2021 Winter Anime Season: First Impressions

2021 winter anime season first impressions

It’s a brand-new year, so enjoy our First Impressions of the winter anime season that just started~

Otherside Picnic
Studio: Felix Film, LIDENFILMS | Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Yuri

otherside picnic anime

Let’s start with the big one this season~

Since I’ve read the light novels and recently also started reading the manga, I can say that I’m very, very happy with the look, sound, and feel of this adaptation. I think they cast the perfect voice actresses for our two main characters, and it even seems as if the admittedly little yuri depicted in the anime, so far (at least in my eyes) comes off far stronger than what I encountered in the novels.

I think the only two things that bothered me a little are the weird changes in animation that happen every now and then and the fact that, so far, I feel like we’re rushing through things. The first few visits to the other side felt like it took the two an eternity, yet in the anime, it’s all over in a few minutes. I guess I would have liked a longer first episode really. With that said, I understand however why they needed to feature all these events in the first episode, I would have just liked it all to be depicted in let’s say 40 and not 20 minutes.


Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season
Studio: MAPPA | Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Military, Mystery, Super Power

shingeki no kyojin the final season

So this is really it, isn’t it? Soon enough, we’re going to have to say goodbye to an old friend, one that’s brought me tons of joy and has become one of my all-time favorite anime. I won’t spoil things, but when the third season finished airing a while back, I was so invested in the story that I started reading the manga. I’ve mentioned a million times how I never do that, but I had to make an exception for Shingeki no Kyojin. When I got to where this final season picks up, I won’t lie, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

Many new characters were introduced, and they’d never be able to hold a candle to the Survey Corps, so I just didn’t like them. I don’t expect that to change. In earlier seasons, I loved the humans vs. Titans narrative, and the mysteries that came along with that. Where the story is at this season, I don’t feel as interested in this new conflict as I felt in prior seasons, as the military aspects make this feel more like just another action anime. Long story short, at the moment, it doesn’t totally feel like Shingeki no Kyojin to me. I’ve read beyond this (but not all the way), so I have a good idea where the story goes, and I can say that however different this final season feels, it’s still really good.

The change from Wit Studio to MAPPA looks to be a good transition, and from a technical and cinematic perspective, this series still feels top-notch and like it hasn’t missed a beat. I still expect this final season to be great, even if any hope for more YumiKuri is futile. I’m guessing most of the yuri fans checked out a while ago, but I’m going to see it through till the end. Since this started airing last month, we only have around a dozen more episodes left before it’s all over, and I hope this series ends up going out with a bang~


Uma Musume: Pretty Derby (TV) Season 2
Studio: Studio Kai | Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Sports

uma musume season 2 anime

For a while, I didn’t think we’d ever see a second season of Uma Musume. Since season one aired, some real-life race horses whose names were included in the show were put down, and it just had been so long without many updates that I had started to write this series off. But it’s back, though it seems a bit different than the Uma Musume I remember.

I’m going to be critical, for a few reasons. First, unlike the first season, Tokai Teio seems to be the new protagonist. This is pretty disappointing for me, as Teio wasn’t anything more than just another character to me in the first season. It’s only been one episode, but I didn’t see anything that would make me shift my opinion that Special Week is simply a better main character. Special Week is still around, but it feels weird to have everything revolve around Teio. Luckily, Mejiro McQueen seems like she might have a bigger role than last season, and I’m definitely looking forward to that. In season one, Special Week x Silence Suzuka was the show’s main yuri ship, but with Suzuka now in the US, that seems pretty much dead. Mejiro McQueen x Gold Ship was my other favorite ship, and those two are still around, so that’s where all my yuri hopes currently lie.

Something else I didn’t like was how none of the horse girls we got to know in the first season faced off with Teio in the Japanese Derby. It was just Teio and a bunch of nobodies, so the lack of tension was not something I enjoyed. Earlier in the episode, Teio mentions having previously lost to Mejiro McQueen, and to have such a major race exclude someone like her and Special Week makes it seem like Teio’s predictable victory should have an asterisk by it. The racing itself was still entertaining to me, though there seemed to be more CG than I remember, but that’s probably just my memory failing me. Anyway, it’s unclear how much (if any) yuri subtext this season will have, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Teio has a ways to go to win me over, yet it’s not impossible, even though this Teio x Mejiro rivalry doesn’t pique my interest like Special Week x Silence Suzuka did. And where the hell was El Condor Pasa?! Okay, let’s move on already. 😀


Vlad Love
Studio: Drive, Production I.G | Genre: Comedy, School, Supernatural, Vampire

vlad love anime

Oh my, I don’t really know where to start with this one. After what felt like years (and probably in reality actually was years) of waiting, I was unexpectedly hit with the first episode a few weeks ago. To say I was unprepared is an understatement.

