They’re the best Anime that 2020 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Pokemon Movie 23: Koko, Doraemon Movie 40: Nobita no Shin Kyouryuu, Jiang Ziya, and more!
5: Pokemon Movie 23: Koko
English: Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle
Japanese: 劇場版ポケットモンスター ココ
MAL Score: 7.34
The new film’s story is set in Okoya Forest, a Pokémon paradise protected by strict rules that forbid outsiders from setting foot inside. The film centers on Koko, a boy who was raised by Pokémon and also considers himself as one, treating the Mythical Pokémon Zarude as his father. Ash and Pikachu encounter Koko during an adventure. The film focuses on the theme of a “human raised by Pokémon,” instead of the previous films’ focus of the “bond between a human trainer and their Pokémon.”
I know there will be people out there calling this a Tarzan rip-off, and I’ll admit, the concept is nothing revolutionary and the plot can be very predictable at parts, but BOY is the overall execution and heights of the emotions in movie incredible. Its 100% worth a watch, especially for any long-term Pokemon fans out there.
I love this new alternate line of Pokemon movies after the soft-reset that was Pokemon Movie 20: I Choose You and then Movie 21: The Power of Us which seem to focus on a specific theme instead of trying to follow the canon storyline of the TV anime. This way, the movies can pack more richness in its characters and concepts without sacrificing continuity. Its really a win-win in my book.
Art and animation are SOLID. Everything in Okoya Jungle looked lush and vibrant and teeming with life. The same could be said about the scenes in Milyfa Town where we get to see Pokemon living together with humans and participate in various events and festivals together. Overall, the Pokemon in this film feel very integrated into the world and strengthens both the world-building and the central theme of the story: how Pokemon and humans coexist to become friends, and even family to one another.
Also while the soundtrack of this movie is not particularly mind-blowing, it works well for what it is. The few insert songs used were quite sappy but effective at conveying the budding emotions that bloom in the climax moments of the movie (where the big cry happened for me).
I won’t rant on too much longer because really there is not that much to dissect here. Its a classic coming of age/parenthood story between a human and a Pokemon Zarude. Ash is there as well to propel the story forward. Team Rocket is as adorkably conniving as ever and really helps the protagonists in this movie more than do any actual villainy.
My only criticisms for this movie were some occasionally awkward CGI, especially in some crowd shots, that really weren’t TOO noticeable. And also, the main “twist” villain (if you can even call it that) was not interesting whatsoever and could be spotted a billion miles away the moment they appeared on screen. I also wished they built a little bit more on the established lore of the forest and the whole shiny Celebi aspect as I felt like that was almost completely brushed over.
I rarely leave reviews, but I feel bad that this movie, which obviously had a lot of love and passion put into it, was mostly brushed under the rug due to the pandemic. I hope that it will get more attention once it hits streaming platforms here in the west.
Lastly, if you are going into this very good movie expecting to get major backstory on Ash’s dad, DON’T. You’ll be disappointed haha. Now, go watch the movie!!!
So as the pokemon franchise has been doing for all these years the movie was satisfying and filled with vibrant colours and elemnts of fantasy. well, as the trailer suggests it focuses on father-son relation. Moreover the storyline is quite similar to previous movies depicting atrocities of some evil humans on Pokemon and our protagonists comes to save the day. But this movie actually made me cry a lot. It is a perfect amalgam of hear-warming and heart-wrenching scenes! It takes you on an emotional roller-coaster with touching reunions and revelations! Now some people might not find it that amzing but instead critic on repeated tropes but being a Pokemon fan since a long time I appreciate the portrayal of newer aspects and how they would turn out in the Pokemon Universe! I like this movie a lot!
Story: While it might give you Tarzan vibes to some extent. It’s more of a heartwarming story between a Child and their parent, and the relationship they’ve build with each other. And how like any Pokemon movie, gotta save the world or area they’re in. As far as Ash and Pikachu goes, they seemed more like side characters in this one, which I did not mind at all. It made Team Rocket seem less than side characters, and you can honestly forget they were even in the movie. They could’ve made the movie without them in it. I honestly say though they could’ve added a more tougher situation in the story to make it seem more threatening, but I mean what they did was alright in my book.
