Best Anime of the Summer 2021 Season

Each three months, the anime season comes and goes, and now that we’re in October, the Summer season 2021 season has formally come to a detailed. There are at all times extra anime being made than can fairly be watched by anybody, and plenty of of them turn into unworthy of your time. There are at all times gems, although, so should you did not sustain with all the pieces or like to attend and see how issues pan out earlier than binging the exhibits that turned out to be nice, we have got you coated with three Summer season 2021 anime you positively should not miss.

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A still from Love Live! Superstar!!

Picture through NHK Instructional TV

First comes Love Reside! Celebrity!!, the most recent entry within the massively profitable Love Reside! multimedia franchise. Should you’re unfamiliar, Love Reside! at all times follows a bunch of highschool women who need to develop into “faculty idols,” that are basically indie pop stars that compete in a fictional occasion known as the “Love Reside” to develop into worldwide tune and dance sensations. The collection has been going sturdy for years ever because the first season took the world by storm in 2013, and Celebrity!! is the fourth anime entry to this point. Whereas all of them observe the same system — the ladies normally attend a faculty that’s dealing with bother for no matter purpose and attempt to win Love Reside with the intention to put it aside from closure; they by no means begin the present as a cohesive unit however slowly come collectively by means of the facility of music and friendship; there’s at all times a skeptical scholar council president that wants convincing to affix the group — every season has its personal distinctive allure that retains it contemporary for returning followers.

This time, Celebrity!! introduced again Takahiko Kyogoku, the director of the unique collection, and he introduced in a lot of his employees from over time as nicely. With him and his crew, Celebrity!! efficiently recaptures the vitality and enthusiasm that made the unique present such an infectiously enjoyable time. Masterful comedic timing, amusing framing, and hilarious gags are all paying homage to the primary collection, made even higher by the refinement of time making the crew all of the extra charming. As well as, the normal massive solid — normally 9 primary women — has been truncated right here to simply 5, giving the characters ample room to breathe, resulting in a bunch that feels rather more cohesive with compelling arcs. Better of all, regardless of the returning employees and intimidating measurement of the franchise, Celebrity!! is completely stand-alone, requiring you to know nothing concerning the prolonged historical past of Love Reside! up to now. Should you’ve by no means tried Love Reside! earlier than or burned out on the countless stream of content material and are on the lookout for a healthful, heartwarming, genuinely humorous time with pretty animation in addition, take a look at Love Reside! Celebrity!!

A still from Kageki Shojo!!

Picture through Funimation

On the opposite aspect of the “women in a performing arts membership” coin, we’ve got Kageki Shojo!!, an adaptation of a 2012 manga of the identical identify. Kageki Shojo!! is about two women attending a faculty for the performing arts, every with very completely different causes. One is Sarasa, a tall lady who grew up doing kabuki, a historically masculine self-discipline, who desires to interrupt the norms of ladies’s theater by performing as Girl Oscar in The Rose of Versailles, regardless of her peak pigeonholing her into male roles. The opposite is Ai, an ex-idol whose belief points with males received her in bother after a damaging interplay with a fan, who’s looking for a spot in a really completely different type of leisure.

Kageki Shojo!! makes use of its fictional faculty as a stand-in for the real-world Takarazuka Revue, a ladies’s musical theatre group that has been working since 1913. Takarazuka has an attention-grabbing and at occasions contradictory legacy, giving ladies a spot to shine and categorical themselves in an business that’s hardly ever pleasant to them, but on the similar time imposing gender norms in numerous methods. Kageki Shojo!! tackles these conflicting values in not solely the Takarazuka however the leisure business and society extra broadly, making it attention-grabbing in case you are accustomed to Japanese musical theatre but additionally fully approachable with out that data. The struggles the ladies undergo, particularly Ai, are strikingly down-to-earth, unafraid of approaching themes of abuse and oppression which can be at occasions uncomfortable to look at however essential to acknowledge. On the similar time, the bond that builds between Sarasa and Ai as they find out about one another and combat by means of a system that stands to oppose them at each flip is exceptional for the way starkly sincere it feels, softening the blows of the present’s extra heartbreaking moments with a transparent hope for the long run. Kageki Shojo!! is a present steeped in historical past and tradition, however is about common experiences at its core, making it pleasurable for anybody.

A still from Sonny Boy

Picture through Funimation

Lastly, far and away the most effective providing of Summer season 2021 and even one of many standouts of all the yr is the eclectic and difficult Sonny Boy. Written and directed by One-Punch Man‘s director Shingo Natsume, Sonny Boy has been a standout suggestion ever since its gorgeous premiere, but it surely hasn’t rested on its laurels, evolving each single week to develop into one thing much more attention-grabbing and sophisticated than even its greatest followers may have predicted. The plot, as a lot as Sonny Boy has one, is a few group of scholars who’ve abruptly discovered themselves faraway from the remainder of society, wandering by means of numerous “worlds” with odd guidelines governing them and no apparent approach to return to their regular lives. It initially attracts comparisons to Lord of the Flies, however because it goes on, the thriller of their state of affairs, and what Natsume finally intends for Sonny Boy​​​​​​, expands far past easy comparisons to its inspirations.

All through its run, Sonny Boy addresses themes of capitalist exploitation, social isolation, and the facility of neighborhood, finally difficult its characters to contemplate the very objective of life. It is a fixed rumination on all kinds of philosophical matters, not a lot answering any questions as a lot as asking after which pondering on them. Equally, its narrative construction is extraordinarily free; midway by means of the present, the central battle is kind of “resolved” with what would have been a transparent finale in a weaker present. Easy conclusions aren’t the sport Sonny Boy is taking part in, although, and it continues for one more half a season, refusing to offer its characters — or the viewer — clear solutions to both its story or the concepts it’s concerned with. All of that is accompanied by Natsume and his crew’s phenomenal animation work that must be seen to be believed. Episodes are shockingly stunning for TV manufacturing, with exceptional, otherworldly settings and transcendent, trippy cuts of animation that intensify the free world and concepts the present is at all times taking part in with; it is a poster baby for productions that may solely be executed justice in animation. Should you’re on the lookout for a conventional narrative with clearly outlined guidelines and arcs, this present would possibly disappoint, however should you’re keen to have interaction with an anime that’s extra concerned with concepts than solutions, following compelling, generally harrowing tales to their pure conclusions with out ever dipping into despondent nihilism, you’ll be able to’t do higher than Sonny Boy.

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