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35 Anime Shows That Shone Through The Dark Hole That Was 2020

These definitely made getting through the year just that little bit easier.

With 2020 being one of the toughest years we've had in awhile, it's no surprise that many of us turned to the world of anime for comfort. So, in light of that, we asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the shows that gave them some much-needed joy. Here are their answers!

1. Fruits Basket

The characters of "Fruits Basket" walking along a pathway; they look happy and are smiling and laughing together
TMS/8PAN

What it's about: After a family tragedy, Tohru Honda is forced to live in a tent. She is later invited to stay with the Soma clan β€” Yuki, Kyo and Shigure β€” where she quickly discovers that members of their family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac. When feeling weak, stressed or embraced by members of the opposite sex, they are cursed to turn into their animal forms.

Why it's so good: "The Fruits Basket reboot has been a huge part of my self-care during these past 10 months. Tohru’s endless kindness to others and gratitude over the small things that make live worth living are, quite frankly, #goals. The kid in me who loved the 2001 series and the adult who needs a little inspiration to make it through this train wreck of a year have rallied around this timely gem." β€”melc40e454224

2. Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma

JC Staff

What it's about: Yukihira Soma is a middle school student who is determined to surpass his father's culinary skills. As part of this, his father β€” who runs a family diner alongside Soma β€” enrols him in an elite culinary school called Tōtsuki Academy, which has a graduation rate of only 10 percent.

Why it's so good: "The characters are loveable, the animation is brilliant and the story is so captivating. I've watched Food Wars a few times and always feel inspired to cook after every episode, which is perfect because while being stuck at home, you need all the inspiration you can get!" β€”allyk4d8bc3f5a

3. Banana Fish

Eiji with his hand draped over Ash's shoulder
MAPPA

What it's about: A young gang leader named Ash Lynx sets out to investigate "Banana Fish", the same two words his older brother has said since his return from the Iraq War. Things take a turn when Dino Golzine β€” the godfather of the mafia, who also raised Ash β€” sends his men after him. Both Ash's friend and a Japanese photographer's assistant, Eiji Okumura, are kidnapped in the ensuing chaos. Now, Ash must find way a to rescue them and continue his investigation.

Why it's so good: "You might think I'm crazy, but being sad about something other than the coronavirus was a nice breather. Plus, the plot is amazing!" β€”idk13gl

4. Naruto

Naruto, Sasuke, Kakashi and Sakura huddling together
Pierrot

What it's about: A young, mischievous boy named Naruto Uzumaki has a dream to graduate from the Ninja Academy, earn recognition from his peers and earn the title of Hokage by becoming the leader of his village. But, there's a secret to Naruto β€” 12 years ago, a nine-tailed fox spirit was sealed within his body, when he was a baby.

Why it's so good: "Naruto really came through for me this year. The Chunin Exams storyline blew me away and the character development is really striking. Plus, Naruto is the sweetest kid. Now that I've finished the series and know all the backstory, I've rewatched arcs and gained even more appreciation for Masashi Kishimoto and his genius while writing." β€”nicolebordeaux

5. Yuri On Ice

MAPPA

What it's about: After suffering a crushing defeat during the Grand Prix finals, Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki hides out in his hometown, where he reflects on his career and whether he wants to retire. A video of him mimicking Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov then goes viral, resulting in the five-time consecutive world champion visiting Yuri to shake things up.

Why it's so good: "Even if you're not a fan of sports anime, trust me, you need to watch Yuri On Ice. Whether it's the beautifully animated figure skating scenes, the honest depiction of mental health or the wonderfully layered characters (which includes positive LGBTQ+ representation!), there is so much to love about this series. It'll fill you up with so much joy!" β€”Isha Bassi

6. Death Note

Light Yagami holding the Death Note; behind him are L and Ryuk
Madhouse

What it's about: Light Yagami is a highly intelligent yet cynical high school student who is bored out of his mind. That soon changes when he stumbles upon the Death Note β€” which was dropped into the human realm by Ryuk, a Shinigami death god.

