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. 



Comedy/Romance 


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. 




Action/Adventure



 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!

Winter 2021 Anime Season Impressions

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(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, here we are, a new chaotic year, and I am now going to start doing these seasonal anime impressions more regularly. Maybe I’ll even do a best to worst ranking of them all after the season is over! So, the same rules that we used in the previous listing, will be used here. These will only cover the new anime of this season. This won’t cover returning series from last year. No reboots unless there is something extremely noteworthy about them, like Higurashi: When They Cry New or Yashahime. Now then, let’s get started!

Actually, before we start, a couple of these anime will have content warnings before my short 3+ episode impression of them, so please be wary about that, and if you are disturbed by any of these warnings, then skip them and move to the next one. Viewer discretion is advised. 

Worst

Redo of Healer (HiDive, VRV)

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Content Warning: Rape, abuse, racism, violence, sexual violence, and homophobia 

Based on the novel and manga by Ryo Tsukiyo, this adaptation is directed by Takuya Asaoka, written by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu, and is produced by TNK. Well, to the shock of no one, this is the worst anime of the season. On a moral level, it’s a repugnant revenge fantasy that has rape, homophobia, racism, and every red flag you can think of for an anime. It’s made for edgelords that don’t see anything wrong with the main character thinking rape is a proper revenge tactic. It is an anime with a time travel gimmick, but since the writing and storytelling are not good enough to distract me from the other minefield that is time travel, all I’m stuck wondering is why didn’t the main character, instead of doing all of this awful stuff, not just go back in time to a point where his abusers weren’t alive, or go back in time and kill them before they were born. Heck, if you are going to become a power fantasy since you can pull up the cheat sheet of powers and abilities, why not just create a past where you didn’t become the healer, and just live on your merry way? Instead of doing something more straightforward, this unlikable dumpster fire goes out of his way to “get back” at the abusers in a way that still makes him an abuser. Even if Sentai Filmworks wasn’t showing a censored version of this anime where they cut/edited out the sex scenes, the show isn’t all that great to look at. The fantasy world designs have all been done before and better, the characters look generic, and the music doesn’t stand out. It looks “better” than the worst animated show of the season, Ex Arm, but at best, Redo of Healer looks only okay. Also, for everyone crying about how people need to watch the uncut version, well, no they don’t. All the uncut version does is show the sex scenes, and since a lot of this show is full of assault, abuse, and rape, no one needs to watch them. Plus, if you wanted to watch porn or in this case, hentai, then go watch it! There are continent-sized amounts of hentai on the internet that you don’t have to justify watching. Seriously, the defenders of this show have been nothing but trolls who think this show is the best thing ever and go after anyone who doesn’t like it. When the novel and manga don’t have releases in the west due to a real lack of market value and no real audience, then maybe it was a bad idea to make an anime you are going to have to show censored, and then use an entirely different site or wait for uncut blu-rays to watch in full. The ratings for this show are dropping, the viewership is dropping as of writing this editorial, and it’s no wonder. Even if there was something good to say about the show, like the actors for Flare and Bullet are doing great with such garbage material, it wouldn’t matter. The exhausting nihilistic and toxic world, writing, story, and characters ruin anything it has going for it. For some reason, if you like this show, fine. Keeping liking it, but if you go after and harass anyone who doesn’t like it, because they don’t like it, then you are not worth anyone’s time. Redo of Healer is easily the worst anime of the season. 

Ex Arm (Crunchyroll, VRV)

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Considered dead on arrival, this anime adaptation is directed by Yoshikatsu Kimura, written by Tommy Morton, produced by Visual Flight, and is based on the manga by HiRock and was illustrated by Shinya Komi. What do you get when you hire a director who has no animation experience, doesn’t bother to learn how animation is produced, works with a studio that hasn’t made anime before, relies too heavily on motion capture, and then has the giant brass cajones to think this was going to be the next big science fiction hit? Well, you get Ex Arm. While Redo of Healer is more morally repugnant, it is, at the very least, competently made on a production side of things. You knew everyone there was going to go in and adapt every hateful aspect of that anime. Ex Arm on the other hand went headfirst into a brick wall with no helmet on, thinking that it was going to be the next hot stuff. Well, it did become big and popular for one reason, its incredibly terrible CGI animation. This might be the worst CGI animation I have ever seen in anime. Lifeless, emotionless, stiff, and it’s 100% amateur hour from top to bottom. You can even tell when this show uses ugly white light circles to cover up that the people working on this show did not know how to do anything but animate CGI models like they were bashing action figures together. It’s an embarrassing front all around, and even if it had the proper animation team behind it, the writing falls flat, the characters are forgettable, the designs aren’t interesting, and due to the awful reliance on motion capture technology, the action sucks. What’s worse is that Ex Arm cuts out aspects of the story for no reason. So, yeah, have fun watching an incomplete story. If Redo of Healer wasn’t the worst anime overall, then Ex Arm would be the worst anime of the 2021 season. At the very least, Ex Arm is a perfect candidate for bad movie nights, and that’s all it does right. 

Scar on the Praeter (Funimation)

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Content Warning: some suggestions of incest.

Our first original anime of the season is directed by Shingo Suzuki and produced by GoHands. We have yet another anime that is filled to the brim with pretty boys looking edgy and cool, and maybe a touch too much in world jargon mumbo jumbo to make you feel invested. Anytime I have tried to talk to someone about this show, I don’t remember anything outside of the gaudy 3D visuals, and while the main characters look better than in Handshakers (a previous anime from the studio), they are still overly designed and they almost blend into one another. The action is disjointed and janky with fights that feel very unsatisfying. It’s a show that easily goes through one ear and out the other, and that alone is shockingly bad. I don’t know who at GoHands keeps getting funding for these original projects, but just because you are an original anime, doesn’t mean you get off with a free pass because it’s rare to find original anime not based on something. It also has a light homosexual subtext, which is fine, until the first episode introduces the main character’s younger adopted brother who may or may not want to make love to him. Seems like you can’t get a GoHands anime without some creepy incest or sexual context. If it was more memorable, I would probably put it in the mediocre category, but since it just feels like a nothing show with a confusing world, weak animation, disappointing fight sequences, and entirely forgettable characters, it’s in the worst spot. 

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Funimation) 

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Content Warning: Creepy perverted actions, mentions of rape, softcore porn, voyeurism, masturbation, and suggestions that the lead does watch illegal porn. 

This anime from the newly formed studio, Studio Bind, is based on the light novels by Rifujin Na Magonote. It was then adapted into a manga by the same individual. This anime adaptation is directed and written by Manabu Okamoto, with gorgeous music by Yoshiaki Fujisawa, and character designer Kazutaka Sugiyama. It’s honestly one of the most beautiful anime on the list. it’s in the top five. It looks incredible from the designs, the colors, the fluid animation, the consistent character models, and it’s a visually stunning overall package in the presentation department. This sucks for one reason, and one reason only, because the main character is intolerable and unlikable. I have heard that there is a long-term play with the lead’s arc, but when the story is about a 30-something loser who gets kicked out from his home after running out of money, dies when he’s struck by a truck, and is reincarnated with all of his memories into the mind of a kid, it’s a really insufferable and sometimes extremely uncomfortable part to sit through. The lead does get better and does learn to change his perverse ways, but when the anime dabbles a little too much into it, it’s a tall order to tell people that it gets good later on. So far, it is getting better, but that still doesn’t excuse the fact that this anime put everything into making a stupidly stunning show, but then have a wildly problematic lead character whose whole redemption arc is going to be a slow crawl to being a better and somewhat less perverted individual. Luckily, it does seem like it is going to get better, but I won’t blame anyone for wanting to drop out after that first and second episode. Even with every great emotional moment, every bit of gorgeous animation, and every great song, a crummy lead (with some very problematic issues that people online are too easily ready to wave aside, which, you know, don’t do that) can still drag your series down. It doesn’t help that the 4th episode revealed the dad to have had an affair, and back in his training days, assaulted someone. So, yeah, for once so far, Rudy was not the biggest scumbucket in the show for one episode. Still, I’m hoping for the best, because this is still a decently impressive first anime from a brand new studio. 

