2019 was another awesome year for the anime fandom. Sure, it saw its fair share of controversies – while everybody else was getting all worked up over Fire Force, I was getting upset over Funimation’s A Decade of Anime series (Your Lie in April? The best romance series of the decade? Pft!) – but, controversies aside, 2019 was still an amazing year! Seeing everybody band together to pray for, pay tribute to, and help support the victims of the KyoAni bombing helped restore my faith in humanity. As did seeing Demon Slayer and Stone Ocean become the no.1 most talked about topics on Twitter (albeit briefly)! I loved seeing so many people unite over their shared love of anime. Not to mention that the quality of anime this year has been fantastic! I’ve been spoiled for choice, not just in terms of some highly-anticipated sequels, but new, original (and incredible) series too…
Below I’ve attempted to summarise my experience with this year’s anime, the highs as well as the lows. As with last year’s Year in Review, you’ll find a list of every show that I watched at the bottom of the page. Chances are, if I’ve not mentioned an anime (at least in passing) I didn’t see it! You should assume that there are spoilers ahead for any of the shows listed. Proceed with caution! With that said, please enjoy Ty’s Year in Review (2019 edition).
Ty’s Top Five Anime of 2019
These will come as no surprise to you, as they’re also the shows I wrote about the most this year!
5. Dr. Stone
Dr. Stone’s premise, which involves one young man, Senku, and his quest to use modern-day science to restore humanity to its former glory following its mass petrification, is easily one of the most interesting premises that I’ve stumbled across in a long time. I’m kind of Luddite in my ways, but, even so, I had so much fun learning and rediscovering the way in which our world works and watching Senku use science to enrich the lives of everybody around him.
4. Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer may not be the “Anime of the Decade”, but it’s still pretty darn good! It had some genuinely scary demons, Nezuko, the cinnamon roll who bites back, and some of the best-animated fight scenes that I’ve ever seen. But, best of all, Demon Slayer had Tanjiro – a hero as merciful as he is mighty.
3. Fruits Basket (2019)
Fruits Basket (2019) improved upon the 2001 adaptation in almost every single way. It gave its side characters more room to grow, its new look and sound gave it a fresh and modern feel, and it toyed with the chronology of the story, making the flow of events and its shifts in tone feel less clunky and jarring. Not to mention that Fruits Basket (2019) made me feel all the feels (joy, sorrow, acceptance, disbelief…). It just had to make it into my top five anime of 2019!
What makes us humans human? Is it the sum of all of our various parts and appendages? Or is it something less tangible? Something that dwells deep inside of us? Dororo may be based on a manga that’s over 50 years old, but the themes that it explores are timeless. Its themes aside, I loved the dynamic between Dororo and Hyakkimaru. Dororo may have been a good few years younger than Hyakkimaru, but Hyakkimaru was basically just a big, bloodthirsty baby, so, naturally, their roles as pseudo-parent-child were reversed. It was pretty funny, watching Dororo play the begrudging guardian to somebody almost twice their age!
1. O Maidens in Your Savage Season
A big thanks to O Maidens in Your Savage Season for making me, decrepit old me, feel young again. Watching Izumi get caught with his pants down (literally), Momoko wrestle over her feelings for another girl, and Kazusa fret over buying her first set of sexy panties sent me right back to my own awkward teen years! But, no, in all seriousness, we need more anime like this, anime that take a frank, honest look at the issues teens everywhere face, if only so that any teen watching can know how not to act in the kind of scenarios depicted!
Five Stinker s of 2019
Last year I managed to choose five less than stellar anime to write about, but, perhaps due to an uptick in quality, I just wasn’t able to do that this year – and I really tried! Of all the shows I watched, only one really disappointed me: Kunihiko Ikuhara’s Sarazanmai. I think that my disappointment is, in part, due to the high expectations I had for the anime, going into it (Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum has long been a favourite of mine). Unfortunately, however, I didn’t click with any of Sarazanmai’s characters, its themes didn’t really resonate with me, it was formulaic (even more so than Penguindrum), and kind of hard to follow (though I suppose that’s just par for the course for Ikuhara). I know that a lot of other Ikuhara fans enjoyed this show, but it just wasn’t for me!
Ty’s Top Five Most Memorable Moments of 2019
5. Domestic Girlfriend – Keeping It in the Family
Only in anime, am I right? I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t help but rub my hands together in sadistic glee as Natsuo learned that his new step-sisters were his sensei and the girl he just lost his v-card to. You just knew that he was in for a rough time!
