Winter 2021 Anime Season
January 4, 2021 6:00 PM - Subscribe

A new year, a new you, a new season of anime. AniChart. MyAnimeList

Over 50 series (including new, returning, sequels and shorts), a considerable increase in shows compared to the Covid-blighted seasons of 2020.
posted by ardgedee (21 comments total)
A show that's slight but fun is "Oh! Egyptian God!" on Crunchyroll; it isn't appearing in the winter season lists, but it started in early December and is worth checking out. Each episode is only about 6 minutes.

This seasons' isekai is not promising. There's the second season of "That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime", which hopefully will not be as fan-servicy as some of the extra episodes that had come out between the first season and now. Re:Zero second season continues (about which I'm pretty meh). Mushoku Tensei is a LN and manga (both with spinoffs) that oscillate wildly between some pretty sturdy adventure storytelling and some pretty obnoxious fanservice -- I've enjoyed the manga but mostly because it allows me to skim the cringey shit that's probably going to be awfully in-your-face on video. "Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?" is about a Japanese hikkikomori who gets reincarnated as a spider, the manga is a lot of fun but it's also awfully grotesque since it's about spiders and the various stomach-churning things spiders gotta do (even when they're OP magic-wielding spiders) and there are very few appearances from humans, considerably fewer in which humans successfully engage with spiders, so I honestly have no idea whether the anime will have the slightest bit in common with the LN or manga since the showcard features cute girl-eyed spiders and a broad cast of people hanging out with them. "Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi" is a pitch-black revenge fantasy, full of cynicism and no small amount of rapiness, I'm giving that one a miss. "Ore dake Haireru Kakushi Dungeon" uses fanservice as a plot mechanic and that's about all there is to say about it.

Non-isekai that look more interesting: "Tatoeba Last Dungeon..." is a silly story based on the JRPG trope that there's the one town where you start the game because the quests are easy, and the other place just before the last boss that you can only reach after you've appropriately built and buffed your player character. The first episode is out now and threatens to be more fanservicey and haremy than I remember the manga being, but hopefully they tone that shit down because it'll get in the way of a genuinely fun albeit short-lived series.

The second season of "Cells at Work" will be hopefully as good as the first one. And "Cells at Work BLACK" is going to be either amazing or horrible, possibly both.

"Ura Sekai Picnic" is intriguing. The manga didn't hold my attention but the worldbuilding was very good and there was more depth to the story than what you'd assume from a cover image of women toting guns.

"Tenchi Souzou Design-bu" might be good, might be trash. I like the premise of an animal design studio enough that I want to see how it plays out here.

Anyway, for all that, I'll probably only end up watching three or four shows, like I usually do.
posted by ardgedee at 6:33 PM on January 4

I read the first volume of "Cells at Work BLACK" Curious how that'll translate to the screen.

Some folks on twitter are a little salty about "Skate-Leading Stars" ("why make up a skating sport when hockey is right there?"). I haven't heard anything about the new volleyball show, but it will be interesting to compare it to Haikyuu.

As for returning series, Jujutsu Kaisen has reeled me in and I hope the new opening and closing songs are as good as the ones in the first cour.

I've been reading the Beastars manga, but only watched a few episodes of the first series; I need to catch up so I can watch the new series.
posted by mogget at 7:53 PM on January 4

Looking forward to seeing at least the first arc of Horimiya animated.

Dreading Log Horizon S3 since it is still DEEEEEEEN!

Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? is apparently based on the LN where they simultaneously follow the MC's human classmates unlike the manga where that's left out for some reason. As a manga reader this means I'll get to see the other half of the story - though considering how long the manga has gone focusing only on the MC without her even interacting in the slightest with her classmates I wonder how well that will actually work.

And of course Higurashi is continuing - looking forward for some answer arcs.
posted by charred husk at 8:26 AM on January 5

> Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? is apparently based on the LN where they simultaneously follow the MC's human classmates unlike the manga where that's left out for some reason.

The manga is pretty dense -- the MC's got a nonstop internal narrative so the chapters tend to be very wordy whether or not anything's happening. The editor and/or mangaka probably decided that it was better to just focus entirely on the MC rather than try to split the narrative where they might have to spend too many pages for one side or the other just to keep their timelines in sync.
posted by ardgedee at 2:44 PM on January 5

I'm just... trying out a lot of things this season. I probably need to drop a few, just to have time to watch everything.

