2020 was a terrible year for everyone. Every type of business around the world had to make cuts, experience set backs, and sometimes failure. This is no different for the world of anime. There were many great anime pushed back to 2021. This means that 2021 is set up to be one of the greatest years in anime yet. That is if everything calms down like we all hope it will.
That being said the brave soldiers who provide us with our weekly anime kicks didn’t completely give up and abandon us. Overall 2020 was a terrible year for anime, but we still had plenty of great anime come out of it. One of my personal favorite genre’s is fantasy. So today I will be going over a list of 10 of the best fantasy anime to come out of 2020.
With this list I’m going to follow a few rules. First I will only use new series that first released in 2020. I will not include any sequels to previous anime.
While I have watched most fantasy anime from 2020, I have not seen all of them. I will only include anime I have seen so that I can give an accurate review of them, not some copy and paste review.
Finally these reviews and ratings are my personal opinion. I’m not trying to offend anyone and I don’t review anime like a film critique breaking down every element. I give my honest opinion and rate the anime based on how much I was able to enjoy it.
That being said I hope you enjoy this list!
Spoiler Warning! I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible in my reviews. However, it’s very difficult to review some anime without spoilers. Because of that this is you’re warning, some of these reviews may contain spoilers. I do try to point out any large spoilers that give away huge plot points, but smaller spoilers will not be mentioned this way.
10: 100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatteiru
This fantasy anime wasn’t all that bad. Some of the animation and CGI are very off putting and I put off watching this anime for a long time because of it. However, once I started ignoring that the plot becomes pretty interesting. The characters are pretty generic and there isn’t a lot to say about their personality or even their back stories. But overall the animation quality and the story it’s self aren’t that bad.
The anime follows that protagonist Yotsuya Yuusuke as he is randomly transported to a video game like fantasy world. He meets a strange man with only half of a head who explains some basic rules then spins a runlet wheel to determine his job class. His luck stat must be either super high or super low because he rolls the extremely rare gardener class. From other options such as mage, warrior, knight, healer etc, he rolls one of the few classes that have about a 1% chance of being chosen.
What can the gardener class do you might ask? Well that’s simple, they can garden. The only real benefit that he gains is a knowledge of common plants, their uses, and whether or not they are edible. The Anime is a dark fantasy that honestly tries a little too hard in my opinion. However, it appears that the second season might add some clarity and tie up some loose ends, so I’m actually looking forward to it.
Overall I wouldn’t highly recommend this anime to anyone, but if you are bored and need something to watch, and you like the fantasy genre this one definitely isn’t bad.
9: Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
Kicking it up a notch or two is a fantasy anime quite a few people seem to be ignoring. I admit this anime seems as if it’s being advertised to children, with it’s cutesy characters, and funny plot points. But don’t let it fool you, this anime isn’t half bad and I genuinely enjoyed it.
This anime is a parody making fun of other generic isekai anime. It starts off with a strong female lead that is in the middle of player her favorite VRMMO when out of nowhere she unlocks a special event and is told to pick a box from a room of hundreds of boxes. Not being a very impulsive person she just picks the box closest to her. Inside is special super rare broken gear.
All of the gear is in the shape of a bear and all of it has it’s own broken special abilities. She then answers a few quick survey questions about whether she prefers the game over reality, whether she would miss any family if she were gone, etc. Then is put back into the game with the bear equipment already equipped.
Unfortunately for her she is starting over at level 1, she lost all of her skills, money, and equipment, except for the bear equipment. Furthermore, she’s not actually in the game, as she quickly realizes that she’s actually been transported t a fantasy world that’s only somewhat similar to the game in a few aspects. After saving a little girl from some ravenous wolves and being shown around town she joins the adventurers guild, where she easily takes on creatures that wold normally be impossible for her to beat. Enemies that are sometimes more than 30 times her level. And she becomes renowned as a weirdo, with everyone saying things like “I thought that was impossible. Well it is bear after all.” BTW she gets the nickname bear. Everyone who knows her calls her bear. She actually hates this name and the cutesy look of her gear at first, but over time it starts to grow on her and she becomes the bear adventurer.
The anime is very funny and defiantly worth watching! There is a lot to it and seeing how the protagonist resolves some of her issues is out right hilarious. Not to mention her personality, it’s a far cry from a generic isekai protagonist. Although it is a parody of isekai anime, it definitely has it’s own flavor and personality and is well worth a watch!
8: Otome Game no Hametsu Flag shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei shiteshimatta…
This fantasy style anime is everything it’s cracked up to be. On the surface it seems like a reverse harem anime, but it’s far from it actually. The anime is more of a parody of reverse harems than it is one.
