New anime season time! Without time to even catch your breath after the breakneck pace of the Winter 2021 anime season, the Spring season is about to get underway with more anime premiering than ever before. We have sequels to popular shonen anime alongside new adaptations, we have lots of isekai and original properties, while Netflix is also making a splash in a big way this season with several new anime projects. You think the internet is an endless void, but even I began to wonder whether I’d run out of space in that void to discuss the sheer number of anime airing this season.
Before going into the various TV anime set to hit Japanese screens and streaming services in the next few months, we should spend some time noting the various exciting movie projects hitting Japanese theaters between now and the end of June. Arguably the most exciting of all of these is the Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway, based on a story written by series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino. While this is only the first movie adapting the Hathaway story, after long delays caused by COVID-19, this will finally hit cinema screens on 7 May.
Beyond that, you have a new movie in the Fate/Grand Order franchise; you have movies in the Knights of Sidonia and Revue Starlight series coming out; last year’s delayed Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet movie will hit movie screens this month; and we also have Shinichiro Ueda jumping into anime with The Crocodile Who Lived For 100 Days showing alongside this writer’s most anticipated movie of the season, Pompo: The Cinephile.
Especially with cinemas shut or operating at a reduced capacity, however, how many of these movies or other recently released anime films fans will get the chance to catch in theaters is hard to determine. Thanks to streaming, TV anime are far more accessible to fans around the world, and that’s what we’re here to discuss. Here’s the lowdown on the Spring 2021 anime season.
My Hero Academia Season 5
It won’t be surprising to note that the biggest new anime of the Spring 2021 anime season is none other than My Hero Academia season 5.
What more is there to say that hasn’t already been said? The story still follows Deku and class 1-A, but events are heating up as this latest season is set to cover the Joint Training Arc that features classes 1-A and 1-B facing off against one another in a special joint training battle. There are more characters from other classes in the school like 1-C student Hitoshi Shinso also set to make an appearance in this new series too. You can find out more about the arc and catch up on the story to date so far in our My Hero Academia guide.
The first episode of the new series premiered on 27 March with a recap and will dive into the first proper episode on 3 April.
You can catch the series streaming on both Crunchyroll and Funimation.
Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro
As for new adaptations that are making their debut in the Spring 2021 anime season, few have received the attention and buzz of Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro.
This comedy anime based on a popular manga centers on the titular Nagatoro and the unnamed Senpai, with the former having a lot of fun teasing her upperclassman at every opportunity she can get in increasingly sadistic ways. While much of the show’s structure centers on this comedy gag of Nagatoro making fun of her Senpai, there is an underlying drama of there being more to her teasing than meets the eye. Could it be love?
Whether you’re excited about the anime because of its fun premise or just the thought of voice actor Sumire Uesaka calling you pathetic, there’s something here for all anime fans. While fans in Japan recently had the chance to catch a preview of the anime in theaters, everyone else will have the chance to watch the episode when its first episode premieres on 1 April.
You can find the show streaming over on Crunchyroll.
What if you aren’t interested in an adaptation or a sequel? Well, Netflix have you covered there, with their highly anticipated original anime Yasuke.
The anime has it all. Based loosely on an often overlooked tale from Japanese history about a black samurai who fought alongside Oda Nobunaga in the warring states period with animation from Studio MAPPA and a staff that includes Cannon Busters director LeSean Thomas, Grammy nominee Flying Lotus composing music and Lakeith Stanfield voicing the protagonist in this English-language original anime, it’s a strong staff list. Takeshi Koike is also on hand to provide character designs!
This version of Yasuke isn’t aiming for realism, with the story set in an alternate, fantastical feudal Japan as Yasuke returns to his samurai past to protect a mysterious girl. Still, trailers for the anime look great, suggesting Netflix may have a hit on their hands.
All six episodes of the anime hit Netflix on 29 April.
Godzilla: Singular Point
Sticking on the topic of Netflix, another Netflix anime for this season has already got underway, with the first episode now available to view on the streaming service (provided you live in Japan).
Godzilla: Singular Point is looking to do something different with the Godzilla formula, taking inspiration from the Showa era of Godzilla and the history of the creature to create a new story within the universe set in the year 2030. This story features Mei Kamino and Yun Arikawa who both have their lives turned upside down with the return of kaiju that threaten the lives of people all around the world.
