Welcome to my Anime Tier List for the first half of 2020. This is the next installment of a blog series I do covering anime I have watched and giving my opinions on them. The previous blog released last December, so at the end when I put the list together, you will see the previous anime I have watched in the tier list. If you haven’t seen the last two blogs, I would recommend checking them out here and here. Any anime that got a new season that I watched will be evaluated separately, but then the final score will be keeping both the previous and new seasons in mind. Here is a reminder of the tiers and what each stands for.
F tier is my blanket “did not finish” tier. Some anime here will be worse than others, but if it is here, I do not recommend the anime at all.
D tier is for lackluster anime. There are too many negative points about these anime for me to enjoy them, but I am either too committed or curious to drop the anime. I would not recommend most except for niche cases.
C tier is for decent anime. These anime are alright, and weren’t terrible, but weren’t the best either. I would situationally recommend these anime depending on what the viewer wants.
B tier is for good anime. I enjoyed these anime a lot, but they are not refined enough or executed well enough to be A tier. I would recommend most of them.
A tier is for great anime. I thoroughly enjoyed these anime, and they are well done and put together. I would highly recommend anything in this tier.
S tier is my favorite anime of all time. They are essentially the same as A tier anime but are my personal favorites. There will be 4 S tier anime in this list.
And a final reminder, this is all MY opinion, so you may not agree with some of these rankings, and that is okay. Onto the tier list.
The first anime for this blog is the anime Is The Order a Rabbit? This anime is set in a cool setting of a cafe, not being a stereotypical maid cafe, which I appreciated. This anime is very wholesome, just like Yuyushiki or Yuru Yuri or plenty of other slice of life anime, but this anime had too much wholesomeness for me. There are times where I smiled, laughed, or enjoyed the wholesomeness it had, but there wasn’t really that funny or comedic character to give the show some balance. Instead, literally EVERYONE is wholesome ALL THE TIME, and it definitely affected how much I enjoyed the show. Otherwise, this was a show that was well made and avoided plenty of the typical slice of life problems, but I definitely felt like there needed to be a better balance in the characters’ wholesomeness, as I definitely needed some breaks while watching.
Citrus is one of those peculiar anime that you aren’t sure about, but you want to watch to see how it unfolds. It tells the story of two unlikely lovers that met through a unique encounter, but it certainly is different than most other anime where the lovers seem to be destined to be together. Polar opposite personalities having an intimate relationship are not too common in anime. It has some more relatable characters than most dramas, and other than when the writing is bad it feels like a pretty decent anime. But there is the incident that started this anime, which was effectively rape. We find out that Mei, the cold and conserved one, releases her stress through very physical means, such as kissing. It feels very weird that the anime almost endorses this since Yuzu is now in love, despite being thoroughly kissed and frisked, and she still turns to team lesbian. This alone is a bit of a red flag, and there are so many other unique ways to set up someone going from straight to lesbian without having a girl not give consent to some dirty acts. With that being said, Yuzu manages to be that dumb male protagonist that can’t figure things out while also being a female. She probably thinks in the exact same way over 10 times and still only barely comes to the correct realization at the end. The progression of the anime also is a bit wonky, since it only progresses past 5 episodes by constantly introducing new characters. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the lovers are stepsisters? Even more taboo practices just to make sure you are weirded out by this anime. To make you forget about the rape that has happened, it has multiple cases of characters blackmailing each other instead. These side characters were created with the whole purpose of them to be hated, and once they finally get confronted they just go “Oops I’ll be nice now” and they are all friends again, which is pretty frustrating as a viewer. It also has some lazy animation at times, though the character animation is always top-notch. I could easily put this anime in the D tier, however, the characters are quite good and feel real when the writing isn’t horribly done, and you feel realistic issues. For that, it gets a nice little bump, but this is quite a wild ride of an anime.