As the name suggests the protagonist of this anime is resurrected in a fantasy style world as a young girl. The world is based on one of her favorite video games, a dating sim. The problem? She’s not the main character, she’s the antagonist of the entire game. Unfortunately for her regardless of the rout the protagonist chooses to follow the villainess is either exiled, or worst, killed at the end of the game. There is never any escape for the villainess.
Luckily for her she was reborn years before the actual story takes place and she has the choice not to be an antagonist. She can instead choose to help the protagonist and become her friend, and hopefully that will remove all of the death flags and prevent her from being exiled or killed.
Overall the anime is very funny, while the story has some generic elements, they are mostly here for comedy, and they work. The story is very unique, the characters are all likeable, and the overall premise is something I’ve never seen in an anime before. I would actually rate this anime pretty highly. While it might not make my list of top 10 comedy anime, that you can read here. It does hold it’s own for sure!
7: Maou-jou de Oyasumi
Comedy anime are making up the entire bottom half of this list. If you are looking for a good, calming, light hearted fantasy comedy anime then look no further than this. Even though it’s brand new this anime brings back some nice nostalgia. When I was a child I would joke around all of the time with my parents. If they wanted me to play outside I would respond with “What if I’m kidnapped?” or something along those lines. To which they would promptly reply “Don’t worry they would bring you back by tomorrow.”
Those are some very good childhood memories of mine, and that’s more or less the premise of this series. A young princess is kidnapped by the up and coming demon lord. She’s thrown into a ragged cell with cold floors, tattered sheets and a bed that might as well be made of wood. Having been taken from all of her responsibilities as a princess she’s actually very happy.
They expected the princess to be scared speechless, but instead she enjoys her time lazing about and sleeping all day. Sleeping soon becomes her favorite hobby, unfortunately for her the bed and overall amenities that she is provided allows for a less than satisfying nights sleep.
Using her natural abilities as a child, the ability to get into anything or get out of everything she escapes from her cell and explored the dungeon in an attempt to find whatever she can to help her sleep. Everything from killing demons for their hides to building an igloo to keep out the heat, the mischief she gets into makes the demon lord want to return her home.
Fortunately for her doing so would ruin all of his plans, so he reluctantly allows her to continue. Though it remains a mystery how she keeps escaping from her cell and getting into everything, or going every where. Nothing will stop this little princess from having the best sleep she’s ever had, whether it be her parents, her dungeon cell, or even the demon lord himself… Then again the hero might be able to ruin her restful sleep, you’ll just have to watch it to find out!
This anime is also on my list for longest named anime, you can read it here. This has to be one of the funniest anime I have ever seen. This fantasy anime follows a young girl as she attempt’s to play her first video game. The game is a revolutionary VRMMO where almost anything is possible. The first thing she does is put all of her stat points into defense so that she will not get hurt. Unfortunately for her this leaves her with a movement speed of 1, an attack of 1, and other stats all 1.
She blunders her way through the game, but being completely new to games she does things that no other gamer would ever even think of. From eating alive a boss monster, to combining skills in completely ridiculous ways to make game breaking combos she becomes a monster in the game. Even the games moderators and developers comment that she might become more of monster than the final boss.
When word starts to spread about her and her crazy skills the mods decide to nurf her character, creating skills specifically made to hurt her and limiting her own skills and abilities. However, this doesn’t stop her from finding even more crazy combos and skills that they wander who even put it in the game. Eventually she becomes an unofficial mascot for the game.
People begin joining the game just to see Maple and her giant flying turtle. It becomes a competition to see if anyone can actually defeat her. When this happens the game devs decide not to nurf her any further because she’s become a reason for new players to buy the game and they are afraid that continuing to nurf her just to conserve game balance would backfire and become bad publicity.
Overall this is a very light hearted comedy. There aren’t any high stakes here just a bunch of friends having fun and messing around. The biggest draw to this anime is trying to figure out what kind of ridiculousness Maple will pull off next, then having your mind blown as the ridiculousness that she pulls off is more than anything you could have imagined.
Overall this anime comes highly recommended by me and is by far the best comedy anime released in 2020, at-least in my opinion. That being said though, lets start to get a little more serious as we move to the # 5 fantasy anime on the list.
5: Munou na Nana
Everyone knows this as the “Dark Fantasy” anime of 2020. This anime wasn’t as great as I had hoped, there are some generic cliche’s that take place later on in the story that I will not spoil. However, the anime is pretty good either way. I mean it made #5 on this list after all.
