Wow, can you believe the year is over halfway done? We sure can’t, but time waits for no anime fan. As if our backlog wasn't enough, tons of anime have come out over the past eight months. How do you figure out what’s worth watching? Check out our list of Top 6 Anime from 2021 so far and six upcoming series to add to your watch list. Note that we only include anime that premiered in 2021. Sorry, Attack On Titan (but you are on the 6 To Watch list!).
Top 6 Anime of 20201 (So Far)
Studio Trigger does it again! After SSSS.Gridman rebooted the Gridman universe with a meta twist, they came back for another round with Dynazenon. Set in the same universe as Gridman, Yomogi is a normal high schooler thrust into greatness when he meets Gauma. Gauma is a “kaiju user” who can summon the giant robot Dynazenon. Together with Yomogi’s classmates, they must co-pilot the robot to save the city from giant monsters. If you’ve seen Gridman, you know there is lots more going on underneath the surface. It deconstructs the tokusatsu genre to create deep meaning to guys in robot suits fighting guys in monster suits. If you are able to do that, as this show does, you belong on this list.
In the war between the San Magnolia Republic and the Empire, there are no casualties. At least, none that matter to the Republic government. After being ostracized from society, the citizens of the 86th Sector are forced to pilot the mecha Juggernauts. Treated as little more than drones, they are considered subhuman and are forced to obey all commands of their Officers, who sit in posh stations inside the Republic’s capital. The setup is already intriguing, and the execution lives up to the potential. It mixes together elements of classic mecha anime such as Gundam and VOTOMS with new elements. The end result is something old, something new, and something worth watching.
For decades, anime fans were clamoring for a conclusion to this classic romance. They finally got their wish and more with this retelling. More faithful to the manga, Tohru’s healing of the Soma clan has been a good mix of humor and drama. During the final season, though, the tears never stopped coming. Tears of joy, sorrow, and heartbreak, sometimes all at once. From Tohru’s choosing her love to dealing with the family curse, this season was packed with emotional moments. All in an effort to put together the best ending possible. We can say it most certainly did.
This second season of the hit 2018 anime is a step up from the original. Set five years after the events of the first season, Joe is now on his own, dealing with the trauma of the past. Tackling issues such as addiction, immigration, and grief, this more grown-up tale deals with these themes effectively. The animation has seen an improvement, making the fight scenes more interesting and compelling. When you take one of the best anime of past years and improve upon it, there’s no doubt it will place high on a list like this one.
“A walrus taxi driver picks up a hippo” sounds like a setup for a joke, but it is actually the start of one of anime’s most thrilling mysteries in quite some time. The first episode mystery hooks will, um, ensnare you. We can say the payoff is worth it. Its snappy, realistic dialogue and voice acting give the show a feel closer to a prestigious drama. This is one of those anime you can show your parents (if they’re okay with cartoon animals doing serious things). At least give the theme song, Odd Taxi by Skirt and Punpee, a listen, as it is a mood.
This emotional rollercoaster from the creator of A Silent Voice refuses to slow down. Following Fushi, a divine orb that can take the shape of anything, we watch his journey of self-discovery through all the characters they meet. The focus on personal stories allows the series to ask humanity’s biggest questions. How they answer them is why this show is at the top of the list.
6 Most Anticipated Summer, Fall, and Winter Anime
Since it premiered last year, it couldn’t make the ranking on a technicality. So let me correct that by saying that part one is the best anime of 2020. The series keeps upping the ante with its story twists and turns. The animation has been able to keep up with it, delivering some awe-inspiring action sequences. Now with part two on the horizon, things can only get crazier from here. What’s in store? I haven’t read the manga, so don’t spoil it for me!
This is currently ongoing, but it is earlier enough in its run that we had to include this (or a co-worker would get mad). Set in a steampunk Paris, it follows Noe, a vampire on the hunt for the mysterious Book of Vanitas. As the steampunk aesthetic promises, Vanitas has a great sense of adventure. Fantastic animation accompanied by sweeping music transports you to this new world of magic and action. The leads make for a fun odd couple and have some funny dialogue. Overall, a fun series that can satisfy any adventure or fantasy fan.
After years and years of waiting, Komi is finally getting her anime. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Komi Can’t Communicate has been dominating the otaku meme sphere. The manga’s set-up is that despite being popular, Komi has severe social anxiety. Her struggles are very relatable and the comedic moments are prime meme material. Its mix of comedy and sincerity makes it a solid read as well. Now, we get it animated from some top-tier talent, including the director of After The Rain. If they can take what made the series popular and elevate it, this could be a special anime.
It’s fair to say Jujutsu Kaisen has blown us away. The animation on display is completely insane for a TV show. Now we get to see what the team does with a movie-sized budget? Sign us up! Yuta’s childhood friend, Rika, died years ago. Yuta has been trying to get over her death, but it is hard when she is literally haunting him as a curse. Gojo recruits Yuta to join Jujutsu High, but will the training be enough to overcome his grief? It’s an interesting setup that is certainly fit for a movie format. Plus we know it’s going to look great, so why not get excited?
What does it truly take to be an artist? The Blue Period manga, which is getting an anime this fall, answers that question with style. It’s been a popular title among some of our employees, and it’s easy to see why when you read it. The main character, Yotaro, goes on a journey from complete novice to expert. Through that, he also goes on a journey of self-discovery. As he learns how to paint and draw, Yotaro begins to reconsider his perception of reality and himself. The manga depicts it vividly in black and white, and now the anime can show it all off in color!
Lupin the Thiiiiiird! The Gentleman Thief is back, though he’s never left. Lupin III The First came out last year, but it’s been about three years since Part 5 aired. Now, to commemorate the anime’s 50th anniversary. The newest TV show is looking to honor the franchise’s legacy. This series will be split into two halves, with the first half focusing on the theme of mystery. What could the mystery be about? With Lupin III, expect anything!