2020 Wasn’t All Bad
Back on January 21, 2018, I published the first Other Posts to Crow About. My goal was to share my favorite posts from other anime bloggers with you. There’s a ton of good work out there, and I want as many people to see it as possible!
Since then, every week, I’ve shared my favorite five (sometimes more!) posts. I check all the sites on my Massive List of Anime Sites, which currently has 366 active entries. I really like how it keeps me up to date with the anime blogging community.
Every anime blog out there deserves attention. That said, in 2020, after 52 weeks of Other Posts to Crow About, these five sites were the source of the posts I celebrated most often. To put that into perspective, about 110 sites appeared at least once in Other Posts to Crow About. So these five really, really captured my attention! Please, let me share my five favorite sites from 2020!
My 5 Favorite Sites from 2020
Note: There is a three-way tie for the third position. I’ll follow the International Olympic Commission rules and present all three as third place.
Number 3 (Tie): Jonah’s Daily Rants
Every Friday night/Saturday morning, when I start going through the Massive List of Anime Sites, this is one of the sites I actively look forward to. The site’s proprietor, jernahblunt, specializes in writing reviews that illuminate the heart of a series or its characters. Even if I don’t pick one of this site’s posts to celebrate in a given week, I still walk away from the posts with a little better understanding of what made a series special or what made a character remarkable.
My Hero Academia Season 4 figured prominently on Jonah’s Daily Rants this year. The post that stuck out the most for me was called “Gentle Criminal: The Modern Day Gentleman Rogue.” It was an insightful, fascinating exploration of the character Danjuurou Tobita/Gentle Criminal. Reading this kind of material helps me enjoy the series even more. Check out the site and see if you agree!
Number 3 (Tie): Never Argue with a Fish
This site started showing up in Other Posts to Crow About in 2019. In 2020, the site gained momentum. It appeared almost three times as often as it did in 2019! One of the things I like about the site is its art style. At a glance, I can tell what site I’m looking at based on that alone. Even more than the art, though, is the tone and content of the reviews. Chris George Joynson, the site’s owner and writer, uses a clear, easy to follow format for his reviews.
Not only that, but he brings an enthusiasm that’s inviting and infectious. The art, post format, and emotion really come through in my favorite 2020 post from the site: Anime Corner: Princess Connect! Re: Dive Review. This July 2020 review of Princess Connect! Re: Dive managed to make me feel excited to rewatch the series — and I had just finished watching it as it aired!
Number 3 (Tie): Random Curiosity
Random Curiosity has been around a good long while — at least since November 24, 2004. That demonstrates a serious commitment to publishing anime reviews. But that’s just the first indication.
You probably remember that I rely heavily on Random Curiosity’s seasonal anime posts, like this one for Winter 2021. You might be tempted to conclude that the site made my top five favorite sites on the strength of those posts. You’d be only partially right — four of their eight entries were preview posts. The other four were the site’s bread and butter: anime reviews. It’s one of those that stood out to me. Called “Sword Art Online Alicization: War of Underworld – 20,” it was a vividly written celebration of the achievement that was episode 20. Only a writer and a site with more than a decade and a half of experience with anime reviews could put something like that together.
Number 2: I Drink and Watch Anime
If you’ve read my 2018 and 2019 Other Sites to Crow About posts, seeing I Drink and Watch Anime as the second position might be a surprise. After all, it was firmly in #1 in the past two years. Does that mean that Irina’s posts aren’t capturing my attention anymore? Good heavens, no! In fact, the site earned 15 mentions in Other Posts to Crow About in 2020. That’s the same amount that propelled it to number 1 last year.
Since the site was #1 for two years in a row, I’ve already said a good deal about it. In the 2018 post, I said that “This site not only publishes daily, it publishes high quality posts daily.” In the 2019 post, I said that the site has achieved the ridiculously difficult achievement of “writing interesting, thought-provoking, and uplifting posts every day for years.” All of that held true in 2020. I’m just amazed at what a single writer can achieve so consistently over the long duration — that’s serious dedication, work, and talent. All of which were on display in my favorite of her posts from this year, “Kyousougiga Left Me Speechless.” Kyousougiga is a stunningly beautiful series, and it’s well outside of my skillset to review. But Irina made it look easy. See what you think of her review!
Number 1: Shallow Dives in Anime
Up from number 4 in Other Sites to Crow About 2019 Edition, Dewbond’s site Shallow Dive in Anime showed up an impressive 16 times in Other Posts to Crow about in 2020. In the 2019 edition, of this site I wrote “On one hand, it’ll provide a refreshingly insightful character analysis of Issei Hyoudou from High School DxD. On the other hand, it’ll talk about the delightful aspects of a series like Monster Musume — with equal ease and insight.”
In 2020, I think Dewbond took those ideas to the next level, showing a keen eye and independent perspective in reviews like “Sword Art Online Episodes 1-14: The Aincrad Arc.” One thing that these top five sites have in common is that they have unique voices that aren’t unduly influenced by on-line forces. Dewbond makes that a trademark. That’s never more on display than in his post “Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina: With all its Joy, and all its Horror.” This post dispassionately analyzed Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina in what I consider to be the reference implementation, which is just software developer-speak for “this is how it’s done.” See if you agree!
There are More Sites Out There
2020 was, by some measures, a dreadful year. Yet, against the background of these trying times, I want you to consider the talent and creativity these five site represent. Despite the trials that 2020 threw at them, they continued to not only produce, but produce creative, interesting, thought-provoking, and moving material.
There were 110 sites that appeared in Other Posts to Crow About in 2020. And there are currently 366 active anime sites listed on the Massive List of Anime Sites that I maintain. Please check it out, because every one of those sites pushed through 2020 to bring us reviews, editorials, and other material about anime. They all deserve more attention.
Thanks for checking out this post. What did you think of these sites? Are there other sites that consistently produce material you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!