We have spent the majority of 2020 perusing through new shows on the couch. The one genre that never fails to amuse is Anime.

Lucky for us, 2020 has already been on the ball with presenting new anime shows, as well as sequels, for us to watch. We have also been dabbling in those interesting looking anime games.

Otaku and anime newbies have a lot to look forward to this year, with not only one but two new shows from Masaaki Yuasa, the long-awaited release of studio Orange's Beastars in the West, the highly-anticipated premiere of Toonami's adaptation of Junji Ito's nightmarish Uzumaki, and a new CG installment in the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series from Netflix.

Not to mention a whole host of returning fan-favorites with new seasons of Fire ForceFruits BasketThe Promised Neverland, and the final season Attack on Titan on the horizon.

But until then, here are some entertaining favorites that have been released so far.

The Best New Anime Show You Don't Want to Miss

Darwin’s Game

Darwin's Game - QooApp

Where to Watch: Crunchy Roll and Funimation

If you were to cross Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's adrenaline-charged social thriller Nerve with the mystery-driven ultra-violence of Hiroya Oku's Gantz, it'd probably look something like Darwin's Game.

Based on artist “Ginko” and writer Yuki Takahata's manga of the same name, the anime centers on 17-year-old Kaname Sudō, who, after accepting a mysterious invite from a recently deceased friend, is thrust into a deadly supernatural bloodsport known only as Darwin's Game.

Pitted against a cadre of sociopaths and with no way to seek help from the outside world, Kaname must rely on his wits and will to survive while searching for a means to escape this living nightmare.

Produced by studio Nexus, the 11-episode series is penned entirely by series author Yuki Takahata, resulting in an adaptation that's a near one-to-one match with the source material. If you're looking for a taut action series with serious mystery drama, Darwin's Game is a solid choice.

Pet

Pet: Anime de suspense sobre manipulação de mentes estreia no outono  japonês – JBox

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Pet is a real mindscrew, in more ways than one. Based on Ranjō Miyake's manga of the same name, the series follows Tsukasa and Hitomi, two empaths with the ability to delve inside the minds of others and manipulate their memories and perceptions.

Employed by a shadowy organization known simply as “The Company,” the pair are tasked with using their abilities to cover up crimes, assassinations, and commit all sorts of unsavory acts, more often than not at the expense of innocent lives and their own fractured psyches.

The dialogue can be frustratingly obtuse at times, with crucial terms like “peaks” and “valleys” thrown out of the left field with little if any formal explanation and the initial episodes can be a bit hard to follow concerning what is being seen or perceived by whom at any given moment.

Hang in there, though — it's a story that gradually makes more sense the longer it goes on and rewards the closer you pay attention. And barring even that, it's still worth a watch for the psychedelic visuals alone. Think of it as a more freakish take on Christopher Nolan's Inception by way of Philip K. Dick's Ubik.

Somali and the Forest Spirit

Somali and the Forest Spirit

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

If your tastes veer more towards the whimsical fare of Studio Ghibli than explicitly action-oriented titles, Somali and the Forest Spirit is a perfect choice. Set in a world of magic and sorcery populated by spirits, goblins, and all sorts of creatures, the series follows the journey of a forest-protecting golem and their companion, a precocious child named Somali.

Together, the two embark on a search for a home for Somali among the last of the humans, a race of beings previously thought to have been persecuted and hunted to the brink of extinction ages ago.

Think Alphonse and Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist, but instead of two brothers in search of the philosopher's stone to restore their bodies, it's a father figure and their adoptive ward searching for safety and security in a world of dangers at every turn.

With exquisite backgrounds, disarming humor, and a story with genuine emotional pull, Somali and the Forest Spirit is a spirited fable of parenthood and love found in the most unlikely of circumstances.

In/Spectre

An Anime Review of 'In/Spectre'

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll and HBO Max

Supernatural mystery series are a dime a dozen when it comes to anime, so it’s refreshing when one comes along that has as intriguing a premise and personality as In/Spectre. Based on Kyo Shirodaira’s novel series, In/Spectre follows 15-year-old Iwanaga Kotoko, a university student who four years before the series’s start was anointed as the “Goddess of Wisdom” of the spirit world at the cost of her left leg and right eye.

