The end of the year is here and it’s time for the 15th Annual Reader’s Choice poll. Do you have a favorite series you’d like to see win? Are you just curious to see what everyone else enjoyed this year? There’s no electoral college here. The anime with the most votes wins!

As per the usual, there will be two polls for you to vote on this year – one for regularly broadcast TV series, and another for OVA/movies. We’re asking you for your top 5 picks in each poll, which should stop the results from being heavily skewed towards the mega-popular shows. This year we have ~125 TV series and ~76 OVA/movies for you to choose from. The first thing that comes to my attention is that there’s notably less than usual (170-180 in recent years), no doubt because of COVID related production delays. That said, it’s still a lot. So make sure you look over the entire list before deciding. Keep in mind that like all entertainment, anime is subjective. There is no one size fits all here. Please respect the opinions of others, even if you may disagree with them.

Criteria-wise, the following is what was used to decide what shows did (or did not) make it onto these lists:

  • For a regular broadcast TV series to be considered, it has to have finished airing in 2020 and fit in the general criteria for receiving a preview. The idea is that you can’t truly judge a series until it’s over, so series such as Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season and Shingeki no Kyojin: Final Season and Yuukoku no Moriarty will appear on next year’s poll. Series with another season coming but a clear stopping point in the one we’ve already seen are included. At the same time, shows generally aired for all ages/kids were not included.
  • For OVA/movies, it has to have been released on Blu-ray/DVD in 2020 to qualify, ensuring that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it. This mostly pertains to theatrical offerings. The difference from TV series is that they don’t necessarily have to be complete to be included, since it can take several years for an OVA series to finish.

As far as we’re aware, the anime series list is complete, barring a handful of shows that are animated but unlike “typical” anime. The OVA/movie list is less so, but this is by design; there are lot of really niche OVAs that aren’t really worth considering and there is a tendency for series in this category to be delayed or released at different dates, so accuracy will vary greatly. If you feel there’s something that deserves consideration, isn’t listed, or is listed but shouldn’t be, please leave a comment or send Zaiden an email or tweet at him via @ZaidenRC and we’ll add it in as soon as possible. Please note that the first comment in this post will keep a list of shows added, so keep an eye on that before voting.

With that said, vote away!

Note: To give viewers more time to vote, the polls will close this year at 9:00 AM PST on January 2nd, giving you the most time possible before the Best of Anime post comes out with the results. This means the 9:00 AM in the afternoon in PST or 3:00 PM GMT on the 3rd.



46 Comments

  1. I really wish the Made in Abyss author didn’t take a 100 years to release new chapters. At his current pace we’ll probably all be long dead before the series comes to a satisfying conclusion. They can’t even produce a fourth movie because the Ilblu Arc is still ongoing though coming to a close, the difference being that he takes months per chapter.

    From what I also understand the author isn’t even close to ending the planned story of the series, which suggests there’s likely way more layers out there.

    Lyfe
  2. This year was perhaps the least amount of anime I have consumed the last 10 years. I am not sure if it is 2020 fatigue or work has gotten to me. The standout this year was the Made in Abyss movie 3 or My Hero Academia Season 4,

    Thank you RC staff for continuing your work in such a difficult year.

    Flappy
  3. Winter: Bofuri
    Spring: Houkago Teibou Nisshi
    Summer: Lapis Re:Lights
    Fall: Strike Witches Road to Berlin
    Bonus: Ishuzoku Reviewers

    The dreadfully bare spring and summer seasons made choosing easy this time ’round

    Arche
  4. Hubo buenas series durante el año, pero esta fue mi selección.

    Princess Connect! Re:Drive; una linda comedia moe
    Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia; que hizo honor a la franquicia
    Mairimashita Iruma-kun; que si lo dejan ser, será el próximo éxito de la década
    Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta; una sola palabra, BAKARINA!!!
    Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? Bloom; el moe en su máxima expresión

    Huitzi
  5. In no particular order…
    FGO Babylonia: They did a pretty good job adapting the 6th singularity of the game. Animation quality was on point and I like to rewatch Ishtar‘s and Quetz‘ nicely animated scenes.
    Danmachi S3: Refreshing departure of the previous two seasons by introducing monsters that aren’t mere means to gain exp anymore and had to be protected by Bell.
    Kaguya-sama S2: Not simply a comedy anymore, Ishigami backstory was one of this year’s highlights. Also made me appreciate Kaguya VA Koga Aoi.

