Anime We Can't Wait to See in 2021

From the upcoming 'Demon Slayer' Season 2 to a bunch of excellent-looking series.

magic girl in takt. op destiny
'takt. OP Destiny' | TV Tokyo
'takt. OP Destiny' | TV Tokyo

This year has already given us plenty of exciting new anime to work with, like the genre-upending Wonder Egg Priority, the incredible and absurd Sk∞ (aka Skate the Infinity), and the back half of Season 1 of everyone's new anti-shonen favorite Jujutsu Kaisen. Even so, there's so much on the horizon, TV and movie-wise, that it can be a job itself to take in and keep up with it all. Instead of combing anime wikis, leave the heavy lifting to us: We'll be regularly updating this story with the new anime we can't wait to see in 2021. Though some of the year's most anticipated releases, like Adult Swim's beautiful-looking Uzumaki limited series and Netflix's Spriggan adaptation, have been pushed back to 2022, there's no time to be disappointed with such a bright calendar ahead.

Also recommended: The Best Anime of 2021 and The Best Anime of 2020

Mirai Kakehashi, mirai platinum end

Platinum End (Available October 8, Crunchyroll)

Based on manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the creators of Death Note, Platinum End is the story of Mirai Kakehashi, a student who attempts suicide but is rescued by his guardian angel, named Nasse, who is sworn to protect him, but also bestows upon him special powers—as Mirai is also one of 13 candidates chosen by different angels to take the role of God, who is to retire in 999 days. The series is produced by Signal.MD. —Kambole Campbell

Lupin III: Part VI (Available October 9, Funimation)

A new season made in commemoration of the series’ 50th anniversary celebration this October, Lupin III: Part VI, moves the action to the United Kingdom, featuring exciting guest writers such as director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell). The real kicker is that it pits him against legendary detective Sherlock Holmes following the murder of Dr. Watson, with Lupin as the prime suspect. It’s a wild angle but not unprecedented–Lupin has faced off against Holmes before (renamed ‘Herlock Sholmes’ due to a dispute from Arthur Conan Doyle)–and as ever with Lupin III, we can expect familiar escapades in a new setting. —KC

Blue Period (Available October 9, Netflix)

Originally a manga by Tsubasa Yamaguchi, Blue Period follows high schooler Yatora Yaguchi as he becomes deeply involved in the world of art, hoping to gain admission to the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts. Seven Arcs will be producing the animation, with Koji Masunari and Katsuya directing, and Reiko Yoshida (A Silent Voice, Violet Evergarden) writing. —KC

Ranking of Kings (Available October 14, Funimation)

Adapted from the comedy manga series by Sōsuke Tōka, Ranking of Kings is the latest from Wit Studio (Attack on Titan, Vinland Saga). It's a coming-of-age story about Bojji, a young prince who has to contend with a world that stigmatizes his deafness and lack of physical prowess, but meets Kage, who is quite literally a shadow on the ground. With screenwriting from Taku Kishimoto (Erased, Fruits Basket, Haikyuu!!), its striking, graphic art style, and production prestige, this is one to look out for. —KC

komi writing with chalk, komi in komi can't communicate

Komi Can’t Communicate (Available October 21, Netflix)

Shouko Komi suffers from extreme social anxiety, making her largely unable to talk to others. However, her stoic appearance as a result of that anxiety, is perceived as refinement, making her highly popular while preventing people from actually getting to know her. Seated next to her in class, schoolboy Hitohito Tadano realizes her communication problems and resolves to help her. Based on the manga by Tomohito Oda, Ayumu Watanabe (Children of the Sea, Space Brothers) and Kazuki Kawagoe are set to direct, with Deko Akao (Noragami, Carole & Tuesday) handling series composition. —KC

takt. OP Destiny (Available October 2021, Crunchyroll)

Fan favorite animation houses MAPPA and Madhouse collaborate in their production of this wild story where monsters referred to as ‘D2’ invade Earth via a meteorite, and promptly ban all music, their one weakness. Decades later, in 2047 America, magic users named Conductors team up with magical girls and use classical music to defeat D2 and bring music back to the world. —KC

Blade Runner: Black Lotus (Available November 13, Crunchyroll)

Co-produced by Crunchyroll and Adult Swim and directed by Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed) and Kenji Kamiyama (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Blade Runner: Black Lotus is a new story set in the world of Blade Runner, in Los Angeles 2032. It takes place in the wake of the events of the short film Blade Runner: Black Out 2022, directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop). —KC