Up next is the fun and cozy Lucky Star. This anime is perfect for anyone wanting something fun and casual to watch. The story of this anime literally doesn’t exist, it is about as slice of life as you can get. As such, we have funny characters that carry the show in their ridiculousness. I must say that even though this is a pretty old anime, it still had a lot of unique character tropes for a slice of life anime, and I think this is the only anime I’ve watched where the side characters have side characters. The animation is honestly really impressive for a 2006 release. I definitely did not expect something as well animated as this. Anime like Clannad is clearly dated but definitely not bad, but I would not have guessed this to be older than 2011 if I had not seen the date released beforehand. Most of the characters are really good, however, I found Patricia to be especially annoying. Her voice irritated me so much, I’m glad she was only in about 5 episodes. Other than her though, every single character is funny and interesting in their own way. There isn’t a whole lot to hate about this anime as long as you like slice of life shows. I would recommend this to anyone who likes slice of life anime in general.
The next contender on the list is a very recent addition, Weathering With You. This anime really blew anything I knew about quality anime out of the water. There is really an endless amount I could talk about with this anime, but I’ll try to keep to the main points. The music of this anime is phenomenal, probably the best music I’ve listened to from an anime. It truly gave the same feeling you get when watching an actual movie in the theaters, which is fitting since it did premiere in a theater, but I was still surprised to see that from an anime. The tickets I bought happened to be the very last of the tickets that had an interview with the director himself, who said that the music was created after the composer read the script, so the animation was then partially influenced by the music. This makes the animation and music combination flow naturally together since the music wasn’t made separately. The animation is also amazing, probably the best animation I’ve seen as well. The backgrounds looked so real, almost like a photo, while the characters still had a very typical anime look to them. It was a very cool combination of styles that worked out nicely here. This anime also, on multiple occasions, used absolute silence as a tool to bring out the emotion in a scene. While plenty of anime use foreshadowing, this anime does it in a very ominous, but fitting way. This anime even weaves in some comedy amidst all its drama, romance, and story. Speaking of, the story was fairly good. While I don’t think it’s bad by any stretch of the imagination, with as good of visuals and music as it had, the story was just above average instead of leagues above. It was coherent and had a nice plot overall. That said, it is still gimmicky, but it’s an anime plot so I think there will always be gimmicks. The romance was pretty tame and amateur, but at least the characters were the driving force behind that and not the failure of the director. Finally, the ending was… well, unique to say the least. The character takes the more selfish option and ruins a city for years to come. Based on the interview with the director, we are supposed to question his decision making and see the choice that would rarely be taken, given how people react to things like climate change. I guess I should mention, the pun on Weather isn’t accidental, weather is a huge theme. Honestly, I could write on this anime for another 4000 words, including the vast amount of other themes present in this movie, but I’ll end it here I think. I don’t know if this anime is available anywhere now, but I HIGHLY recommend this anime. While I think the dramatic moments are a tad overrated, this anime is gorgeous and has amazing music. All of the music is posted on Spotify if you search up “Weathering With You”, and the second half of the playlist especially is great. It is in the middle of S tier, simply because some of the S tier anime use time to their advantage to really capture the heart of someone over dozens of hours, rather than just over two, but the quality of those two hours was among the best.
Of course, after watching Weathering With You, my next anime to watch had to be Your Name. The foundation block for the art masterpiece listed above, Your Name is a popular anime movie that I just had to see. I saw many similarities in how the two movies were presented, and they seemed to follow a similar pattern of how the movies were paced, with some slight tweaks to Weathering With You. Your Name has a more normalized theme compared to WWY, which was nice to see both styles executed well by the same director. The animation was solid, but not at the heightened level that WWY had. A big surprise was that the music was almost nonexistent in this anime. Only once the final twenty percent of the anime came around did some songs start to pop up, and even then they were brief and not noteworthy, which was an odd contrast to how WWY was made. The story and characters were at a similarly good quality, but the last third of the anime took a sharp left turn in a very confusing direction. Not a whole lot of the story made any sense after the first hour of the movie, and I was frequently confused as to what was going on and why things were happening the way they were. As a whole, the anime is above average, but not as high as I was expecting. WWY was definitely an anime that improved on the strengths and patched up most of the weaknesses of Your Name. It still had an overall high-quality story, but I would definitely recommend watching Your Name first to see the improvements made by WWY rather than to “downgrade” by watching Your Name afterward.
