The 10 anime you may have missed in 2021

Last year, the animated series that generated the most buzz was undoubtedly Arcane on Netflix. But we should not forget that Japanese animation once again delivered some pearls. Here is our selection.

Attack on Titan (final season, part 1)

The change of studio (MAPPA replaces Wit Studio) and staff will not have affected the quality of the adaptation of the now cult manga by Hajime Isayama. However, between the proliferation of projects at MAPPA and the health crisis, we could fear the worst.

Thus, this first part of the final season keeps its promises of an intense and dramatic spectacle (the jaw-dropping attack on the city of Revelio). Disrupting our benchmarks, the plot plays with the viewer through clever processes: brutal ellipse, new central characters, absence of Manichaeism and at the very least disturbing evolution of its main hero, Eren. The attack of the Titans has never so well deserved its status as an absolute masterpiece.

The series is available on Wakanim (and soon on Crunchyroll).

Megalobox 2: Nomad

Released in 2018, Megalobox was a wonderful tribute to Ashita no Joe for its 50 years. We also mentioned it in our top at the time. We must admit that we were skeptical about the start of a sequel as the series was sufficient on its own.

Nomad achieves the feat of surpassing the first season. The tone is decidedly darker and more dramatic. It is about redemption and mourning. We had left Joe at the top. We find him here, a few years later, at the bottom of the hole, closer to an animal than a human. Boxing is only in the background and the few rare fights are only a pretext to materialize the feelings of the characters. Only regret: the first part is so exceptional that the second seems a bit disappointing.

The series is available on Wakanim.

SK8 the Infinity

A top without a series from the studio Bones is not a top in the rules of the art. If the fifth season of My Hero Academia was below the previous ones, the surprise came from this animated on skate races carried out by the talented Hiroko Utsumi (Banana Fish, Free!).

You don’t have to be a fan of the wooden board to appreciate this original creation bursting with energy and featuring colorful characters. The two heroes are endearing, and the bad guy looks straight out of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. If you are looking for a feel good, spectacular, rhythmic anime that can be as funny as it is touching, Sk8 the Infinity is for you. Good news, Reki and Langa should be back for yet another season.

The series is available on Wakanim.

Ranking of Kings

The latest series from Wit Studio (Vinland Saga) is the only one in this ranking that has not yet been completed. But 12 episodes are more than enough to judge the quality of this adaptation of Sôsuke Tôka’s manga (scheduled from April at Ki-oon).

Another heroic fantasy story, you will tell me? But you’ve never seen one with a deaf and dumb young prince as a hero, determined to become the greatest of kings. At the same time funny, moving, childish while being mature, Ranking of Kings is a work apart. But above all, it is further proof that Wit Studio is quietly establishing itself at the top of Japanese animation.

The series is available on Wakanim (and soon on Crunchyroll).

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

We could have cited season 2 of Me, when I reincarnate in Slime, but the winner of the battle of the isekai is Mushoku Tensei. Studio Bind’s debut work truly impressed with its exceptional feature-length achievement.

So Mushoku Tensei is far from perfect, as evidenced by the failed attempts at humor under the belt and some embarrassing passages when we know that the young hero is also a reincarnated adult (the voiceover reminds us constantly). But as a tale of exotic adventures, Mushoku Tensei does what he sets out to do with flying colors, with a solid storyline and well-constructed characters. The second opus also offers us many remarkable passages: moving like the reunion with the father and tense, like the confrontation against Orsted, the Dragon King.

The series is available on Wakanim.

Tokyo Revengers

After Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen, here is the new phenomenon of manga shônen (almost 25 million volumes in Japan last year). Obviously it is the animated who unlocked the counters and put forward the work of Ken Wahui. The Japanese are passionate about the adventures of Takemichi Hanagaki, who returned to the past to correct his youthful mistakes and become an influential gang member, with the aim of saving his girlfriend.

Unlike the other shônen which are currently successful, Tokyo Revengers is a “furyô”, a sub-genre which features delinquents. But it’s also a pure thriller in a fantastic way Butterfly Effect, with many twists and a gallery of endearing characters. If we put aside some inconsistencies inherent in the stories of time travel and if we disregard an achievement below the usual standards, the series can be enjoyed in one go.

The series is available on Crunchyroll.

To Your Eternity

Who didn’t cry in the very first episode of To Your Eternity ? The fantasy story has seen many pearls this year and this adaptation of Yoshitoki Ôima’s manga (A Silent Voice) is part of. We follow an immortal entity sent to Earth who embarks on a journey in search of experiences and encounters.

