Best of Fall 2021

From left to right; top to bottom. Ousama Ranking, Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu Part 2, Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu, Mieruko-chan, 86: Eighty Six Part 2, Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi, Takt.Op Destiny, Kyoukai Senki, Saihate no Paladin, Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen

Holidays allow for a much needed respite, and that means binge watching a whole tone of anime.

Fall 2021 brought a couple of new shows as well as some already established one’s for a second season, this being the second edition of Best of Season I decided to highlight some of the best shows Fall 2021 had to offer. You won’t find semi mediocre shows or the end of barrel show’s like I previously did with my Best of Summer. These are 10 great shows that are totally worth your time, some more underground than others, while some of them stand atop what the anime industry should constantly strive for.

Yes, I’m talking about Kimestu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen, while it technically started late in the season I’m still counting it towards fall even though technically new episodes started airing during an early start towards Winter 2022. Meanwhile, the beloved sci-fi epic, 86: Eighty-Six Part 2 also makes an appearance on this list. The point is that this list features an eclectic cast of 10 shows as is in line with the last post. Before we actually start properly I would like to point you in the direction of the RC AOTS post, which accumulates and ranks the show’s from 2021, with some fun categories thrown in there. We’ve been working hard and discussing among the writers which are our favorites and what should win what. So go check it out as it should already be up by the time this post goes out.

As you can see some shows are pretty well known but others are not so much, hopefully, this post can convince you to give those lesser-known shows a chance as you’ll have to take my worth for it. Hopefully, you come out convinced of giving a chance to the anime that is not being raved about by the community, because it doesn’t hold that IP recognition, meanwhile the more popular shows are also here hopefully satisfying those that look for the best of the best in anime.

Disclaimer – This is not one end all be all list, and should not be taken as such, the anime in this list is in no particular order as well. Fell free to discuss in the comments what was your favorite anime of Fall 2021

Ousama Ranking | 王様ランキング
Ranking of Kings

© Wit Studio

Studio: Wit Studio

Storytelling at it’s finest, with pongient delivery and a quiet conviction; confered through every episode.

Not finished; Airing through – Winter 2022 –

Ousama Ranking, even though it hasn’t finished airing, already stands in my mind as one of the great’s, and it’s no surprise since it was made by one of the most prolific studios in recent years. With their mega-hit – Attack on Titan – reaching monolithic levels of popularity in both the east and the west, it’s no surprise this studio has garnered the attention of the most popular magazine in the manga industry. Now it seems they have almost exclusive rights to adaptations. All you need to do is look at their upcoming adaptations. Spy X Family, Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song, Totsukuni no Shoujo, and the upcoming film titled Bubble. Meanwhile, they ride a high train and produce original anime, all but standing on great animation and storytelling. Not all their works are adaptations, I mean. This is good since it means the studio is willing to take risks, but those are calculated at best and are not quick cash-grab.

There is a certain level of quality the studio holds itself to, and that to me speaks volumes. They stayed humble even though they hit the lottery jackpot.

Ousama Ranking is the story of a small kingdom reigned by giants, every so often a representative of the capital comes to rank on what level you as a king stand. The story follows Bojji a small child, son of a giant and a human mother, who also so happens to be deaf. The story never makes poignant fun of his disability in fact it embraces it and uses it wholeheartedly. Although some fun is poked at him by the villagers as he struts around semi-naked through the streets of his hometown. Bojji spends his days ignoring the townsfolk and suffering in silence where no one can see him.

He makes an unlikely friend in Kage a member of the shadow clan. There are intertwined politics, lore to uncover, strong character development, pacts with demons, trips to the underworld among many other things to unveil as you watch this magnificent otherworldly anime, drawn with colorful pastel-like colors and a rich world filled with interesting characters. If you haven’t already I would implore you to take a look at Ousama Ranking as it is truly a labor of love with outstanding animation to boot!

Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu Part 2 | 無職転生 ~異世界行ったら本気だす~ 第2クール
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Cour 2

© Studio Bind

Studio: Studio Bind

A comming of age story with an isekai twist, that doesn’t shy away from hard gripping moments. Or putting it’s charachters through the ringer.

Finished Airing

What can I say about Mushoku Tensei that people haven’t already said? Or talked about? The point is this series is great and if you haven’t already, you should check it out because you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t otherwise. That’s the kind of series we’re dealing with here.

