I guess we do, as long as there’s a new and exciting season of anime to look forward to.
Hi everyone! Welcome to another year-end, K-pop style award show where every series I watched is made sure to go home with something. I did this last year for the first time, and it felt more fun than a usual wrap-up post. Remember that if I mention one series in a certain category, it doesn’t mean that it didn’t deserve to be mentioned in another one. I’m going with the flow, and it’s always a brain-wrecking experience to choose a few among a lot of favorites.
Putting things into perspective is actually scary. Like those “*insert something gigantic* is as big as five football fields!!” types of statements. Because I could swear I watched Heaven’s Design Team 3 years ago but turns out it was in the last Winter season’s lineup. Uhm… EXCUSE ME??? I’m offended by the time’s ability to pass so slow and so fast at the same time.
Before I go into the post, there are series that I still couldn’t finish because I wanted to take my time but couldn’t due to personal engagements. Sonny Boy, Aquatope on White Sand, Back Arrow, NOMAD: Megalo Box 2, or NIGHT HEAD 2041 are, although interesting and could easily find themselves a spot here, won’t be seen because I still haven’t finished them.
The Most Unexpected
1. In a Good Way
A big round of applause for Faraway Paladin, The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent, and I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level for managing to steal my heart! I mention my disinterest (and at times, distaste) for the isekai genre, but these series were interesting and fun!
Honorable Mention: HigeHiro, for taking its subject seriously and doing a great job of portraying a nuanced minor/adult relationship.
2. In a bad Way
This category is for the series I ended up not enjoying as I anticipated. I was pretty hyped going into Sakugan, the second season of The Promised Neverland, and Tokyo Revengers. Sakugan and The Promised Neverland started crumbling midseason narrative-wise, while Tokyo Revengers, among other things, was repetitive and kind of over the top. I finished Sakugan and switched over to manga for The Promised Neverland. I tried liking Tokyo Revengers but it didn’t work out in the end. I enjoy the beautiful fanarts, though!
3. In a wtf Way
Stuff got too real too quick in Dr. Ramune -Mysterious Disease Specialist–. I don’t know what I expected from ‘mysterious diseases’ but it certainly wasn’t crying condiments or pot sticker ears. This show was initially funny, then weird, then emotional but I enjoyed it quite a bit and appreciated the messages and personal circumstances they tried to convey. Bonus points for its interesting character designs!
Although I take pride in being superficial and picking my anime and manga by the cover or promotional poster, Wonder Egg Priority, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S, The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace, Horimiya, and Sk8 the Infinity all had interesting stories to tell, were fun in their own ways, are series that I’ll definitely rewatch in the future, and of course, are very pretty to look at!
The Most Exciting
These were the series I looked forward to like kids running to the Christmas tree to get their presents! I reviewed Those Snow White Notes weekly, while both Farewell, My Dear Cramer and The Case Study of Vanitas made me wish for the next week to come faster. Maybe they were the culprits behind time flying by so fast… Kinda sus, if you ask me.
This doesn’t mean these series were the bottom of the barrel. They certainly weren’t, but both To Your Eternity and Otherside Picnic failed to live up to my expectations. I completed 2/3 of them, though. So there’s at least ‘something’ that was done right. However, I don’t think I’ll be completing the two, or tune in for the second season of To Your Eternity.
Make me laugh, and I fall for you in the blink of an eye. I’m basic like that. That’s why comedy series always have their spot reserved in my to-watch list of seasonal anime. Girlfriend, Girlfriend and Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan, although appealing to different senses of humor, had me rolling on my couch and I’m sure I’ll turn into these series whenever I need a boost of my mood!
Welcome to the Demon School, Iruma-kun! and The Duke of Death and His Maid were two of the warmest series I’ve watched this year. I got into Iruma-kun quite late, so I watched two seasons consequently but honestly, it wouldn’t be so much of an overstatement that I felt healed watching these two ~
The Most Mind-Boggling
It’s not much of the whole series but the twist at the end was what left me speechless when watching OddTaxi. I encountered divided opinions on this series, but personally, watching it weekly was so much fun and I loved the casual flow of conversation and its laid-back characters a lot!
Watched it with a friend and had fun
Last year, I watched If My Favorite Pop Idol Made It to the Budokan, I Would Die with a friend. Not physically together in the same room, unfortunately, since she was in France, but by pressing the play at the same time and screaming over messages. There was also a Sk8 streaming party in a Discord group I’m a member of but since it was a rewatch and not a weekly thing, it doesn’t count. I still wanted to add The Night Beyond Tricornered Window because even though we didn’t watch it at the same time, I had friends who discussed the episodes weekly with me over Twitter and it was a nice experience ~
Best Voice Actors
I want to mention two voice actors whom I took more notice of this year. First is Aoi Yuuki‘s performance in So I’m a Spider, So What? as Kumoko. It’s just… truly magnificent. I’m instantly out of words of praise. She carried more than half the show just with a monologue and managed to make it intriguing, easy to follow, and the scenes where we were following Kumoko were never boring. Not one second.
The second voice actor would be Fukuyama Jun as Draluc in The Vampire Dies in No Time. To be honest, I was actually mesmerized by his performance as Vyn in the otome game Tears of Themis and after seeing him voice Draluc, I added the series to my list at the speed of light. Although his voice is in the lower register, Draluc comes out very lively and Fukuyama does a great job of underlining the gap between his grandiose demeanor and his weak constitution. Draluc goodest boy. After John, of course.
When we got the news that The Way of the Househusband was getting an anime adaptation, like many, I expected an adaptation that’s … ordinary, unlike the manga promotional video style we got. I understand that this was a deal-breaker for a lot of fans, but I loved it to bits. Thought the style fit the series’ tone and reflected the manga quite well. Paired with Tsuda Kenjiro‘s spectacular performance as Tatsu, it was one of the highlights of my year.
SO MANY beautiful series and so little space. Here’s a selection of series I thought had great world-building or interesting setting with striking stylistic choices. From left to right and top to bottom: Heaven’s Design Team – 86 – Kemono Jihen – MARS RED – The Case Study of Vanitas – Kageki Shojo!!
My Favorite Characters
FALL!!! Solely because we got Blue Period AND Ranking of Kings. What did I do to deserve these two marvelous, compelling, beautiful pieces of art that turned me into emotional mush? I may be out of words of praise yet again, but one thing is for sure: these series will stay with me for years.
What did you think of my picks? Which series, character, or voice actor you’d like to award? I couldn’t find a place for everything I watched this year in the end, but if there’s anything you think I should watch no matter what please let me know in the comments! It’s been another year with so many uncertainties, ups and downs, okay mostly downs, and a year that’s emotionally taxing for me. Looking back, I feel immensely indebted to creators as a whole for making my days bearable and giving me things to look forward to. Here’s to another year together, sharing our love for this beautiful medium! I wish everyone and their loved ones a happy 2022, see you soon ~
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One Reply to “WRAPPING UP 2021 — DO WE EVEN CARE ANYMORE”
I agree with you that Higehiro did an outstanding job of tackling its difficult and confronting subject matter. And I also loved Blue Period (review coming soon) 😁