Picking itself was actually very hard, as personally, 2019 was just extremely bad, full of pointless, cheap and awful anime compared to the previous years. I’m actually surprised I was able to pick more than 4 magic fantasy anime (without my fav magical girls ofc, that one deserves its own post). I picked 7, as 7 is a lucky number and it ain’t going to be as long as my debut post (edit: seems like it’s even longer). From my personal point of view, magic fantasy anime now are awful, full of damn isekai, bad writing, cheap tricks and, well, most of these productions are too similar to each other and ultimately just empty. That’s what I’m calling boring and forced. The Anime series that I picked are actually among my favorites of 2019, but to give them proper justice the list is not in a particular order except for the final 2 productions. I would love you to invite for another journey. Hop in, 4 movies and 3 tv shows, so be it. Lots of fun, believe me.
7. Birthday Wonderland
Let me just mention something, I hate Ilya Kuvshinov’s works, with all my heart, to the point that biggest problem of new Ghost in the Shell anime is not it’s 3D animation but this bastards character design, it’s awful. BUT, I know difference between hating something for no reason and hating for actual reasons and here’s the difference, while I don’t like his design works I can’t say it’s bad, yeah, it’s awful for me personally, but it has nothing to do with the quality of his works, that’s the only reason why I picked this anime to be the first on the list. Because it’s beautiful, and delicate and soft Kuvshinov’s character design finally fits perfectly. It’s first as well, because it’s criminally underrated, mere 1400 ratings on MAL, shame on you.
Anime tells the story of Akane Uesugi, shy and calm 6th grader. She doesn’t tire how to speak about her feelings and keeps everything for herself. A day before her birthday she’s going to pick her partner from Aunt Chi’s antique shop, but there she meets mysterious Hippocrates that calls her Green Goddess and with his fairy companion, Pipo they take her to a journey to The World Beyond in order to save it from drying up and losing its color with help of her new friends and aunt Chi. Yeah, for starters, it’s at some point typical parallel worlds isekai, BUT, it’s children’s story, beautiful, calm children’s story. And many seems to skip that in their minds when it’s coming to rating. Wrong. It is smart, teaching and loving piece of a movie. Perfect for kids at any age, world design is amazing, character design is typical for Kuvshinov, so if you a fan of his works you’ll definitely love this 2 hour long movie. Yeah it has flaws, a lot of it, story feels bur rushed and unoriginal, some serious pacing issues and pretty predictable villain, but again, it’s children’s story and adaptation of children’s book. Music is calm and beautiful and voicing is just as perfect as it gets, characters cliche but lively and lovely and whole atmosphere of this anime is just wholesome.
6. Cop Craft
This is one of the most underrated shows of the decade. 6,81/10 MAL rating is a joke and it’s extremely unfair. This anime is an rare gem, it’s original, it’s entertaining, it’s mature and truly great. Mix of fantasy, magic and action sci-fi anime. And on top of that, great, amazing and very rare buddy cop show. Literally buddy cop show as it’s best. It’s a story of unlikely duo of partners, revenge and duty. Fifteen years ago in the middle of Pacific Ocean appeared an hyperspace gate that connects earth with world full of fairies and monsters. Kei Matoba is the best cop in his department, dedicated and strong but doesn’t trust non-humans. With his partner he fights with trafficking, drugs and prostitution, unfortunately, leading the fairy trafficking case his partner is murdered. That event sets him on the path of vengeance. Tilarna Exedilika is a noble of the Farbani Kingdom, one of the Knights of Mirvor, her duty is to rescue the noble fairy that Kei encountered during his last case. At the request of his superiors he accepts her as his new partner and despite their differences, they work to overcome them in order of saving the noble fairy and avenge his partners death. Buddy show at it’s finest, byt suprisingly dark and gritty.
I love good police stories, that respects viewers and delivering great entertainment at the same time. And Cop Craft nails it. Show is intense, violent and amazingly written, character development is just great and believable, world and character design is rich and beautiful and action sequences full of heart. I loved every bit of this story, loved character interactions and loved the crime mystery, an proper action drama with some of the finest main duos I’ve seen in years. Plus fresh humor. When I encounter original ideas, that delivering great entertainment I can’t fight myself but love it. Great opening theme, beautiful music perfectly fits the screen, great setting and writing combined never fails to deliver fun and reliable character growth is perfect. One of these shows that deliver much more that you could ever expect, truly great show, definitely one of the best in 2019.
5. Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch
Let’s say it straight, any top list without Code Geass in it is pointless. One of the best and strongest franchises out there right now. Constantly delivering great story, entertainment and amazing characters. Please note, that Code Geass: Fukkatsu no Lelouch is an alternative ending to the Code Geass series, it’s a sequel to the Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch III – Oudou not the Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch R2. Since the demise of the man believed to be Britannia’s most wicked emperor one year ago, the world has enjoyed an unprecedented peace under the guidance of the United Federation of Nations. However, this fragile calm is shattered when armed militants successfully kidnap former princess Nunnally vi Britannia and Suzaku Kururugi, the chief advisor of the Black Knights, sparking an international crisis. The powerful and untrustworthy Kingdom of Zilkhstan is accused of orchestrating their capture. To investigate, world authorities send Kallen Stadtfeld and her associates on a covert operation into the country. There, they encounter the immortal witch C.C., who is on a mission to complete the resurrection of the man responsible for the greatest revolution in history—a legend who will rise up, take command, and save the world from peril once again. As it goes on MAL.
Many were afraid that this sequel will be fuck up, people have small faith, while CG franchise always delivers. Always. 15 years old franchise has found it’s end (for now) at the beginning of 2019. While ite was great, amazing and extremely entertainment movie I felt sad as something had finished, something truly close to my heart, something I was following from the very first day. But ultimately everything will end one day. And we can always hope for new story, however, I can’t see where it can go with the plot now as the ending was perfect. Great animation quality combined with the return of our beloved characters and even more complex story did what it supposed to do, gave us proper closing and farewell. Music was beautiful, rendition of main theme always turned me on and ultimately by the ens of this nearly 2 hours looking niche I was shattered and in tears. All hail to Code Geass series. Never disappointed.
4. Kimetsu no Yaiba
I’m going to let you know in advance, I’m an huge ufotable fanboy, with everything that comes with it. With CoMix Wave, KyoAni and SHAFT they’re part of my personal BIG 4. I believe in them blindly and always will, ufotable and CoMix Wave claimed total of 3 spots in this list, including the very top 2. When I heard that ufo is to adapt new original manga that is not not a part of Fate universe I lost my shit. Even I knew KnY is very definition of your typical shounen. I knew they’ll deliver visual orgy, and hell yeah, they bloody did. It’s best looking 2019 anime series, by any means, it’s bloody ufotable. I kept following the manga since beginning, liked it, was entertained, loved the messy art style and this very schematic and cliche story, mostly for it’s heart and fun, there’s reason behind 2nd place in the most successful manga series in Japan right now, main one, of course, is it’s anime adaptation. Nearly flawless considering it’s roots and what it’s trying to achieve, beautifully animated with some of the best fights choreography in anime history.
The only actual flaw of this series is the story itself (Violet Evergarden has the same issue). But in the other hand, anime delivers exactly what you expecting, colourful gallery of the characters, godly music by one and only goddess Yuki Kajiura (Madoka Magica, Kara no Kyukai) and of course, best animation quality toy can get. One day, Tanjirou decides to go down to the local village to make a little money selling charcoal. On his way back, night falls, forcing Tanjirou to take shelter in the house of a strange man, who warns him of the existence of flesh-eating demons that lurk in the woods at night.When he finally arrives back home the next day, he is met with a horrifying sight—his whole family has been slaughtered. Worse still, the sole survivor is his sister Nezuko, who has been turned into a bloodthirsty demon. Consumed by rage and hatred, Tanjirou swears to avenge his family and stay by his only remaining sibling. That’s about everything in terms of getting you to the plot, as I said, it’s pretty schematic. But in the best possible way. Show itself is suprisingly funny and well paced, setting is just as good as it gets and the design is godly, not amazing or great, not even flawless, design is godly, perfect in every inch and just can’t get any better. Perfect simple story for basically everyone, one of this shounens that like FMAB are just definitive example of how to do great anime. Entertaining, fun and just perfect as it gets.
3. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 Part 2
Plot twist, I hate way the manga goes now, cringe to the border of understanding, boring and predictable af. What’s funny, anime adaptation is different piece of work. It’s great and 2nd part of the 3rd season is one of the greatest anime series of all time. And I mean that. One if the most highly anticipated shows is now in the endgame with the final season coming, hopefully, in 2020. First season was the sole title that actually helped me overcome my watching crisis and thanks to it I’m still here, 17 years after I watched my first anime. I’m not going to waste my time for the plot here, if you haven’t seen previous seasons, just skip it and read the rest and, of course, watch the bloody anime itself. What is worth meaning for the rest of you, it’s finally time to reveal what is in this fucking basement. After 6 years we came here. Ultimately, it’s the best installment of the franchise, second part is just flawless, darker, grittier, harder and even cringier than it already was. Perfect introduction for the final season that will probably leave us all shattered and empty. Can’t wait.
For the obvious reasons there’s no point of getting deeper into the plot twist. Show picked up exactly where first part left, that’s all you need to know. It’s definitely the best written tv show of 2019, the most intense and entertaining and would top the list if it wasn’t for the two top movies. I loved everything about the show, animation is getting better and better with each season, music is flawless, character design, world and location design is just perfect, fights choreography are almost as good as in KnY and animation, again, soon it’ll be possible to put Wit Studio in the line with SHAFT and the rest of my BIG 4. Well, except KyoAni, but I doubt anyone will come close them within next few years tho, after all Violet Evergarden is definitely best animated anime of all time. But coming back to SnK, thanks to this season expectations went into the space and, well, I expect them to deliver the show that’ll take 2nd place of the best anime of all time on MAL, I think this is the only show right now that can actually do it. Another hails, this time for Eren and his friends (?).