Art: That animation though. Like it’s great. Especially the scene with Pikachu swinging around. You could also feel the emotion behind the pokemon and characters in certain scene of course.
Sound: Music was interesting. It definitely fit the jungle vibe.
Characters: It was mainly about Coco and Zarude. And the display of their bond was done really well. Of course Ash & Pikachu were there usual selves which is always done well lol
Overall: I enjoyed it. Not the best Pokemon movie, but I’d rank it in the top 10 maybe. I’d definitely recommend watching it
4: Doraemon Movie 40: Nobita no Shin Kyouryuu
English: Doraemon the Movie 2020: Nobita’s New Dinosaur
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太の新恐竜
MAL Score: 7.45
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Great twist from the original movie and amazing reference to the original. 8/10
The Art was decent however the CGI was abit meh. GCI just did not fit art style of Miu And Qiu. 6/10
The sound effects in this movie was astonishingly good everything was matching and fitting especially the OSTs. 10/10
Character was adequate nothing extraordinary though I do love the cuteness of the dinosaurs’. 7/10
Enjoyment?, I enjoyed it very much so that I would definitely watch it again in the future. I love how there weren’t any antagonists in this movie and that it teaches that evolution is important and the key to life. Just like how everyday we strive forward with technology to achieve the beyond.
I have watched all Doraemon movies and I’d say this is easily the 2nd best remakes right after “Doraemon: Nobita and the New Steel Troops ~Winged Angels~”
3: Jiang Ziya
English: Jiang Ziya
MAL Score: 7.50
Jiang Ziya, a top commander in the divine army of the Kunlun Sect, is victorious in the battle between the Heavenly powers and the Shang dynasty. Before he can ascend to his new position among the Gods, he is ordered to execute the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon who threatens the mortals’ very existence. But when the Fox Demon shows him the secret to her power, an innocent human girl, he is unable to complete his task resulting in his banishment to the mortal realm forever. Ten years later, atop the ruins of war, Jiang Ziya is once again given a task that will bring him back to the Heavenly realm – execute the Nine Tail Fox Demon regardless if the innocent life is lost. Now Jiang Ziya must decide – follow the will of heaven or find his own path to becoming a true god.
(Source: Well Go USA Entertainment)
The art/animation is definitely the most outstanding aspect of the film. The action scenes are sharp and well choreographed and the character designs are really appealing. So many times while watching this movie was I in awe over the visuals. They were really able to depict the otherworldliness of the setting.
Chinese animation has been slowly becoming more relevant and impressive, and Jiang Ziya along with Nezha are a good place to start if you are interested in checking it out. If you want to see something more similar to Japanese anime, i would recommend Mo Dao Zu Shi, which is, at the time of me writing this review getting a Japanese dub and a 3rd season.
if you are a fan of stories like old greek gods and stories more or less in that type good chance you enjoy this too.
mainly wrote this review because as of writing my review this show has a rating of 6/10 and def deserves more
2: Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna
Japanese: デジモンアドベンチャー LAST EVOLUTION 絆
MAL Score: 8.18
As the Chosen Children and their partner Digimon live happily together in the human world, Taichi Yagami and Yamato Ishida, alongside their friends, dedicate themselves to maintaining this hard-earned peace. Though united by this innate responsibility, each one has already started to take their first steps toward a future beyond being a Chosen Child.
However, this new journey is interrupted by the appearance of Menoa Bellucci, an American professor specializing in Digimon research. She bears news of several Chosen Children from around the world being found comatose, with their partner Digimon nowhere to be found. Menoa’s investigations indicate that a new breed of Digimon is behind the alarming phenomenon: Eosmon, who hides within the internet’s depths.
To succeed in this mission, the team must endeavor through the growing distance between them and band together one last time.
With Taichi and his friends in their early twenties, Kizuna is the perfect example of a coming of age / growing up movie. You can see them talk about university or job hunting, when some moments later they encounter a powerful, unknown enemy Digimon, Eosmon. Unable to instantly defeat it, they meet Menoa Bellucci; a girl who is a Digimon researcher and offers her help. She tells them that, because they are growing up, their time with their Digimon is limited and that sooner or later their digital partners will disappear. Not spoiling you the rest, but get prepared for a chain of unpredictable events and many meaningful messages.
