As another season winds down, that means another Winners and Losers blog post for the season, and this season is unlike any other season in the past as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a bunch of postponements and chaos in every wake of life. The anime industry is no exception as they felt the effects of this unprecedented health hazard in which extreme measures were required to keep the coronavirus at bay until a vaccine is formed. So this season, there are a lot more losers than winners seeing that everything was affected, but there were still some winners in this season that was marred by a state of emergency.

WINNER: Funimation
Funimation just continues to dominate the landscape getting most of the great shows this season, and then some. It's clear that they are no longer capped by what they can simuldub as now they are licensing shows without announcing simuldubs (and due to the pandemic, several shows haven't started their simuldubs yet). Ever since their breakup with Crunchyroll, they have been getting all the good stuff, and they are being predatory as well going after shows that are outside their preferred footprint simply so that they can keep them away from Crunchyroll or Sentai. Tamayomi and Diary of Our Days in the Breakwater are typical shows Sentai likes to get, but Funimation took them. Bungo and Alchemist had the look of a Crunchyroll show since it's on TV Tokyo (for which Crunchyroll has had a long relationship with) and the fujoshi flavor just isn't marketable, but Funimation got it. And there are other shows that might not be dubbed when all is said and done, which Funimation would almost have stayed away from in the past, but they are getting all those as well. On top of that, Aniplex shows are now exclusive to Funimation with their partnership through Sony. So the bottom line is that Funimation is now the top dog when it comes to anime simulcasts.

WINNER: Aniplex
Aniplex is adapting to the times as now that they are fully partners with Funimation through their ownership by Sony. They now have access to the Dallas talent pool for their dubs, and they are making decisions with an eye towards casual collectors by releasing Demon Slayer with both their usual expensive release along with a cheaper SE release provided by Funimation. And it's because they have Funimation's dubbing studios available that Kaguya-sama: Love is War is getting a dub not long after Aniplex released it without a dub. Aniplex relied on widespread exposure prioritizing distribution on as many services as possible so that there would be more potential buyers who might buy their expensive releases, and for shows that underperformed not even giving a release. Now that they have Funimation, they have access to in-house dubs when previously it was all outsourced to Bang Zoom, and with Funimation releasing SE's that they see a greater potential bump in sales. The situation varies from show-to-show, but it's clear that Aniplex favors Funimation these days thanks to Sony.

WINNER: Netflix
While the pandemic has been devastating to just about everybody, this provided Netflix with a big opportunity for them as with people staying at home more, that means more time for them to watch movies. It also helps that they added quite a lot of stuff over the past three months with several Sentai and Aniplex titles, as well as Pokemon, while they got exclusive streaming rights to the new Pokemon Journeys series. The new anime series that are Netflix Originals include Drifting Dragons, BNA (coming June 30), Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045, the Baki sequel, and Dorohedoro, while they added several movies in Dragon Quest, Ni no Kuni, Altered Carbon, Sol Levante, and A Whisker Away. Being the go-to place for streaming that with people staying at home, naturally viewership and subscriptions would increase for them.

LOSER: Crunchyroll
The end of the partnership with Funimation spelled trouble for them, and because they are competing for licenses and with Warner Media's less-than-ideal management, Crunchyroll just didn't have much to offer this season, all while the subscription price was increased. And with the delays due to COVID-19, Crunchyroll wasn't left with much stuff to stream with a total of only 15 shows that didn't suffer delays, and usually their catalog is in the 30's or 40's. At least they are trying something new with their Crunchyroll Originals line and so far Tower of God is a success, but moving forward there's no telling if all routes lead to doom for the company that single-handedly saved the anime industry.

LOSER: Sentai
Sentai's catalog has been dwindling, and it's at an all-time low this season. Well, not quite as the Winter 2015 season saw Sentai with only one show, but nevertheless it goes to show that Sentai is struggling as they are the only simulcast licensor that doesn't have the benefit of a megacorporation's gigantic budget. Their only licenses this season are the continuing Ahiru no Sora and the little-known show called Future Folklore. They were also supposed to have My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu Climax for this season, but that was one of many shows bumped to the summer or later due to COVID-19. In the past, I would have expected them to go after shows like Argonavis, Tamayomi, Diary of Our Days in the Breakwater, and Sakura Wars the Animation, but they did not, either by choice like with Argonavis despite it being part of the Bang Dream franchise, or because of Funimation's heightened aggressiveness as is the case with the other shows. Things just haven't looked good for Sentai ever since ending their deal with Amazon and even more so with Funimation now calling the shots.

