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With each coming season of anime, I find it harder and harder to decide which new series premise I am most interested in, often the descriptions don’t do justice to the anime’s and fail to entice me to press play; I never know where to look to get a headstart on each new series, so with the coming two-part guide I will hopefully help you navigate the anime waters of 2020.

All of the anime in this guide have been watched in the original Japanese with subtitles so I am unable to comment on the English dubs for each show if they are available. As a personal rule, I have watched at least the first two episodes of each series to get a solid idea of each series direction but in many cases, I have watched more than that as you will see.  

In Part 1 of the guide below, you will find my picks from which includes a girl missing an eye and a leg, three high school students that dream of making their own anime series, as well as a golem and his human child journeying through a mythical world. 


In/Spectre (Kyokou Suiri)

Released Date: 11/01/2020
Current Episodes Available:
Available on:
Crunchy Roll

Kyokou Suiri or In/Spectre is honestly the reason I started writing this article as I was charmed by the opening episode and felt the need to make sure everyone gave it a chance.

Kotoko Iwanaga was abducted by Yokai at age 11 and was found two weeks later missing an eye and one of her legs. This change would liken her to a ‘Goddess of Wisdom’ and would lead to her taking the mantle of mediator between the spirit world and the human world. Things begin to change when she meets Kurou Sakuragawa at the local hospital. Kotoko falls for Kurou quickly which is complicated further when her Yokai companions become frightened by his presence.

The mystery behind Kurou’s connection to the Yokai as well as the weight of Kutoko’s position between the two worlds makes for compelling viewing throughout the opening episodes. If I was not already interested in these narrative threads, then I would also be enthralled by the budding relationship between the two leads. Kotoko is head over heels for Kurou and her advances are not subtle in the slightest. Kurou does well to dissuade her each time but through small gestures, it is easy to see that his kind-hearted nature is warming him to her presence. The growing mystery around their connection to the Yokai world leads to meeting some interestingly designed Yokai which a range of characteristic and artistic designs that lends itself to making their connection to the 2 lead characters another positive for the series.

In/Spectre is not scared to adventure into the darker narratives as has already been shown in the opening episodes, it will be intriguing to see just how dark the show gets as we move deeper into the season. With 12 episodes slated for the first season of the show, it will be interesting to see where the budding relationship grows too as well as finding out more about each character’s connection to the spirit world. 


Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken

Released Date: 06/01/2020
Current Episodes Available:
Available on:
Crunchy Roll

There is a lot more to Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken than just a story about a shy girl that wants to make anime. The story finds its foundation in the newly forming friendship of Midori Asakusa, a high school student with a large curiosity of the world around her and within her own imagination but lacking in the social skills to step past her boundaries; Sayaka Kanamori, who takes the role of the manager of the group, looking out for the other girls by keeping them level headed and directed in their share passions; and Tsubame Mizusaki, a famous model starting at the school that is trying to escape the shadow of her famous parents.

The three girls all contrast but each provides a unique outlook that makes their friendship a pleasure to watch grow throughout the opening episodes of the show. When the group of friends bond over a desire to create anime (or rather to make money in Kanamori’s place) they start a new anime club in the school to give them the opportunity to follow their dreams despite many boundaries that are placed before them. The true beauty of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken does not lie only in this friendship though, the art direction of the show often surpasses expectations by diving into a notebook-style world that has roughly drawn versions of the ideas brimming from the girls’ animations. This change of art direction during these periods lends the show to have an energetic life to it that makes the viewer feel the imagination and curiosity of the characters as they explore the worlds they create. Eizouken is not my usual preference of anime but I am pleasantly surprised at how the show captures my own imagination and keeps me invested in the character’s journey as they strive to make their ideas reality through the power of anime. 


Somali and the Forest Spirit

Released Date: 09/01/2020
Current Episodes Available: 3
Available on: Crunchy Roll

Somali and the Forest Spirit starts out as a cute journey between a small human child and a golem that are travelling together after the girl was found alone in the golem’s forest. But as you get past this initial set up for the show, Somali and the Forest Spirit is set in a world filled with depth beyond the surface artistic choices. Humans have been almost eradicated from the world by the mystical creatures that inhabit it after they attempted to enslave the other races through force, this reveal alone not only raises the stakes for the journey but also shows another side of the relationship between Somali and the golem.

The golem acting as her father is protective of the girl for a good reason, even going to lengths of a specially designed cloak that makes her look like a minotaur child. As the series continues though we continue to find more out about the golem through his interactions with other characters. He strives to better himself to provide for Somali by learning skills like sewing and creating medical slaves, it is revealed that the true meaning of the journey is to find Somali’s parents before the golem runs out of time for his own life. Throughout the series, we are told that golems do not have emotions many times but we can see throughout the relationship how much they care for Somali, how anxious the golem gets when Somali is missing and the hint of sadness when it is revealed that the golem is entering the final year of its designed life.

Somali and the Forest Spirit has a lot to offer beyond the surface level narrative, the depth that this show provides narratively is special and I am already rather attached to both Somali and the Golem so I am sure there will be many tears (both wholesome and sad) shed as this series continues to follow their journey.

Part Two of this season’s anime preview will be coming soon where I will be discussing the anime I have been watching on AnimeLab.

Until then, please let me know if you’ve been watching any of these anime in the comments below.