The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter (Crunchyroll, VRV)

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Content Warning: sexual sequences

Based on the novels, light novels, and manga by Meguru Seto, this anime adaptation is directed by Kenta Onishi, written by Kenta Ihara, and produced by Okuruto Noboru. This power-fantasy harem comedy is in the worst category for multiple reasons. Its RPG elements are reliant on the main character getting pleasurable satisfaction from the women he interacts with. The fantasy world itself looks like a more mediocre Konosuba, and the animation is just okay, which is a problem if you want some softcore fanservice. The side characters are constantly unlikable, and for a fanservice show, it doesn’t go far enough to be fully titillating. It kind of knows what type of show it is so it’s not trying to be deeper than it is, but by the 3rd episode, I’m already seeing way more “likable” characters than our male lead, and this entire time, I was just thinking about how I would rather be watching Konosuba or Princess Connect: Redive. It has some funny jokes, but they are too few and far between in this somewhat mean-spirited world where being a noble has its own hierarchy system, and that just doesn’t make sense to me. They also try to add in some drama, and it simply doesn’t work. I’m too distracted by how horny this entire show is, and you want to introduce drama? No thanks! The stakes feel artificial due to the lead’s over-powered abilities that they just don’t rely on 24-7 because, well, they don’t give a good reason. Oh, and it does yet another sibling character wanting to have lewd fun with the lead when they are brother and sister. I’m getting so tired of anime and their flipping incest fetishes. Stop doing this! Oh, and it also has weak RPG game elements despite it not being an isekai. Boring! 

Mediocre

Gekidol (Funimation)

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This is an original anime from director Shigeru Ueda, written by Keiichiro Ochi, and produced by Hoods Entertainment. It’s another idol anime (big shock), but since it’s coming out during a season with more than just one anime being about idols, it’s going to be tough to stand out, and even tougher to be good. Well, sadly, I didn’t like Gekidol. It has such a weird dark turn with the base of the plot, and then it turns into every yuri trash anime that you can think of with the same batch of characters, dialogue, and weak fanservice. The dark setting doesn’t get brought up a whole lot, since you know, everyone forgets when a huge chunk of your city is just, you know, gone. It’s starting to pick up with it focusing on some of the other characters, but it’s a little too late for that, and to just not 100% explain where the cyborg girl came from, and how losing a huge chunk of your city didn’t do more damage to everything else makes for a mediocre experience. It’s a show that’s aimed in too many directions, and outside of some decent animation, there isn’t much else that stands out about this show. 

I★Chu: Halfway Through the Idol (Crunchyroll or CR through VRV)

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Hey, look, another idol anime. It’s time to buckle up because there are a few of them this season. This anime is based on the rhythm game by Liber Entertainment Inc. It’s directed by Hitoshi Nanba, written by Yoshimi Narita, and produced by Lay-Duce and Twin Engine. What do you get when you have 15+ lead characters? Too many! It was sometimes hard to remember their names, their designs, their quirks, and outside of some of them having some kind of hobby, they are cardboard cutout stereotypical male anime leads. It becomes such a problem that some of them seem to bleed into other characters, and end up sharing the same personality traits. It’s all too much for an anime that’s also really boring to watch. Outside of the principal of the school in which they are all enrolled wearing a giant bear costume and riding around on a segway, and a third episode introduction to a cross-dressing idol, this show doesn’t offer much that other idol shows aren’t offering in spades. It’s even too harmless to be offensive or have something wildly problematic about it. In some way, that’s the charm of this series. It’s too harmless to be bad or enraging. It’s at best and at worst, forgettable. Maybe you will get more out of it than me, but you can only throw so many pretty boys my way and expect me to be invested. 

