Summer 2021 Season Guide (Updating)

“Pleasure Boats On a Summer Evening Near Ryogoku Bridge”, by Kitagawa Utamaro, 1802-1804.

Summer Comin’. As usual, we’re a little late in listing out the series we’ll be taking a look at. As you can see, there’s plenty of choices, and many of the titles are as long as the days are going to get.

Assuming 86 and Tokyo Revengers take a season off before their second cours, only MagicalChurlSukui will be watching carryovers of existing shows or sequels to existing ones. Both Braverade and sesameacrylic’s Summer lists contain all-new shows; no sequels or spinoffs.

We don’t know if that’s ever happened before, but as usual, we’ll be trying to whittle our total watchlist down to around a dozen, which means dropping seven or eight of the titles below if they’re not worth watching or otherwise redundant to our anime needs of the moment.

As usual, bold titles below are the shows to which we’ll be paying particular attention, and titles may be added or subtracted as needed. That means non-bold shows aren’t guaranteed to be reviewed, just checked out.

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 22 May 2021

Braverade

Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom

NIGHT HEAD 2041

Scarlet Nexus

Tantei wa Mou, Shindeiru.
The Detective Is Already Dead / Tanmoshi

Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu
Tsukimichi -Moonlit Fantasy-

Vanitas no Carte
The Case Study of Vanitas


sesameacrylic

Bokutachi no Remake
Remake Our Life!

Megami-ryou no Ryoubo-kun.
Mother of the Goddess’ Dormitory

Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid
The Duke of Death and His Maid

Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saisei Jutsu
The Genius Prince’s Guide to Raising a Nation Out of Debt

Uramichi Oniisan
Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan


MagicalChurlSukui

Shiroi Suna no Aquatope
Aquatope of White Sand

Fruits Basket: The Final
Spring 2021 Carryover

Mushoku Tensei Second Season

To Your Eternity
Spring 2021 Carryover

TenSura 2nd Season Part 2

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Sotsu
Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU

Meikyuu Black Company

Peach Boy Riverside

Spring Cleaning 2021: Jouran, Mars Red, and Full Dive Dropped

Note: We are NOT dropping SSSS.Dynazeon … this is just a picture of a fine mess

We say it every season: there are too many shows. It’s true of anime series just as it’s true of live-action series, especially in the streaming era. You can’t watch them all—let alone write up to-1000-word recaps and reviews about them.

So it’s always important to remember that we don’t have to watch them all. Koikimo was dropped early, followed by Combatants Will Be Dispatched! Now to separate the rest of the chaff from the wheat. All drops are final, regardless of how much better any of the below series end up.

Jouran: Princess of Snow and Blood has a very neat setting that presupposes the Meiji Restoration never happened and a new energy source enabled Japan’s technological primacy. Unfortunately, neither of those things have any bearing Sawa’s central (and frankly done-to-death) revenge story, which could have been told anywhere at any time in Japanese history, real or imagined. Instead, the alt-historical setting is just window dressing, while the big anti-shogun baddie turned out to be a clichéd mad scientist snake-man. When I was emotionally checked out of their climactic showdown, I knew it was time to say goodbye.MagicalChurlSukui

Mars Red is probably the toughest of the Spring 2021 series to drop, because it’s a well-executed classic vampire-hunting story with genuine elements of horror and pathos. It also had one of the most striking first episodes, heavily influenced by real-life classic stage theatre. Unfortunately, I must admit that I admire and respect Mars Red more than I actually enjoy it, and it was hard to be invested in its ridiculously stoic lead vampire hunter.—Braverade

Full Dive is about a kid who just wants an escape from his shitty high school life, and had found one in his Final Fantasy-style VRMMO. Only when he gave all his money to a bully and couldn’t pay for the newest entry in the franchise, he’s hoodwinked by a merchant who is as disreputable a businesswoman as she is beautiful. So now the game he’s playing is even more unpleasant and stressful in real life. If this were Nobuyuki Sugou getting his just desserts that would be one thing, but this kid doesn’t really deserve to be tortured by a video game.—MagicalChurlSukui

For the list of remaining titles we’re both watching and reviewing, check out the top menu or consult our Spring 2021 Season Guide. A Spring 2021 addition to the Big Board is coming soon. As always, thanks for reading!

—RABUJOI STAFF

Spring 2021 Season Guide (Updating)

We’ve approached the halfway point of the Winter 2021 anime season, which is usually the time for us to start taking a gander at what’s on the horizon for the Spring. The biggest title on our list so far is the third and final season of Fruits Basket, which should be something.

    • We’ll be watching and reviewing all Bold titles below.
    • Crossed-out titles have been dropped or skipped.

