BanG DreamNarutoBeybladeBlade of the Immortal
Anime 1st episodes 2020: B
Including: Babylon, Baja no Studio: Baja no Mita Umi, Baki the Grappler, Bakugan Armored Alliance, BanG Dream! Season 3, Bang Dream! Garupa Pico - Oomori, Battle Spirits: Kakumei no Galette, Bear Bear Bear Kuma!, Beyblade Burst Gachi, Beyblade Burst Sparking, Black Clover, Blade of the Immortal (2019), Blue: Line Step Brush, BNA: Brand New Animal, BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 1, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Breakers, Bungo and Alchemist: Gears of Judgement, By the Grace of the Gods: Season 1
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2020
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2020 >>
Keywords: Blade of the Immortal, BanG Dream, Beyblade, Naruto, anime, historical, samurai, ninja, SF, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 19 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2020
Review date: 29 August 2023
Listed under "D": A Destructive God Sits Next to Me, aka. Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu
Listed under "E": Extra Olympia Kyklos, aka. Bessatsu Olympia Kyklos
Listed under "M": My Hero Academia: Seasons 4-5, aka. Boku no Hero Academia
It's a movie: Burn the Witch
It's a movie that can sod off and die: Bem Movie: Become Human
It's a picture drama epilogue to the movie: Boku no Hero Academia the Movie 2: Heroes Rising - Epilogue Plus - Yume wo Genjitsu ni
It's an OVA: Boku no Hero Academia: Ikinokore! Kesshi no Survival Kunren
It's an OVA: Boukyaku Battery
It's an OVA, bundled with vol.16 of the manga: Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai!: Chapel no Kane wa X wo Shukufuku Suru
It's Chinese: Bai Yao Pu
It's Chinese: Bai Gui Youeryuan 3rd Season
It's Korean: Bbasha Mecard S
Couldn't find it: Beads no Mori no Rabi
Couldn't find it: Bite-Choicar
Couldn't find it and it's only three 26-second episodes: BIGOTRE Capture Mission
Couldn't find it and I'd reviewed it last year anyway: B Rappers Street
I gave it a miss, having reviewed it before: Bonobono
Baby lon
Season 1
Episode 9 of 12
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: policy procedural with grimy politics and suicide
It's dull. Ep.1 in 2019 was also dull. A bunch of old or middle-aged men in suits sit in an office and discuss a mayor who wants to pass a law to make suicide legal. (No, not assisted suicide. I'm puzzled by this. You can't legalise suicide because it's not banned, or at least not currently in the countries where this anime is set and made. Presumably there are subtleties I've missed in the seven intervening episodes, but so far I'm unconvinced.) Admittedly, these Very Important Men are the president of the U.S.A. and his staff, which makes the scenes slightly more interesting... but not a lot.
After that, we follow two intense, one-dimensional investigators with no sense of humour.
Baja no Studio
Baja no Studio: Baja no Mita Umi
Episode 2
27 minutes
One-line summary: a hamster's magical adventures
I rewatched the original 2017 OVA before I watched this. They're pretty much the same, but in a good way. If you thought Baja was adorable first time round (which she is), you'll still think so this time.
Baja is a hamster who lives in an animation studio. She's their pet. She has simple thought processes and doesn't really know much, so she'll say "probably" when telling us what she thinks might be facts about the world. ("My name is Baja. That's what everyone calls me, so it's probably Baja.") The animation staff all love her, although of course they're usually thinking about their work. Or perhaps going off to the seaside. (When the director starts talking about this, the producer explains that the company's not doing a seaside trip this year and could she get her head out of the clouds?)
This studio's regular anime stars a magical girl called Coco and a villain called Gii. Little models of them sit on the bookcases for reference... and then, once the staff have all gone home, they come alive to talk to Baja. (Coco is lovely and can cast magic. Gii is determined to be villainous, but he's not evil really and he always eventually ends up doing what Coco says.)
It's whimsical, charming and funny. It's for children, but it's really for everyone. The magical element makes it pretty much impossible to guess what direction the plot will take, yet the foreshadowing's clear in handsight. Fingers crossed for another Baja episode in 2023.
Baki the Grappler
Baki: Dai Raitaisai-hen
Baki: The Great Raitai Tournament
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: don't be silly
One-line summary: idiots WHO FIGHT!!!!
Netflix. Big men punching. Much big lots much big punching. Muscles. Big muscles. Male. All male. Be strong very strong in world strongest strong. So FIGHT!!!! Fighting tournament so fight fight in tournament fight.
That's a plot summary, by the way.