Hortensia Saga (Funimation)

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Based on the smartphone game by Sega, directed by Yasuto Nishikata, written by Rintarou Ikeda, and produced by JC Staff, this new fantasy anime sure doesn’t do a lot to make itself stand out. It was also bad timing for the first episode of this show to air during the US capitol being raided by terrorists because the anime starts with an evil red-colored army storming a blue-colored castle with a mission to kill all of the royalty in there. Anyway, I’ll say that I least like this anime more than that awful King’s Raid anime from last year. Hortensia, at the very least, looks better and while looking clunky at points, has better action. It looks cleaner, the music is better, but outside of that, there isn’t much else there. It has some decent characters, and the third episode introduces the most likable one of the bunch so far. All this anime does is makes me want to go and play Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Because when I can get that kind of experience from a video game, why would I invest my time and energy into this anime that is failing to grab me? Anyway, Hortensia Saga is just more forgettable fantasy anime fluff with slightly average animation and a generic plot and world. 

Average

Vlad Love (YouTube)

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Content Warning: blood, sexual suggestiveness.

An original anime that’s written and directed by anime legend Mamoru Oshii? That should be incredible. It’s also co-directed by Junji Nishimura and produced by Drive. At first, I was finding it hard to gel with the premise, being a bit too chaotic with its jokes. It slings jokes at you with such intensity that it becomes too much. It’s a yuri romantic comedy about a high school girl who has a fetish for donating blood, who gets involved with a vampire. It’s a bit much due to how high octane it is. It makes more sense when you realize that Oshii worked on the anime classic Urusei Yatsura and Patlabor, but it doesn’t have the cohesive world and characters. It’s also just trashy with its fanservice. However, it has chaotic energy that not many shows have, and its visual style, while using a few too many comic-book-style split screens, at least has a style to call its own. The rest of the series will debut on YouTube this month, so we will have to see what happens with everything past episode 1. 

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki (Funimation)

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Based on the light novel and manga by Yuki Yaku, directed by Shinsuke Yanagi, written by Fumihiko Shimo, and produced by Project No.9, this is a self-help harem comedy. Most of the time so far has been spent making sure our main male hero is improving upon his social skills and how he is seen on the inside and outside, and I respect what the anime is going for with how they are approaching the subject matter. Granted, some of it feels very superficial and Queer Eye-ish, but I guess sometimes, you need to be pushed into the deep end to hit the ground running. I think my only real issue is that the gaming lingo is awkward as it never sounds natural. It sounds better than the male lead in the first episode when we get to episode 3, but still. I’m also worried about how the other girls in this show are going to react to the lead, Tomozaki, and at least from the three episodes I watched, they are all going to be different and want to be friends or more with him for different reasons. I don’t know, I just don’t feel strongly about this title when the much better Horimiya is doing everything better and it looks better as well. I’m cautiously curious as to where Bottom Tier Character is going, but who knows if I will want to stick through with the entire 12 episodes. 

Idoly Pride (Funimation) 

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Content Warning: Death

This anime is based on a multimedia Idol project by CyberAgent, which has a manga written by Hiroki Haruse. The anime is directed by Yu Kinome, written by Tatsuya Takahashi, Yasuhiro Nakanishi, and produced by Lerche and CAAnimation. Well, even though I wouldn’t say I like any of the Idol anime this season, at least Idoly Pride had an interesting hook to it. Sadly, I wish I could say that the Idol stuff was just as good as the base hook. On one hand, I love the tragic romance aspect of our lead character, who was goaded into being the love interest’s producer while she became an Idol. It has a real tragic twist, but an interesting supernatural element, as she comes back as a ghost to make sure her producer does well at his job. There is a lot of gold that could be mined from this premise, and there are story elements that could work very well to make this a great story. Too bad that’s not the focus. It’s about our male lead putting together another Idol group and having them be big hits. That means we are instead going to focus on 10 girls who so far have really basic personality traits, and their designs are just different enough that you can tell them apart. The Idol stuff is fine, but I just hate how it’s having to hustle to be the main focus when there is a much better tragic romance/drama on the show’s lap. I guess that’s what happens when you are just another Idol project. Still, some interesting elements are being put into the formula, like the younger sister of the now-deceased female lead is a part of this new group, and so on. Still, I can’t say if I’m committed enough to sit through the Idol beats just to get to the small more interesting drama beats. I still prefer it to the other Idol new animes this season.

