Fall 2021 Anime: All About That Angst!

Anime protagonists have it tough. From tragic family circumstances to facing their innermost demons, to those wrong place wrong time scenarios (oof, luck of the draw), these guys almost always have some kind of dramatic driving force, whether it’s mild melodrama or a heart-wrenching tragedy. This year alone we’ve seen Itadori’s (temporarily) stayed death sentence, Subaru’s constant death cycle, Moriarty’s patriotic sacrifices, and the continued cataclysms of Hinamizawa syndrome.

The new anime season is no exception either, however, we at Honey’s Anime think that this Fall has been particularly intense as most of our favourite characters seem to be on the receiving side of some seriously unfortunate events. So we decided to break down some of the angst that tugged on our heartstrings and has made this Fall trés dramatique.

Family Face-Off

You can’t choose your family, that’s a truth Tamahiko Shima from Taisho Otome Otogibanashi knows all too well. After his mother passed on in a car accident that left him completely bereft of the use of his right arm, he was declared a disappointment by his father and sent away to Chiba. Furthermore, to better the marital prospects of his equally cold-hearted siblings, he was declared ‘dead’ to the public and was expected to stay ‘dead’ with only Yuzuki Tachibana for company, who was purchased for him as a wife/caretaker. Yeesh, talk about out of sight out of mind! Poor Tamahiko was left emotionally scarred, physically handicapped, and abandoned by his family. Luckily for him, Yuzu is just about the most empathetic and kind-hearted person ever, so we can’t wait to see this sweet and wholesome ship set sail (tbh, it already has) and watch Tamahiko slowly thaw with Yuzu’s warmth.

Monsters Under the Bed

While family problems are something all of us can relate to at one point or another, Mieruko-chan’s Miko Yotsuya has quite a different dilemma. She can see all the nightmarish creatures the general public remains oblivious to (we all totally relate). From hiding under vending machines to prowling the streets to even crawling under Miko’s covers, these grotesque creatures are all over all the time and poor Miko is in a constant state of terror (not that her face would ever reveal that). Oof, it’s bad enough that these creepy crawlies loom over her and follow her around, but the ones that want to be acknowledged and get close and personal into Miko space really take the cake especially when they groan out that haunting question: “Can you see me?” Talk about traumatising! And nothing Miko does seems to work, not prayer beads, not salt barriers, there’s no holding back these living nightmares (or are they undead?). She seems to be taking it like a champ, though. In spite of her terror, Miko just throws on her poker face and stares right through them. And get this, these things actually end up believing she’s oblivious to them too! Go Miko! If we were in her place we’d be cowering under our beds, and no doubt, we wouldn’t have our poker faces on.

Portrait of the Artist as a (Tortured) Young Man

They say art flourishes with turmoil, and Blue Period’s Yatora Yaguchi and Ryuuji Ayukawa definitely got that memo. Yaguchi’s insecurities feed a lot of the angst in the show. He relies quite a bit on learned social skills and is pretty much just going through the motions of what he thinks he should do till he discovers what he wants to do, that is, oil painting. A naturally hard-working and high-achieving individual, Yaguchi is often frustrated by what he perceives as his own inability to perform in comparison to the standard of what he considers ideal. As if that isn’t enough pressure, his parents don’t seem to fully understand his decision to pursue art. Aah, family friction, you familiar foe!

Meanwhile, Ryuji, better known as Yuka-chan, has their own problems. Yuka-chan’s family seems to be at odds with their decisions regarding their gender identity, expression, and sexual orientation. This family turmoil and the difficulties of finding a place of belonging in relationships feed into Yuka’s anxieties and insecurities, leaving them understandably distressed. All this pressure from society and family is totally internalised in our two MCs, leaving them with a hurricane of angst. We really hope these two can work their way through the eye of the storm with some cathartic artistic expression (Picasso it with some expressionism, you guys! ).

99 Problems: Death, Despair, and Disconnect

Yaguchi, Miko, and Tamahiko; these three are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. From social anxiety to deathmatches to demon lords, we haven’t even scratched the surface of all the angst building up this season. Komi from Komi Can't Communicate has crippling anxieties that keep her from being able to communicate and connect with others, leaving her isolated. Will from Saihate no Paladin is one of the last humans and was meant to be sacrificed to raise the High King, and his only family is made up of the Undead who sacrificed their humanity to guard the world against said king (Hello, irony). In a world where music is synonymous with danger, Takt and Cosette from Takt. Op Destiny were both casualties in a D2 attack while performing at a music festival. Takt even had to give up one of his arms to somewhat save Cosette while she still partially died (complicated doesn’t even begin to cover this one).

Full of pain and turmoil, this Fall seems to be riddled with angst and it’s only just beginning. These are just some of our picks of who drew the shortest ends of the sticks. There are many more tragic backstories lurking around and if we tried to put them all in, it would probably be a major buzzkill.


Final Thoughts

And that’s all we have today! Pretty angsty, huh? Well, one thing is for certain, no matter how bad these guys have it, they’ll rally it together and overcome till they find their happily ever afters, or at the very least contentment and relief. We hope.

If you think we missed anyone that should’ve made it up here or you wanna share your thoughts on any of the character-developing drama mentioned above, hit us up in the comments below! We’d love to chat!

by G