"Every man dreams of being the world's strongest man," says the narrator. Uh, no. Look at the title sequence's gym monsters, with their smug duck smiles. How much time do they spend reading books, or indeed on mental activity of any kind?
There's no fundamental difference between this and hyper-intense shounen battle anime for 8-year-olds, except for the level of violence and the fighters' ages.
Bakugan Armoured Alliance
Bakugan Armored Alliance
Season 2
Episodes: 52 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: children fight with toys
It's another merchandise-based anime. Boys fight with Bakugans, which are big robot dragon things. The episode I watched had a painful English dub.
bang dream
BanG Dream! Season 3
Episodes: 27-39
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: girl bands
I'd watched all of BanG Dream! until now. Season 2 was weak and the 2019 film can't really be called a film, but apparently Season 3 is much better. I actually quite wanted to keep watching, just out of completism and to see how things went.
Unfortunately, a girl called CHU2 annoyed me so much that I quit. Yes, the brat's an antagonist... but there are good and bad kinds of annoying. CHU2, her ego and her American English are the latter.
As for the plot, CHU2's looking for a guitarist for her band, while Rock is a guitarist looking for a band. Goodness me, how will that resolve itself? Answer: with CHU2 pointing a spotlight at Rock at a crowded concert and declaring that this is her new guitarist, without having said anything to Rock beforehand or even introducing herself.
The "Raise Your Rage" band poster is also the sign of a pretentious wanker.
Ugh. I'd intended to keep watching, but ugh.
Bang Dream Garupa Pico
Bang Dream! Garupa Pico - Oomori
Season 2
Episodes: 26 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: mini series starring the girls of BanG Dream!
It's fluffy semi-comedic nonsense with anime girls who are indistinguishable in episodes this short. A clumsy girl spills some tea. An alien thing on the floor shoots a beam into the sky, but it's actually a guitar! There's a surprise building at the end of the episode, in what looks like a cliffhanger. Does this series, against all expectations, actually have an ongoing serialised plot? (Answer: no. I had a quick look at ep.2 and it's unrelated, with the girls baking buns.)
There's nothing wrong with this, but you'd have to be a BanG Dream! fan to get anything from it.
battle spirits
Battle Spirits: Kakumei no Galette
Season 10
Episodes: 5 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I was tempted
One-line summary: trading card battle games
What the hell happened with trading card battle game anime in 2020? Occasionally, they became watchable. This must be some kind of format violation, but it's true. I've tentatively embarked on "Cardfight!! Vanguard Gaiden: If" and this series had me genuinely tempted.
It's set in a world with humans, demi-humans and "Mauves" with purple blood. Everyone looks down on Mauves, although this seems counter-intuitive in a world with green-skinned orcs and so on. "Fear of the unknown began to grow. Mauve have extraordinary intellect, especially in Battle Spirits, where they display genius-like skills. As such, Mauve were isolated in a faraway land by the Unified Government and monitored closely as research subjects for many generations."
Now, though, centuries of oppression are about to be undone. This is all building up to a trading card game battle, obviously, but it's one that's being broadcast worldwide and probably watched by all Mauves. The fighters disagree on segregation and the social situation... and the fight is over in a flash, after which the loser accuses the winner of cheating, demands that the result be nullified and requests an investigation.
He's then murdered.
This is surprisingly meaty. I was impressed. Is this what happens when a merchandise-driven franchise has been running for over a decade? Even if it's accidental, storytelling can build up over those hundreds of anime episodes. Alas, though, the last nine minutes are another trading card battle and I so fast-forwarded. It's quite exciting, admittedly, with each card summoning a monster, but it's still a trading card game battle. Come on. I'll watch trading card game battles in shows with WIXOSS in the name and that's about it.
It's still pretty good, though.
Bear Bear Bear Kuma
Bear Bear Bear Kuma!
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 30 seconds
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: girls and bears
Girls are sleeping against cute bears, as if they were big hairy pillows. Nothing else happens in the episode. Disappointingly, no one gets eaten.
Apparently, it's a internet micro-spin-off of a proper anime called Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear.
beyblade hair
Beyblade Burst Gachi
Beyblade Burst Rise
Season 4
Episodes: 52 x 12 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: toy commercial, thinly disguised as anime
Our child heroes have only one thought in their heads. Boybands! No, sorry, Beyblades! They're incapable of saying or doing anything that's not singing the praises of the greatest invention ever created by sentient life... THE BEYBLADE! (It's a spinning top.) This week, as always, they have a BEYBLADE BATTLE!
"A game of powerful bonds, everlasting friendship and boundless dreams! Challenge your way to a brighter future!"
