Mid-Autumn 2021 Anime Ranking


01. Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut (Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu) (ep. 1-9) – Aside from the fact that the star is a vampire girl, this series is a convincingly realistic portrayal of astronaut training and the politics of the USSR-USA space race during the 1950s.

Irina receives the same training as the human candidates, but she is regarded as an expendable test subject, just a step up from the animals that have been sent into space before her. There are some of the same social/moral issues as in 86 EIGHTY-SIX in how she is exceptionally skilled, but unfairly treated as less than human. I also find it a little bit hard to believe that they would consider Irina to be so easily expendable. It can’t be a simple task to find such a willing participant, who could potentially help them with numerous test flights. But I guess they are ultimately also afraid of her, and of having her existence revealed to the public.
(streaming at Funimation)


02. 86 EIGHTY-SIX (ep. 12-19) – The drastic change in setting is a welcome development for this second part of 86 EIGHTY-SIX.

I appreciate the Federacy’s concern about enlisting the 86ers and pressuring them into dangerous combat once more, but it’s a bit heavy-handed in my opinion. Fighting is all these kids have known for so long; it’s what they are good at, as sad as that is. The important point is that they now have the freedom to choose, and I hope, to be respected and fairly compensated for their service.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


03. The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window (Sankaku Mado no Sotogawa wa Yoru) (ep. 1-10)
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


04. The Heike Story (Heike Monogatari) (ep. 1-10) – I don’t know enough about the history of the time to follow the story 100%, especially given all the time skips, but it’s not hard to understand the main points. It’s interesting that there are numerous tales of warlords fighting valiant battles, also of powerful clans abusing their authority. However, it’s rare to see what happens when a once-powerful family falls and the entire clan is left wandering and homeless, which is something that must have occurred commonly during those times, if they were lucky enough to escape with their lives at all, that is.
(streaming at Funimation)


05. BLUE PERIOD (ep. 1-8)
(streaming at Netflix)


06. Puraore!~PRIDE OF ORANGE~ (ep. 1-9) – Obviously we had to check out the ice hockey anime! Well, it also happens to be a cute girls anime, so that sort of tempered any expectations we might have had. Fortunately, other than the occasional reference to an idol-style song and dance routine, Puraore! is a pretty respectable sports show so far; and the hockey (and dance) animation is very good.
(streaming at Funimation)

Also started, but did not get far enough to include in the ranking:

The World’s Finest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat (Sekai Saikou no Ansatsusha, Isekai Kizoku ni Tensei suru) (ep. 1-5) – The first episode was amazing, 10/10; then sadly, the main character gets isekai’d, and the next episodes feel more like 6/10. In any case, World’s Finest Assassin should probably stop trying to be funny; its attempts at comic relief are 4/10 at best.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken Part 6: Stone Ocean) (ep. 1-4)
(streaming at Netflix)

Also started, and DROPPED:

takt op.Destiny (ep. 1-4)
VISUAL PRISON (ep. 1-5)

Also intending to resume, but haven’t yet:

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc
TSUKIPRO THE ANIMATION 2

Mid-Spring 2021 Anime Ranking


01. The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent (Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu) (ep. 1-9) – Seeing as this is a thematically ‘ordinary’ almost-slice-of-life isekai, I hesitated to give it my No. 1 spot. At the end of the day though, it’s probably the one I like the most, because it’s such a feel-good anime to watch. Pretty much all the characters in this show are likeable and funny and attractive.

I really do admire Sei’s work ethic and her modesty. Even though she would prefer to live and work freely outside of the spotlight, she also refuses to shirk the responsibilities that come with the great power she has unwittingly obtained. She’s a true hero.
(streaming at Funimation)


02. ODDTAXI (ep. 1-9) – ODDTAXI, featuring a large ensemble cast of animal characters and interconnected stories, is a truly novel presentation. The writing is exemplary – and dark. This is no kids’ show. Gradually, it’s also becoming clear how this quietly suspenseful story is uniquely suited for the animated format.