Only the second major anime project in the franchise’s history, this collaboration between Orange and BONES aired its first episode on 25 March exclusively on Netflix in Japan. For English-speaking audiences, however, fans will need to wait for the series to come to an end before it hits the streaming service internationally. In the meantime, why not check out our review of the first episode.
Shaman King (2021)
Shaman King is one shonen revival we imagine many fans will be on the edge of their seats for during this Spring 2021 anime season.
This Bridge-animated series promises to be a new adaptation of the classic Shaman King manga, which follows the story of when middle-schooler Manta meets Yoh Asakura, a young shaman who can talk to spirits. Yoh is under pressure to become the Shaman King by winning the Shaman Fight, a tournament held between shamans that happens only once every 500 years, but there are other nefarious forces at play here.
Unfortunately for international fans of the series desperately awaiting the retelling of this classic manga in animated fan, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer to see the adaptation legally in English markets. The series has been licensed by Netflix, and due to their policy of not simulcasting anime licenses, despite the series premiering on 1 April, the series will hit the streaming service internationally sometime in 2021.
The Way of the Househusband
One series that will hit Netflix worldwide on the same date in all territories is the Netflix original anime adaptation of The Way of the Househusband.
In the original manga, the series follows Tatsu, a man once known as one of the fiercest yakuza in all of Japan, with many a legend named after his deeds. He even earned himself a nickname: The Immortal Dragon. One day, he walked away from it all to take on a new role as a househusband, although his threatening demeanor has never truly left him. And thus, the stage is set for a comedy of a rather intimidating househusband.
It should be noted that the show’s animation, or lack thereof, has been the subject of much discussion and controversy since the first trailer for the series was revealed. If the enjoyable nature of the manga can shine through this odd animation choice, the series should still be an entertaining viewing experience. It won’t take long for us to find out at least, with the anime set to drop onto Netflix in its entirety on 8 April.
To Your Eternity
To Your Eternity is another highly anticipated manga adaptation making its debut during the Spring 2021 anime season, and there are a few reasons you should add this anime to your watchlist.
The original To Your Eternity manga has earned its fair share of plaudits both inside and outside of Japan (the series is being released in English through Kodansha Comics) for how it handles its unique premise. The series follows a lonely boy named Fushi wandering the Arctic regions of North America. He meets a wolf, and the two become friends as they depend on one another to survive in the cold and extreme conditions found in the region. Beneath the surface, however, there’s more to both the boy and the wolf than meets the eye.
The anime has a strong team behind it, being animated by Brain’s Base and directed by experienced animator Murata Masahiko. If that wasn’t enough, the theme song for the series will be provided by none other than Utada Hikaru, her first time producing a theme song for a TV anime. The anime kicks off on 12 April and will be streaming exclusively on Crunchyroll.
86: Eighty Six
If you’re interested in light novel adaptations to add to your Spring 2021 anime watchlist, you would struggle to do better than 86: Eighty Six.
In the series, The Republic of San Magnolia has been under attack by an army of unmanned drones known as Legion from the neighboring Guadiana Empire for a long time. After years of this struggle repeating itself, it seems as though this relentless war has turned into a remote, bloodless struggle when the Republic announces they have developed autonomous drones of their own. In reality, outside of the known and understood Republic territories hides a hidden 86th sector where young men and women are sent to pilot these supposedly unmanned drones into battle in the hope of turning the tide on the battle.
A non-isekai light novel adaptation is always welcome, and with a synopsis like this, the series could achieve an interesting discussion on the nature of war and those whose lives are lost in the battle while those in power send those they exploit to slaughter. Animated by A-1 Pictures, 86: Eighty-Six will premiere on 11 April, although streaming services are yet to be confirmed.
Zombieland Saga: Revenge
Zombieland Saga surprised audiences with its unique take on idol anime and zombie stories with a strong human center to its story, showcased most clearly with the character of Hoshikawa Lily. This anime was more than deserving of a second season, with more episodes for Zombieland Saga set to hit TV screens during the Spring 2021 season under the subtitle Revenge.
As much as I would love to give you a synopsis on what to expect from season 2 of this anime, the team at Studio MAPPA are keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to what direction the story will take in this second season. The Saga Prefecture-based zombie idol group has already been established, as have all the characters, but what will the group do as they attempt to grow their status within the industry. And what does ‘Revenge’ mean when it comes to this series? Only time will tell.