An underrated anime coming up next is Girl’s Last Tour. It’s a fairly unique anime, being a slice of life anime while having and maintaining a story. We get to watch cute girls discover what things like electricity, religion, technology, and aircraft are since they grew up sheltered from the war their country is currently in. The animation style wasn’t my favorite, but it was not a bad style, just different. The tone and setting of the anime really gave a survivor type feel to it. This anime also managed to make eleven episodes of content with just five characters total, two of them only staying for one episode. This is a really great casual anime to watch.
Is The Devil a Part-Timer? is a unique take on the isekai genre that, for an early 2010s anime, was pretty solid. It does the isekai portion backwards, sending supernatural beings into the regular world. While not a completely fresh idea, it was implemented well overall. The characters did adjust very quickly to the world, and by episode 2 you could hardly guess that some of the characters weren’t natives. While not totally bad, this is quite hard to believe, even for supernatural beings like angels and demons. This anime has a bit of something for everyone, with slice of life aspects, comedy, and big fights all present in the show multiple times. The main downfall of this anime is the fact that it hasn’t and likely will never get a season 2. It’s ending episode was pretty lighthearted, and while it was a good representation of the anime as a whole to round things off, there are plotlines that are just destroyed. While the argument can be made that you are supposed to use your imagination, I am not really a fan of anime that feels “unfinished” and this anime falls in that category, which heavily hurts its rating. What is the point of adding so much lore to the anime if it doesn’t finish or wrap things up with the other world? Just to drive the small amount of story it has? It doesn’t really add up to me. Overall, it is fun, silly, and at times serious and cool anime that blundered in it’s ending and a few other minor areas.
Following up one supernatural anime with another, I watched Trinity Seven. Trinity Seven only claims to do 3 things by its values, and it does them well. Firstly, it is a pretty good magic-based anime. It has a very cool concept, with magic being based on the seven deadly sins, which are essentially “classes” for mages. Secondly, it is a pretty funny anime. Whether it goes for more traditional jokes or more perverted jokes, this anime had me laughing quite a bit overall. And third, it’s a fan-service harem. The MC is a perv and has 7 girls with a crush on him. Just about all of them are fine sharing too, it seems. The characters of this anime are all pretty solid honestly. None of them are inherently bad or annoying, and each has their own charm. The MC Arata (which is a very bland name for a MC, unfortunately) is unusually competent and not as dumb as a brick, which is a breath of fresh air. However, there are also some significant downfalls to this anime. Its plot is convoluted, to say the least, and is extremely hard to follow. The plot does better if you use it as a way to justify everything funny or perverted that happens in the show, but if you want to make sense of the story, then good luck. While this anime is intended to be a fan-service anime with lots of big boobs, short skirts, censored scenes, and sexual humor, it feels a bit much honestly. I’m pretty easy to sway over with some nice fan-service, but it felt like every 5 minutes needed something new to do to keep the horny audience entertained. One last thing I didn’t like is that the anime is that it is essentially in turn-based mode when in fights. There were numerous occasions where, in the middle of the fight, there are 2 whole minutes of the characters talking to figure out how to defeat the bad guy. The dude could easily cleave you down with his axe while you are all talking and conversing. It really broke the immersion of an actual battle. Overall, this is a decent anime that has some cool, albeit drawn-out fight scenes, unique lore, and backstory, and a whole harem for you to enjoy, but many parts of the anime are overplayed or just do not make any sense.
Oh yeah and in the final movie the MC adds a sword to his harem.
The anime Yolksoup had been pestering me to watch for a year now, I finally came around to BanG Dream! This anime has a pretty simple premise that has been done before: girl bands aiming to produce good music. The way this anime differs is in its execution. There are multiple bands for you to watch, and they all have different personalities and music styles. Beyond the basics, the 3 seasons varied quite a lot so I’m going to split this into parts and evaluate the series as a whole at the end.
