The last two weeks, going over my favourite anime from the last decade, were super fun, but as a result of planning those posts I didn’t really look back at 2019 in any meaningful way. The next two weeks are going to correct that as I look at the anime I thought were the best from 2019 (or at least from the anime I watched). You may have caught my tweet last week where I realised I’d watched and reviewed 64 anime during 2019 – and that was just seasonal viewing. As a result I decided to look at which anime I thought was the best within a range of genres as well as my favourite cast of characters overall.
Please note, the nominees and winning choice are entirely my own opinion and are not based on any rigid criteria. Feel free to nominate your own winners for the categories in the comments. Help other readers find some awesome anime from 2019 to watch.
Best Romance of 2019
Firstly, the shortlisted nominees from the anime I watched that could be considered romances (2019 was not a good year for anime romance – or at least I was coming up a bit short).
Kenja no Mago
Meiji Tokyo Renka
And the winner is…
That was pretty much a given (sorry). If you followed the blog last year and the coverage of Given, you know I was pretty enamoured by this series and its sweet love story. While it isn’t taking out some of my favourite romances of all time, it was great seeing a BL title managing to avoid a lot of the usual tropes and actually taking a more grounded look at two teen boys falling in love. The support cast were also pretty sweet.
This series does a number of things right. It builds up the characters, provides a plausible basis for a relationship to form, takes its time in having the characters realise they are in love, directly addresses the issue of the fact that they are both boys and in Uenoyama’s case this is the first time he’s considered having feelings for another boy, and once they do realise they feel the same way, they step back and look at the implications for the band. It is a grounded romance story that has inherent drama but never slips over the line into melodrama. All of the characters feel real and their reactions also feel pretty real. Such a great story.
I will admit, I was struggling to find solid romance stories in 2019 that I enjoyed. There were quite a few stories that had romance in them but the romance angle seemed a side note to drama, comedy, or some other element. As a result, Given kind of ran-away with this category and I actually had to think long and hard to come up with other nominees.
Turning it over to my readers, what would you have picked as the best anime romance of 2019? I suspect Kaguya-Sama Love is War is going to get some shout outs but what other romances came out and which ones would you recommend?