1. Run With The Wind
Run With The Wind follows a group of college students who gets tricked into joining a long distance running club. The word pan-art is used rarely these days, but I truly believe this anime is worthy of it. Everything about this show is great. The characters are unique and memorable, especially The Prince. There is a lot of ups and downs, challenges, you get to know them as people, and watch them change and grow. The music doesn’t lack behind either. All in all a beautiful show, that impacts you on a lot of levels every single episode.
2. Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans
This show is one of the best tragedies I have ever experienced. Throught two seasons of 20 plus episodes you follow a bunch of Martian orphans who struggle for their part under the sun. Most of them have no right, and are deemed Human Debris. But, with the leadership of Orga Itsuka and the combat abilities of Mikazuki Argus, they will try to change their conditions and by doing that the whole status quo in the solar system. The track Crescent Moon is one of my favorite compositions of the year. The ending of this show is one of the most desolating, bitter sweet experiences, almost as close to ending of The Americans or the Berserk’s Golden Company.
3. Odd Taxi
Disguised in a average children’s cartoon aesthetic, OddTaxi is a deep meditation on what it means to be an adult. We follow a taxi driving walrus named Odokawa. He is 41, single and isn’t really a people’s person. Beat for beat this is the best written show of the year for me. There are so many plots and subplots, which so many characters directly or indirectly entangled between each other. It is an incredible feat that all those threads got untangled in the last episode. Truly marvelous. A show with zero fat, and an all time series finale.
4. Moriarty the Patriot Season 2
The second season of Moriarty the Patriot is such a wonderful surprise. It really tricked me. Judging from the first season, I thought this show would just be two bishonen playing tricks and chasing each other in a well animated game of cat and mouse. I was dead wrong. Season two of this show is a masterful meditation on and exploration of the “Scapegoat” mythical archetype. It is a show rich on social issues. Even if it takes place in the fictional Victorian times, It manages to connect the dots to our times and our problems. This version of Moriarty is one of the more complex anime characters that I encountered in recent memory.
5. Jujutsu Kaisen
Best animated show of the year for me, with Attack on Titan coming in at second. In Medium Res is often overused and used badly, but not in this show. We start with our protagonist tied to a chair in a spooky room, with a cheerful , eyes covered ninja telling him that he is about to be killed. If that doesn’t hook you idk what will. Dealing with the mistakes of our past and living a life worth living, life full of doing good for others is the biggest take away from the show. That and a lot of brilliantly dynamic action sequences.
6. Doctor Stone Season 2
I needed this show so much. There has been a lot of bleakness both globally and personally in 2021. And having a show that is “Hey, if we put our heads together, think of solutions and stick to them, we might end up alive and well afterwards” really hit the spot. In the second season Senku and Co advance towards their kingdom of science, with the potential war with Tsukasa and his Kingdom Of Might looming ever larger. Things get invented, minds get changed and fun was had in season two of Doctor Stone.
7. Attack On Titan Final Season Part 1
This was the first thing I saw this year, and it stuck. Starting the year with something so bleak wasn’t the brightest idea in hindsight. I truly feel that this show is what people hoped the final season of Game of Thrones would be. The show utilizes time skip brilliantly. Watching the show feels very disorienting in the best way possible. But it hits hard with nihilism.
JK Simmons shines in this exciting parallel world spy thriller. After his wife ends up in the hospital, Howard Silk encounters his “Other”. They are vastly different people, and they team up of sorts to figure out how Howard’s wife ended up where she is. JK Simmons is great as is Harry Lloyd. The show has also one of the finest example of a true villain who has a good plan B.
9. Welcome to Plathville Season 2
I am fascinated by cults and how people end up joining them. The TLC show Welcome to Plathville follows a Christian cult of sorts. The Plath Family shuns most of the outside world, home schools their kids with limited to non access to the internet and higher education. It is the mother’s idea, and the father goes along with it. The married son, Ethan has a wife who appears a lot more normal than the average person on that show. What pushed this show so high on my list is the final confrontation between Ethan and his parents. It was an amazing moment of courage, growth, strength and will to fight the programming your grew up with.
10. Fire Force Season 2
A strong second season that builds on the promise of the first one. It pushes the central plot of Shinra’s past to the side a bit and focuses more on the backgrounds of various other characters, with the biggest focus on those nearest to Shinra, the crew of the 8th company. Especially enjoyed Maki’s fleshing out , as well as that of Joker and my main man Arthur.I can’t believe I’m saying this but I feel for Tamaki. In season one I felt like she’s totally useless, but they gave her a back story that I’m really pleased by and it changed the way I look at her.
SK8 The Infinity, Invincible, Mushoku Tensei, Venture Bros, Horimiya