LOSER: Amazon
While there's no telling for sure, it appears that Amazon will exit the anime streaming landscape for good as far as new exclusive simulcasts are concerned. They no longer have their deals with Noitamina and Animeism, while it looks like there is nothing new coming from their Twin Engine deal (though having a sequel to Vinland Saga seems inevitable, but still at least a couple of years away). This season, they got exclusive streaming rights to Dropkick on My Devil Dash and My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu season 3, but only in Japan as it looks like exclusive rights won't carry over around the world anymore. Having Amazon make these exclusive deals to help fund animation projects seemed like a great idea as working in the anime industry is a notoriously low-paying job, but Amazon's gross mismanagement has them become less relevant that was pretty much summed up in their appallingly-executed Anime Strike channel.

WINNER: Shows that waited until completion to air
One problem with the anime industry lately is the number of delays and recap episodes coming out because production of the show is behind schedule and being worked on while it's airing. This problem was on full display during the Fall 2019 season as the season had way more shows than in a usual season, and add on top of that two ONA series and a show with double-length episodes meaning that it was way overcrowded than it had any right to be. But among those were several shows that had recap episodes at some point because they needed some extra time to complete production. Of these shows, five of them ended up not finishing their broadcasts until after the season, and as such they really should have had no right to air in the fall season. By pushing things back, they would have pushed some of the winter season shows back a season, and then that would have added more shows to this season that has thinned out due to the pandemic. Hopefully, this will become more of a thing for production teams to wait until they have wrapped things up before airing this show seeing that viewers wouldn't notice if it they aired it well after the season, and a sign of this becoming a trend is that a lot of summer and fall season shows are being delayed, and some of them indefinitely rather than airing next season, as mid-broadcast delays due to insufficient progress in production have been getting more frustrating. Anyway, the reason why such shows are big winners this season is because not only did they air as normal, but with fewer shows this season they have been getting more attention than they probably would have in a normal season.

LOSER: Long-running shows
Several long-running shows were forced to take a break for the first time in a long time. That includes Pokemon (now in the Journeys season), Detective Conan (which went on hiatus at the end of the winter season), Boruto, Black Clover, and of course the show that refuses to take a break despite badly needing one in One Piece. And the longest-running show couldn't keep going as Sazae-san, which has run for over 50 years and still going, ran out of real estate as well.

LOSER: Movies
With social distancing measures in place and crowd gatherings greatly restricted, that meant movie theaters were forced to close. And without the cinemas to head to, that means movies could not be released. So that meant everybody making these movies couldn't generate their revenue from people heading to the big screens, and that forced the production committees to either postpone the release or have some way of showing it through streaming. This was especially difficult for KyoAni as their second Violet Evergarden movie ended up getting delayed twice as a result with the first delay coming from that tragic arson attack that pushed its original January release to April, and then the COVID-19 pandemic forcing it to be delayed even further.

WINNER: Ajia-do
Ajia-do is one of the few studios that managed to keep multiple shows on the air this season as they had finished production on Ascendance of a Bookworm and Kakushigoto done, or at least way ahead of schedule so that they could withstand the delay brought on the the state of emergency order to get it done. And both shows are very good with Bookworm building off the momentum from the first season after the show stumbled out of the gates, and Kakushigoto doing an excellent job of balancing many elements.

WINNER: Telecom
This is the studio behind Tower of God, and while this studio has had a mixed bag when it comes to shows they produced, they did an excellent job with this show. Shows with non-Japanese roots usually have an air of skepticism around them seeing that they are usually handed to low-end studios and aren't well received. But Tower of God is completely different as it's a Webtoon that has a good fan following, and reputable people were brought in to work on this show. And of course getting Kevin Penkin to compose the show's music is always going to look good. So in all, the end result is one of the most-watched shows of the season.

LOSER: J.C. Staff
This was just a rough season for J.C. Staff as no studio suffered more pandemic-related delays than them. Railgun and Food Wars both went on hiatus, while Mewkledreamy had to take a few weeks off, and Danmachi III and Skate-Leading Stars that were originally supposed to air in the summer got delayed. But if there's a silver lining in this, they persevered to get through the Daihasei Festival arc to the end in Raigun done before taking a long break that was granted to them having secured their timeslot in the summer season, so they deserve applause for that.

