I do this post on my blog every year. For those who are reading it for the first time, even though I watched these in 2021, the series may have come out years ago. I do have a few classics this year.

There are a few posts I enjoy writing over and over again and this is one of them. It sort of allows me to relive so really dope anime and remember the year in the best way. Also, I personally find it fun to see when I discovered a particular show and how it has influenced me. I sort of wish I had started earlier.

If you are interested, here are my past posts:

Haikyuu!! To The Top

I actually watched this in 2020 but I forgot to put it in my list which is a travesty! So I’m fixing that today, I absolutely loved the latest season of Haikyuu. The pacing was wonderful. Inarazaki were some of the best opponents we’ve seen. All these new characters were fantastic foils for our favourite team and brought out the best in everyone. In the second part, we got to catch up with Nakoma (my second favourite team) and all the players got some very good character development. I had been waiting for that since season 1.

The change in art style got a lot of flack from fans but I actually liked it a lot.

As per tradition, here are a few posts I found about it:

xxxHolic

The timing is a little iffy on this one as well. In any case, I kicked myself for having waited so long to watch xxxHolic. I really enjoyed the anime and Clamp’s deliciously eccentric visual designs. But the real magic for me was that xxxHolic made me rediscover Clamp’s manga. In 2021, I went on to reread X 1999, all of Tsubasa Chronicles (amazing), starting Card Captor Sakura (which I will continue because it’s great) and of course the xxxHolica manga and xxxHolic Rei which have become my favourite manga.

Safe to say, I enjoyed this anime

Dragon Goes House-Hunting

This wasn’t exactly a huge hit in 2021 but what can I say, I loved it. It’s the type of easy-watching show that had me finishing each episode with a huge smile on my face. An anime that made me happy. Nothing more and nothing less. And to me, that’s precious.

Astra Lost in Space

I really like classic science fiction and I notice that a lot of shows in that genre end up on my favourites list. Astra Lost in Space is this year’s entry. It wasn’t a perfect anime, in fact, I can find a lot to nitpick just off the top of my head but I got mesmerized by it. I watched every episode lost in the adventure and mystery of it all and I am so happy I got to see it!

Tiger and Bunny

Another show that took me a long time to discover! I’m happy I did though. It’s sort of a grown-up superhero story and I realized while I was watching it that I had been craving exactly that. Tiger and Bunny doesn’t pour on the tragedy or make the tone artificially “dark” in order to age up a story about people in silly costumes with special powers. Instead, it seamlessly weaves in real-world concerns about commercialism, parenthood and the struggles to just make a living in modern society. A new season has been announced and I’m psyched!

To Your Eternity

There were a lot of thoughts and feelings about this show as it was airing. I made what in retrospect might have been the mistake of reviewing the show as it aired and got swayed by general opinion which can be fickle. There are things about the series that I didn’t like. Certain arcs felt weak compared to the others. And the type of sentimentality that To Your Eternity invokes, isn’t for everyone.

However, if I take a step back and really think about it as objectively as I can, it was a wild ride. One that I liked and I want to get on it again. Had I waited a bit and binged the show on my own time, I’m pretty sure I would have loved it. To Your Eternity can be a bit naive and a little clumsy with the themes but it explores a lot of questions and had some truly original storytelling.

Princess Tutu

I told you I watched some real classics this year. Princess Tutu blew me away. I knew it was some sort of unusual take on the magical girl genre. I did not know it was a surreal and haunting, at times cruel dissection of the very concept of storytelling and fantasy. Princess Tutu was at times brilliant and should not be missed.

Natsume Yuujinchou Movie : Ephemeral Bond

It is a deep wish of mine to be able to put a Natsume title on my list every single year. It probably won’t come true but I can always start rewatching them. If this is your first day here, Hi I’m Irina and I really like Natsume’s Book of Friends. I just received volume 26 of the manga. It’s on my bedstand and I’m carefully keeping it as a tasty treat.

As for Ephemeral Bond. I was a bit afraid. It’s an original story made for the movie, which I find is very hit or miss, to begin with. And there’s this sense of franchises getting exhausted after a while. I’m stupid. Ephemeral Bond is magical and beautiful and… just watch it. And if you’ve already watched it, watch it again. It’s worth it!

I couldn’t find any posts on it and it made me sad – if you know of any, let me know!

Tokyo Revengers

I waited for the series to be over so I could binge it and I just finished it now. I didn’t need to bother. Tokyo Revengers is one of those shows I just can’t binge. I didn’t know what to expect but I certainly didn’t expêct the emotional depth and heft of this show. Some episodes had me audibly cheering and running around the house with a stupid grin, envigorated by Takemichi’s latest small victory. Then just as quickly, the show had me reading, anxiety-ridden at how such a bad situation could possibly be salvaged.

I have rarely experienced this much of a rollercoaster in an anime and I did not want to get off. A well-written show that uses the premise of teenage gangs and violence in a completely new way to advocate for love. Oh, and the OP song rocks!

Barakamon

I first watched Handa-kun not knowing there was any relation. Honestly, it wouldn’t have made a difference, the two shows are so different. But it did remind me that I had not seen Barakamon yet, so I added it to my watch list.

Little did I know I was about to be transported to lazy days on summy shores and get surrounded by new friends to help me through the rough times. Barakamon was a soothing vacation from the every day. Alongside Handa, I managed to remember what really matters and makes me happy.

Coincidentally, I also read Yoshi no Zuikara this year and am now a devoted Satsuki Yoshino fan!

