Boasting the likes of Demon Slayer, Vinland Saga and Mob Psycho 100 II, 2019’s anime offerings were some of the best we’ve had in recent years – arguably, some of the best we’ve had full stop (looking at you, Mob). Against such an expert assortment, we couldn’t blame you for wondering how this new year will measure up. Fortunately for us, the future looks bright, if these titles are anything to go by; here are just some of the anime we’re most excited for in 2020.
Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (Keep Your Hands off Eizouken!)
Normally a plot synopsis would go here, but really, I don’t even need to tell you what it’s about, because what’s truly important is the pedigree of staff working on it. Masaaki Yuasa (Tatami Galaxy, Devilman Crybaby, Night is Short-Walk on Girl, Kaiba, Ping Pong the Animation… the list goes on) and his studio, Science Saru, could make just about anything and we could recommend it with 100% confidence because it’s all fantastic.
No matter what genre they dip into, it never fails, and Yuasa’s abstract imagery promises an engaging viewing experience, regardless of the subject matter. This particular story, however, is about three high school students with a dream of creating their own anime. With their own artistic strengths and weaknesses, will these girls band together to create ‘the greatest world’? We’ll find out!
Pokémon: Twilight Wings
This is not your typical Pokémon anime; it’s a free series of short episodes being released on YouTube, one every month for seven months, that stands out (at least in the first episode) by ignoring the tropes of flashy Pokémon battles and slapstick comedy, for a surprisingly slow, personal story.
Set in the Galar region, it’s follows John, a sick child at the hospital, who, like many of us once did, watches his Pokémon trainer idols on television, dreaming of seeing his heroes in real life someday. When Chairman Rose, the boss of the Galar Pokémon League, visits the hospital, John scrambles to write a letter to the Chairman asking to see Leon the Champion live.
Of course, the story is nice and sweet, but what’s really on show here is Shingo Yamashita’s direction, which does a fantastic job at evoking what it was like to see the Pokémon world as a child. The Galar region is framed with huge, low-angle shots to convey the sheer scale of the world, and the Pokémon are shown with a very mythic reverence that the TV anime mostly doesn’t have anymore, with camera angles and lighting that show the size disparity between them and our small main character. You can watch the first episode below.
Ongaku: Our Sound
This film makes this list purely because it looks to be the most visually exciting anime of 2020 so far. It’s always great to find a film that actually looks like a breath of fresh air, and this film looks unique to say the least. Even the brief cuts of brilliance we see in the trailer suggest the film will be a visual smorgasbord of gorgeous animation, with a heap of cool musical references too, from the Beatles to A-Ha. It’s very reminiscent of shows such as Mob Psycho 100 and Ping-Pong. Such a unique artistic expression coming from first-time director Kenji Iwasawa is very interesting too. Fingers crossed, we’re looking at the start of a really dynamic and exciting career. The film opened in Japan on January 11, hopefully with an international release soon to follow.
Detective shows seem like such a scarcity in the anime medium, so unless you can muster up the courage to catch up on the 1 trillion+ episodes of Case Closed, your only real option to get your crime genre fix is Un-Go (not a widely known show but it’s really good), but hopefully, the new year will bring another great detective anime with it.
ID: Invaded is about a detective in a virtual world who decides to solve the murder of a young girl. The trailers are super cryptic and filled with very surreal imagery. It’s creepy and mysterious in all the right ways, and director Ei Aoki’s involvement is very promising, if he can bring the same level of quality to this show that he brought to the AMAZING Fate/Zero anime. You can stream it now via AnimeLab.
Brand New Animal
First, Studio Trigger saved anime with Inferno Cop. Then, they saved anime again with Kill la Kill. Then again with Space Patrol Luluco, Little Witch Academia, Darling in the FranXX, and only recently, they saved anime yet again with their first feature film, Promare.
They make good stuff. A new project by them is reason enough to be excited, nevermind what it’s actually about. In fact, we don’t even know what it’s about, we couldn’t tell you even if it was important. All we have is the key image and two staff members.
If the poster looking like a Graduation-era Kanye West album cover isn’t cool enough, it’s directed by Trigger’s ace animator and Little Witch Academia director Yoh Yoshinari. If you’ve watched any Gainax or Trigger show in the past 20 years and saw a moment of animation that just made your jaw drop, it was probably this guy. On top of that, it’s being written by Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, Batman Ninja), frequent Hiroyuki Imaishi collaborator. The anime is scheduled to start sometime in April.
Lead image – Keep Your Hands off Eizouken!