LOSER: Studio A-Cat
This studio put out Tamayomi, and it was just an abomination. It was clear and obvious that this studio was rushing production in order to get it out there before the state of emergency as the animation just looks sloppy and lazy, made even more evident by the use of random CGI. The end result is something largely unwatchable as there are much better shows out there about girls playing baseball, and it makes Cinderella Nine look like Princess Nine.

WINNER: Asahi Broadcast Channel
ABC is the only station that didn't have anything delayed due to the pandemic. This season, they aired Tamayomi, Sing Yesterday for Me, and Ascendance of a Bookworm, which all aired to the end without interruption. While Tamayomi struck out in a huge way as aforementioned, at least there wasn't a delay. And of course, the two Saturday shows are among the season's best, so that makes them winners among TV stations. Others weren't as fortunate to say the least.

Both of the shows TBS had planned to air were delayed by the pandemic, leaving this season to air reruns of previous seasons for No Guns Life and My Teen Romantic Comedy Snafu. While they also air anime from the Animeism block, they are on delay, and needless to say the Animeism lineup this season was pretty bad.

TV Tokyo is where a lot of the prime time shows meant to reach a wide audience are, and they saw almost their whole lineup go on hiatus at some point. The only shows that didn't go on hiatus are Fruits Basket, Shadowverse, and Ahiru no Sora. Just about everything else was put on hold that includes the long-running Pokemon and Boruto shows, and while no reason was stated for Bungo and Alchemist being delayed, it's hard to see it being anything else other than COVID-19.

WINNER: Saturdays
In the midst of all the delays, the only good day of anime when the dust settles is Saturday. The day's lineup consists of Arte, Kaguya-sama season 2, My Next Life as a Villainess, Sing Yesterday For Me, and Ascendance of a Bookworm, all while Gal and Dino, Major 2nd, Digimon Adventure:, Genie Family, and One Piece all went on hiatus at some point. That said, all of the Saturday shows that remained wrapped up production well ahead of time, so they got to air as usual, and it was a strong lineup, even without SAO there as that was originally scheduled to be a Saturday show this season.

WINNER: Mondays
Mondays are winners simply because not a single Monday show went on hiatus, whereas every other day had at least two. Shironeko Project, Woodpecker's Detective Office, A3!, Princess Connect, and Fruits Basket 2nd season all aired without interruption, and in the case of A3!, it was a show originally from the winter season that was delayed, and it's a good thing since the seasonal troupes are now properly aligned. While only Fruits Basket was actually good from this lot, at least there was a lot to watch on Mondays.

LOSER: Tuesdays
Tuesdays were already a thin day as they usually have the fewest shows, and for good reason as it's generally the least watched day for TV. But whatever shows they had were all placed on hiatus except for Shadowverse that miraculously is still airing despite just about every other prime time show going on hiatus. Diary of Our Days in the Breakwater was the only new show on Tokyo MX that day, and that got delayed. The long-running Black Clover had to be delayed, while Yu-Gi-Oh! Sevens went on hiatus not long after starting. Safe to say that when Shadowverse, a kids show advertising a card game that has been done a bazillion times over and for the most part doing it better than this show, is the only show on the air when the dust settles, Tuesdays were big time losers.

LOSER: Fridays
This season's Friday lineup was just abysmal and a big reason for that is the COVID-19 pandemic as no day was hurt by it more than the Friday lineup. Food Wars! The Fifth Plate, Appare-Ranman!, A Certain Scientific Railgun T, and Bungo and Alchemist all exited the season lineup due to the pandemic, leaving it with Sakura Wars, Future Folktales, Argonavis, Listeners, and Wave, Listen to Me. And whatever shows remained were mostly trash. While Sakura Wars hasn't exactly translated well into anime, at least those previous works are way better than this new incarnation of the franchise. Future Folktales is a show that people were just ignoring, and for good reason. Argonavis wasn't picked up for streaming by anybody for some reason as it was widely assumed to go to Sentai because they have BanG Dream, which this show is a part of. Listeners was all-style, and no-substance as the storywriting was laughably bad. And as the only half-way decent show on Fridays, Wave, Listen to Me took awhile to get going. So pretty much, the normally stacked Friday lineup was thinned out by a combination of the pandemic, as well as the Animeism lineup being so bad.