Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020 Finale

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Good gravy, let’s finally get this one out of the way! Here were my top 10 favorite animated films from 2020! If you haven’t seen part 1, part 2, or part 3, I will make sure to hyperlink them. I apologize that life got in the way of making this one happen so late. 

10. The Wonderland 

While Keiichi Hara’s follow-up to one of my favorite films of 2016 Miss Hokusai doesn’t quite reach that level of quality, his new film, The Wonderland is still a whimsical adventure via a coming-of-age tale. It has some truly beautiful landscapes and a creative fantastical world that may be Hara’s own take on Alice in Wonderland. The villain isn’t the most interesting, and there are some jokes and moments that irked me, but I was so happy to catch this film before everything came crashing down with the pandemic. 

9. The Willoughbys 

This dark family comedy may suffer from a majority of the children in this family being underdeveloped in favor of the oldest son getting the majority of the development, but considering how little came out during the pandemic, I’ll take an overall vibrant and funny experience. What it may lack in some story strength makes up for some of 2020’s most vibrant CGI stop-motion-style animation, some very clever jokes, a fantastic cast, and it was just another step in showing what kind of experiences Netflix, flaws and all, are going to be offering in the feature animation scene. 

8. The Croods: A New Age

While I wouldn’t call 2020 or 2021’s DreamWorks’ best year for animation, out of their four recent films that they have released, The Croods: A New Age is their best one since 2019’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Who would have thought that a sequel that was in start/stop production hell would actually result in one of the better DreamWorks sequels? They expand on the world, the new characters are likable and bring in some substance to the overall story, the jokes are more creative, and the sequel leaning into the more absurd world that the story takes place in leads to a better overall product. I don’t know what they could do with a follow-up film, but if it’s as much fun to watch as this one, I wouldn’t mind seeing a third film. 

7. On Gaku: Our Sound 

While Lupin III: The First and Wolfwalkers were going to always be the more approachable GKIDS-distributed films of 2020, I still wish On Gaku: Our Sound had received more love. It’s a truly, by the definition, indie animated feature among the bountiful animation scene in Japan. Its offbeat atmosphere, quirky humor, and laid-back approachable story stick out from the flashier big-budget fare. That many of the people working on this were first-time animators is an impressive feat and while the use of rotoscope is obvious, the fact there is no other film quite like it out in 2020 is impressive and rather fun. It’s a film that introduces a real deal shot in the arm that the animation scene always needs. 

6. Lupin III: The First 

I remember how worried I was to see the franchise’s first step into CGI, and boy howdy, they didn’t miss a beat. Not only is it a fantastic foray into CGI animation, but it’s also a Lupin story that’s actually compelling and entertaining! For those that are fans of the franchise, getting both good animation and a good story isn’t always a given or is balanced with each film and special. With the return of the iconic dub cast, thrilling action, stellar writing, and some of the best CGI from Japan, Lupin III: The First shows a promising future for the franchise and the future of theatrical CGI animation from Japan. 

5. Onward

Remember when everyone was dunking on this film, and then everyone ended up liking it? I sure do. While it might not be one of the higher-end Pixar films, this touching story about two brothers and their journey to strengthen their bond and to try to get some closure with their dead father does elevate it as one of the more intimate and personal Pixar stories. The fantasy element even has a fun way of approaching the metaphorical and literal theme of losing and finding magic in life. It’s a film that has gotten better on rewatch, and I feel badly that it became one of the first victims of the pandemic. 

4. Over the Moon 

Netflix had a tough challenge of following up their acclaimed year of animation from 2019 where they had both I Lost My Body and Klaus, so Over the Moon was such a surprise with how much I fell in love with it. It is a touching story about grief, personal change, and dealing with loss, with some fantastic music, vibrant animation, and a fantastic lead. It was directed by Glen Keane, and this was his first time directing a feature film! Over the Moon also has a very witty script from Keane and the late great Audrey Wells. It also gets bonus points for having moments of gorgeous 2D animation. With Pearl Studios now on their own, making films with a promising lineup of future projects in the works, Over the Moon was an out-of-this-world first impression of what they could do after their relationship with DreamWorks ended. 

3. Ride Your Wave 

Masaaki Yuasa is a master director. I mean, I could leave it at that, but that wouldn’t be super satisfying as this is, until we finally see Inu-Oh this year, his best and most approachable movie. It’s a romance that of course has its own Yuasa twist that makes it his take on the “Shape of Water” romance perspective about a college girl finding her way in life. It even has the tamest visuals of Yuasa and Science Saru’s work. You can tell they toned it down from the immense visual overload that was 2004’s Mindgame and his more recent work with Lu Over the Wall and The Night is Short, Walk on Girl. Whether you like his more out-there premises or his more grounded ones, Ride Your Wave should be in your animation collection. 

2. Soul 

Even with a year like 2020, having a Cartoon Saloon, a Peter Doctor/Kemp Powers Pixar film, and a Yuasa film in the top three spots should be a sign of how good the good stuff was. There are definitely some understandable arguments about some of this film’s execution of plot points, and I understand where they are coming from with some of them, and maybe it’s because 2020 was just an entire mood year, Soul hit many people in a way that most animated films, Pixar or otherwise, do. Until Disney and Pixar can break the chains and do more adult-tinted animated features, this is the most adult film Pixar has ever put out, with an extremely philosophical story about life and what drives a person. With earworm tunes, an incredible performance from Jamie Foxx, and a rather ethereal tone, Soul ranks up as one of Pixar’s best. 

1. Wolfwalkers 

I mean, was there any shock here that it would be number 1? While it is technically tied with Soul, there is just something extremely special anytime we get a Cartoon Saloon film. It has some of the studio’s best animation yet, with its mix of gorgeous 2D visuals and rough pencil style reminiscent of the 70s and 80s Disney/Don Bluth that looks like it was filmed on wood grain. It is a touching story about two young girls, the themes of discrimination, anti-colonialism, sexism, freedom, family, and environmentalism, Wolfwalkers stands out from the pack in a year that had very little competition for the major titles everyone was looking forward to. Now, I do wish they would simply sell Wolfwalkers as an individual release instead of holding it hostage with Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells, though seriously, pay for an AppleTV+ subscription and watch this incredible flick.

Fall 2021 Anime Season Impressions Finale

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

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.

The Fall 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

We have been on record talking about how the 2021 summer season was full of a ton of mediocre titles. It was a result of an anime industry that’s going to be burning itself out and not doing what most companies and industries should be doing. By that, I mean properly paying their animators, not taking on so many projects at once, and choosing original and adaptive work that aren’t pointless like Koikimo, Ex-Arm, Redo of a Healer, The Detective is Already Dead, Platinum End, and Itaden Deities. Fall 2021 seems like an apology for that season and the overall year, but I still stand that the anime industry needs to change its tune and actually do what would actually be helpful, and not constantly burn out animators due to bad working conditions. Luckily, a ton of anime this season was really good! Much of it was bad as well, but that’s more than Summer 2021 that had a smaller list of good or even great anime. Now then, let’s get started!

Slice of Life

Blue Period (Netflix) 

CW: a lot of Transphobic comments and commentary

This huge disappointment of an anime is based on the manga by Tsubasa Yamaguchi. The show is directed by Koji Masunari and Katsuya Asano, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by Seven Arcs. I was honestly excited to see it at first, because who wouldn’t want to see an art school anime? That sounds like it could lead to some great moments and story arcs. Sadly, what drags this entire show down is our lead in question. He really shouldn’t be the one we focus on, since he has the least interesting drive and story arc of the characters in the show. Every time Yuka would come on screen, I would want her there since our lead keeps deadnaming her multiple times. Why should we follow this unlikable passively mean spirited jerk when we could be following everyone else. The show also has some shoddy production values. It never looks consistently great, and even when the whimsy kicks in, the flat characters look awkward and inconsistent. Storywise, so many characters are introduced and you don’t get a lot of time to gel or vibe with anyone who isn’t our two leads, and one of our leads is terrible. It’s like the story justifies the lead’s transphobic comments about Yuka every step of the way, and that’s terrible. If this was given to KyoAni, Yuka would have been the lead and it would have been a much better experience. It could also be that Blue Period isn’t that great of a manga, since the writer of this anime, Reiko Yoshida, has worked on one of the best anime this season with The Heike Story, and Yoshida has worked with Naoko Yamada heavily in the past. I don’t know how many art-based anime are out there, but I feel like you could find much better shows about painting and drawing than Blue Period

Taishou Maiden Fantasy (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Sana Kiriorka, this anime adaptation is directed by Jun Hatori, written by Hiroki Fukuda, and produced by SynergySP. What started with a slightly questionable relationship with a 17-year-old male lead and a girl who you only find out is 14 in episode three, turns out to be this low-key charming slice-of-life romance anime that really does invest time into our two leads bonding. The setting is as depressing as it could be with the male lead being banished from his family due to an injury and the death of his mother. The female lead is offered to our lead as a wife to pay off her family’s debt, and with all the combining elements, it finds a way to balance out the drama and the love these two characters have for one another. It has a few uneven moments where the drama overtakes the love, but I found myself loving the series as the episodes went on. Just keep in mind that you have to look at all of this through a historical lens. Maybe it could have been better told and they could have told us the lead’s age in the first episode instead of episode three, but if you are looking for a, so far, sweet and caring anime, you should give this one a watch. 

My Senpai is Annoying (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Shiro Manta, this delightful anime is directed by Ryota Itoh, written by Yoshimi Narita, and produced by Doga Kobo. It was surprisingly refreshing to see not one, but a few anime this season have adult characters. My Senpai is Annoying, while having a few clunky elements here and there, really hit a spot I was missing with a lot of anime. Not only is it well animated, sweet, and funny, but it was nice to see an anime about adults doing adult things. No teen dramas, no power fantasies, no edgelord power wish fulfillment, and you get the idea. It’s all about the connection between our short leading lady and a giant wall of a man as they venture through working in their office and dealing with their cohorts. The overall execution of laughs, laid-back atmosphere, story, and relatable character dynamics make it one of the more compellingly watchable anime of the season. 

Komi Can’t Communicate (Netflix)

Based on the massively popular manga by Tomohito Oda, the anime adaptation is directed by Ayumu Watanabe and Kazuki Kawagoe, written by Deko Akao (aka Hitomi Mieno), and produced by OLM. I knew this property was super popular, and when you have a rockstar of a team and studio working on translating it, then you have a real deal gem of a slice-of-life comedy anime that so far has been one of the best anime, not only for this season, but of 2021. It might have a very straight forward gimmick, but how they take advantage of Komi’s severe case of social anxiety is clever! So far, she is never the punchline and is more of the instigator of the joke, while everyone reacting to her ends up as the punchline. It makes her a constantly interesting character, and the cast of shenanigan-filled students only add on and reinforce the strong comedy chops. Like I said though, when the show is able to slow down and let the characters have their moment to shine, it is just as well executed as the jokes that came before and after it. It’s easily an anime I will gladly keep up with, and as long as this team is working on it at all times, well, you can count on me to be back every episode. 


Platinum End (Crunchyroll/Funimation) 

Content warning: A child dies, and a whole lot of the setting is based on people who were committing suicide. Oh, and the villain lusts after middle school girls and is a highschooler. 

Based on the manga by the duo behind Death Note, Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba, this anime adaptation is directed by Hideya Takahashi and Kazuchika Kise, written by Shin’ichi Inozume, and produced by Signal MD. So, it’s a death battle anime with a twist using angels and the goal is to become God. What could possibly go wrong with this one?