After realising he can kill criminals simply by writing their name in the Death Note, Light becomes fixated on building a new world where crime does not exist and he is worshipped. But, international authorities enlist the aid of a mysterious detective known only as "L" to discover the killer.

Why it's so good: "This year was the first time I ever watched Death Note and I am still in love. I finished the series in a day, bought the all-in-one edition of the manga and have cranked out 23 pieces of fan fiction (so far) for the series. It has constantly challenged me to create better plot lines, to push my creative limits and to realise how powerful my words can be. I’d be bored to tears were it not for Light Yagami and a little supernatural notebook β€” and I’d never have it any other way." β€”misaamaneyagami

7. Dorohedoro

Kaiman and Nikaido are back-to-back while jumping mid-air; the city is beneath them
MAPPA

What it's about: Suffering from amnesia, Kaiman β€” whose human head has been transformed into a lizard by a sorcerer β€” tries to recover both his original face and memories alongside his friend, Nikaido.

Why it's so good: "Dorohedoro really got me this year. While it is a rather dark, cyber punk story, all the characters are genuinely nice to one another and team up in the most brilliant ways. Also, the soundtrack is fantastic! It contains elements from metal, dub and jazz, and definitely mirrors the author's love for bands like Slipknot. It's really lifted my spirits and I've recommended it to all my friends." β€”velozee

8. Assassination Classroom

Students in a classroom standing and aiming their guns at their teacher, who is this yellow, octopus-like creature
Lerche

What it's about: A powerful, octopus-like creature has destroyed 70% of the moon and further claims that within a year, Earth with also be destroyed by him. But, he offers mankind a chance by becoming a homeroom teacher where he teaches his students about how to kill him. This is the assassination classroom.

Why it's so good: "Not only does this anime capture you with the action, but the whole story is so beautiful and really touches your heart. May we all be lucky enough to have someone like Koro sensei enter our lives." β€”allyk4d8bc3f5a

9. One Piece

Monkey D. Luffy facing the camera with a smile and a thumbs up
Toei Animation

What it's about: Alongside his crew named the Straw Hat Pirates, Monkey D. Luffy explores the Grand Line in search of the world's ultimate treasure known as "One Piece" to become the next Pirate King.

Why it's so good: "Honestly, there were just so many episodes to get through. I started in May and I looked up and all of a sudden it was December, which made it the best distraction." β€”critic24

10. The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins characters armed and ready to fight
A-1 Pictures

What it's about: Once the strongest and cruelest order of knights, the Seven Deadly Sins were framed for murdering the Great Holy Knight, resulting in them disbanding. Ten years later, a princess starts out on a journey to find them and enlist their help in taking back the kingdom from its now tyrannical rulers.

Why it's so good: "The Seven Deadly Sins was the first anime I ever watched and I was hooked from the first episode." β€”jilliannem2

11. Hunter x Hunter

Gon standing and posing with Kurapika, Leorio and Killua
Nippon Animation

What it's about: Gon Freecss discovers that his father, who left him at a young age, is a world-renowned Hunter β€” aka someone who seeks fantastical unknown items, like rare or unidentified animal species and hidden treasure. After learning this, Gon departs on a journey to become a professional Hunter himself and to one day find his father.

Why it's so good: "My boyfriend made me watch Hunter x Hunter and from the beginning, I immediately fell in love with the characters. Then, things get more serious and you get to watch them grow into their abilities and as people. It's so entertaining and really easy to get into." β€”sydniehamburg1

12. Rascal Does Not Dream Of A Bunny Girl Senpai

CloverWorks

What it's about: Things take a turn for the unexpected when Sakuta Azusagawa meets teenage actress Mai Sakurajima in a library. The twist? Mai is dressed as a bunny girl, but only Sakuta notices her and her out-of-the-ordinary outfit. This even extends to when Mai dresses normally or when she attempts to stay away from celebrity life β€” no one can see her. Calling this phenomenon "Adolescence Syndrome", Sakuta decides to solve this strange mystery, while getting closer to Mai.

