Top 10 Anime of 2019

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This year hasn’t been as good of a year for anime to me. It is mainly my own fault. It is just harder to get into new anime for me. It really is a matter of mood and my tastes changing, but there are some pretty decent anime I just didn’t feel like watching, some I even dropped like Dororo. It is also harder for me to enjoy anime without a dub, which is why I haven’t watched Vinland Saga. When it comes to non seasonal anime, I actually watched quite a lot, especially in the summer where I watched like 40. But that isn’t what this list is about. It’s about my favorite 2019 anime. Unfortunately since I’ve watched so little from this year, this top 10 actually covers more than half of all new anime I watched this year, not counting sequels.

Yes, I will not be counting sequels on this list, since this list is about showing off what new stuff came out this year that I felt was very good. There were some great sequels this year though. If sequels counted, SAO Alicization and its sequel War of Underworld would be number 1. Mob Psycho 100 II was also fantastic and while many will disagree, I freaking loved A Certain Magical Index III. But to keep it fair, I won’t be counting any of those. I will count spinoffs though, since a spinoff can do enough to differentiate itself from the original series.

Note, I will be counting anime that finished this year, as opposed to started this year. If it started but didn’t finish this year, it would be hard to rank because the climax and ending of a show can have a major impact on one’s opinion of it. Honestly I haven’t even started Fate/Grand Order Babylonia, but even if I had, it would be hard to rank since it will continue into next year, and would be too hard to properly judge.

Disclaimer, this is my list. I haven’t seen every anime this year, as I made obvious  earlier on, so if there are some good anime not on this list, then don’t be afraid to let me know, or make your own list. Also, there won’t be any major spoilers. I will only give a brief synopsis as a way to let you know what each show is about to hopefully convince you to watch it, but I won’t give away anything you wouldn’t want to know.

Now that we got everything out of the way, let’s get into this top list.

10 Kaguya-sama: Love is War

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I didn’t really expect much coming into this. I’m not super into romcom anime so I didn’t really give this much notice until I was bugged by everyone to watch it. The anime follows a student council. Kaguya is a rich girl and Miyuki is a hard working student. They both like each other but don’t want to admit it. Admitting their feelings is considered a loss, so much of this anime is them baiting each other to admit their feelings, or at least do something that hints at their feelings for each other. Each episode is split up into multiple skits where they try to bait each other into doing something, or they play some kinda game. Each skit has its winners and losers. There are also other characters like Chika, who often ruins these mind games and unintentionally does some dumb stuff. There is also Ishigami, a dude who is a part of the student council but hates showing up.

What makes this show entertaining is how over the top it is. The mind games can feel a bit absurd at times, but it all works and conveys the proper comedic effect. The narrator also helps greatly to add onto the show’s comedic effect. Normally I would think a narrator would hurt the show, but some of these moments are so absurd and dumb, that the narrator really helps explain their strategies. I also need to mention this show is filled to the brim with meme material. Serious, there are memes for this show everywhere. Even my brother won’t stop meming Chika to death. Btw, love the animation for ed for episode 3, the Chika dance is so adorable.

9 Black Fox

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The best way to describe this anime movie is sequel bait. It tells an interesting and engaging story but leaves off on a cliffhanger. The movie really feels like a prequel origin story, but the show it should be a prequel of doesn’t exist. I really hope it gets a sequel. Black Fox follows a ninja named Rikka Isarugi. Her grandfather wants her to lead the clan but she wants to be a researcher like her father. Her father ends up getting killed so she sets out for revenge.

The plot is pretty simple. It is simply a revenge plot. Over the course of the show, she starts to learn that revenge isn’t great, which is pretty much what you would expect from a revenge story. What makes it so enjoyable is the fantastic animation and the really cool concepts introduced. Rikka is assisted by artificial animals made to look like real ones, and they can talk.

Black Fox has potential to be something great. I hope it is given a sequel so it can live up to its full potential.

8 Wasteful Days of High School Girls

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The first thing that caught my attention was that the title of this anime is similar to Daily Lives of High School Boys, which is a great gag comedy. In some ways, this anime is kinda similar, with its cast of characters getting into absurd situations, but it also has its own unique charm that I think makes it even better. It takes place in a high school, in which every important character is given a nickname at the beginning that represents what they are like. The main three characters have been best friends for a long time. The protagonist is nicknamed “Baka” for being such an idiot. She might actually be the dumbest character in anime.

Some episodes focus on a specific character while others use the case in general, but no matter who the show focuses on, you can expect some ridiculous and absurd stuff to happen. It could be “Baka” asking to say something cool, then proceeding to say the dumbest thing possible. Or it could be Yamai doing her dumb chuunibyou act in front of literally everyone. I was never bored with this anime, and each episode just got better and better.