 I mean, it’s the Death Note duo, so everything can go wrong. Not only is it not visually interesting, the animation quality is lackluster, the dialogue is terribly written, the pacing is all over the place, and for a show that’s all about contestants who were chosen due to almost committing suicide, the show is really not wanting to be careful about treading those waters. It’s needlessly edgy, the action is mediocre, the characters that are the focus are the wrong ones, and the villain was the most interesting character until they revealed a creepy plot point in episode five. Platinum End is an extremely slapdash anime that seems to really want to be done with itself. Maybe if the anime industry wasn’t such a wreck, it could have been in better hands, but due to how, from my research, this manga wasn’t popular, why the heck did they adapt it? It truly became one of the worst anime of the season and worst of the year for me. 

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window (Crunchyroll)

CW: A lot of metaphorical assault, abusive language, gore, and lack of consent. 

Based on the manga by Tomoko Yamashita, this anime adaptation is directed by Daiji Iwanaga and Yoshitaka Yasuda, written by Ayumi Sekine, and produced by Zero-G. There is a market for boy love series, and this one sounds interesting with the supernatural thriller element mixed in with the romance angle. What has and does bother me is the power dynamic between our two male leads. One of them is extremely possessive, abusive, and does a lot of metaphorical assault to the other lead. It wants to come off as titillating, but when one side of the dynamic is not enjoying it every single time, and is treated like garbage by everyone around him, it’s an issue. Even without the problematic dynamic, the show’s story is not interesting. You would think there would be more focus on the mystery killer, but that’s not really the case from the three episodes I watched. It’s more interested in getting to the “titillating” elements than anything else. It’s not particularly animated well either, with it mostly being just on the borderline of “okay”. As the show went on, it started to drop some interesting lore and story beats, but after a while, I realized I wasn’t hooked or invested either way. It’s at least trying to be compelling, but it’s not winning me over. 

Visual Prison (Funimation) 

Content Warning: slight incest between two brothers

This original anime was directed by Takeshi Furuta and Tomoya Tanaka, written by Yukie Sugawara, and produced by A-1 Pictures. I was really rooting for this anime to be this year’s Hypnosis Mic. All it needed to be was fun dorky vampire rock, and just enough story and world-building to make it decent to sit through, but sadly that’s not what we get. While the music and visuals are overall great, something is missing with this show’s premise. 

It has an unbalanced way of pacing out the story, characters, and music. For an anime that’s all about the music, the music seems like the least important part. The writing is also extremely drab and doesn’t warrant the fun nature this premise promises. I don’t care about all of the characters or their drama and backstories. It delivers on the fanservice of hot male characters being hot male characters and touching each other, but even that unravels when there is metaphorical incest involved. There isn’t much else that is going to gravitate you to it. If you like very vapid anime trying to push idols and rock music, you will probably like this show, but I just can’t seem to really want to watch future episodes. Maybe I will see how it ends, but I can’t see this one finding a long-lasting audience. 

Mieruko Chan (Funimation) 

Content Warning: Lots of high school girls undressed and or sexualized in this show

Based on the manga by Tomoki Izumi, this adaptation is directed by Yuki Ogawa and Takahiro Majima, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by Passione. This is one of the most frustrating anime I have ever watched this year. On one hand, you have a very creative and interesting horror-comedy about a girl who can see the most diesel-grade nightmare fuel, and has to avoid acknowledging their existence in order to live a normal life. At the three-episode mark, they introduce some very interesting story beats and world-building elements with how ghosts are connected to certain people and how they portray a person’s true nature. These story beat introductions continue throughout the currently released episodes. It just sucks though that getting to those good parts means sitting through so much gross horny stuff that it almost becomes not worth the trouble. I heard that it gets less horny as time goes on, but I wish the show was more about the horror comedy elements instead of the ecchi fanservice. If that stuff doesn’t bother you, then that’s fine! It’s just my impressions of the first six episodes. 

Pride of Orange (Funimation) 

This anime is based on the mixed media project of the same name by EXNOA. The anime is directed by Takebumi Anzai, written by Touko Machida, and produced by C2C. This is absolutely an odd anime when you first look at it. It’s a sports anime and possibly the first hockey anime (not to be confused with the first hockey manga because there are a few), and it’s not just a sports anime, but also has elements of idol anime and cute girls doing cute things. I know some people have criticized this show for not getting the point fast enough and that it’s just another cute girls doing cute things show, but you know what? I honestly like that the show is trying to be its own thing. The story-telling execution maybe could have been a bit tighter with certain story beats, but I like that they are taking their time a little more with getting the team together, the drama that unfolds, and everyone learning how to play and be good at hockey. It is consistently endearing to watch. I don’t honestly care if there are better versions of this show or this type of story as long as the one I am watching is doing something that is keeping my investment time justified. It’s a gorgeously animated show that almost made me think if this was actually made by KyoAni, but it was not. With a solid cast of cute anime girls wanting to learn the extremely fast and sometimes violent world of hockey, there will be days where I can drop everything I’m doing and watch it! 

Selection Project (Funimation) 

This is yet another anime based on a multimedia project. It’s interesting what kind of projects end up in every season of anime. Anyway, this is based on the manga by Koji Azuma. In the directing chair is Daisuke Hiramaki, Yuya Takahashi is piloting the writer’s chair, and the animation is being handled by Doga Kobo. The first thing that you will notice is how gorgeous this show is. I know idol anime are popular, and I shouldn’t be shocked, but considering how mediocre some idol anime look and are, this one has some stellar visual production values, and a more film-like way of executing shots and atmosphere. The other solid hook is that while we will be getting to know our future idols, the competition itself will be putting them all against one another in an American Idol or The Voice way of competition. Even with the likable anime girls and our lead’s weak heart story that is not new in idol anime, the tone doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to dip into more comedy beats, and the dialogue flows more naturally and casually between our characters bouncing off of one another. It’s an idol anime that has gotten me hooked on what is going to happen to these girls and that hasn’t happened since last year with If My Favorite Pop Idol Makes it to The Budokan, I Would Die. That’s saying something due to how many idol anime come out every season. It feels good to say that. 

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut (Funimation) 

This distinct sci-fi drama is based on the light novels and manga by Keisuke Makino. The anime adaptation is directed by Akitoshi Yokoyama, written by Keisuki Makino, and produced by Arvo Animation. When the first episode was playing, I was not really hooked on this huge alternative history setting. At least to me, it was pointless to make an entirely different alternate and fictional world. Once I got over that personal hurdle, when they put away the alternate world and history books, the training of a vampire to go into space and her reactions to other humans led this to be one of the most fascinating anime of the season. The training sequences were easily the highlight, and the moments where she and her handler get to talk and shoot the breeze with the world around them and the discrimination against vampires were always interesting. While the training and the risk of the government meddling behind the scenes due to this being the space race era of history is there, no one would care if the characters didn’t match the rest of the show and this ends up becoming one of the best anime of the season. 

The Heike Story (Funimation) 

Adapted from the stories of The Tale of the Heike, this anime is directed by Naoko Yamada, written by Reiko Yoshida, and produced by Science Saru. I never knew I wanted a period drama with a slight supernatural angle and the pacing of a slice-of-life story. What an incredible experience. You would think it gets confusing at points with how many characters are introduced and how time flies in this show, but it was very easy to follow. It’s because the main focus on the characters and the internal family politics are compelling and they keep you watching the show. It’s never too bogged down by its own history and world and focuses on the characters. I shouldn’t be shocked since Yamada is a top-tier director. It’s easily one of the standout anime of the year, one of the best of the season, and one of my favorites of the season. If you have Funimation, please do watch this show.  

The Vampire Dies in No Time (Funimation) 

The shockingly funny horror-comedy anime is based on the manga by Itaru Bonnoki. Now, on the anime side of things, the show is directed by Hiroshi Kojina, written by Yukie Sugawara, and produced by Studio MADHOUSE. Instead of an epic action adventure series starring a cool confident vampire slayer taking down a powerful vampire lord, the two characters are complete dorks! The supposed vampire lord is actually not all that powerful and turns to sand the moment you spook him accidentally. Our vampire hunter is short-tempered, impatient, has an intense fear of celery, and is stuck with making new books of his exploits or else his publicist will lock him in an iron maiden until he does. This concoction results in a ton of laughs with premises that would work well with these two and running with them. You would think the sand element of the vampiric lead would be extremely tiring extremely fast, but they have somehow found a way to make it work and gave me a laugh every time he turned into sand. The side characters are also a colorful cast of vampire hunters, higher-ups, a human/vampire hybrid, and everything in-between that makes this one of the most amusing series of the season and of the year. In a year full of really solid comedies with great hooks, that had me by episode one. Also, John is the best pet in the world who is adorable. I love him, and will hurt anyone that dares say John isn’t cute or cuddly. 

Sakugan (Crunchyroll) 

Directed and written by Jun’ichi Wada and produced by Satelight, this anime is based on the novel by Nekotaro Inui, which also had a manga adaptation by Keisuki Sato. While the name might be similar to the term Sakuga, which defines when anime goes all out with its animation, what we have is a wildly entertaining sci-fi journey following a father and daughter duo as they explore an underground world to find a legendary location. It has some of the best production values around, and it reminds me of the vibes and experiences that anime from the mid to late 90s had that were joyful and not nihilistic and terrible from the late 80s/early 90s OVA boom. It’s also one of the few shows that knows how to balance out its CGI and 2D animation, and one doesn’t get neglected over the other. Both styles of animation mix well with one another, and the writing and world-building is also on par with the series. I went over my three episode limit because I was enjoying the show that much with its characters and action. It’s easily one of the stand out series of the Fall 2021 line-up.

Summer 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 2

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Here we have the second part of my impressions of the Summer 2021 anime season! As usual, these are just my subjective impressions of anime from a three or more episode viewing. The summer season has been mediocre, full of misfires that really didn’t connect to me or other viewers. It’s a sign of how there is too much anime coming out, and not enough time or people to properly flesh out the ideas. Who knows how good some of these could have been if they had proper time and talent attached to these projects. They also run into that problem of just because you can adapt something, doesn’t mean you can or should. Hopefully, the overly stuffed Fall 2021 Season will be better, but we will have to see. Let’s talk about these last few shows. 


Cheat Pharmacist’s Slow Life: Making a Drug Store in Another World (Crunchyroll)

Based on the novels, light novels, and manga by Kennoji, this anime adaptation is directed by Masafumi Sato, written by Hiroko Kanasugi, and produced by EMT Squared. This is the most middling mediocre isekai of the season. It’s not the worst one, but boy you had better be okay with watching a show that gets wildly repetitive. First off, we don’t know how the lead character got into this fantasy world or what he did beforehand. 

It’s a weird take, and while it is usually groan-inducing to see the lead character either die of being overworked or getting hit by a bus or a truck, the show, as of the episodes I watched, didn’t seem interested at all with telling us our lead’s backstory. 

Due to this being an EMT Squared anime, it’s more interested in having a male lead with a bunch of very young-looking women around him or falling for him than telling us a proper story. Listen, I’m not saying EMT Squared is a little sister or young girl harem anime studio, but after a while, you see a particular pattern in the shows they make. It’s luckily not directed by the guy who has made some of the studio’s more notorious shows like Assassin’s Pride or Master of Ragnarok, but it still has a few of those show’s worst elements. The little werewolf girl is meant to be this cute mascot for the character for the show, but her design is rough to look at, due to how it looks like she’s wearing just cotton panties/shorts and a vest that doesn’t cover her torso. Come on, anime industry, can we stop with these types of design tropes? I know you have to work hard and make your show look distinct from the other shows coming out, but let’s not cater to the creep crowd. It’s a shame this show is so mediocre, because an isekai all about potion making and health items sounds cool, and the visuals are decent enough to make for a different take on the isekai genre. 

