I know we’re already a few weeks into 2020, but I haven’t had time to put this up until now. Such is life! In any case, here’s the pop culture I’m anticipating in 2020.

Before proceeding, a couple of disclaimers:

  1. Sometimes, things miss their announced released dates. Looking at my list from last year, 60% of it did not get released in 2019 in North America. Other things don’t have firm release dates. I’m not excluding those things, because hey, I’m just doing this for fun, alright?
  2. Because we’re already a few weeks into 2020, some of this stuff has already been released. I’ve decided to include those things if I haven’t yet experienced them in full. (For instance, anime or TV series that have already aired a few episodes are fair game.) However, if I’ve already seen that thing in full, then it stays off the list. I really liked Weathering With You, for instance, but I saw it earlier this week, so I’m omitting it from the list.

Alright, let’s get down to business, shall we?

10. Ride Your Wave
This romantic dramedy directed by Masaaki Yuasa made the list last year, and it’s already been around the festival circuit, but it hasn’t received a North American release yet. GKIDS will be distributing it later this year, and they always do a great job with translations and dubs, so I’m excited. Here’s a subbed trailer:

9. No Straight Roads
Musical games can be hit or miss, but from the trailers and gameplay footage that have been released so far, this one looks like it’s bursting with joy and colour. I’m ready to pick up my virtual axe and rock out. Here’s a trailer:

8. Tales of Arise
I’ve been looking for a big, meaty JRPG to dig my claws into, and I know that the Tales series usually fits the bill. Zestiria didn’t quite reach the heights I’d hoped, but Arise looks like it puts a greater focus on action. Plus, its graphics finally make it look like a current-gen game. Here’s a trailer:

7. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
This is the second Masaaki Yuasa joint to make the list, and it’s easy to see why. It’s an anime series about three teenage girls trying to make their own anime, and it’s chock-full of humour and imagination. I’ve already seen the first couple of episodes, and they’re downright brilliant. I can’t wait to see where the rest of this series goes. Here’s a trailer:

6. Sable
An open-world narrative adventure inspired the art of Jean Giraud and scored by Michelle Zauner? INJECT IT DIRECTLY INTO MY VEINS. Here’s a trailer:

5. Color Theory by Soccer Mommy
Soccer Mommy had one of the best debut LPs of 2018 with Clean. In 2020, she intends to follow that up with Color Theory. So far, it sounds very much in the vein of her previous work, but with a little bit more of a mature edge. I’m excited. Here’s the music video for the first single off the record, “Yellow is the Color of Her Eyes”:

3. Psychonauts 2
I don’t think there’s much to say here. I loved the first Psychonauts. I’ve been waiting roughly half my life for the follow-up. This had better be worth it. Here’s a trailer:

2. Haven
Making a game about a couple in love seems like such an obvious idea, but for some reason I don’t think it’s ever been pulled off. So I have high hopes for Haven, which fuses that idea with RPG combat, bright neon colours, and some badass EDM. Here’s a gameplay trailer:

1. Season 2 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
was one of my favourite things of 2019, period. The fact that we’re getting a second season of the anime is making me irrationally excited, if for no other reason than that means we’re getting more Chika Fujiwara. Chika is our goddess. Here’s a subtitled trailer:

Honourable Mentions

Anime:

  • Beastars
  • Hi-Score Girl II
  • Season 2 of The Promised Neverland
  • Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It [I’ve already seen the first 4 episodes.]

Films:

  • Black Widow
  • The Eternals

Music:

  • Everything Else Has Gone Wrong by Bombay Bicycle Club
  • New music from Deftones
  • Taxi Dancers by Gord Sinclair
  • Moving Walls by Matthew Good
  • Gigaton by Pearl Jam
  • Kiss from the Darkness by Scandal

TV/Web Series:

  • Season 4 of Camp Camp
  • Giri/Haji

Video games:

  • 12 Minutes
  • The Artful Escape
  • Atomic Heart
  • Babylon’s Fall
  • Biomutant
  • Consortium: The Tower
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Digimon Survive
  • Disaster Report 4 Plus: Summer Memories
  • Dreams
  • Ghost of Tsushima
  • The Good Life
  • The remainder of the Halo Master Chief Collection on PC
  • The leaked but not officially announced PC port of Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Act V of Kentucky Route Zero
  • Maneater
  • Metroid Prime 4
  • Miegakure
  • Murder By Numbers
  • Necrobarista
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  • Persona 5: Scramble
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator [already in early access]
  • Way to the Woods
  • The Wolf Among Us 2
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon