Much of my time this year was spent indoors and these shows surely made such times enjoyable. This list includes some of my classic favourites, some I only discovered thanks to algorithm suggestions.
Fruits Basket (2019); Fruits Basket 2nd season (2020)
Genres: Slice of life, romantic comedy
This show is straight up free therapy. I loved watching every episode, and re-watching it was a whole other experience as you see the parallels, the underlining meanings and the depth of the characters. It explores sensitive topics with so much warmth that though facing such problems could prove difficult, watching Fruits Basket feels like it is not so impossible after all. The plot is typical in the anime world but executes the typical so well it is pulls your heartstrings just right. Needless to say, the animation is amazing, the characters are so diverse and these differences are essential contributions to the plot.
It’s Okay Not to be Okay/Psycho But It’s Okay (2020)
Genres: Romance, comedy
One of the most hyped and talked-about shows of 2020, which is deserved and understandable. Perfect casting, a unique plot (at least in the world of k-dramas), top-notch cinematography and PERFECT SOUNDTRACK. Many have described the show as a healing show, and I agree. There’s a painful memory, you initially question why, then there’s no answer and it hurts so you run away but it will eventually haunt you and find you over the course of time, you finally gather the courage to face it head-on, it still hurts, you try to run away again but this time it’s different. This show is so relatable in so many level it hurts, but because of this reason that as the characters begin their respective realisations, you do too and you unconsciously follow their journey of healing. A heavy drama for sure, but the series is well-paced and concludes just where it needs to end.
Did I already emphasise the soundtrack? Yes I did, but I am saying it again one more time: THE SOUNDTRACK.
The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
The first-English spoken series I have watched in years. Beth Harmon is a character I often tend to love: independent, straightforward, intelligent and bold. I have no idea how the novel went but this show is amazing except for the unnecessary and uncomfortable romance (because not all amazing relationships are romantic rolls eyes). I love the execution of the story and how the show concludes addressing everything that needs to be addressed. It touches upon societal issues like feminism among many others, though I personally loved how these things were intricately woven to the plot and not the other way around that Beth being a woman and its implications are the mover of the story. She is amazing because she is and I love it.
Genres: Cyberpunk, crime, psychological thriller
I don’t think I will ever shut up about Psycho-Pass. It only gets better and better every time I watch it and the subsequent instalments and films over the years which expanded the PP universe has done nothing but keep me in this abyss. It tackles the question of what could an ideal society be despite the already seemingly ideal society the characters live in. What is a good life? How can we achieve a good life? Can we build an ideal society for everyone? It is really possible? Is it acceptable to promote the happiness of the majority at the cost of a few? In all three seasons and in the films, Psycho-Pass asks these questions and leaves us wondering about them, too.
Season 1 is a masterpiece. Season 3 is so timely. Not to mention the amount of philosophical references that will make nerds like me all giddy and screaming.
Code Geass (2006)
Genre: Alternate history
I watched this anime when I was really young. I remember not liking it because of the animation (reason why until now I have not yet watched a single episode of One Piece). I decided to re-watch this again this year and crap, this show is A MASTERPIECE. The presentation of human cruelty and the horrors of dictatorship is spot on but I think the reason why this show is so legendary is because of Lelouch. He is the embodiment of you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villain. Minor spoiler but thanks to the movie which came out which came out a decade later, I can sleep in peace.
P.S. A NEW CODE GEASS ANIME HAS BEEN GREENLIGHTED AND I AM LIVING!
Mr. Queen (ongoing)
Genres: Historical, comedy
My happy pill. I am so amazed at how this series managed to pull off a comedy out in a historical setting. Not sure how the series will proceed, but so far I am loving the building the tension in the plot and the chemistry between the characters is chef’s kiss. Not a single boring episode so far and the pace has been smooth, too. I can’t wait for the next episode!
Graceful Family (2019)
Genres: Melodrama, suspense
Give me some badass, rich, rebellious woman protagonist! Absolute gold! The plot revolves around a chaebol (South Korean business conglomerates controlled by a family whose influence often exceeds the law) and the power politics within the family. The balance between the personal struggles of the characters and its relation to the bigger conflict plays so well. In a show which focuses on so many characters, what’s amazing is that everyone contributes to the plot and are not merely side characters for the sake of fun or motivation of the main ones. Again, absolutely loving the main lead and though the romance is there, it is not the central focus between the two main characters but the partnership and trust they have built in the process of fighting for their goals.
Kono Oto Tomare! / Sounds of Life (2019)
Genres: Slice of Life, music
Another happy pill! This anime is full of warmth and just happy vibes. It’s not the most unique in terms of plot and characterisation, but it pulls off everything so well. The characters are treated with so much attention in terms of the animation of their facial expressions, the backgrounds when they react or feel something, just look at the photo and you’ll know what I mean. I am so soft for these babies! kind of energy is what I have for every single character and I love how this anime is so straightforward that the plot moves nicely. I was so into this anime I decided to read the manga. The beauty of the animation gives justice to the stunning drawings of the mangaka.
Jujutsu Kaisen (ongoing)
Genres: Dark fantasy, adventure, shounen
Saving the best for the last! Jujutsu Kaisen is perhaps one of the best shounen anime I have watched in a long while. MAPPA is really out here serving us with top-tier animations (Attack on Titan, Yuri!!! on Ice, Kakegurui) and Jujutsu Kaisen is no exception. Just watch the opening and you will see what I mean, but man, I think the last time I felt this much hype for an anime was when I first watched Haikyuu season 1. I feel like it has absorbed only all the good things from all shounen anime/manga, making it SO perfect. I will save my words when the anime ends but one of the best things in this anime is the voice actors. When I was watching it, I swear I heard their voices somewhere so I searched it up and I knew it! I recognised almost all the voice actors of this anime! Oh, the comedy, too. Pure gold.
And that’s it for all the shows I thoroughly enjoyed this year. 2020 was not really bad after all. I have, and will most likely be, re-watching these shows non-stop. I hope everyone will get the chance to watch these shows too. I promise they will give you a good time!