It even has a few decent side characters that were enjoyable to see every time they are on screen. It’s a bummer they aren’t the actual focus of the show, since I don’t care for our main characters. It’s also too bad we already had a much better show all about this last season with The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent. Oh, and Cheat Pharmacist doesn’t handle a character who has anxiety attacks very well, so, yeah. It’s one of the more notable misfires of the summer season, but I can at least understand why someone would turn on this show due to how lightweight and junk foody it is. Due to some elements that rubbed me the wrong way, I can’t say it’s harmless, but if we want to talk about shows that I find morally repugnant, well, I know a few that I would call the worst of the season.  

The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated (Crunchyroll)

This quirky little comedy is based on the manga by Wakame Konbu, is directed by Mirai Minato, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Silver Link. I think outside of an obnoxious first episode, the show mellows out by the second and third episodes. I even watched the latest episode and found the show to have a lot of charm. I don’t care for Jahy’s child form wearing a large shirt though and the fact they keep focusing on her legs. 

The show also has a lot of humor relying on Jahy being poor, and those jokes get tiring fast. The show was at its best when it focused on different types of jokes and introducing characters that play well off of Jahy, like her loyal servant, her unknown rival/assassin, the owner of the apartment, or her friend she works with at the pub. When it focuses on those elements, the show is decent. Granted, I kept thinking about The Devil is a Part-Timer while watching this anime, but that’s a huge problem with many shows this season, where I was constantly thinking of other shows with similar premises that I would rather be watching than the one I am watching now. However, I can’t say that this was one of the worst of the season. It’s straight down the middle. It has its moments, but it’s a show I can see myself skipping for other ones. 

Remake Our Life (Crunchyroll)

Based on the manga and light novels by Nachi Kio, this adaptation is directed by Tomoki Kobayashi, written by Nachi Kio, and produced by Feel. I will be honest about two specific things. One, I forgot to put this within the slice of life category for the first half, so I’m sorry about that. The second thing is that this show doesn’t get off on the best foot forward. It’s an hour-long premiere, and I felt like it focused too much on the front half of our lead getting sent back in time 10 years to go to a different art school to restart his life. It also dips too much into art school drama and cheap fanservice moments. 

With that said, when it starts to dive into the main character interacting with his classmates for projects and their drives for what they want to do, the series seriously picks up. It might not be the best-executed drama, but considering how mediocre a lot of the stories were in all of the anime this season, I am all for a show that does eventually by the second episode get the ball rolling, and tell a compelling enough tale for the audience to enjoy. 

The Duke of Death and his Maid (Funimation) 

Consider this the problematic favorite of the entire summer season. It’s based on the manga by Koharou Inoue, and the anime adaptation is directed by Yoshinobu Yamakawa, written by Hideki Shirane, and is produced by JC Staff. Seeing the team behind this series makes a lot of sense when you consider that the director was behind High Score Girl. The CGI visuals and cutesy gothic aesthetic will look familiar to the director’s previous work. 

It’s called the problematic fave, because on the outside and as a whole, there is a genuinely sweet story about a young man who is fated to be alone due to a curse put on him. Anyone or any living thing he touches will die, and the only people in his life are his loyal butler and his very anime-looking maid. The chemistry between the two leads from the title is extremely sweet and wholesome. They have some of the best chemistry out of any duo this season. The romantic feelings for one another are believable and cute. Some of the show’s best moments are when the two are together and speaking sincerely to one another. 

So, what makes it a problematic fave? It’s because the show’s tone and how it portrays the duke and his maid’s dynamic seems to be at odds with one another. It’s supposed to be sweet and cute, but the dialogue, how the characters act, and the tone play it up as harassment that’s played for comedy. Harassment is not okay, and it’s weird how the show uses dialogue and sequences that reinforce that, when the show is also saying it’s not that harassy. It’s a very odd tone to a quirky show, and to some degree, you can understand why they took this angle. Still, I don’t care much for the Duke’s sister’s quirk of falling for the butler. That felt tacked on and weird. 

Even then, with one or two rewrites and a fix to the tone of how these scenes are shot, everything would feel more cohesive with the rather expressive CGI animation. It’s an incredibly charming show that could have used one more run-through with the tone or maybe a female director or perspective on how to make it feel more cohesive. It’s still one of the better anime of the season though, and if you want to see a cute romantic comedy with a gothic twist, then this show will be right up your alley. 

The Dungeon of Black Company (Funimation)

This anime is based on the manga by Yohei Yasumura, and the adaptation is directed by Mirai Minato, written by our recurring writer this season Deko Akao, and produced by Silver Link. At first, the series shows its cynical dark comedy fangs with an isekai that’s all about tearing down and commentating on the infamous Black Company-style working conditions seen throughout Japan. Considering the definition of Black Company, I assume you can find this kind of problematic work ethics in any work culture from around the world. It has shades of Konosuba, where our main character is a real pain in the neck who, due to working around legal loopholes, was originally a human who raked in the cash by making a few questionable business decisions. The anime then sends him straight into the deep end by forcing him to work in inhumane working conditions. It then expands on the overall commentary about the flaws of workforces driven by capitalism.  

Sometimes, anime that wants to dabble in serious topics, using humor with commentary falls flat due to not being able to balance out the two, but Dungeon of Black Company tends to hit it out of the park with being creative with the fantasy setting, having a cast that are likably dumb and mean, and the commentary is spot on with how twisted some major corporations can be for the pursuit of the bottom dollar. Personally, I had to briefly stop myself from watching the show due to how much I was laughing and enjoying my time with the show. 

Of course, there is a reason why some people find the setting so disgusting, due to the real-life Black Company policies being used on actual people. Sometimes comedy has lines they shouldn’t cross, and that will be dependent on what that individual’s taste in comedy is. With that being said, with how many mediocre comedies and fantasy shows are out this season, anime fans should be happy there are a few isekai/fantasy shows that have more meat to their discussions. 


 Itaden Deities Only know Peace (Crunchyroll)

Content Warning: Rape is shown at the end of the first episode and is a constant thing in the overall show. I won’t blame you for wanting to bail after this warning. 

This anime is based on the manga by Amahara. It’s directed by Seimei Kidokoro, written by Hiroshi Seko, and produced by MAPPA. Honestly, while Gods of Highschool still might be MAPPA’s worst anime, Itaden Deities is right up there. This hot mess of a show feels like it was meant to be a dark comedy of fantasy action shows like YuYu Hakusho, mixed with the visual style of Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, which is not a subtle comparison due to how the illustrator, Coolkyousinnjya designed the look of both Itaden and Dragon Maid series. It also has a ton of that edgelord tripe from the late 80s/early 90s anime era, where rape and assault are played up as huge elements of the story and even as jokes, which, you know, aren’t great. It has a decent hook at the beginning about the morality tale of Deities. They were meant to protect the human race, but due to how the newest batch never had to fight demons until a few episodes into the show, they don’t know how to react. 

I can see that hook being a really solid bit of commentary. With that said, it doesn’t work because I do not like these characters. You can make flawed and obnoxious characters interesting, but the lead characters in this show are some of the most unlikable I have seen this season. Even when the villains are also complete garbage, I would rather invest time with the villains than the heroes who are insufferable. 

By the time I caught up with the rest of the episodes, the show got worse when the stakes became nonexistent. Why should anyone care about what happens when the humans suck, the villains suck, and the heroes are intolerable jerks? There is no balance with it being stupidly violent and edgy. Anytime it gets better, it takes five steps back. This is one of MAPPA’s worst shows, and easily one of the worst shows of the season and the year. I’m so mad this wasn’t better. If you like it, that’s perfectly okay, but for me, I just can not recommend this to anyone. 

Spirit Chronicles (Crunchyroll)

This wildly mediocre isekai anime adaptation is directed by Osamu Yamasaki, co-written by Yamasaki, Megumu Sasano, and Yoshiko Namakura, produced by TMS Entertainment, and is based on the novels and manga by Yuri Kitayama. Outside of an incredibly dark way of making our characters teleport, and a slight twist to the formula with some of the characters having to share a mind and body of a pre-existing individual in the fantasy world, everything else is awful. 

It has cartoonishly mean characters who are bordering on a parody of rich classist individuals. There are no real surprises in terms of what the roles of our main characters are, and the biggest problem is that it does want to be something distinct. It has moments where it either builds up the lore of the world and has proper character moments that expand on our otherwise bland leads. It then drops those beats and turns into another mediocre isekai fantasy series that wants to be another Sword Art Online in more ways than one. Seriously, it took me three episodes to realize that the lead in the opening looks exactly like the lead in SAO. It also has some of the EMT Squared blood in its DNA as the lead has a harem of really young-looking girls and it’s never not uncomfortable. I know the isekai genre is super popular, but maybe we should take a break from adapting them if they are going to be this bad. It’s easily one of the worst anime of the season. 

How a Realist Hero Rebuilds a Kingdom (Funimation) 

The title should be How to Not Have Fun in an Isekai or How To Take A Comedic Idea and Ruin It! This anime adaptation is based on the novels and manga by Dojyomaru, directed by Takashi Watanabe, co-written by Go Zappa and Hiroshi Onogi, and produced by JC Staff. I was looking forward to this anime, due to the premise of an isekai where the story and action take a seat on the throne of running a kingdom from a “realistic” perspective. It’s not so much about the action as it is more about running a healthy and fair kingdom.

That sounds great. Too bad someone decided to lean into the more “work” side of things, leaving me unimpressed with how seriously they are taking the “realist” part of the show’s title. This whole anime and story feels like an anime made for those smarmy individuals that made articles that kickstarted Disney’s live-action remake train, because no one ever accepts that a fantasy story should be full of, well, fantasy/fantastical elements. This show is a boring sit, but it’s not like I don’t get how this can gel with someone. 

It has a few decent jokes, and to be fair, I have heard the anime doesn’t do a great job at portraying the source material’s charm and appeal. Well, that’s too bad, but even if I at all cared about whether the manga was good or not, the anime has to stand on its own legs. Being bored in a pretty generic fantasy world with a few elements that bug me is what I got from watching the first few episodes of this show. 

It’s not the worst show of the season since it is technically doing what the title set out to do, but I think if this series leaned more on the comedy aspect of this show’s premise, I would have enjoyed it more. How much fun would it be if it took the One Punch Man approach to subversive comedy, taking full advantage of how goofy this plot is and then have fun with it trying to be as realistic as possible? I think I’m also a bit burned by this anime, because I was looking forward to it, only to find out the actual anime I was curious about was coming out two seasons from now in Winter 2022. If they didn’t fully commit to being so realistic with how a realist would run a kingdom, maybe I would have enjoyed it more. Check it out if you want, there is a dub available, but this show was not my cup of tea. 

Battle Game in 5 Seconds After Meeting (Crunchyroll)

Another battle royale? Must be a day that ends in Y. This one is based on the manga by Saizo Harawata, and the anime adaptation is directed by Meigo Naito and Nobouyoshi Arai and produced by SynergySP, Vega Entertainment, and Studio A-Cat. Well, it’s another battle royale. It doesn’t do a whole lot to differentiate itself from other anime in the genre, and that’s becoming a huge problem. Why adapt something when there is no real meaty hook to make you stand out from the rest? It has one interesting hook with the lead character’s ability, where he has to convince his opponents what his abilities are, but that’s it. 

