14 Best Anime of 2019

Updated 2/7/2020. Now that 2020 is here and the Crunchyroll Anime Awards are around the corner, please enjoy our completed list of anime we recommend from 2019! We at Dashing Nerds collaborated on these are spoiler-free recommendations, selecting only those which we felt most deserved to be highlighted.

To qualify for our list, all of the series had to be legally accessible in the US in 2019, so if you’re looking for Beastars, you won’t find it here.

Attack on Titan Season 3 (Part 2)

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

Yes, Attack on Titan continues to be a fantastic thrill ride. No surprises there. But season 3’s intensely animated action and direction, engaging story, and character writing make it the best version of Attack on Titan to date.

The story seamlessly catapults off the political drama set-up of season 2 and soars back into the mysterious titan world we all got hooked on back in 2013. The final installment of the season 3 arc aired this winter, giving fans not only the answers to questions we’ve had from the beginning of the show, but consequences we could have never dreamed of.

The secrets and mysteries of the world unfold like you’re unwrapping a present, but one that leads to an even bigger mystery. I personally don’t think I’ll ever forget the way the shining character moments made me feel in this season. Truly, I can think of no better climax to the Shingeki no Kyojin hype machine.

By the way, if you’re interested in video games, be sure to check out our review of the Attack on Titan 2: Final Battle DLC, which includes the latest story arc.

Levi’s character itself is put to the test this season… you don’t want to miss it.

Genre: Action, Fantasy

Episodes: 10 (59 total)

Available On: CrunchyRoll, Funimation


Recommended by:
Darling Otaku

If you’re craving more like the original Pyscho Pass, don’t
waste your time with the series’ lackluster 3rd season from Winter
2019. Newcomer Babylon is the spiritual successor to the storytelling
that made Psycho Pass so catching. Babylon is a sexy combination of drama,
police bureaucracy, the supernatural/sci-fi, politics, and philosophy on a global

Without spoiling anything, the story opens with public prosecutor Seizaki Zen following a breadcrumb trail of suicides after a routine insurance fraud bust. The opening episode may feel like a bit of a sleeper, but don’t let that fool you. There is a huge payout for those who pay attention (a mark of good writing), which I can confirm since I have already re-watched (binged) episodes 1-8 after the show’s hiatus in November.

The series showcases incredible voice acting, slick animation direction, and one of the most memorable villains of the year (and we had a ton in 2019). Babylon takes some seriously dark turns while posing mature ideological questions about life, death, morality, and the meaning of justice.

Demon Slayer (Kimestu no Yaiba)

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

Chances are, you’ve already heard plenty about this list-topping shounen. We at DashingNerds can confirm it is worth the hype. Martial arts, horror, and Japanese culture blend seamlessly in this hero-centric story of a boy seeking to restore his surviving sister’s humanity.

There’s no question Ufotable takes the cake in character design, sound, and production quality on this one. Some of the glorious fights have topped Twitter trending lists TWICE during its season run, which just finished up this fall.

While Demon Slayer may be criticized as being formulaic (what recent shounen hasn’t?), there’s no question it’s using narrative elements that work. If you’re already a fan of shows like Ruroni Kenshin or My Hero Academia, chances are you’ll love what Demon Slayer brings to the table. Fans can look forward to the 2nd season announcement, which will be coming as a movie adaptation.

Genre: Shounen, Action, Martial Arts, Fantasy

Episodes: 26

Available on: Crunchyroll


Recommended by: Quito Barajas

If you love monster-of-the-week stories, then we think you’ll like Dororo. We highlighted this series back in spring, so be sure to check out our full review once you’ve picked up this show!

The story follows a swordsman named Hyakkimaru as he fights demons to get back parts of his body stolen from him at birth. He can’t exactly speak, hear, see, or use many of his missing body parts for that matter, but that doesn’t stop him from kicking butt! Interestingly enough, a small child named Dororo latches onto Hyakkimaru after she gets into a much one-sided fight with some older thugs. Hyakkimaru comes to the rescue, and the rest is history! Dororo becomes the audience’s eyes and ears just as she is for Hyakkimaru.

Dororo is another special anime this year because it’s an Osuma Tezuki adaptation. Yep! This story is written by the guy who gave us Astroboy. Another key feature for those with too little time for anime should know Dororo is episodic, hence the monster-of-the-week deal. With its linear storyline, you won’t have trouble remembering Hyakkimaru’s journey, even if your viewing is spotty. That makes it the perfect show to squeeze into your tight schedule without worrying about having to ask weeks down the road, wait, what the heck is happening?!

Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Samurai, Supernatural

Episodes: 24

Available On: Amazon Video (Prime)

Fruits Baskets

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

Fruits Baskets (2019) is the latest reboot adaptation of the shoujo/romance manga of the same name by Natsuki Takaya. If you’re a fan of the feel-good yet bittersweet vibes of Clannad and crying softly into your anime body pillow, this is the series for you.

To those unfamiliar with the series, Fruits Baskets is a story about finding “home”. Tohru Honda is an unfortunate but resilient orphan living alone in the woods. When a princely classmate, Yuki Sohma, stumbles upon her living situation, he insists Tohru come spend the night at his family estate. Tohru meets Yuki’s cousins, the playful Shigure and the hot-headed Kyo, but is surprised to discover the Sohma’s don’t live with their parents. It seems the family has many secrets, and these bind each Sohma to a fate related to the Chinese Zodiac. After a landslide destroys her tent, the Sohma’s insist she stay with them until she finds a better place to live. What follows is a heartfelt unveiling of each Sohma family member’s pasts as Tohru’s healing presence draws out the curse plaguing Yuki, Kyo, and the rest of the Sohma clan.

Unlike the 2001 anime adaptation, the story told takes us further into the lives of Tohru and the Soma family. The season 1 story arc actually gets a proper conclusion, and a season 2 premiere is scheduled to air in 2020! Just grab your tissue box before watching.

Genre: Shoujo/Romance, Fantasy

Episodes: 25

Available on: CrunchyRoll, Funimation

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

Easily the best comedy of 2019 (nice try, Isekai Quartet), this series pits two sociopathic “genius” teenagers against each other in an endless mind game to get the other to confess their secret love…to each other.

Based on Aka Akasaka’s manga called “Kaguya Wants to be Confessed to: The Geniuses’ War of Love and Brains”, Love is War is a refreshing and comical take on the common anime tropes seen in the shoujo/romance genre. Each episode is divided into three tactical wars between the class president Shirogane and his vice president, Kaguya.

This show is delightful is because of the cast’s authenticity—despite being so confident academically, Shirogane and Kaguya are both inexperienced in love. They actually have no idea how to convey their genuine feelings for each other, so they overcompensate in hiding their affections by trying to use set-ups to trap the other, so much so that each interaction is awkward. Only the audience is privy to the inner workings of the warring lovers, leaving the rest of the student council members (who are equally awkward) to misinterpret each situation.

In terms of production quality, the anime also stands apart in the romantic comedy genre. It flexes with one of the best meme-able single EDs of anime history. If you’re a fan of chaotic comedy, larger than life characters, and subverting expectations, you’ll love Love is War.

Genre: Seinen, Comedy, Romance

Episodes: 12

Available on: CrunchyRoll

I Want To Eat Your Pancreas (Film)

Recommended by: Quito Barajas

Most love stories are filled with chance meetings, coincidences, and fate… but if you’re craving something different, I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a refreshing change of pace.

Sakura Yamauchi is a terminally ill highschooler whose pancreas has stopped working. She writes about her day to day experiences living with her illness in a diary she’s named “Living With Dying”. One day, while at the hospital, she accidentally leaves Living with Dying behind in a waiting-room. Haruki Shiga, an aloof young man in Sakura’s graduating class, finds and picks it up. Sakura rushes back for it to find him reading it. She tells him about her condition, but he isn’t phased by it. She loves that he doesn’t care and sets off to build a relationship with him… one that will last until the day she dies.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas unarms viewers by countering the typical Hollywood tragic romance narrative. Its approach accounts for the inevitable difficulties in maintaining real-life relationships, and just how precious they are, even if they don’t align with the fantasies in our head.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas was released in U.S. theaters February of this year and will be released for purchase later this month. If you’re already a fan of the film, I’d encourage you to check out my analysis of what makes it stand apart from other romances (Contains mild spoilers).

Genre: Drama, Romance

Episodes: 1 (Movie)

Available On: Blu-ray/DVD 10.29.2019

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Vento Aureo

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Artwork

Recommended by: Ben Danaj

If you’re already a JoJo’s fan, then you have already watched (or are planning to watch) part 5 of the series, which centers around a new JoJo, Giorno Giovanna, as he navigates gangster-life in Naples, Italy.

Ben, our resident JoJo’s fan, already gave part 5 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure a raving review (contains spoilers), so check it out if you’re already done watching or reading part 5.

To the uninitiated, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is, in summary, aptly named. It is bizarre. The action series presents death-defying characters and impossible stakes that refuse to be tied down by genre tropes or even logic itself. Every story arc (or season) features different but related characters, but you’ll want to discover them for yourself! If you’re still not sure if JJBA is for you, check out Mike’s 5 reasons the show is awesome.