Good

Skate Leading Stars (Funimation) 

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Directed by Goro Taniguchi, produced by J.C. Staff, written by Noboru Kimura, and based on the manga by Chiaki Nagaoka, this anime came into the winter season with a hurdle to skate over due to it being constantly compared to the one other famous ice-skating anime. So, on its own merits, I do think Skate Leading Stars does stand on its own feet. It’s more interested in competitive skating and team coordination among its multitude of attractive anime boys. It is one of those anime that introduces maybe too many characters, as this anime is supposedly going to have 15+ main characters, and while they are different enough, are still too many to focus on so far for a satisfying story. I’ll say this, they are at least different enough and so far, don’t share personality traits like I★Chu: Halfway Through the Idol. Otherwise, it’s a solid sports anime with some decent animation and likable characters. 

So I’m a Spider, So What? (Crunchyroll, VRV) 

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Based on the light novels and novels by Okina Baba, also based on the manga written by Gratin Tori, this anime adaptation is directed by Shin Itagaki, written by Okina Baba and Yuichiro Momose, and is produced by Millepensee. Out of all of the fantasy/isekai anime of the season, So I’m a Spider had the most creative premise as a lonely gamer girl, along with her classmates being swept up into another world. The catch is, our main character reincarnated into a spider, whereas her classmates had better luck as humans and so on. I was excited to see an isekai fantasy anime that was from the perspective of the animal world. It’s not like the anime doesn’t tease that aspect, since half of the episodes so far are about our spider hero making her way through surviving this harsh world as a monster you usually see in the first dungeon of a video game. While its CGI is noticeable, the models used for our spider hero is very expressive, and once you realize that this was the same studio and director behind that notoriously awful Berserk adaptation from a few years ago, then that’s impressive to see how much better this show is overall in visuals and storytelling. However, my biggest complaint is that it’s taking a bit too long to set everything up. I keep preferring the spider side of the story compared to the more generic humans side, but the show sometimes seems to lean more on progressing the humans more than our spider hero. It’s frustrating because the show also adds in generic RPG stat elements, and I just don’t care about that stuff. I don’t get why fantasy anime can’t just be fantasy anime without the RPG elements. Sometimes they are used well, but rarely have I seen an anime use them well. They keep teasing these other spider characters, and yet we still haven’t seen them, and honestly, this show might be the one I have the shortest patience with in terms of the shows I like this season. I love the premise so much, but it keeps struggling with who to focus on, and I just want to see the spider’s shenanigans. It also doesn’t help that the main lead is loud with her constant self-narration. Still, I’m wanting to see where the story goes and the action is great. I just can see this one easily sliding into my most disappointing anime of 2021 if it’s not careful. 

Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist (Crunchyroll, VRV)

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Content Warning: some episodes may have suggestively lewd visuals

Based on the manga written by Aho Toro, this anime adaptation is directed by Hideaki Oba, written by Ayumu Hisao, and produced by Platinum Vision. I know this isn’t anyone’s favorite due to the chunky art style and clashing tones for a horror/comedy anime, but I find myself enjoying this mix of comedy and horror. What gets me is how the weird diseases the characters are encountering are mixed with some form of social commentary. The stories are so far creative and fun to watch. By episode 3 they have introduced some other members of the main cast, and while one of the characters has a trope I hate seeing in anime, I do love the other new male lead they introduce. It’s an anime that’s easy to get into, and it’s creative enough for me to probably commit through the entire season. 