To think I could have easily passed on this, as I rarely watch anthropomorphic anime!
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


03. MORIARTY THE PATRIOT (Yuukoku no Moriarty) (ep. 12-20) – Still excellent, but not as good as the first cour. William and Sherlock have had limited screen time, especially together, and their absence is felt.
(streaming at Funimation)


04. VIVY: Fluorite Eye’s Song (ep. 1-11) – This is a sci-fi anime about a couple of AI trying to change the past, to save humanity from being destroyed by an apocalypse of its own creation. The time-travel narrative makes me think of Terminator and Touken Ranbu. The story and art are excellent, and the action sequences are particularly impressive.
(streaming at Funimation)


05. Thunderbolt Fantasy: Touri-ken Yuuki 3 (ep. 1-10) – Considering this is a series starring dolls, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the sudden appearance of a Nendoroid. But that’s just the kind of simple genius that’s typical of Thunderbolt Fantasy’s brilliant and ironic storytelling style.

By this point, I don’t even question Lin’s intentions anymore. It’s plainly obvious he is more hero than villain. Could it be he has really been outdone by the demon sisters though?
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


06. 86 EIGHTY-SIX (ep. 1-9)
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


07. Those Snow White Notes (Mashiro no Oto) (ep. 1-10) – The actual plot and character motivations are a little weak, or maybe just not that riveting to me, but seriously, the beautiful shamisen music and highly detailed performance animation are enough to make this worth watching.

As an aside, long bangs on anime characters have never really bothered me before, I might even say I generally like the aesthetic, but this show is testing me. So many of the guys and girls here are in dire need of a haircut! Or at the very least, someone please introduce them to styling products to get that unruly hair out of their eyes!
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


08. Jouran: The PRINCESS OF SNOW AND BLOOD (ep. 1-10) – It’s hard to get a grasp on what’s going on when there are so many double-crosses and plot twists in just the first 3 episodes! The art and the period setting of this revenge story are appealing and evocative. The theme songs by RAISE A SUILEN, featuring traditional and modern instrumentation, are very fitting too.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


09. SHADOWS HOUSE (ep. 1-9) – At the beginning, it’s just the 2 main characters in one room, and SHADOWS HOUSE seems a little claustrophobic. But things get interesting, and the mysteries intensify, when Emilico starts hanging out with the other dolls in the house.
(streaming at Funimation)


10. Backflip!! (Bakuten!!) (ep. 1-9) – They have done a great job with the gymnastics routines! Some viewers might not like all the CGI, but it looks pretty amazing to my eyes.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


11. MARS RED (ep. 1-9) – Certainly artful, you often have to read deep between the lines to fully understand this vampire period drama. But there is such a thing as being too obtuse. Just personally, I find it hard to get really invested when I feel so much like I’m guessing at what’s going on.
(streaming at Funimation)


12. TOKYO REVENGERS (ep. 1-9) – Another time-travel story, but on a smaller scale. Takemichi suddenly acquires the ability to go 12 years back in time, with the possibility of changing the events that ultimately lead to the death of a girl he cares about. While he does some things right, it’s kind of frustrating that he isn’t very strong or smart, and doesn’t seem to have much of a plan either.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


13. Burning Kabbadi (Shakunetsu Kabaddi) (ep. 1-10)
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


14. Fruits Basket: The Final (Season 3) (ep. 1-9) – As always, I have my issues with Fruits Basket. It isn’t all bad, but the dialogue lines are often redundant, the (too many) romantic pairings are still kind of unconvincing, and just when I’m finally ready to maybe give Akito a second chance, yet another unforgivable thing happens.
(streaming at Crunchyroll and Funimation)


15. The World Ends with You (Subarashiki Kono Sekai) The Animation (ep. 1-9) – I really love the art of this show! The dark outlines and vibrant colours are very pleasing to the eye. And the setting is like a love letter to Shibuya.

For how beautiful it is, it’s a shame there isn’t much more to the story than fighting digital monsters in a game.
(streaming at Funimation)

Also watching/watched:

NOMAD: Megalo Box 2 (ep. 1-6)
(streaming at Funimation)

The Way of the Househusband (Gokushufudou) (5 short episodes)
(streaming at Netflix)