Why it's so good: "I watched it expecting something that was going to be funny and weird (mainly because of the name of the anime), but I was completely blown away. I finished the entire series in a day and ended up crying so hard. Then, watching the movie made me cry even harder." β€”purplelettuce

13. Parasyte -The Maxim-

A closeup of Shinichi Izumi holding up his right hand, which has the parasyte named Migi attached
Madhouse

What it's about: Parasitic aliens have invaded Earth and infiltrated humanity by burrowing into their brains and acquiring full control of their host. High school student Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasytes, but it fails to take over his brain, ending up in his right hand instead. Now, Shinichi and the parasyste, named Migi, have no choice but to co-exist together.

Why it's so good: "I watched this anime in 2020 and absolutely loved it. I even watched it while having an COVID antibody test to help handle the discomfort of it." β€”kal63

14. Haikyuu

The Karasuno high school volleyball team doing a team huddle before one of their games
Production I.G

What it's about: Junior high school student, Hinata Shoyo, becomes obsessed with volleyball after watching a game featuring a player nicknamed "The Little Giant". This love for the sport follows through to high school, where he's finally able to join the same team "The Little Giant" played for β€” Karasuno. At first, Hinata struggles due to his short height. But, alongside his teammates, Hinata vows to make it to the nationals, where they can become the best team in Japan.

Why it's so good: "Haikyuu for sure! I've made so many friends online. Plus, making content for the fandom is something that's absolutely kept me sane." β€”celestialri

15. My Hero Academia

Izuki and his fellow classmates standing outside with the city skyline behind them
Bones

What it's about: In a world where eighty percent of the population has some kind of "quirk" β€” or super power β€” Izuki was unlucky enough to be born completely normal. But, determined to make his dream of becoming a hero come true, Izuki continues to admire them and one day meets the number one hero, and his personal idol, All Might. By chance, All Might's quirk is able to be inherited and he chooses Izuki to be his successor.

Enrolling in UA High, a high school known for its excellent hero training program, Izuki embarks on a journey to become the ultimate hero.

Why it's so good: "My Hero Academia. My Hero Academia. My Hero Academia. God damn, this anime was such a great distraction from the shit show of this year. I was so happy to be able to watch it for the first time and I loved being able to dive into the world and just get so invested." β€”galactichan

16. Noragami

Yato, Hiyori and Yukin standing on a platform; you can see the cityscape behind them
Bones

What it's about: A minor deity called Yato dreams of having millions of followers. But, without a single shrine dedicated to him, he decides to take matters into his own hands by helping people in exchange for five yen. This includes Hiyori Iki, a student whose soul has come loose after almost being killed in a traffic accident.

Why it's so good: "On a random day during quarantine, I discovered Noragami. It's the only anime that I can say that there wasn't even a single second where I was bored." β€”fifi6392629

17. The Millionaire Detective – Balance: Unlimited

CloverWorks

What it's about: Detective Daisuke Kanbe is assigned to the Modern Crime Prevention Headquarters. A man of extraordinary wealth, he has no issues using his fortune to solve cases. But, when he is partnered with Haru Katou β€” who values justice and despises Daisuke's materialistic attitude β€” they must overcome their polar opposite views and work together to solve crime.

Why it's so good: "It's so funny and has a really interesting and fun storyline. I've watch it three times in the past three months!" β€”ryburkhart13

18. K-On!

The members of the Light Music Club hugging each other while posing for a photo
Kyoto Animation

What it's about: In her first year of high school, Yui Hirasawa is looking for a club to join. She stumbles on the Light Music Club, which is about to be disbanded due to a lack of members. Yui joins, thinking she'll be able to play the castanets. But, what follows is so much more!

Why it's so good: "K-On is such a wholesome anime about a group of teenage girls starting a band while getting through high school. It's such a sweet story to follow and the music is super catchy, too. I highly recommend watching it!" β€”purolandprincess

19. FLCL

Haruko and Naota standing side-by-side; Haruko is holding her guitar and her vespa is behind her
Gainax / Production I.G / King Records

What it's about: Naota Nandaba is an ordinary 12-year-old boy, living with his windowed father and grandfather. His mundane life in Mabase is suddenly turned upside down when he meets Haruko Harubhara, a vespa-riding, pink-haired, guitar-wielding girl who runs him over. Mysterious things start happening, as Naota gets dragged into a huge battle alongside Haruko.