The now grown-up characters we loved as kids, show clear character development and are true to their beliefs until the end, especially Yamato and Taichi who are the main protagonists. Daisuke and his gang from Digimon Adventure 02 play a role too, and seeing all the Chosen Children / DigiDestined fight together is pleasing. The main antagonist of the movie is what I would call a well-written villain, or maybe anti-hero, which is a big plus. There is no good and bad guy in this movie, there are just Chosen Children fighting against their own coming of age, each in their own way.
It is indisputable that Toei Animation put a great effort into this movie, because it is spectacular, full of detail and amazing soundtrack. Starting off with nostalgic “Butter-Fly” and “Brave Heart” to hit us in the feels, with a well-animated battle and beautiful scenery, they make it clear we are going to watch a great movie. As time passes, there is always a different soundtrack playing. It feels like each one is better than the previous one – and they all fit the atmosphere perfectly. The animation is great from beginning to end, the Japanese voice actors did an amazing job so it is inarguably a great audiovisual experience. Special credits to Natsuki Hanae (Taichi), Yoshimasa Hosoya (Yamato) and our guest star Daisuke Ono whose addition was a pleasant surprise to the Digimon world.
Closing the review, I would like to note that Last Evolution Kizuna is not only for Digimon Adventure fans, but for all audiences. That’s because it is not a typical Digimon work and it holds special meaning for everyone. Its theme is something everyone can relate to, therefore I highly recommend it to all of you reading.
The film strikes a nice balance between telling a new story to wrap things up while also referencing many classic moments in the series and fanservice without going overboard. The opening scene is a great example of this while also showcasing the best animation of the film. This opening scene was very exciting but unfortunately raises expectations on the visual front a bit higher than the rest of the film is able to manage. After the scene concludes, we’re quickly shown some generic cgi crowd and pedestrian shots and reminded to keep our expectations in check. Overall the films visuals are an upgrade from Tri, though in all honesty that isn’t really saying much. The character art and animation is solid and the designs are definitely an upgrade from what has recently been put out. Unfortunately the main villian Digimon is animated fully in CG and some of the later action, showcased after an extended period of plot and talking suffers from heavy CG use not present earlier in the film.
On the character front, it’s great seeing all our favourites grown up and (mostly) achieving their future aspirations. This is also a major theme of the film, and coupled with a plot that directly draws on and even uses the classic child character designs, really brings the story full circle and amps up the nostalgia factor. Additionally, seeing these characters we grew up with drinking alcohol and having their porn stashes found by their digimon (yep) really drives home how many years have passed since seeing these characters for the first time. This nostalgia is likely what most fans are looking for in a film like this, and on this level I feel the film succeeds, and to a much greater degree than Tri.
The plot at times felt reminiscent of the first Digimon film to me, with some of the staging of scenes being direct callbacks to the film. The themes of the film focus on loss and acceptance and the power to move on mirrored in both the films antagonist and Taichi and Matt. The film manages to be quite serious at times, with some fairly serious real world stakes both small and grand scale. It’s able to evoke a few really emotional moments and like I hinted at the beginning of the review as well, the film does actually has the guts to live up to its title and for that I commend it.
Overall Digimon:Last Evolution is a nice send-off to the series that should certainly satisfy fans in a way Tri didn’t even come close or TRY to (sorry). At this point, I feel like that’s the best Digimon fans could have asked for.
1: Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei
Japanese: 劇場版メイドインアビス 深き魂の黎明
MAL Score: 8.70
Continuing their perilous descent down the Abyss, Riko, Regu, and newfound friend Nanachi reach the Abyss’ fifth layer, The Sea of Corpses. Upon arriving at the research station known as Idofront, the main trio encounter the mysterious Prushka, the alleged daughter of Bondrewd, who leads them to the White Whistle responsible for Nanachi’s dark past. Despite the welcoming appearances of Idofront’s residents, Nanachi warns the young adventurers that things are not always what they seem. With the only route to the sixth layer shrouded in mystery and Bonedrewd’s schemes awaiting them, what sacrifices must be made in order to continue the journey down to the bottom of the Abyss?