7 A Certain Scientific Accelerator

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Personally, I find A Certain Scientific Accelerator to be weaker than Index and Railgun. Despite certain restraints the story had to go by, it managed to be a pretty good show. You would think an anime with my favorite male anime character of all time as the protagonist would easily live up to Index or Railgun, but the issue is that Accelerator really can’t develop much as a character without it interfering with the character development he gets later on in the timeline in Index. Much of his character development was him realizing things for the first time, so it wouldn’t make much sense for him to develop here.

And that is exactly what happens. Instead, most of the character development goes to the necromancer, Esther. The story involves an organization causing trouble called Disciplinary Action, which is tied to some strange necromancy plot. Accelerator pretty much just exists to be a badass and destroy everyone, while also providing a catalyst for Esther to evolve as a character, as Esther really admires his strength. The anime also has a really good villain, that really fits in line with the way villains are usually written in Index.

I will say the art style was a little bit disappointing, looking similar to Index and Railgun, but a bit different. I definitely prefer the original style, especially for Accelerator. Either way it was a pretty entertaining anime that did pretty well considering its restraints. I do hope it gets a second season as there is another arc, and the anime left off on a cliffhanger for it.

6 The Magnificent Kotobuki

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What do you get when you put CGI girls together with fighter planes? You get something that is surprisingly great. Kotobuki takes place in a fictional desert world. The Kotobuki corps are hired to take on various jobs, such as taking down air pirates. It sounds like a pretty simple concept, but it isn’t.

The worldbuilding is fantastic. The anime has a surprising focus on politics and economics. When not focused on the epic air battles, it focuses on the dialogue, which can either be humorous or surprisingly well thought out.

The air battles are also a huge highlight. I’m am a fan of cgi, and I thought it was great. Characters, especially Kirie, are super expressive, but the air battles really show off what this show can do. There are points in which the air battles are shown in first person, making it look like an aerial shooter game. The sound design is also fantastic.

I can’t forget to mention the attention to detail when it comes to how aerial fights are done, and references to real world fighter planes. This attention to detail also applies to the story, such as with real world economics and science being applied to the story. This really ended up being a very unique and enjoyable anime.

5 That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

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I already talked about this anime in my blog about good isekai anime. While it started in 2018, I will count it for this year since it ended this year. The protagonist is reincarnated into a fantasy world as a slime named Rimuru Tesmpest. He becomes friends with a dragon and ends up acquiring a bunch of really powerful abilities. He ends up leading a clan of a bunch of monster races. The whole idea of this anime is building a civilization.

As I mentioned in my isekai post, this is what I like about the anime. It is one so full of hope with themes about kindness and understanding. Racism has no place in this anime as Rimuru wants all the different races to get along. Instead of crushing and punishing his enemies, he tries to minimize casualties and try to get them to join their monster civilization. Rimuru really is the start of the show as he genuinely is a great person. There are also many other interesting aspects to the worldbuilding, like how other people were dragged into this world, but not after death like Rimuru, but as a human.

I also really loved the dub. I watched this in dub and I have to give Brittney Karbowski a ton of credit for really making Rimuru such a fun character with some hilarious cheesy dialogue.

I’m really excited for season 2 which is coming out in 2020. Can’t wait to see what adventures Rimuru takes us on next.

4 Levius

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I told you before that I really like CGI anime. I’m actually a huge fan of Polygon Pictures. Their Netflix exclusives have all been great in some way and had some great CGI animation. It feels like Polygon Pictures is really committed to making something as best as it could possibly be. This is definitely the case with Levius. Levius takes place in an alternate history in a world somewhat similar to ours. A special type of water called Agartha water was discovered that could be controlled by humans. This lead to the invention of metal boxing, where boxers would replace their arms with mechanical ones powered by steam using Agartha water.

The anime takes place a few years after a war that left Levius without a right arm and left his mother in a coma. The events left him scarred, but he eventually found a passion in metal boxing. There are other plot points I will omit to avoid spoilers but it is a pretty unique plot. The characters are also great. Each as their own motivation that makes them feel like a genuine part of this world, even if they lack screentime. The villain could have been more interesting, but they could definitely expand on this aspect in a sequel if they ever make it.

Of course the highlight is the metal boxing fights. The animation of the fights is great, but I also love the attention to detail when it comes to strategy and difference boxing techniques. The added component of mechanical arms and mechanical parts give an added layer of depth to the fights, and the anime does a very good job at explaining how it changes up the way boxing works.

Polygon Pictures strikes again. I can’t wait to see what they release next. Drifting Dragons is releasing next year so I’m pretty excited for that.

3 After School Dice Club

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Sometimes, my depressed soul just needs a wholesome slice of life. I did not expect this anime to achieve putting a smile on my face so damn well every episode. We follow the protagonist, Miki, who is shy and introverted, and not very good at finding things to enjoy in her life. One run she comes across a girl named Aya who crashes her bike into the river. She is dragged around the city and taught to explore the world around her. One day, the class representative is seen going somewhat past the curfew she strictly enforced. They find out she works at a board game shop. There, the three of them become great friends who love to play board games.