I guess it’s nice that the lead character is not a pushover, and whimpering about not wanting to be there, but they did make him a sociopathic monster, so, I guess you pick your poison on which one is worse. The other characters don’t stand out much, and the only thing that is fun to look up about this show are the voice actors with the sadistic cat girl being voiced by Haruko’s voice actor from FLCL and the dude with the sword ability voiced by the Japanese voice of Zoro from One Piece. It is a show that wants to be super grimdark and edgy, and it keeps doing so in the most cartoonish of ways. By trying to come off edgy, it comes off as edgeless. It can be a pseudo-fun time during certain battles, but I can already watch much better battle royales and much better action shows from this and previous seasons. It’s a vapid show that is another low point for this season full of low points. 

D_Cide Traumerei the Animation (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the mobile game by Sumzap and Drecom, this anime adaptation is directed by Yoshikazu Kon, written by Hiroshi Onogi, and produced by Zanzigen. Do you know what we have here? It is yet another anime with something really good about it, but undermined by mediocre storytelling and writing. First off, this is probably some of the best CGI animation of the season. It looks incredible and the fight scenes are well executed. It has some of the season’s best action sequences! 

But then it comes to the story and how it tries to do the whole “we have social commentary” approach, and this is where it falls flat. I don’t hate it when shows try to cover tough topics, but if you are going to touch topics like abuse, drugs, and toxic fans, maybe you should handle them with care and not like some uneducated teenager who thinks they know everything. I’m so sick of shows this season with half-baked plots and half-hearted executions of themes and commentary. 

Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy (Crunchyroll) 

Who would have thought that one of the best shows this season would be an isekai? It’s based on the manga and novels by Kei Azumi, and the anime is directed by Shinji Ishihara, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by C2C. It finally happened. We have an isekai this season that wasn’t complete garbage! 

While the comparisons to That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime are understandable, the novels came out a year before Slime got started, so technically, Slime should be thankful for Moonlit Fantasy. They even have some fairly similar elements of the main character getting warped to a fantasy world and befriending/making contracts with powerful individuals. Moonlit takes it in a more comedic direction where the lead gets two hot women who are loyal to him, but not in a horny fanservicey way. Even the lead getting sent to the fantasy world gets the raw end of the deal from that world’s goddess, and has to get bailed out by another deity to actually survive in the world. 

It has some real top-notch comedy, action, and character dynamics. It’s able to mix its comedic edge with sincere character moments and solid action. It’s one of the anime this season that feels the most cohesive, outside of Uramichi Oniisan and The Aquatope on White Sand. It stands as one of the best anime of the season and of the year so far.

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Summer 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 1

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

There are no two ways to cut it, the Summer 2021 Anime Season has been a real hot mess. On top of two previous seasons that felt too stuffed for their own good, a lot of the shows this season felt like they were made and powered by the energy of burned-out/overworked/underpaid animators and storytellers having to put together multiple stories that had potential to be great, but many fell flat. This is not to say there weren’t any great anime, but it’s more inconsistent this season. Even some of the better shows run into some execution stumbles. Still, I’m going to give my impressions of the new anime this season. I’m skipping over the Scarlet Nexus anime since it’s basically an advertisement for the game that’s already out (the show is fine), and that dormitory ecchi/softcore porn anime will not be touched here. As usual, I’m only talking about the new seasonal anime, and no returning or sequel shows. 

Slice of Life

Girlfriend, Girlfriend (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the manga by Hiroyuki, this anime adaptation is directed by Satoshi Kuwabara, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Tezuka Productions. I’m always a bit hesitant to get into harem anime due to how they usually end up, and on paper, the premise of this one sounds so off-putting. A rom-com about a guy who ends up getting two girls to agree to date him? How do they pull this off? Well, with them all enjoying each other’s company in, of course, an overly comedic way, but in a way that makes for a real mixed bag of comedy. It helps that all of the characters want to be with one another, but they keep falling into the drama of one individual not being okay with being in a multi-partner relationship. It gets tiring when the best part of the show is when the three individuals, plus the future girl-partners enjoy their friendship and company. I will say that after seeing a little more of the show past my usual three episode rule, I was glad that they talked it out. It’s a vibrant show with amusingly dumb characters, and while a lot of the jokes do include yelling, there are a few legit laughs. It’s a show where your mileage will absolutely vary with how your experience unfolds, but compared to the slice of life rom-coms of the previous Spring season (outside of Nagatoro of course), I would rather watch this than Koikimo

Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan (Funimation) 

Based on the manga by Gaku Kuze, this adaptation is directed by Nobuyoshi Nagayama, written by Toko Machida, and produced by Studio Blanc. Do you know those rumors of hosts of children’s shows being unhinged behind the scenes? Where you were told the kind friendly persona they put on is hiding a dark side? Well, that’s essentially the premise of this show. This anime about tired, worn out, jaded, and cynical late 20/early 30-year-olds working a show they aren’t really into, revels in its dark comedy and there is something so charming about it. It might not have the flashiest animation this season, but how they executed it makes the jokes and punchlines land harder due to how snappy the facial expressions are. It’s also diving more into the mindset of the main characters, and I’m so happy that it’s not relying on one joke. Now there is definitely going to be a side of this show that will rub people the wrong way due to how, well, relatable the lead characters are and that feeling of not doing enough with your life at this point in time. I can totally see why some people may find this show off-putting, but I also understand why people enjoy it, and that includes me. With punchy character interactions, funny jokes, and a delightfully twisted sense of humor, there is a charm to this show that is unlike any other this season. 

The Aquatope of White Sand (Crunchyroll) 


This is another original anime this season from PA Works that is directed by Toshiya Shinohara and written by Yuko Kakihara. This show caught my eye early on before the new season of anime dropped with its gorgeous visuals, and the setting of two girls taking care of an aquarium with friends over the summer. It might have a very straightforward story, but the devil is in the details with how they execute the themes and topics covered in a premise like this. With a low-key atmospheric tone, a likable cast of teenagers/young adults, and an experience that feels more fully realized than most anime this season, The Aquatote on White Sand is easily one of the season’s best so far. 


The Detective is Already Dead (Funimation)


Based on the light novel and manga by Nigoju, the anime adaptation was directed by Manabu Kurihara, written by Deko Akao, and produced by ENGI. After last season’s incredible Odd Taxi, I was excited to find the next mystery anime, and sadly, well, this is what we have. I have heard the light novel is popular, but I’m wondering how popular it is for its detective elements, because much of the show is constant repetitive dialogue of things we already know, and the overall world-building is confusing and unrefined. It feels like a show that was made by combining a bunch of elements and not knowing what to edit or cut down on. I’m usually down with a weird sci-fi mystery experience, but this sure isn’t it. If you like the source material, that’s perfectly fine, but if this wants me to purchase said source material, it’s doing a bad job at it. 

Night Head 2041 (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the 1992 drama, this anime adaptation is directed by Takamitsu Hirakawa, written by George Iida, and produced by Shirogumi. What we essentially have is a mix of Equilibrium, Scanners, and Blade Runner, but with none of the interest that those films offer. It was incredibly difficult to jump into this show because it did such a poor job at explaining exactly how everything worked, and it kept throwing things into the formula that made it even harder to follow. It has some points of interest, but those promising elements are not enough to distract from the fact that this show seems to want to be the next Akira, both metaphorically and literally. Seriously, take a shot every time this show has someone reading an Akira manga. The CGI looks fine, but the whole art direction this show takes looks like every other bog-standard sci-fi series we have seen since Ghost in the Shell. Overall, so far, Night Head 2041 is fine, but I don’t have any real drive to go back to it. 

Peach Boy Riverside (Crunchyroll) 

Based on the manga by Coolkyousinnjya, this anime is directed by Shigeru Ueda, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Asashi Productions. I have no idea why they had to tell this show’s story out of order and have two different release strategies, because you will probably end up confusing your viewers about details and story beats. It’s really hard to feel invested in this world when I do not know how the story is supposed to be told. It’s not Pulp Fiction. Otherwise, I have enjoyed the first three episodes of this show due to some of its characters, action, and world. I wish I cared more because how the story is told is pulling me out of it. Maybe I’ll keep watching it, but I’m not sure. 

Re-Main (Funimation) 

This is an original anime this season that is produced by MAPPA, written by Masafumi Nishida, and co-directed by Nishida and Kiyoshi Matsuda. The story of a water polo champion getting into an accident and losing his memory makes for a promising plot point, that is unfortunately not too much of the focus of the show. You would think this would make for a compelling drama-driven show, but it has to share the room with the typical sports anime cliches, and it seems to be taking itself a touch too seriously. Maybe it’s because last season’s Bakuten was such a breath of fresh air for sports anime, but Re-Main feels too formulaic for its own good. It either needed to focus more on the effects of losing three years of memories and what that does to the lead, or feel fresh or interesting with the sports elements. Still, even with all of this said, the animation is gorgeous, the opening song is a banger, and what’s driving this series home is the cast of likable characters and their dynamics. Thankfully, it does dive into some bits of the main character’s memories after the three episode mark, but I’m sure some people were hoping for it to have as much screen time as the sports drama bits. It might not be MAPPA’s best series, but I am still enjoying this a lot more than their other series that we will get to next time. 

The Case Study of Vanitas (Funimation) 


This is based on the manga by Jun Mochizuki, this adaptation is directed by Tomoyuki Itamura, written by Deko Akao, and produced by Bones. I found myself overall charmed by this drama of vampires and humans. It’s a compelling watch as it focuses on a curse that plagues vampires, and this maybe/maybe-not human doctor who wants to cure the vampires of the world with the power of a sacred book. The core appeal of this show is the dynamic between our two male leads as they try to uncover the mystery while fighting an omnipotent force that absolutely creeps the heck out of me. The show does try to balance out more serious story beats with comedy, and while it can and does work a lot of the time, when it doesn’t, it falls flat. It’s a disappointment in that regard due to what one of the leads does to a female character in the third episode that happens to be a little too reckless for its own good. It’s like it tries a little too hard to have the characters be reaffirmed that they are straight when the vibe, tone, and how dialogue sequences are handled tell another story altogether. Still, I love this take on vampires, but it needed a little something to polish out the tone. I’m glad I decided to watch a few more episodes after my cut-off, since it does dive into the world more. The action is pretty good, and the animation is gorgeous. It’s a touch uneven at certain points, but I enjoyed this series, and the dub is out now! 

Kageki Shojo! (Funimation) 


Based on the manga by Kumiko Saiki, this adaptation is directed by Kazuhiro Yoneda, written by Tadashi Morishita and Miyako Matsumoto, and produced by Pine Jam. I know there are plenty of manga and anime that revolve around the setting of an all-female performing arts school that leads into being cast in huge performances, but since I’m not too familiar with those anime, this is the first one that I have seen set in that, well, setting. I love the distinct look of this anime with its human designs and vibrant colors used for the characters and the outfits they wear. It has some familiar elements for a drama/love story between two girls with one of them being closed off to the world, and the other being this ball of energy, but I do enjoy their chemistry. It’s also a drama that will heavily drench its story with as many dramatic plot points as possible that include abuse, stalkers, eating disorders, and the insane difficulties of working in this specific industry. It’s a bit much and it’s not all handled well, but I respect that this anime isn’t just fluffy best friends forever kind of anime and wants to dive into the darker sides of the industry. I may not have seen similar anime to Kageki Shojo, and its execution of drama could use some work, but even with its flaws, like a few other anime this season, it’s one of my favorites. 