Season 1 was pretty lackluster overall. It was very average in many regards. Its main standout point was that it had a bit of a plot arc, with the girls wanting to qualify to play at their favorite stage. Aside from this though, this season is just lackluster. The music is honestly just average and the story was really slow. It took a whole 8 episodes just to get the band formed. There is a lot that could be cut to make it have better pacing. This season also had very little humor, and instead was either very sullen and sad or wholesome. Wholesomeness without comedy to compensate just feels out of place and not very rewarding to watch. There were parts of this anime that had 3-D animation, but the 3-D animation was pretty bad. The 2-D animation was totally fine and this wasn’t needed. Despite being an anime that prides itself on having many bands, only 2 bands were presented in this season, and only the main band actually performed music. Lastly, only 2 out of the 5 band members were really explored for why they want to join/why they didn’t join earlier. It was a bit disappointing. Season 1 has some good backstory for the main band but is bad enough that it’s honestly skippable.
Season 2 turned the tides of this series and made some huge changes. There was full-time 3-D animation that is very high quality. There was a better story arc this time and even an antagonist of sorts. There was a lot more humor in this season and the music quality shot through the roof. I have added a lot of the songs from s2 and 3 to my Spotify playlist, it’s just really good. Not many anime have me adding their songs to Spotify. All of the bands were present in some fashion this season so we got to have more music variety and it was a lot of fun hearing all the music styles in action. The main downside to s2 is the large gap between s1 and 2. See, BanG Dream also has a game, and there is story that you gain between s1 and 2 by playing the game. While this can work, as someone who is only reviewing the anime and not the games, it was disappointing to suddenly go from an amateur main band to one that had matured a lot without me being able to see the struggles that led to that. A short mini-series (of which there is already a couple for BanG Dream) that covers the events that happened in the game would go a long way for some viewers IMO. I am only just getting around to playing the game, but it sucks to not have a full story without it. Regardless, an excellent job compared to s1.
Season 3 built upon s2’s success and did a lot of the same that s2 had. Humor, excellent animation, good writing for the characters, and even better songs. The music quality and especially the lyrics to these songs went above and beyond this time around. This anime ties up some loose ends that gathered from s2, and had a nice neutral ending, unlike the cliffhanger ending of s2. There was a large focus on the antagonist and her band, and how they slowly get moved out of the antagonist role, which was pretty innovative. The only thing I didn’t like about s3 was that many of the side-bands that have unique and interesting characters barely got any screen time this season. It was a bit disappointing, and the first 6 episodes were almost entirely around the antagonist.
Overall, BanG Dream had a rough start but managed to recover really well. Its whole social aspect with having a bunch of bands with their own flavor and style was really cool, and it has many memorable characters.
I watched the Konosuba movie; Legend of the Crimson. I hadn’t had an opportunity or a platform to watch it on, but eventually, I found an anime site that had it. It was more classic Konosuba, with pervert jokes, explosions, useless goddesses, and high-quality breast animation. It also had a cool story and was packed with content. It helps maintain Konosuba’s spot on the tier list.
Verdict: S tier; Unchanged.
Following a similar trend to BanG dream, up next is Love Live! This anime has 2 different stories that each span 2 seasons + a bit, and they are different enough that I will give each their own rating. First, let’s look at Love Live! School Idol Project. While idols are different than bands, in anime depictions they are often very similar. Naturally, this anime feels very similar to the k-on and bang dream type anime. It is still a good quality show but I felt like I had seen most of the non-storyline parts of the anime before. What really makes love live! stand out is its characters. The main cast of 9 characters is exceptionally good in School Idol Project. There was only 1 character I disliked during this series, and it was mostly for suspension of disbelief. Nozomi knows a bit of magic with card readings and frequently predicts what will come out of situations when others ask. The problem is that they ALWAYS come true, so it essentially spoils parts of the show. The other characters don’t really act differently to the advice, but we as viewers know what they are getting into which is a very weird choice. She also shows very little humanity until the finals episodes of season 2. I get that she is supposed to be a role-model 3rd year and has a lot of confidence, but she is unusually happy-go-lucky. There is also the fact that she doesn’t have a reason to be an idol, other than that all her friends are, which is quite a weak reason. Other than her though, I felt like all the characters were given good lines and were very unique and layered. There were a few common tropes used, such as the MC being very energetic and klutzy, but the show as a whole was pretty good. I’d say that it is a standard idol anime.
