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9 new anime series you should be watching in 2021

Wonder Egg Priority
(Image credit: Funimation)

2021 brings with it new anime. Some top shows began their second seasons, and a host of other new adventures are waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking for the next hit of a show you’ve already seen, or wondering if this is the time to start on that series you’ve heard so many people rave about for a while now, on this list you’ll find your next anime. 

These nine anime all began earlier this year – some have wrapped up their runs, while others are ongoing, so either way you'll able to stream them now. Note that the streaming services mentioned below only correspond to the US, but you shouldn't have too much trouble finding each show where you are.

Horimiya 

Horimiya

(Image credit: Crunchyroll)

Horimiya is a refreshingly normal love story. The title is a combination of its protagonists' names – Hori and Miyamura. Izumi Miyamura is a shy, slightly awkward high-schooler who expresses his personality through numerous piercings and tattoos, which he diligently hides while at school. Kyouko Hori has her own secret: since her mother works long hours, Kyouko spends her time outside of school taking care of the household and her younger brother.

Both Izumi and Kyouko bond over their secrets; these two people with very different personalities become friends and eventually fall in love – but, unlike many other anime, dating isn’t the end goal here. Instead, Horimiya is a fun but often contemplative show about the issues that teenagers face, such as feeling misunderstood, being bullied, or wanting to be beautiful and popular. If you like character studies, give Horimiya a try.

Where to watch it: Funimation

Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu 

Mushoku Tensei

(Image credit: Funimation)

There are so many isekai anime out there, that it’s difficult to search out those with any distinguishing features. The premise is usually one of a young man transported into a fantasy world, of which he becomes a hero. Mushoku Tensei, or Jobless Reincarnation (the subtitle translates as ‘I Will Seriously Try If I Go to Another World’) actually manages to put an interesting spin on the idea. 

When a 34-year-old nerd dies in a traffic collision and is reincarnated in a fantasy world, he retains his own mind, but starts his life out as a baby. Growing up, he decides that unlike his old life on Earth, which he spent as a recluse without a job or friends, he’s going to try his best with his new existence.

Granted, this isn’t revolutionary stuff. Typical isekai features – such as plenty of fanservice – are still present. However, considering this is an oversaturated genre, seeing a character start at zero does plenty for immersion, and presents many different angles through which you can approach the ‘modern person in a medieval world’ trope.

Where to watch it: Funimation

Wonder Egg Priority 

Wonder Egg Priority

(Image credit: Funimation)

Wonder Egg Priority exhibits the delightful strangeness of a Satoshi Kon anime like Paprika. Here, you’re immediately invited into a world of nightmares and memories. Ai Ohto has never been a social girl, but when her best friend Koito Nagase commits suicide, she becomes a recluse once and for all. In a dream, she meets a creature that tells her there is a way to resurrect Koito, by helping others fight their nightmares.

This is part character study, part bizarre trip through a strange yet beautiful world. It isn’t clear if Ai can really get her friend back, or if she’s strong enough to overcome her own trauma, but you just know something interesting is going to happen next.

Where to watch it: Funimation

SK8 The Infinity 

Sk8 The Infinity

(Image credit: Funimation)

It’s surprising that there hasn’t been a skateboarding anime until now, but SK8 rectifies this. And this isn’t just any old sports anime, either; it’s as stylish and freewheeling as skateboarding itself can be. It focuses on the ‘S’, a secret skateboarding race in an old mine that attracts all sorts of colourful characters, among them high-schoolers Reki and Langa.

In SK8, everything comes together perfectly – it offers amazing animation, a pumping soundtrack and memorable characters with great chemistry. It’s a show that fully leans into its own weirdness, much like Netflix’s recent hit Great Pretender.

Where to watch it: Funimation 

Yuru Camp season 2

Yuru Camp

(Image credit: Crunchyroll)

Camping isn’t for everyone, but it’s the best thing ever as far as Rin Shima is concerned, especially on her own. But now Nadeshiko, Aoi and Chiaki have barged into her life – the former never having experienced camping before, the latter going so far as to establish a camping afterschool club. We wouldn’t say this is a show about a girl becoming social; it’s more the portrayal of a hobby from four perspectives.

Without the need for words, Yuru Camp – which translates to Laid-Back Camp – accurately displays what makes camping so attractive to its protagonists: a view of mount Fuji; discovering a campground: solitude and peace. If you’re looking for a relaxing watch, then Yuru Camp delivers the feeling of a quiet break perfectly.

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

Kemono Jihen 

Kemono Jihen

(Image credit: Funimation)

Imagine a show with a premise that’s similar to Tokyo Ghoul, but one that’s 100% less emotionally devastating. That’s Kemono Jihen, which translates literally as ‘Monster Incidents’. Called to the Japanese countryside, occult detective Inugami meets a boy called Dorotabo, shunned because of his unusual behaviour and strong smell. However, none of this is Dorotabo’s fault – he isn’t entirely human, and neither is Inugami. Together they begin to solve mysterious cases that involve curses, malevolent spirits and ghosts.

Supernatural anime with horror has never really waned in popularity (see Jujutsu Kaisen) – but Kemono Jihen isn’t just about fighting the monster of the week. It’s about a boy making his first social connections, and it features startlingly beautiful environment art and a wonderful soundtrack to accompany that.

Where to watch it: Funimation

Cells At Work! season 2

Cells at Work

(Image credit: Crunchyroll)

Cells At Work! is really just a fun idea that keeps giving, where the different processes within your body are represented by tiny people. We follow a group of cell protagonists fulfilling their day-to-day tasks, which you could imagine to resemble a day at an Amazon delivery warehouse. This is a fun, relaxing and undemanding anime – it’s cute, and a slice of life in a very literal sense.

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll 

Re:Zero season 2

Re:Zero

(Image credit: Crunchyroll)

Many isekai anime follow a similar format – of a loser who transforms his life, becoming a hero who is beloved by everyone. Re:Zero offers a more realistic alternative to this idea. Protagonist Subaru believes he’s been brought to a different world because he is amazing and destined to become a hero, when in reality he is anything but. Subaru has to learn how to be an actual hero – because that might be the key to solving an even bigger problem: the time-loop mystery at the heart of Re:Zero.

Season 2 continues in the same vein as the first, which saw Subaru develop from a terribly annoying, cocky boy to someone who cares about others. Re:Zero was and still is an unexpectedly heart-wrenching and creepy show, and it’s that depth that elevates it above other isekai.

Where to watch it: Crunchyroll

The Promised Neverland season 2

The Promised Neverland

(Image credit: Funimation)

The first season of The Promised Neverland centred around a group of orphans, who learned that their supposed safe-haven was anything but. Instead, it was a mansion filled with disturbing secrets. In season 2, the children now find themselves in the outside world – a place that isn’t any less mysterious.

It’s difficult to provide any real flavour of this anime without giving anything away, and despite focussing on a group of young protagonists, it displays plenty of depth in how the characters deal with the truth they uncover. Season 2 of The Promised Neverland isn’t as good as the first – which is among the best of recent shonen anime. But for those who haven’t yet experienced The Promised Neverland, it’s absolutely worth a look.

Where to watch it: Netflix, Crunchyroll (season 1), Hulu (season 2)