ResetEra Anime of the Year 2019 - Voting Thread (READ THE OP) [Ends 11:59 February 15th EST]

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Oct 25, 2017
1. Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Already one of my favorite romcoms ever in manga form, the anime matches and sometimes even surpasses its source material. A triumph from Hatakeyama and his staff (basically SHAFT in all but name btw) and I look forward to this winning AOTY twice in a row after this upcoming season.
2. Symphogear XV - I'd put the whole series here but this is the one that aired this year so here it goes.
3. Kemurikusa - Hilarious that this aired in the same season as the abysmal Kemono Friends 2. Tatsuki and Yaoyorozu get their revenge in style. Even ignoring all the real life drama though, I loved this show despite an iffy start and the CG being its charming but terrible self.
4. The Demon Girl Next Door - I'm actually watching this as I write this but it's cute as hell and Shamiko is adorable so in it goes.
5. How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift - Oh right, I had almost forgotten, Dogakobo does pretty good work when they aren't making pedophile (yuri or otherwise) trash.
6. Oh Maidens In Your Savage Season - Mari Okada gonna Okada. Kind of sputters after an initial strong start but there's enough of Okada's trademark melodrama to keep it entertaining throughout.

Probably plenty of good stuff I'm leaving out but I just didn't have it in me to watch a whole lot of new stuff this past year.


Oct 26, 2017
In the past I've put together real showcases of a list, but these past several months have not been kind to me in a way I don't want to detail here. Suffice to say, I haven't been able to watch all the shows I wanted this past year, but I've been asked to vote so here's my list.

Anime TV Series
1. Vinland Saga - While this show's anachronistic take on Danish warfare and politics in the British Isles during those campaigns certainly hits close to home since I am both a historian academically and a proud Welshman, Vinland Saga was still a crowning achievement in proving how effective drama can be in any medium by adhering to three innate qualities: space, subtlety, and silence. Taking some cues from the kind of excellent dramas we've seen emerge in live-action television in the past decade or so, Vinland Saga takes great care to frame its conversations in ways that allow for complicated emotions or ideas to be communicated through nothing but facial animation, something I've not seen replicated in animation at this level of detail for mundane material outside of film. Combined with some superb direction and plenty of Wit's signature action animation executed on a level more consistent than I've seen from them before, this haunting and harrowing coming-of-age war saga stood tall in a year where so many shows fell victim to compromise in some fashion or another. Easily Wit Stuido's finest work, and one that together with last year's After the Rain should cement their standing as one of the premier animation studios in the business today.

2. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind - What a ride Golden Wind has been! This time last year, I was still a bit concerned that this arc of JoJo wasn't going to pull itself together after a stretch of good but not exceptional content, but it was shortly after last year's list that Golden Wind finally began to find its footing and proved that David Production had learned to make a much more inherently engaging version of Stardust Crusaders, even if the material didn't always rise to the level of the production in that regard. I don't think that any discussion of Golden Wind can be complete without mentioning that unlike Diamond Is Unbreakable, Golden Wind never had its quality drop too drastically, and considering the level of detail in the character designs, that feels like nothing short of a miracle. And while this part's core narrative was very hit or miss, the individual fights that made up the bulk of Golden Wind's middle arc contained some of the best sequences I can recall from JoJo to date. While perhaps not as cohesive or resonant as Diamond Is Unbreakable, Golden Wind is a production tour-de-force showcasing just how much David Production has grown, all while showcasing some of Araki's most creative exploration of the Stand concept so far in some truly classic sequences.

3. Kaguya-sama: Love is War - Speaking of slow starts, I won't lie that I was worried early on in Kaguya-sama that the manga which had been hyped to hell and back was going to land with a resounding thud despite being overseen by Mamoru Hatakeyama. However, despite working their way through adapting the somewhat awkward start of the manga, by about a third of the way through, Hatakeyama and company seemed to find that special something about Kaguya-sama that has lead the manga to become such a staple for so many of my friends. Leveraging his expertise in horror, action, and drama to enhance the comedic idiocy of this group of numbskulls, Kaguya-sama often feels like it transcends its roots and becomes something greater than its parts; growing from a gag show with a simplistic gimmick into a genuinely heartfelt coming-of-age story about outsiders finding both themselves and love in the most ridiculous ways. I can't help but be reminded of a similar trick in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, something that Kaguya-sama feels it pulls some amount of inspiration from in its style of adaptation. I'm glad this won't be the last we see of Hatakeyama and team's take on Kaguya-sama, as I feel the next season might outshine the first given how much the manga itself improves over time.

4. How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? - After a series of relatively uninteresting shows with questionable or truly problematic subject material following the resounding success of New Game!, I started to wonder if the best days of Doga Kobo were behind them. So thank goodness they took some time off after this recent stretch of mediocrity to return with the smash hit of last summer! Combining the wonderful expressive animation with pitch-perfect comedic direction that has become the cornerstone of their best work, Dumbbells brings the after-school genre to the gym for a super-charged journey of the misadventures of high school girls trying (and often failing spectacularly) to get fit. The mixture of after-school hijinks, educational muscle training information, and the often absurd integration of the author's """sister series""" Kengan Ashura leads to a wonderful combo that made it a joy to watch every week, even if I often knew I'd be sore after the post-credits exercise.