To Your Eternity differs from the all-around fantasy stories. The loss of a loved one is tackled head-on, while the hero, the immortal Fushi, is in search of identity in a world that often turns out to be ruthless.

Drama often prevails over adventure and comedic situations (there are some anyway). But the work never falls into pathos. A regret, however, on the last arc, weaker both technically and from the point of view of the plot. But that doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the anime.

The series is available on Crunchyroll and ADN.

Demon Slayer: Infinity Train

Authentic cultural phenomenon in Japan, Demon Slayer also conquered France last spring, attracting more than 700,000 spectators as soon as the theaters reopened. A record, especially since the film is the sequel to the series broadcast in 2018 on Wakanim.

The Infinity Train changes the setting but takes all the ingredients of the first season: demons and fights. Then add as the icing on the cake the Pillar of Flame, Kyojuro Rengoku. True star of this feature film, he steals the show from our three heroes, who find themselves on the sidelines for an incredible final fight against an overpowered enemy. In the shônen nekketsu genre, Demon Slayer is the best there is at the moment.

As of this fall, the film serves as the first arc of season 2. It is therefore currently only available as episodes on Wakanim and Crunchyroll.

Violet Evergarden, the movie

Many times postponed due to the pandemic, the film Violet Evergarden, concluding the 2018 TV series, had an event theatrical release last May. It was the ideal place to discover this flamboyant melodrama which caused torrents of tears to flow.

After traveling the world taking care of others, Violet decides to take charge when she discovers a letter whose author could be Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. So is it really him supposed to have died? Despite its long duration (2h20 anyway), this film keeps its intensity throughout. We cannot thank Taichi Ishidate, Reiko Yoshida and all the staff at Kyoto Animation enough for delivering a perfect ending. Note that it is strongly recommended to watch the series before to fully appreciate the film.

The film is available on Netflix (and next March in Blu-ray 4K UHD).

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Shard of Hathaway

We no longer present the famous franchise created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and which 40 years later continues to inspire Japanese animation. 00, Unicorn, Thunderbolt, The Origin… We can no longer count the major works over the last few years. Hathaway Shard is an ambitious project made up of 3 films, adapting a series of novels written by Tomino at the end of the 80s. We follow Hathaway Noa, son of Bright, who became the leader of a terrorist organization fighting the Federation. On a mission on Earth, his meeting with the beautiful Gigi Andalucia will change his destiny.

Hathaway Shard is sort of an original saga expansion started in 1979 by the series Mobile Suit Gundam and who stopped in 1988 by the feature film Tank strikes back. Neophytes will therefore find it difficult to hook up the wagons. But for others, it is pure happiness magnified by the epic music of Hiroyuki Sawano and the exceptional achievement of Shukô Murase. The only downside: we will have to wait until 2024 at least to see the second part.

The film is available on Netflix.

And for 2022?

The biggest expectations are undoubtedly the second part of the final season of The attack of the Titans which begins this Sunday (with a rumor of a film as a conclusion), but also the adaptation of Chainsaw Man (probably scheduled for the fall) and the film Jujutsu Kaisen 0 which we hope for a film release in the coming weeks. Only titles from the studio MAPPA!

Among the other expected anime we will have in the spring: part 2 of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, the adaptation of the football manga Ao Ashi, the adaptation of Spy × Family, season 4 of Kingdom, season 2 of The Rising of the Shield Hero, season 2 of Tiger & Bunny, season 3 of Heroes of the galaxy, and Bubble, the new feature film expected from Tetsurô Araki for Netflix.

In the fall, it will be the adaptation of the last arc of Bleach (10 years after the end of the series), season 6 of My Hero Academia (with first the film World Heroes’ end of January) and season 2 of To Your Eternity. Other titles are planned but without date for the moment: the adaptation of Blue Lock (another football manga), a new series and a new film in the franchise Gundam (The Witch From Mercury and Cucuruz Doan’s Island), season 2 of Made in Abyss, season 4 of Overlord, season 3 of Mob Psycho 100, a new adaptation of Spriggan, another from Lamu, a new original series from Wit Studio with Vampire in the Garden, the film Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the film Me, when I reincarnate in Slime, the second film Sword Art Online -Progressive- and of course the latest Makoto Shinkai: Suzume no Tajomari. A hell of a program.