    Railgun T: Railgun anime has yet to disappoint in contrast to Index. Each of Misaka‘s friend had her time in the spotlight, especially Kuroko, and Misaki was a great addition.

    Golden Kamuy S3: Had some seriously funny (bro)ments, while giving us further glimpes in the tragic past of the cast. Animation further improved over the previous two seasons. To think that I almost dropped it after the CG bear in the 1st season. Tsurumi is a handsome man.

    Honorary mentions: Otome Game (wholesome, but lost a bit of steam in later episodes) and Ishuzuko Reviewers that I have yet to finish, but what I have seen so far has been hilarious. Not a good look for a certain streaming service though.

    Thanks to the staff for covering all these shows.

    boingman
  6. my top 5 this year is definitely coloured by the fact I watched few series this year (inevitable when being in medicine in a pandemic year i suppose), so could pick my top 5 from only the series I watched.

    in no particular order:

    – ascendence of a bookworm S2 – one of the best isekai’s currently out returns with continued strength for its second season.

    – my hero academia S4 – significant upping of the dramatic heft and storytelling in this fourth season while preserving the great characters/development

    – welcome to demon school! iruma-kun – perfect relaxation series, great comedy, characters and premise.

    – rental girlfriend – somewhat of guilty pleasure series, but very entertaining. while MC is undeniably very pathetic, many elements of the series are pretty relatable

    – tower of god – barely made it into this list; just an average adaptation in both animation and execution, but the strength of the source material carries it. hopefully S2, if it happens, can improve further

    lebleu
  7. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle was definitely a sleeper.
    Funny show, reasonable conclusion and the possibility of future episodes.
    I’d say it’s a solid 9/10 for me. I honestly can’t think of anything I disliked
    about the series. Favoritist episode (a tough decision) was her solving the
    puzzle to get the super-powerful grimoire. I love that kind of slapstick!

    Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! was a different and enjoyable watch.
    It became a little predictable towards the end, though. That episode where
    the tank “drove” into the audience was the best and I still think about it from
    time to time.

    Deca-Dence was different but I would’ve like to see some of the side
    characters developed a little more.

    Loved part 1 and part 2 of Honzuki no Gekokujou — hoping for more in
    the not too distant future. Again, another series with very few faults, great
    world building and character development.

    Infinite Dendrogram, Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, Maou Gakuin no Futekigousha, Majo no Tabitabi, and Somali to Mori no Kamisama
    were all good series.

    Hachi-nan tte, Sore wa Nai Deshou! was another sleeper with a good story
    and decent ending.

    Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu was a
    great ride, too. Not too emo, just a lotta game-play fun with a decent ending.

    Despite what 2020 bought to the table, it wasn’t a horrible Anime year. But
    I’m hoping 2021, with it’s strong start, will help us all forget the nuttiness of 2020!

    mac65
    1. I am very glad to see that Eizouken received the most votes among new shows, especially since it isn’t really the kind of show that would typically be most popular. If there was a best character vote, Kanamori would likely receive mine. Overall, I think that the show did a great job of telling the story as anime. I’m not aware of a term for anime comparable to ‘cinematic’ or ‘literary’ but I think it would apply to Eizouken.

      Mockman
  8. Shouldn’t Gundam Build Divers Re:rise part of the list this year?
    After just how bland Build Divers is, Re:rise started with very little expectation and it blew through it and beyond, making it a very solid Gundam show on its own.
    Even the model kits keep on selling out even after restocks.

    Boo
  9. lol…
    just realised that Hero Academia 4 and Tower of God are the only Anime that I have watched from this year…
    And there are only like five more Anime that I am interested in from this year…

    My overall Consumption did go down too. From 40~50 last year to less than 20 this :O

    egdg
  10. Another year, another reader’s choice. Unfortunatly not a good year for most of us, and that certainly can be said for anime as well. Nevertheless, there were a few highlights this year, so let me go over my top 5. The top 3 was easiest to choose, as they were the real highlights, though the order of 1 and 2 is a toss-up. Number 4 and 5 were harder; a couple of the honourable mentions could’ve deserved those spots as well.

