Another season of anime has come and gone, so once again I’ll be looking back at some of the things I enjoyed most from what I was watching.
Here’s the list of what I watched, expect potential spoilers for any of these shows:
- Attack on Titan Final Season
- Azur Lane: Slow Ahead
- BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS
- Cells at Work!!
- Cells at Work! Code Black
- Idoly Pride
- Laid-Back Camp Season 2
- LBX Girls
- Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table
- Non Non Biyori Nonstop
- One Piece
- Otherside Picnic
- Show By Rock!! Stars!!
- Tropical-Rouge PreCure!
- Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2
- VLAD LOVE
- WIXOSS DIVA(A)LIVE
- WONDER EGG PRIORITY
- World Witches Take Off!
With that said and done, let’s take a look back at the winter 2021 season of anime.Best Opening Theme
“Different” by BAND-MAID
I’ll be honest, I was disappointed to discover that they were not bringing back “database feat. TAKUMA (10-FEET)” for the third season of Log Horizon, but this new opening theme by BAND-MAID is solid, even if it is “Different”.
Choosing between this and VLAD LOVE‘s “Winds of Transylvania” opening theme was tough, as both are great.
Runners-up: “Winds of Transylvania” by LOVEBITES (VLAD LOVE); “Hashire! with Seiya Yamasaki (Kyusonekokami)” by Hiroyuki Hayashi (Polysics) (Cells at Work! Code Black)
Wonder Egg PriorityWONDER EGG PRIORITY is something special, of that I have no doubt. It covers some heavy themes, but theme worth talking about nonetheless. The representation we get from this anime is something that we don’t see very often. Easily the most compelling show of the season.
Runners-up: Horse girls’ determination (Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2); The Round Table’s destruction (Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table)
Ai OhtoWONDER EGG PRIORITY‘s main protagonist is Ai Ohto, who had shut herself away from the world at the beginning of the show – and with good reason. However, she discovers the Wonder Eggs, and her growth leads to her making new friends and even being willing to fight for what she believes in.
Runners-up: Tokai Teio (Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2); Hirana Asu (WIXOSS DIVA(A)LIVE)
Witch of Delays
Actually a little light on named antagonists in the shows I watched this season, so Tropical-Rouge! PreCure‘s Witch of Delays gets this one, even though she has not done anything yet. That also happens to be her thing, though; she’s a procrastinator. A pretty strong first impression for a PreCure villain.
Runners-up: Jigen (BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS); Ereinus (Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table)
Best Female Character
Honestly, any of the girls from WONDER EGG PRIORITY could have also easily been here, but I feel like I should perhaps vary things up a bit. Besides, Tokai Teio was easily the star of the second season of Umamusume: Pretty Derby, even if she had any hurdles to overcome. She would always get back on her feet after getting knocked down, and that is something to be admired.
Runners-up: Kozakura (Otherside Picnic); Rika Kawai (WONDER EGG PRIORITY)
Best Male Character
A full three seasons of Non Non Biyori, and this guy has not uttered a single world. Or any sound for that matter. Honestly, I take that over some of the more boisterous male characters out there.
Runners-up: Red Blood Cell AC1677 (Cells at Work! Code Black); White Blood Cell U-1446 (Cells at Work!!)
Best Cast of Characters
Plasmagica, Mashumairesh!! and the other bands
Plenty of great ensemble casts this season, so choosing just one is tough. I decided to go for the bands of Show By Rock!! Stars!!, though, because why not? They’re all fun characters, and have some killer tunes, too.
Runners-up: Ai and allies (WONDER EGG PRIORITY); The Cells (both Cells at Work!! and Cells at Work! Code Black)
You’d think Renge from Non Non Biyori Nonstop would be the sure winner for this one, but then we are introduced to Shiori. She and Renge quickly become friends and their interactions with each other are absolutely adorable.
Runners-up: Little Bel (Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!); Renge Miyauchi (Non Non Biyori Nonstop)
Most Badass Character
White Blood Cell U-1196
All the White Blood Cells in Cells at Work! are particularly badass – it is their job. U-1196 is one of the main protagonists of Cells at Work! Code Black, and sure enough, she is a veteran when it comes to combat.
Runners-up: Levi Ackerman (Attack on Titan Final Season); White Blood Cell U-1446 (Cells at Work!!)
Sorawo Kamikoshi & Toriko Nishina
The main protagonists of Otherside Picnic are pretty keen on each other. Sorawo tends to get flustered by Toriko, and there was that occasion she woke up to to discover Toriko naked in the same bed as her…
Runners-up: Seria Morino & Airi Kagami (Gekidol); Howan & Himeko (Show By Rock!! Stars!!)
Kawaki vs. Garo
The Vessel Arc of BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS had some pretty solid fights, and then we get Kawaki vs. Garo. That one blows the rest out of the water; the animators really flex here. It’s just an incredible visual spectacle.
Runners-up: Cancer Cell returns (Cells at Work!!); Practically every Wonder Killer fight (WONDER EGG PRIORITY)
Show By Rock!! Stars!!
There are some incredible songs in Show By Rock!! Stars!!, but what else would you expect from a show about bands? Plasmagica, Mashumairesh, ShinganCrimsonZ and DOKONJOFINGER among others all provide some great songs.
Runners-up (these are more OST rather than insert songs): Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table; Non Non Biyori Nonstop
The Arima Kinen
After all the stuff that Tokai Teio went through in Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2, it is a pleasure to see her return to the racecourse. It is not for her own sake that she is running, though. She intends to make a miracle happen, all for the sake of Mejiro McQueen. What an incredible way to finish off the season.
Runners-up: Battle against the Genius Ereinus (Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table); End of Izu camping trip (Laid-Back Camp Season 2)
Best Ending Theme
“Ue wo Muite Hakobou with White Blood Cell & Red Blood Cell” by Hiroyuki Hayashi (Polysics)
This is quite the upbeat ending theme, providing some severe mood whiplash when it comes after the events of Cells at Work! Code Black. The dissonance is pretty funny to me. But, hey, it’s a catchy tune.
Runners-up: “Hoshizora Light Story” by Mashumairesh!! (Show By Rock!! Stars!!); “Shingetsu” by Ayasa (VLAD LOVE)
WONDER EGG PRIORITYWONDER EGG PRIORITY may not have finished at the time of writing, but it certainly took viewers on an incredible journey. This show is fantastic, and definitely worth watching. Only if you can deal with heavy themes, but I think it is good that it does not shy away from them.
There’s also representation that you rarely see in anime, here, too.
Runners-up: Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2; Show By Rock!! Stars!!
Overall, I’d say that this was a pretty quality season for anime. Some real amazing shows here.
Let’s do this again at the end of the spring season.