This anime was honestly too wholesome for my soul. Miki is very introverted and has social anxiety. But because of her friends, she starts to open up more over time and becomes more happy as the show progresses. Her character development was subtle but satisfying. Other characters also have their own motivations. Aya wants to have lots of fun so she has something she can share with her father who is always traveling. Midori wants to create a board game of her own one day. There is also a German girl named Emi introduced later in the show that also wants to create a board game one day.

Each episode reveals more about the characters and shows them subtly developing. Some episodes even focused on lighthearted, wholesome lessons that felt genuine. There were also some great supporting characters. While none of them had fully developed character arcs, they complimented the main characters well and all had their own unique charm. There was this one awkward dude who had a crush on Aya and I could not help but rooting for him.

This was definitely one of my favorite slice of life anime and I would recommend this to all fans of slice of life anime.

2 How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

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I like muscles. So of course a show about working out would be one of my favorites. Hibiki is a girl that loves to eat lots of junk food. In order to lose weight, she joins a gym, but it turns out to be a bodybuilding gym full of buff dudes. She makes a friend named Akemi and they are both trained by a coach named Machio.

One of the reasons this show is great is its educational value. It gives very tips about weight and about muscle, as well as the proper form for various work outs. It isn’t just entertaining to watch, but it actually provides useful information that may even encourage you to start working out. It isn’t just gym machines. It shows various different methods for working out in various different environments.

Another reason this show is so great is it’s comedic value. There are various gags and running jokes in this show, so it never stops being entertaining. There are even some hilarious references throughout the anime.

The characters are also fantastic. Hibiki is a glutton who is full of sass. Akemi is a rich girl with a muscle fetish. Ayaka is the best friend of Hibiki who is a huge fan of movies and is an amazing boxer. Satomi is the teacher of Hibiki who secretly is a cosplayer and wants to get fit to look good in cosplay. And later in the series a Russian girl named Gina moves to Japan. And there is also the coach Machio, with a running gag of destroying his jacket and becoming huge, then shrinking when he puts his jacket back on. I loved this cast. They all mesh so well together. Their dialogue was freaking fantastic and had me dying of laughter constantly. I also have to give credit to the dub. The voice acting was fantastic, but the script itself was also amazing. There was many slang terms thrown in that made it even more hilarious.

This anime was loads of fun, and it was educational. I can’t recommend this anime enough.

1 Boogiepop and Others

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The last few anime were extremely good and hard to rank, but for number 1, it had to go to Boogiepop. Watching this anime, I can see why the light novel was a huge hit back then. Boogiepop gives the impression of a supernatural mystery series. There are various supernatural events going on in the city because of the Towa Organization. When something dangerous would threaten the world, a being named Boogiepop would come in to save it.

A supernatural mystery is what the show presents itself as on the surface. But Boogiepop is really a very character focused anime. It focuses on the adolescent issues of it’s cast, which usually end up relating to the core mystery of each arc. It deals with very common issues teens deal with like feeling like they don’t belong, feeling they don’t have control over their life, and the desire to not be normal. But the anime even goes into more serious issues like depression and survivor’s guilt.

While the Towa Organization is considered the “villain” of the show, they aren’t the true villain of this anime. The true villain is simply ourselves; our insecurities and our struggles. The way they made these characters so realistic made them feel relatable because they deal with very common issues that real teenagers deal with.

This anime also used nonlinear storytelling. The original light novel inspired other series to do the same. It’s nonlinear storytelling gives the audience the opportunity to fit all the pieces together as they slowly unravel each mystery in dig into each character.

Lastly, I need to mention its presentation. It’s hard to make a show that is 99% dialogue look good, so they need good character animation to give this show a sense of personality and they do a pretty decent job at times, especially during more intense scenes. But I really need to give a ton of credit to it’s soundtrack. It’s simply phenomenal. There are lots of creepy songs that fit the horror tone of the show, but it also has music that accentuates the most emotional moments of the show. Even through the use of a common leitmotif, they are able to make the songs feel memorable as they fit each and every scene.

And that is why Boogiepop and Others is my favorite anime of the year. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a fantastic anime and it’s the most must watch anime of the year.

Conclusion

Thanks for sticking around if you decided to read the whole list. I really wish I had seen more anime. I’m sure there are some pretty good shows that I missed, but I guess tastes change, and it can be hard to get into stuff I’m not super interested in. Because I didn’t watch as much from this year compared to previous years, I don’t think it’s fair to say this year sucked for anime. And there were a lot of great sequels to come out this year. But even through those sequels and this list alone, I think there are enough good recommendations to feel satisfied, and overall I’m satisfied with what I watched from this year.

So thanks for reading, and don’t be afraid to tell me what anime you liked from this year.

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