down to pieces while feeling every single bite from his limbs being torn off, making it very unpleasant. An excellent season after four years and part 2 of this season is currently airing in 2021, so if it delivers just as well, you could expect to see it high on this list again.

Favorite Moment: It might be one some didn’t expect but my favorite moment for this one is when Subaru would tell Echidna that he can come back from the dead. If you remember from season one, every time that he would try to tell people about his power, there’s a tight grip in his heart that it could kill him and maybe something worse if he said it to anyone. In Echidna’s little world, he was able to say it without any consequences, giving him some relief. It got to the point where he would say it over and over again until he started to break down and cry, falling to his knees. You can tell how much it has affected him being unable to tell anyone and the big burden on his heart for doing so because, for all we know, he may never be able to say this ever again. Fun little fact, the VA for Subaru, Yuusuke Kobayashi would cry for real during this scene since it made it feel more real and just the connection he had with this character. It was such an incredible scene and an important thing for Subaru to finally let it all out.

1. The Great Pretender

– That’s right, an original anime exclusive to Netflix has made it to my number one of the year. Everything about this is fantastic, the characters, the stories, the cases, the art style, all of it was enough to pull me in and keep me invested for the entire thing. The story follows Makoto Edamura who was a scam artist in Japan and was considered the best until he encountered a French man named Laurent, who would out swindle him and made Edamura feel disrespected and lead to him following this guy to try and get payback but we soon find out it was all a test set up by Laurent to see how good Edamura was to help him out with his plans. For Laurent, he and his crew have one job and that was to con out the rich but not all of them, only ones who are corrupted members of society involving crime, drugs, anything in between. In a way, it does change Edamura since it made him realize it wants him to live an honest life instead of conning people but he somehow always finds his way back to them with every case. One of my favorite things they do is how authentic they get with their languages. For example, I watched the dubbed version of this one but they would speak Japanese when they’re in Japan, Edamura had broken English in the beginning, they speak just English when in the United States or the UK, Laurent speaking Mandarin in the final case, and when they speak French in France, all of that was so unique instead of speaking English for all of it and saying it’s a different language, I don’t recall the last time they did something like that.

There are only four cases in this series and all of them have importance with it but I’ll focus on just the first three for this was they all have the same goal, in the end, the backstory of certain characters would come into play. Case one with the introduction of the characters while finding out what lead Edamura to act the way he did with the loss of his mother, his father abandoning them, and being tricked into thinking he was doing a good thing with the job he got. Case two with Abigail Jones explaining why she has a death wish and what happened in her childhood. Case three with how Cynthia Moore was like before her life fell apart from her relationship thanks to a certain art collector. Case 4 with the backstory of Laurent and what type of person he was like before living this type of lifestyle. Every single case played a big part in their lives and the final one would make perfect sense as to what was going on. Another great thing was the soundtrack, it was some of the best of the year with wonderful songs and the scores to go with it, matching the tones of the stories involved in them to give it that extra element. This also reminded me a lot of Lupin lll, which was one of my all-time favorites but instead of thieves, it’s just confidence men stealing from the corrupt. Normally I’d go a little more in-depth with this one but this is one of those that needs to be seen for itself to experience it a lot better without giving too much away. It’s well worth binging if you have Netflix and will leave a bigger impression in the upcoming years. Easily my favorite anime of the year and can say that with confidence.

Favorite Moment: I’m not going to get too much into detail on this one since this series is something that needs to be seen in itself without trying to give anything away here. I believe case 4 as a whole was the best in the series and how everything comes together in terms of Laurent, the previous three cases, what everything has to lead up to, just everything all came into this one case and a satisfying conclusion. If I had to nitpick, it would be the after credits involving a certain character and while it’s nice, felt like it was something that would’ve been better without it and felt unnecessary, especially if there isn’t going to be a second season.

That concludes my Top Anime list of 2020, thank you all for following along with me here. The first set of 2021 animes is starting and let’s see who makes it next year.


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