(I don't know which Gachi episode was the first of 2020, so I watched a random one. They're mostly all the same anyway.)
beyblade burst
Beyblade Burst Sparking
Season 5 of Beyblade Burst
Episodes: 52 x 12 minutes
Keep watching: good grief, no
One-line summary: merchandise advert as anime
"Beyblade! The dreams of boys everywhere revolve around these battling tops! Your Bey will spin the world! Your heart is sparking! Sparking! SPARKING!!! Break through your limits!"
The protagonists look 8-10 years old and they have hilarious Shounen Anime Hair. One appears to have had his head caved in by a spiked blue waterwheel, while the other merely has a gigantic wine-red pine cone that's bigger than the rest of his head. The good news is that the episodes are only 12 minutes long, because 24 minutes of these empty toy battles might be excruciating even for the target audience. The only reason to watch is the over-the-top dialogue.
"Hey, everyone! Get ready, because in today's super battle, we're starting a BEYBLADE REVOLUTION!"
The audience goes wild. "Bring on the revolution!" screams Red Pine Cone.
"Do you know what a revolution is?" asks Blue Spines Waterwheel, who's sitting next to him.
"No, what?"
"It means to break through any and all limits and make something incredible happen!"
Everyone in the title sequence is male, although there's a token female in the audience at the arena later. Our heroes make new Sparking Beyblades, because Takara Tomy has a new line of merchandise to sell! (Those sparks are admittedly quite a neat gimmick, though, and I'd have thought they were cool if I'd seen one when I was eight.)
black  clover
Black Clover
Episode 116
24 minutes
Keep watching: it's quite good, but no
One-line summary: shounen action-adventure, with fights
I don't watch Black Clover regularly, but I know two people who do. It's clearly worth watching. However I personally ducked out at the start, when Asta was still an Annoying Idiot Hero. (He's since grown to become an Idiot Hero, although he hasn't given up on becoming the Wizard King one day.)
This episode pleasantly surprised me. It sets the scene with dramatic backstory and prophecies, then picks up the story with a big boss fight that looks likely to last the whole episode. It's got dialogue like "I can't lose here!", "You cannot defeat me" and "I see you like to scurry away like the vermin you are."
Ten minutes into the episode, though, it's all over. One side won and the other lost. We then get Asta jumping into a sword and lecturing the baddie about not giving up. Admittedly later there's an even bigger boss fight, but that has allies turning up dramatically in a way that seemed cool even to me (and I didn't know these people).
Overall, I enjoyed it. The title sequence is stylish. (Black and white, with careful use of red.) I've heard good things about the manga. It wasn't strong enough to make me jump in at ep.116 of a long-running show, though.
Mugen no Junin
Blade of the Immortal (2019)
Mugen no Juunin
3rd adaptation (and the 2nd anime series)
Season 2
Episodes: 14-24
Keep watching: ...yes
One-line summary: nasty samurai revenge drama
I've since finished it and... it's the only complete adaptation to date of this manga and it's often very good, if you can stomach it, but I'd recommend sticking with Takashi Miike's 2017 live-action film.
Of the different adaptations of this manga, this is by far the nastiest. In Season 1, this often meant rape, sexual abuse and horrifying torture of half-naked women. I'm sure such things really happened to Japanese women in that historical period, but it was still revolting to watch.
Fortunately, this episode has none of all that. The shogunate's got its claws into Manji and it's doing SPOILER. This is as gruesome as anything we've seen so far, but much easier to stomach. This is a strong episode, actually. Evil Bastard's experiments are actually logical (albeit also depraved beyond all measure) and I'm interested in seeing how they play out. Meanwhile, Rin acquires two lodgers, one of them entertainingly eccentric.
Blue Line Step Brush
Blue: Line Step Brush
Episodes: 1 x 2 minutes
Keep watching: n/a
One-line summary: what?
I assumed it was a trailer, but it's not. (Well, ostensibly. Personally, I suspect it's a trailer-like dry run at a bigger project that someone's got planned.)
No narrative. It's a montage of vaguely related shots, with a background song and people's thoughts as voice-overs. The main thing I noticed was that it includes artists who still have paint on their hands even when they're wandering around town.
Brand New Animal
BNA: Brand New Animal
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: society of "humans vs. beastmen"
I've since finished it and... I liked it a good deal.
It's the latest Studio Trigger anime, from the director of Little Witch Academia. That's probably enough reason in itself to watch the show, but it does also happen to be good. It's about a civilisation of beastmen and racist humans who hunt them down and (I think) kill them, but it's also a modern society with cities, mayors, policemen, etc. Our heroine is a tanuki. She meets a crying wolf, which in English would be a pun and/or thematic reference, but it's not in Japanese because they have different words for the two different kinds of "crying".