Rudeus is a reincarnated loser, now full of determination he vows to make his new life successful in this new world, yet old habits die hard, we see him struggle with sexuality towards women, specifically his growing relationship with Eris, the fiery daughter of a nobleman. After a tragic teleportation accident.

The whole world get’s transported to different parts of the country, Rudeus is transported with Eris and Ruijerd. Who’s part of a clan of assassins that is feared throughout. But Rudeus manages to convince him to join the party, through their shenanigans they manage to clear his name little by little. 
There are many things that happen throughout the runtime of this show, but most specifically it’s here on this list because of how it manages to tell those tales.

It has a poignant look that never shies away from the harsh truths of life. Because even in our darkest moments we must rise up and continue with our journey because that’s life. And this show gets that perfectly. You see Rudeus go from a socially inept in-cell, who prefers to steal a grope rather than try to actually formalize the paperwork if you know what I mean. To a young adult who has responsibilities and has to deal with his own emotions. Mushoku Tensei is on this list because its second cour aired this Fall, the production team taking a break between Spring and Summer to make sure this second cour was up to standards. And because of COVID it certainly took a little bit longer than usual, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t great, in fact, I think this second cour surpasses the first in many more ways than one. It’s a great watch I highly recommend it.   

Komi-san wa, Komyushou desu.| 古見さんは、コミュ症です。
Komi Can’t Communicate

© OLM

Studio: OLM

A missunderstood girl tries to nagivate this complicated world.

Netflix Jail (Finishes January 6th, 2022)

I waited some time to actually see this one, as Netflix had the rights to stream this show outside of Japan, with one week’s delay we were eagerly waiting for new episodes to drop on the streaming giant. Now having seen all episodes except for the finale, as it hasn’t yet aired (legally) and I’m waiting for it to drop. Komi-san was one of two series Netflix bought this season, alongside Blue Period (honorable mention) Netflix was streaming new episodes with a week’s delay bringing you new content on a weekly basis. 

Animated by the same production house that makes the Pokemon anime OLM delivers ith outstanding visuals and really honest and perfectly delivered comedy. I can’t wait to watch the season finale this week and finalize Komi-san and her adventures as she tries to communicate with others. Suffering from extreme social anxiety, Komi can’t, literally, can’t communicate with other people. Some words might spur out of her, but it’s a slice of her full thought. Her extreme beauty has garnered her the name of ice queen by some, but in reality, she just needs a little extra push and lots and lots of patience so that she can actually talk to some people.

Her whole class adores her, even placing her on a throne. This is how people have treated her during her life, and has placed immeasurable amounts of pressure on her shoulders to meet those standards. She even stains the title of God from her classmates. Quite a title to live up to. 
Along the way she actually makes some friends here and there, even attaining herself a friend who’s willing to be her dog. Talk about some issues. Nevertheless, even if Komi has few speaking lines, she has a lot of personality. It’s fun to see how she navigates the school hierarchy with the help of Tadano, and the inevitable relationship they two build. Komi-san has been renewed for a second season so we’ll be seeing more of her adorable quirky self in the future!

Mieruko-chan| 見える子ちゃん
Mieruko-chan

© Passione

Studio: Passione

She can see them, and they can see her. But ignoring them will make them go away, right?! Right?!! Well sometimes.

Finished Airing

She can see them, and they can see her, but she ignores them and so they go away… But what exactly is she seeing that is causing her to cower in fear. Ghost’s that is. That’s right ghostly aberrations that make her insides twist inside out. Switching between a really cute anime style and a horrific gore style that is sure to make some squirm in fear. Mieruko-chan manages both sides really well, the occult as well as the daily lives of this character.

Her best friend Hana is a stranger to the occult but her overall chirpy vibe and solar-powered aura help some spirits stay away, as well as attract others. It’s a really interesting series because somewhere in the middle it brings out the lore of these characters and introduces a new threat that culminates in a spectacular show of hands between Miko and a powerful spirit that has an attachment to one of her professors. There are good ghosts and the bad ghost’s out there, that’s all you need to know. 

Airing during the month of October, Mieriku-chan capitalizes on the scary season to bring the thrills and chills ending shorty before the start of Winter, the producers really timed this one well. However, there are some badly timed fanservice moments during the first episodes, but rest assured they do die down somewhere after the third episode, or you become accustomed to them, whatever happens first.

