5 Winter 2021 anime that stand out

Today I’ll be looking at some of the anime that have stood out so far during the winter season. It’s been a very stacked season and a lot of the shows I’ve been watching are sequels. This leaves the amount of new shows I’ve had time for quite low, but there are enough good shows to make a list, so that’s what we’ll be looking at today.

5) Kemono Jihen

Shiki (left) Kabane (center) and Akira (right)

The first anime on this list is interesting. It follows a young boy who is a hanjo. He doesn’t know his parents and the aunt taking care of him has mistreated him most of his life because he gives off a weird smell. When something starts going wrong in the little village they live in, the people are quick to blame Kabane, even though he is not responsible for what happens. The hired detective Inugami-san then helps him out by inviting him to live with him. It turns out he has other youkai living with him as well, and they solve youkai-related problems together. The characters are very fun, and Kon, who is introduced a few episodes in, is absolutely adorable. Definitely give this a watch.

4) Sk8 the Infinity

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All the pretty boys this season.

Believe it or not, I used to spend my days in the local skatepark trying beginner tricks on my budget inline skates. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good at it, but I had some friends who were very good at it. To this day I’ve met very few people who are as friendly and inclusive as skaters. It seems like they all agree to just share the hobby they love with whoever is interested, no questions asked. Sk8 nails this feeling, as all the people involved immediately seem to be good people on the surface, just trying to have fun and perform cool stunts. Some of them do this in less conventional ways than others, but the point stands. With great art, cool character designs and an ending that absolutely slaps this has quickly wormed its way into my heart. If you like cute boys doing anything, or if you like skateboarding you should check this out. Even if you’re like me and cute boys aren’t at the top of your priority list, that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate this show.

3) Kumo Desu ga, nanika?

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Kumoko Desu o/

I’d heard about this show before it started airing, but I hadn’t really heard much about it. From what I could find it is originally based on a web novel. In a market where Isekai shows are everywhere you can look it’s hard to still be interesting. Even if a new Isekai anime is based on older material, we still judge it harshly because of how much competition it has. The thing that Kumo does differently from other shows is that it takes its time exploring the world mechanics a lot more. Slime, which has its second season airing right now, did this as well, but to a lesser extent. We spend a long time in the underground caves with our spidery main character who is very hyper yet charming at the same time. Personally I think it was a good choice that they introduced the other characters immediately, as I believe that wasn’t the case in the novel from what comments have suggested. With an in depth skill system and some mystery as to what happened to this class, this show seems like it will be a fun ride. Hell, maybe it’s the next step in curing my arachnophobia.

2) Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.

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The poster for Mushoku Tensei

I wasn’t a fan of this show early on. The main character came across as an absolute creep and an all around weird guy. This isn’t a bad thing, but to me it wasn’t clear immediately that the author knows this. What I mean to say with this, is that lots of main characters are creeps but it’s somehow considered a charming part of the character. Rudy on the other hand is a creep and the author is very much aware. He spent his life on earth being a NEET and being bullied from the few glimpses we get into his past. Just like Kumo Desu Ka, this show takes its time establishing its cast, and more importantly pointing out how flawed some of the people are. They don’t just gloss over bad behavior, there are consequences to actions. And Rudy isn’t a super strong chick magnet who is amazing at everything. He’s scared of going outside, he finds out that his magic is quite strong, but then almost immediately meets someone even better. His social skills are awful, his personality is definitely foul at times, but he also shows growth. He diffuses a difficult situation at his house and he tries to be a better person. After hating him initially, I’m slowly starting to root for him. Besides that, the show looks gorgeous and it looks like it will go on for a little while, which is also quite nice.

1) Horimiya

Like many people, I wasn’t aware of Horimiya before it started airing. I’d seen some talk about it, so I figured the manga was kind of popular. Only later I found out through a youtube video that it is one the highest rated manga of all time on Myanimelist.com. And from the few glances we’ve gotten so far that seems to be for a good reason. The characters are fun, the story set-up seems interesting for a romance show and most importantly; the plot moves. It doesn’t move at a ridiculous pace, but things happen. The titular characters Hori-san and Miyamura become friends in the first episode and they actually hang out almost immediately and often. There seems to be something below the surface with Miyamura, and I’m curious to find out more about it. I do wonder why he decided to get such big tattoos and so many piercings at a young age. It could definitely be just a fashion statement, but there might be a reason to rebel behind it. As someone who has never read the manga I am very excited to see what’s going to happen next.

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It’s too bad I’m not into men, because he absolutely nails the look here.

There are other good shows airing this season that didn’t make the list. Examples are Heaven’s Design Team and Urasekai Picnic. On top of this, the final season of Attack on Titan, as well as sequels to many shows I adore are currently airing. I don’t have time to include all of them here, but I will probably review some series when this season has ended, so look forward to that. And you? Which shows did I miss that should have made this list? Leave a comment down below to let me know!

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