Top 5 Anime of 2021

Top 5 Anime of 2021

2021 Anime Overview

2021 isn’t quite over yet, but I think we’re far enough into the fall season for me to have a good idea of my ratings for every currently airing anime. So I figured I might as well run through my top 5 anime of the year before 2022 begins and we all forget the anime of 2021.

But, before I get into my top 5 anime of the year, let’s take a look at some data real quick. I watched 55 anime that began airing in 2021, and those are the anime I’ve taken these top 5 from. Anime that began airing before 2021 and ran into 2021 don’t count, and neither do any of the older anime I watched this year.

Now, of those 55 anime, my lowest score was 1/10 and my highest score was 9/10. That’s right, there were no 10/10 anime this year. Additionally, my average rating for the year was 5.6/10, which is honestly worse than I expected it to be.

With all that said, let’s get into the top 5 anime of 2021.

#5 – To Your Eternity

To Your Eternity anime series cover art
To Your Eternity

To Your Eternity isn’t a series I expected to break into my top 5. It’s a very good adventure anime, and its peaks are extremely high. But as a 20 episode season, I did feel like it dragged on a bit too long at points.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t the adventure that I liked the most about this series, though. I’m always looking for a good adventure anime. But To Your Eternity’s main draw is actually the supporting characters and their stories.

My personal favorite of these supporting characters is Gugu. His story is definitely one that was a bit too long. But the payoff at the end of his arc made it all worth it. I also really liked Hayase, who’s probably the best villain of the year (there weren’t many candidates, to be fair).

#4 – Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2

Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2 - The Eve of Awakening anime series cover art
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story Season 2

While I didn’t think the first season of Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story was very good, I do think the second season is. And since the second season is what aired in 2021, that means it’s fair game to be put on this list.

The #4 and #3 spots on this list were the hardest to settle on because I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to place Magia Record. But in the end, I decided that while Magia Record had the highest peaks of any anime this year, the anime that took the #3 spot was just more consistent with how good it was.

Now, let’s talk about those peaks for a moment. Magia Record Season 2 went crazy with the animation in two or three episodes. If the story was better and it maybe had one more episode with animation like that toward the end, I would have given it a 10.

#3 – Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S anime series cover art
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S

As I mentioned in the previous entry, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S is in the #3 spot because of how consistently good it was. There weren’t peaks. It was very good from start to finish, which is what I expect from Kyoto Animation at this point.

I think a lot of people preferred the first season of Dragon Maid. But I actually preferred this season. Dragon Maid S had less of a focus on Tohru, which I get people don’t like. However, in exchange, it really served to build up the supporting characters — Elma and Lucoa in particular.

Ilulu is also a great addition to the series. I was worried that she was going to be the main focus of the whole season, but that wasn’t the case. She was used sparingly, and I really enjoyed every time she was on screen after her introduction.

#2 – Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy anime series cover art
Sonny Boy

Sonny Boy was a wild ride. It’s a supernatural mystery series that keeps you guessing with each passing episode. After the first two episodes, I actually put this series on hold until it was done just so I could binge the rest of it in one go.

This is definitely the most underrated anime on this list. I’m really not sure why it’s rated as low as it is by the general public. But, maybe people just don’t like confusing anime. I was certainly confused even by the end. That’s also part of what I think makes it so good, though.

I never got the feeling that the series was confusing because it was poorly written. Instead, it’s more like it was confusing because there’s just so much to unpack and it’ll take multiple rewatches for everything to really sink in. It’s a good kind of confusing.

#1 – Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation anime series cover art
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation

Are you surprised that Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is my #1 anime of the year? Because you shouldn’t be. Even if we had only gotten the first part of the series this year, it would have broken into my top 5 — probably between To Your Eternity and Magia Record.

But then we got the second part, which is still airing, and I think it’s even better than the first part. Collectively, both parts of Mushoku Tensei definitely make it my favorite anime of the year and it’s the series from this year that I’m most looking forward to (hopefully) getting another season.

I also think it’s no exaggeration to say that Eris is a huge part of why I love this series so much. Yes, the story, art, music, animation, and other characters are all great. But I absolutely adore Eris’s character. She’s perfect in every way and I want her to be happy.

Conclusion

And there you have it. Those are my top 5 anime of 2021. Did any of my picks make it into your top 5? Is your top 5 completely different? Post your lists in the comments so I can take a look (and possibly roast your taste).

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Check out the Worst 5 Anime of 2021 now.

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