Another trip around the sun, another pile of anime recommendations! Read on to hear about my favourite series I watched in 2021, and see if there’s any you missed that you might want to check out.
My work at AniFem has been instrumental in letting me (or, making me) keep up with current releases. Many of these mini-reviews are edited versions of check-ins or recommendations I’ve written for the site—check out each season’s staff picks for even more good stuff that went beyond my personal radar!
“Oh, please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!”Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
This post contains major spoilers for Beastars season two
In Beastars, the friendship between a deer and the wolf who bites his leg off might be the healthiest one there is. Does that sound bananas? Yes? Excellent, welcome to Beastars. This series about anthropomorphic animals trying to navigate their teenaged years (feat. a murder mystery) has always been deliciously weird, and always been layered thickly with themes about power. Chiefly, power imbalances, and the many ways those might manifest. Season two delves even deeper into those quandaries and reveals some intriguing new commentary on the topic.
Whether or not Beastars is a love story is, at this stage, up for debate (we’ll need to see what happens between Legoshi and Haru in the end), but I think it’s becoming clear that Beastars is a story about love. Love, and the ways that even a positive emotion like it might become destructive; and how a relationship might devour the people within it.
What a year, huh? At least there was some good cartoons!
In all sincerity, 2020 saw the release of some very fun and intriguing series—and working for AniFem has enabled me to keep a closer eye on what’s coming out than ever before, and, with premiere reviews, check out and enjoy series I may otherwise have totally missed. So read on for my favourite anime that I watched in 2020, which include everything from soft sapphic romances, to murder and mind games, to a “reincarnated in a video game” story I actually liked, to anime about anime.