April is finally here, and that means it’s the start of the new anime season!
The winter 2021 line-up was jam-packed with all sorts of options for new and returning fans alike, and the spring 2021 anime season is looking like it’ll be pretty stacked as well. To help you get started, we’ve lined up 5 totally new anime to check out this season, 5 anime to catch up on from last season, and 5 anime that you might want to catch up on up during your downtime.
So, grab your friends and a Crunchyroll or Funimation subscription, and let’s get to it!
New Anime from the Spring 2021 Lineup
1. SHAMAN KING (2021)
This one might feel pretty nostalgic if you were watching anime back in 2002 when the original anime adaptation of SHAMAN KING aired.
For those of you not into anime way back then, SHAMAN KING was a popular shounen manga that followed a young boy named Yoh Asakura on his journey to become the Shaman King, the one who can contact the Great Spirit, and will gain the ability to reshape the world in any way they wish. The manga ran from 1998 to 2004, which meant it ended after the original anime adaptation, and manga fans never got to see the conclusion play out on their tv screens.
This reboot plans to do things right, adapting the full manga plot more accurately than before while also updating the anime for modern audiences. It’s bound to make this show a real hot contender for anime of the season! The show will be available through Netflix but the exact date isn’t known yet.
2. Mashiro no Oto (lit. Those Snow White Notes)
This is an anime based on a niche manga about the Shamisen, a Japanese traditional instrument. The plot follows Setsu Sawamura, who learned to play the Shamisen from his grandfather. He then runs away from home and quits playing the Shamisen as a part of his grandfather’s dying wish. His wealthy mother comes back into his life and drags him home, going as far as to enroll him in a new school where he slowly starts to rediscover his passion for the Shamisen.
It’s a heartwarming story about a boy who finds friends and grieves a lost family member while also introducing audiences to some awesome classical music. The series started airing on Crunchyroll on April 2, 2021 and will be releasing episodes every Friday.
3. Hige Wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou. (lit. I shaved. Then I brought a high school girl home.)
Many people might write the series off based on the title and premise alone. The story follows your average salaryman, Yoshida, as he runs across a runaway high schooler who has been selling her body for a place to stay, and instead takes her in with nothing in return. It’s going to stir up some drama amongst fans. In fact, it already has, with the light novel and manga adaptation.
Under the strange plot, it’s actually a series that aims to explore complex human relationships and does it well through the development of some very troubled but endearing characters. The show will begin airing on Crunchyroll on April 5th, 2021, and will continue every Sunday.
4. Tokyo Revengers
Based on a recent and popular manga, this show follows Takemichi Hanagaki as he goes back in time to high school to stop the events that eventually lead to his ex-girlfriend’s murder. To accomplish this he resolves to infiltrate the Tokyo Manji Gang and climb the ranks, making new friends and rivals in the process.
Despite its rather simplistic premise, the series holds many interesting mysterious and plot twists which will keep viewers on the edge of their seat week after week. It will begin airing on Crunchyroll on April 11, 2021, and then continue every Sunday.
Bakuten!! is an original show about a male rhythmic gymnastics club and is causing a stir online with the unique animation and detail. Gymnastics is a very dynamic sport and the studio behind this are working hard to make the appeal of the sport shine through despite the crushing deadlines and limited pay that’s common in the anime industry.
This show will be a work of love and passion and I think it should be recognized for its efforts. It also happens to be a part of the “Zutto Ōen Project 2011 + 10…”, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The show will air starting April 9, 2021, in Japan but as of yet, it’s unsure who will have the rights to its English distribution.
Anime from Winter 2021 to Catch Up On
6. Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun (lit. Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki-kun)
A rom-com series based on a light novel that starts off a bit clichéd, but develops into one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever seen within the genre. The show follows Fumiya Tomozaki, a self-proclaimed bottom-tier character with terrible stats in the game known as life. He believes that life isn’t a fair and balanced game and then he meets up with a gaming rival only to discover that it’s actually the most popular girl in school, Aoi Hinami. Hinami decides to show Tomozaki how to level up in life and teach him all the tricks she used to become the person she is today.
The characters are delightful and the animation is solid from episode to episode. The show can be found on Funimation.
7. Sk8 The Infinity
The show that stole the Winter 2021 season and might even be a contender for anime of the year, this anime focuses on skateboarding and is somehow the only anime to ever tackle that topic. The shows follow Reki Kayn, a skateboarding enthusiast with a love of building boards as well as riding, and Langa Hasegawa, a half Canadian student who takes up skateboarding because it reminds him of snowboarding with his late father. The colors are vibrant and the animation is magical, making you feel as if you’re really experiencing the joys of skateboarding. You can watch it on Funimation.
