The ten most anticipated Japanese animation series of 2021
Even if we are fans of novels but we don’t forget our origins, we all started with anime then manga to finish with novels. This time the “Asura Light Novel” team offers you its selection of the ten anime we are looking forward to see in this new year.
Between postponements and cancellations, the Japanese manga and animation industry has spent a very perilous year 2020. Fortunately for the fans, 2021 promises to be full of good surprises. Between new releases, adaptations and expected sequels, Le Monde has selected the works that we are most eager to watch in 2021. A patchwork of new productions that we present to you in chronological order.
“Shingeki no Kyojin” (“Attack of the Titans”)
On both sides of the sea, the old enemies are preparing to fight their last battle. A war on the edge of morality, which will only end when all men are either dead or free. Thus begins the fourth and final season of the adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s cult manga, Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack of the Titans). The author, a master in the art of intrigue and the reversal of situations, maintains the suspense on the outcome of his first work, whose last chapter is expected by spring 2021. It is impossible to know if the long-awaited ending will appear on the screens at the end of this epic final season of the adaptation.
The animation studio Mappa, which is taking over the production after three seasons directed by the studio Wit, will have its work cut out for it. Because in addition to orchestrating the return of our three heroes – Eren, Mikasa and Armin -, the studio is adapting two of the latest and most outstanding releases of Weekly Shonen Jump magazine: Jujutsu Kaisen, whose first season is already in progress, and Chainsaw Man, whose anime has been announced for the course of 2021.
“The Promised Neverland”
Freedom is beautiful, but brutal. After spending the first season plotting their escape, fifteen children have managed to escape from their orphanage, this false paradise called Grace Field, in the hope of finding freedom. Led by the two main characters, Emma and Ray, the children will discover a beautiful and cruel outside world in which they will have to learn to survive.
Five years after the release of the first chapter, The Promised Neverland has become one of Weekly Shonen Jump’s most popular manga. Its breathtaking and original plot had aroused the enthusiasm of many readers around the world. A popularity confirmed in 2019 by the success of its anime adaptation by director Mamoru Kanbe. One of the highlights of this first season was particularly in the spellbinding music of composer Takahiro Obata, who will return for this second season.
While interest in the story has waned slightly since the manga ended in June 2020, animation studio CloverWorks has come up with a good idea to motivate die-hard fans to keep watching. The second season could unveil new plots, supervised by the mangaka himself. Hard to resist.
Fans of the manga had long given up on the idea of ever seeing an adaptation of this lovely teenage romance. Animation studio CloverWorks, which also made The Promised Neverland, brings us what promises to be one of the most beautiful love stories of the year. Full of good feelings, the Horimiya series aptly addresses the complicated period of adolescence through physical and social prejudices. Its unlikely love story between two classmates, Hori and Miyamura, that everything seems to oppose, reminds us with benevolence that we should not trust appearances.
When the manga was released in 2012, the work written by Hero and illustrated by Daisuke Hagiwara had already made the hearts of readers turn over. Although the story may look like hundreds of others, in Horimiya, the characters’ personalities are so endearing that it’s hard to miss.
“SK8 the Infinity”
In the panoply of anime about sports, skateboarding was still missing. It is now done with Sk8 the Infinity. The series, which is one of the few on this list that is not a manga adaptation, follows the story of Reki, a high school skateboarding enthusiast who finds himself involved in a dangerous and secret race called “S”.
With beautiful animation and colorful characters, the trailer for the series almost makes you want to start riding around town on your skateboard yourself. Expected to be released in January, Sk8 the Infinity is not only produced by the fine animation studio Bones, but is also directed by Utsumi Hiroko, known for such acclaimed titles as Banana Fish and Free!
