Fall 2021 Anime Season Impressions Finale

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Honestly, I had a difficult time going through this next batch of anime due to how many were just absolutely terrible to sit through, so let’s get right down to talking about them. If you have yet to read the previous part, then please do so. Let’s get started! 


The Fruit of Evolution: Before I Knew It My Life Had it Made (Crunchyroll) 

Content Warning: Outside of just being a bad anime, it’s extremely misogynistic, sexist, and hugely problematic. 

Based on the light novel, novel, and manga series by Miku, this anime adaptation was directed by Yoshiaki Okumura, written by Gigaemon Ichikawa, and produced by Hotline. At first, Tesla Note was going to be my worst of these shows, but The Fruit of Evolution is hot rancid garbage. Outside of the fact that the anime industry is so fixated on adapting every isekai ever when they absolutely do not need to, this is hands down one of the worst isekai that I have ever seen. There is no reason why this one had to be adapted. When you see the title, you think this could very well be something creative and interesting, but it is not. It’s every bog standard power fantasy isekai with harem elements that they don’t even do a whole lot with said power fantasy elements. The anime feels fixated on the harem elements, there is rampant misogyny in the anime, and it hits hard with some characters like a donkey girl. Yeah, I won’t get into how off-putting the whole gorilla and donkey girl characters play into the overall show and tone. On top of just unlikable characters, bad writing, and bad storytelling, the animation is downright awful. It’s some of the cheapest anime of this year, and we’ve had stuff like Ex-Arm, Tesla Note, and other shows that also have really bad animation. It’s a power fantasy isekai that’s not interested in its own setting, it goes by the ebook, and its attempt at comedy falls flat at every. Single. Turn. While there are morally worse anime this year, this one is one of the worst on a quality standard. It’s easily one of the worst anime I have ever seen. If this is what the anime thought was a good idea to adapt and bring over, then the industry needs to be gone and be brought back as people who won’t adapt stuff like this. 

Tesla Note (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Masafumi Nishida and Tadayoshi Kubo, this animated adaptation is directed by Michio Fukada, written by Masafumi Nishida, and produced by Gambit. Listen, the anime industry needs to change, because if your option of getting a studio to make anime is to go down the route of Ex-Arm, which means hiring studios that have never worked in anime before, then the industry is truly beyond broken. While it has slightly better CGI than Ex-Arm, and at least seems to be more competently made than Ex-Arm, the CGI is poorly implemented and it doesn’t contrast or composite well with the 2D elements. The story about how Nikola Tesla left a bunch of strange powerful shards is silly enough for a trash anime, but not strong enough to recommend on that level alone. The action is lackluster, and again, the 2D and CGI are easily some of the worst this season has to offer. It’s a hot pot of everything wrong with the anime industry and adaptation as a whole. Even if this turns into the next bad anime to watch, it’s still a bad anime, and I really can’t condone hate-watching stuff anymore. We already have so much TV, movies, and other pop culture stuff to take, we don’t need to take time to watch something bad intentionally. We can not let more shows like Ex-Arm and Tesla Note exist. The anime industry needs quality control and better working conditions. 

Amaim: Warrior at the Borderline (Funimation) 

Content Warning: Very nationalistic viewpoints. 

This original anime is directed by Nobuyoshi Habara, written by Hiroki Komatsu and Yoshikazu Beniya, and produced by Sunrise Beyond. I’m all for original mech anime, and this season is bountiful with them, which is rare in this modern anime landscape, but if the only thing holding this show together is its bonkers setting, then we are going to have a problem. The mech action is really solid stuff, and there is potential for more interesting arcs for our characters, with some of them getting a few decent lines, but the setting is what makes this such a chore to get into. Listen, most mech anime have very dense political worldbuilding, but the extremely nationalistic view of how this all unfolds is really gross, to say the least. While it might not be as bad, as say, that infamous cult in Japan’s political propaganda, it hits those marks. This sucks because when it’s just mech anime nonsense, it’s decent. Now, you can make politically charged mech anime since Gundam has been a constant since its arrival in the 70s, but even so, I found my patience wearing thin with AMAIM, and I can’t personally recommend it when Sakugan is better in every way imaginable. Plus, a lot of AMAIM, when it’s not problematic, is overtly familiar mech anime nonsense. So, yeah, this is not a worthwhile recommendation. 