Well, last 15 minutes and certain character almost ruined my enjoyment. Beware of spoilers and grammar.
I wasn’t in fond of Prushka, although I felt very pressured to feel sorry for her. She didn’t do anything important through the whole movie and when it tried to give her some bits of characterization with a flashback it came awkward at best. Her arc feels like a lazy attempt to recreate the same feeling as Mitty’s story, but from my perspective, even though the scene itself is emotional and dramatic, it has no meaning considering Prushka’s lack of screentime prior to it. There’s no understood chemistry between Prushka and Riko, no reason to become emotionally attached to their “friendship” which was build offsreen. In many ways Made in Abyss tells us that their bond matters, but that’s never justified in anything shown in the movie. Prushka barely interacts with Riko in any meaningful way, usually in flashbacks, but even then it’s not enough for her character to develop such a deep attachment in inredibly short period. So, when certain twist happened, it just fell apart.
I can’t help, but I feel like Riko didn’t deserve White Whistle. Everything comes on silver plate in her story and I don’t feel anything, but frustration about her reaching status of legendary delver. We haven’t seen her actually working to earn it (and reveal about origin of Bondrewd’s White Wistle makes it even more shallow in comparison) because she was carried by luck and overpowered companions from start to finish. I can’t say that that she is completely useless, but she is nowhere as great as Made in Abyss tries to present her. Riko is just “sunshine child” that everyone protects and allows her to take credit for their hard work. Inspirational characters can be interesting, but they still have to be relatable on some level and their bravery and optimism has to feel earned, but Riko fails to serve as a source of inspiration because the real world is never so overwhelmingly convenient. Made in Abyss tries to be a story about the depths of human desire for unknown, because curiosity can take a twisted form, and dealing with this theme when main character is kid is fantastic opportunity to show how Abyss messes with minds of explorers. But Riko is never in danger of becoming the monster like other White Whistles, everything is always solved by others and she doesn’t need to sacrifice her morals or anything to continue adventure. She plays the role of the goody two-shoes and the story’s logic contorts to her aspiration of never getting her hands dirty or push Riko to evolve from her naive idealism. If a sacrifice has to be committed, it will be done by someone else, if Riko makes a risky choice, she never has to deal with the consequences.
This time Made in Abyss certainly disappointed me. The movie is like opposite of the first season – it starts bleak and hopeless, but once Reg went full on marysue against Bondrewd and Riko shot him with a sniper accuracy (as if her arm wasn’t break into pieces not so long ago), it started to feel like a boring shounen with a forced tear jerker. It has a good premise, but hindered by bland characters with no chemistry and the unearned progression, as its plot points felt incredibly contrived and reliant on external factors like Reg’s almighty combat mode rather than anything the characters made.
Right now it seems no different from any seasonal popcorn anime where everything can be solved with the power of (poorly written) friendship or sudden power ups. I want dark fantasy adventure story about the Abyss, not a crybait melodrama with the same reused twist about suffering lolis.
This movie follows our challengers, Riko, Reg, and Nanachi as they challenge Bondrewd and the 5th layer of the abyss. Bondrewd, being the monster that he is, obviously won’t make that easy on them, and as such we have this movie.
In terms of the Made in Abyss arcs, this is absolutely the peak of the story thus far. All of the events that happen over the course of the journey through Idofront are so perfectly executed, I can’t help but wonder how Tsukushi does it.
Anyways, the main things I like to talk about here are the soundtrack, and Bondrewd himself. The soundtrack, first of all, is perfect. I genuinely can not think of a single issue with the soundtrack, every song is incredible and perfectly fits with the tone of whatever scene it is used in, Kevin Penkin is quite possibly the best composer on earth. From The Rumble of Scientific Triumph to Riko’s Motherfucking Cooking, every song in this movie is perfect.
Final thing I want to talk about is Bondrewd, so spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
I genuinely can not think of a better and more interesting antagonist. In all of anime. Or even all of media itself. Even when he lays dying on the ground after losing the final fight, all he wishes for is for our group to successfully continue on their journey, no ill will, no revenge swearing, just a simple wish for their journey to be filled with curses and blessings. After all the horrible things that he had done, even Nanachi, arguably the one most affected by this horrible monster, came to a sort of mutual understanding with him, because that’s just the type of person he is. He doesn’t do anything out of malice, he merely just wants to know all the mysteries that the abyss has to offer, and will go to disgusting lengths to do so.