Tengen Uzui, tengen uzui in demon slayer mugen train arc

Demon Slayer: Mugen Train Arc & Entertainment District Arc (Available October 10 & December 5, Crunchyroll & Funimation)

After smashing multiple Japanese box office records—toppling the likes of both Spirited Away and Your Name.—the film sequel to the immensely popular Demon Slayer series finally landed in the West earlier this year, making a considerable mark stateside. This won't be the last of Mugen Train: It's being extended into a seven-episode arc, giving the Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku more screen time, out October 10 before finally pulling into Season 2's Entertainment District Arc on December 5. —Leanne Butkovic

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean (Available December 2021, Netflix)

The long-awaited fifth season of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has finally been announced, with Netflix airing David Production’s adaptation of Stone Ocean in December. This new story is set in 2011, following Jolyne Cujoh as she’s framed for murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Her father, Jotaro Kujo (the protagonist of Stardust Crusaders), gives her a pendant that causes a mysterious power to awaken inside of her, and tells her that a disciple of DIO framed her so that he could kill her in prison, and urges her to escape. —KC

Bleach: Thousand Year War Arc (Available Fall 2021) 

Bleach, one of manga's Big Three along with One Piece and Naruto, had a marathon anime run, kicking off in 2004 with plenty of exciting early seasons and ending with an absolute dud in 2012 (though the manga kept going until 2016). Now, Bleach has a chance to redeem itself: It's coming back in series form for one more arc, the Thousand Year War. With very little announced aside from that it's supposedly premiering this fall, we're cautiously optimistic for the return of Ichigo and his big, big sword. —LB

Chainsaw Man (Available Fall 2021)

The violent and darkly comic hit 2018 manga Chainsaw Man, written and illustrated by Tatsuki Fujimoto, is currently set for a highly anticipated adaptation by animation studio MAPPA. Set in a world where Devils, born from human fears, regularly terrorize the population, a young depressed man named Denji attempts to pay back his deceased father's debt to the yakuza by working as a devil hunter. When he fuses with the benevolent chainsaw devil named Pochita, Denji becomes a human-devil hybrid named Chainsaw Man, working for the government to kill devils in order to keep himself from being hunted, and impress his crush. The first look at the series gives us a good feeling that this adaptation will be inspired. —KC

belle and the dragon, the dragon in belle

Belle (Available TBA)

The excellent Mamoru Hosoda (the Oscar-nominated Mirai) has a created a gorgeous new world, along with Wolfwalkers directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart and actual architect Eric Wong, for his new film, Belle, about Suzu, a timid 17-year-old in real life and the beloved pop star Belle in the virtual landscape of U. There, she encounters the Beast, a creature of unknown origin whom she befriends, though other users think of him as dangerous to U's ecosystem. Belle recently premiered in Japan and is expected to hit theaters in the US in time to qualify for the next Academy Awards. —LB

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko (Available TBA)

Already premiered in Japan and at the Annecy Film Festival, the next feature film from Ayumu Watanabe looks to be a bit less surreal than his frequently astounding Children of the Sea. Based on a 2011 novel of the same name by Kanako Nishi, the film centers on the daily lives of Kikuko and her mother Nikuko, who live in a houseboat in a small fishing town to which they just moved after Nikuko’s most recent heartbreak. Working with some of the same team as on Children of the Sea, with Kenichi Konishi resuming character design and animation direction and Shinji Kimura on art direction, this is set to be more low-key, but just as visually impressive. —KC

Mob Psycho 100 III (Available TBA)

We're going out on a limb here, backed by evidence of a single tweet from the official Mob Twitter account, to estimate that Season 3 of this incredible series about a boy with powerful telekinesis (that's Mob) and his mentor/sheisty small business guru Reigen will be back by the end of 2021. If we could be so lucky! —LB

My Hero Academia The Movie: World Heroes Mission (Available TBA)

The latest feature-length My Hero Academia spinoff adventure takes the young superheroes worldwide, as a group called Humanize seeks to “cleanse the world” of people with powers by killing them (so, almost everybody). Battling everywhere from France, Egypt and the United States to Singapore and Malaysia, Izuku Midoriya, Shoto Todoroki, Kasuki Bakugo, and the rest of Class 1A team up with pro heroes from around the globe to stop the coming threat. —KC

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