I'm looking forward to some sequels, in particular the final (I think) chapter of Nanatsu no Taizai.

And, I actually thought that Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi sounded interesting, just based on its official blurb. Argedee is making it sound like the same basic plot as Shield Hero. I hope it's not as rapey on screen as is being suggested. So many possibly interesting stories seem to get ruined by that.

I'm going to try sitting with some popcorn and seeing just how bad of a train wreck Ex-Arm ends up being. There's an interesting enough meta-story around the making of the show, that I almost think it deserves its own FPP.

And, I'm definitely noping on out of that spider thing.

(I'm must seem like I'm pretty down on stuff, but I'm actually quite glad that there's a lot to choose from right now. )

A few that I'm taking flyers on: Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun, Horimiya, and Wonder Egg Priority. I expect to drop at least one of these, but I'm surprising myself by being a bit more interested in romcom and slice-of-life shows this time around. Maybe it's 2021-fueled optimism? :)
posted by Citrus at 10:34 PM on January 5

> I actually thought that Kaifuku Jutsushi no Yarinaoshi sounded interesting, just based on its official blurb. [...] I hope it's not as rapey on screen as is being suggested.

I haven't read either of the LN, but the manga version of Kaifuku Jutsushi... is a hell of a lot darker than the manga version of Shield Hero. It opens with a revenge rape, then a time-skip backwards to a couple dozen pages of the MC being pointlessly tortured (viscerally, not just psychologically tormented), and that's all just for setting the scene before the story begins. Hopefully that shit is toned down for video, but who fucking knows? There's not much left after taking out the misogyny and occasional homophobia.
posted by ardgedee at 5:08 AM on January 6

Has anyone done an isekai where someone comes back as a truck?
posted by RobotHero at 8:39 PM on January 10

First episode of Cells at Work Code Black was fantastic if horrifying. Glad I don’t smoke, holy shit.

Slime really lost me in the second cour so I’m not hoping for much here. It was great when it was basically Civilization: The Anime or an Overlord Paragon playthough, but the last several episodes devolved into DBZ-style “Oh yeah?! Well I secretly have even MORE power!!” I’ll still give it a shot but definite back-burner. If I’m going to spend time on problematic isekai it needs to be either Konosuba levels of funny or Overlord levels of...something. Total commitment to the core concept, I guess.

Nobody’s mentioned that Promised Neverland S2 is airing. The first season was about three episodes too long but it was absolutely fantastic for the first half. I have no idea where they go from here but I’m willing to give it a shot.

Has anyone done an isekai where someone comes back as a truck?

The closest would be Isekai Transporter (MC drives a truck) or the Reborn As A Vending Machine light novels. Neither are what you mean, but people have been asking for something like this long enough that it will probably happen eventually.
posted by Ryvar at 10:42 AM on January 12

I was about to mention Isekai Transporter. Anime studios rarely look outside Japan for material (the mangaka is Thai, the story's set in Thailand), but I really wish they would try adapting that. I expected a one-note gag comic but they do an interesting job with the world building and touch on the sort of psychopathy that would be needed to be Truck-Kun's driver.

The second story arc of Slime is unnecessarily complicated (the story explodes in all directions through over half a dozen POVs) and considerably darker than the first arc, all to build up to a grand climax you saw coming from miles away. I'm watching it just to watch it, expectations set low. The production quality seems to have slipped too, characters were going off-model in the first episode.

The second season of Cells At Work seems to have been taken up by a completely other production studio. The art style and animation styles are different, the production makes choices that feel out of character with the first season. So far I'm underwhelmed. Haven't watched the Code Black series yet but it's in queue.

(I can't remember the US titles for most of these so I'm winging it, sorry.)

Isekai Spider came out better than I expected but the big anime girl eyes are endlessly annoying. It has the feel of a B-list studio working with an A-list budget; lavishly produced but so many details and directorial choices seem off. The story is almost entirely focused on the spider, the interlude with the other characters seem to be mostly there to provide a break from the nonstop monologue; there are a lot of character introductions but otherwise there doesn't seem to have been a point to their six-minute vignette.

Mushoku Tensei is impressively big-budget. Not as bad as I expected, but weirdly seems even more determined than the manga was to focus on the MC being an irredeemable incel pervert. Which bothered my wife less than me; I wonder if it's because the show is pretty ruthless about how unsavory the dude is being? We'll see if the show ends up outstaying our welcome.