Final thoughts, as for final thoughts, I really don’t have anything else to say. The movie is perfect, everything about it is perfect, the staff put their heart and soul into this and what came out was the peak of all media. Thank you Kinema Citrus, thank you Kevin Penkin, thank you Akihito Tsukushi, thank you all for the incredible experience that you have given to us. From the bottom of my heart, i love you all for your work, keep putting in the groundbreaking effort to bring this story to life.
The movie picks up right after the end of the first season and covers everything in the 5th layer expanding on what the finale of the previous season built up to and does it beautifully. I was initially worried when Kinema shifted from a traditional season to movie format but boy did it deliver while only cutting out very few things from the manga original story while adding in another scene for some additional context.
Getting into the main elements of this movie, animation and the soundtrack are of course an absolute masterpiece to watch and listen to. The characters really managed to capture everything I love about seeing them dive down deeper into this hellhole and the story still instills that sense of wonder and imagination while answering questions but raising even more about whats really down there at the bottom and why the curse does so much to the human mind and body. It really is a true joy how this movie makes all my theories of whats down there explode into so much more.
The animators really captured every moment with the highest quality possible to match or even beat most Ghibli movies, especially the fights which are some of the most beautiful parts of the movie. Absolutely flawless! (10/10)
Kevin Penkin already had an amazing soundtrack with season 1 and came back around and delivered the greatest soundtrack I’ve ever heard beating out the likes of Nier Automata and AoT. This man really is the greatest composer and I can’t wait for the MiA OST 3! (10/10)
[Story and Characters]
Reg and Riko, its hard to believe how the Abyss has made them grow so quickly and how different they are since leaving Orth. Over the course of one season and a movie they still have that innocent child-like personality they did in the beginning but throughout this movie it shows how much they’ve matured since departing. Reg, between being apart of and witnessing horrific events and then forcing himself to do things that he absolutely hates in order to protect the two he cherishes most. Riko getting to show how intelligent she is with Prushka, figuring out secrets that even Nanachi didn’t know, and expressing what she really wants to do with her group and what she will do once at the bottom it really is emotionally touching to see. Nanachi, we finally get to know the additional backstory she hinted at the end of season one and what she did after becoming a Hollow during that time at Idofront and it is one of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever seen and also one of few moments in any manga to make me cry. These three are truly some of the best characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing grow throughout a series and it only makes sense to have an equally rivaled antagonist. Bondrewd, where do I even begin? This is my all time favorite antagonist and what really captures the greatness of this arc. The first time all these characters meet is enough to let you know whats going to happen and the things he does after match that intensity. Bondrewd is so obsessed with attaining what is called the Blessing and will do whatever it takes to obtain it. But he never harpers any negative emotion or ill will in doing these things, if anything he really loves all of these characters especially his daughter Prushka and it is shown at the end with Prushka’s backstory and his new aspiration of hope that all of them reach the bottom as he loses what he spent years trying to obtain. Truly a character that won’t ever be topped. (10/10)
Final Thoughts and Score: This is the easiest 10/10 I could ever give, it truly is a sequel and series that has no rival and to give it a 10 feels unfair for how much this movie raised the bar across everything I could analyze, it deserves some extra credit. I may end up raising some of your expectations to high and affect how you go into watching it, but I can’t help it, this movie is absolute perfection in my eyes and I never see anime literally build this much depth to where the characters, the world, and I as a viewer are so intertwined together throughout the series that it invokes this much raw emotion and investment to where I listen to the OST everyday and refine my theories as to what will happen going forward and how it will end. As well as where Tsukushi draws his inspiration from his story to see if I can guess anything from what he references. This will be a series I will remember fondly and revisit throughout the rest of my life and I’m truly thankful that its getting the recognition it truly deserves.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Made in Abyss Movie 3: Fukaki Tamashii no Reimei
2. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna
3. Jiang Ziya
4. Doraemon Movie 40: Nobita no Shin Kyouryuu
5. Pokemon Movie 23: Koko