Sonny Boy (Funimation)


This is one of the few original anime this season by One Punch Man Season 1 and Space Dandy director Shingo Natsume. This anime is written and directed by Natsume and produced by Studio Madhouse. What may look like another battle royale-style anime with students with powers, ends up being less action-focused and more philosophical and metaphorical with its setting. A bunch of students being stuck in random worlds that aren’t connected to theirs’ results in a ton of story beats, commentary, and all wrapped up with some great writing and one of the most distinct visuals of any anime this season. It’s a touch clunky right out of the gate with setting everything up, but by the third episode, I was hooked. It’s easily one of the best anime this season, and I hope it doesn’t fall flat when the final episode drops. 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020 Part 3


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this editorial!)

Hey everyone, welcome back to part 3 of the Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020. If you have yet to read part 1 or part 2, then you had better do so because if I don’t mention a film on this list, then it might be on a later part of the previous or future list. Let’s continue then, shall we? I mean, that’s what’s going to happen. 

18 Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarves 


With all of the controversy surrounding this one, I am glad that it was a solid little gem of a fantasy/action/comedy film. Unlike a lot of these fantasy comedies that came out after the wake of Shrek, Red Shoes has a more engaging hook and does have a few good messages and morals in the overarching story. It also helps that the voice cast is pretty solid, and Jim Rash and Patrick Warburton steal every scene they are in. If it had better jokes and a more compelling villain, I think this could have easily been higher on the list, but for now, it’s a solid little oddity from South Korea, and if you can find it for cheap, I recommend checking it out. 

17 Superman: Man of Tomorrow 


It feels like it’s been forever since I have truly loved a DC-animated feature, and Superman: Man of Tomorrow is one of those films that I love. It takes a little more time to flesh out Superman in his early days than other films about the hero. The dialogue feels a lot more nuanced and grounded, which makes me fall in love with a character I have been drifting in and out of loving for years now. The new animation style is visually distinct from the previous films. With its use of thick outlines, it’s different enough from the previous films to make it feel fresh. We also finally get a Superman film with a different villain with a three-dimensional take on Parasite. It might have some of the typical DC DTV film clunkiness, and I’m kind of tired of them doing a connected universe thing again, but Man of Tomorrow is a promising start to a hopefully better lineup of films. 

16 No. 7 Cherry Lane 


Now, this is quite a film experience. An adult animated film that’s not a comedy or raunchy. It’s more of an adult romance that takes place in the 1960s. I know some people have criticized it for its slow pace, but it does make up for it by having some great intimate and personal moments between the lead characters. It also captures a period that I was not fully aware of in China. It might have some flawed CGI animation that isn’t as polished as other features seen on this list, but if you can find a way to watch this film, I highly recommend checking it out. 

15 Animal Crackers 


It seems like we should have gotten this film years ago, and it was nice to finally get it. While I understand how some people may not gel with this film due to a fairly weak villain, and it could have gone further with being a full-on musical, I had fun with it. It was a very creative film with plenty of laughs and creativity that led to a rather amusing experience. It might not have the most polished animation, but it has such a cartoony look that it will age better than those films and shorts that use hyper-realistic visuals. If you need a low-key family comedy, I recommend this film!

14 Trolls: World Tour 


Who knew DreamWorks would have a much better track record for sequels than Disney! While it has some story beats that don’t quite match up with the overall commentary that the film is tackling, and some characters regress from the first film, I’m still in awe that they pulled so much out of a sequel to the 2016 original. On top of building upon its vibrant and creative world with more troll races, it takes multiple music genres and creates a rather ambitious commentary about diversity, LGBT elements, cultural appropriation, and commentary about the music industry as well. I just wish the overall film was stronger, but check it out if you haven’t already.

13 SHe


This is probably one of the two most obscure films I have talked about on this list, and probably the one that’s the most abstract to dive into. Here is what it is, this is a stop-motion film about how men and women are treated in society and the workplace. The catch is that it’s all done in stop-motion and instead of using humans, everyone is represented by shoes! I’m not joking, and this film exists. I saw it back in 2019, and while it may have been the wrong film to play late at night at Animation is Film, it’s a film you never quite forget about. It’s a visual experience full of some of the most distinct stop-motion and darkest visuals you will ever see. I think it’s a touch long, and unless you are paying close attention, you may lose track of the plot at points, but if you want an animated film like no other, well, you can’t go wrong with this film. 

12 A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon


While I still prefer the original film, Farmageddon is still an enjoyable and charming romp from Aardman and their flock of sheep. With its more sci-fi elements, it leads to some creative jokes, a better villain, and it puts Shaun in the seat of character growth. I wish the other sheep and the farmer had better story beats, but you still get an overall charming and heartwarming story about family and responsibility. Also, the alien is incredibly adorable, and it’s yet another film that shows that you don’t need dialogue to make a film amusing. You simply need to build your story, visuals, and character movements around it. 

11 The Nose 


Now, this is the most obscure film I have talked about, and it makes me wish we could get an official US release of it. While it takes a bit for the ball to get rolling and to get the context of the plays this film is based on, this has some of the most unique visuals seen in animated films from this year. It was a rather captivating watch that was easily the best film I was able to fully see at Annecy 2020 Online, and I hope some distributor can pick it up for a US release. 

Spring 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 2


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Here we are with part 2! Let’s do this! 


Higehiro: I Shaved and then Brought Home a High School Girl (Crunchyroll) 


Based on the novels and manga by Shimesaba, the anime was directed by Manabu Kamikita, written by Deko Akao, and produced by Project No. 9. I am so frustrated with this show. Not because it’s one of the worst shows this season, but because it has a decent idea. While the base idea is already a bit uncomfortable, you see how the show unfolds and it turns out to be this drama about young adults and the baggage that they carry with them. They do talk about it and interact with one another like real individuals. It’s uncomfortable, but at times, it’s uncomfortable for the right reasons with these characters coming to terms with what they carry with them and how they interact with friends and people they are close to. On the flip side, it’s also filled with fanservice and the show keeps using shots to leer at the young girl and the women in this show, and it can’t seem to balance out what it wants to be. Does it want to be this adult drama that tackles uncomfortable elements and the emotional baggage you carry? Or does it want to be a fanservice show? Granted, so far from what I have seen, it doesn’t want to entirely be about the fanservice, but it’s distracting enough to make the experience of watching the show a tough sit. I think I’m more disappointed with how it handles its themes and story than downright mad. Still, I wish it focused on just the drama. 

86 (Crunchyroll) 


Based on the light novels and manga by Asato Asato, this A1 Pictures-produced series is directed by Toshimasa Ishii and written by Toshiya Ono. What this anti-war drama gets right is what might be the biggest criticism aimed at it right now with how it handles its commentary and themes about discrimination and war with the carefulness of a sledgehammer. It’s very blunt about its beliefs and its story about a society of people who use “AI”-control mechs to fight, while in reality, the “AI” are humans that are of different races than the ones who sit back and do something. Normally, this would be a major issue since everyone loves to scream and rave about subtly while missing films and shows with subtle elements. I’m fine with them being blunt about the show’s themes and commentary. Sometimes, you need to tell them upfront what you are about. Luckily, the comradery between the 86 team members is constantly entertaining and feels like they are real friends. The action does use a lot of CGI, and while it comes with some of the typical clunkiness that is seen in none MAPPA and Studio Orange-produced CGI series, it’s a lot better here than in other anime from this season or previous seasons. However, the action is handled well and is intense. They also find a great balance in the drama, the action, and the moments of lightweight wholesomeness. It’s not subtle, but it’s a good anti-war drama that I think is one of the highlights of the season. 

Tokyo Revengers (Crunchyroll) 


Based on the manga by Ken Wakui, this delinquent school drama with a time travel twist was directed by Koichi Hatsumi, written by Yasuyuki Muto, and produced by Liden Films. What seems like a first in such a long time, we have an honest-to-god school delinquent story. It takes a few creative twists about its setting and how the lead can go back in time to try and prevent the death of a girl he dated in the past. I think what works about the show are the character dynamics. I found the lead way more interesting than he came off at first, and when he meets one of the future gang leaders, it sets off this chain reaction of relationships that I admired. Maybe it’s because it’s been a while or what feels like a long time since we have seen a school delinquent anime, but it feels new and fresh. Now, granted, I was not fond of the first episode. I found it a bit too try-hard in showing how pathetic our main character is, his friends from middle school were obnoxious (even if they were middle school boys, they were a bit much), and it was a bummer that the girl that our lead is trying to save gets relegated at first to being an object of a goal. However, as I went through the episodes, the friends got better, the lead got better, and it has turned into one of my favorite shows of the season. I hope it can keep the momentum up. 

Those Snow White Notes (Crunchyroll) 


Based on the manga by Marimo Ragawa, this show is directed by Hiroaki Akagi, written by Kan’ichi Kato, and produced by Shin-Ei Animation. This is hands down the best drama of the anime season with its focus on finding your sound aka your way in life through the power and mastery of the shamisen. Outside of gorgeous production values, solid comedy, and a more introspective take on the character’s arc, you have music that was supervised by the famous Yoshida Brothers, and it does make up for how much their talent was wasted back in the Summer 2020 season on 2020’s worst anime, Gibiate. The shamisen music heard throughout the show brings so much emotional depth that I was instantly hypnotized by the stand-out moments of each episode when a character would play the stringed instrument. It’s a show that truly stands out and so far, I have no real complaints about it. Now, if I continue watching the show and I find faults with it, maybe I’ll do quick little anime reviews going over the overall season of the show. 


Combatants Will Be Dispatched (Funimation) 


Based on the light novels by Natsume Akatsuki, this adaptation is directed by Hiraki Akagi, written by Yukie Sugawara, and produced by J.C. Staff. Well, it might be from the same author as Konosuba, but it is not by the same anime team that made Konosuba the smash hit that it was. This show is very confused about what it wants to be. Is it set in a sci-fi world with fantasy? or is it a fantasy world with sci-fi elements, because by episode three, they pretty much dispatched the sci-fi elements in favor of fantasy offerings. What also doesn’t have that thing that made Konosuba work are the characters. Instead of having Konosuba‘s chaotically likable idiots, Combatants has characters who have none of that energy or drive that made the other property so fun to watch. What you get here are an annoying lead, a robot girl who looks like a young child, and a harem of quirky characters that don’t have much going for them outside of their one personality trait. The jokes are also not funny. Some got a mild chuckle, but the exact kind of jokes you would find in such a show are all here and accounted for. The one thing missing is any of the major jokes being funny. It’s a shame that I didn’t like this show because it makes me wonder if the Konosuba anime just got lucky it got a director and team that understood the goal or if the author of both this anime and Konosuba were not good. Maybe the source material is better than the adaptation, but as of right now, I do not want to watch these combatants be dispatched! 

Seven Knights Revolution: The Hero’s Successor (Crunchyroll) 


Based on a mobile game we can’t even play in the states, this anime adaptation is directed by Kazuya Ichikawa, written by Ukyo Kodachi, and produced by Liden Films and DOMERICA. It’s a real bog-standard action fantasy RPG with characters and a story you have seen before. Even the monsters look painfully generic. It’s always amusing how we get these anime for games we don’t get access to, because if you don’t know about the game, then why would you watch this show? It’s fine if you don’t play the game, but since I’ve seen this whole premise and cast of characters before, it doesn’t add anything to my experience that I couldn’t get with other action shows this season. When the action does kick in, it’s fine, but you can do a lot better this season than this anime. 