The plot really takes priority here and Miko takes centerfold in this story. There’s not much else to say rather that this show is for those that are seeking a small thrill, the ghost designs are really good and make a good effort at trying to creep you out. Just think about how someone might be looming over your shoulder as you read this! Gives me the creeps!   

86: Eighty Six Part 2 | 86-エイティシックス- 第2クール
86 EIGHTY-SIX Season 2

© P.A. Works

Studio: A-1 Pictures

War… War changes everyone.

Airing Hiatus -Episode 22 airs March 12th | Episode 23 airs March 19th

Honestly, I haven’t finished watching this one, but yet I know how good it is, and wanted to include it on the list, just in case anyone missed it. It’s one of those series I’ve been saving for a rainy day, whenever I get the free time to binge-watch all of it. But it’s good! So for this one, I’ll pass it over to one of my buddies over on RC who covers this one on a weekly basis. This is a snipper from his review on episode 12. Plus I’m lazy and would feel disingenuous to talk about something I haven’t yet completed. Takes it away Pancakes!

Given how this season is a direct continuation of the last, I won’t waste too much time on refreshers here – you want to know what 86 is about, what happened previously, or avoid any spoilers best get on that first season pronto. It’s not like this new one is wasting much time either, as we’ve jumped directly from the charge of the Spearhead brigade and Shin’s attempted death by machine assimilated brother into Lena becoming an effective pariah while Spearhead find out that there’s more beyond the lands of Legion. Yes, San Magnolia aren’t the only people left in this world.

While I imagine some are surprised by the twist laid out this episode (for those who didn’t spoiler themselves over the summer at least!), it was, to be fair, a pretty obvious one. There was no way this story would continue by writing off a good chunk of its pathos or taking away what primarily drove (and still drives) Lena’s actions, as no subsequent character could easily match up to Shin or his past. Likewise the Empire itself; Giad may have lost to its creation, but if San Magnolia could keep them at bay, there’s no way other states couldn’t do the same. Indeed we got that in spades here, as the new Giad Federation has clearly shown it has the tools and the personnel required to do the necessary fighting – and without the dehumanization aspect to boot. There will be more revealed on this part given the perpetual deception of outward appearances, but without a doubt Spearhead’s future battles won’t emulate the past.

Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi | 先輩がうざい後輩の話
My Senpai is Annoying

© Doga Kobo

Studio: Doga Kobo

A workplace comedy that ends ups supprisingly wholesome. In both it’s charachterization and plot.

Finished Airing

Work relationships can be hard, they can be even harder when romantic feelings are involved, Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi marks a blurry line between the professional and the romantic, but at the same time provides a heartfelt encounter of the two. What can I say, I really enjoyed this whole season of Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi. Overall I liked that the relationships are already marked, and we’re starting to see them develop, something other show’s like Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun would take upwards of four episodes or more to even show some type of forwardness in the characters. Meanwhile, Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi decides to full front the relationships between the main cast.

Of course, I’m talking about Igarashi Futaba and Takeda Harumi. These two hit it off right off the bat! The story starts in media res with Futaba having worked already two years at Itomaki Trading, it’s a great excuse for the show to dive full front into the relationships, having already been developed, the characters can act with certainty, and charisma towards each other. Prominently shown by how Futaba doesn’t flinch or back away immediately at Harumi’s hair rustle. Even though she does, but at the excuse of being treated like a little kid, which makes it more believable since it probably happens every time Harumi rustles her feathers, it even happens a second time during the first episode.

Thankfully Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi doesn’t really focus too much on the comedy side of things, people in this office actually do some work, the first episode’s main plotline featured Futaba making a small mistake when she placed a buy order for a client, and the gloomy feelings it brings with. Futaba cares about her job, and she cares a lot, especially how she’s pushing more work unto her fellow team members.

It was especially fun to see how this problem brought her down, it made her a fully realized character in my mind. Of course, you would feel downhearted if you made a mistake like that in a corporate environment, she feels even worse when Harumi tries to cheer her up, and by coincidences of the storyline, she gets invited to rampage it out at the arcade, while having left her train pass in the office, when she goes back to get it, she finds Harumi sleeping at his deck, his back must hurt sleeping like that. But thankfully she leaves some post-it notes trying to cheer him, and his favorite beverage! Up with the promise to buy Udon next time they get a chance.

takt op.Destiny | takt op.Destiny
takt op.Destiny

© MADHOUSE | MAPPA

Studio: MADHOUSE | MAPPA

A world without music, but good.

