Appointment television seems like a thing of the past. Waiting for the major networks to release Friends, Lost or The Office on a certain day of the week feels like something from a bygone era. Now we like things bingeable and the catharsis coming at the speed of broadband internet.

There are those among us however who love the ebb and flow of weekly releases and center our viewing habits around the seasons of each year.

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter still mean something to anime fans. Name a show and there’s someone out there that can peg the year and season it debuted. With many of the streaming services that cater to anime fans on some level with Crunchyroll, VRV, Hulu, and Funimation all featuring simulcasts with Japan the rhyme and rhythm of keeping up with anime resembles the days of appointment television.

We enter the Spring 2020 anime season with COVID-19 hanging over our heads and the production of many shows disrupted. Re:Zero Season 2 was suspended just three  episodes in and likely won’t resume until July and several other shows stopped production just a few episodes in. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of quality shows to follow this season

Let the Spring season of 2020 be defined by the shows that we can watch instead of the ones that we can’t. This list of must-watch shows features an adaptation of a popular Korean Manwha, and an Isekai centered around an otome game among other things.

Whether you are a seasoned Otaku, or new to the game here is what you should be watching.


Tower of God

Where it’s streaming: Crunchyroll, VRV

Release date: Every Wednesday

Not all anime originates in Japan and that holds true for the centerpiece of Crunchyroll’s simulcast lineup for this spring. Originally a manwha written and illustrated by South Korean writer and artist Lee Jong-Hu (aka Slave in Utero), its near 10-year run as a Webtoon helped justify the production of an animated version.

That decision appears to be justified based on what’s appeared so far.

Telecom Animation Film, the studio handling the anime adaptation, had a strong story to work with already. A mysterious all-encompassing tower forms the centerpiece of this world with the focal point of the story being a young boy named Bam climbing the tower to find his friend Rachel.

This has all the elements of a popular shounen anime with the promise of epic battles, ever increasing challenges in a seemingly endless climb to the top. The animation is slick in this adaptation and the early episodes do well to set the stage for an epic journey. Tower of God has all the trappings of a certified hit if they can satisfy fans of the comic and pull in those craving an exciting and well put together action show.


Gleipnir

Where is it streaming: Funimation

Release date: Sundays

Horror is somewhat of a niche genre in anime today with this era dominated by Isekai and Slice of Life shows.

That’s why Gleipnir is such a gem.

There is a darkness to this show that you won’t see in any of the others this season. It’s got elements of body horror as characters gain the ability to transform into twisted versions of what look like Disneyland mascots. The show is also unafraid to show blood and willing to show some gore with limbs being torn of.

The mystery behind this show is simple, but compelling with characters that are somewhat twisted themselves. This anime is worth it if horror is your jam.


Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition

Where is it streaming: Funimation

Release Date: Thursday’s

Kakushigoto is one of those anime sitcom-style shows that is much deeper than its premise. On one level it’s about a Father-daughter relationship and on another it’s about a child dealing with the loss of one of their parents. Then there is still another level about a father preserving the innocence of their child.

Let’s stick to the surface level and just say this about the show: It’s about a father hiding the fact that he draws ero-manga and the shenanigans that ensue when it seems like the whole world is out to tell her.

The is more complex than it seems while still retaining a lighthearted and comedic nature tit has something to say about dealing with life and loss.


Sing “Yesterday” For Me

Where is it streaming: Crunchyroll

Release Date: Saturday

Starting a campfire is the appropriate analogy to describe this anime. All of the kindling and firewood are neatly stacked, and a spark set down to produce a small flame that needs to be tended to and grown. 

This anime is a slow burn slice-of-life anime that is centered around a college graduate working at a convenience store. Then a pair of women enter his life and it suddenly sparks a change in him. The first is a strange woman with a raven for a pet and the other is an old love interest from high school.

There is a lot to this anime and it definitely has things to say about relationships and growing up, but the show also asks for patience as it meticulously develops its characters.

Based on the early episodes, this one will reward those who stick around.