The anime follows the story of Nana, a young girl sent to a private training school on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. Everyone on the island has a special super power and are being trained to fight the “nemesis”. Evil aliens that are invading earth. Sound familiar?
Not so much, because no one knows what these nemesis really are, or what they look like. Nana’s is a little special, in that she is completely powerless. She’s the only one on the island who knows what a nemesis is. Her job though is to kill the other students. The students have powers that have been deemed to be dangerous to human society, even more so than the nemesis themselves.
Nana’s job is to blend in with the children pretending to be one of them and to take them out one at a time. This Job isn’t as easy as it sounds though. When you have an island full of kids with super powers like future sign, time travel, immortality it can be somewhat difficult to “take out the trash”.
Don’t think that the other children will set back while their friends are being killed either. They will put together their own investigations and discover the murderer whether it’s a nemesis or one of them. They will do this with or without the help of their teachers.
This might not be the best fantasy anime I’ve seen but it’s certainly worth watching if you like dark anime with an evil, bad, or morally ambiguous protagonist. Overall I feel that it could have been done much better. However, it’s not bad in the slightest and this was one of the anime that helped me make it through 2020.
4: Majo no Tabitabi
Now we’re talking. This is one of my favorite anime from 2020. This anime is about a witch who travels around and just writes about her experiences. She writes about the stories of her travels in a diary that she carries with her. Her goal is to explore new and unusual places. To experience all kinds of food, cultures, and people.
This is a very light hearted traveling tale based in a magical fantasy world. One of my favorite things about this anime is the world building. You can really tell that the author spent time fleshing out the world and how magic affects this world. This isn’t another generic dump into a medieval society with magic. Magic has an actual impact on this fantasy world.
Everything from cooling systems for houses to transportation, battle, even law is influenced by magic in this world. There are a few elements that don’t’ seem very well thought out to me, however those are few and far between in this anime. You can really tell exactly how much work the author put into building his unique and fantastic world.
The anime has an underlying story that becomes more obvious as you watch it. However, it’s extremely episodic and the story isn’t really something you have to keep up with to enjoy this anime which makes it that much easier to enjoy, especially if you’re looking for something to help you escape reality for a few hours. In my opinion this anime is definitely worth a watch!
3: Kami no Tou: Tower of God
This anime is part of a new trend that has emerged, a wonderful trend in my opinion. If you aren’t familiar, webtoons are similar to comics or manga posted online by armatures who can draw and have a story they want to tell. Webtoons are completely unfiltered. While this means that a lot of them are less than great, it also means that there are a few masterpieces strewn in here and there.
Webtoons are primarily published by people in Korea, who’s animation industry might as well be non-existent. What does this mean? A bunch of very good comics written by amateurs in a country that doesn’t do animation. This means extremely cheap and easy to obtain licenses and properties.
Many companies are jumping on the webtoons train and buying up the licensing rights and properties of these comics then having them animated in Japan by the worlds best animation companies, and making a killing doing it. This is the animation equivalent of a gold rush. Something that would have been laughed at only a few years ago is now seen as a new frontier in anime.
That’s where Tower of God gets it’s origin, one of the most popular webtoons currently being published, it follows a young man living in a fantasy esc. world who enters a tower. Traveling to the top of the tower requires fighting monsters and beasts, and even other people. But whoever is able to make it to the top can have any wish granted. His wish? To be reunited with the girl he loves.
He doesn’t actually care about having his wish granted. The girl that he loves entered the tower to fulfill her wish and he followed her not wanting to be separated. Now his goal is to find her and be reunited, and if he cant convince her to come back with him then he will follow her on her journey to the top and help to grant her wish.
This anime is full of twists and turns and will have you guessing around every corner. It might sound kind of generic but it’s far from it. It is definitely worth watching any day of the week, and I am personally on my toes waiting for season two!
2: Kyokou Suiri
This anime is definitely deserving of it’s spot as second place. Few anime can pull off this type of story, but this one does it excellently. A perfect fusion of comedy, drama, romance, fantasy, and action, this masterpiece is like a cake served on a gold platter. If you like dark mystery anime then this is definitely one for you!
This anime follows Kurou Sakuragawa a man hated by yokai, and his self proclaimed girlfriend Kotoko Iwanaga who is loved by yokai. Kotoko is known as the “god of wisdom” among yokai. As a child she was spirited away and gave up an eye and a leg, literally, to become the god of wisdom. Though this doesn’t actually mean that she became wise, more that she became an advisor to yokai. They are able to recognize her status even if they’ve never met her before and will seek her out for advice when dealing with humans.