    1. Golden Kamuy 3rd season (What a season it was. Guardian Enzo has delighted us with his blog posts highlighting the genius of Noda-sensei’s manga. It seems to keep getting better as the story progresses. There is no anime like Golden Kamuy)
    2. Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na! (I thoroughly enjoyed this piece of creativity and shoutout to the art that is animation. Actually believed this would be my top pick of the year for a long time until Golden Kamuy this season came along)
    3. Fruits Basket 2nd season (Also present in my top 5 of last year. This story is a masterclass in well written characters and this season certainly did once again bring tears to my eyes on multiple occasions)
    4. Enen no Shouboutai: Ni no Shou (As is the case with Fruits Naskets, this season of Fire Force also returns from my last years top 5. I might have a weak spot for Okubo-sensei’s art style and humor. Fire force was an enjoyable watch imo. David Production did spoil us once again with excellent art and sound design)
    5. Nami yo Kittekure (Any other list would probably contain Oregairu or ToG, but I went with the unconventional choice of an anime about radio. I never would have expected to enjoy this series as much as I did, but the funny characters and insight in how radio is made created this unexpected mix of enjoyment. I believe that should be rewarded with a spot in my top 5.)

    As always a list of honourable mentions:
    – Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru
    – Kami no Tou
    – BNA (Overall fun, which could be felt from the animation alone)
    – Pet (Outstanding art and intriguing mind fuckery)
    – Ishuzoku Reviewers (for its boldness, to air this as a regular anime)

    This year I seem to have watch more movies than previous years, so the choice was more difficult than before. Without specific order:
    – Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch
    – Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei
    – Hibike! Euphonium Movie 3: Chikai no Finale
    – Girls und Panzer das Finale Part 2 (I picked up Girls und Panzer this year, so this special was a good follow up)
    – Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kerenai Densetsu

    Note: I haven’t watched all movies/OVAs. I’m sure Violet Evergarden and Golden Kamuy OVA are great, but I haven’t seen them yet.

    Shrubbery
    1. A couple of minutes after posting+voting I realize BURN THE WITCH should be part of my top Movies/OVAs over either KonoSuba or Girls und Panzer. Least I can do now is shoutout via this comment.

      Shrubbery
  11. Hope my votes register… *fingers crossed* (Any way to know?)

    Best of Anime 2020 picks (TV):
    Ishuzoku Reviewers – (Yeah, yeah, I’ll keep my d*** in my pants.) Unapologetically borderline hentai“cultured” with pretty good raunchy comedy and worldbuilding.
    No Guns Life 2nd Season – A well-animated cyberpunk romp which is rare to see nowadays.
    Princess Connect! Re:Dive – Learned of it thanks to Kyaru’s “Yabai wa yo” catchphrase, was more entertaining than I thought it would be. (Having the comedic nods to KonoSuba also helped.)
    Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise 2nd Season – Knowing the Gundam franchise’s cycle of creating divisive series (Gundam AGE, G-Reco) followed up by creating a redeeming series (Build Fighters, Iron-Blooded Orphans), Build Divers Re:RISE would turn out to be the redeeming series to Build Divers (even if it did add to the already giant pile of isekai anime).
    OreGairu Kan – A well-written exploration of awkward social relationships in a rom-com package. (“F”s for the Yui fans, though.)

    Honorable mentions (TV):
    Monster Musume no Oisha-san – An interesting take on the “monster musume” genre.
    Enen no Shouboutai: Ni no Shou – A shounen series I found refreshing to watch. (Or it might just be the Soul Eater vibes that I got.)
    Bofuri – A fun, entertaining series about a newbie gamer who goes from rookie to game-breaking.
    Strike Witches: Road to Berlin – A well-executed comeback for the series that started the “military moe” genre.
    Railgun T – A much-needed return to form for J.C. Staff (alongside Accelerator and KonoSuba: Kurenai Densetsu).

