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Reikaze’s Top 10 Anime of 2019

So, uh. If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you would have noticed that I made top 10 lists for every year and didn’t do one for 2019. I totally missed it! 2019 was extremely busy for me, but when I was writing my Top Anime of 2020, it felt totally wrong to have every year since 2014, and then just skip 2019. So, I thought that I’d make a 2019 list. Might not be super relevant, but here it is! Hope you appreciate.


My rules of this list are simple: if it aired/released this year, it can go on this list. I don’t see the point in only giving a show one chance during it’s airing season, and this is my list so I’ll list my favorite shows regardless of what season it started on. If this means that one show hogs the top spot for 2 years, than good for that show! If it’s an OVA or movie that came out during the duration of the season I fell in love with, then it may be there. I think that the seasonal split is arbitrary and unnecessary, so it’s completely gone here. Sorry about that, but that’s how I’m doing it.

Just an FYI, the placement of the show in the list is mostly based on my experience and enjoyment of the work, so if you’re wondering why something isn’t where you think it should be or you can’t really tell via the justification, that’s probably why. Keep in mind, just because a show is lower on the list doesn’t mean it’s bad — all of these are great, and a lower placement isn’t a mark against the show, at this point it’s nearly all personal preference. With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Thoughts on Anime in 2019:

I’m going to be completely honest here: these past two years, I haven’t watched a lot of anime. Hell, it was so bad that I didn’t make a 2019 list, til now anyways. A part of this was me getting busy — I got into the junior year of an engineering degree at university and thus all my free time was gone. But if I’m being honest, that’s an excuse: even when I was busy in the past, I still managed to find time for anime. Really, the culprit was that I stopped watching seasonally — before I would have a routine of watching about 10 shows a season, and finding an hour a day to catch up on the new shows. In 2019, I couldn’t find 10 shows per season, and honestly the shows that were out really didn’t appeal to me, and I didn’t keep up since. I’ve turned to reading manga to get my fix, and that’s replaced anime in my routine, but for anime, that’s made watching seasonal shows all that harder, because I already know what’s gonna happen for many shows that are airing. I realize this is a self perpetuating cycle — if I don’t watch anime, I won’t find anime that’ll keep my interest, and if I don’t find anime that keeps my interest, I’ll be less likely to watch anime. I’m just hoping anime seasons in the future will have more than usual.

Putting together this list was hard. I looked back on my top 10 I made for AniTAY’s Top 100 anime and honestly, I didn’t really love a lot on that list. I think 2019 was just a bad year for anime for me, so bad that I stopped watching seasonally. I like the stuff on this list, but normally the last 3 wouldn’t have made my top lists in a better year.

10. The Promised Neverland

Anime Made By: CloverWorks

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Psychological, Thriller

Plot Summary: Emma, Norman and Ray are the brightest kids at the Grace Field House orphanage. And under the care of the woman they refer to as “Mom,” all the kids have enjoyed a comfortable life. Good food, clean clothes and the perfect environment to learn — what more could an orphan ask for? One day, though, Emma and Norman uncover the dark truth of the outside world they are forbidden from seeing. — Plot Summary from Viz Media via AniList

My Thoughts: The Promised Neverland is an incredibly compelling Psychological thriller Shonen that consistently reinvents itself with new dramatic twists, and perfect pace of informing the viewer more about the world. Definitely one of the best shows of 2019, it has a lot of fans and the production values were crazy good.

The reason that The Promised Neverland is #10 on the list is because I read the manga before the anime and the anime never really resonated with me as a result. I think that the Promised Neverland is a great anime and deserves a high place in most people’s list! It just did not really resonate with me, and the pace is a bit slow for my tastes.

