Weekly Seasonal Rankings: 2021 Yearly Rankings

*****Fruits Basket Final (AOTY)* 10/10. The perfect culmination to an excellent series that exceeded my expectations at every turn. It brought all of the different story arcs to satisfying conclusions that made my heart soar. An amazing story about the damage we inflict on our children through generational cycles of hatred and prejudice and what it takes to overcome. AOTY/Spring AOTS
Attack on Titan Final Season 10/10. I'm just impressed at how expertly told this narrative has been from start to finish. It's ridiculous to think of where we're at now compared to where the story started, but it's all felt like a natural progression. Not only is it amazing to watch, it handles extremely heavy themes with care and nuance.Winter AOTS
Heike Monogatari 10/10. The hidden gem of the year. This show just kept pulling me in with how perfectly realized a creation it was. Beautiful art, perfect OST, engaging characters, and a narrative about raging against the dying of light that has obviously stood the test of time. Also, one of my favorite OPs of all time.Fall AOTS
Horimiya 10/10. This show just made me feel warm and fuzzy inside in a way that nothing else did. A perfect high school romance.
Odd Taxi 9/10. This show is just so fucking cool. It's got a vibe all its own, and tells a compelling mystery full of interesting characters that all come together so neatly. Like all great mysteries, it does more than tell a tale, but also speaks to the issues of the time.
Quintessential Quintuplets 9/10. To me, Quintessential Quintuplets is the absolute ideal of a harem romance. Every single character could conceivably end up with the hero, it has a logical end-point built-in, and the girls grow as characters not just by interacting with the MC, but with each other as well. Harems don't get better than this.
Vivy: Fluorite Eyes Song 9/10. An AI show that actually made me like it?! This genre of "what if robots had feelings?" stories is almost always an immediate turn-off for me, but this crazy combo of Westworld, Terminator, and Re:Zero really fucking nailed it. Just such a cool show.
86 (both cours) 8/10. Judging the cours as a whole. This would be top 5 if not for the second cour, which dragged things down. The first cour is a full-blown masterpiece, absolutely nailing its core themes, and blending emotional moments with balls-to-the-wall action perfectly. The second cour loses a lot of that, and introduces one of my least favorite characters of the year and spends way too much time with them.
Girlfriend Girlfriend 8/10. Remember Quintessential Quintuplets being the ideal of harems? This is the perfect deconstruction of harems. I don't know if I had more fun watching anything else this year. It's zany, ridiculous, over the top, and I love it. Long live these five dumbasses.Summer AOTS
Sonny Boy 8/10. I just really respect what a wild swing this was, and I'm glad it was made. Nothing made me think about it more this year after each episode, and it just oozed style. Basically the closest thing we'll get to a Haruki Murakami novel being animated.
Komi Can't Communicate 8/10. Sort of a weird blend between the heart-warming quality of Horimiya and the sketch-comedy antics of Kaguya-sama. This show was such a blast to watch, and I loved how insane all the classmates were with their quirks. Even Yamai.
My Senpai is Annoying 8/10. deep breath SEE, ADULT ROMANCES CAN WORK TOO! More of this, please. So cute, funny, and wholesome.
Mieruko-Chan 8/10. Glad I stuck this out through all the early ecchi. It took a little while to get going, but it was just weaving all of its threads together in a way that made every big moment more and more impactful. Fantastic horror show that subverted my expectations at every turn.
Those Snow White Notes 8/10. This just resonated with me. The music is obviously the stand out, but beyond that, the best I can say is that I just loved spending time inside this show for whatever reason. It really sunk its claws into me. The pilot is one of the best singular episodes of the season, and it has an all-time great OP.OP of the Year
Shadows House 7/10. A horror-thriller in the same vein as The Promised Neverland, though it's not as consistently great from episode-to-episode. The last arc dragged a bit for me, but this was still a propulsive show that kept you wanting to discover more of its secrets. Season 2, I'm in!
The Aquatope on White Sand 7/10. This tails off during the second half of the show, but I still really enjoyed getting to hang out with these characters every week as they discovered and worked at their passions. Also, PA Works animating water environments, what more can you ask for?