The second series under the Love Live banner, Love Live! Sunshine!! has an interesting role. Personally, when I saw another Love Live series, I was expecting a similar format with a drastically different plot that would be an experimentation on the idol/band genre. Instead, this series was very similar to the first series. After watching both the plot seemed so formulaic. I could see the similarities in the two series, but it was too similar. It felt like a rehashing of School Idol Project with different characters and a few twists, which may have been the intent. The characters felt much more volatile than in the first series. Four of them felt much better characters overall compared to many of School Idol Project’s characters, and five of them felt much worse. Cringey stereotypes or otherwise annoying personality traits were exaggerated the make the character’s personality unique, and some characters felt like they got more annoying as the series went on. The plot was very similar with just a few twists that change the outcome and progression of the story, but overall it was a very similar anime. With everything negative being said, this wasn’t a particularly bad anime, as it kept the same quality in terms of animation, and the music arguably improved in this season compared to the last. However I would definitely say that the quality of this series was a downgrade compared to the previous series, and I got a bit burnt out after almost an entire month of seeing 2 plots unfold and be nearly identical except for a few key moments.
Taking a break from the idol and music genre, I got into Seiren next. Seiren is basically just a visual novel in anime form. It has consistent characters but shows 3 different paths depending on who the main character chooses as his love interest. Each arc had its strengths and weaknesses but none of them were quite right IMO. The first arc had an awful ending to an otherwise pretty good story, the second arc was a bit slow in its pacing, and the last arc had a slightly worse, but still decent love interest than the other two. The splits between the arcs were very abrupt and this anime just threw you into it with no warning. Despite the arcs not being connected, arc 2 seemed to be after arc 1 and arc 3 after that, which is odd since they are not connected at all. Otherwise, this is a solid anime. A nice casual romantic anime for the hopeless romantics out there like myself. Even though this is an anime and a lot of the parts are going to be unrealistic for exaggeration or to make things interesting, many of the love interests took the most complex possible way to think about love. Not necessarily a negative point but it was super odd to me that it was needlessly complex.
Last for this blog is the story-driven Usagi Drop. This anime is a heart-warming anime depicting the struggles of single parents. Throughout the show, we see 4 different individuals who were or currently are single parents and their daily struggles through raising a child by themselves. We primarily follow Daikichi and his relative, 6-year-old Rin, as he has to figure out how to become a parent as he has adopted her after his Grandpa passed away. It was very nice to watch something that was a bit more relaxed but also had some real-life applications. This anime didn’t have any cool fight scenes or e-thots, but it really makes you appreciate the hard work that every single parent contributes to this world. Many people fail to raise kids properly with their spouse to help out, so doing it right by yourself is no easy task. I have no qualms with the anime other than perhaps a couple of slow points, but I must advise people to not read this manga and instead only watch the anime. There is a reason that this anime only goes to 11 episodes and not 12, and that is because the final chapter of the manga was just wack. It had a time skip of 10 years and had the two characters we know and love suddenly be infatuated with each other despite a 25 year age gap. The director for the manga must’ve smoked a blunt to have such a wonderful masterpiece turn into sexual delinquency. The anime depicts all of the important parts of the manga and most importantly does NOT have this terrible ending.
Here is the finalized tier list of all the anime I have watched. I may try to reformat the way the tier list is presented next time since this is now getting very long for a list format. Thank you everyone for reading and feel free to DM me on Discord or Reddit to give me any feedback you have for me to improve future iterations of my blog.
Weathering With You
Love is War
Bloom Into You
Release the Spyce
Love, Chuunibyou, and Other Delusions
Love Live! School Idol Project
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Girl’s Last Tour
The Quintessential Quintuplets
Is the Order a Rabbit?
Is The Devil a Part-Timer?
Love Live! Sunshine!!
Girls Und Panzer
How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?
Komori-san Can’t Decline