    Best of Anime 2020 picks (OVA/Movie):
    Seishun Buta Yarou wa Yumemiru Shoujo no Yume wo Minai[1] – Was caught by Seishun Buta Yarou‘s fanservice hook, but fell in love with Mai and Sakuta’s chemistry (and the series as a whole). So it was good to see the movie reveal more about the person that inspired Sakuta to be better–Shouko Makinohara. Loved the movie’s emotional ups and downs, and its heart-warming ending.
    Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!: Kurenai Densetsu[1] – An absolutely entertaining (and hilarious) continuation/expansion to the KonoSuba TV series.
    Girls und Panzer das Finale Part 2 and High School Fleet Movie – “Military moe” anime wouldn’t work as well as it does if the audience can’t empathize with the characters and the setting/worldbuilding isn’t well-written. Luckily these two movies retain those qualities and even expand on the TV series’ setting/worldbuilding. While I’m satisfied with how the Hai-Furi movie turned out, it’ll be a bit agonizing to wait for the next part(s) of Girls und Panzer das Finale.
    Goblin Slayer: Goblin’s Crown – Despite understandably being toned down from the LN, as an anime, it is a welcome addition for viewers itching to see new adventures with Goblin Slayer and his party.

    Honorable mentions (OVA/Movie):
    Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo: Oretachi no Game Set – Even though the light novel is still ongoing(?), still a satisfying conclusion to a romcom series that hits different in a hilarious way.
    Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch – Wait, so this is a continuation to an alternate ending of the TV series? Still enjoyed seeing Lelouch be the magnificent bastard that he is in the TV series (despite regressing to a child-like state and apparently suffering amnesia at the start of the movie–don’t worry, he gets better).

    Man, I also have a lot of other anime movies/OVAs that I gotta watch: SaeKano Fine, Violet Evergarden, the YU-NO OVA, F/SN: Heaven’s Feel III, etc.

    (Note [1]: Saw in theaters before the COVID-19 lockdown hit.)

    Incognito
    1. If you click on “view results” on the bottom of each poll area and make a mental note of the numbers, if they go up by one for each show you voted for, then they went through.

      Lyfe
      1. Pretty sure I managed to hit the “vote” button as soon as I made my picks for both categories (though I had them open for quite a while to review before submitting).

        I mean, normally, there would be a “Thank you, your vote has been accepted” prompt if your vote went through. (At least, that’s what I learned from my time at Item Sugar Mike Love.) Guess Crowdsignal’s polling app works differently.

        Though seeing that some of my best TV anime picks are a paltry 1% or in the single digits… 🙁 Thanks anyway.

        On a different note, to cut off potential misunderstanding, I meant “F”s to pay respects to the Yui fans (who lost the main OreGairu shipping war), not “F”s denoting a failing grade. *sweatdrops*

        Incognito
          1. I would add spoiler tags if I know they work 100% for those who post (and not just for the RC writers). Seriously, the comments section needs a lot of work.

            Besides spoiler tags not working 100% of the time, comment sections in older series that were closed a long time ago suddenly reopened after “The Big Update” and have become a vector for spam. I dunno how infinitezenith’s blog does it (probably the whole WordPress thing after they absorbed Gravatar), but I like/appreciate how his blog’s comment section has a way to verify if an email address is valid or something from a disposable service.

            As for actual spoilers, I’ll try to be vaguer with them (or only discuss them once the episode itself reveals it), but ultimately, the responsibility is on viewers/readers if they really want to avoid spoilers. If it’s not me spoiling, chances are, someone else will. Personally, there are times when I get interested in a series due to (infamous) spoilers or memes and I’ve learned to take getting spoiled in stride. Heck, I don’t mind asking for spoilers/source material deviations for certain series.

            But for those who are that sensitive to spoilers, the rule of thumb is to watch/read/binge the damn series and avoid fora like these until they’ve finally caught up.

            Incognito
  12. Really surprised the Code Geass movie is doing so well as it didn’t feel like a required entry in the franchise. The series kinda had a closed ending for the franchise and the movie felt like it existed just to give people more Lelouch. It wasn’t awful per say but if it didn’t exist I don’t think the Geass franchise would be any worse off overall.

    Lyfe
  13. For the last years one of my favourite moment throughout the year is to read the ‘best of’ post here on RandomC, always of great quality, so as always I can’t wait for the 2020 one.