Ancient Girl’s Frame (Funimation) 

This original net animation is a Chinese/Japanese collaboration that is directed by Gong Zhenhua, written by Osamu Yamasaki, and produced by Seven Stone. It’s everything you could possibly want with mech anime. It’s got decent mechs, an alien invasion, cute girls doing cute things, familiar tragic backstories for certain characters, and, wait, doesn’t that sound like a lot? That’s because it is! Unlike Pride of Orange, there is nothing really all that distinct about this show, and that’s usually fine. Not everyone has to be 100% original, but when the execution is lackluster within the writing, story, and animation, then that’s a problem. It really feels like that Pilot Candidate anime from way back in the day where it had a lot going on, but here there is nothing done that’s interesting or for it to stand out from other anime that have done better, or at the very least, are more interesting. It’s a title that only stands out from the rest due to it being a Japanese/Chinese collaboration, and that is honestly interesting! However, the show itself needs to be interesting in and out of the production history. And no, having distinct mechs and cute anime girls is no longer enough to be interesting. Again, too much anime is getting made these days, so instead of adapting whatever or following a checklist, do something that will make you stand out! At least the opening song is solid, but that’s about it. 

Shikizakura (HiDive)

This anime is directed by Go Kurosaki and Shinya Sugai, written by Naruki Nakagawa, and produced by Sublimination. Out of all of the anime I have seen this season, this one is the most aggressively okay. It has average CGI, the action is better than most shows this year, but the story and characters are familiar and generic. It’s just inoffensive. The characters don’t stand out, but they aren’t awful. The CGI is not great, but it’s not the worst of the season or of the year. The action is good, but there is much better action this season and year. The music is fine, and the opening song is decent enough. If it was able to stand out more, I would have a stronger opinion, but it’s another victim of there being too much anime and not really expanding on its premise, as well as not being executed well enough to be impressive enough to stick out from the rest. I hate that, because it just shows how bad the industry is right now with putting out too many shows with very little time to invest time into all of the shows being made.  

Rumble Garanndoll (Funimation) 

We have yet another original anime this season. This one is directed by Masaomi Ando, written by Makoto Uezu, and produced by Lerche. This is another anime where otaku and pop culture have been outlawed, and personally, I can’t get behind these settings since I don’t think even in the direst situation, would there ever be an outlawing of some of the most profitable outlets in the entertainment industry. The evil government that is outlawing otaku and pop culture is also using mechs that people would absolutely buy models of. Why on earth would you make the villains have the same visual look of the things they are outlawing? 

The anime also feels like it wants to have the same fiery passion as a Studio Trigger anime, but without the execution and commitment to going that route. It comes off like an anime that’s more about the homage to shows and anime made with the spirit of Studio Trigger and Gainax. Otherwise, it’s just another rebel group that fights against the tyrannical government that uses anime-inspired mechs and power sources to fight back. For the most part, it’s fine. I have some admiration for the passion that is in this anime and the love of otaku culture, but I feel like there have always been more interesting anime that explore otaku culture than anime that is set in a world where otaku culture is banned or gone. It’s not the worst anime of the season by any stretch of the imagination, but considering the original anime we have gotten this year, there are better ones out there. 

The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated (Crunchyroll) 

CW: sex trafficking, violence, child nudity, and murder.

Based on the light novels by Rui Tsukiyo, this anime adaptation is directed by Masafumi Tamura, written by Katsuhiko Takayama, and produced by Silver Link and Studio Palette. On one hand, this show is extremely edgy schlock with its focus. Granted, with that schlock, comes an isekai with a great premise about an extremely powerful hitman hired by a fantasy world’s goddess to take out the hero of their world. It does take its time to build up the relationships and dynamics between the characters. It explains how the world’s magic works and the lore in which the setting is drenched. It sure does love to show fanservice from time to time, but it’s not the 100% focus, which is the failure of most isekai power fantasies. On the other hand, it indulges in many little elements that are uncomfortable and gross, and when it does become more about the power fantasy, it then becomes dull. It’s disappointing, because I do want to see what happens with this show, but I don’t know if it will be able to balance itself out for me to continue to see how it ends. Once again, when anime decides to indulge in anime tropes, it becomes disappointing. 