Her Job is to provide advice and help the yokai cope with and live alongside humans and their society. This Job isn’t without it’s advantages though, the yokai revere her as a god and will happily carry out requests that she gives them and will try to protect her. That being said though, there are some cases of yokai that can be very dangerous.
That’s where her “boyfriend” comes in.
Seen as an abomination by the yokai, they try to avoid him if at all possible. His flesh is poisonous to them and he gives off an aura that will make most of them run. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because he doesn’t like yokai. But when the cute god of wisdom “requests” his help it’s hard to say no. Especially when she is literally dragging him into it.
These two polar opposites work surprisingly well together, and make for a perfect couple. The romance aspect of this anime is pretty generic, but the overall plot and story isn’t so much. If you’re looking for something good to watch then this one should definitely be on your list, especially if you like fantasy style anime!
Time for some Honorable Mentions!
Murenase! Seton Gakuen
This fantasy anime is hilarious. It’s a parody of certain furry tropes in anime. Yes this is a furry anime. However, it’s not meant to be a fetish anime, actually more making fun of fetish anime and manga of this type. It follows the popular trope of giving female characters more human characteristics as a joke, and giving male characters fewer human characteristics. It even subtly points this out as the main character, an actual human, is sometimes mistaken as a female because he looks more human (obviously).
The anime has a lot of different tropes many of which are done very subtly. It does fall very short in it’s story, the story isn’t that great and doesn’t really feel like it goes anywhere. However, it appears that this is done on purpose to focus on the comedy element and give the story a less serious tone. Overall the anime isn’t one I’d say is one of the best fantasy anime of 2020, but if you like light hearted comedies, and especially if you like furies then it’s worth giving it a shot.
This fantasy anime I would actually call average at best. The concept is pretty unique, but it’s all over the place. The anime doesn’t know if it wants to be placed in a fantasy setting, apost apocalypse setting, a video game setting, or a utopian setting. It can’t seem to make up it’s mind which the lack of focus on a setting seems to really take away from the anime. That being said, the setting for what it is, is done very well story wise. There is no background or explanation as to why the setting is the way that it is, it’s just expected that the viewer will accept it.
Aside from the “unique” setting, the story is about as generic as it can get. Without revealing any spoilers its a generic hero saves the human race, and not being fit to a generic mold kind of story setting. If that sounds familiar then you’d probably be right. The anime expects is unique setting and premise to set it apart from others, but all it really accomplishes is bogging down the story.
Even though I seem to be harping on this anime a lot it’s really not bad, I’d call it average, maybe above average. If you don’t mind confusing anime the it is worth a watch just for the setting. Even though the setting is one of my least favorite parts it is certainly unique and a lot of people really enjoy that about it. So give it a shot if you’re bored and looking for something to watch!
This anime is hilariously unique. It’s a bloody fantasy style thriller with a lot of comedy elements in it. It’s definitely focused toward people who like to laugh at horror movies. Which makes it a not so popular anime. It’s definitely a nice title. It’s about a main character who has the amazing ability to turn into a giant living teddy bear costume. And if that sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is… If you watch or read one piece, this is the the Jake Jake no Mi done right. The main character gains a lot of strength and even a handy little, or big, revolver.
The main character gains super human strength, dexterity, and senses, but his true abilities come from being worn. When someone with the skills to use his abilities to their fullest extent gets inside of him (literally), they can take his power to the next level combining their strengths with his and removing quite a few weaknesses. He’s powerful by himself, but with someone else inside him, he becomes almost OP. Not to mention their ability to switch control based on the situation.
His only real weakness is that when someone is inside of him they can take complete control without any say from him. That being said he tends to work very well with all of his female partners. Who sometimes tend to enter him against his will. BTW if you’re picking up on some sexual innuendo here, you aren’t mistaken, it’s basically a running gag throughout the story. Like I said this is a unique anime that is intended for people who like to laugh at horror shows.
I personally really enjoyed this anime. However, it’s definitely not meant for everyone, it’s a very niche anime and there are plenty of people who do not find it funny in the slightest, and even get offended at some of it’s gags. Honestly the only reason it’s a honorable mention is because 2020 was not a great year for anime and this one is int he fantasy genre.
Kami-tachi ni Hirowareta Otoko
This fantasy anime I enjoyed quite a bit. I mean I’m a sucker for isekai, but the anime has a slow paced, low action story. This is more of a calming story, it’s not action packed or exciting, its peaceful. Something along the lines of Mushishi, or Spice and Wolf. But it is much less serious than these anime, even making fun of it’s self at times and has a lot of comedy added into it. It can even be said to be another parody of more generic isekai anime.