    But I have one major question, if you could explain, why did you decide not to add Re:Zero 2nd Season to the poll? I understand and agree with the point you can’t judge the show until it’s over, like Shingeki no Kyojin Final Season and other shows (e.g. Higurashi, Jujutsu Kaisen) that started airing this year but will finish the next year.

    But as it was intended by White Fox to make this second season into two cours, how is it different from other shows that get their first cour in one season and the next one sometime later? I mean, you could tell the same about other shows e.g. Fruits Basket which from the start was planned into three parts, with final season coming this year, so technically its story isn’t finished too. Or to imagine if Haikyuu aired its second part of To the Top next year, would you not include it as well? I mean, Re:Zero had its season which aired from first to last episode in 2020, so why exclude it? Many shows are handled the same way (both Shokugeki and Shingeki no Kyojin had their third seasons divided into two parts) and I simply quite don’t understand why 2nd season of Re:Zero is considered here as ‘unfinished’.

    Pyon
    1. If there was a definitive wrapping point, I might have considered it eligible. But I don’t consider the end of the Witch’s Tea Party to be a definitive stopping point in the story. There’s so many unresolved plot points within the current arc itself (Emilia attempting the trials, Tragedy at Roswaal’s mansion, etc). It would be premature to judge Re Zero 2nd Season Part 1 without Part 2. The same would have applied to Haikyuu TO THE TOP. Because it would make no sense to judge the first cour by itself when it ended in the middle of a match. With Haikyuu and Re Zero, we knew they were getting split cour follow ups within 3-6 months. The studios intended for both cours to be two parts of a whole, but elected to take a break because of COVID/improving the quality or productivity of a show’s animation.

      Most importantly, Re Zero 2nd Season was originally going to be 24 straight episodes from April 1st (Subaru’s birthday) until September (Emilia’s birthday). Only COVID-19’s outbreak derailed that whole plan. White Fox intended for the Summer 2020 and Winter 2021 cours to be one whole season and this has also been stated at an official capacity. With creator Teppai tweeting this out as well. Their intention is irrefutably clear here, and I know fans will be frustrated because they want to see Re Zero winning all these accolades. And it probably would have swept the house if it did manage to completely air in 2020. But it’s more important to consider the bigger picture, and I wouldn’t want to disrespect White Fox’s creative vision by overlooking this fact.

      Source: https://www.twitter.com/nezumiironyanko/status/1308274355642626048?s=20

      1. After you mentioned the original plans for the Re:Zero 2nd Season airing, especially the part about characters’ birthdays, I remembered I’d actually heard about it in news sometime ago. I read a bit more about this production delay and can confirm that you’re right with everything, so I guess that’s really more of a special case here. Even though from technical point it’s one season over and another season planned for this winter, I need to agree that it cannot be overlooked that the intention of the creators was completely different and only because of pandemic situation it changed the whole plan for airing this year.

        Thank you for taking your time to explain this issue, now I agree and understand that it’s the right way to handle this. I won’t be lying that it was a bit of frustration that made me ask about this, since this Re:Zero’s season was definitely a top for me (was it the best, I have trouble deciding between this, Golden Kamuy and Oregairu), but on the other side, it’s surely better to wait for the latter part and judge it as the whole.

        Pyon
    1. I definitely think Kaguya-sama was consistently great. It’s got a great cast and some serious depth below the excellent veneer of witty comedy. But I also think outside of the significant character development many of Kaguya’s characters went through, comedy is difficult to talk about. Explaining the jokes that made me laugh would probably kill the humour and make it extremely boring. It takes skill to examine comedy.

    2. When it comes to articles on the internet and views you’ll find comments make up only a tiny percentage of overall views. In this case folk just dont feel like commenting on the show to express their support and are happy to just vote.

      Lyfe
  14. Why are the results viewable this year? It removes excitement and allows favourite voting by proxy. This is a huge flaw and I’ve never seen this done at RC before (been following since Omni-era).

    Hecate
      1. I don’t think you’ve done anything wrong as it looks as if people have voted in good faith. The shows & movies you’d expect to be in the upper ranks of the poll are there. Had there been obvious shenanigans then I guess you’d have goofed but the polls look good to me.

        Lyfe

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