REVIEW: Winter anime season dazzles with gems littered throughout

Attack on Titan: The Final Season

I’ve watched a decent amount of anime over the course of my life, beginning with Naruto back in high school and Studio Ghibli films in my childhood. I enjoy compiling my ratings for shows I’ve watched and sharing my thoughts. With the winter anime season officially over, I feel like now is an appropriate time to assess this seasons best shows that it has to offer


There isn’t really a question here when it comes down to what the best anime of the winter season was. The general consensus was Attack On Titan: The Final Season and for good reason. Unlike a lot of the other shows that will be mentioned, Attack on Titan was able to bridge the gap between anime viewers and non-anime viewers. There was a point during the season where AOT was the most popular show in the United States. So much of this praise comes from the story, which to avoid spoilers is ever-changing and encourages viewers to keep watching to see more secrets get revealed. When the second part of the season gets released next winter, it won’t come as any shock if it’s better than this one as the quality has exceeded expectations season in and season out.

Most Enjoyable:

I loved every episode of AOT. For someone whose life practically revolves around sports, it came as a shock that I was more excited for its newest episode than I was for the Super Bowl that took place the same day. But it wasn’t the show I enjoyed the most this season. Part 2 of Re:Zero’s second season came as a complete surprise. It was refreshing and really helped showcase how good Re:Zero can be. As someone who already enjoyed the previous two seasons, my expectations were high, but it blew me away with how well the show's narrative was driven in. Unlike previous seasons, Subaru Natsuki doesn’t rely on his ability to return from death and offered the resilience that many felt his character was missing.

Most Surprising:

This one really isn't a shocker for anyone actively watching winter animes, but Wonder Egg Priority was a perfect example of how beautiful and eye-opening animes can be. Incorporating the dark topics of suicide, regret and past traumas, the show does a remarkable job of dealing with real-life issues. It’s an awe-inspiring take on mental health. The show is so much more than the Coraline ripoff I thought it was when I first saw screencaps. 

Worth dropping: 

The show that I dropped and sadly have no interest in picking back up was The Promised Neverland second season. It only took me three episodes to give up on the second season of a show that I once considered a masterpiece. There were large portions of the manga cut from the anime which left the story feeling rushed and imperfect. From what I’ve heard the show never really found stable footing throughout the rest of the season which is evident in the disparity between the ratings given to season one and two respectively. 

Honorable Mentions: 

What would a 2020 winter anime list be without including the carryover show from the fall season, Jujutsu Kaisen. It has all the potential to become the next big shōnen anime, if it isn’t already considered one. MAPPA the studio which produced Jujutsu Kaisen has done so well with the production of the anime adaptation, and the gloomy and gritty art style plays into the show's narrative perfectly. If it wasn’t for so many other great animes, it would have likely sat in one of the categories above. Its movie is scheduled to release in winter 2022 I expect it continues to dominate the charts and potentially challenge the records that the Demon Slayer movie recently set. 

Lastly, there was Dr. Stone: Stone Wars, which was about as enjoyable as the first season. Dr. Stone is a show that's heavily carried by its concept which makes it worth watching even if it may lack some of the action or storytelling of other animes. Where else can you learn how to make Coca-cola with only primitive ingredients? The only issue I had with the newest season was the lack of tacky invention-focused episodes which helped the show really build a foundation.

Overall, the winter season had well-received animes across the board – something for every type of anime watcher. and did well to pull in new fans that have begun binging the genre during the pandemic. With spring approaching expect a preview of some of the shows that I have my eye on in what I anticipate will be a much less top-heavy season than this one.

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