2. Tenki no Ko
I wrote about this movie at least dozen different articles and reviews. As I want to be fair with yall, I’m an psychic fan of Makoto Shinkai works, for good or bad. I’m fully aware that his screenplays are mediocre and full of schematic plots. But I don’t care, I met him personally on the premiere, I’m following his career since 2006 and always rooting and watching his movies in cinemas. Tenki no Ko is most Shinkai movie he ever did, as well it’s his most beautiful movie both in terms of visuals and story. I’m huge fan of romances and love stories, this movie is everything I ever wanted. Story is pretty and simple as the romances should be, high school student Hodaka Morishima, who struggles to financially support himself—ending up with a job at a small-time publisher. At the same time, the orphaned Hina Amano also strives to find work to sustain herself and her younger brother. Both fates intertwine when Hodaka attempts to rescue Hina from shady men, deciding to run away together. Subsequently, Hodaka discovers that Hina has a strange yet astounding power: the ability to call out the sun whenever she prays for it. With Tokyo’s unusual weather in mind, Hodaka sees the potential of this ability. He suggests that Hina should become a “sunshine girl”—someone who will clear the sky for people when they need it the most.Things begin looking up for them at first. However, it is common knowledge that power always comes with a hefty price. Stealing from MAL. Can’t fight myself.
It’s well known fact this movie takes place in the same universe as Shinkai’s most successful work up to date, Kimi no Na Wa., we got even short cameo of it’s main characters here. And yeah, I loved it. With every inch of my heart, for it’s beautiful, simple love story. Well, Tenki no Ko takes it even further, movie looks terrifying, one of the best animated visuals of all time, great seeing, super flawless pacing and character design only Shinkai know how to do. Mix of godly, hand-made animations with great CGI, RADWIMPS outdone themselves with the music, all themes are memorable and beautiful, not to mention that their music perfectly fits the movie itself on-screen and off-screen in your headphones/speakers. Production itself delivers smooth and very important ecological themes that are just as important as the movie. The love story is on the other hand sweet, lovely and beautiful, but as well typical, melodramatic and bit mediocre, howeve, plot twists this time are much better written. It’s Shinkai at his best, you love hin or you hate him. And yeah, visual orgy. As always.
1. Fate/stay night Movie: Heaven’s Feel – II. Lost Butterfly
And here we go. Another ufotable production. But this time it’s a part of one of my favourite franchises of all time, the main Fate franchise. Spinoffs not included. Right not we’re taking about absolute work, an true masterpiece, yeah, I’m an fanboy. This is as well prologue to the final installment of the franchise, the very last one. As I doubt, for now, ufotable will adapt sequel visual novel. This movie is a second in trilogy adapting final route of the Fate/stay night original visual novel game, the Heaven’s Feel one. The darkest, most cruel, most heartbreaking and psychological route of the 3 in the the game. And my favourite one. I’m extremely sad as it inevitably coming to an end very soon as I’ve been following it since the very beginning, I’m damn sad, because this movie is so fucking epic and I realised that the final one will deliver deadly blow to all who’ve been following the series as long as I am. This movie as well is very definition of what ufotable actually is, Unlimited Budget Works. No anime can come near in the terms of CGI visuals and fights choreography. Alter Saber v. Heracles is THE MOST epic anime fight of all time, and it’s a fact, not a theory. There’s very few animated movies that even tops this one in overall animation quality but there’s no anime that delivers this level of immersion and suspense during fights as this movie.
I’m not going to explain the plot as it’s an introduction for die-hard fans of the universe. Again, we picking up the story exactly enge it left at the finale of the first movie, so the story continues focusing this time on relationship between Sakura and Shirou. They continue to grow closer together while everything around falls apart. Yuki Kajiura illustrates a movie with another godlike OST, dark and heavy that reminds me of her works for Madoka franchise. The animation quality is over the top, barely anything comes close, character design is godly, animators did their job, did it better than ever. And I can only expect that the final movie will exceed this one in everything. And once again, no anime in history had a single fight that can come close to what was shown here, action and fights choreography and planning is godlike. Fights are epic, intensive over the top and visually unreachable for any other animation studio out there. What a piece of masterpiece. So this movie is as well, a true definition of a masterpiece in every inch of it, one of the greatest anime movies I’ve seen in my life. Final one comes very, very soon. Stay tuned.
Some final thoughts…
Yeah, toy can ask where are more popular isekai animes or some fantasy shounen we’ve seen last year, the answer is simple. I hated them all. 2019 was weak and disappointing but even tho, there’s still few very good anime that are always worth mentioning. I’ll be around here soon enough.