4. Dororo – Dororo, You Are Pretty
The first thing Hyakkimaru sees when he finally, during the show’s finale, regains his eyes, is death, destruction, and bloodshed. It’s a heartbreaking moment. Which makes the following scene, during which Hyakkimaru gazes up at the sky, calls it pretty, then down at Dororo, then calls her pretty, all the more touching. Not only is it the first time he’s laid eyes on his dear friend, but it’s his childish way of saying that she’s comparable to a beautiful sunset. D’aw!
3. Mob Psycho 100 2 – A Nice Family BBQ
Mob is such a sweetheart! He has the powers of a god, but instead of using them for his own twisted ends, all he wants is a quiet life: to make a few friends, to be a good big brother, and to gaze at his crush from afar. It is only natural, then, to want only good things for him. Which is why it was such a punch in the gut to watch Mob discover the charred remains of his family after an arson attack by another psychic. Even learning that they were just body doubles didn’t erase the trauma that particular scene caused me!
2. The Promised Neverland – They’re Eating Her, Then They’re Going to Eat Me
Everything about this scene was designed to set you on edge and/or horrify you, from the tunnel’s oppressive darkness to the off-putting sound of a slowly dripping pipe, from Connie’s twisted, lifeless corpse to Emma and Norman’s equally as twisted facial expressions, from the terrifying monsters to the biggest monster of them all, Isabella, who we’d just learned had been raising the children of Grace Field House solely to become dinner for demons. Click here to read some more of my thoughts on this horrifying scene.
1. Demon Slayer – Tanjiro vs. the Drum Demon
People couldn’t get enough of Nezuko and Tanjiro vs. Rui, but, for me, it’s this that ought to go down as one of the best fights in anime history! The way in which the room spun ‘round and ‘round as Tanjiro desperately tried to regain his footing (let alone land a hit on his foe) left me feeling dizzy. I’d never seen a fight quite like this before, one that was animated so beautifully, made such unique use of space, and left me feeling in awe of what I’d just seen. Like Tanjiro, I, too, was swept off my feet by it!
Ty’s Top Five Characters of 2019
5. Canute – Vinland Saga
What!? You should know that I’m a sucker for princely types by now! I think I let out an audible gasp when Canute’s helmet was first removed, he’s just so beautiful… *sigh* Ahem! He’s a pretty awesome character too. While it was somewhat predictable, I still loved watching that moment when Canute suddenly snapped and his trauma forced him to become the hardened, ruthless would-be monarch he needed to be in order to survive. Pity that it took him until Vinland Saga’s finale to realise that all he was was a pawn in Askeladd’s game.
4. Haruka Inokuma – Chihayafuru 3
Haruka has a lot to offer. As a 34-year-old woman, a wife, and a mother to two young boys, she brings a little bit of variety to the table. Not to mention that Haruka’s game sense and hearing are off the charts! But, best of all, she struggles with how much time, if any, she should devote to her passion and pastime. Believe me, I know how hard it can be to strike a balance when already juggling a mess of other responsibilities. That’s why I’m grateful for a character like Haruka, a full-grown adult who wrestles with the same sort of problems as me.
3. Megumi Tadokoro – Food Wars! The Fourth Plate
Food Wars’ other characters were astounded by just how quickly Soma had risen to power, but, hey, what about Megumi? When first we met the girl was on the verge of expulsion, but by The Fourth Plate’s end, she’d earned herself a seat on the Elite Ten. And deservedly so! Megumi had worked longer and harder than anybody else to hone her humble skills. It was a pleasure seeing how far she’d come (in confidence as well as skill) this season!
2. Senku Ishigami – Dr. Stone
At first, I was fairly sceptical of Senku. I doubted both his motives and his goal of restoring humanity to its former glory, but, like the villagers, he soon won me over. Using his beloved science, Senku genuinely improves the lives of everybody he meets. So, for changing my mind (believe me when I say that that doesn’t happen often), Senku wins himself a place in my top five characters of 2019.
1. Hyakkimaru – Dororo
Even in a year with more Mob and more Deku, Hyakkimaru somehow managed to become my absolute favourite best boy of 2019! Seeing him slowly regain his missing body parts only to learn what it was to feel pain, to smell the stench of death, and to hear the cries of his loved ones broke my heart. I just wanted to wrap him in a big momma bear hug and tell him that everything was going to be okay! It didn’t help matters that he was basically just a baby with swords for arms. Watching him approach the world with awe and childlike wonder as it slowly opened up to him triggered my maternal instincts something awful!