2.43 Highschool Boys Volleyball (Funimation)

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Content Warning: Suggestions/mentions of suicide

Based on the light novel by Yukako Kabei, the manga by Aiji Yamakawa, this sports drama is directed by Yasuhiro Kimura, written by Yosuke Kuroda, and produced by David Production. While you may wonder if you are getting a similar experience as the smash hit Haikyuu, well, you are not. This is a more grounded male-centric sports drama about our two leads Yuni Kuroba and Kimichika Haijima. It’s full of gay tension between them as well. The show is more about the drive to play, and the philosophy behind the sport in general. It’s also really melodramatic and it’s a bit of a rough sit for the first episode due to how unlikable Haijima is. That’s not even counting the dramatic baggage that Haijima has with him when the show begins. It’s gotten better now by the third episode, but your mileage may vary with how you will invest your time with this show’s story. Still, it’s a good sports drama, and if you need an alternative Haikyuu, then go watch this show! Oh, and the opening song is a real banger!

The Best

Otherside Picnic (Funimation)

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Based on the novel and manga by Iori Miyazawa, directed by Takuya Sato, and produced by Liden Films and Felix Film, this anime is also based on  Roadside Picnic, an eerie female-driven horror drama anime that has our two leads Sorao and Toriko exploring a place known as the Otherside, where dilapidated buildings are conquered by nature, and creatures from supernatural tales reside. It’s a show that captures a real intimacy and offbeat friendship between the two women with some pretty nice-looking animation, quiet humorous moments, and an unsettling atmosphere once they cross over to this new world. Some of its use of CGI is clunky, but it looks better than Ex-Arm by continents. It’s not just a supernatural anime either, as the first three episodes dive into the mindset of both of the leads and the characters with whom they interact. I was a little confused about a few things in the first episode, but I’m having a fantastic time going through this journey with our heroes. Oh, and if you want a horror anime this season, this is the one to watch. Just don’t watch it late at night as I did. 

Back Arrow (Funimation)

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We have ourselves an original giant mech anime this season, which I am super happy about! It’s directed by Goro Taniguchi, written by Kazuki Nakashima, and is produced by Studio VOLN. It stands out from other giant mech shows with the evil imperialist empire having a more Chinese-dynasty look, whereas other villages and towns so far in this show have used more wild west fashion choices. I can’t tell if this will be any more substantial than just being a fun giant mech anime, but I’m fine with that, honestly. We don’t need every giant robot anime to be so melodramatic and bogged down by philosophical arguments. Sometimes, you just want to see giant robots and feel like a kid watching Toonami again. I do like the overall cast, except for the main side characters so far. Something about how they are constantly willing to ditch the main hero on a dime makes them a bit hard to grasp as to whether I should hate them or like them. Still, I enjoy this show so far. I might not have it in my top 10 by the end of 2021, but I think it’s one of the better shows of Winter 2021. 

Wonder Egg Priority (Funimation) 

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Content Warning: symbolic and suggestive suicide

This is an original anime produced by CloverWorks, directed by Shin Wakabayashi, and written by Shinji Nojima. With a season of anime that has had shows like Redo of Healer, which tries to be dark and mature, but falls flat, Wonder Egg Priority handles its subject matter with creativity and respect. With a constant theme of losing someone to suicide, it needs to be handled well, and this show is handling it with a very careful hand. It’s a drama with characters who are trying to bring someone close to them back to life, but who knows if that will happen or exactly what the outcome is. It’s balanced out with some incredible action, vibrant monster designs, and some of the best animation of the season. By episode 3, the action starts to kick in, and it reminds me of something Studio Trigger or Science Saru would make. The designs of the “bosses” in the dreamworlds in which the action takes place are always exciting to see with how symbolic/Silent Hill-ish they can be. You also feel for the characters as the main three girls we have seen so far are all interesting and work well off of one another. I want this to stick the landing because we don’t often get original anime that are not based on pre-existing properties. You can also go through this anime with a comb and pick apart its symbolic elements that are worth looking into more. It’s easily one of my favorite shows of the season. 

Suppose a Kid From the Last Dungeon Boonies Moves to a Starter Town? (Funimation) 

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Content Warning: some suggestive elements from time to time.

