2021 has been a crucial year for the anime industry, as the combination of renewed classics and new proposals has filled streaming platforms with content. Unlike cinema, for example, anime has emerged victorious after the pandemic … and although perhaps not all of it is good news for creators, users have been able to find fresh ideas and memorable characters.
Therefore, just as we already did with movies, video games, and television series, we have selected our ten favorite animes to remember 2021 as one of the most critical years for Japanese animation. Whether we were going to a galaxy far, far away, or getting carried away by teenage gangs, there was plenty of anime to enjoy throughout the year, and indeed there are some you don’t know yet.
1. Tokyo Revengers
Few of us would have imagined the success of combining time travel with Japanese gangs. However, for mangaka Ken Wakui this was the winning combination he enchanted the otaku world within 2021. But don’t get ahead of yourself, as Tokyo Ravengers goes far beyond a typical time travel story. Takemichi Hanagaki discovers, after the death of his high school sweetheart and her younger brother, that he can travel back in time, precisely 12 years in the past. His unexpected journey and the death of his old love are related to a gang known as the Tokyo Manji, a team with which Takemichi will have to explore old stories.
2. Jujutsu Kaisen
It seems that magic and curses have been the protagonists of our lives for a couple of years, but for Jujutsu Kaisen, these two situations are just beginning, and they have done it in a big way. Through a massive guide to cursed items, monsters that a few people can only see, and unbridled action with those who control the power of darkness, Jujutsu Kaisen has quickly placed itself among the most popular anime of the year, with a great combination. Without leaving behind the always powerful message of helping everyone without asking for anything in return, between action and good humor.
We’ve seen dozens of romance stories from the anime, but Horimiya manages to capture something different with his particular high school love story. In the first place, we are not facing the shy girl who hardly speaks, but with a brave and intelligent student who tries to help everyone around her, especially her brother. On the other hand, the boy is introverted, designated as the weirdo in the room, but his appearance is different on the streets. However, his personality and his fears remain intact. It is incredible how these two people, who have different life rhythms, can have extraordinary chemistry from the first moment they meet.
Hiroki Adachi (AKA Hero) has carried this story through a good number of formats, starting with self-publishing through an online manga, through print in a traditional design, OVAs, anime, and even a live-action drama for Japan. . And it is that yes, the strange and complex interaction between Hori and Miyamura is what traps us from the first episode. Still, the magic behind Horimiya is in the moments where we can feel identified with the way their relationship develops, the group of friends that surround them, or the opposite personalities of both protagonists. It’s a shame that there is only one season at the moment. – Samanta Guerrero / César Ovando
It is an anime without threads, and of which it is not necessary to see one chapter after another to understand what is happening. This is Gokushufudou or From Yakuza to HouseMaster. Tatsu, who has left his past as one of the strongest and most respected Yakuza behind, has become a householder with the sole purpose of helping Miku, his wife. However, Tatsu has a peculiar style for his new life, keeping some of the rules and techniques of his old days in the Japanese mafia, which confuses and intimidates his neighbors and former enemies, at the same time that he enchants his new companions. In household chores.
5. Star Wars Visions
Disney + took its first critical step in anime with the launch of 9 animated shorts developed by Japanese studios, inspired by the Star Wars universe. Without the bonds of canon and with a freedom that surprises from the House of the Mouse, Vision was a pleasant surprise in a year dominated by the Marvel series, with stories and characters that emanate a unique personality but have enormous respect for the original work, and that comes to promote the legacy in an unprecedented way, with fresh and avant-garde ideas.
6. Beastars (Season 2)
Beastars delivered a second season much more entertaining and profound than you might imagine, all through shocking moments within a society of animals full of classism and sexism and significant evolution in its protagonists. Beastars are a dark reflection on our community, where all species’ roles and the power some can exercise over others due to their “nature” are openly discussed. And, of course, there is a wolf who wants to fuck a rabbit.
7. Sailor Moon Eternal
Sailor Moon Eternal will be memorable for one reason: having respected the legacy that changed the lives of so many people and influenced so many artists. Thanks to Netflix, Sailor Moon Eternal, the continuation of the sailor Moon Crystalremake, premiered in Mexico as a two-part independent work that brought the soul back to the iconic franchise in a way that not many series manage to do: with the style of classic animation of the original work, as Naoko Takeuchi introduced us to the magical warriors in the nineties. In an age when everything seems to have been done with paws, Sailor Moon Eternal is a work that will remain etched in our minds for a long, long time.
8. The Promised Neverland (Season 2)
The second season of The Promised Neverland may be far from surpassing its predecessor, but I decided to bring it to the list for a simple whim and the love I have for the series. Before 2020 the only anime I consumed with many religiosities was DBZ, and The Promised Neverland came to me as if to say: are you a loser?
After The Promised Neverland, I wanted to expand my references in the anime (although I still can’t do it). I also saw Evangelion, and I’m not sure what the hell happened, but both produced a very notable change in me. Anime, cinema, and music are very similar in that sometimes one work leads to another, and suddenly you are already trapped in a loop where it is good to belong.
9. My Hero Academia (Season 5)
The long-awaited fifth season of My Hero Academia left us with mixed feelings. Still, between the hype for the return of these beloved characters, the arrival of their new movie, and the promises for the sixth part … we think it is worth leaving it among the best of the year. We were looking forward to seeing more about One For All and All For One and better development for Deku, Bakugo, and Todoroki. But you have to remember that this strange hiatus with the heroes gave the villains more time.
10. Pokémon Evolutions
Pokémon turned 25 in 2021, leaving us with a wave of totally new content inspired by the franchise, ranging from a Katy Perry song with Pikachu to the next release of Pokémon Legends Arceus. However, there was a little recap of animated shorts that stole my heart. Eight episodes released through YouTube that reinvent the dead pixels of the Game Boy and other Nintendo consoles to deliver an excellent recreation of the epic battles we always imagine when playing video games.