9. Isekai Quartet

Anime Made By: Studio PuYUKAI

Genres: Isekai, Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life

Plot Summary: “Isekai Quartet” is a petit anime crossover project airing in Spring 2019. It will feature such works as Overlord, KonoSuba, Re:Zero, and Youjo Senki. — Plot Summary from AniList

My Thoughts: I do have to say that I think it’s really telling that a short made the list, but I couldn’t find 10 shows that I liked more than Isekai Quartet. Take 4 isekai shows and isekai them again in a bizzare yet absolutely hilarious crossover, and you’ll get Isekai Quartet! This show is an absolute riot, and if you’ve seen the shows, watching the characters interact with each other, seeing their dynamics between each other was an absolute blast. Hell, some of the shows were so focused on their plot that it’s just nice to see the cast in a slice of life scenario. This was a show I looked forward to every week, and thoroughly enjoyed.

8. Endro~!

Anime Made By:

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Slice of Life

Plot Summary: The anime’s story is set on Naral Island, a continent with swords and magic in which humans and monsters coexist. The terrible Demon King lives there. In ancient times, the first-generation hero defeated the Demon King. Over the many successive generations since then, the Demon King has been resurrected, and the hero who opposes him has likewise reappeared. Girls attend a school for adventurers in order to defeat the Demon King when he appears again.

Though a bit absent-minded, Yusha has the body of a hero. The holy elf Seyla’s trouble never ends because she is too serious. The cheerful warrior Fai loves to eat. Mei is a quiet otaku magician. As the four girls aim to be in the hero party, they live relaxed fantasy lives and show no sign of defeating the Demon King no matter how much time passes. — Plot Summary from Anime News Network via AniList

My Thoughts: It was fascinating to see how Endro became a virus that took over AniTAY and had everyone loving this little show. I was on the Endro bandwagon since the very beginning, and it was a really fun time to watch. Endro doesn’t do anything particularly special or unique, but the package it provided made for a shining example of what one looks for in a fun slice of life show. Endro was a comfy and entertaining show with great comedy and endearing characters, and it was always a fun time while watching the show.

7. Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel — II. Lost Butterfly

Anime Made By: ufotable

Genres: Action, Fantasy, Psychological, Supernatural

Plot Summary: The second film in a trilogy adaptation of the 3rd route of the popular visual novel: Fate/stay night.

Shirou Emiya made his choice: to keep fighting, and to protect Sakura Matou. Due to the participation of Zouken Matou in the Holy Grail War, and his summoning of the Servant True Assassin, things begin to distort, steadily worsening day by day. Resolved to protect Sakura and not betray her, Shirou refuses to leave the battle. While Sakura worries about Shirou, she also finds herself entangled in her own fate as a mage. However, their fervent wishes are about be crushed by the mysterious black shadow that covers the city, killing Masters and Servants one by one… — Plot Summary from AniList

My Thoughts: It is not a secret that I am a big fan of Fate/stay night, especially the original visual novel, and I also love ufotable with a movie budget, with Kara no Kyoukai being legitimately some of my favorite movies. So, while I was definitely bummed out by the Unlimited Blade Works adaptation, I was eagerly awaiting the Heaven’s Feel movies, and I am glad to say that the Heaven’s Feel movies are a great adaptation of the route. Unlimited Blade Works felt like the director didn’t understand the appeal of the work, didn’t understand the experience and thus delivered it technically accurately, but without any of the heart or should that the original route had. Adaptations shouldn’t be laser focused on trying to convey the same scenes exactly, but should try to convey the experience of the original work, and Heaven’s feel absolutely does this. The ideal experience of Fate/stay night is still the original visual novel — the way the 3 routes build upon each other and one’s expectations of the characters and events simply cannot be replicated without a complete adaptation; but if you just want the best that fate/stay night has to offer, watch the heaven’s feel movies. It hits on all the character moments, captures the atmosphere of heaven’s feel extremely well, and has great action as one would expect from ufotable. Highly recommended, just don’t go and watch the movies in a theatre during covid.

6. Lord El-Melloi II’s Case Files {Rail Zeppelin} Grace note

Anime Made By: TROYCA

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Supernatural

Plot Summary: Ten years after facing defeat in the Fourth Holy Grail War, Waver Velvet, now Lord El Melloi II, teaches classes at the Clock Tower — the center of education for mages. However, his new status as “Lord” comes with a caveat: obey the orders of Reines, the younger sister of the deceased Kayneth El Melloi, until she is old enough to rule the House of El Melloi.