Zombieland Saga Revenge will be available for streaming on Crunchyroll and will premiere on 8 April.
Considering that anime and manga with earnest yankee and delinquent protagonists had mostly fallen from public consciousness due to being an overworn trope, Tokyo Revengers was not only able to become successful and break this trend, but it also won at the 44th Annual Kodansha Manga Awards. This manga is now receiving two adaptations in 2021, one of which will see a live-action film produced while the other will be an anime series airing during the Spring 2021 season.
The series centers Takemichi Hanagaki, a freelancer who hears the terrible news that the only girl he ever dated in middle school, Hinata Tachibana, has been killed by the Tokyo Manji Gang. After being pushed onto the train tracks at a train station after hearing the news and accepting he’s about to die, he finds he’s gone back 12 years into the past to his school days. With the opportunity, Takemichi vows to get revenge by saving his girlfriend and becoming the person he once ran away from.
With a popular and award-winning manga behind the series, hope is that this series can deliver on this interesting premise. Tokyo Revengers starts airing on 11 April and will stream on Crunchyroll.
Fruits Basket: Final Season
The new adaptation of the iconic Fruits Basket manga is back for one final season, bringing the adaptation of the series to an end.
Realistically, you likely already know whether you plan to watch this final season. If you’ve been keeping up to date with this shojo manga adaptation about Toru Honda who moves into a tent after a family tragedy only to accidentally pitch on the private land of the Soma Clan with secrets of their own, you’ll be watching this final season to see the end of the story. If you haven’t been keeping up to date, you’ll likely be overlooking this final season or frantically catching and finding out everything you need to know ready for the premiere.
While the anime doesn’t premiere until 6 April, the first episode has been streamed early on Funimation, and you can read our impressions of this first episode now.
Pretty Boy Detective Club
— 西尾維新アニメプロジェクト (@nisioisin_anime) March 13, 2021
SHAFT is back! Nisio Isin is back! Akiyuki Shinbo is back! If you weren’t interested in Pretty Boy Detective Club before due to all the anime airing during the Spring 2021 season, this one is worth putting on your radar for these reasons alone.
This adaptation of a mystery novel series from Monogatari creator Nisio Isin is about the titular detective club based at Yubiwa Private Academy who wish to help those in need, but only if the leader, Manabu Soutouinm deems the request to be beautiful. This is what they get from the request from Mayumi Doujima, who calls on the boys to help her find the star she glimpsed 10 years ago.
The SHAFT team that existed when the Monogatari series first burst onto the scene is far different from the SHAFT of today, but many of the core staff from the series remain as the anime certainly attempts to capture the studio’s unique style as they adapt another of the author’s works. With a strong trailer, this looks promising! The anime will premiere on 11 April, although no streaming service has been confirmed at this time.
The World Ends With You: The Animation
The cult classic Square Enix JRPG is now getting an anime! The World Ends With You: The Animation is an attempt to bring the story of the game into an animated medium for the Spring 2021 anime season, and initial impressions are promising.
The anime promises to follow the story of the game closely. In the game, Neku awakens in the middle of Shibuya Crossing with no memory of how he got there and a strange timer on his hand. As it turns out, he’s been sent to the Underground (UG) because he was dead, and now must participate in the Reaper’s Game to have a chance of potentially returning to life in the living if he can overcome the game. The issue is, he’s never been great at making friends and only reluctantly partners with a girl named Shiki. Over time, he begins to open up as they begin to uncover the truth behind the Reaper’s Game.
As a major fan of the game, the news of an adaptation left me with excitement and trepidation, but strong CG animation that blends the line between traditional and CG styles and tonal consistency gives me hope the unique nature of the games can be recreated in a non-interactive medium. We’ll have to wait and see when the anime premieres on 10 April on Funimation.
Farewell, My Dear Cramer
Farewell, My Dear Cramer could be one sports anime airing during the Spring 2021 anime season you won’t want to miss, considering it’s based on a manga from the creator of Your Lie in April!
This series centers on the girl’s soccer team at Warabi Sienan High School. Having failed to achieve much at her junior high school sports team, Sumire Suo receives an offer from her rival, Midori Soshizaki, to join her on the same high school sports team with the promise that she won’t be left to play alone. The story puts its focus on these two characters as they play girl’s soccer together.