Acting as an intermediary between the human and spirit world, Kotoko is tasked with solving disputes and discrepancies between the two. There’s just one problem: Kuro Sakuragawa, Kotoko’s fast-made companion and boyfriend is a surprisingly fearsome entity with mysterious powers that strike fear in the spirits who Kotoko is charged with protecting.

A serial mystery crossed with an odd-couple rom-com that occasionally pokes at the fourth wall, In/Spectre is a gorgeously animated series with fun twists, delightful characters, and engrossing cases that'll keep you hooked to the end.

Tower of God

6 Reasons Tower of God Could Become the Best Anime of 2020

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Tower of God has been one of the most talked-about new series of 2020, and for good reason. A collaboration between Crunchyroll and digital comic publisher Webtoon, the series is an anime adaptation of the online ‘manhwa' (Korean for ‘comic') by artist S.I.U. and the latest in Crunchyroll's recent push into producing its own original anime content.

The series follows Bam, an amnesiac youth who is mysteriously teleported into the eponymous Tower of God, a metaphysical structure that seemingly encompasses the entire world and is designed to bestow immense powers upon those capable of reaching its heights. On his journey to reach the tower's peak in search of his beloved friend Rachel, Bam must surround himself with allies in order to overcome the Tower's deadly trials and even deadlier adversaries.

A gorgeous fantasy-adventure with rich characters, dense mythology, and beautiful animation, Tower of God will satisfy anyone hungry for a new shonen series to binge.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War (Season 2)

Kaguya-sama: Love is War' Season 2 to Simulcast Exclusively this April on Funimation | Animation World Network

Where to Watch: Funimation

Student council president Miyuki Shirogane and vice president Kaguya Shinomiya return for another season of machiavellian shenanigans and romantic hijinks! The first season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War was one of last year’s standout new series, a devious and hilarious twist on the classic ‘will-they-won’t-they’ formula of high school rom-com anime.

Season 2 has even more in the way of lovestruck mishaps between Miyuki and Kaguya, as well as more time spotlighting old and new breakout favorites such as the Kaguya's hyper-capable assistant Ai Hayasaki and Miyuki’s icy cool sister Kei.

Even better, the second season is just self-contained enough that viewers new to the series could pop in to watch this one without missing a beat. Kaguya-sama: Love is War is uproariously hilarious, stylistically inventive, and easily one of the best anime rom-coms to come out this year.

Dorohedoro

Dorohedoro is Netflix's wildest new anime. Why is everyone sleeping on it?

Where to Watch: Netflix

Based on Q Hayashida’s cult dark fantasy sci-fi manga of the same name, Dorohedoro is set in the Hole, a harsh derelict metropolis populated by humans and an ever-increasing number of unfortunate souls transformed into chimeric monstrosities by malicious sorcerers from another dimension.

The series follows Caiman, an amnesiac bounty hunter, and his best friend Nikaido as they scour the depths of the Hole in search of the sorcerer who cursed him with a lizard’s head. Oh yeah, he’s also got a sentient human head at the back of his throat that pops up Xenomorph-style whenever Caiman swallows his prey to search for the culprit.

It only gets weirder from there. Packed to the brim with gnarly violence, leather-clad weirdos, pitch-black humor, and more than a few moments of light-hearted levity, Dorohedoro is a dark and impressive hybrid-CG anime that combines dystopian body-horror and slice-of-life comedy to make for one of the most exciting and unique new series to come out in 2020.

Beastars

Beastars' review: Netflix's latest goes far beyond the typical horny teen anime

Where to Watch: Netflix

Set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, Beastars is the story of Legoshi, a benevolent if dour young lupine who crosses paths with Haru, an emotionally aloof and promiscuous dwarf rabbit, through serendipitous circumstances and begins to develop complicated feelings for her.