Animal Design Studio turns out to be a gentle turn-brane-off-and-stare show. It's as much a workplace comedy as anything else. If you work in marketing, design, software, or any kind of professional consulting, the show might be painfully on the nose at times.

Boy from the Last Dungeon is thoroughly silly and entertaining. Another good turn-brane-off show, but with enough story to engage brane anyway.
posted by ardgedee at 12:50 PM on January 12

Drop what you're doing and watch Wonder Egg Priority.

Best show this season.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:55 PM on January 12

THANK YOU for the Wonder Egg Priority rec, I immediately fell in love with it. Super excited to watch more.

Also, I've been seeing Jujutsu Kaisen fanart everywhere, but I'm not sure if I'd enjoy watching it.. is there anything in particular that sets it apart from other shonen?
posted by Lurch at 6:33 PM on January 13

I've been enjoying Jujutsu Kaisen a lot. I think what sets it apart from other battle shonen with teenaged protagonists is that the adult characters are aware of their responsibility as adults with respect to the teenaged characters (e.g. Nanami, and even Ijichi). Actually the adult characters are really great, especially jujutsu sorcerer turned salaryman turned jujutsu sorcerer Nanami.

There are some beautifully animated battle scenes, and so far it's been an excellent adaptation. But I wouldn't recommend it to somebody who's not into battle shonen, and especially supernatural battle shonen.
posted by needled at 1:52 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Anime Feminist has posted their seasonal first-episode reviews.
posted by ardgedee at 5:34 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

Quick question since I’m new to anime club/Fanfare Talk in general: would anyone be up for a 2020 seasonal anime in review/wrapup post? Should that go in FFTalk or main Fanfare?

I’m happy to do it if that’s appropriate/nobody else wants to. The past year’s must-watch for me were Dorohedoro, Akudama Drive, and honestly not much else.
posted by Ryvar at 4:53 AM on January 15

I had been thinking about this too. You should do it!

(I have some thoughts on the 2020 season, but I'll wait 'til there's a thread for it. ʕ•̫͡•ʕ*̫͡*ʕ•͓͡•ʔ-̫͡-ʕ•̫͡•ʔ*̫͡*ʔ-̫͡-ʔ )
posted by ardgedee at 8:47 AM on January 15

So I'm surprised that Otherside Picnic hasn't been mentioned at all here. I liked the manga, and of the series premiering it's setting and plot (based on "Roadside Picnic" and urban legends) is far more original than the usual repetition of video game fantasy and Isekai
posted by happyroach at 11:34 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]

Is anyone here having the problem we're having with Funimation where some episodes just don't stream? Eg, for us the second episode of "Cells at Work" and first episode of "CaW: Code Black" won't stream at all, the app appears to be treating them as missing files regardless of device reboots, router reboots, day of the week, etc. We're using AppleTV, fwiw.
posted by ardgedee at 10:08 AM on January 18

Heck with doing a 2020 wrap-up thread in Fanfare, it sounds like something that would make a good post on the blue.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:15 PM on January 18

No 2020 wrap-up can be complete without mention of Eizouken. I also really liked Id: Invaded and In/Spectre.

First episode of Wonder Egg Priority left me feeling annoyed and underwhelmed. I hope there's some kind of payoff in the next 2 episodes, as my impression of episode 1 is it's trying to do Ikuhara but failing.

There are A LOT of anime this season, but none of the first episodes have made a strong impression with me at this point. I hope at least one of them manages to pull me in with their second episode the way Zombieland Saga did, where I was a bit meh after episode 1 but was completely sold after watching episode 2.
posted by needled at 4:57 PM on January 18

My drops so far: Kemono Jihen (Dark, gross, and... boring.), Wixoss (I really liked the original. This... is not that.), and I tried to watch Ex-Arm. It didn't even give me enough to laugh at. It almost felt like they were trying to troll the audience. Or, maybe just Crunchyroll?

Favorites so far are Wonder Egg Priority and Horimiya. I'm also a bit surprised at how much I'm enjoying Mushoku Tensei.
posted by Citrus at 7:16 PM on January 18

After 3 episodes I think I'm in on for the rest of Back Arrow. It's like Code Geass and Gurren Lagann had a love child. And if Kamina and Ryuko (Kill La Kill) had a baby he'd look and talk just like the nominal main character. Not surprising, given the folks involved with this series.

So far it's a fun old-school mecha show that's had some LOL moments for me with the shoutouts to the aforementioned older series.
posted by needled at 8:15 AM on January 23

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