2021 Winter Anime Season: Final Thoughts

2021 winter anime season final thoughts

It’s that time of the year again, so enjoy our Final Thoughts of the winter anime season that just came to an end~


JUJUTSU KAISEN

jujutsu kaisen anime

Hands down, Jujutsu Kaisen is my favorite show of the season, even beating Shingeki no Kyojin and Otherside Picnic. Unlike many other fans out there, I had not read the manga and simply went into it because of the hype surrounding it. I wasn’t expecting much, just some action packed shounen anime with a story like whatever else you can find flying around right now. And while the story itself didn’t strike me as anything that unusual or outstanding, everything else did.

The animation of Shingeki no Kyojin, which is done by the same studio, pales in comparison of how smooth and fluid this animation looks, especially in fighting scenes. The characters, as wacky as some might be, are simply lovely and all without fail bring something unique to the story. I basically fell in love with probably all of the girls in this show, especially Miwa, Maki, and Nobara, but characters like Gojo and Itadori are also fun and simply so lovable.

And finally, the fact that this show can so easily and naturally combine elements like horror, comedy, and drama just makes all other shows of the season pale in comparison. And don’t even get me started on all of the shipping possibilities… I would seriously die for Maki x Nobara~

Total Enjoyment: 10/10


OTHERSIDE PICNIC

otherside picnic anime

I remember last year around the same time, I was so excited to have found some new yuri-ish light novel that would combine horror elements with some yuri. I was surprised how well those two genres worked with each other and especially how in book format, the horror elements actually succeeded in delivering the atmosphere and fright factor that it intended to do.

In anime format, however, not so much. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason horror anime often just end up looking odd, with the horror elements being done in a rather funny and not so scary way. Unfortunately, Otherside Picnic was no exception to that, as it mostly delivered what the light novels contained, but all of it in a much more rushed and thus far less scary and immersive way. However, even though the light novels might have delivered a better experience when it comes to the scare factor, what it didn’t quite “succeed” in delivering was the yuri aspect of it all.

Well, one might say that the light novels quite literally went a little light on the yuri, and while it was hinted at here and there, it never really went past a certain line. I might add I’m not done with the second book, but I doubt there will be any major development in that department. The anime, however, pretty much embraced the yuri and simply went further in the display of it, making the subtext feel much heavier and more obvious than in the books.

In conclusion, I still think I liked the books more. However, I’m glad they decided for an anime adaptation of this one, and I sure hope there will be more where that came from in the future.

Total Enjoyment: 7/10


SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN: THE FINAL SEASON

shingeki no kyojin the final season

Just so everyone knows, L’s favorite show was Jujutsu Kaisen, but for me, things were a bit different. I’m not going to spoil anything, but let me say that I’m disappointed that the final episode of the final season isn’t in fact the final episode. It looks like there’ll be a part two of the final season starting in January. That’s so far away, but overall, I liked what “The Final Season” had to offer. I’ve become pretty invested in the story, and liked this season’s slow build up and attempts at character development. I’d be lying if I said I knew what was really going on, because everyone seems to be operating in a moral gray area, where there might not be any “good” guys or “bad” guys. Like real life, we’re seeing both the good and bad in people, it’s just a shame that we’re not going to see the payoff for quite a while.

The change in studios from Wit Studio to MAPPA went pretty well, and I never really missed Wit’s art style choices that MAPPA did away with, such as thick lines. SnK has never been the best-looking anime, so it doesn’t matter that much. This wasn’t an action-fest like we’ve seen in past seasons, but when a battle did happen, it had that same high intensity as before, so I’m happy that wasn’t lost. For all this positivity, we have to have some negativity, and that came in the form of the final nail in YumiKuri’s coffin. I haven’t read the remainder of what needs to be adapted from the manga, but those who watched know why the yuri party is over.

As the penultimate group of episodes in the series, I very much enjoyed The Final Season and eagerly await the true final episodes, I just hope all of this story build-up pays off and the series can go out with a bang. We shall see…

Total Enjoyment: 9/10


UMA MUSUME: PRETTY DERBY (TV) 2ND SEASON

uma musume 2nd season

The second season of Uma Musume was a long time coming, but even though this season wasn’t bad, there was something holding me back from liking it more: the characters. Pretty much all of the featured characters from the first season are either M.I.A. or don’t have anything interesting to do, so we’re left with Mejiro McQueen and Tokai Teio as the ones getting the lion’s share of the screentime, and I just didn’t care about them as much as I cared about Special Week and Silence Suzuka. Suzuka is still overseas and is barely seen at all, while Special Week doesn’t race even once, and I hated that. There were a lot of characters introduced in the first season, but they don’t race or anything, and that feels like a huge waste. The new characters introduced this season did little to nothing for me, and I was left wishing for more Gold Ship and El Condor Pasa, but those prayers went unanswered.