Waver, along with his mysterious apprentice Gray, takes on a series of cases assigned by Reines and the Mages Association. With each case proving to be more complex than the last, could there be more to the Clock Tower than meets the eye, and what secrets does Reines hide? — Plot Summary from AniList

My Thoughts: Another fate thing! Even with great fate adaptations, there’s some little things that the fate VNs do that are rarely captured, even when the overall adaptations are great. Lord El Melloi is absolutely bizarre because it’s a side story that wasn’t even written by Nasu himself, but is an anime that that actually is able to convey all these small details that don’t show up in fate anime. Lord El Melloi is a show that plays into fate’s strengths in storytelling: the show feeds intrigue with intricate and entertaining world building, creates a pleasant, engaging and immersive atmosphere that is quintessentially Type-Moon, and having a balance in tone that is up with the best of them. The characters are also great too, very likeable and entertaining.

5. Ace of Diamond Act II

Anime Made By: MADHOUSE

Genres: Sports

Plot Summary: The story follows Eijun Sawamura, a pitcher who joins an elite school with a brilliant catcher named Kazuya Miyuki. Together with the rest of the team, they strive for Japan’s storied Koushien championships through hard work and determination.

Picking up the next year after the end of the fall tournament, Seidou High School baseball team battle it out with new and old faces as they begin their tournament run at Koshien. — Plot Summary from AniList

My Thoughts: It is no secret that I am a fan of sports anime, and Ace of Diamond is up there with Haikyuu, Chihayafuru, etc as one of the best in the industry. the way they convey the tension of the baseball games, the way they develop characters to make the entire cast likable, the high stakes and tension — ace of diamond is amazing. It’s a consistently enjoyable show week by week and the great production values by Madhouse ensure that the quality will basically never dip. That being said, this season in particular does have a kind of big problem that kept it from the greatness that I’d normally expect, and that is not much happened this season. Still a good time, would like more development on the cast.

4. Mob Psycho 100 II

Anime Made By: BONES

Genres: Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Supernatural

Plot Summary: The story revolves around “Mob,” a boy who will explode if his emotional capacity reaches 100%. This boy with psychic powers earned his nickname “Mob” because he does not stand out among other people. He keeps his psychic powers bottled up so he can live normally, but if his emotional level reaches 100, something will overwhelm his entire body. — Plot Summary from Anime News Network via AniList

My Thoughts: Have you ever just seen a show that felt like it was objectively good — so good that anyone could love it? There’s so much Mob Psycho 100 does right: the absolutely beautiful animation work by studio bones, the amazing OP that would get stuck in your head for hours, the excellent Kenji Kawai soundtrack, the relationship and character development of both Mob and Reigen, and the sheer heart and character that this show has. Mob Psycho 100 is an incredibly show with touching, moving moments while being basically a must watch throughout. Mob Psycho 100 was an absolute treat, and I’d recommend it to everyone.

3. Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Anime Made By: A-1 Pictures

Genres: Comedy, Psychological, Romance

Plot Summary: Known for being both brilliant and powerful, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya lead the illustrious Shuchiin Academy as near equals. And everyone thinks they’d make a great couple. Pride and arrogance are in ample supply, so the only logical move is to trick the other into instigating a date! Who will come out on top in this psychological war where the first move is the only one that matters? — Plot Summary from Aniplex Via Anilist

My Thoughts: Kaguya-sama Love is War is easily my favorite manga ever and the manga quite possibly my favorite piece of media in general. There’s so much I love about Kaguya: the way Akasaka sensei balances tone is truly the best I’ve seen, bouncing between lighthearted comedy and serious character drama in a way I would describe as perfect. The writing is authentic and gets to the heart of what relationships mean, oftentimes having memorable moments that leave an impact on you hours after reading. The way that everything is paced, and the surprising amount of content every week makes it always a thrill to read the newest chapter. Also, keeping up with Kaguya several years, excitingly reading the newest chapter, with so many of them making my week, the series has definitely grown on me. To top all of this, I adore the cast — there’s so many lovable and relatable characters.

