With the new spring season anime currently rolling, I want to quickly look back at my top three series from the previous season.
Winter 2021 was a great season for anime — one of the strongest line-ups I’ve seen in a while, honestly — and as such, I want to celebrate it a little bit more.
No matter how varied the genres you enjoy or how much anime you watch, you can always return to a Shounen Jump series and leave thinking “Man, how do these series always deliver?”
These were my exact feelings after every episode of Jujutsu Kaisen. It might be because I grew up on shounen and the familiar feelings these series give is something I feel so at home with, but I think a lot of people will agree with me on this.
So why was Jujutsu Kaisen so good? Well, the mangaka Gege Akutami was very obviously inspired by some of the very same series that we grew up watching. The enemies are a form of Yokai with varying degrees of sentience and intelligence which directly correspond to their strength — similar to Hollows from Bleach.
The 3-man team dynamic of Sensei, two males, and one female, is exactly like that of Team 7 from Naruto. The main protagonist, Itadori Yuuji, having a dangerous and evil being “sealed” inside of him is definitely comparable to Naruto’s situation regarding the Nine-Tailed Fox.
Taking inspiration is a good thing — it’s a way for Akutami to pay respect to the stories that got him started drawing and writing. While the similarities are quite obvious, Jujutsu Kaisen differs in many ways from the series that inspired it. Yuuji is a driven character who has accepted his time-limiting circumstances; he values life above all else and vows to ensure that others receive a proper death, by living out their lives to the fullest.
The series isn’t about an outcast slowly being accepted, being something bigger than a single person, or about being the bridge between this world and the next. It’s a story about death, mortality, and protecting those from threats they cannot even see.
Jujutsu Kaisen was an outstanding anime series from start to finish that delivered on every single episode. Each character was fleshed out and given a chance to shine, and while some took a little bit longer than others to get there, I greatly enjoyed almost every character in the series.
I’ve spoken about Horimiya a few times on here; my love for Izumi Miyamura as a main male lead is well-documented, as is my love for the anime series in general and the ways in which it slightly differs from the typical dramatical-romance we’ve all seen a thousand times. Horimiya speeds things up a little bit and shows numerous different stages of a romance of not only the lead characters but also the side characters.
Miyamura is an introverted, gloomy, and emo-looking guy who rarely speaks up and doesn’t do particularly well in exams either. Hori, meanwhile, is a beautiful girl, and the target of many male students’ affections. She’s diligent with her studies and has a close group of friends. Both of these characters have a side they would rather not show to others, however, and it’s upon discovering these sides that the romance begins.
Horimiya plays its romance at a different pace than other series out there. Whereas most romance anime tends to build up to a finale in which the two main characters finally get together and admit their feelings for one another, Miyamura and Hori get together quite early on and the show becomes more about watching them learn more and more about one another and fall deeper in love.
This isn’t just “20 minutes of Hori and Miyamura” each week either. Some episodes will focus entirely on other characters in the series and their conflicting feelings after rejection or others coming to terms with their feelings. It’s quite a simple change away from the usual romance formula but one I greatly enjoy.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
Mushoku Tensei was originally a light novel/Web novel series written by Rifujin na Magonote that was originally started back in 2012 — and is considered by many as being one of the most influential works when it comes to the core isekai concept of dying and being reincarnated in another world.
There are definitely a couple of things to tackle when it comes to this particular anime series, the main one being the main character himself — Rudeus Greyrat. Rudy is a NEET, a shut-in otaku, and an all-around unlikeable personality. The character is quite the pervert and his new life in another world doesn’t really change anything about his personality — and this is where some of the controversy surrounding his character comes in.
I don’t want to spoil too much as it is a good series to watch, but Rudy’s character growth is definitely one of the best parts of the story. Maybe it’s because the character starts from such a low point that his growth is more impressive, but seeing him slowly understand that these people in this “other world” aren’t just something like video game characters, but actually real people, is good to see.
Most isekai nowadays tend to simply thrust a character into another world and they are suddenly incredibly important, powerful, and the world seems to revolve around them. That’s not the case in Mushoku Tensei. The first half of the season has finished and the next part will be coming in July. It’s a good watch if you enjoy the Isekai genre but want something that feels a bit more real or different.
The series does not shy away from the more ecchi elements, however, so just a heads up. Sex and the like are frequent occurrences throughout — and that will most definitely continue when a certain Elven lady appears next season!
What were your highlights from the anime season just gone? Let us know in the comments below or via the usual social channels!
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