“So I’m a Spider, So What? “
It’s hard to rank the most anticipated anime of the year without mentioning at least one Isekai series, this subgenre of Japanese fantasy that mainly revolves around a character transported or trapped in a parallel universe. There are already many stories in this style… but So I’m a Spider, So What ? has something that seems to stand out from the crowd. Maybe already, because instead of being reincarnated in a monstrously strong and charismatic character, the heroine turns into… a spider.
She will have to learn how to use her arachnid body and survive in this new world. This series with an unusual plot is reminiscent in some ways of the excellent Me, when I am reincarnated as a Slime! which had already pleased fans when it was released in 2013. With fluid animation and a story that doesn’t seem to be devoid of humor, this new Isekai could well bring a breath of fresh air to the genre.
Shaman King is back! Almost twenty years after its first appearance on the screens, Hiroyuki Takei’s cult manga is entitled to a second adaptation in animated series – it is not a sequel to the series released in 2001. A way to give a second life to the story of the shaman Yoh Asakura on the screens. At the time, the production of the anime had to invent its own original ending, since the manga was not yet finished. The Bridge studio, which is in charge of the production of this reboot, should finally be able to adapt the story as Hiroyuki Takei had envisaged it.
We will find the young Yoh in his adventure to become the Shaman King, in a series that promises more stunning visuals and a better follow-up of the story than the first adaptation. A rediscovery all the more appreciated as the music will be composed by Hayashi Yuki, known for his work on very popular series, such as Haikyu!! and My Hero Academia, whose fifth season will also be released in 2021.
“To Your Eternity”
One of the most anticipated titles of the year. To Your Eternity is adapted from the manga by Yoshitoki Yoima, who you may know as the author of the beautiful and heartbreaking Silent Voice. The story is about the arrival on Earth of a mysterious and immortal being who can take the shape of what surrounds him. A pure force which will take, during its experience and its learning, the shape of animals, then of human beings.
At the time of its release in manga in 2018, the work had already captivated the public by its universe conducive to travel and reverie. And its twenty-episode adaptation also promises much.
“Sayonara Watashi no Cramer”
Here is finally the worthy successor of the magnificent series Your Lie in April. Yes, because Sayonara Watashi no Cramer (Farewell, My Dear Cramer) is the adaptation of the second manga of Naoshi Arakawa, the author of Your Lie in April. In this second production, the theme is quite different from music, since the heroine is a soccer fan. The young girl having never won a single game during her middle school years, she is invited by her rival to join the high school team, with the promise to never let her “play alone”.
Even if it is not the same animation studio that produces the series anymore, it still keeps a very similar artistic direction and faithful to the mangaka’s style. And for all those who shed torrents of tears in front of Your Lie in April, be ready because the music will be composed by the same person, the talented Yokoyama Masuru.
In the distant future, on our planet, our world is now called “Eden 3” and the only entities living there are robots. Their creators have been gone for thousands of years. During a routine mission, two robots accidentally awaken a young girl from her sleep and shatter centuries of history and myth. Together, the two robots secretly raise the child in a safe haven outside Eden.
This new four-episode series is the very first Netflix original creation of its kind. For the occasion, we find the director Yasuhiro Irie, well known for having directed the series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Toshihiro Kawamoto who worked on the characters of the cult Cowboy Bebop and the Australian composer Kevin Penkin who became known for the music of the anime Made in Abyss.
“The Way of the Househusband”
In the summer of 2019, the manga The Way of the Apron landed in French bookstores from Kana. In this atypical manga, we discover the story of Tatsu, a househusband who takes care of his house and his adorable girlfriend. Except that he doesn’t really look like the ideal husband. No, Tatsu, called the immortal, is a fearsome gang leader who terrifies the most powerful Mafiosi in Japan. Now retired, he longs for a peaceful life. But a horde of disgruntled mobsters come to ruin his life.
It was only a matter of time for this manga with absurd and funny scenes – like the main character’s fight with an automatic vacuum cleaner – to be adapted into an animated series. And it is Netflix that will be in charge of the production of this project, now called The Way of the Househusband.