YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Anime of 2021

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top anime of 2021 But Why Tho

It’s been a long year, and one of the bright spots is anime. From Crunchyroll to Funimation, Netflix, and even Disney+, there were a lot of new series and new seasons that make distilling it down to the top 15 anime of 2021 an especially hard task for our anime section. We have anthropomorphic animals, adorable animation that tells a story of trauma, and multiple fan favorites with moments we were all excited to finally see animated.

To wrap up a year of anime, we asked the But Why Tho? writing staff and editors to rank their top anime of 2021. Taking the rankings and the number of times the anime appeared across the lists, we came up with our top 15 anime across genre, platform, and country. For Netflix’s case, we’re using what their Anime arm classifies as anime as well. So, settle in and check out our Top Anime of 2021 below:

15. Castlevania, Season 4

Castlevania ending

Animation Studio: Powerhouse Animation
Where to Watch: Netflix

In the epic final season of Castlevania, Wallachia collapses into chaos as factions clash: some attempting to take control, others attempting to bring Dracula back from the dead. Nobody is who they seem, and nobody can be trusted. These are the end times.

14. Fena Pirate Princess

Fena The Pirate Princess Episode 3 - But Why Tho

Animation Studio: Production I.G
Where to Watch: Adult Swim & Crunchyroll

Fena Houtman remembers little about her childhood. Orphaned and raised as a servant in a brothel, her life changes when she escapes to an island of pirates where she discovers the truth behind her family. With Fena being the only one able to unlock her family’s secrets, and a formidable crew of female pirates on her tail, she must take her place as captain of her Samurai crew for a high seas adventure!

13. Jojo’s Bizare Adventure: Stone Ocean

Stone Ocean- But Why Tho

Animation Studio: David Production
Where to Watch: Netflix

Florida, U.S.A, 2011 — After an accident while on a drive with her sweetheart, Jolyne Cujoh falls into a trap and is sentenced to fifteen years at the state-run maximum-security correctional facility Green Dolphin Street Prison—AKA “the Aquarium.” On the verge of despair, she receives a pendant from her father that causes a mysterious power to awaken inside of her. “There are things in this world that are more terrifying than death, and what’s happening in this prison is definitely one of them.” A message from a mysterious boy who appears before Jolyne, inexplicable events that occur one after another, the horrifying truth told to her by her father when he comes to visit, and the name DIO… Will Jolyne ultimately be set free from this stone ocean they call a prison? The final battle to end the century-long, fateful confrontations between the Joestar family and DIO begins!!

12. Nomad: Megalobox 2

Megalobox Seaason 2

Animation Studio: TMS Entertainment
Where to Watch: Funimation

Megalo Box is an advanced form of boxing where competitors wear metal frames called Gear. When the first ever Megalonia tournament took place, “Gearless” Joe became its champion and known to all as a legendary fighter. However, soon after, he lost an exhibition match against the second champion and vanished from the public eye.

Seven years later, Joe now goes by “Nomad” and keeps a low profile, occasionally fighting in a few underground matches to get by. He is haunted by hallucinations and relies on a set of painkillers to numb his mind.

11. Tokyo Revengers

top anime of 2021 - But Why Tho (2)

Animation Studio: LIDENFILMS
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll & HBOMax

Takemichi Hanagaki is a freelancer that’s reached the absolute pits of despair in his life. He finds out that the only girlfriend he ever had, in middle school, Hinata Tachibana, had been killed by the ruthless Tokyo Manji Gang. The day after hearing about her death, he’s standing on the station platform and ends up being pushed over onto the tracks by a herd of people. He closes his eyes thinking he’s about to die, but when he opens his eyes back up, he somehow had gone back in time 12 years. Now that he’s back living the best days of his life, Takemichi decides to get revenge on his life.

10. Wonder Egg Priority

Wonder Egg Priority Episode 2

Animation Studio: CloverWorks
Where to Watch: Funimation

This is the story of Ai, an introverted girl whose fate is forever changed after acquiring a mysterious “Wonder Egg” from a deserted arcade.

9. 86: Eighty-Six

86: Eighty-Six Season 1 Anime

Animation Studio: A-1 Pictures
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

Called “Juggernaut,” these are the unmanned combat drones developed by the Republic of San Magnolia in answer to the attacks by the autonomous unmanned drones of the neighboring Empire of Giad, the “Legion”. But they’re only unmanned in name. In reality, they are piloted by the Eighty-sixers—those considered to be less than human and treated as mere tools.
Determined to achieve his own mysterious ends, Shin, the captain of Spearhead Squadron, which is comprised of Eighty-sixers, continues to fight a hopeless war on a battlefield where only death awaits him.