Cestvs: Roman Fighter (Crunchyroll) 


Based on the manga by Shizuya Wazarai, this anime is directed by Toshifumi Kawase and Kazuya Monma, written by Toshifumi Kawase, and produced by Bandai Namco Pictures and Logic & Magic. While we might not have an Ex-Arm this season in terms of bad CGI animation, Cestvs almost hits that mark. While it has better CGI animation with weight behind the movements and actual lip movements, the show suffers everywhere else. The main character is way too whiny, the aristocrats are pushed to an unlikability that’s not tolerable, and the side characters are boring. However, it then also pulls the stunt of being a mix of 2D and CGI, and while it’s better implemented than Ex-Arm, the show suffers by not fully going the route of CGI. Also, this whole gladiatorial combat stuff has been debunked by historical findings, so seeing some of the inaccuracies pop up that are only there to drive the story is humorous to me. It has a few interesting characters, and it doesn’t 100% fail at brushing the horrors of slavery under the rug, but even after going 4 episodes deep into this show, I can’t find myself going back to it. The only real reason to watch this show is the combat, but when there are so many anime this season with great action set pieces, then why would you go for the weaker shows in the action category when you can get something better? I would personally skip it unless you are curious about seeing a boxing anime that takes place in ancient Rome. 

The World Ends With You: The Animation (Funimation) 


Based on the cult-favorite video game from Square Enix, this adaptation is directed by Kazuya Ichikawa, written by Midori Goto, and produced by DOMERICA and Shin-Ei Animation. Well, it’s an anime adaptation of a video game. You get all of the cutscenes, but none of the fun of actually playing the game. It’s an extremely dense three episodes as we go from story beat to story beat with no time for stopping to take it all in. It got better by the third episode, and I would consider this to be one of the better action shows of the season. It’s not better than some of the other anime out this season, but I can see myself wanting to see how this show ends. 

Mars RED (Funimation) 


Based on a manga by Bun-O Fujisawa, this action drama is directed by Kohei Hatano and Shinya Sadamitsu, written by Jun’ichi Fujisaku, and produced by Signal.MD. This show set in 1923 and dealing with an elite unit to take care of a blossoming vampire problem was one of the first shows of the season and one of the first to get a dub. I’m not entirely sure why, but I found myself enthralled with this vampire drama. It’s not doing anything unique, but I think having the characters be adults let the scenes that have them contemplating about their vampire nature be handled better here than most stories that deal with the blood-sucking monsters. There are some truly heartbreaking moments in the show and I was compelled and pulled into their stories. The action is more grounded, but it has some small fantastical elements sprinkled in that make for some truly great visual moments. Speaking of the visuals, Mars RED is one of the most gorgeous shows I have seen this season with perfect linework, expressive animation, and the designs and world overall feel cohesive. I can understand why some people aren’t as into this show as others, but I see myself getting back into this show once I’m done writing this article. 

Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood (Crunchyroll) 


Joran is an original anime this season directed by Susumu Kudo and produced by Bakken Records. It’s an anime version of the Lady Snowblood films mixed with Blood+, and turn-of-the-century technology (the late 1800s maybe early 1900s). I compare it to these elements because it has a stellar female lead who slays shapeshifting demons while wondering what is going on with the shady underbelly of the organization she works for and the targets they go after. It has pretty great animation, and when the power sets are turned on, the animation takes on an entirely different visual style that is so much fun to watch. It has great characters, intriguing plot twists, and lots of creative action that has impressed me within the five episodes I had watched.

To Your Eternity (Crunchyroll) 


Based on the manga by Yoshitoki Oima, this adaptation is directed by Masahiko Murata, written by Shinzo Fujita, and produced by Brain’s Base. Without a doubt, To Your Eternity has made one of the biggest and best first impressions out of any anime this season. The first episode would have been amazing as its own little short film. Then you realize it has more story after that first episode! They threw a lot of talent and resources into this show if they got Utada Hikaru to do the theme song. It’s an ambitious story about life and the human experience as we follow our lead character as it interacts with the characters it meets. It’s a show that has a lot of enticing dialogue, creative world-building, and the individual the story is revolving around actually does become the main focus as the story goes on. Still, if you are against shows that have a sort of passive main character that traverses the story, you might not like this, and some story beats might be a bit much. Still, I have enjoyed the story and admired the ambition that this show has. It’s easily one of my favorite shows of the season so far. Now, will it stay that way, who knows? 


It’s Too Sick to Call this Love aka Koikimo (Crunchyroll)


Based on the manga by Mogusu, this anime adaptation is directed by Naomi Nakayama and produced by Nomad. This is an age gap romance where a man who is obviously in his 30s, is falling for a teenage girl, and the anime only seems half of the time aware of how creepy this premise is. You can spew all of the “well it’s a different culture and age of consent” comments as you want, but when one side of the party is not okay with the guy hitting on her constantly, then any defenses become null and void. The show only calls out the fact the guy is a creep half of the time! The other half is everyone gaslighting the high school girl that “hey maybe he’s not that bad” when all he does is stalk her, send her presents, and then does the bare minimum of a guy being nice and kind. Maybe this anime adaptation would have been better if it was leaning more on the dunking on the male lead and the animation was better, but it’s not. Alongside Burning Kabaddi and that Battle Athletes reboot, this is one of the cheapest-looking productions this season. The designs might be okay, but the animation is downright mediocre. It’s stiff and lifeless, and that’s saying something when you can say “Hey, The Way of the Househusband, a motion comic, is better animated than three of the shows in this anime season”. The opening and ending songs for Koikimo are okay, but that’s about all the kindness I have for this show. If I were ranking these shows, this would be right at the very bottom. I can’t see myself wanting to see how they gaslight the girl into loving the guy twice her age. 

The Romcom Where The Childhood Friend Won’t Lose (Crunchyroll)


Based on the light novel and manga by Shuichi Nimaru, this adaptation is directed by Takashi Naoya, written by Yoriko Tomita, and produced by Doga Kobo. This might be the one anime this season where I don’t honestly don’t know where I stand on it. I enjoy it way more than Koikimo, but I don’t know if I downright love this show. On one hand, the first episode has a lot of ideas that rub me the wrong way. A high school boy is getting revenge on a girl because she is going out with another guy, and a girl who was crushing on our lead teams up with him to get revenge on the girl. But then you get to episode 3 and so many twists happen that it turns into less of a revenge fantasy with some rom-com elements, and more of a dysfunctional rom-com of teenagers who are in love and have no real idea of how to handle these emotions. The production values are okay, and so far, the cast is only okay, but something about this show grabbed me as I went on through it. Maybe I’ll pick it up again, but I will have to see if I do want to return. 

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagataro (Crunchyroll)


Based on the manga by Nanashi, this series is directed by Hirokazu Hanai, written by Taku Kishimoto, and produced by Telecom Animation Film. Who would have thought about a rom-com with a bullying fetish would be good? It’s not something I’m personally interested in, but the comedy is well-executed. Now if you aren’t into bully fetishes, then you won’t enjoy the titular character’s antics with the male lead. However, Nagataro herself is a sadistically delightful character who has some of the most expressive animations out of any character this season. While some of the teasings can lean a little too hard on being mean, there is this sincere kindness and teenage awkwardness under it all that makes it a delightful show to watch. You can tell she isn’t meaning to be a jerk, and she’s being more of a doofus crushing on the lead character who doesn’t get how to approach him respectably. The male lead isn’t the most interesting character at first but becomes more interesting as the show goes on. It’s a show I was wary about with how it would turn out, but I ended up enjoying it quite a lot and I can see myself wanting to finish it up alongside Dragon Goes House Hunting as my two comedies of the season. 

And there you have it! The Spring 2021 Anime Season watch is complete. I am burnt out on anime, and I need to take a small break before I can fully dive in and enjoy more anime when the summer season heats up. Still, even if most of these shows didn’t pan out, I was happy enough with the ones I loved. 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Spring 2021 Anime Season Impressions Part 1


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

The Spring 2021 anime season decided to come back swinging with even more anime than the infamous Winter 2021 season. It was almost exhausting to watch so many, but there was a lot of anime that was quite fantastic! It will be some of the best anime we will be seeing this year. Even the worst anime of the season aren’t worse than Ex Arm and Redo of Healer. That’s why I’m going to split this one into two parts due to how many shows there were to cover. As usual, this is only covering the new anime of the season. No returning series and I’ll only cover anime reboots if they are important in some way shape or form. No rankings this time either. I’m giving my 3+ ep impressions on these shows in terms of what genre they are in. Animation is a medium of storytelling, and anime is very good at going in different directions with their stories. Let’s start, shall we? 


Battle Athletes Victory Restart (Funimation)


Based on the manga by Yuki Nakano, this new iteration/reboot of the fan-favorite series is directed by Tokihiro Sasaki and is produced by Seven. Let me ask you a question. Remember in the Fall 2020 season there was that great Higurashi sequel reboot thing that got people to talk about Higurashi again? Well, this one will get people talking, but for all of the wrong reasons. This reboot is not good. It’s not only bad at setting up what kind of plot we are getting into, but the characters are also flat, cookie-cutter, and the animation is easily some of the worst this season has to offer. For a show that’s going to be about intense athletic challenges, the animation is very basic. No weight is put behind the movements and you think they would make the sports stuff look exciting and thrilling. It comes off like a show that was made because they made a deal to make it to keep the rights of the property more than any real passion behind it. Also, while this show may aim at a female audience, it sure loves to have a ton of male gaze elements like looking at character’s butts, and it is more interested with the yuri baiting than telling a more followable story. Also, since one character has prosthetics, couldn’t they have made it appear like something that wasn’t looking like they pulled some pantyhose over one arm and leg? Oh, and this show doesn’t earn its political space drama either. No one gives a rat’s behind about this world or the main story. Eh, either way, Battle Athletes Victory Restart is easily one of the weakest shows of the season, and the only thing it will get people talking about is the original anime from the 90s. 

Burning Kabaddi (Crunchyroll) 


Burning Kabaddi is a sports anime based on the manga by Hajime Musashino. It’s directed by Kazuya Ichikawa and produced by TMS Entertainment. I always look for a sports anime with a unique hook. For example, this is a sports anime where the sport in question is Kabaddi, which is full-contact tag. That sounds great! Too bad that this is one of the cheapest-looking anime of the season. It doesn’t have the best animation and for a sport that I said is a more aggressive tag, then that’s a huge problem. It doesn’t help either that this is by a studio and director that are busy with other projects. Unless said otherwise, it sounds like this anime got the short end of resources. The voice acting is decent, and some of the leads are amusing, but it doesn’t stand out. It makes me wonder if this project went to someone like Studio Mappa. The animation would have been better. Even then, it has a severe case of “been there done that” in terms of its story and characters. I was honestly looking forward to this anime, so it makes me sad that it wasn’t better. It’s, at the very least, earnest in its execution that I can’t fully hate it as much as some other anime this season. 

Farewell, My Dear Cramer! (Crunchyroll)


Based on the manga by Naoshi Arakawa, this anime adaptation was directed by Seiki Takuno, written by Natsuko Takahashi, and produced by Liden Films. Unfortunately, this is yet another sports anime this season that suffers from major production issues. It’s a show where the visuals are at some points decent, but keep leaning into the wholly mediocre territory. For a sports anime about running and kicking a ball, it all feels so stiff and lifeless like Battle Athletes. The character designs look so wonky. A friend of mine described it as if they were given the eyes and lips of a fish, and I can’t unsee it that way now. At first, it looks like they were going for a more retro-inspired design for the characters, but it’s not gone far enough to warrant the “retro” vibe, and then there are some weird inconsistent designs. It doesn’t help that it’s hard to know who is the real main character of the show. Due to it being a team of girls, it keeps shifting between the ones who play a more important role in the story. I get why they keep focusing on so many, but with how slow-paced the progression of the story is going, it doesn’t seem like we are going to know anytime soon who is the main focus, and the story isn’t good enough to care about who wins, and that’s a shame. I love the drama angle of how popularity is dropping for women-driven soccer, but that needed to be the focus, not watching the team of the story fail and deal with intensely smug champion teams. I’m so bummed that this one isn’t better, because I was hoping to find a soccer anime that I could love, but this sure ain’t it. 