As for the actual racing, it was fine, but the focus on only a few racers meant that there was usually little drama as to who would win the races. When you have a field of two known characters and a bunch of nobodies, it removes a lot of the drama. There was an instance where one girl was portrayed as McQueen’s main rival, though I just couldn’t care less about her. I liked how the girls’ setbacks changed things up a bit, and because of that, I think the story is better than before and not quite as cliche. The rivalry between McQueen and Teio was nice, but in my book, they didn’t match Special Week and Suzuka in terms of shipping potential. I found it a lot harder to ship McQueen x Teio than last season’s main duo, so don’t expect a review of this season. That’s disappointing, as is there not being a lot of scenes between McQueen and Gold Ship either. Overall, I don’t think I liked this season quite as much as the first, but with the mobile game having finally launched, I wouldn’t be that surprised to see a third season, if only to help boost the in-app purchases in the game.

Total Enjoyment: 6/10


VLAD LOVE

vlad love anime

It was pretty evident from the first PV that Vlad Love was going to be an incredibly stupid anime, and it absolutely was, but at the same time, I have to admit that it was also really entertaining. Much was made of Mamoru Oshii’s involvement with this show, and despite this being a slapstick comedy, there this was so odd and different at times that it certainly wasn’t your typical slapstick comedy. Most of the time, I like physical comedy, so I found this pretty amusing, but the highlight of this anime for me were the characters. Nobody in this show is lacking personality, and like the story, most of them are so over-the-top that you find yourself wondering how much crazier everything and everyone can get. I sometimes wondered if this anime was too weird, but I’m not even sure if it’s possible to be “too weird”. There were a lot of references that I wasn’t very familiar with, but I admired the decision to include them, and I think they added to the show’s unique charm.

As you’d expect, Bamba’s feelings for Mai end up being one-sided, and they get lost with all of the other batshit crazy stuff going on. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t greatly disappointed by this development, since the theme was supposed to be “girl meets girl”, and while I’m not naive enough to think that meant legitimate romance, I thought there would at least be a greater focus on their relationship. There’s too much to talk about in such a small space, so expect to see a review from us in the coming weeks. Long story short, I thought Vlad Love was a really good example of a guilty pleasure anime, and even though the chaotic nature of this show didn’t do the yuri any favors, I thought Vlad Love was still a lot fun and one of the more entertaining comedies I’ve seen in a while. This show’s not for everyone, but I found it very refreshing. Lastly, Romi Park is awesome and should be cast in every anime. Yeah, every single one. 😛

Total Enjoyment: 7/10


YAKUSOKU NO NEVERLAND 2ND SEASON

yakusoku no neverland 2nd season

After the stellar first season of Yakusoku no Neverland, I was super hyped for the second season, but I think it turned out to be a huge letdown. For the most part, the drama and sense of mystery from the first season is gone, and the direction the story went just wasn’t anywhere near as interesting as the story from the first season. The slow-burning suspense is almost completely gone, and far too much info was revealed, leaving little to the imagination. I’m not going to spoil things, but it seems like the author just ran out of good ideas and went with whatever uninspired story elements they could think of and/or CloverWorks just butchered the adaptation. Either way, this is a massive disappointment.

When I saw how low the MAL score was for the second season, I thought people were overreacting, but when you compare it to the first season, I think it’s totally understandable. Season one showed so much promise, no pun intended, but the second season completely fell apart, so much so that it almost doesn’t even feel like a real second season. At this point, you can see that I wasn’t a fan of the second season, so there’s no need to beat a dead horse any more than I already have. I haven’t read the manga, so I can’t speak for how bad an adaptation it might be, but on its own, Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season is just not very good.

Total Enjoyment: 3/10


YURU CAMP△ SEASON 2

yuru camp season 2

The first season of Yuru Camp was a revelation, and now that the second season has come and gone, I’m convinced that there isn’t a more cozy and easy-to-watch anime series than this. Who needs stuff like drama and story development when you have a cast of adorable characters who go on relaxing adventures? Just as before, the comedy isn’t over the top, yet it serves its purpose and increases the overall entertainment value of the show. And also like before, there’s no yuri, and that’s probably the most negative thing I can say about this anime. I was expecting Rin to spend most of her time camping solo, but I was surprised to see her spend more time with the girls than I thought she would, so that was awesome to see.

