Winter 2021 is one of the most stacked anime seasons in recent memory, especially compared to the drought that made up much of 2020. You could toss a dart at the season chart and hit any number of hype sequels or worthy newcomers without even trying... well, unless you hit Ex-Arm or Redo of Healer, but we don’t talk about those. Crunchyroll is hosting the simulcasts for many of these fantastic new anime, so let’s take a look at the best ones to watch this season!
5. Kumo Desu ga, Nani ka? (So I’m a Spider, So What?)
It’s Spider-sekai! When high schooler Kumoko (literally meaning “spider girl” – she doesn’t get a real name) and several of her other classmates are suddenly killed and reincarnate into a fantasy world, everyone else is transformed into nobles or royalty while Kumoko wakes up as a weak spider monster in the most dangerous dungeon the world has to offer. The human characters aren’t terribly interesting, but the parts that focus on this little spider overcoming her frightening situation through sheer pluckiness are worthy of a million chef’s kisses. Special mention goes to the vocal performance by Aoi Yuuki (Tsuyu from My Hero Academia, Madoka from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Diane from The Seven Deadly Sins, etc.), which cements Kumoko in our minds as one of the best girls of 2021 so far!
4. Tenchi Souzou Design-bu (Heaven’s Design Team)
Do you love Cells at Work but wish it was about biology instead of micropathology? Well, Heaven’s Design Team is exactly that! Newly appointed angel Shimoda serves as an intermediary between God and the design team that’s been put in charge of creating animals to populate the Earth. There’s very little overarching story here – instead, the anime consists mostly of skits that explain the creation process for each animal (including ones that don’t end up getting approved, like unicorns), complete with accurate scientific information helpfully sprinkled throughout. It’s also surprisingly hilarious, such as the roundabout process for making an elephant and “Earth’s most cursed animal” turning out to be a koala, so check it out if you feel like injecting a little education into your anime time!
3. Yuru Camp△ Season 2 (Laid-Back Camp)
Laid-Back Camp’s first season was a picture-perfect iyashikei anime about cute girls going camping, and its second season delivers those same comfy slice-of-life vibes in a shiny new package. There are no complicated storylines or unnecessary dramatic arguments or even very many characters to keep track of – it’s mostly just Rin and Nadeshiko enjoying beautiful views, scrumptious food, and each other’s company. With the pandemic keeping us all inside and away from the ones we love, this peaceful anime about exploring the great outdoors with friends is the ultimate antidote to our stress... even if it’s only for 25 minutes a week.
2. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu 2nd Season Part 2 (Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Season 2 Part 2)
Re:ZERO Season 2’s second cour was one of the most hotly anticipated sequels of 2021 (possibly only surpassed by the next anime on this list), and it has absolutely risen to its station. Instead of being stuck on the endless train of suffering that has defined his life for most of the series, Subaru actually gets to succeed for once and put the lessons that he’s learned to good use. We also see Emilia’s backstory, which helps flesh her out as a character and might even change the minds of some of her haters, and Ram gets some outstanding moments as well. This anime is far from over, at least if it intends on adapting the entire light novel series, but we’re definitely enjoying the journey so far!
1. Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season (Attack on Titan Final Season)
This is a glaringly obvious pick, but it would be criminal to place this culmination of a modern classic anywhere but the top spot on our list. As has become abundantly clear since about the second season (and especially after the bombshell that was season 3’s ending), Attack on Titan is a gripping and emotional war story that thrills its viewers with high-intensity action scenes and keeps them on the edges of their seats with plot twists that were sometimes set up literal years in advance. Veteran fans were worried that nobody besides WIT Studio could do the anime justice, but luckily MAPPA has hit it out of the park with their fluid and expressive animation that perfectly captures this gritty World-War-style environment and the unearthly titans that mercilessly crush it to rubble. We can’t wait to see some of our favorite scenes come to life onscreen!
Other worthy contenders for best Winter 2021 anime on Crunchyroll include: Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2, Non Non Biyori Season 3, the second cour of Jujutsu Kaisen, and Dr. Stone: Stone Wars. And if you really want to subject yourself to the car crash that is Ex-Arm, grab a drink or three and check it out. It’s a Crunchyroll Original, after all!
What did you think of our list? What have you been watching on Crunchyroll this season? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!