5. Attack on Titan (Season 3 - Part II) - You know, it's one thing for a show to subvert your expectations, but it's something else entirely to watch it pivot and basically perform a soft reboot that not only provides a completely new and exciting direction, but also ties up a lot of loose ends in a sensible, cohesive, yet unexpectedly satisfying way. And after making sure I didn't spoil myself about the contents of "The Basement" for years on end, I'm still blown away by what amounts to perhaps the best magic trick I've seen pulled by any currently long-running shounen. That said, it's not the only thing this second half of season three has going for it; the resolution to Bertholdt's transformation from the coward he's always been and Armin's determination to play his part at any cost, not to mention Erwin's finest moment leading the scout's last charge all make for some wonderfully resounding moments to cap off the original vision of Attack on Titan in this part's first half. But the haunting finale sticks with me, and it makes me unbearably sad to think that Wit's time with Attack on Titan is over now that the show has become more interesting than it has been since the first season. But they went out with style, even if the production wasn't as consistent as the excellent second season (even though the narrative transformation more than made up for that).

6. Mob Psycho 100 II - At the beginning of this year, I would've called Mob's second season a shoe-in for AotY, but in an odd twist of fate, Mob's second season is quite a bit more disjointed than the first. While the animation on display is undoubtedly the best in any televised anime this year, the overall structure of this season feels messy and unfocused, which is a great shame both due to the strength of some of these arcs and the natural curve of the last season which culminated brilliantly alongside Mob's own personal growth both as a person and a psychic. That said, even if the material here feels unorganized and doesn't flow well from episode to episode like the first season did, the actual material in most episodes is quite effective and does a lot to let Mob showcase his growth in the first season and flesh out his support structures that let him break away from the abuses both Reigen and Mob himself inflict on him. It's a shame that much of this excellent character work is more or less sidelined for the big psychic battles at the end, which hardly tie into anything to do with character growth this time around and feel like generic shounen filler instead of parodies of such content that existed last time around. Despite its often messy nature, I still think its a solid follow-up, even if it doesn't reach near the same highs as the original.

7. Sarazanmai - Ikuhara feels like he can't catch a break! Every show he does now is shorter than the last, forcing him to come up with elegant ways to showcase the stories and themes he wants at a lightning pace, but I actually think Sarazanmai does all right in this department. Ikuhara is one of those directors who isn't afraid to use visual storytelling to replace a script entirely, expecting the framing to provide all the subtext missing from the script, which manages to make his shows avoid the exposition dump of feelings that would wear on emotionally-charged dramas like this. And while it sometimes feels like the message gets lost here or there, Sarazanmai is a fairly straightforward story of self-acceptance charged with more homoerotic imagery than I could've thought possible. And yet, for how utterly hilarious its in-your-face presentation can be, it never feels like an exploitative story that treats its homosexual text as anything other than an earnest expression of self that deserves to be as valued as regular forms of love, but this is nothing new for Ikuhara. Still, Sarazanmai is often moving and beautiful, though I do wish he'd be given a chance to let his material breathe more in the future, because while he can produce something in such a limited window, it's clearly stretching his creative expression close to its breaking point.

8. Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files: Rail Zeppelin ~Grace Note~ - Anyone who knows me knows I am a big fan of Fate in general, and that's large part to me discovering Fate/Zero several years ago. One of my favorite characters in that series was a whiny boy trying to prove something to the mage community, but in reality to himself, and found his calling as the retainer to a long dead king, attempting to carry on the legacy of his line of thinking. Well, some ten years later, Waver Velvet has attempted to do so by playing his own part as a Sherlock-style detective, solving cases related to his position at Clock Tower while also passing his outlook on life to his group of misfit mages in training. Combining the best elements of Type-Moon lore with characters who often don't get much focus in the wider selection of Fate material, Lord El-Melloi II's Case Files feels like a love letter to fans who enjoy exploring the wider world of the Nasuverse while also providing a down-to-earth old-school detective drama with some classic Fate-style nonsensical exposition and thrilling action. Fresh off the seminal Bloom Into You, Makoto Katou returns as the director, lending his excellent vision to bringing what might be seen dull affairs to life in exciting and new ways while providing an art direction that makes the most out of the largely English setting. If only it was more of a mystery the viewer could put together, I would have ranked it higher, but it's still enjoyable in its own right.