Banished From the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside (Funimation) 

This fantasy adventure anime is based on the novels, light novels, and manga by Zappon. It’s directed by Makoto Hoshino, written by Megumi Shimizu, and produced by Wolfsbane and Studio Flad. What’s aggravating about this show is that I really love slice-of-life shows. I think seeing the lead character help out a small town is such a fun idea and the hook of the show is fantastic. I even like the cutesy if generic character beats with our lead and the obvious love interest. Sadly, the love interest is designed like she is meant to sell anime figurines with her ridiculous figure and attire. There can sometimes be a good joke, but most of the time it’s too low-key, and then they rehash certain jokes multiple times during some episodes. 

Muteking: The Dancing Hero (Funimation) 

Honestly, these next four shows are easily my favorite of the season and year. What makes this anime unique is the fact that it’s based on an old Tokusatsu show from the 80s. It’s directed by Ryosuke Takahashi, Hiroshi Sasagawa, and Yuzo Sato, written by Yuji Kondo, and produced by Tezuka Productions and Tatsunoko. What’s so fascinating about this show is how it has been modernized in some ways, but it keeps a lot of that retro anime charm with its vibrant neon color palette, charming designs, and is more of a fun entry anime to recommend to someone who hasn’t watched anime. It might have a tone that’s aimed more at a younger audience, and the setup for the episodes gets a little repetitive, but the show is a delight to watch. It didn’t try to reboot the hero as a dark and gritty story, or try to go the mature route for such a goofy-looking character and setting. It knew what it wanted to be from the get-go, and since most anime can’t seem to know what they want to be, it’s good to give kudos to anime that do. Also, the opening song by Orange Range is fantastic, and the show’s balance of 2D and CGI is rock solid. 

The Faraway Paladin (Crunchyroll)  

Consider this one of the biggest surprises of the year. This anime is based on the light novels by Kanata Yanagino, is directed by Yuu Nobuta, written by Tatsuya Takahashi, and produced by Children’s Playground Entertainment. When you hear ‘light novel adaptation’, you normally think of the most bottom-of-the-barrel power fantasy schlock you can think of. Rarely do these types of adaptations ever elevate themselves past most checklists of features. Luckily, like ReZero, The Faraway Paladin is easily one of the best adaptations and one of the best isekai of the year. It shouldn’t feel surprising that a show like this, about a young man who was reincarnated into a fantasy world, is not really a full-on power trip. Instead of skeezy harems taking up most of the screen time, we get extensive worldbuilding. Instead of bland awful characters, we get dynamic characters and one of the most likable leads seen this season. It’s like the industry was telling us that they are sorry for adapting so many awful isekai, and decided to treat us to one that was great from top to bottom. 

Ranking of Kings (Funimation) 

This incredible show is based on the manga by Sousuke Toka. It’s directed by Yousuke Hatta and Makoto Fuchigami, written by Taku Kishimoto, and produced by Studio WIT. Yet another Studio WIT production that hits it out of the park. They are two for two this year, and that shouldn’t be a shock. You have a complex story about legacy and what it takes to become a strong king, have unlikely friendships, and family. It’s a fantasy political adventure wrapped up in one of the most disarming art styles of the year. I’m so impressed with how they are able to balance everything out with some of the best animation of the year. It shows what happens when you let your teams work on something great and respect their time and talent. We already have a few contenders for the best anime of the year, and this is one of them. 

Takt Op. Fantasy (Crunchyroll) 

This anime part of a multi-media project is directed by Yuki Ito, written by Kiyoko Yoshimura, and produced by Studio MAPPA in collaboration with Studio Madhouse. The setting is essentially an anime take on The Quiet Place. There are unknown creatures that instead of being attracted to just loud noises, are attracted to music, and the only defense against these powerful threats are individuals called Musicarts and their conductors. It has some clunky worldbuilding elements, but there is definitely something more interesting and creative about this show than most anime released this year. It’s got a fantastical visual look with radically dope-looking animation. I mean, all things considered, this is not excusing the bad working conditions of MAPPA, and there could be some implications via its collaboration with Studio MADHOUSE that could be an earnest collaboration or the fact that the anime industry is losing animators left and right due to bad working conditions. Well, we won’t know if any of those parts are correct until they say so, but Takt Op. Destiny has easily set itself up as one of the more ambitious shows of the season, some of the best action of the year, and one of the more memorable shows of the overall year.

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