That being said the slow paced, calming, peaceful type of genre really does not mix well with a lot of comedy. This anime tries to be a peaceful relaxing comedy, and that makes it very awkward at times. The anime isn’t bad and I did very much enjoy it. Even to the point where I’d call it one of my personal favorites from the year. But it tries to mix in too many tropes that really just don’t fit together very well at all. Reducing it to an honorable mention.
Hachi-nan tte, Sore wa Nai deshou!
Like I said prior I’m a sucker for isekai, and for over powered protagonists. And this anime has both of them. It’s really just a generic isekai based in a generic fantasy world to be honest. There isn’t a lot about this anime that is unique, it’s more or less what you’d expect. That being said it wasn’t bad at all and I very much enjoyed it. If you like the overpowered protagonist, and the isekai trope then this one is definitely something to add to your watch list for the 2020 year. This is definitely better than a lot of other anime released this past year, landing it a very comfortable honorable mention.
1: Somali to Mori no Kamisama
Finally here comes my number 1 favorite anime released in 2020. This is at-least in my opinion, by far the best anime released this past year both fantasy and non-fantasy genre’s. This anime almost made the year worth living through. This anime has definitely made my top 20 best anime of all time list. Which is no easy feat if I do say so myself.
It would appear that as time progresses we continue to get more and more masterpieces of anime. It’s not every year that you get an anime like this and it has definitely made my 2020 year. This is another slow paced peaceful and calming anime based in a fantasy world. My favorite thing about this anime is it’s very very detailed world building.
The anime focuses on a young human girl in a beautiful fantasy style world where humans are nearly extinct. Humans are seen as evil creatures to be killed and herald as a delicacy. The young girl is abandoned in a forest as a very young age and her parents are nowhere to be found. She adopts a golem as her parent and follows it around. The golems responsibility is to care for the forest and maintain the balance, and has no time for the young human girl.
Golems being emotionless creatures, similar to a generic robot character does not care for the human and only tries to do it’s job. Over time however the golem begins to feel sorry for the human and even care for it. Then decides that it can not take care of the human forever, so it decides to find the humans parents and deliver it home. This is a very unique decision for a golem because their entire purpose in life is generally taking care of the forest that they are charged with. So leaving the forest s not something a golem would ever do under normal circumstances.
The story follows this golem as it learns to love (parental love) and a young human girl in a world where humans are hated. It follows the golem as it slowly turns into a father and the girl as she matures and learns to survive in a world where humans are hated. The story is very beautiful, and might be somewhat generic, but it’s execution is marvelous and the whole thing is based in a very beautiful and varied fantasy style world.
The best part about this anime though is probably that fact that the girls prosecution, her outer turmoil, perfectly mirrors the inner turmoil of a golem who has never known love or emotion for that matter, as he begins to develop these feelings that seem to contradict his very nature. And it’s the golems outer turmoil and struggle with an environment that he is not accustomed to outside of his forest, that perfectly mimics the inner turmoil felt by the young and innocent girl, a girl who knows that revealing her identity would be a death sentence, but who still wishes to make friends and explore the world around her.
This contradiction and mirroring of emotions and turmoil bring a whole new level of profound expression to the anime that brings it from being just a calm and relaxing journey through a mystical world, to a masterpiece worthy of number one on not just this, but many lists. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a sucker for emotional psychological stories, but I think this has to by my favorite anime of the year by far and one of my favorite anime of all time for that matter. Coming from someone who easily watched hundreds of different anime series, to make my top 20, or top 10 anime list is no easy matter! Especially when you consider that these lists are packed with not so great anime that are just filled with nostalgia.
If anyone asked this anime would very quickly by my first recommendation to watch from the 2020 year, and would definitely be on any recommendation list I gave for just plain great anime. So as I would for anyone else, I highly recommend watching this anime, because even though 2020 was not a great year for anime, this one is definitely the exception, a diamond in the rough so to say.
This has been my list for the best new fantasy anime of 2020. Did I miss anything? Were there any masterpieces that I completely looked over? I’m constantly looking for new great anime to watch, so if you have any suggestions, or if you disagree with me on my list at all then leave a comment below and let me know. I’d love to hear you’re opinion on the matter. I hope I lightened up your perspective of 2020 and made it a little better for you, or even helped you to find a new anime or two to try. Either way be safe and have a great time watching anime!