8. Odd Taxi


Animation Studio: OLM, P.I.C.S.
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll/HBOMax

This town should look familiar, but suddenly, it’s not. The taxi driver Odokawa lives a very mundane life. He has no family, doesn’t really hang out with others, and he’s an oddball who is narrow-minded and doesn’t talk much. The only people he can call his friends are his doctor, Gouriki, and his classmate from high school, Kakibana.
All of his patrons seem to be slightly odd themselves. The college student who wants to be noticed online, Kabasawa. A nurse with secrets, Shirakawa. A comedy duo, the Homosapiens… All these mundane conversations somehow lead to a girl who’s gone missing.

7. My Hero Academia, Season 5

My Hero Academia Episode 112

Animation Studio: studio bones
Where to Watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll, & Hulu

Izuku has dreamt of being a hero all his life—a lofty goal for anyone, but especially challenging for a kid with no superpowers. That’s right, in a world where eighty percent of the population has some kind of super-powered “quirk,” Izuku was unlucky enough to be born completely normal. But that’s not enough to stop him from enrolling in one of the world’s most prestigious hero academies.

6. To Your Eternity

To Your Eternity Episode 9

Animation Studio: Brain’s Base
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll

In the beginning, an “orb” is cast unto Earth. “It” can do two things: change into the form of the thing that stimulates “it”; and come back to life after death. “It” morphs from orb to rock, then to wolf, and finally to boy, but roams about like a newborn who knows nothing. As a boy, “it” becomes Fushi.

Through encounters with human kindness, Fushi not only gains survival skills, but grows as a “person”. But his journey is darkened by the inexplicable and destructive enemy Nokker, as well as cruel partings with the people he loves.

5. Super Crooks

Animation Studio: studio bones
Where to Watch: Netflix

Luck’s never been on their side, but this crew of small-time crooks with super powers recruited by none other than Johnny Bolt are rolling the dice on one last heist. Their target: A ruthless super-powered crime boss…. What can go wrong? Super Crooks is based on the graphic novel of the same name by comic book legend Mark Millar and artist Leinil Yu.

4. Godzilla Singular Point

godzilla singular point

Animation Studio: studio Orange, bones
Where to Watch: Netflix

Brought together by a mysterious song, a grad student and an engineer lead the fight against an unimaginable force that may spell doom for the world… Godzilla: Singular Point is an original anime series featuring character designs by Blue Exorcist’s Kazue Kato and a new Godzilla design from legendary Ghibli animator Eiji Yamamori.

3. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Season 2

Entertainment District Arc Ep 1 - But Why Tho

Animation Studio: UFO table
Where to Watch: Funimation & Crunchyroll

It is the Taisho Period in Japan. Tanjiro, a kindhearted boy who sells charcoal for a living, finds his family slaughtered by a demon. To make matters worse, his younger sister Nezuko, the sole survivor, has been transformed into a demon herself. Though devastated by this grim reality, Tanjiro resolves to become a “demon slayer” so that he can turn his sister back into a human, and kill the demon that massacred his family.

2. Star Wars: Visions

STAR WARS VISIONS EPISODE 1 - But Why Tho - top anime of 2021 - But Why Tho (1)

Animation Studio: Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio (Twin Engine), Studio Colorido (Twin Engine), TRIGGER, Kinema Citrus, Science Saru, and Production I.G.
Where to Watch: Disney+

As a first formal venture into anime, each “Star Wars: Visions” short bears a unique Japanese sensibility, which in many ways aligns with the tone and spirit of Star Wars storytelling. From the beginning, stories told in the Star Wars galaxy have counted Japanese mythology and the films of Akira Kurosawa among their many influences, and these new visions will further explore that cultural heritage through the unique animation style and perspective of each anime studio.

1. Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 24 - But Why Tho? - top anime of 2021

Animation Studio: MAPPA
Where to Watch: Crunchyroll & HBOMax

“Yuji Itadori is a boy with tremendous physical strength, though he lives a completely ordinary high school life. One day, to save a classmate who has been attacked by curses, he eats the finger of Ryomen Sukuna, taking the curse into his own soul. From then on, he shares one body with Ryomen Sukuna. Guided by the most powerful of sorcerers, Satoru Gojo, Itadori is admitted to Tokyo Jujutsu High School, an organization that fights the curses… and thus begins the heroic tale of a boy who became a curse to exorcise a curse, a life from which he could never turn back.”

With so many strong titles in the anime world right now, here were a few of the honorable mentions that just missed the list: Sk8 the Infinity, Yasuke, Takt op. Destiny, and Irina the Vampire Cosmonaut. Did your favorites make the Top Anime of 2021 list? Did we leave one off? Let us know on social media @butwhythopc.

Synopsis for series on the Top Anime of 2021 list come from show descriptions on respective platforms and indexes

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