Digimon Adventures 2020   

Where is it streaming: Crunchyroll

Release Date: Saturday

If you were a purveyor of Saturday morning cartoons in the late 90’s then you knew Digimon quite well. If you grew to be a fan of the show then you fought those who tried to call this show a Pokémon clone and praised its nuance, loveable cast of monsters and their human trainers that ran the gamut of personalities.

That show received a reboot in 2020 and its worth every bit of your time.

Whether you are new to Digimon or a veteran of the show, this reboot does well to rekindle the magic of the original. And for those who first saw the heavily edited version that appeared on American television, it’s a refreshing look at characters that we thought we knew.


My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes lead to Doom

Where is it streaming: Crunchyroll

Release Date: Saturday

This anime is an Isekai through and through with all the tropes and familiar story beats you could expect from one. The twist on this one is that the protagonist is reborn into an Otome game

Now a brief primer for those who don’t know what an Isekai is: It’s a genre of anime where a character from our world dies and is reincarnated into another world. This premise typically involves boys and chronicles their rise to something greater than what they were in their previous life.

The iterations on this set up are endless and chances are you can find the right one for you with a bit of searching.

The twist on this particular one is that it involves a high school girl who spent most of her time playing an otome game and karma has plopped her into the body of Caterina Claes — villain of the entire game.

Her quest to escape destiny (there isn’t an ending in the game where Caterina‘s life doesn’t end horribly) is a familiar one and those who love this particular type of anime will find it akin to comfort food.  


The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited

Where is this streaming: Funimation

Release Date: Delayed

This anime tows the line between seriousness and parody, which makes it intriguing to watch. The tone is consistent, giving off the vibe of an old-fashioned police drama.

There is the brash detective Haru Kato who is demoted to the beleaguered Modern Crime Prevention headquarters and if we are to follow the trope, his partner is somebody whom Haru will butt heads with. It’s Haru’s partner Daisuke Kanbe where the anime falls into parody.

Daisuke has a near unlimited bank account and no qualms about using that wealth to catch a criminal even if his methods cause more harm to the public than the criminals themselves.

Watching Haru look on in disbelief at the ridiculous antics of his partner is half the fun of this anime and anybody who is into police dramas will recognize exactly what is being lampooned here.

Unfortunately, the full release of this anime has been delayed by Corona virus, but the first three episodes are available for streaming right now.


Arte

Where is this streaming: Funimation

Release Date: Saturdays

Anime can sometimes be cruel to its female characters making them flat two-dimension love interests or only interested in falling in love with themselves.

Arte is definitely not one of those.

At its core it’s about a woman named Arte Spalleti, a young minor noblewoman, who eschews a life of finding a husband to pursue her passion for art. It’s a familiar story, pulled off with a deft hand. Even though many of the story beats are nothing new, Arte herself feels grounded in reality and the events that lead her to the apprenticeship with Leo are compelling.

Everything about this show is solid and anybody who finds the story and character and story interesting at face value won’t be disappointed.


Gal & Dino

Where is this streaming: Funimation

Release Date: Saturday

This anime is weird as hell, but for whatever reason it works.

There is no real plot, it just chronicles the shenanigans of a woman that lives on her own and the dinosaur that suddenly becomes her pet. The pace is manic switching between short sketches at a rapid pace, which is a good choice because thinking too hard about anything that happens ruins the fun. And there is fun to be had with this anime.

The dinosaur is what makes this work with the right mix of cuteness and sheer energy that it’s hard not to stop watching. Embrace the randomness and this anime will treat you right.


Listeners

Where is this streaming: Fridays

Release Date: Fridays

This is an unusual mix of genres that results in something that is hard to define.

The anime combines music and mecha, to mixed results. There is also an element of Mad Max with a post-apocalyptic world with piles of junk as high as mountains and hints of a tragedy that tears our modern world apart. That menace are monsters called the earless and fighting against them are the musician-mecha pilots called players.

Give them credit for going all-in with this theme with the modules that control the mechs looking like amps and the call backs to classic songs, but the show spreads itself thin not committing itself enough to either genre

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