Ty’s Top Three Openings of 2019
3. Gurenge by LiSA – Demon Slayer Opening 1
2. Q-vism by Who-ya Extended – Psycho-Pass 3 Opening 1
1. Kaen by Ziyoou-vachi – Dororo Opening 1
Ty’s Top Three Endings of 2019
3. Glow at the Velocity of Light by Riko Azuna – Astra Lost in Space Ending 1
2. Drown by milet – Vinland Saga Ending 2
1. Yamiyo by Eve – Dororo Ending 2
Ty’s Top Three Ships of 2019
3. Miyuki and Kaguya – Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Miyuki and Kaguya are both smart, attractive, and full of prospects. They’d make the perfect couple, if only they’d swallow their pride and confess to each other! I usually can’t stand romance anime that progress at a snail’s pace. But I had so much fun watching Miyuki and Kaguya play mind games in an attempt to force a confession of love out of one another (in what could easily be described as the Death Note of romance anime), that this anime’s the exception to the rule!
2. Ritsuka and Mafuyu – Given
Ritsuka was a goner the second Mafuyu opened up his mouth and began to sing! There was something so wholesome about his attraction to Mafuyu – he couldn’t wait to receive texts from him, he’d spend hours upon hours writing him songs, and would get all embarrassed whenever they’d find themselves alone together. But, best of all, Ritsuka had the hardest time putting a name to what it was he was feeling for Mafuyu. This naivete of his not only made me feel young again, but gave me the warm fuzzies something rotten!
1. Taichi and Chihaya – Chihayafuru 3
These two are my OG OTP, so of course they’d find themselves at the top of my favourite ships of 2019! Watching Taichi and Chihaya finally battle it out in an official match was one of the highlights of my year. Taichi’s cruel, yet effective, strategy that he designed specifically to use against Chihaya was tantamount to him saying: “Here I am, look at me, see me”. Too bad that, as per usual, Chihaya was too oblivious to notice!
Ty’s Top Three Friendships of 2019
3. Subaru and Haru the cat – My Roommate is a Cat
Subaru and Haru changed one another’s lives forever. Subaru took Haru in off of the street, gave her a warm place to sleep, and plenty (too much, even) food to eat, whereas Haru helped Subaru to connect with other people and overcome his social anxiety. These two were what made My Roommate is a Cat one of the most heartwarming anime of 2019.
2. Eren and Armin – Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2
Watching Eren have to choose who to save, Captain Erwin, somebody with the skills, bravery, and charisma needed to lead humanity to a brighter future, or Armin, his childhood friend, was definitely one of Attack on Titan’s most nerve-wracking scenes yet! But, for all that the Captain had to offer, there was just no way that Eren could ever sacrifice his closest friend. Though a selfish (and possibly ill-advised) move, you can’t blame Eren for the decision he ultimately made!
1. Hana and Tohru – Fruits Basket (2019)
Hana’s Tohru-specific sixth sense… Tohru’s unconditional love and acceptance of Hana… The way in which Hana goes all mama bear over Tohru… Man, I want friends like these! Hana and Tohru are literal #friendshipgoals!
And that concludes my Year in Review! Thank you for taking the time to read such a gargantuan post. If I could have just a few more moments of your time, I’d love it if you could answer a few questions… What were your highlights of 2019? Are there any shows that you think I should go back and watch? I’d also like to know what you thought of this post. Did I ramble on for far too long? Or would you like me to include even more categories next year? I’d love your input!
Bye for now! I hope that 2020 proves to be just as awesome a year for anime as 2019 turned out to be!
The Anime I Watched in 2019
- Astra Lost in Space
- Attack on Titan Season 3 Part 2
- Boogiepop Never Laughs
- Chihayafuru 3
- Demon Slayer
- Domestic Girlfriend
- Dr. Stone
- Fire Force
- Food Wars! The Fourth Plate
- Fruits Basket (2019)
- Kaguya-sama: Love is War
- My Hero Academia 4th Season
- Mob Psycho 100 2
- My Roommate is a Cat
- O Maidens in Your Savage Season
- Psycho-Pass 3
- The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis – Seiran
- The Promised Neverland
- Vinland Saga