Genre: Action

Episodes: 39

Available On: CrunchyRoll

Mob Pyscho 100 II *Editor’s Pick*

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

Leave it to webcomic artist ONE, best known for One-Punch Man, to address poignant, adult themes with characters drawn like stick figures. ONE’s unique style makes his characters stand apart from others in an oversaturated genre, so you can understand why our eyes were collectively drawn to the bland looking Saitama when One-Punch Man first aired. Surprisingly, underdog Mob Pyscho 100 II blasted the anticipated One-Punch Man’s sequel season away with its heart.

Mob Pyscho 100 is the coming of age story of a psychic middle schooler, Kageyama Shigeo, nicknamed “Mob”. Due to his polite and unassuming nature, few realize that Mob could use his Thanos-level powers to rule the universe. Many treat him with cruelty and step on him like a doormat. The story in both seasons follows Mob as he represses his powers and emotions until they reach 100%, boiling over when he reaches his breaking point.

ONE’s art and writing blend to create a laugh-out-loud comedic style with hard-hitting emotional beats and heartfelt characters. This style has never shined brighter in the continuation of Mob’s battle to better himself, win the girl of his dreams, and help his sham psychic boss and mentor with daily jobs. The animation which may appear loose, discolored, and sloppy at first glance, comes alive with the contrasting high animation quality provided by Studio Bones.

If there is one pick on this list you should watch, be sure to check out Mob Pyscho 100 I & II. In this second season, the story builds off of the first’s phenomenal characters and setting with ONE’s profound style and Studio Bones’ production quality. This series, arguably, has one of the best cliffhangers we’ve seen in anime in a long time!

Genre: SciFi, Comedy, Shounen

Episodes: 13 (Plus OVA)

Available on: Crunchyroll (Japanese Subtitles & English Dub)

My Hero Academia (Season 4)

Recommended by:
Darling Otaku

My Hero Academia continues to steamroll to the top of Shounen lists for good reason. The show’s broad cast of budding heroes, laugh-out-loud humor, and battle ascetic make it popular with all ages. For myself, the series showcases a lot of heart and continues to bring me to tears every season. I love these characters, and I get excited to journey with them each week.

If you’re already a HeroAca fan, chances are you’re already following
this season, which this time pits Midoriya and the other heroes against a
faction of the Yakuza underworld for the purpose of rescuing one very kawaii
little girl. The narrative continues its seasonal trend of spotlighting some amazing
new heroes, including the Big Three and Sir Night Eye (Almight’s former sidekick).
It was surprisingly refreshing to see less of Almight this season in favor of
the narrative’s focus on the future peacemakers like Mirio. The first story arc
ends with a dazzling showcase of action and raw emotion.

Genre: Shounen, Action, Comedy

Episodes: Airing

Available on: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation

My Roommate is a Cat

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

I did not expect to fall in love with this soft and fluffy comedy about an orphaned kitty. But just like that visit to the animal shelter, you go in thinking you’re just going to “look” at the animals and end up bringing one (or five) home. Move over, Morgana! Tuxedo kitty Haru will steal your heart!

Based on the manga called “My Housemate Is on My Lap, But Sometimes, on My Head” written by Minatsuki and illustrated by Asu Futatsuya, the anime follows Subaru Mikazuki, a 23-year-old mystery writer who finds himself taking Haru in. An introvert, Subaru slowly opens up to Haru and finds comfort with her like he never could with people, all while juggling the challenges of owning a pet for the first time and living on his own. Half of the episode is told from Subaru’s perspective, then the same events are retold from the very comical viewpoint of our kitty heroine.

My Roommate is a Cat will charm any animal lover out there with its healing message, witty relatability, and lovable cast.

Genre: Comedy

Episodes: 12

Available on: CrunchyRoll

O Maidens in Your Savage Season

Have you experienced the excruciating awkwardness of sex-ed class or “the Talk” with your folks? If not, please wait a few years before sampling this series (or follow Billy Madison back to school).

I hesitated to pick up O Maidens in Your Savage Season because
the premise, a high school girls’ lit club exploring their sexuality, sounded,
well… like another run-of-the-mill, trashy fanservice anime featuring underaged
girls. Not my cup of tea. But wait a minute… MARI OKADA is the mind behind this
series? Mari Okada, the brilliant director of precious gems Anohana (2011) and Maquia
(2019) wrote THIS— a show rumored to have more smut than Domestic Girlfriend???