The anime is based on a sequel to a two-volume manga titled Sayonara, Football that follows the characters in junior high and is also being adapted into an anime film. This was supposed to hit Japanese theaters before this anime but was instead delayed until early summer. Nevertheless, this Lidenfilms-animated series is going ahead on time, and you can catch the series on Crunchyroll from 4 April.
Trigger is back, and this time they are attempting to follow up on the success of SSSS.Gridman with another series set in the same universe as that series in partnership with Tsuburaya Productions, SSSS.Dynazenon.
One day Yomogi Asanaga fun’s into a strange man named Gauma who claims to be a kaiju user. Having been in the wrong place at the wrong time when the kaiju attacked, they’re dragged into the fight against the kaiju alongside Yume Minami, Koyomi Yamanaka and Chise Asukagawa. Action awaits.
SSSS.Gridman was a major success for Trigger when it aired in 2018, and many of the staff working on that show have returned for this series, including Akira Amemiya as series director. Hopefully, the talented studio can once again deliver on this exciting collaboration. The anime will hit screens on Funimation on 2 April.
Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song
Original anime are often overlooked, and there are several exciting original anime projects hitting screens during the Spring 2021 anime season. These next few entries are all original anime airing this season, and why not start with WIT Studio’s original project, Vivy: Flourite Eye’s Song.
Near Land is a theme park managed entirely by AI. One of these is known as Vivy and is the first humanoid AI to be deployed at the park where she sings to attendees following her directive to make everyone happy through song. One day another AI named Matsumoto appears from 100 years in the future, wishing to work with Vivy to stop the upcoming war between humans and AI.
It’s always exciting to see WIT Studio put their hands to original anime projects, and hopefully this one lives up to expectations. The series will premiere on 3 April, but no streaming service has currently been announced for the series.
Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood
Next up for original anime is a period piece from Bakken Record. Set in the year 1931, Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood looks to be the most unique anime airing within the stacked lineup of the Spring 2021 anime season.
Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu is 94 years old and wields absolute control over Japan. Remnants of Meiji culture remain, but science and cosmology have served to modernize the country significantly. Underneath the surface exists the Kuchinawa, a dissident group planning to assassinate the prince and end the regime, with Nue, the government’s secret executioner group, being tasked to destroy it. Sawa Yukimura works for the organization, and after her family was murdered when she was young, she has dedicated her life to avenging them.
Political intrigue, action, a dash of the supernatural, and a period piece? What more could you want! This intriguing original anime project is being helmed by Mardock Scramble director Susumu Kudo, and you can watch the series on Crunchyroll following its premiere on 7 April.
ODDTAXI is another intriguing original anime project featuring a cast of anthropomorphic animals in modern Tokyo with mystery and intrigue bubbling underneath the mundanity of the life of a simple taxi driver.
Odaka was is a solitary man, without family and rarely speaking with others outside of the people who enter his taxi. These people are comparable oddballs themselves, ranging from a student who wants nothing more than to go viral, a comedy duo named the Homosapiens, and an idol struggling with a desire to continue pushing for their dream. All these conversations eventually lead Odakawa somewhere darker, however: a girl has gone missing, and he now knows where to find her.
This mature mystery series stands apart by being nothing like the other series airing this season, which should on its own make it an anime worth keeping an eye on during this coming season. ODDTAXI will stream on Crunchyroll from 6 April.
The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent
Relying on fewer tropes of the isekai genre than How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent is arguably the most interesting new isekai anime for the upcoming season.
The series features Sei, a 20-year-old office worker summoned to another world only to be told that she wasn’t the Saint they were looking for. She goes about her new life working on potions and cosmetics and using magic to grant requests, which begins to make people suspect that she may be a Saint after all, despite her attempts to hide her title.
A shoujo isekai series is a rarity in animated form, and worth checking out for that alone. The series will stream on Funimation when it premieres on 6 April.
I’ve Been Killing Slimes For 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level
Another isekai for the Spring 2021 anime season, but one which is more comedic in tone.
In this anime with a typically long-winded light novel title, Azusa Aizawa is reincarnated in another world after dying of overwork in the real one. She’s reincarnated as an immortal witch and spends 300 years killing only slimes to pay the bills when she suddenly ends up being a level 99 master, bringing curious adventurers and even a monster girl to her door. Can she continue to live a relaxing life?
A more lighthearted comedy in the isekai genre, the anime will premiere on Crunchyroll on 10 April.
The Slime Diaries
More isekai! This spin-off of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime will certainly appeal to fans of the popular parent anime.