Why it's so good: "The absolute absurdity of this anime managed to distract me from all my family and world drama, even if it was for a short period of time." β€”Garryelric

20. Gintama

Gintoki Sakata standing together with two of his friends, who are smiling and posing with the peace sign
Sunrise / Bandai Namco Pictures

What it's about: In an alternate version of history, aliens have invaded and taken over feudal Japan. As a result, a prohibition on swords has been established, leaving samurais disarmed and forced to take up odd jobs in order to make ends meet.

One such samurai is Gintoki Sakata, who, alongside his crew, is willing to take any job to survive. But, his disregard for the rules often leads to humorous and unfortunate consequences when completing them.

Why it's so good: "I've watched a lot of anime and nothing comes close to the perfect cohesion of laughs, tears, cheers and confusion (in a hilarious way) that Gintama provides. Get through the first couple of episodes to understand the flow of the show, then lose yourself in this masterpiece that will leave you feeling like how you’d feel after a REALLY good meal." β€”youmnaz

21. Jujutsu Kaisen

Itadori Yuuji  and Ryomen Sukuna standing back-to-back
MAPPA

What it's about: Itadori Yuuji leads a completely ordinary high school life, until he unknowingly makes contact with a cursed charm talisman. The talisman, which is a rotting finger that has been unsealed by the Occult Club, attracts Curses to the school, which are creatures formed by human negativity and malice. To protect his friends, Yuuji swallows the finger, taking the Curse of Ryomen Sukuna into his own soul, which results in them sharing the one body.

Why it's so good: "The opening is a bop and the storyline had me hooked from the get-go!"β€”samanthalim29

22. Cowboy Bebop

Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine and Edward Wong
Sunrise

What it's about: Alongside the Inter Solar System Police, outlaw bounty hunters β€” referred to as "Cowboys" β€” attempt to keep peace in the galaxy. One such team is led by Spike Spiegel, who along with his partner Jet Black, as well as new members Ein, Faye Valentine and Edward Wong, make a living chasing bounties on high-priced fugitives.

Why it's so good: "Cowboy Bebop will always be a favourite of mine." β€”cleverhawk61

23. Erased

A young boy and girl huddle together in an outdoor shack, with a camp fire burning in front of them
A-1 Pictures

What it's about: Satoru Fujinuma, a young manga artist, possesses a unique ability known as "Revival", which sends him back in time moments before a life-threatening incident occurs. When his mother is murdered, Satoru is suddenly transported 18 years into the past, which is where it all began.

Why it's so good: "Erased was the best show that happened to me. It's dark, but heartfelt and explores standing up for others and standing together in the face of abuse and murder. It was so touching to see characters that cared about each other, even if it's a little cheesy." β€”laura37911973

24. Star Twinkle Pretty Cure

Five different Precure members; there is a mountain behind them
Toei Animation

What it's about: One day when Hikaru Hoshina is drawing constellations in her notebook, a small and fluffy creature β€” which turns out to be an alien with the ability to create warp holes β€” emerges from it.

The alien, named Fuwa by Hikaru, along with its companions Lala and Prunce, explain that they are looking for the Precure β€” legendary warriors who will save the universe. When an organization known as the Notraiders attacks them, Hikaru finds herself transforming into "Cure Star", one of the Precure. It is now up to her to discover where the other warriors are and to help save Earth.