I remember when we saw the first few pictures for the show, then the news of its delay came, and somewhere along the lines I think I lost track of it all. Now seeing the final result left me both confused and shocked, but in a good way. Let’s just say I didn’t expect this to be this all over the place, but I guess you could say it’s actually one of this show’s many charms.

It doesn’t really give you a lot of time to comprehend what is going on and instead overwhelms your senses with all kinds of things. In all honesty, I rather felt like I was watching an anime by Studio SHAFT than anything else, and by all means is this a good thing!

Still, the only things I took from the first episode so far were that it’s about a vampire that pairs up exceptionally well with our blood donation enthusiast oddball of a main character and, of course, the fact that dress regulations are apparently not effective for school nurses…

Can’t wait for more!


WIXOSS Diva(A)Live
Studio: J.C.Staff | Genre: Game, Psychological

wixoss diva anime

Coming into this newest season of WIXOSS, it seemed that the series was adding some idol elements, but in the first episode, that wasn’t really the case. I expecting some singing and dancing, but instead, we got the usual card battles, albeit with some new twists to the familiar formula. Selectors are back, but LRIGs seem to be a thing of the past, with the girls divas themselves taking the virtual battlefield themselves. The battles seem to take place in VR (and in teams of three), and in this first episode at least, there was a distinct lack of despair. I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before that changes, however.

This season sees an all-new cast take the field, and though it’s still extremely early, I think the main trio seemed pretty likable. Aside from a brief comedic moment between Hirana and her best friend, Akino, there wasn’t anything that gets your yuri senses tingling. I’m actually not expecting very much in that regard, but I’d love to be wrong about that. The franchise hasn’t had that many yuri moments overall, but it looks like it’ll once again be a cast of only girls, so there’ll probably be some shipping going on. More than anything, this new season seems like just another opportunity to sell some cards in real-life, but if we end up getting a somewhat entertaining anime out of it, it might be worth it. I said in a past News Update that maybe it’s for the best that the series changes things up, and I’d say that WIXOSS Diva(A)Live is off to an okay start.


Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season
Studio: CloverWorks | Genre: Mystery, Psychological, Sci-Fi, Thriller

yakusoku no neverland 2nd season

I absolutely LOVED the first season of Yakusoku no Neverland, so I was really hyped for the new season, and the first episode is already off to a great start. I can’t talk too much about the story without spoiling everything, but things pick up where season one left off, and it didn’t take long for things to escalate and the tension to rise to unsafe levels.

One of the things I loved about the first season was the mystery involving what exactly is going on, and episode one further complicates matters, so I have no idea where the story is going to go, yet it’s safe to say that I’m probably going to be enjoying the hell out of it. Enjoying the hell out of it, despite what are sure to be some tragic moments involving those kids. I can already imagine what could happen, and I don’t like it one bit. Still, it’s impossible not to root for these kids’ survival, and I’m just happy that I’m able to watch this series once again. Season one is one of my favorite anime of the last few years, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the season two might join it as well~


Yuru Camp△ Season 2
Studio: C-Station | Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

yuru camp season 2

Yuru Camp△ and serenity, name a more iconic duo. You can’t! The second season has arrived, and just like season one, this first episode doesn’t have a whole lot happening, yet it’s still somehow extremely watchable. Rin, Nadeshiko, and the other girls are all back, but I always enjoyed it more when they would all get together, and that didn’t happen in the first episode. What we did get was Rin seemingly going camping for the first time, and Nadeshiko going about her job delivering letters. It honestly sounds pretty boring, but Yuru Camp△ is more than the sum of its parts, and it was once again pretty enjoyable~

Season one was practically devoid of any yuri, and even though that’s probably going to continue to be the case for season two, I can’t help but wish that Rin and Nadeshiko will at least be able to spend some time together, alone. However, even without that, this series is exactly what the doctor ordered for people who are tired of all the bad things happening in the world. For me, it’s escapism in its finest form, and it’s reassuring to know that we have three months of this to look forward to.