Kageki Shoujo!!! 7/10. What the hell, where did this gem come from? God bless all these wonderful characters. There was some variance in how much I enjoyed it from episode-to-episode, but it contained some of the most memorable moments of any show this year. Ai and Kaoru's backgrounds especially were highlights, and Kana Hanazawa playing the alpha-bitch was a delight.
Taisho Otome Fairytale 7/10. High grade fluff about the power of love to lift up our lives and also make us want to be better for the sake of those who give it to us. Filled with memorable characters.
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Arc 7/10. Not as effective in show form as it was as a movie, but still really damn cool, and the Rengoku bonus episode was fantastic. He is Best Boy. UMAI!
Blue Period 6/10. A bit of a letdown given how hyped this story was from manga-readers, and I'm aware it wasn't the adaptation most wanted. The animation was sub-par at times, and the characters didn't have quite the depth I expected, but it was still enjoyable to watch and there were some stand-out moments. Episode 10 is a masterpiece.
Bottom Tier Tomozaki 6/10. Pretty good as far as "Otaku slowly cultivates a harem" stories go! I liked the idea of treating life like a video game and improving one's "stats", and the characters were all really fun. This rating might be too low.
Mars Red 6/10. It's not the most coherent vampire story in the world, but I absolutely loved the art, design, and music. It's so damn stylish that I didn't end up caring too much about anything else.
<b>To Your Eternity</b> 6/10. The first episode is as amazing as everyone says, and it does have some incredibly affecting moments and memorable characters. Buuuuut the last arc is pretty bad, and at a certain point, the show's formula really holds it back as things keep hitting less and less hard as they happen for the fourth time in a row. Too repetitive.
Irina the Vampire Cosmonaut 6/10. A vampire space romance? It took some selling, but this show was actually quite charming. I'm not a huge space fan, but seeing the two protagonists go for their dreams was great. With the music and story beats, it actually reminded me a lot of a Disney movie.
Wonder Egg Priority 6/10. Siiiiiiiigh. This is a horse that's been beaten death. Same as everyone else, the first 7 episodes or so had me thinking we had a masterpiece on our hands, and then the rest happened.
Re:Zero Season 2 Part 2 5/10. By far the weakest entry in Re:Zero for me. I didn't think the Sanctuary Arc was wrapped up in a way that was satisfying enough to justify how much time was spent on it, and the dialogue really got bloated in parts. This show loved to use 100 words when 10 would do, and then repeat those 100 words a couple more times.
Higehiro 5/10. Much like Wonder Egg Priority, this was a case of a fantastic first half of the show that just didn't stick the landing. It feels like the author had the idea of "office worker takes in high school runaway!" with no idea how to actually end the story or make all the elements and characters introduced actually work together.
Takt Op Destiny 5/10. Empty calories. It looks great, sounds great, and has absolutely amazing fight scenes. Everything else? Let's just say you can tell it's a gacha game tie-in. Resoundingly meh.
<b>Peach Boy Riverside</b> 5/10. I mean, it's a perfectly fine fantasy adventure that does the usual "are monsters so different after all" thing. What it does that's unusual? The episode order. I don't get that choice. Also, I want to know if whoever drew these character models has ever actually seen a woman.
Mushoku Tensei (both cours) 5/10. Well, I gave it the full season, and there's no need to beat any dead horses. I like all the things everyone likes – the world, the attention to detail, and visuals, the music, Roxy. Buuuuut while the second cour improved on this aspect a bit, the Rudy of it all and refusing to actually grapple with the messy consequences this nature of reincarnation brings really leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
Remake Our Life! 4/10. Way to take a tried-and-true concept and completely fumble the ball. It had a great premise, but just devolved into a lame school club show with the most whitebread MC of all time, who of course, everyone is in love with and thinks is super amazing even though he doesn't really do anything. The elements introduced at the end came too late to salvage it.
Osamake 3/10. You know how I said Quintessential Quintuplets is the ideal of harem romance? Well, this took the VAs from that, but did the reverse. Just terrible.
Higurashi Sotsu 3/10. I don't know why this existed. Just character assassination and erasure, and everything that happens is for the dumbest possible reasons. It feels like a troll job.
The Detective is Already Dead 2/10. The disappointment surrounding this is well-documented. There is absolutely no aspect of this show that is good. One of the worst things I've ever seen.
Redo of Healer 1/10. The actual worst thing I've ever seen.
/r/anime Thread