Why it's so good:" I've been a Pretty Cure fan for 12 years now (this incarnation specifically aired last year, but I only sat down to catch up with it in 2020) and I never enjoyed a season of the show as much as I did this one. The space motif was done in such a creative and delightful way, completely different from how Sailor Moon did it, and all five of the main characters are so likeable (although my favourite has always been Lala/Cure Milky). It's such a unique spin on the magical girl genre, while still maintaining the wholesome nature and exciting action that Pretty Cure is known for. Check it out if you haven't!" β€”biab4b0b82c3f

25. Full Metal Alchemist

Edward and Alphone Elric standing beside each other
Bones

What it's about: Two brothers β€” Edward and Alphonse Elric β€” attempt to resurrect their death mother through the forbidden act of human transmutation. Things don't end up going to plan, with Edward losing two of his limbs and having to bind Alphonse's soul to a large suit of armour. A year later, with the goal of restoring their bodies, they embark on a journey to obtain the Philosopher's Stone.

Why it's so good: "Full Metal Alchemist is my go-to comfort-anime. I think I'm rewatching it all for the fourth time. It's just got great characters, including kickass female ones, and great storylines with bonus philosophy topics." β€”songcat

26. Sword Art Online

Kirito's avatar, as well as other SAO players, smiling and holding out their weapons
A-1 Pictures

What it's about: In the year 2022, a hotly-anticipated MMORPG game called Sword Art Online (SAO) has launched. With the aid of "NerveGear" technology, players are able to connect and control their avatars in the immersive virtual world of Aincrad using nothing but their own thoughts.

Kazuto Kirigaya β€” nicknamed Kirito β€” is among the first to join Sword Art Online. But, along with 10,000 other players, he quickly discovers that he's unable to log out; the game's creator has trapped them in his new world until players complete all one hundred levels. Oh, and if you die in Aincrad, you die in real life.

Why it's so good: "Sword Art Online has been incredibly entertaining. It has a similar premise as the hugely popular book Ready Player One, where people become caught up in a virtual online world. Each season has a fresh new storyline that keeps the show interesting and the English dubbed version is done extremely well." β€”SnOwRiDe1080

27. The Promised Neverland

Emma, Norman and Ray β€” three of the orphans living at Grace Field House
CloverWorks

What it's about: The Grace Field House is a seemingly perfect orphanage. There's gourmet food, plush beds, clean clothes, games and everyone loves the caretaker, Isabella. The only rule that those living there have to follow is to never venture beyond the grounds or the gate. But, three of the oldest siblings have their suspicions about what is actually happening at the orphanage, including when a child gets adopted and sent to live with their new family.

Why it's so good: "While The Promised Neverland is not exactly lighthearted, it definitely fed my need for escapism from this wack year. The characters are so brilliant and honestly, their resilience kind of made me feel uncharacteristically hopeful. Also, its just conceptually wonderful." β€”dieylad

28. Non Non Biyori

Hotaru Ichijo, Renge Miyauchi, Natsumi Koshigaya and Komari Koshigaya having a picnic in the countryside
Silver Link

What it's about: Asahigaoka may sound like your typical, countryside village. The nearest stores are a few miles away, no one locks their doors and there is only one school, with five students belonging to different grades. But, these classmates β€” including the newly-arrived Hotaru Ichijou, who has just moved from Tokyo β€” find a way to make their own fun and deal with the realities of living in a rural area.

Why it's so good: "It's cute, funny and so relaxing to watch! All the characters are amazing and I love the way they find fun in the most mundane things." β€”kgillie93

29. Danganronpa: The Animation

The high school students belong to Hope's Peak Academy; they are sitting down on tables in front of a blackboard in a classroom
Lerche

What it's about: Hope's Peak Academy is an elite high school that only accepts the most talented students. If you're successfully enrolled, you receive a unique title, which is based on your skills and traits. When 16 individuals are accepted, they soon discover that the only way to escape and graduate rests on one of them successfully murdering a fellow student without being discovered.

Why it's so good: "I downloaded TikTok and my For You page was flooded with cosplay, so I decided to give this anime a watch! Needless to say, I came out of it with a bunch of friends, new cosplays, kins and more importantly, a new obsession that is slowly taking over my life." β€”reannav2005

30. Cells At Work

A white blood cell named U-1146 in the shape of a man and a red blood cell named AE3803 in the shape of a woman
David Production

What it's about: Inside the human body, over 37 trillion cells are hard at work every day to keep you healthy. This series focuses on two such cells; a rookie red blood cell, AE3803 β€” who is somewhat air-headed, but ready to take on the task of transporting oxygen β€” and a determined white blood cell, U-1146 β€” who patrols and eliminates any foreign bacteria.