Bakuten! Aka Backflip! (Crunchyroll) 


Oh my goodness! We have an actual good sports anime this season! This original anime is directed by Toshimasa Kuroyanagi, written by Toshizo Nemoto, and produced by Zexcs. This is the sports anime of the season that has everything the other sports shows are lacking. You have beautiful animation that masterfully matches fluid and expressive 2D animation with CGI, likable and hugely memorable characters, and a story with stakes that are just big enough to keep the story moving forward, but doesn’t treat the experience like it’s the end of the world. It has incredibly wholesome energy with the story, music, and character chemistry that makes for easily one of the best shows to watch of the Spring 2021 season. 


Full Dive (Funimation)


Based on the light novels and manga by Light Tuchihi, this anime adaptation was directed by Kazuya Miura, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by Studio ENGI. This was advertised as a dark comedy take on the VRMMO anime series like Sword Art Online, but this one has a devilishly solid gimmick. The VRMMO in this anime is so realistic that there are no traditional game gimmicks and so on. It’s pretty much a game that drops you into a hard mode crafted by From Software and the teams behind those obtuse adventure games. Sadly, for as great as the first episode starts, the rest of the show, so far, has failed to live up to that first episode. It seems more comfortable explaining the more “realistic” elements of the game itself than doing something fun with them, and the characters aren’t that interesting. It also loves to slide into mean-spirited dialogue and interactions, but not balance it out to where we are rooting for anyone. The main character is dull and has every right to be mad at how he got conned into buying this game, the female lead is irredeemably awful, and it doesn’t have that flow or execution that makes anime like Konosuba work. It’s trying very hard to reconcile the game with the real world, but it’s neither fun nor interesting to be in this game world. Maybe it will get better, but when you start with such a strong first episode, only to flop hard in the second and third episodes, it makes me not want to watch the rest to see what happens. Maybe I will give it an episode or two more, but so far, it’s easily one of the biggest disappointments of the anime season. 

I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level (Crunchyroll)


Based on the light novels by Kisetsu Morita, this anime adaptation is directed by Nobukage Kimura and was produced by Revoroot. Yes, it’s another isekai, and yes, it is about an individual who died of being overworked. That’s why I was curious to see how they take the “I maxed out my level and now have god-tier powers, but all I want to do is be left alone.” angle the marketing made it out to be. On one hand, I think it is a smarter show than its very obvious all-woman harem elements offer. It does dive into how the lead makes sure none of her now newly adopted family members (who are of course cute monster girls) don’t make the same mistakes as she did back in the real world. It also does its job of being a cute fantasy-comedy as it has some very solid jokes. I’m just not pulled into the overall story yet. I think it’s because it feels like they took the premise and halted it for cute harem shenanigans, and while we now have two spirit girls, a dragon girl, and a clumsy elf girl, I have seen better versions of these characters before. I think it’s not hitting it out of the park fully, and maybe I’m just thinking about how Taoteba Last Dungeon and Konosuba took more advantage of their premises by the first episode. Still, I don’t hate this series, but I wouldn’t be shocked if I decided to drop it after another episode or so. I at least think the characters hold up the plot more than most isekai shows. It’s cute and harmless, and sometimes, that’s all you need. 

The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent (Funimation) 


Based on the light novel series by Yuka Tachibana, this adaptation is directed by Shota Ihata, written by Wataru Watari, and produced by Diomedia. I was first hooked on the premise of a regular working-class woman who gets swept to another world, only to find out she was swept to this world by accident with the real “chosen one”. It’s something I haven’t seen tackled in a lot of isekai, and I fell for this show even more once she decided to sit back and do her own thing. She didn’t want to save the world or deal with some demon king, but instead, she wanted to make potions. Sei Takanashi, our lead character, ends up making the world she is in a better place by simple actions of healing and helping out the individuals that would otherwise get looked over in other isekai stories. It does have a male harem element with three guys that may or may not be crushing on her all at once, but it doesn’t feel as skeezy as other anime with these types of setups. It’s a slow burn, but it’s a burn that has been worth it. 

Dragon Goes House Hunting (Funimation) 


Based on the manga by Kawo Tanuki, this adaptation is directed by Haruki Kasugamori and is produced by Signal. MD. You would think with a premise about a dragon wanting to find his own home with the help of a demon lord real-estate agent it would have a limited range in humor and writing, but it’s a show that knows how to expand on its setting and isn’t stuck on the elevator pitch of a premise. It’s got a great dynamic between the dragon and our real estate agent, and it uses every situation with getting the dragon a new home to have some kind of expansion on the world, the characters, or the story. It might not have the best animation since it feels like it wants to stay heavily on model due to how detailed the characters are, the show does do a good job transitioning to more comedic animation, and the jokes are funny! It’s a show that was an early favorite this season, and I’m so glad it feels like a fully realized comedy and fantasy anime. It’s probably my favorite comedy this season since shows like Combatants Must Be Dispatched have underperformed. 


Blue Reflection Ray (Funimation) 


Based on the game developed by Gust, this video game adaptation is directed by Risako Yoshida, written by Akiko Waba, and produced by JC Staff. It’s boring. It’s supposed to be this dramatic battle royale anime with powers that revolve around girls teaming up with other girls and being defined by emotions. It does a really bad job at explaining how it all works, the characters are pretty forgettable, and I had a hard time remembering the names of the two leads. The art direction looks nice, but there is a real lack of movement. Characters will stand around to drag out scenes, and I know this is typical for anime shows, but it feels so restrictive and with such a distinct visual style, it only makes the stiffness stand out even more. There could have been a really interesting way to tackle this story and world, but I gave it the three-episode rule, and well, I won’t be watching any more beyond that.

Pretty Boys Detective Club (Funimation) 


Based on the novel series by Nisio Isin, this anime adaptation is directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, Hajime Ootani, written by Akiyuki Shinbo and Shaft, and produced by Shaft. Well, with a name like Pretty Boys Detective Club, you have to assume it’s going to be a very pretty show, and boy howdy does it have some of the best visual eye candy in terms of this show’s visual presentation. Great designs, fluid animation, and stylish visuals carry this entire show. The impressive visuals also carry into the writing of the show that is fairly dense with the first three episodes’ storyline of helping a girl find a star in the sky. It turns from a solid mystery of a heartbroken girl to the girl having the eyesight to see something she wasn’t supposed to see. It takes a huge leap, and while the dialogue is a bit much and some of this is familiar ground, if you are looking for something like a mix of Ouran Highschool Host Club with some bonkers detective work, then this will easily be the show for you! 

Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song (Funimation)


This is an entirely original anime by creators Tappei Nagatsuki and Eiji Umehara. It’s directed by Shinpei Ezaki, written by the creators, and produced by WIT Studios. Vivy is a wildly ambitious sci-fi story about time travel, the commentary about man and machine, and morality. The story about a futuristic AI being sent back in time to prevent a robot uprising that kills the human race in the future is some truly compelling stuff when you realize who this AI has to team up with to save humanity. The other side of the equation is the first AI android who the future AI goes to find doesn’t believe this super AI from the future is telling the truth. The real drama and driving force are the different ideals of the two AIs as they try and fix the past so the future doesn’t unfold into bloodshed, but then small wrinkles come up from time to time that throw a wrench into the situation, and it makes for an extremely compelling story. I wish it was dubbed because the future AI talks way too fast and it’s hard to keep up with the subtitles at points. Otherwise, it’s one of Spring’s most intriguing anime. 

Odd Taxi (Crunchyroll)


This is a very cool original anime this season. It’s directed by Baku Kinoshita, written by Kazuya Konomoto, and produced by OLM Inc, and P.I.C.S. It does have a manga, but it was an original series first and foremost. This is a mix of a drama, a thriller, and a slice-of-life anime about the world that revolves around this lone walrus taxi driver and the storylines that spin-off of his encounters with both familiar faces and new individuals. It’s an anime I can’t quite compare to many that are out these days or not right off the top of my head. It’s like someone took the tone of something like The Wire or Fargo and mixed it up with Zootopia and Beastars with the designs from Animal Crossing. It’s an anime that truly stands out among the pack from not only its visuals, but its low-key story and perfect writing. I want to see what happens with all of these characters to see how the mystery around this missing girl unfolds and how these stories interact and finish. It’s an anime that was made with my kind of sensibilities. If I was ranking these anime individually and not by genre category, it would easily be in my top five. I highly recommend people check out this show because it hooks you within the first episode and doesn’t let go. 

Slice of Life

Super Cub (Funimation))


Based on the light novel series by Tone Koken, this anime adaptation was directed by Toshiro Fujii, written by Toshizo Nemoto, and produced by Studio Kai. So far, from what I have seen, there is a real polarizing reception to this show. You either love how low-key and slow it is, or you find it too much of a slow burn to get through. I’m in the middle. I do like it due to how low key it is, but it is a touch too slow. The writing can also come off as making the lead character, Koguma, a touch dafter than she is. The CGI is also hit and miss as it doesn’t always blend well with the 2D characters or backgrounds. However, something about this show just clicks with me. I love the low-key vibes, I like the 2D visuals, the interaction between the leads, and the calming music. It reminds me of an indie game where all you do is drive around and listen to the music and just have a no-stress time. It won’t be for everyone, and I wouldn’t consider this a top 10 anime of the Spring season, but at least it is what is advertised and it doesn’t fall apart like Full Dive and Combatants Must Be Dispatched

Fairy Ranmaru (Crunchyroll)


Hey, look, another original anime this season. This one is produced by Studio Comet, written by Jo Aoba, and directed by Kosuke Kobayashi and Masakazu Hishida. At first, I was enjoying the abstract dumbness of this one. A bunch of hot men who come from different fairy clans comes to earth to help clients expel the toxic and negativity in their lives via abstract combat. Within the combat encounters, the men transform in extremely horny ways into their fairy forms. It’s a dumb trashy anime that could have worked. I love the music, the transformations are delightfully horny to give the middle finger to male-focused fanservice. And yes, this isn’t the first anime to do such a thing, but it’s so rare, that it’s delightful to see it when it does happen. I like a lot of the little ideas about the leads and how the rules work. However, it’s a hot mess and it doesn’t always blend. It seems like it’s always at the edge of going down the right direction with its content but then doesn’t go far enough. I wish it went full dumb, but it also wants to be about something. I don’t know if I want to see what happens next after the three episodes I watched. If you like dumb but sincere anime, then, by all means, watch this one, but I can easily list a few other shows that go all the way with their fun dumb premise that do it better than Fairy Ranmaru

Shadows House (Funimation)


Based on a manga by Su-mat-to, this adaptation is directed by Kazuki Ohashi, written by Toshiya Ono, and produced by CloverWorks. Okay, before we continue, let’s get the joke out of the way first, this is where all the resources that were for The Promised Neverland Season 2 went after the Neverland committee simply gave up on the second season. Anyway, Shadows House is a great show! I love the mystery behind this world of shadowy individuals, living dolls, and the commentary that can be picked from not only the environment but the dialogue and the ideas at play here. The dolls are rather complex characters, and their dynamics with the Shadows are really interesting to watch in motion. It has nice animation, the designs are distinct, and the writing has kept me invested in this show, which is why I’m going to so far, stick with it. 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020 Part 2


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Hey everyone, welcome back to part 2 of the Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020. If you have yet to read part 1, then you had better do so because if I don’t mention a film on this list, then it might be on a later part of the previous or future list. Let’s continue then, shall we? I mean, that’s what’s going to happen. 

