For those who are planning to binge some anime, you should consider our staff’s Top 5 Anime Picks from the Spring 2020 Anime Season. These anime did not perform exceptionally well in our Spring 2020 Weekly Charts, but we wanted to highlight them because we think they still deserve a shot at capturing your attention! 

Arte

PRODUCTION STUDIO: SEVEN ARCS

12 EPISODES

Set during the time of Renaissance Italy, Arte follows a young noblewoman who dreams of becoming a painter. Repeatedly discouraged by nearly everyone, including her own mother, she manages to become an apprentice to the painter Leo. Despite Leo’s initial disinterest and issue with Arte’s motives, his opinion of Arte changes upon seeing her perseverance.

Arte shares some similarities with and may be based loosely on the real-life figure Artemisia Gentileschi, namely in the fact that they were both female painters in a time when being one was difficult. With that in mind, watching Arte persevere despite her challenges is gratifying. She doesn’t complain about and blame the obstacles in her path, but shows her detractors that she has what it takes to be a painter. Every progress she makes feels earned, especially when her path towards achieving her dream isn’t as smooth as some shonen protagonists’.

Arte is an inspiring anime with a resilient character who earns her stripes, and its story and character are backed up by a lovely rendition of Renaissance Italy. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, an art history otaku, or want to root for a spunky protagonist, Arte is a series worth looking into.

Notable Staff: Reiko Yoshida (Scriptwriter, K-ON!!)

Notable Cast: Mikako Komatsu (Seishirou Tsugumi from Nisekoi), Mao Ichimichi (Pecorine from Princess Connect), Haruka Tomatsu (Asuna Yuuki from Sword Art Online)

Ascendance of a Bookworm

PRODUCTION STUDIO: AJIA-DO

26 EPISODES

Transported to an isekai where books do not exist for the public and literacy is dead, Myne wishes for another chance to smell the ink, turn the pages, and lose herself in the world of literature. Books are her number one passion, and she vows to both find them in this godforsaken world and create them from scratch. Before she can follow through her grand plans, Myne must first grapple with the terms of her mysterious illness, learn how to bargain for her safety, and navigate through the complex politics that bar her access to knowledge.  

Ascendance of a Bookworm is one of those rare isekai anime featuring a female protagonist who is both ambitious and resourceful. Despite her preexisting condition and being born into peasantry, Myne makes do with what she has and actively networks with people outside her immediate circle. Her analytical mind provides both an educational edge to the development of literature and some insight on basic economics. But the most striking aspect of Ascendance of a Bookworm is how integral all the side characters are to Myne’s success. Without their staunch support or revelations about the world, she would have never scaled the ladder to become a blue-robed priestess and reunited with her beloved books. 

For fans who liked Dr. Stone for its educational aspect and for others who appreciate the vast world-building of isekai anime, Ascendance of a Bookworm is the series for you. 

Notable Cast: Yuka Iguchi (Tsukihi Araragi from Monogatari), Takehito Koyasu (Dio Brando from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Gleipnir

PRODUCTION STUDIO: PINE JAM

12 EPISODES

Gleipnir follows the story of Shuuichi Kagaya, a high schooler who mysteriously gains the ability to transform into a large mascot costume. His classmate, Clair Aoki, discovers this secret when Shuuichi saves her from an apparent suicide attempt. With their lives entwined by blackmail and a mysterious coin, the duo work together to uncover the truth behind Shuuichi’s ability and the coin, while looking for the murderer of Clair’s parents and her missing older sister.

It’s disappointing that many dismissed Gleipnir early on due to its ecchi elements. As a whole, Gleipnir is a dark, well-executed blend of battle royale and mystery, with intelligent, believable characters and top-notch fights. The chemistry between the cunning Clair and the soft-hearted Shuuichi produces one of the most interesting relationships of the Spring 2020 season. The show’s battle animations are well-choreographed, easy to follow, and full of violence — every on-screen blow feels like a gut punch, and, more than once, someone gets ripped in half or crushed. 

Gleipnir is a rare show that balances a character-driven mystery with gratuitous fantasy violence and just the right amount of sexual content to earn that R-17 rating. This show isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you want to enjoy a good mystery and bloody bouts, then check out Gleipnir.

Notable Staff: Ryouhei Sataka (OST Composer, Release the Spyce)

Notable Cast: Natsuki Hanae (Tanjirou Kamadou from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba), Nao Touyama (Chitoge Kirisaki from Nisekoi), Kana Hanazawa (Kosaki Onodera from Nisekoi)

Wave, Listen to Me

PRODUCTION STUDIO: SUNRISE

12 EPISODES

Anime that center on adulthood are rare, and anime that focus on the radio industry doubly so. Wave, Listen To Me is a show that tackles both, and while it has a more relaxed pace than most mainstream shows, it allows viewers to soak in its atmosphere rather than being a detriment.  

Wave, Listen To Me centers on 26-year-old Minare Koda, who rants to a radio producer about her ex-boyfriend one drunken night, only to discover that her rant was recorded and later aired on live radio. Despite her initial misgivings, Minare ends up involved in the world of radio, where she discovers her talent for doing impromptu talk shows.

Radio may be a niche industry, but Wave, Listen To Me makes the subject approachable and entertaining for even newcomers. Aside from shedding light on the radio world, the anime tackles the relatable issues that come with adulthood, namely being overworked, breakups, and family issues. Both Minare and the side characters of the show have their fair share of struggles, making the anime and characters more relatable and real. 

It’s not all serious though, as Minare is a delight to watch. She’s a strong and compelling lead who’s unafraid to speak her mind, and her blunt words and hilarious mannerisms are conveyed through a sublime performance from Riho Sugiyama. Whether Minare is talking on radio or simply rambling, you’ll find yourself hooked on every word that escapes her mouth. 

Notable Staff: Shouji Yonemura (Scriptwriter, Parasyte -the maxim-)

 

Kakushigoto

PRODUCTION STUDIO: AJIA-DO

12 EPISODES

Sporting a unique art style and an adorable premise, Kakushigoto tells the story of a single father and manga artist whose works are filled with dirty jokes, raising his young daughter, Hime. Convinced that his relationship with his daughter would be doomed if she ever found out about his occupation, the protagonist spends every waking moment hiding that secret from her. The anime’s clever title refers to both the protagonist’s secret and job — it’s also a pun on his name, Kakushi Gotou.

Kakushigoto remained in the Top 10 during the Weekly Spring 2020 Anime Charts, but it never quite reached the popularity that other anime series were able to snag. Despite its average performance on the charts, the anime’s ability to elicit emotions through its quirky characters, heartfelt storyline, and its dramatic jokes makes it a special show. Yet throughout its screaming, hilarious moments, sprinkled with eye-roll worthy dad puns, the series never forgets the heart of its story — the important and emotional journey of single parenthood and the struggles that accompany it. 

If you love heartwarming stories about families triumphing through hard, tragic times with lots of honest and wholesome love, you absolutely won’t be disappointed when watching Kakushigoto.

Notable Cast: Hiroshi Kamiya (Koyomi Araragi from Monogatari), Rie Takahashi (Mash Kyrielight from Fate/Grand Order)

Aside from these anime that we recommended, you might also want to check out the list of anime nominated for the next Anime Trending Awards!

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