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 21 Apr 2021

Braverade

86
SSSS.Dynazenon
Tokyo Revengers
Vivy: Fluorite Eye’s Song

Mars Red


sesameacrylic

Don’t Toy With Me, Nagatoro-san
Higehiro
Osamake

Those Snow White Notes
Zombieland Saga: Revenge

Combatants Will Be Dispatched!
Koikimo


MagicalChurlSukui

Fruits Basket: The Final
To Your Eternity
The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent
Slime 300

Full Dive
Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood
Tensura Nikki

Housekeeping: Hortensia Saga and The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter DROPPED

As expected, Hannah and Zane are dispensing with two of the weaker new Winter 2021 anime series this season: Hortensia Saga and The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter, to free up more time for far better series like Jujutsu Kaisen and Wonder Egg Priority.

We Have a Menu…Finally

With the new year comes a exciting new feature to the RABUJOI website that demonstrates our commitment to innovation…a Top Menu!

Now users of both the desktop and mobile versions of the site can more easily navigate to anime reviews from the most recent seasons, instead of having to scroll down a lot. If you’re looking for reviews of anime from further back, use our Search.

We hope this improves the ease of your anime review reading experience while on the go.

—RABUJOI STAFF

Winter 2021 Season Guide (Updating)

We’re about to enter our twelfth year on the interwebz, and it will be hard to top the eleventh for pure strangeness. We’re not sure if we’ll get much snow this coming Winter (we didn’t get much last Winter) but the metaphor of a fresh blanket of snow providing a blank canvas for the year still fits.

As usual, we’re simply listing shows that are either from franchises we follow or new shows that look interesting based solely on the promo art and talent involved. As such, we’ll surely be adding and subtracting from this list as we draw closer to showtime. Recommendations are welcome!

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 1 Feb 2021

Braverade

Attack on Titan
Demon Slayer (Spring 2019)
Jujutsu Kaisen
Kemono Jihen
Otherside Picnic

Ex-Arm (NOPE)
Hortensia Saga
(Dropped)


sesameacrylic

Horimiya
Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun
The Quintessential Quintuplets 2nd Season
Vlad Love (Resumes 14 Feb)
Wonder Egg Priority

Jimihen!!: Jimiko wo Kaechau Jun Isei Kouyuu!! (Skipped)
Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san (Skipped)
Ore dake Haireru Kakushi Dungeon (Dropped)


MagicalChurlSukui

Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou (Fall 2020)
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation
The Promised Neverland 2nd Season
Re:Zero 2nd Season Part 2
TenSura 2nd Season

Merry Christmas from All of Us at RABUJOI

We at RABUJOI know you have a lot of options about where to go for anime recaps and reviews, but if you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve chosen us, so we thank you. We’ll never lose sight of that, and we are hoping that you and yours have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Also, if you’re fortunate(?) enough to be together with family for Christmas dinner, be sure to bring up horror stories about how one of your fellow trainees stole a potato!—Hannah, Zane, & Preston

Fall 2020 Season Guide (Updating)

So far it’s slim pickings this coming Fall—not surprising considering the state of the world. Only a handful of new anime are listed on MAL’s Fall 2020 list, and some of those are sequel seasons to shows we’ve either never seen or are too far behind to attempt to catch up.

Regardless of the number of shows we’ll ultimately be watching, we’ll be implementing an all-new 5-star rating system more akin to Anime News Network than the MAL’s 1-10 scale:

While some among the staff have long been proponents of the 1-10 scale, in practice there are rarely any episodes we’d rate 1-5, since it only takes one or two such episodes to cause us to drop the show entirely. We’ll see how it goes.

This list will be updated if and when we pick up or drop any additional shows. If you have any recommendations, let us know in the comments and we’ll take them under advisement. And as always, thanks for reading, and take care!

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 1 Oct 2020

Braverade

Akudama Drive
Assault Lily: Bouquet
Golden Kamuy 3rd Season
Warlords of Sigrdrifa


sesameacrylic

Adachi & Shimamura
Great Pretender (ONA)
Ikebukuro West Gate Park
Sleeping Princess in the Demon Castle
Talentless Nana
TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You


MagicalChurlSukui

DanMachi III
Higurashi: When They Cry – Gou
Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World
The Day I Became a God
Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina

Summer 2020 Season Guide (Updating)

Poem by Empress Jitou from the series One Hundred Poems Explained by the Nurse, Hokusai, c. 1839.

We usually come out with a new season guide roughly halfway through the current season, so we’re running a little late. Depending on the state of Japan (and incidentally, the world) in July, many of the shows on this list may be further delayed or postponed…or they may all air on time! Only time will tell.

For now, here’s a brief look at the shows that have piqued our curiosity. We’ve only listed shows that have been confirmed to air or carry over this Summer. While sequels to heavy hitters like Re:Zero, SAO and  Oregairu are set to (finally) air, we’ll also be checking out as many new and original shows as time allows.

This list will be updated periodically. If you have any recommendations, let us know in the comments. And as always, thanks for reading!

