A probably-obvious side effect of having Way Too Much Anime is that a lot of that should get watched, isn’t. As a result, in addition to the four official Ace Anime Reviews Anime You Should’ve Been Watching(TM) recommendations for this season, I’ve also got two honorable mentions: Pretty Boy Detective Club, which doesn’t have much by way of plot or character, but sure is nice to look at; and MARS RED, which is one of those rare examples of pretentious self-indulgence that actually works, and also it’s got vampires in it.
Watch those two and all four of these and then you’ll be ready to start the Summer 2021 anime season when it starts in about 12 hours. So, uh, yeah. Better get on that.
Noah’s Recommendation: Backflip!!
What’s It About? A sports anime about friendship, dreams, and doing the things you love with other people who love doing them. Also there’s some sort of fancy gymnastics or something going on, I guess.
Why Should I Watch It? It’s sweet, sincere, and has a strong cast of interesting and relatable characters. The animation is nice, the music is decent, also it’s getting a movie so if y’all go watch it and the movie it might get the second season it truly deserves.
Is There Any Reason I Might Not Like It? It’s a sports anime about a high school boys’ rhythmic gymnastics club. Also there’s an emotional beat near the end that amounts to serious negligence on their coach’s part which, while it’s lightly addressed, is largely hand-waved by the rest of the cast.
Who’s The Best Character? All of them. The core cast is full of strong, relatable characters who genuinely love what they’re doing and are committed to improving themselves and supporting each other at every opportunity. But if any of them deserves a shout-out, I’m going to go with Onagawa:
He’s kind of silly and very sweet, and while he makes some QUESTIONABLE decisions I love him dearly and find his brief crisis later in the season to be an enormous fucking mood.
Where Can I Watch It and How Long Is It? Currently available on Crunchyroll, with 12 episodes. A movie has also been confirmed, although at time of writing I can’t find a release date for it.
Ace’s Recommendation: ODDTAXI
What’s It About? It’s a noir thriller about talking animals.
Why Should I Watch It? Because it’s one of the best written, animated, and voice acted anime in recent memory. Like any decent thriller, it has a lot of dangling threads and a large, interconnected cast, but it manages to give everyone their time to shine and ties up everything with a satisfying bow at the end.
Is There Any Reason I Might Not Like It? It’s a crime story so there’s some blood and violence, but even that is fairly tame. The focus is on the characters, so really the only thing that could keep most people from liking the series is if they somehow find they don’t like the cast, but that’s impossible so no, there’s no reason you won’t like it.
Who’s The Best Character? They’re all great, but gun to my head… you’d have to blow my brains out cause I still can’t choose.
FUCK IT! Tanaka’s the best because he’s a cat.
Well, that and his episode is one of the best in the series. All the episodes and characters are great, though.
Where Can I Watch It and How Long Is It? It’s on Crunchyroll and compete at 13 episodes.
Charlie’s Recommendation: Fruits Basket The Final
What’s It About? The final season of Fruits Basket – a heart warming tale of a teenaged girl grieving the loss of her mother while making friends with various members of the Sohma Clan who, incidentally, have been cursed to shift into zodiac animals whenever they’re hugged by the “opposite” sex. The final season follows the resolution of the romance between Tohru and Kyo, and the breaking of the aforementioned curse.
Why Should I Watch It? It’s good. It’s got a good balance of lighthearted comedy and drama, most of the characters are well developed and likable – and if they’re not it’s because they’re either through away background characters, or the show does a good job of showing where they’re coming from, even if you don’t like them.
Is There Any Reason I Might Not Like It?
The aforementioned drama involves mental, emotional, and physical abuse, loss of a parent or parental figure, attempted murder, and some fairly serious heavy emotions that are often the natural result of the same.
Who’s the Best Character? Tohru’s great, but Kyo’s always been my favorite. My adorable, short-tempered, traumatized cat boy. He’s so dumb. It’s great.
Where Can I Watch It, and How Long Is It? Funimation has it in English, and Crunchyroll has it in the original Japanese. The final season’s 12 episodes long, but both services have the first two seasons if you want to start from the beginning (which you definitely should). [Editor’s Note: The entire series is 63 episodes.]
This is technically a reboot, with the original anime based on the manga having come out in 2001. All are worth checking out, in whichever order you prefer.
Fen’s Recomendation: SHADOWS HOUSE
What’s It About? It’s a gothic fantasy about wizards covered in soot and their doll familiars.
Why Should I Watch It? It’s a gothic fantasy about wizards covered in soot and their doll familiars.
Is There Any Reason I Might Not Like It? You have bad taste.
Who’s the Best Character? John and Shaun, the goodest boys.
Where Can I Watch It and How Long Is It? Funimation and 13 episodes (12 at time of writing).