So, with all of that said — what about the anime? Mostly, it’s that it hasn’t gotten to my favorite parts of the manga. Season 1 was basically a traditional romantic comedy, and while I love Kaguya’s humor, it wasn’t all that particularly deep or impressive. I’ve also just never really clicked with the anime in the same way I have the manga — the anime is a great adaptation of the manga but it hasn’t resonated me, quite possibly because I already know what’s going to happen, or because the pace is too slow for my tastes. I’m hoping season 3 changes that, but until then I appreciate Kaguya’s anime but don’t really quite love it.

2. Ascendance of a Bookworm

Anime Made By: Ajiado

Genres: Fantasy, Slice of Life, Drama

Plot Summary: When a sickly young girl suddenly becomes obsessed with inventing new things, her family and friends are all puzzled. “What has gotten into Myne?” they wondered, never dreaming that the answer is not a “What” but a “Who”: Urano Motosu, a book-loving apprentice librarian who died in an earthquake in Tokyo who somehow found herself in Myne’s body! And since Myne’s world is still in a medieval stage, where books can only be owned by the elite, the new Myne intends to do everything she can to bring her beloved books to the masses in the time she has left. — Plot Summary from Sentai Filmworks via AniList

My Thoughts: Out of all the shows on this list, Ascendance of the Bookworm is most likely to be the show you haven’t seen, which is honestly a shame. Ascendance of a Bookworm pairs a fun and quirky protagonist, engaging character drama and fantasy politics in a package that keeps a consistently high bar of quality. I’m amazed by the consistency of Ascendance of a Bookworm’s quality, throughout 2 seasons there’s rarely been a down moment, and as a result Bookworm has been one of the more compelling shows that has aired in the recent months. If this is the first time you’ve heard of it, definitely give it a shot.

1. Chihayafuru Season 3

Anime Made By: MADHOUSE

Genres: Drama, Romance, Sports

Plot Summary: They may have just won their most coveted karuta tournament, but members of the Mizusawa karuta team still have a long way to go. Each member chases their dreams, and with a win under their collective belt, those dreams are closer in reach than ever. Chihaya Ayase is determined to challenge Wakamiya Shinobu and win the title of Queen, and Taichi Mashima is ready to take on Arata Wataya now that he’s made it into the most elite of karuta players — but an unexpected revelation will deal these karuta players a hand none of them saw coming. — Plot Summary from Sentai Filmworks via AniList

My Thoughts: While it isn’t very intuitive, in anime sports and romance are two genres that work well together, playing to each other’s strengths. While you might just assume that sports anime is just Shonen but with a sport, oftentimes a sports anime will do character development and handle character relationships extremely well, leaving everyone likable and making it easy to root for. Chihiyafuru manages to take this character development and add romance to the mix in the most natural of ways, and it’s really a blast to see. The whole cast is full of depth and seeing Karuta matches and tournaments is always a blast. I also really love Chihaya is a character, i’m really a sucker for sunshine girl and Chihaya is definitely that at most times.

It’s been a long time since Chihayafuru — Season 2 aired back in 2012. As you’d expect from Madhouse though, Chihiyafuru Season 3 didn’t miss a beat, and it was just as gripping and compelling as the first time I watched it. I do have to say though, if you’ve seen the 2020 list, this was 5 there, and Ascendance S2 was 6. I love Chihayafuru, but if a sequel is my AoTY, that means there wasn’t an original show that really resonated with me, and honestly that’s a bit depressing. I don’t think I can say that about any other year of anime.

Thank you for reading! If you want to check out more of my writing, check out my blog Reikaze Rambles, as well as Noisy Pixel and where I am a contributor. Also follow me on Twitter if interested!



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Kevin Mai - Reikaze

VN, Anime and Tech Enthusiast! Reikaze Rambles, Writer for @AniTAYOfficial, formerly also @NoisyPixelNews. AKA @RockmanDash12