Finished Airing

What would a world without music look like? How would we live? How will you ever get your Spotify daily fix, with infinite playlists and thousands of subgenres to get engrossed into? Takt.Op Destiny tries to answer that question. A joint venture between two anime powerhouses, this show goes back to its musical roots and takes a classical music approach, ranging from Mozart all the way to jazz. Unlike its direct competitor Listeners.

Takt.Op actually cares about telling an interesting story, all while being an anime medium and anime being anime it cannot just be about one thing. So whenever characters sit down to play music, they inevitably summon giant gorillas like monstres that rampage the town, because they umm, hate music or something. But worry not, there are concerto masters that have musical girls that can fight against the evil dudes.

I know the plot might seem a little bit out there, but here me out when I say this one is worth a watch, solely for the fact that it takes you on a musical journey, while at the same giving you strong anime girls fighting against evil doo-ers who hate music and they are trying to protect the music. Obviously, they have some great moments with music! This show is all about the tunes. I’ll be honest, haven’t finished this one either, but I still wanted to include it because it’s honestly a great time and I’m going to give myself the time to watch it all the way through the end. Even if there are some series in this list that I have yet to finish, the top ten of the season will always include what I think is the best animation and stories the season has to offer. So I hope you’re okay with that.

Kyoukai Senki| 境界戦機
AMAIM Warrior at the Borderline

© Sunrise Beyond

Studio : Sunrise Beyond

It’s Gundam, but at the same time it’s kinda not.

Finished Airing

Well, this one was certainly a surprise for me, every episode I was more and more intrigued, the plot culminates in an interesting premise and the animation is actually good. I had to feature it, there is so much lore here and it’s so interesting to dive into it that it was hard not to feature it in the top ten. Of course, some might disagree as the show actually sometimes glosses over important details that might have a lot of significance otherwise. It’s dumb down sometimes that’s for sure, but going into this one doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll want tons of lore and story, this is a good time if you turn your brain off.  

Plot-wise I think it does the bare minimum but the animation is there and it never falters. It’s an interesting show that sometimes dulls down the horrors war can bring, and doesn’t really do a good job at really nailing down its human vs A.I. setting. It’s punchy, it’s interesting, but sometimes goes off the rails and that might deter some to stop watching. But that’s okay because not all anime needs to be hyper-serious about its topic. It just needs to land it. And this show does that, just barely. It’s an okay time, that you’ll need to immersive yourself in to see if it’s for you or not. For me it was. That’s why I’m including it in this list.    

Saihate no Paladin | 最果てのパラディン
The Faraway Paladin

© Children’s Playground Entertainment

Studio: Children’s Playground Entertainment

A memorable world that stuck with me even after the credits rolled.

Finished Airing

Yep, this one’s here too. Boy, this one was a surprise, in so many ways, from its magic system to the characters there’s so much to enjoy here. And it being at the bottom of the list doesn’t mean it was bad, in fact, I had a lot of fun and would totally recommend this one to anyone who enjoys fantasy and isekai’s since it has a different magic system involving the use of words, and actually get creative with it. It’s a no-brainer for fans of the genre. I have nothing but praise for this one and at the same don’t really wish to spoil anything for those that have yet not seen it.

I would recommend you go in blind and see if you like it. It fulfills that power fantasy and actually works for it. Unlike some other fantasy shows that just outright give you the power fantasy, here our main character actually works for it and it’s so amazing to watch. Watching him grow in age and personality was great to experience, there’s so much character development here. And the world-building is genuinely interesting too.

I know I’m doing a terrible job at trying to convince you, but seriously it’s so worth it, go watch it!

Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen| 鬼滅の刃 遊郭編
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc

© ufotable

Studio: ufotable

It’s demon salyer, need I say more?!?!?

Airing through Winter 2022

No, I don’t need to say anything else, go watch it! I’m all worn out bye!


Honorable Mention

Blue Period| ブルーピリオド
Blue Period

© Seven Arcs

Studio: Seven Arcs

Art is pain; Art is life; Art is beauty.

Finished Airing; Netflix Jail

Author: FJ

A young fantasy writer during the night, motion graphics and illustration during the day. Currently living in Mexico. Aspiring to make a feature film.

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