The Case Study of Vanitas

What can I say, Vanitas took me by surprise. I just have one word for this show: fun. It’s campy, silly once in a while surprisingly earnest and unfailingly delightful to look at. I didn’t think a soapy show about vampires would be this enjoyable but it is. The second cour will be out soon and I’ll be right there watching!

Hyouka

Should I be embarrassed as I self-identifying KyoAni fan that I hadn’t watched Hyouka before 2021? It’s not only a case of it not being available. I purposefully put it off. Right now, I couldn’t tell you why, Hyouka is freakin delightful. And I don’t know why. Thankfully, my ignorance doesn’t change the fact that this was a great show, I got the manga recently, we’ll see if the magic can be recaptured!

Run with the Wind

I finished this show last night so it’s very fresh in my mind. Right now, I have some very warm and fuzzy feelings about it, I wonder if they will cool in time. Run with the Wind has character designs similar to Haikyuu’s latest versions and that’s really why I wanted to see the show. That’s by far not the best thing about it though.

A very well-written anime that takes all the classic tropes and archetypes of a Sports! anime and executes them with style and excellence. Run with the Wind is a good show and one that any fan of the Sports! genre should watch.

That’s it for this year. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a ton of great titles. I know for a fact I didn’t list a ton of great posts. I use the WordPress reader search function and there were posts about these shows I distinctly remember reading that I couldn’t find again. Phooey.

22 thoughts

  1. I literally just saved this post as an anime to watch list – except for those I’ve already watched, all of which I heartily agree with your words on. There is a reason you’re the one anime reviewer who remains consistently on my list of websites to read, without fail, everytime there’s a new post. May not apply to everyone, but our tastes are so similar I can’t miss if you liked it. Thank you for sharing, always!

  2. Nice to see Princess Tutu make it here! I definitely enjoyed it when I finally got to check that title out after all these years. Astra Lost in Space was also great, thought it did an excellent job of adapting the manga which I also liked a lot. From the ones on the list I haven’t seen yet, I’m looking forward to Haikyu the most. I just finished the manga so I plan to start the anime soon but I like leaving a bit of a buffer before starting the anime.

    1. Good call. I found Haikyu pretty similar in manga and anime form but somehow they hit a little different

  3. Aww, I think my fave show on this list is Princess Tutu, and I’m so glad you finally got to watch the Natsume movie. Also, I’m happy to see Dragon Goes House Hunting on the list, since so few people seemed to have liked it, but it was just such fun to watch.

    1. It was a pretty good year for me in anime! And The start of 2022 is already looking good! I hope we both have some great anime times to come

  4. Yes, all of these were great! XXXholic was my all time favorite anime a few years ago, and I still really like it. Thanks for reminding me, I haven’t seen it in a while and I need to re-watch it. The Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and XXXholic cross over movie is pretty great too.

    1. I haven’t seen the movie but I did read all of the Manga both Tsubasa and xxxHolic. So I think I know what’s in it

  5. I watched the Princess Tutu anime for the first time this year as well, and also loved it! The music was great and it was such a fascinating take on fairytales and the magical girl genre. It also got me interested in learning more about ballet. 🙂

  6. To Your Eternity is one of those anime I started when it aired, dropped the ball on and still have to get back to. If you’re willing to wait, I do have a post discussing it (both manga and anime) in rather broad strokes set for the near future…

    I didn’t do a proper “Anime I Liked” post this past year, but I did finish the first season of Sailor Moon in 2021 after so many years of putting it off (not because I dislike it, but because it was /so much the opposite of that/ I only saved it for special occasions, prior to this #AniTwitWatches-like event). I also saw Promare and still get really hyped about the theme song Inferno. In terms of anime that properly aired in 2021, I gave Fairy Ranmaru my all like I did Boueibu and really liked The World Ends With You (although reviews have led me to believe if I play the game and/or its sequel, I will like the anime even more).

    The jury’s still out on many of my 2021 anime though, because I’ve fallen into a rut where either 1) other stuff takes precedence or 2) I’m just not up to watching whatever I allocated myself to watch in the past and sometimes, I want to watch something else, but a) if I follow my desires too much on this front, I’ll forget the storylines I’m following and b) my spreadsheet of Anime I Should Get Back To (i.e. anime I started but haven’t finished) tells me I should watch those instead. I’m currently in a period of great transition IRL, so that translates to, in terms of anime-watching, dragging myself along week-by-week with sessions of Fate/Stay Night (2006) for #AniTwitWatches.

  7. Irina, thanks for putting my review of the Case Study of Vanitas on your list. It makes me happy!

    I hope you enjoy your 2022 animes!

  8. Hmmm… What I said in the case to defend Anime Comedies was true. We don’t connect in terms of likes in Animes. The reason I don’t review Animes though is I can’t find what I want series wise on DVD. I could own them digitally… But it’s such a finite way to own it I’d rather not. That and I spent a lot of time acquiring the physical copies of the mangas I review so I would do the same with Anime.

    In any case all the Anime I’ve bought digitally to date is from Amazon Prime so again it limits me.

    The only things I’m familiar with is XXXholic (CLAMP if I remember right) and Princess Tutu. CLAMP I’d rather own Magic Knight Rayearth, Cardcaptor Sakura (including the recent Clear Card sequel) and Angelic Layer. As for Princess Tutu… I tried to get into it. I even owned the first DVD decades ago… I couldn’t. It just wasn’t for me.

    In the end Im more an Azumanga Daioh, Hidemari Sketch, Kimi Can’t Communicate, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Interviews With Monster Girls kinda reviewer.

    1. I see you’re the moe type. There are always tons of great shows in that genre so I’m sure you’ll find something great this year!

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