It's fast-paced, lively and strikingly animated. It's got an intriguing revelation at the cliffhanger. It has some utter bastards. The show looks both fun and interesting to think about.
BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense. Season 1
Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: 100% defence girl in virtual MMORPG game
I've since finished it and... it's endearing
Kaede Honjou's friend has talked her into playing a virtual RPG. She's never played one before, but it sounds like fun! On logging in, the first thing she needs to do is create a character. Not wanting to get hurt, she puts lots of points into defence (aka. vitality), with this points allocation:
This yields a character who can't attack or even walk quickly, but can power up just by getting attacked by lots of monsters. She won't die, so she's safe. If she's sleepy, it won't even wake her up.
It's charming. Kaede's lovely. I'm looking forward to this.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode: 139 (but the 859th of the whole Naruto franchise)
24 minutes
Keep watching: no, but it's good
One-line summary: teenage ninjas
That was good. I was never going to become a regular viewer of the Narutoverse at its 859th chapter, but I still enjoyed this episode.
It's about a girl called Enko Onikuma and her two teammates, Doushu Goetsu and Tsuru Itoi. They're a gang of three, but Doushu and Tsuru are nervous of Enko because she has devil arms that send her on uncontrolled rampages. She can punch down trees and she recently incapacitated their team leader.
Good news: they have a new team leader!
Bad news: he's the commanding officer of the Konoha Torture and Interrogation Force. (Facial scars, absolutely huge, extremely strict. His first action is to split up the team, telling Enko he can use her abilities.)
It's about the flip sides of feelings. Enko is scary, which makes her friends scared, which makes her lonely. They realise this and try to work on overcoming their fears. (First attempt: watch horror movies. Second attempt: visit zoo and break into the cage of a huge, savage beast. I'm not sure why they're still alive.)
Everyone grows, even the confessed mass torturer. It's a nice episode.
Season 1
Episodes: 16 x 8 minutes
Keep watching: no, but I approve of it
One-line summary: sports anime about para-athletes
I don't think I've ever seen an anime about para-athletes. They're playing basketball in wheelchairs. This is unusual and quite interesting, so I enjoyed the episode. It's still a sports anime, admittedly, but it's definitely a show of interest.
That said, though, Yui Okada isn't very good in the lead role of Kai. I liked her in the live-action version of Wasteful Days of High School Girls, but I think this was her first voice role in anime. At times, she's audibly an adult woman, not a young boy, and she doesn't put any feeling behind that "kuso".
Bungo & Alchemist
Bungo and Alchemist: Gears of Judgement
Bungo to Alchemist: Shinpan no Haguruma
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: authors in the worlds of their own books
It's based on a mobile phone game, but its premise is interesting. The episode's two heroes are phantasms of real, famous Japanese authors (Ryuunosuke Akutagawa and Osamu Dazai) who are trapped inside one of Dazai's most famous stories ("Run, Melos!"), which is set in ancient Greece. Furthermore, there are entities called Taints that are trying to distort the plot.
What we see of "Run, Melos!" makes it look interesting and I might look up one of its two animated film adaptations. Unfortunately, the episode itself is a bit dull and obviously trying to hook fangirls. Akutagawa is cool, serene and sexy, but has no personality. Dazai is being dragged around haplessly by the plot. The metafictional stuff is liable to translate into deliberately implausible plot twists, or to Akutagawa using magic powers to get himself across obstacles without lifting a finger to help Dazai. "You're about to give your utmost to get across this river." Gee, thanks.
I don't hate this episode. I learned about a story that sounds pretty good, but the episode itself isn't really attempting either adaptation or analysis. Its real agenda is "pretty boys", frankly.
kami tachi ni hirowareta otoko
By the Grace of the Gods: Season 1
Kami-tachi ni Hirowareta Otoko
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: isekai starring an 11-year-old boy and lots of slimes
I've since finished it and... it's a bit on the forgettable side, but it's gentle and nice. I quite liked it.
Ryouta is a terribly nice 11-year-old boy. He helps an injured swordsman he finds in the woods and even invites the swordsman's comrades back to his home, which struck me as worryingly trusting. They're big and he's small, but he can also cast spells and make magic potions.
Ryouta also collects slimes. These non-sentient blobs gloop around his house and eat whatever he trains them to eat. Collect enough of them together and they resemble giant frogspawn.
It's a low-urgency episode, but I was interested because Ryouta's home life is precarious (him, slimes and no one else) and I was slightly alarmed by him opening his doors to these big, potentially violent strangers. Everyone seems well-intentioned, though. I laughed at the smelly medicine. I'm happy to keep watching.
It got a second season in 2023, by the way.