Legoshi's primal and emotional awakening is exacerbated by his status as a carnivore, forcing him to confront the terrifying question of whether what he feels for Haru is simply his instinctual urge to hunt and kill, or something more. From a technical and creative standpoint, everything about Beastars is masterful.

From its sincerely nuanced depiction of a society frayed between different competing castes of carnivores and herbivores, to its inspired sense of composition and lighting, Beastars is an absurd, terrifying, crazy, and heartfelt anime that stands head and shoulders above the pack.

BNA: Brand New Animal

BNA: Brand New Animal season 2 – Netflix renewal status, potential release date and plot – HITC

Where to Watch: Netflix

Unlike Beastars, BNA is devoid of romance. What it does have is snappy, visually stunning action scenes–as to be expected from Studio Trigger, the team behind the critically acclaimed Kill la Kill and Promare. BNA is especially a treat for the eyes, and even the ears–I can't get its soundtrack out of my head.

Its story holds up incredibly well too, though. In the world of BNA, Beastman once hid away from humankind, but now they are a marginalized species whether they are mink or migratory birds. To combat prejudice, Anima City was established for beastman to inhabit without fearing the judgment of humans.

This is where the main character, Michiru, flees to when she inexplicably changes from a human highschooler to a raccoon/tanuki Beastman (it's up for debate, according to her). Cue the mystery of why and how she transformed, and who the mythic Silver Wolf, the protector of the Beastmen, really is.

Keep your Hands off Eizouken!

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken: 10 Things You Never Knew About The Anime

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll and HBO Max

Based on Sumito Ōwara's manga series of the same name, Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! follows high schooler Midori and her friends Sayaka and Tsubame as they attempt to establish an anime club on their school's campus and produce their own animated film.

What follows is a wild odyssey of the highs and lows of trying to break into animation, the type of comedic and disarmingly earnest portrayal of youthful ambition in the face of opposition, and inexperience that reaffirms why you fell in love with anime in the first place.

Brimming with meticulous nods to some of the medium's finest creators and a mischievously meta sense of creativity that'll have even the most stone-faced of viewers grinning ear to ear, it's the kind of show you could only expect from the likes of Masaaki Yuasa (Devilman CrybabyPing Pong the Animation, etc.) and the team behind Science Saru. Top that with an infectiously trippy title theme and score courtesy of rap duo chelmico and experimental producer Oorutaichi and you've got one of the most memorable and hilarious anime of the year.

Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense

Watch Bofuri: I Don'T Want To Get Hurt, So I'Ll Max Out My Defense. Sub & Dub | Action/Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Sci Fi Anime | Funimation

Where to Watch: Funimation and Hulu

She may be new to gaming, but Maple has found the secret to invincibility! Just put all your skill points into defense until you can't even move. That works, right? She doesn't want to experience any pain in the VRMMO game she started playing, and somehow it works better than anyone expected. Now she's got, followers??

Maple begins playing an immersive VRMMORPG to join her friend. As a complete noob, she invests all of her points into defense (as implied in the show's very long title). Hijinks ensue and prove her choice is actually an amazing strategy.

It's cute, lighthearted, and fun to watch, but Bofuri isn't anything over the top extraordinary. However, I found it to be an enjoyable watch worth checking out.

Gleipnir

Gleipnir TV Anime | Anonesan

Where to Watch: Funimation

In Norse mythology, Gleipnir is the dwarven-forged chain that binds the powerful wolf Fenrir. Unfortunately, in Gleipnir the anime, no chains can hold Shuichi Kagaya’s inner wolf back. One morning he awakens to discover he can turn into a giant monster that looks like a wolf mascot costume with a zipper down its back.

When he rescues his classmate Claire from a warehouse fire, he accidentally outs himself. Seeing an opportunity, Claire manipulates Shuichi and uses him like a murder-esque human fursuit in her quest to her missing sister. So, you know, maybe your high school experience wasn’t so bad after all.

My Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! TV Show Air Dates & Track Episodes - Next Episode

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Have you ever played a game so much that you know every inch of it? Every pixel, every hidden secret, every storyline — all embedded within the labyrinthine halls of your mind palace. Usually, you’ve learned all of this from the perspective of the hero, the player-controlled protagonist. But what if you suddenly found yourself transported Jumanji-style inside of your fictional game and you weren’t the hero, but instead you were the villain? Well, that’s exactly what happens in My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!.

When wealthy heiress Katarina Claes is trips and hits her head on a rock, she is flooded with memories of a past life and realizes she’s actually living inside of a dating sim called Fortune Lover, and she’s playing the villain. Unfortunately for Katarina, all of the storylines lead to increasingly grim endings for her, so she’s going to have to use her expert knowledge of the game in order to avoid triggering in-game events that lead to her demise. Honestly, it feels like the breath of fresh air the crowded isekai genre needs.

Appare-Ranman

Appare-Ranman! Trailer #1 (2020) | Anonesan - YouTube

Where to Watch: Funimation

Set in the late 19th century, Appare-Ranman! tells the story of a brilliant but awkward engineer and a cowardly samurai who find themselves penniless, adrift at sea, and far away from home. To make enough scratch to get back safely, they build a steam-powered car and enter the Trans-America Wild Race, hoping to use the prize money to fund their return trip.

What follows is crazier than anything you’ve seen in Ford v Ferrari—the duo must navigate bloodthirsty bandits, inhospitable environments, dastardly rivals, seemingly insurmountable odds, and much more as they race their way across the American heartland in a desperate bid to get rich quick.

Kakushigoto

Kakushigoto - watch tv show streaming online

Where to Watch: Funimation

What do your parents do for a living? Does it ever embarrass you? Sure, they’re breaking their back to provide for the family, but do you raise an eyebrow over their chosen vocation? Well, that’s exactly the kind of thought process Gotou Kakushi is trying to prevent his young daughter from having in Kakushigoto, a.k.a. Hidden Things.

It’s the story of a father who draws erotic manga for a living and desperately wants to keep his daughter from learning the truth about what he does. What follows is a deeply silly father-daughter slice-of-life comedy, unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Tamayomi: The Baseball Girls

Episode 7 — TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls EP 7 (English Subtitle) On Tokyo MX's | by koredass | Episode 7 — TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls EP 7 (English Subtitle) On Tokyo MX's | Medium

Where to Watch: Funimation

If you’ve been reading our seasonal anime guides for any amount of time, you know that I’m an absolute sucker for sports anime because there’s just something magical about the way they blend constant competition arcs, over-the-top “secret moves,” high-stakes drama, and overwrought inner monologues.

So you’d better believe that when I saw a listing for a show that basically looks like A League of Their Own: The Anime, it immediately went on the list. Okay, maybe this isn’t the story of the women breaking into baseball during wartime, but it does look like an epic story about a group of ambitious high school students trying to fulfill their dreams of baseball greatness.

And considering we have absolutely zero sports to look forward to right now, this is the perfect substitute.

Woodpecker Detectives Office

Woodpecker Detective's Office - QooApp

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

When there’s something strange in your neighborhood in Meiji era Japan, who you gonna call? Not the Ghostbusters! They’re still over a century away from opening up shop, and even then they are limited to New York City.

No, you’re going to have to enlist the poet-turned-private eye Takuboku Ishikawa and his assistant Kyosuke Kindaichi to crack the case! Whether or not they’re afraid of no ghosts, some ghosts, or all ghosts remains to be seen, but this anime based on Kei Ii’s 1999 mystery novel of the same name looks so good, it’s spooky.

The Wrap Up

We are only halfway into 2020, and there is plenty more to come for the anime scene!

Anime helps us to escape the real world through its fantasy-based stories, complex characters, and often whimsical themes. It is no surprise that there are so many fans wanting more.

While you wait, check out some of these awesome new anime shows on our list. You may even find a new favorite to add to your collection.

About the Author

Scarlett Rose

Scarlett Rose is a professional cosplayer, actress, voice actor, published model, and mother of rabbits. When she is not crafting armor or building costumes, she can be found playing the latest video game or enjoying a retro classic.

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