RABUJOI STAFF

LAST UPDATED 27 Aug 2020

Braverade

Deca-Dence
No Guns Life S2
SAO: Alicization: War of Underworld S2
Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T

Fugou Keiji – Balance: UNLIMITED—Resuming from Spring

Gibiate—Dropped
The God of High School—Dropped


sesameacrylic

Appare-Ranman!
Oregairu S3
Rent-a-Girlfriend

Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!

Great Pretender (Netflix ONA)—Awaiting Remaining Episodes
Dokyuu Hentai HxEros—Dropped
Shokugeki no Souma 5—Dropped


MagicalChurlSukui

Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)
Fruits Basket
(2019) 2nd Season
Re:Zero S2
The Misfit of Demon King Academy

Lapis Re:LiGHTs – Dropped

RABUJOI’S Top 10 Anime of Winter 2020

10. Magia Record

The style, atmosphere, and whimiscal visual language of the original Madoka are there, but the narrative depth (not to mention novelty) are notably absent. Questions are often answered with more questions in a story that remains stubbornly opaque, the very Madoka-esque MC Iroha’s central quest leads to a dead end, and there are probably more magical girls introduced than needed. That said, it’s not terrible, and probably a must-see for Madoka completionist. Hopefully its second season will improve upon the shortcomings of the first.

9. BOFURI

It’s full title—i don’t want to get hurt so I’ll max out my defense—is its general premise, but the devil’s in the execution, details, and above all tone, and BOFURI excels at all three and kept me coming back, where a similar VRMMO game, Infinite Dendrodragon, lost me in its opening minutes. In addition to being cute as all get-out, Maple represents a bright (light-wise, not smarts) ball of optimism who values making friends and having fun together over winning…though she wins plenty!

8. Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun

While there are times when calling this “animation” is generous, the lushness of the painterly stills that suffuse Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun more than make up for the occasional lack of complex motion. Unlike other Lerche entries, it also benefits from a much smaller cast and an optimistic outlook that brightens its darker corners. Nene, Hanako, Kou & Co. are all beautifully drawn and voiced and easy to root for.

7. ID:INVADED

Drawing from a dizzying array of sources from Sherlock Holmes to Blade Runner, ID:INVADED makes up for it’s lack of solid resolution and occasionally scattered ideas with slick character design, a smattering of likable (or at least sympathetic characters with clear motivations, and some truly weird dreamscapes.

6. In/Spectre

A show that celebrates both traditional and modern forms of storytelling, Kyokou Suiri is anchored by it’s surpassingly spunky, takes-no-prisoners, pint-sized supernatural detective extraordinaire, the one-legged, one-eyed Kotoko. There’s a lot of talking in this show, but it’s almost never not thrilling, and often accompanied by just the right amount of action and comedy. Your mileage may vary when it comes to her likability or the show’s structure (half monster of the week, half final showdown), but I loved In/Spectre’s tendency to march to the beat of its own drum.

5. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T

We’re only nine episodes into a planned 25-episode series, but Railgun T marks a return to character-driven, (relatively) straightforward storytelling and planting a firm spotlight on the titular uber-heroine Misaka Mikoto, frightening and adorable in equal measure, depending on her mood. She finds herself and her friends in the middle of a squabble between factions of her city’s underworld, but (perhaps) with her sparkly-eyed frenemy Misaki she looks poised to make life inconvenient for all of them.

4. Fate/Grand Order: ADF – Babylonia

An “It’s All Down To This/Us” pervades every episode of F/GO, but while the future of human civilization is taken to the absolute brink, there’s never the slightest sense of nihilism or fatalism in its narrative. That’s thanks to the dogged bravery of its two leads Ritsuka and Mash and their galaxy of awesome-looking gods, goddesses, and kings doing increasingly awesome things by their side. A feast for the eyes with the capacity to warm the heart.

3. Chihayafuru 3

Chihayafuru manga and anime fans alike probably found a lot to like about the long-awaited third season, arriving six years after the second with a lot to do. The primary gripe, then, is that we may have to wait another few years to return to this quirky world of intensely competitive karuta players more often than not finding the game a haven of clarity from their tangled relationships, emotions, and futures.

2. Somali and the Forest Spirit

Can a human child survive in a world that hates (and eats) humanity? More importantly, does her golem guardian love her? Yes and yes, as explored in a sumptuous fantasy anime packed with gorgeous painterly settings and equally colorful (and morally diverse) characters, in which the destination of the last human colony takes a backseat to the journey, which is educating for father and child alike.

1. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

An deeply satisfying and heartwarming anime about three startlingly different yet equally lovable young women coming together to create something amazing. A Yuasa Maasaki love letter not just to anime, but the creative process itself. Any other challengers for Anime of the Year will face an uphill climb: Eizouken is in the stratosphere.