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The best anime of 2019, so far

The year’s best shows cover everything from horror to romance

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Mob Psycho 100 - season 2
Mob Psycho 100

Keeping up with anime isn’t easy. Dozens of series debut every season on a handful of different platforms. From new shows to returning hits, it can all get a little overwhelming (and you may still be catching up with the best anime of last year). Thankfully, we’re here to help you navigate the increasingly packed schedule.

Whether you’re looking for something with superhero flair, a horror-inspired thriller, or a romance with a little comedy mixed in, 2019 has you covered. To whittle down the seemingly endless selection of animation that the year already has to offer, we’ve put together a list of the best anime shows of the last few months. Why wait until December? Let’s go.

Winter 2019

Dororo Image: Mappa/Amazon

Dororo (Jan. 7)

Dororo tells the story of Hyakkimaru, a ronin whose limbs and organs were stolen by demons because of a bargain his father struck when he was a baby. However, if Hyakkimaru can hunt down the otherworldly creatures that stole his limbs, he can gain them back. During his hunt for these demons, Hyakkimaru meets a young thief named Dororo who accompanies him on his travels.

Thanks to a folk-tale style narration, the entire show feels like a legend that’s been passed down generation to generation. It’s filled with inky darkness and a muted color palette. The few bright colors that exist demand attention, and lend the show the feeling of a ancient picture that, while slightly faded, is still beautiful. Dororo’s action scenes are well animated, but the best moments come when it’s simply watching its characters quietly travel the country and the show’s landscapes can be seen in all their glory. Dororo is easily one of the best samurai anime to air in the last several years, but also one of the most best animated in any genre.

Stream on Amazon
Mob Psycho 100 Image: Bones/Crunchyroll

Mob Psycho 100 - season 2 (Jan. 7)

The second season of Mob Psycho 100 features the same plot we know and love from season 1. Mob is a young boy who is a powerful esper, and his master, Reigen, is a fake psychic who runs psychic consultation business and uses Mob to fix the issues he can’t. Mob knows he shouldn’t use his powers to hurt people, but when he’s pushed too hard emotionally, he snaps and unleashes an uncontrollable amount of energy.

This season has Mob facing more powerful enemies with much higher stakes, but the message remains the same: empathy for other people is a much stronger power than ESP. Studio Bones (Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) does a great job animating both the show’s fight scenes and tamer, heartwarming bits.

Stream on Crunchyroll
The Promised Neverland Image: Cloverworks/Aniplex of America

The Promised Neverland (Jan. 11)

The Promised Neverland has strong source material at its core. Despite only coming out in 2016, the manga on which the show is based quickly became one of the most acclaimed of recent years, drawing in a legion of fans thanks to its mysterious plot and often terrifying imagery. The story follows a group of children who live in an orphanage. One day the kids escape the grounds and discover why they were never supposed to leave them. Outside of their idyllic home is a horrific world of demons and their orphanage has a more sinister purpose than they imagined.

With such a strong and haunting foundation, it’s easy to see how the anime could have coasted on reputation. Fortunately, fans got something transcendent, with CloverWorks delivering a gorgeous adaptation of the manga that helps bring its most beautiful and horrifying moments to life.

Available to stream on Crunchyroll | VRV
Kaguya-Sama Image: A-1 Pictures

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War (Jan. 12)

Kaguya is the hilarious story of what happens when two students in love are too stubborn to confess to each other. Each episode shows the student council president, Miyuki Shirogane, and his VP, Kaguya Shinomiya, trying to get the other one to express interest through a series of mind games.

While this would normally be a pretty dry premise to animate, with most of the show revolving around witty conversations, A-1 Pictures illustrates the hijinks with over-exaggerated emotions, which raises the dramatic tension between the two. If this show doesn’t make you actually laugh out loud, expect some other physical reaction — it’s that funny.

Stream on Crunchyroll