Long title aside, this anime based on the light novel and manga by Toshio Sato, is directed by Migmi and produced by Liden Films. It’s a fantasy (not isekai) comedy that gives us a humorous main hero, who would be like if Saitama from One Punch Man didn’t know how stupidly strong he was. You see, the lead in this anime thinks he’s weak even though the village he is from is next to the final dungeon. So while he is considered weak while moving to a small kingdom to train and become a knight, everyone else is horrified of his powers and how humble and unaware he is of his strength. This alone has brought me three-plus episodes of laughter and fantastic character dynamics with some of the best comedy this anime season. The characters are all enjoyable, and the story by the end of the first episode kicks into gear and while it might not be a super unique fantasy tale, the premise and characters alone make up for it. You don’t have to be 100% unique. Sometimes, you just need to be executed well. 

Kemono Jihen (Funimation)

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Based on the manga by Sho Aimoto, this anime adaptation is directed by Masaya Fujimori, written by Noboru Kimura, and is produced by Ajia-do Animation Works. While I do think Dr. Ramune is a gem among the great anime of the season, Kemono Jihen is that gem polished to perfection. What a delightful horror/action/mystery anime with some rather engaging twists and turns. It might look like a typical shonen battle anime, but it has a lot more substance than most shows in these genres. Yes, it has young kids with powers, but with how the story has tackled them so far, it’s more mystery and horror than pure action. The encounters with the supernatural creatures so far also have some cool subtext and commentary about them. The opening song is just a fantastic banger. It’s an overall strong show with a strong cast, and I highly recommend it. 

Horimiya (Funimation) 

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Based on the manga by Hero, this anime is directed by Masashi Ishihama, written by Takao Yoshioka, with music composed by Masaru Yokoyama, and is produced by CloverWorks. This teen drama is probably my personal favorite anime of the season. I love every anime in this category, but Horimiya hit me hard with its themes about how we present ourselves when we are by ourselves and when we are in front of people. It’s a clever premise on how we sometimes wear masks to hide from everyone else. It’s an anime that understands having to deal with emotions, relationships, and other individuals in high school, and I find the romance between our two leads adorable and fleshed out. It’s an extremely healthy relationship as well. What’s even better than this show’s amazing visuals, baller opening, and incredible writing, it shows how mature it all feels. While it might be about teens, this show treats them like adults. It’s also heartwarming, funny, and it’s easily going to be in my top five anime of the year so far. I just hope we don’t get another Sing Yesterday For Me

Sk8 the Infinity (Funimation)

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This original anime is directed by Hiroko Utsumi, written by Ichiro Okouchi, and is produced by Studio Bones. There are a ton of reasons why this show is climbing up the charts as one of the best from this season. For one, you have the director of the beloved Free! and Banana Fish adaptations with Hiroko Utsumi. Second, you have an anime that is 100% stylized and one of a kind in a sea of anime that’s released this season. Third, it’s a sports anime with endearing characters, each having distinct and identifiable personalities, and you then give it to Bones to animate. Seriously, this is easily one of the best looking shows of the season. Not only that, but the skating sequences are a lot of fun to watch, the characters are interesting, and it has the right balance of both action and story-telling to make it all work. I am so happy that we are seeing some original anime knock it out of the park this season.

Heaven’s Design Team (Crunchyroll or CR through VRV)

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Based on the manga by Hebi-Zou and Tsuta Suzuki, this anime adaptation is directed by Soichi Masui, written by Michiko Yokote, and produced by Asashi Production, this is the Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle of the season. Not only is it educational with little moments where they talk about the real-life animals that they create, but the entire show is also all about them making said animals and the process of getting the tasks from God as to what to make. I love how the premise is that God got too busy making the earth and outsourced it to a freelance team of angels to handle the creation of animals. It’s constantly funny, creative, and there is a lot of heart and great chemistry between the individuals who are a part of this team. It helps that there are about three or so segments each episode, and due to the different challenges thrown at them so far, the show hasn’t gotten boring. It’s the right kind of show to watch when you need a good laugh, and it’s pretty much the best comedy anime of the new anime of this season. 

With that, we are my impressions of the new anime of the Winter 2021 season! 

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!