Why it's so good: "I'm a huge nerd and it was so much fun to see the biology personified. Not to mention immunology, which the show focuses on, is painfully relevant during a pandemic!" β€”melonette000

31. Black Butler

Ciel Phantomhive and Sebastian, a demon disguised as a butler; Ciel has a chain attached around his right hand, which links up to Sebastian
A-1 Pictures

What it's about: A young boy named Ciel Phantomhive bargains off his soul to Sebastian, a demon, in exchange for vengeance upon those who tortured him and murdered his parents. While working together, Sebastian takes on the disguise of a butler dressed in black and is required to protect, serve and arrive whenever Ciel requires him. His payment in exchange for his services? Being allowed to consume Ciel's soul once he gets revenge.

Why it's so good: "Black Butler, simply because it has such a special place in my heart. It was the first anime I ever watched and every time I rewatch it I fall for the complex characters and interesting storylines all over again. It's my favourite anime of all time." β€”congdongracie24

32. Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

Characters of Kaguya-Sama: Love Is War standing in front of their school building
A-1 Pictures

What it's about: At Shuchiin Academy, Miyuki Shirogane and Kaguya Shinomiya, who are the student council president and vice-president, are regarded as the perfect couple. Miyuki is the top student at school and is well-respected by his peers, while Kaguya is the daughter of a wealthy family.

Although they have already developed feelings for each other, neither is willing to admit them. So, they both develop clever and over the top schemes to try and get the other one to confess their love first.

Why it's so good: "This is one anime that's made me both laugh out loud and cry. It's a lot of fun with great characters and dynamics." β€”wordshaker12

33. PrΓ©tear: The New Legend Of Snow White

Himeno Awayuki and Hayate, the Knight Of Wind
Hal Film Maker

What it's about: Since her father's marriage to a rich woman, Himeno Awayuki has been treated like an outcast by both her new stepsisters and classmates. She later finds out from a group of seven magical men called the Leafe Knights that she is a PrΓ©tear, someone who has the ability to merge with their powers. Now, she must help them protect the world and save Earth from an evil being called the Princess Of Disaster.

Why it's so good: "What really gives me the sweet serotonin is a short anime called PrΓ©tear. It's kinda based on Snow White and it's only 13 episodes long, but it's so amazing! It's sweet and emotional, but also has great action and world building. You can literally watch it in a day (I have, multiple times!) and for me, it never gets old!" β€”squish37

34. Mob Psycho 100

Shigeo "Mob" Kageyama pointing to colourful, sprit-like apparitions
TV Tokyo

What it's about: Shigeo Kageyama, nicknamed Mob, often flies under the radar. But, in reality, he's a powerful esper with immense psychic power. To keep himself from losing control, he often has to suppress his emotions, which doesn't help when he's trying to impress his longtime crush, Tsubomi.

Why it's so good: "Mob Psycho100 was hilarious and definitely kept my mind off of being in quarantine and feeling isolated."

β€”rachaelhartman

35. Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter and Sailor Venus posing
Toei Animation

What it's about: After saving a cat with a crescent moon on its head, Usagi Tsukino learns about her destiny to become Sailor Moon β€” a planetary guardian with the power to protect the Earth. She must now grow accustomed to her powers while fighting villains and finding the rest of the Sailor Guardians.

Why it's so good: "During a depressive episode in the midst of COVID, I was hit with an idea I knew would cheer me up: Rewatching my childhood favourite, Sailor Moon. Luckily, 4/5 of the seasons are dubbed on Hulu! The movies are great, too. It totally helped cheer me up at a time of deep stress despite how silly it was!" β€”jillianf4387dd33c

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

2020 is finally (almost) over, and we're looking back on the year. Check out even more from the year here!

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