What Were the Best Anime of 2021?

What Were the Best Anime of 2021?

We like doing our random seasonal award shows here, but I figured we needed a proper yearly one as well. One that’s, well, mostly the same, but there are a few more categories here and there.


Regardless, I’m biased and all that, and I haven’t seen every anime that aired this year, though I plan to up the amount next time. Just know that we’ll have a good time here and figure out what I thought was anime of the year and all that. I hated making that decision, I’ll tell you. Hurt my soul bad.


(Some beautiful stuff here)


To Your Eternity was absolutely wonderful. It didn’t actually get as many awards as I was expecting, because this was just such a good year, but I had to give it best first episode. Nothing else could get it.


You could make an entire film based on the first episode. Hell, the first episode already feels like a movie despite being 20 minutes. I’ve cried for it, and it warmed my heart. It did everything. It was wonderful.


(Lev doesn’t mess around and neither does this finale)


I told you before how good Irina The Vampire Cosmonaut was in general and specifically how perfect its finale is. Well, yeah, it’s a pretty perfect ending, and that’s not something I can say about many series. It was building up to it since the beginning, and it stuck the landing perfectly. Get it? Well, it kind of fits.


Shin and Lena
(I do love me some good drama)


Hey, look 86. What a surprise! Seriously, though, this spot is specifically for the first cour/season of this wonderful series. While season 2 is amazing and arguably better than the first one in some regards, season 1 is basically perfect.


One thing I respect about 86 is how perfect the beginning of it is. It’s a wonderful story in its own regard, even without the continuation, and I think that says a lot about the quality of it. I love that I can recommend an 11 episode series to anyone and know that they’ll get instant satisfaction from it. Great job, 86.


Vivy eyes
(Really stares into your soul)


Lot could have gone here. Lots of good thinking brain fuel this year, but I’m giving this to Vivy. Vivy was really quite good from beginning to end, and I’m an absolute sucker for any story about AI going rogue, so that will always reflect in my judgment.


I like thinking about our eventual demise at the hands of robots and androids. What can I say? And Vivy paints a very interesting scenario that, while similar to other stuff, was pretty damn unique in its own right. Vivy was also a very pretty series, which isn’t important for this part, but I want to mention it. We are capping off 2021 anime with this post anyway.


Shin being Shin
(He’s perfectly healthy)


In another world, Bojji from Ranking of Kings got this. To be perfectly honest, if I judge this similarly to best girl, I think he should have, but this is an example of some of my biases showing, and I really do feel like Shin is a better character overall.


That’s not to say Shin isn’t deserving of this spot; he definitely is, but I can’t act like my extreme love for his character isn’t a factor. Shin is but one damn-near-perfect character that shows off one of the main aspects of 86’s world. Lena is the side of the afflictor, and Shin is the afflicted.


He shows the weight that the Republic and the story at large can affect someone. He’s not a human as much as a complicated mess of patchwork and emotional strain trying to become human, and you know I love my screwed-up characters. He is a very maturely written and thoughtfully written character and that doesn’t change at all throughout his growth. He’s honestly freaking fantastic and a perfect lead for the story.


(Our hearts were not ready)


It’s not often that a character comes around that completely overtakes the anime community, but when it does happen, it’s usually for a good reason and deserves to be recognized. Some of these choices were hard. This one was not. Really. It took me like a second.


I knew immediately when I saw her that Sayu from Higehiro would claim best girl of 2021. She’s sweet, she comes from a rough background, and she’s a character that everyone just genuinely wishes the best for. The amount of people ready to kill for this girl the same way Yoshida would was honestly really sweet. She fits all the qualifications; therefore, she gets it, and I don’t think many would disagree.


Bojji and crew
(The character building is something else)


Every character in Ranking of Kings is surprisingly good. We can talk about Bojji and Kage all day and how good the main characters are, and that’s fine and good, but even the side characters are great.


Ranking of Kings has created a very rich world with its characters. Even the ones that seem lacking end up having deep relationships with other characters, and it all tangles into one giant web, often of drama, that leads to a lot of things throughout the series. It has wonderful characters.


Red and Rit being cute
(Take my award and respect, you two)


Lots of couples this year, but I’m giving this to the same one I did last season just for the surprise factor. Red and Rit from Banished From the Hero’s Party were adorable. They made the series better than it had any right to be. Watch it. It’s cute.


Hori and Miyamura
(It was a good series)


I love romance anime, so here’s a category for that. Once again, I’ve already talked quite a bit about Horimiya in a post. While I don’t think it was as amazing as some thought, It was very good and did deserve to be recognized, but for me, that’s mostly because of what it stands for.


Horimiya is just pure romance. No frills, no bells, and whistles, no catch to draw people in. It’s just a cute, wholesome romance about two people falling in love. No drama, no nothing. It’s an unapologetic love story, and I really love that we as a people can still appreciate those.


