Welcome back to Otaku Thursday! It has been a WEEK. Like in all honesty, as Star and I rev up for Otakutober (and other life things like Halloween and work), Monday anime watching has been a light in the otherwise busy time. But as one season begins, another comes to an end. About 90% of the shows from Summer 2021 have finished airing by now, which means Star and I have finally had the time to put our heads together and pick a top 5 anime of summer 2021–though, to be honest I leaned more heavily on her for the actual ranking this time because I was too biased this season with not only the only manga I’m currently reading becoming an anime (Vanias no Carte), and also seeing one of my favorite studios come together again for another amazing production (Shiroi Suna no Aquatope). So with that disclaimer, here are the ones we agreed on for our top five, and the ranking that Star chose!
Luna’s honorable mention: Shiroi Suna no Aquatope
Though this production is amazing–from music, to animation, to character development–it did not make our top five list this season. The reason being that this, much like other shows in past seasons, is 24 episodes long. Meaning we only got half of the story thus far. While I personally believe it tells a solid story in 12 episodes, it doesn’t leave a satisfying ending for the story as a whole. So in terms of finished product, I believe this has a good chance of being specially nominated for Best of the Year if the second half delivers.
5) Kageki Shoujo
Honestly this is cute and inspiring. I personally agreed it deserved to rank simply for the unique appeal of showcasing an all girls elite acting troupe, and delving into characters aside from our main two. HOWEVER, despite the fact that this show felt unique, had good character development, decent animation and art, and a decent story, I feel like this could very easily become very disappointing. The 13 episodes we got felt like a first season, but a vastly incomplete story. Were Kageki Shoujo not to get a second season and leave it here–well, I would feel unsatisfied. Hence I agree that it should sit at number five for this season.
I actually believe this should be ranked higher but will accept it in this place for Star’s reasoning that it also feels like it should get a second season–that and Star said that she doesn’t think it stands out as a sports anime, except for the water polo. I think that this show was actually really good, and while I would appreciate it to have more than one season, I feel like they are doing a solid job telling a cohesive story in what we get. The anime is less about the sport, and moreso about our MC dealing with his memory loss and expectations to be a great water polo player. The animation is nice, the characters more or less feel fleshed out (though I do agree they could have more character development), and it certainly is very entertaining and unexpected at times. I can see this being a contender for best sports or best drama at the end of the year.
3) Bokutachi no Remake
Like I would put Re-Main higher, I would consider putting Remake lower as well. Don’t get me wrong–Remake was really good. I think our main character had some decent character development, though it took a long time to get there, it was somewhat inspiring in the early episodes, it was entertaining, and the animation was good. However, in terms of story–it had a lot of weakness and plot holes, and I honestly believe this show would’ve done better if it had been 24 episodes. There was a lot that could be done to fill in plot holes, give time for more character development, and showcase some more of heir actual school life and collaboration. It definitely felt like a good show that could’ve been great if it had just a bit more substance.
2) Vanitas no Carte
Now, I’m biased to choose this as my number one. However, I acknowledge it’s place as number two because despite all else, Vanitas no Carte is part 1 of 2. Yes that’s right–there is a second cour to the show, meaning this is only half of the story they are choosing to tell us for season one. With that caveat being the reason for this sitting at number two, Vanitas scores beautifully across the board for art–which is stunning and consistently so, music–which is written by Yuki Kajiura and a delight on the ears, characters–as it invests much of its time in getting to know characters alongside their adventures, and historical accuracies–which is kind of funny to say as it takes place in an alternate Paris, but one that is actually very close to our own and has subtle historical details (in place of the Eiffel tower is the La Tour Soleil–an actual design that was considered in place of the Eiffel Tower). Vanitas truly is an experience, but the story where it stands isn’t exactly strong in that anime watchers know where the story is going, and the first 13 episodes don’t feel like a completed product. Hence, I get why she listed it at number two. I might specially nominate for multi-seasonal, but we’ll see as part 2 isn’t released til Winter 2022.
1) Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan
So number one per Star’s ranking is Uramichi Oniisan, and that will be what is moving to face off against others in best anime of the year. Star thinks that the relatability of this show is amazing as she personally relates to it a lot. Furthermore, as an anthology, it feels complete to her–and she likes shows that end (or rather hates shows that don’t have a satisfying end). While I agree Uramichi was relatable, funny, and good. I do think it seriously lacked music and animation appeal. It didn’t necessarily stand out to me, but I suppose that was a bit of the problem with the season. Few felt new and fresh and note worthy–aside for those I was already biased towards as being amazing. So yeah, Uramichi was good–but it’s definitely not on the same level as the other nominations for best of year. I will say I think Uramichi is also something that appeals to a very specific group of people and those that it does appeal to, and relate to, will surely adore this anime. For the general populous? Well, you all tell me. I think it’s popular amongst them. But I know it’s going to phase out eventually.
Well, there you have it! What did you think of the ranking? What was your favorite anime of the season? Let us know in the comments below. And also–do you agree this season felt very subpar? Because to me, I didn’t even realize that until I started thinking of best of season to be like “hm. There’s nothing that goes BAM–clear winner”.