Rather than the high-stakes storytelling of the main series, this takes a step back to follow Rimuru and co. in their daily lives doing more mundane activities. You know, like feeding and foraging for items that the community needs, playing and having fun, and plenty of hijinks!
It’s rare for the spin-offs of any but the most popular anime series of the day to also receive an anime adaptation of their own, which is a testament to just how much the original series captured the imaginations of fans of the isekai genre. This new series will hit screens on 6 April and stream on Crunchyroll.
Does a new anime based on a manga from the creator of Fairy Tail sound interesting to you? In that case, you might want to check out Edens Zero, a highly anticipated anime in the upcoming Spring 2021 anime season.
Edens Zero can be simplistically described as Fairy Tail in space. The series takes place in a fictional universe inhabited by humans, aliens, and sentient robots that follows Shiki Granbell, a human Ether Gear user who lives among robots on Granbell. Rebecca Bluegarden and her cat companion Happy visit the abandoned theme park world when they visit to shoot a video for their online Aoneko Channel, and they end up going on an adventure together in search of ‘Mother’, the supposed goddess of the cosmos.
If you liked Fairy Tail, you’ll likely be interested in this series for that alone, with a lot of excitement building around the franchise already following news that Konami is working on games for consoles and mobile devices based on the franchise. As for the anime, it’ll be streaming on Netflix sometime in 2021, with its Japanese premiere scheduled for 11 April.
Megalobox 2: Nomad
A rather sudden announcement considering the relative silence that had accompanied the series since it finished airing in 2018, it was nonetheless welcome to hear that Megalobox would be receiving a season 2 during the Spring 2021 anime season, subtitled Nomad.
This new series follows on from the events of the first season and the victory earned by Gearless Joe as he reigned as the champion of Megalonia. Seven years following this tournament that inspired onlookers, Joe was back in the ring, but now he’s covered in scars and known only as Nomad.
While the story appears to be isolated from the first season thanks to a timeskip, you’ll likely get the most enjoyment from Megalobox season 2 if you are familiar with the events of the first series. Megalobox 2: Nomad will stream on Funimation following its premiere on 4 April.
Moriarty the Patriot Part 2
Picking up right where the last season left off, Moriarty the Patriot is back with its unique spin on Sherlock Holmes for a second cour during the Spring 2021 anime season.
Moriarty the Patriot is a Sherlock Holmes story which, rather than center the story on the mystery sleuthing of Sherlock, features the crime consultancy services of Moriarty. At the end of the first cour of the anime before the break, Moriarty and Sherlock had begun to lock horns and come more directly into contact with one another. With the artwork for the new season of the show featuring Sherlock and Moriarty back to back in the same image, as opposed to the Moriarty-centric art of the first season, their rivalry will likely only deepen as the series continues.
With a strong mystery component and attention to realism, the series is worth checking out. All of the first season is available on Funimation, while the first episode of the second part of Moriarty the Patriot has already premiered on streaming ahead of its 4 April TV broadcast.
A Packed Season of Anime, But Is It Too Much?
As you may have guessed from this list, a lot of anime is airing this season. Even this exhaustive list leaves off no fewer than a dozen series that may appeal to some audiences, ranging from cute slice-of-life series from Nippon Animation like Let’s Make a Mug Cup Too to Osamake: A Romcom Where the Childhood Friend Won’t Lose.
Cardfight Vanguard: overDress has another season coming which stands out from previous entries thanks to designs from CLAMP, while Gust’s Blue Reflection video game will be receiving an adaptation in the form of Blue Reflection Ray.
Cestvs: The Roman Fighter is a CG action series that shouldn’t be overlooked, either.
No matter what type of anime fan you are, there’ll be something airing this season that will suit your tastes in anime.
Is there too much anime? Even as the industry grows bigger than ever, studios are struggling under the load of meeting the demand for new anime, and one glance at the quantity of series, admittedly made worse by delays caused by COVID-19, is almost overwhelming. With the staff at many studios already being overworked and underpaid to keep up with demand, do we need so many series? Do we need half a dozen isekai series when a smaller number would likely please fans of the genre, for example?
From a fan perspective, this is one of the strongest seasons of anime in a long time, with so many series airing that should please at least someone looking for a new series to dive into as the Spring 2021 anime season gets underway. But maybe we need to consider the long-term consequences of such aggressive production schedules.