Bojji and Hilling
(It’s wonderful, really)


Ranking of Kings is beautiful. It has some of the most unique art I’ve ever seen, and that only brings it to life even more. It’s weird, it’s imaginative, and it almost feels like a storybook gone wrong and with much more blood and violence. It’s really good, and it beat everything else this year hard without even trying.


Only thing that could have came close was the season part of 86 for its stunning art direction and camera shots, but I’m going more on style and consistency than technique.


Shin in the opening
(My boy has never looked better)


I try to be fair in these and spread the love to different series, but for the yearly awards, I don’t care. I give it to whatever I think deserves it. Kyokaisen, once again from 86, takes this so quick. Song is an absolute banger, as the kids say these days. The visuals are so good it hurts, and there’s tons of amazing imagery and foreshadowing for fans to sink their teeth into. It’s godly.


The bestest friends in Ranking of Kings
(I love them so damn much)


I’m changing an opinion again. You know 86 and Ranking of Kings are the two standouts for me, and the opening and endings are no different. Oz is a beautiful song that goes wonderfully with the visuals that are also stunning.


I literally can’t watch it without crying. Every single time I see it, I’m dead. It’s something about the emotions packed in the whole series, but especially that ending that just tears me up. It’s really good.


Takt and Destiny Killin
(That’s not how I play music)


Part of me thought this should go to Ranking of Kings, but it’d be kind of sad if I didn’t give Takt Op, the series around music, the award for best soundtrack. It is quite good. I like classical music anyway. It does what it is supposed to do really well. I talked about it here.


Looking at the moon
(This anime was far better than it should have been)


I loved Irina the Vampire Cosmonaut. I loved it so much, and I think it was a sleeper this year. I saw very few people talk about it, which is a shame because it’s damn good. Seriously, it isn’t only a good, stupid premise. It’s actually made well. Like, wow. It’s the definition of this award, so there you go.


Kimi being Kimi
(This pic is somewhat unrelated. I did like my boy)


Again, I talked about Deadtective more in-depth before. Just know that I really wanted to like it, and I really wanted it to be good, but some poor choices, some by the author and some by the adaptation, resulted in me having sour memories of a series that definitely had a lot of potential.


Emma and Drago
(I forgot how bad this was until I saw this again)


I’ve never talked about it, but I loved The Promised Neverland like a lot. It was amazing. So when I heard it was getting another season, I was thrilled, and then it came out, and I was not.


Truth be told, I feel for manga readers. I’ve seen some of the ways that they trashed the source material, but it didn’t bother me since I didn’t read it. What bothered me was the horrible ending. 


The season was, overall, ok, I thought from my anime-only viewpoint, but it was quite a change and really crapped on everything it had built towards the end. The disrespect for manga readers was the icing on the cake. I really don’t know how they screwed it so bad.


Mushoku Tensei
(I said I’d do it)


I didn’t watch basically anything from Winter. I didn’t actively keep up with seasonal stuff then. However, if I did, Mushoku Tensei would have probably got it. I mean, I haven’t watched it yet myself, but I have to put it on my award show since Crunchyroll wouldn’t.


Lena and the moon
(86 was good. What can I say?)


Ding, ding, ding! Spring wasn’t a bad season by any means, but I’m calling 86 the best, and, as such, it’s one of the finalists.


Sonny Boy normal stuff
(Sonny Boy is still wild)


Summer wasn’t the best season. It was full of pretty ok stuff, but despite its weirdness, or maybe because of it, I crowned Sonny Boy as the best one.


Bojji stronk
(Bojji will steal your heart)


You know it goes to Ranking of Kings. It’s not even competition and let’s not pretend it ever was. God, do I hate that this anime had to air this year.


Banished From the Hero’s Party: 1

The Detective is Already Dead: 1

Higehiro: 1

Horimiya: 1

Mushoku Tensei: 1

Promised Neverland (Season 2): 1

Sonny Boy: 1

Takt Op: 1

To Your Eternity: 1

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song: 1

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut: 2

86: 4

Ranking of Kings: 4


(I have to)


I wanted, more than you could ever realize, to give this to 86. I’m head over heels for the series. I went out and read almost all 8 of the light novels currently translated in the span of a few weeks, and I’m dying for the anime to continue.


I think it’s a fantastic series that outdid so many others that aired this year, and I think it’s easily the most I’ve enjoyed a series in a long time. Unfortunately, Ranking of Kings was better.


I’ll tell you all the reasons it’s so good in the eventual review when it finishes airing, but all you need to do is just read all the positive things basically everyone who has watched it has to say. They’re all correct. It absolutely deserves every bit of praise it’s getting. Should probably be getting more.


Ranking of Kings, I really, really hate you for taking this away from 86, but I’ll forgive you because I also love everything about you.


Thank you very much for reading


I’m sad.

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