Spring 2021 Anime Season
March 9, 2021 4:43 PM - Subscribe

Holy crap it's that time already. Place your bets! AniChart. MyAnimeList.

48 new (or sequel) full-length series, 7 new short series... maybe the anime industry is coming out of the doldrums.
posted by ardgedee (14 comments total)
"Spider" and "Back Arrow" continue, which makes me happy. Both are good, albeit in different ways and for different reasons.

On the isekai watch: "Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu" is about a Japanese woman who gets isekai'd along with another woman; the MC gets disregarded because the other one is cuter, so she decides to have her best life. This is adapted from a shoujo series, and in shojo LN/manga "The MC gets disregarded and decides to have her best life" is a genre all to itself, so while it shouldn't suffer from the T&A-emphasized adaptations that other isekai have had, it could still end up annoyingly treacly. "Marimashita! Iruma-Kun 2" is hopefully as good as the first series was. "Tensura Nikki: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken" is one of many spinoffs of the "Reincarnated as a Slime" series, all of which (including this one) are pretty lightweight slice-of-life or comedy series. "Slime Taoshite 300-nen, Shiranai Uchi ni Level Max ni Nattemashita" has nothing to do with "Reincarnated as a Slime", it's about a woman who gets isekaied, and after developing god-tier powers from living for centuries killing slimes decides to have a laid-back life. "Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu Ω" is the second season of a relatively threadbare story about a guy isekai'd into his favorite RPG as a demon lord.

Oh well, since "Spider" continues, I'm happy.

"Super Cub" sounds interesting: A high schooler finds something to live for after buying a Super Cub motorbike and riding through the countryside. The production is, unsurprisingly, underwritten by Honda.

Most excited about "Zombieland Saga" season 2. And Thunderbolt Fantasy season 3, even though it's not appearing in AC's or MAL's listings.
posted by ardgedee at 5:07 PM on March 9

A lot of people complain about the overabundance of Isekai but what really bugs me is the sheer number of new series that overtly use video game mechanics and tropes. Friends, it's possible for a fantasy world to just... not have experience and level grinding and player classes and HP/MP. Even if (especially if?) the show in question is based on an actual video game.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:58 PM on March 9

A lot of isekai is explicitly based in gaming worlds, though, as the places the MCs get transported into. A few of them are even franchises of real RPG games, underwritten by the game companies. So having the mechanics and tropes makes sense there. For that matter, my understanding (admittedly via "white boy explains Japan to you" type things, so I'm eager to be corrected) is that western-style high fantasy became big in Japan primarily via "Zelda" and subsequent JRPGs rather than novels or manga, and the continuing success of JRPGs in console and mobile gaming has made game mechanics a natural part of the milieu. If nothing else, the appearance of a slime saying, "I'm not a bad slime" is an in-jokey pop culture reference as reliable there as, I dunno, making a "Ghostbusters" or "Terminator" or "Jaws" reference, and that's a callback to "Dragon Quest".

Setting aside the stories explicitly set within game worlds, the use of game mechanics varies a lot qualitatively. Some stories use them to good effect, (minor spoiler) like in "So I'm a Spider" where the fact the MC can view her and others' stats and to some extent edit her abilities, while her fellow isekaied classmates don't or can't, is a plot point. At the other end of the spectrum many stories just use them as a cheap form of exposition, so you can be relieved to not have to face pages of explanation of how the MC can now punch God in the face.

So I want to say I'm tired of it but I guess my real feeling about it is I find a lot of uses of it tiresome but sometimes it works.

(Sidebar: One of the more interesting isekai manga currently is "Isekai Munchkin", in which the MC gets dropped into a literal Dungeons & Dragons world rather than a literal JRPG. His only cheat is, instead of a status board, the tome he lifted off the goddess that transported him, which contains effectively the DM Guide and Player's handbook and character sheets. Being otherwise extremely underpowered even by the norms of the world's NPCs, he claws his way through using his secret knowledge and occasionally playing by Air Bud rules. If you've ever been a DM, think of the most annoying player you've had to deal with, the one who never cheats but also only plays lip service to the spirit of the game. That's this guy. The author makes sure that having what amounts to divine knowledge rarely provides more than a marginal advantage in any situation, so even with the usual MC plot armor the story stays tight and interesting. Also the indulgence in D&D tropes rather than JRPG tropes feels like a breath of fresh air in what's otherwise a pretty rote pulp swords & sorcery manga.)
posted by ardgedee at 6:08 AM on March 10

Yeah, but, Shadows House. Shadows House! Beautiful art and intriguing story.
posted by charred husk at 6:18 PM on March 11

Anything to watch with my 13yo? No sexism or overt ecchi, please.
posted by signal at 7:22 AM on March 13

For the Spring season it's too early to tell, unfortunately. We've seen recently that some animation studios are happy to append gratuitous fanservice to the squeakiest-clean source material, and it's still three weeks until those series begin airing.

My recommendation for now is to keep an eye on Anime Feminist, where the reviewers usually take pains to note which shows have adult (or adult-ish) content.

You could re-ask in the Winter 2021 thread and people can make recommendations from what's currently showing on the US streaming services.
posted by ardgedee at 12:29 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]

I'm not too optimistic about this season just from descriptions, aside from Zombieland Saga 2, but maybe there'll end up being a few good shows with all- or nearly-all female casts.
posted by one for the books at 3:15 PM on March 13

> Anything to watch with my 13yo? No sexism or overt ecchi, please.

As ardgedee said, it's too early to tell with the new series coming in the Spring season. But Back Arrow is continuing from Winter, and I think it's a worth a try - it's a fun old school mecha series, kind of like if Gurren Lagann and Code Geass had a love child, minus the Gainax / Trigger male gaze fan service stuff. Jujutsu Kaisen, wrapping up at the end of Winter season, is another recommendation, if you and your kid are into supernatural battle shonen. Some characters say stuff that might be considered sexist but they're acknowledged meatheads who are put in their place by other characters.
posted by needled at 8:04 AM on March 14

Oh, forgot the second season of Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun is in the spring season, too. I've recommended this one to other folks to watch with their children and got the thumbs up. You will need to start with Season 1, though. It's a fun school comedy which aired on NHK's Educational channel.
posted by needled at 10:19 AM on March 14

"Iruma-kun" is very good, although I recommend prescreening one or two random episodes before watching with your 13yo. While the overall premise is one of accepting people and making friends, and everything is very cartoony, it is set in Hell and there are characters like succubi and incubi (though the eroticism is about as explicit as it would be on a US prime-time sitcom, and is played for laughs). There are plenty of families in the US who wouldn't have a problem with the show but I'm certain there are also plenty of families who would.
posted by ardgedee at 5:23 PM on March 14

Anything to watch with my 13yo? No sexism or overt ecchi, please.

I like the looks of Sayonara Watashi no Cramer, which is a girls football (soccer to you yanks) story about the usual rag tag bunch of misfits becoming champions. It's based on a manga, which is available from Kodansha Comics if you want to check it out.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:00 PM on March 23

I'm not sold on Cramer's thing where people can phase their face through fences. I understand it's supposed to be like erasing part of the eyeglasses in profile, but it's a bit much.
posted by RobotHero at 6:54 PM on April 6

Okay, I really enjoyed the first episode of ODDTAXI. It feels like the parts of indie comics that I like.
posted by RobotHero at 7:50 PM on April 6

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