8. 2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team
The story follows Kimichika Haijima as he moves from a well-known volleyball team in Tokyo back to his small hometown in Fukui and reunites with his childhood friend to restart their school volleyball team.
Sports animes are a classic in the community and volleyball has been done several times already but this one offers a unique spin in that it’s far more about the character dynamics and the drama than the action. But don’t be mistaken, this series goes just as hard on animating the volleyball matches as it does on fleshing out its characters. The series is based on a niche Light Novel series and adapts 2 of the 4 volumes currently published. You can watch it on Funimation.
9. IDOLY PRIDE:
IDOLY PRIDE is one of many original shows that are jumping on the idol trend, but where several others have failed, this one goes above and beyond. It follows a man named Makino who joined Hoshimi Productions at the urging of his classmate, Mana Nagase, and helped her become the most popular idol of their time before her untimely passing. Makino later goes on to recruit new idols for the company and put together a group of girls who will one day compete for the level of fame and admiration Mana once had.
It’s a solid mix of slice-of-life drama and stellar music with characters that are so lovable from their first appearance and it really helps show the appeal to be found in idol groups. The show can be found on Funimation.
This series is based on a well-known and beloved shoujo rom-com manga that does everything right. The story follows Kyoko Hori and Izumi Miyamura who both accidentally discover that neither of them are what they appear to be during school. It’s a story about discovering yourself and realizing that others all have sides of themselves they keep hidden and learning to appreciate that.
This series doesn’t care to beat around the bushes and tosses all the drama and emotions right up-front while also delivering some awesome moments of comedy. The animation is something really special as well, several manga fans will tell you that it feels like you’re watching the panels come to life in front of you. The show can be found on Funimation in English subbed and dubbed.
Longer Anime to Watch Before 2021 Ends
11. Fruits Basket (2019)
Fruits Basket was a classic shoujo manga that changed the game back in its time and the anime adaptation was rebooted in 2019 to more closely match the manga. It follows Tohru Honda, a young high school girl who recently lost her mother, as she meets and befriends the mysterious members of the Sohma family and learns their many dark secrets.
The show is a story about love and family and mental health struggles that sometimes come with both. Its 3rd and final season will be starting during the Spring 2021 season so you’ll be just in time to catch the ending with everyone else. You can find the episodes on Crunchyroll (English subbed) or Funimation (English dubbed).
12. Black Clover
This one is a long-running anime with over 150 episodes based on a popular shounen manga. The story is set in a fantasy world where magic exists and all people are given a grimoire at the age of 15. The plot follows Asta and Yuno, two brothers who were found abandoned at the steps of a church, in their journey and rivalry to become the Magic Emporer.
The animation team has worked hard for the last 5 years to put this together under a tight budget and even tighter schedule and their efforts have resulted in the series being green-lit for a movie that will air sometime in the Fall of 2021. The entire series is available to watch on Crunchyroll (English subbed) or Funimation (English dubbed).
13. Jujutsu Kaisen
The newest popular shounen manga turned anime adaptation, this series start in the Fall 2020 season and was immensely popular, helping to bring a lot of attention to the manga. The main character is Yuji Itadori, a fairly normal high schooler who gets dragged into the world of Jujutsu Soccers when some of his upperclassmen accidentally summon the power of the evilest ancient spirit to ever exist.
It’s been announced that there’s a movie sequel in the works which will be released in Summer 2021. The show can be found on Crunchyroll to watch.
14. My Hero Academia
Yet another anime based on a shounen anime but the concept is unique for this one and perfect for western audiences. The plot revolves around teens studying to be superheroes in a world where most people have evolved to develop unique superpowers. If it sounds similar to western comics then you’re right, because the mangaka takes many cues and references from classic superhero stories such as Superman and Nightwing and puts twists them into fun and interesting scenarios with a stellar cast of characters.
Season 5 has just started with the Spring 2021 season as well, so it’s as good a time as any to jump on it! The entire show can be found on Crunchyroll (English subbed) or Funimation (English dubbed).
An anime based on a game about the idol industry and full of so much love for idol fans that it shines through even in its silliest moments. The story follows Tsumugi Takanashi, a young woman who recently started working at her father’s company and was put in charge of selling the titular idol group IDOLiSH7.
The team behind the anime has been pushing the boundaries and trying their best to give the beloved game a faithful adaptation that doesn’t insult the majority female fanbase by treating fans to baseless fan service. Its 3rd season is set to be 24 episodes, much longer than season 1 or 2, and will air in July 2021. You can find seasons 1 and 2 on Crunchyroll.
The anime industry is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, so you can expect that some shows might have a few delays along the way, especially if you enjoy watching your anime in dub, but the wait will be worth it.
Whether you’re new to anime or a long-time fan, you’ll surely find something to keep you entertained this season!
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