9. GeGeGe no Kitaro (2018) - This only made the list for the winter arc that was airing one year ago. That final arc leading up to the conclusion of the Nanashi arc is the best this iteration of Kitaro has been: unrepentant in its exploration of some of the worst aspects of humanity and featuring a version of Kitaro more willing to let humans succumb to their own vices, much like he has in some older iterations. While there have been some standout episodes across the year, Kitaro as a whole started to decline after the one year mark, and its current arc feels far less measured than it used to be. It's a shame, but it still deserves a place on the list for the heights it reached, going toe-to-toe as one of my most anticipated show of the winter season against big hitters like Kaguya, Mob, and JoJo. It takes more than just being a fun kids horror show to accomplish that.

Honorable Mentions
x. Beastars - As mentioned above, things beyond my control have prevented me from completing the one show I knew would radically change my list, but from a sampling of the first few episodes, I can say that Land of the Lustrous was not a fluke. Orange has taken command of the material here and modified their style to match, all while showing the same level of care and detail in subjects that arguably feel harder to portray than the sentient gems of their last show. But it's Beastars method of world-building that feels the most surprising, as it's willing to delve into some pretty thoroughly disturbing answers to unravel just how a world where predators don't hunt prey could continue to function, all while tackling issues of race mixing, systemic class structures, and drug trafficking. It's a strong pitch and one I want to watch in its entirety, but I haven't seen enough to fairly place it on this list.

x. Blade of the Immortal (2019) - Following my general policy, I don't like to place shows that aren't complete yet in my top ten, and for the new adaptation of Blade of the Immortal that feels especially fitting given how polarizing of a show it's been thus far. That having been said, Hiroshi Hamasaki's vision for adapting the entirety of the thirty-volume manga has been one of my favorite attempts in recent years to do so. Whereas I expected nothing but plot points with no time for character development, Hamasaki chooses to let moments breathe, using stylistic editing and brief but thoroughly layered conversations to do the bulk of the work given how much of a time constraint the material is under. It feels like a success even when it's maybe cutting out just a bit too much to stay coherent without knowledge of the source material, but it's evocative, gorgeously edited, and wonderfully underwritten when it all clicks, which is more often than not. It's the definition of something that's more than the sum of its parts, and I would encourage those who have not to give it a chance.

x. Pokemon: Sun & Moon - Considering just how many episodes there are and the fact that I just started watching in the middle of 2019, there was never any hope I'd finish Sun & Moon before this list had to be written. That said, even the earliest parts of the show have become some of the most fun I've ever had watching Pokemon, thanks in large part to the extensive supporting cast and more varied episode style due to the academy structure replacing the traditional travelogue. Combined with the brand new animation style, which while odd at first flows so well and is utilized to its fullest potential with some brilliant cuts of animation, and Sun & Moon feels like the breath of fresh air the series needed to draw someone like me back in long after my love of Pokemon had dwindled. Perhaps the best child-friendly anime in recent memory, I hope to get back to watch more, as it's been the most consistently enjoyable time sink I've had in a long while. But at less than a third of the way through, I can't tell you were any of this year's Sun & Moon material ranks.
Printer Paper 8 X 11
Oct 25, 2017
With that the 2019 AOTY voting is closed, result thread will be up either Monday or Tuesday depending on various factors in my life. This thread will shortly be closed.


Dec 12, 2017
Anime TV Series

  1. Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu - A story about a girl, Bocchi, who has social anxiety. Watch as she tries to overcome her anxiety and make friends at school. A light-hearted slice-of-life which will have you cheering for Bocchi throughout the show. Please be her friend!
  2. Carole & Tuesday - Two musicians trying to make it big in a time where you can say the competition is statistically... "perfect." There are various plots unfolding within the world, nevertheless the girls will continue to work towards their dream.
  3. Teasing Master Takagi-san: Season 2 - Do have someone to tease? Is it backfiring on you? Well look no further and learn from the master herself. Takagi-san will teach you to outwit your opponent. With her victim assistant, Nishikata, she will demonstrate the art of teasing.
  4. Chihayafuru 3 - As shounen as other sports anime. Don't let the looks of the anime fool you. There will be feelings of triumph and feelings of defeat. A great cast of characters. I'm happy we get more Chihayafuru!
  5. Aggretsuko (2019) - More Retsuko. more fun. Scream your soul out!
  6. Mob Psycho 100 II - Underneath the amazing animations and extraordinary psychic powers there is a heartfelt story of a boy trying to become better everyday. It's adolescence with a bit, just a bit, of the supernatural.
  7. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War - Well prepare for some 4d chess.
  8. O Maidens in Your Savage Season - I felt it's kind of similar to Kaguya-sama, in the sense of love is war. Fight on girls!
  9. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime - One of the better isekais. The slime was cute.
  10. Demon Slayer - A shounen anime carried by its beautiful animations. It's worth watching just for that.

Anime Movie/OVA Series
  1. Konosuba: God`s Blessing on This Wonderful World! - Legend of Crimson - More Konosuba, more fun. Let the shenanigans continue.

Honorable Mentions

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These
- I haven't watched the new adaptation, but it deserves to be mentioned. The original was an epic space opera. With a modern look, it should be easier to get into.
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