It’s actually kind of hard to write about Yuru Camp, since there’s practically no story and there isn’t much deviation from the standard “cute girls enjoy the great outdoors” theme. Compared to the generic slice of life anime that take place almost exclusively in schools, I’d much rather watch something a bit different like this, and I’d definitely recommend both seasons of Yuru Camp to any slice of life fan out there~

Total Enjoyment: 8/10


Anime Dropped: WIXOSS Diva(A)Live

15 thoughts on “2021 Winter Anime Season: Final Thoughts

  1. The winter season definitely had some great watches for sure, my standout one was ofc Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan final season, it did such an amazing job adapting the beginning part of the Marley arc and I can’t wait for the remainder of the season to release early next year!

    The other stand out show for me was Re:Zero season 2’s second half, like with AoT, it did such an amazing adapting a lot of the late LN stuff and the pacing was just so good and seeing the many moments adapted made me genuinely cry tears and I can’t wait to see more cause ofc it will happen!

    I also watched Urasekai Picnic and it was a fun one too, Toriko and Sorao’s relationship was cute and their antics in the other world and the interactions with the other characters made me smile a lot! Then there was Non Non Biyori Nonstop, seeing the cast return again after a while just put a smile on my face and just seeing them and their antics gave me that warm fuzzy feeling and made me smile.

    There were other shows I enjoyed in the season like Wonder Egg Priority as well as Tenchi Souzou Design-bu. Also I think there is one show I want to visit now since the buzz over it was insane and that was Jujutsu Kaisen, I didn’t pick it up initially cause very little interest but since it has been talked about a lot, and the prequel is also getting a movie, I think I will give it a try.

    Overall despite the season not being too filled with yuri, I enjoyed it a lot and kind of sad to see some of these shows go but I do hope Spring does give us some good shows, and hopefully down the line we can get more yuri related stuff!

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    • I’m going to try my best not to have the ending of SnK spoiled for me, so I’m hoping I don’t accidentally stumble on it on Twitter or something. 😀

      We need more yuri shows, so OP was nice in that regard. I didn’t watch those other shows you watched, but I heard a lot of good things about them, so maybe I should have. Man, not having a lot of yuri shows makes things complicated. It would be so much easier to just pick up a few yuri shows and call it a day. 😀

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      • Yes avoid Twitter and all social media like the plague for the next few months if you don’t want AoT/SnK spoiled! Also yeah definitely would be nice if we could have more yuri shows to pick up, I really do hope we get more announcements soon! Oh another thing I picked up Jujutsu Kaisen and I’m glad I decided to give it a chance cause I am enjoying it a lot right now, wish I had picked it up sooner (like 2018 sooner lol I also didn’t give the manga a chance back in 2018) but hey better late than never as they always say!

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  2. Was surprised that you did not mention Non Non Biyori Nonstop (Season 3) which just ended in March, 2021. Renge and Shiori (EP7) having a discussion of what it means to be round was so classically funny, I couldn’t stop laughing. Aristotle would not have handled that subject any better and probably worse. Also Renge and Shiori have developed a very warm friendship that is quite moving. My favorite Biyori of the three seasons.
    Yuru Camp S2 was very enjoyable. Thanks for the review.

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    • Yeah, we haven’t seen it since the first season, so this past season another one we missed out on. Sooner or later, we’ll get back to it, but it’s not at the top of the to-do list. 😛

      Thanks for your thoughts~

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  3. Best shows of the season were easily Wonder Egg Priority and Sk8. Wonder Egg gets a lot of hype and love, and all of it is deserved. If you haven’t watched it yet, you need to fix that (or at least fix that once the “final episode” comes out in early summer). Just be warned it touches on some subjects that may be difficult to watch.
    Sk8 is just not watched by enough people, even if it is loved by those who give it a chance. Over the top, extremely fun, and gorgeous to look at, especially when in motion. There may not be a lot of females in the cast but the dudes all look great, and there’s so much BL leaning that you couldn’t ignore it even if you for some reason wanted to. I went in with pretty much no expectations but it absolutely blew me away.