27 Kill it and Leave this Town 


I always respect the fact that we still get animated features that stay true to the original ambition and idea created by the director. I think that’s always a good goal to have in mind with making animated features. However, if that director wants to make a film that’s extremely slow, hard to follow at points because of the heavy emphasis on dream logic, and only appealing to a certain niche group of animation and film fans, then you shouldn’t be shocked if someone ends up not liking it and not recommending it. I do get what this film is about, but the meandering pace and focus on surreal dream-like images, designs, and a very morose tone make for a fairly dull watch. I love the art style and the music, but it shouldn’t be a shock when a film like this doesn’t find a wider audience. I know this was the director’s passion project, and that’s fine! I get why some critics do love this film, but again, if you want to make a film that’s as far away as possible from the films that come out from big studios, then don’t be shocked if you don’t catch many fans. 

26 Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge 


We have yet another video game movie, and while it’s low on the list, it’s one of the better films in terms of video game adaptations. When it’s actually about Scorpion’s Revenge, it’s a compelling story, and the action throughout the overall film is fantastic for a direct-to-video film. However, the film wants to be a universe starter and a traditional Mortal Kombat plot with a tournament set up. It’s too busy trying to focus on making a franchise and giving Johnny Cage a predictable story arc. It’s a fun film, but easily one I can see not coming back to. 



What is with WB and their fetish for wanting universe starters? Even taking out the above-average CGI animation, some decent casting, and a few clever jokes, references, and side characters, the film is not a Scooby-Doo film. It’s a Hanna-Barbera universe starter, and that’s it. It’s uninterested in being a film about the iconic dog and that’s a shame. When it does have some of that charm from the franchise, it’s a decent watch. Like everyone else, I wish some of the concept art that we got to see after the film was released was what we got instead of this lukewarm universe starter. 

24 Justice League Dark: Apokolips War


Speaking of universes, we now have the finale to the previous cinematic universe of DC/WB direct-to-video films. Outside of an opening sequence that made me unintentionally laugh for days, I was glad this was the last film in a franchise I wasn’t a huge fan of. It had great action, some endearing moments between certain characters, and I think the ending was pretty good! I just wasn’t a fan of this storyline and I’m glad they are moving on. 

23 Summer Days with Coo


This was one of the few foreign films in 2020 to be a carryover from a long time ago. I mean, a long time ago in terms of 2007. We finally got this film in the US, and while I do like seeing one of Keiichi Haara’s first directorial efforts, it is flawed. It has a weird time balancing more child-like whimsy and the darker tones of what it wants to tackle. While it has some very hit and miss animation overall, it does end on a rather nice note that I wish carried the overall tone of the film. It’s a cute film, but I can safely say his later films are miles above this one. 

22 A Whisker Away


If there was a real disappointment from 2020, it would be this film. While it has gorgeous animation, some truly great visuals, and the villain is fun, the main character is what breaks this film. Her constant stalking and harassment of the male lead are uncomfortable. It bogs down a film with some very mature themes and ideas. It’s just a reminder that not every original film that comes out is going to be good. 

21 A Dog’s Courage


This is another film that we finally got from a previous year in the US. While I’m not fully familiar with South Korea and its animation scene, I was aware of this director’s previous film and was excited about finally checking this one out. It uses CGI animation quite wonderfully. It is also an effective experience of a group of dogs trying to find a better life. Its use of 2D animation isn’t as good as other films, and it is yet another animated film with a tone problem. Still, I always admire a film that has a strong emotional story, and I’m glad I got to see it. Just don’t expect this film to be very kid-friendly. 

20 My Favorite War


This is such a unique movie. While we have films in this similar fashion with Another Day of LifeMy Favorite War tells a more intimate story of the director growing up in Soviet Latvia, and it has a very distinct visual style when the animation beats happen. It might not be the best animation, and it does look a little wonky at points, the personal story and the history behind that country are way more than enough to carry the rest of the film. 

19 Twilight


Yeah, we finally got this film. I remember there was a lot of hype for it due to being crowdfunded, which is not uncommon with Japanese animation, but then everything went silent, and it stayed in Japan for a few years. Crunchyroll then finally brought it over, and well, it’s a solid little teen drama. While it’s not revolutionary or better than other teen dramas or coming-of-age dramas, it’s still well animated and earnest in its execution to warrant at least one viewing of the film. 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!

Worst to Best Animated Films of 2020 Part 1


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

So, 2020 was a stressful and soul-sucking year, wasn’t it? On top of, well, everything else that matters more than what I’m about to write about, the animation scene was a mess in the feature film department. Delays upon delays, and changing release strategies shook everything up. Luckily, animation was a bright spot despite other elements getting in the way, and not only did we get a lot of great movies, but also a lot of incredible shows. Sure, the major studios bowed out of the release windows, but that left room for multiple smaller indie films and streaming features to enter the scene, and overall, it turned out to be a solid year. Maybe not the strongest, but still entertaining enough. Plus, unlike some animation critics, I watched all of the major releases that mattered. Anyway, the rules still apply. They must have had some kind of US release, I tend to stick to if they were released in some way during 2020, and while I am still following the Oscar Submission List, I am moving some of the films to my 2021 list due to the fact they didn’t get proper 2020 releases. Let’s get started. 

38 Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Water Rebus


Honestly, I didn’t want to add this to the list because it almost doesn’t count as animation. It mostly feels like a bunch of live-action footage with multiple filters with the bare minimum of rotoscoping the footage. It doesn’t feel like an animated film, but even if it was more traditionally animated, the plot was hard to follow, and trying to find out what the plot exactly was made my blood boil. Maybe it was a subtitle thing when I saw this at Annecy, but it’s no real shock this film had no chance at the Oscars or most award shows. It’s the exact kind of film that I would categorize as unpleasant to watch and is what I think of when people say they want something as far away from the big studio projects as possible. Well, this is what ya get, a film with such little interest in making sure you know what’s going on that it resulted in an experience I never want to have again. Sadly I do get that kind of experience, but we will get there on this list. 

37 Pets United


I know it’s a cliche to bash Illumination, but you would realize how much talent and work goes into their films if you see a film like Pets United. It’s a weird mishmash of tones, ideas, and it doesn’t work at all. Say what you will about the Secret Life of Pets films, but they were at least fun to watch and kept your interest in some way to make you not forget them. Moments after I watched Pets United, I was forgetting details about the story, the themes, the characters, and so on. Its animation is fine, and some weird aspects stand out for how out-of-place they are, but that’s not enough to call it anything good. It’s one of the films that Netflix picked up because it didn’t cost much to purchase and translate. 

36 Fe@rless 


Shockingly, a Vanguard Animation film wasn’t on the bottom of the list. Honestly, it does deserve it, because while it’s “better” than the previous two films, I wouldn’t call it good. It’s got all of the hallmarks of the studio’s work with a bad story, bland characters, and some decent ideas that are never expanded on or fleshed out. It all feels like a film that only had enough money in the budget for a rough draft and then got dumped onto Netflix with no fanfare. A few amusing lines do not make a good film. Otherwise, it’s just more straight-to-video/straight-to-streaming schlock. 

35 Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution


Who knew we would get our very own version of 2019’s Lion King, but instead of a bad remake of a good movie, we got a bad remake of a mediocre movie! Yeah, I am not a fan of the original film, and I know many love it due to how every kid saw it back in the day. Still, it’s an ugly CGI remake of a 2D animated film that does the bare minimum of improving the story, and while it might be closer to the original Japanese version of the film, that doesn’t change much due to how it’s already a mediocre story. The CGI Pokemon looked fine, and the voice cast was solid, but there was no real reason for this film to be made. 

34 Latte and the Magic Waterstone


Oh, look, another foreign feature Netflix bought on the cheap and gave no other support for it. Honestly, out of the worst films on the list, it’s harmless. Its most offensive element is that it’s boring and forgettable. It has a few cool moments like this one sequence where a character’s shadow is hand-animated, and some of the moments with certain characters were amusing enough. The biggest offender of this film is that it feels like a feature that was dated in terms of storytelling, themes, and characters. 

33 Henchmen 


It’s a real bummer the lead actor for this film is a garbage bin. I probably shouldn’t have it on there because of the recent news about Thomas Middleditch (on top of the other creepy and awful stories about him), but honestly, no one in this film is good. It’s a situation where the film’s production history is more interesting than the film itself. I mean, an animated superhero comedy written and produced by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell sounds incredible, right? Well, that is not what we got due to them leaving the project early on. Instead, we got a middling superhero parody that has a decent hook, but like most bad parodies, does nothing interesting with the hook. The animation is kind of cool, but it’s nothing incredible or as iconic as what Spider-Verse did with its visual style. It’s a film with a promising elevator pitch, but that’s about it. 

32 Ni No Kuni 


What do you get when you are a film based on a video game? The answer is a film that’s not even remotely familiar to the video games it’s based on. It’s related by name only. While it has a few decent story beats, it plays out like a very generic fantasy film. The only part that is kind of cool is the moments in time where the leads go back and forward between the real world and the fantasy world, but that’s about it. It’s a real disappointing film. 

31 Superman Red Son 


Do you know what my least favorite kind of DC animated film is? It’s the one based on an adaptation that shouldn’t have been one film! While the story of what if Superman was raised in Russia is a compelling one, it’s not given enough time to let the proper story beats play out, and it doesn’t feel as compelling as you would think this premise is. It’s easily one of the most forgettable films from DC’s animation lineup, and that’s a shame. 

30 Dragon Quest: Your Story 


The video game curse strikes again! This is why truncating an entire video games’ story into one movie is a bad idea, and it’s even worse when it’s based on what might be the most popular entry in the biggest RPG franchise in Japan. The CGI animation while better than most, does a few things that irked me. Why do you have Akira Toriyama’s iconic designs, but take out distinct design details that end up making everything look generic? The action and music are quite fantastic, but then the film pulls a plot twist in the last 10 minutes that causes the entire experience to drive off of a cliff. I get what they were trying to do, but maybe don’t try to make your own story when you are based on a story that already existed. 

29 The Last Fiction 


I might not like this film, but boy howdy do I respect and admire how this Iranian animated feature wanted to be this epic that had dark tones, violence, and plenty of action beats. That doesn’t mean I can’t find some things to criticize. The scale of the story is ambitious, but it feels badly paced with huge leaps through time, and characters I found forgettable. The combination of 2D animation and CGI was also something that felt like it was from the early 2000s. Still, there is something to admire about the ambition of this film. Hopefully, we can see some other promising projects from this corner of the world. 

28 Manou the Swift 


Way back in 2017, I reviewed a film called A Stork’s Journey. I considered it one of the weaker films of that year, and I still stand by that. Well, to me, Manou the Swift was what that film wanted to be. While it’s not a marginally better film, it at least has a lot more that I like about it. It has a decent cast including Josh Keaton, Nolan North, Willem Dafoe, and Kate Winslet, the animation was better, and it wasn’t as obnoxious in the comedy department. It still had a lot of the same problems as A Stork’s Journey, but it did just enough better with the story beats to not make this a total borefest. 

Still, the next batch of films on this list are at the very least more interesting, so stay tuned! 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!