As we collectively shout “Good Riddance!” to the worst year in recent history, we can only hope that the year ahead will be significantly better. After a year when the entire world was basically put on a hiatus, things are gradually returning to normal. This applies to anime as well, with multiple productions resuming work in late 2020 or early 2021. Several new anime and new seasons of old anime are set to release this year. Here is our list of the 10 most anticipated anime of 2021.
10. The Seven Deadly Sins (Season 5)
In an anime with the Seven Deadly Sins as the heroes and the Ten Commandments as the villains, it is pretty safe to assume that the creators are trying to make a theological statement here. The source material is a manga series written and illustrated by Nakaba Suzuki. Following its premiere, the anime quickly became one of the most culturally important animated productions of today. It tells the story of a kingdom, the princess of which embarks on an epic journey to find a legendary band of knights so they would help her free her people from the clutches of demons. The fifth season (season 4, according to non-Netflix count that doesn’t consider “season 2” as a proper season) promises to be grander and more exhilarating.
9. Cells at Work! (Season 2) & Cells at Work! Code Black
The charm of anime as a medium is that it can make even the most absurd concepts look believable and awe-inspiring. ‘Cells at Work!’ reminds us most prominently of the 2001 film ‘Osmosis Jones,’ in which the eponymous White Blood Cell fights against a notorious and dangerous pathogenic agent. Similarly, the anthropomorphized cells in ‘Cells at Work!’ deal with various bodily issues every day. After the incredible success that the first season has achieved, it was only a matter of time before it was renewed for a 2nd season. Furthermore, a spin-off has also been produced. Developed by a different studio, ‘Cells at Work! Code Black’ is a bleaker and more nihilistic story, set in a body that has been badly affected by years of smoking, alcohol abuse, and sleep deprivation.
8. To Your Eternity
‘To Your Eternity’ or ‘Fumetsu no Anata e’ is a highly anticipated anime based on a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshitoki Ōima. It revolves around an enigmatic immortal being named Fushi, who is sent to Earth to fulfill certain objectives. At the start of the series, Fushi has neither emotion nor a sense of identity. But as the series progresses and Fushi undergoes various metamorphoses, he begins to understand humanity and easily assimilates into it.
7. How Not to Summon a Demon Lord (Season 2)
The first isekai entry in this list. Many viewers might argue that ‘How Not to Summon a Demon Lord’ is a predictable, mildly pornographic anime with an overpowered protagonist. Well, they may be partially correct. Takuma Sakamoto, who is a hikikomori gamer, gets transported to an alternate world after two young girls summon him there. He realizes that he now has the appearance of his in-game character. Despite having incredible magical abilities, Takuma, who is now known as Diablo, is still painfully shy around women and doesn’t know how to deal with attention from other people. These subtle character traits of the protagonist make the anime that much interesting.
6. Shaman King (Season 2)
Nearly two decades after its 1st season aired, the legendary anime series ‘Shaman King’ is coming back with a 2nd season. Based on a manga series written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei, ‘Shaman King’ tells the story of Yoh Asakura, a young man who can serve as a medium between the realms of the living and the dead. The greatest aspiration in Yoh’s life has always been to become the Shaman King, which will grant him the ability to remake the world any way he wants. But first, he has to win the Shaman Fight tournament, where his greatest opponent is his long-lost twin brother, Hao.
5. The Promised Neverland (Season 2)
The horror in ‘The Promised Neverland’ doesn’t necessarily stem from imagining the unparalleled cruelty committed towards the children by the demons, but how familiar and industry-like the harvest is. It’s exactly how people use livestock. The story is initially set in the idyllic Grace Field House orphanage. Looked after by a woman they all call “mom,” the children are truly happy there until they realize the horrible truth about their lives.
There has been a lot of speculation about bringing this critically acclaimed seinen horror manga, written and illustrated by Junji Ito, to the big screen. It is finally happening now because Adult Swim’s in-house production arm Williams Street is collaborating on the project with Production I.G USA. Animated in black and white in its entirety, the series depicts the lives of Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito, two teenagers who are in a relationship, and the dreadful spiral curse that affects every citizen in their sleepy town.
3. The Rising of the Shield Hero (Season 2)
Every year, tens of isekai anime are released, and they are gone before they even make a mark on the audience’s mind. What sets ‘The Rising of the Shield Hero’ apart is its dark, almost pessimistic undertone. It follows Naofumi Iwatani, a Japanese boy who is one of the four young men called to a parallel world to serve as a hero and kill the invading inter-dimensional monsters called the Waves. However, while the others get weapons like a spear, a sword, and a bow, Naofumi receives a shield. He soon discovers that he has to endure treachery, heartbreak, and pain before he can call himself a hero.
2. My Hero Academia (Season 5)
Despite being a part of the oversaturated superhero genre, ‘My Hero Academia’ has managed to carve out its own space. The protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, was born in a world where superhuman abilities or Quirks are widespread. However, Midoriya was born without one and was subjected to terrible bullying at school. One day, he has a chance encounter with All Might, the greatest hero in the world. Seeing that Midoriya possesses a great heart, All Might declares that he will give all his powers to this inherently powerless kid.
1. Bleach (Season 17)
‘Bleach’ has aired its last episode eight years ago but remains as iconic as ever. In March 2020, it was revealed that the producers are planning to bring back Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends for one last run. The manga’s final arc will be turned into an anime series to give these memorable characters the closure they deserve.
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