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    • And I didn’t watch either… 😀

      I just haven’t watched that many shows in the past year or so. There are plenty of shows that I’ve heard a lot of good things about but didn’t have the time/desire to watch. Most of what I’ve watched is either yuri-ish (or appears to be yuri-ish) or ones that sound really interesting to me due to plot and/or studio. The non-yuri shows could’ve worked out better, so maybe I should reconsider what sounds good to me… 😀

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  4. I apologize for not being able to present my Guest Review of Urasekai Picnic in the time being due to my workload and deadlines so I’ll leave my thoughts in the comment.

    Urasekai Picnic has to be among the worst anime adaptation I’ve witnessed in the last 2 years with its ridiculous visuals, tones and pacing.

    Visually, it’s a mess at best and a disaster at worst with an art style that completely goes against the original tone and often times, it strays into the So bad it’s good territory. Not to entirely fault the studio since the Manga’s insane attention to details is really hard to replicate without extensive time and money, the same fate had befallen the Junji Ito’s Collection.

    The tone is arguably among the worst offender as it completely does away with the body horror and Lovecraftian nature of the Otherside and instead, turns the anime into something more akin to a Girls Club anime where every episode is like Yuru Camp in Junji Ito’s Thunderdome rather than trying to explore and understand a psychological hellscape that defies reality (and find Satsuki).

    And the pacing, my GOD the pacing. I pretty much lost my faith after episode 4 and onward because every subsequent episode is just a jumbled mess of story arcs bouncing mindlessly, sometimes several arcs ahead only to spring back immediately in the following ep. The most jarring example is the immediate jump from the Kisaragi Station arc to the Beach House (that’s TWO arcs completely skipped), not only it creates a confusing narrative and further shows that the studio wants to rush that Beach episode (ep.7) out as fast as possible, it also framed our 2 main protagonists as heartless and uncaring idiots who went picnicking after leaving the Pale Horse battalion to their demise at the Kisaragi Station. Please keep in mind that they only went to the beach AFTER rescuing those soldiers from the Otherside (which SOMEHOW got pushed to the season finale to shoehorn in the Ninja Cats).

    In absolute finality, my excitement was crushed and my disappointment reached beyond the horizon. Urasekai Picnic anime *might* be a treat to novel readers as they finally got to experience it through a visual medium but for a fan of the manga like me, it’s a cold slap in the face and inferiority in the ALMOST every single aspect imaginable save for the voice acting.

    Not to mention, Toriko is extremely gorgeous in the manga and her appearance makes all the Yuri moments much more precious

    Final score: 3/10 – Go read the manga!!

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    • I understand, it is pretty hard to have enough time to do everything you want, so it’s not problem. 😛

      L wrote the OP part, since I haven’t finished watching it yet, so I can’t say too much about whether I agree or disagree with your thoughts. Still, thanks for including it~

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  5. OTHERSIDE PICNIC MANGA IS INSANE , the anime was fucking garbage.The amount of Yuri in the manga makes sense so far and keeps increasing.
    Promised potatoland , i recently started watching this one , i stopped watching season 2 because it got too retarded , the main character has brain damage , when i saw they want to “forgive le demons” i was like THE FUCK GO AND TRY TALKING TO THEM HAHAHA
    Attack on potatos , ending is horrible , the music in levi fight was garbage , i dont know the fuck they are thinking , Eren is finally shown being serious wich took way too much time (s2 and 3)

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    • You can edit my insults with a **** if u want , i just realized i did it a lot :d , but seriously , also OP had a lot of trash cgi haha

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      • We don’t censor stuff on YR… except when it might get us into trouble with WordPress. 😛

        It’s close between which second season I was more disappointed with Neverland or One Punch Man. I’ll just call it a tie and try to forget about both of them. 😀

        It seemed like the music in SnK was really forgettable! It was so epic in past seasons, but I don’t know why I didn’t notice/like it as much. Well, Eren’s an adult now. He was like 16 or something in season two or three, so I don’t mind that he’s just now super serious. 😛

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  6. So in regards to Uresekai Picnic you said of yuri developments in the future:
    “I might add I’m not done with the second book, but I doubt there will be any major development in that department”

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  7. So in regards to Uresekai Picnic you said of yuri developments in the future:
    “I might add I’m not done with the second book, but I doubt there will be any major development in that department”

    Having read all of the books currently available in english I can say the fourth one is… interesting. In a good way 😉

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  8. I could not get into the Otherside Picnic anime. It sucked, and I’m so disappointed. I think I’ll stick with the manga and light novel, thank you very much.

    As for the yuri, all I can about the light novel is… keep reading. I can’t wait until you get to a certain volume… I’ll say that much. 🙂

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