16 thoughts on “2021 Winter Anime Season: First Impressions

  1. I’m not sure how to feel about Urasekai Picnic, I’ve only seen the first episode and I have no xp with the LNs or manga. It was creepy as hell though. I’m also not sure what to think about Uma Musume.. I watched episode 1 of season 1 last week and I’m still trying to decide my feelings on it :S So, I am probably going to spend most of this season catching up on last season, as I only actually *finished* AdaShima (see my ‘rant’ on FB about that one…) so there are a ton more for me to watch.. Assault Lily, Akudama Drive, Higurashi, Majo no Tabitabi (after some frustration in the middle, the last 2 i watched all felt really good), and *maybe* Ikebukuro WGP, Sigrfrida and Yashahime. I also want to start on Bear Bear Bear Kuma, Iwa Kakeru, Munou na Nana and Jujutsu Kaisen at some point

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    • Woar, that’s a lot of stuff to catch up on. I don’t watch as many anime per season as I used to, but if something really catches my eye, I’ll give it try. Problem is, I rarely even watch trailers or PVs, so I usually just go by the basic info and gut feeling. 😀

      But have fun with all of those shows~

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      • YEah it is a lot, heh. Towards the end of the season (ie, most of december) I was having some health issues and it distracted me from watching too much anime, especially subtitled stuffs. Bleh.

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    • I’ve heard good things about that one, so I think I’ll end up giving it a shot. I’m already watching a lot of shows this season, so I’d really have to connect with it in order to keep watching, but I won’t know unless I try. 😛

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  2. Urasekai Picnic so far is pretty good to me, I have very little experience with the LN but I’m definitely invested in it and honestly am excited to see where it goes.

    As for Shingeki no Kyojin Final, oh boy we I’m super excited as someone who is keeping up with the manga, I just can’t wait to see everything come to life and be voiced!

    There are some other things I’m also watching but one I definitely recommend is Wonder Egg Priority, I was interested in it at first when it was announced then I saw the cast and got even more excited and saw some of the trailers after that and it hooked me even more, finally we reach the first episode releasing and oh boy I’m now fully invested, it is super interesting and I definitely recommend!

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    • I might’ve read the SnK manga all the way till the end, but some of the stuff seems like it would be so epic in anime-form, so I had to stop myself. Looking forward to seeing how it all ends~

      I’m going to end up giving that show a try. The name’s kind of dumb, but it still looks interesting. 😛

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  3. “…this series [Yuru Camp] is exactly what the doctor ordered for people who are tired of all the bad things happening in the world.” – The Rock
    Fully agree. There is something about the SoL genre that is extremely relaxing and beneficial. I would not call this escapism unless that were to escape into a more human series of relationships that were healthy and enjoyable. Like Yuru Camp, Yuru Yuri, Aria, Haibane-Renmei, and Marimite nothing ever happens, there is no action, and yet the civilized nature of the relationships in these sorts of stories, tells it all. People care about each other, are involved in and with each other, and try to help as best they can while having fun in the process. That kind of behavior is real reality. Thanks for the wonderful review and Happy New Year.

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  4. Urasekai Picnic to me the manga is far better , scarier and more explained , but i heard the anime is based on LN only so , wont expect to be better than the manga sadly.
    snk , funnily enough i kinda gave the first season an “ok” will watch it then it slowly went having more and more asspulls/insane plot armor as well as shit themes like torturing a female kid to death , glad it is ending.No idea if i will try watching the 3rd season if it is less cancer inducing.
    Talking about shit , vampeerz author seems to enjoy fucked up generic japanese stuff , i heard he draws pedophile hentai so , bye that one.Wish i would have known before.
    Also i guess Ymir from snk took your attention since i seem to have seen her mentioned here? I hate so much that character , it only was yuribait and she choose to go and HELP THE ENEMIES INSTEAD OF HELPING THE LOVE OF HER LIFE , FAILURE.Maybe later on it is explained she survived by transfering her conciousness to her hair and splitted into 40 ymirs and gender changed like the original titan or some megabs like that.

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    • I read that bofuri will have a season 2 , the fuck lol.Kuma Bear too but i have not watched the whole anime yet but at least is not as trash as bofuri anime.In the manga of that one Maple just turned into an angel (and made sense) instead of that gundam or idk wtf it is i saw in the anime LOL

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        • Bofuri the manga im reading it and it is very good , im going to link a little part later (like a panel or something) , a shame how they killed the anime. I did not see the whole anime btw of Bofuri , my eyes were bleeding a lot so i skipped to see some plot stuff how was portrayed and saw how bad it was haha
          I just watched 2 episodes more of Kumaku and these 2 were better , although i wish the animation was better (i mean more detail on monsters and etc) but they added a few minor stuff that was actually good (or minor changes) < if a miracle happens later Yuna (MC) will show romantic feelings towards a female character haha.(She has shown 0 interest on anyone but stated as her she prefers going to hunt and etc with women , plus she has a lot of lolis)
          Have a good new year.

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    • The more I think about YumiKuri, the more I realize that you’re right, but I still prefer to remember the good stuff from the first couple of seasons. In hindsight, it wasn’t enough, but it’s still better than nothing. 😛

      It seems like there’s been more bad news lately, similar to that author stuff. Don’t know if it’s just happening more or if it’s just getting noticed more, but you still hate to see it.

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