THE SAME. That alone was enough for me to open my mind
to the series, and boy am I glad I did. Okada’s style was plain from the very
first scene. Like her other works, O Maidens has a certain depth and maturity.
This is proof of just how talented Okada is— though the subjects are vastly
different, her creations contain a distinct and compelling blend of thematic
poise and believable, organic humor. Anohana is probably the best example to
showcase Okada’s mastery of strong character voice, but O Maidens’ cast certainly
stands on its own.

Most high school anime tend to paint a pure world where
sexual attraction is not a major factor (Shoujo, Romance, Coming of Age), or
one where a twisted, comic version of sexuality is everywhere (Harem, Comedy).
O Maidens quickly dispels such fantastical nonsense. It adeptly points out that
when you’re in that “savage” season, sex is inescapable. Talking about it,
thinking about it, trying not to think about it. There is something ironically wholesome
about the way the girls each tackle their questions about love and the taboo S-E-X.
While it takes some unexpectedly dark turns and the ending feels rushed, O
Maidens gets are hearty recommendation from me for the most honest portrayal of
puberty I’ve seen in an anime yet.

Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, Comedy, Romance

Episodes: 12

Available on: HiDive

The Promised Neverland

Recommended by: Darling Otaku

When you enter the world of The Promised Neverland, suspicion and unease meet you at the gateway. Nothing is as it seems in the thriller series based on Kaiu Shira’s manga of the same name.


11-year-old Emma is one of 37 children living at Grace Field House, an isolated orphanage run by “Mother” or Isabella. The children enjoy soft beds, hot meals, and plenty of playtime. “Mother” is loving and dutiful, paying close attention to each of her 37 children.

For a child without parents, life at the orphanage is an ideal existence, at least until the day of their adoption comes. Everything after that is unknown. When Emma and her two best friends Norman and Ray stumble upon the secret of their peaceful lives, they can think of only one thing: escape.

Every episode of The Promised Neverland will leave you on the edge of your seat, aided both by stellar voice acting and a fittingly suspenseful soundtrack. The series has one of the best, most sinister antagonists of the year. Mystery and horror blend in a survival mind game for Emma and her friends. Will they have what it takes to escape their cruel world? A second season is confirmed to air in 2020.

Genre: Thriller, Fantasy, Shounen

Episodes: 12

Available on: CrunchyRoll

Vinland Saga *Editor’s Pick*

Recommended by: Quito Barajas

Vikings. Vengeance. Valhalla. Vinland. If you enjoy action-adventure stories brimming with fighting, death, and history, then we’re pretty sure Vinland Saga is for you! Vinland Saga is a historical anime series adapted from the manga created by Makoto Yukimura (Also known for Planetes).

Vinland Saga follows the journey of a young boy named Thorfinn who leaves his small village in search of Vinland, a fertile land so far west no war has ever touched it. One day, a mercenary ship of ruthless Jomsvikings arrives from mainland Denmark to re-conscript Thorfinn’s father, Thors, in their conquest of England. Thors sets sail for war, forced to leave his family behind… or so he thinks. Thors is surprised to find young Thorfinn hiding in a barrel on the ship, intending to help the war effort. Thus begins Thorfinn’s voyage toward a war he’ll soon leave in search of Vinland.

Vinland Saga is unique from other anime this season because our main character Thorfinn was actually a real person! That’s right! Thorfinn Karlsefni is believed to be the first recorded European voyager in history to set foot on the North American continent. Vinland at last! Although, it looks a lot less like Vinland these days and a lot more like Canada. If you’ve seen Vinland Saga let us know in the comments. See you in Vinland! Or Valhalla… whichever I can Uber to. Uber has sea fares, right?

Genre: Historical Fiction, Action-Adventure

Episodes: 24

Available on: Amazon Video *Available with Prime Subscription*

That’s all for now! We will be updating this list at the end of the year with our favorites from the fall and winter season, but for now, we are anticipating the release of Pyscho Pass III and, of course, My Hero Academia Season 4.

Did your favorite from this year make our list? Let us know in the comment section below.

Can’t get enough anime? We can’t, either. Subscribe to DashingNerds.com for email notifications every week on topics like the best anime openings or our top Toonami favorites!


Written by: Darling Otaku

Moonie. Aspires to become a unicorn. Married to Mr. Dashing himself. YA Fantasy Writing Blog: https://sanbornsmith.wordpress.com/

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  1. Pingback: TOP 10 Anime OPs This Decade November 14, 2019

    […] wrote about Vinland Saga earlier last month in a Dashing Nerd’s post about anime picks of the year. Vinland Saga has also received praise for its opening theme as the […]

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