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The Miso Spotlight: Upcoming Winter 2021 Anime

2020 has been a struggle for the anime industry with delays, delays, delays, and a couple depressingly empty seasons. However, Fall 2020 is shaping up to be a very interesting end to the year. From the relaxed, magical sceneries of Wandering Witch to the more aggressive neon pop of Akudama Drive—there have been several strong standouts. And thus far they’ve delivered. I’m hoping the winter 2021 anime follows suit and start us off with a bang.

Winter 2021 Newcomers


Key visual for Winter 2021 anime Horimiya.
The joint owners of a time…we don’t show to others.

Horimiya is the romance of the season. It features odd couple Hori and Miyamura (can you guess where they got the title?). Hori is a popular, star-studded student. A regular social butterfly. Whereas Miya is…not. He’s usually thrown in the category of “loser otaku.” But when the two run into each other outside of school it’s a different story.

Hori isn’t the belle of the ball in her free-time. She’s a quiet homebody. And Miyamura is just a gentle, not so study smart guy that happens to have nine piercings and tattoos hidden under his school uniform. Slowly they share the sides of each other no one else sees.

While it’s set up with many of the signature cliches of a highschool romcom, its source manga has been praised by several fans as “warm and genuine.” Since its sixth volume reached as high as 2nd place on the weekly Oricon charts it’s safe to assume there’s some merit to those reviews! It clearly touched many hearts and hopefully will do so again in this adaptation.

Cells at Work BLACK

Key visual for Winter 2021 anime Cells at Work BLACK (Hataraku Saibou BLACK)
What is wrong with this body?!?

Back when the original Cells at Work! came out, I gave a tentative review of the first episode. And I can now say it met all the expectations of that original review! Fun designs, amusing character interactions, and you get to peek into the world inside your body.

Whatever human those cells were living in sure had a lot of ailments and injuries to go through. However, with the merry scenery and bright colors it rarely seemed too dire. We saw how a healthy body would react to things. But in BLACK the contrast is huge.

My friend left Glycine for a month. So, if you decide to take, remember the consequences. And let everything be good in your life, then you will not need such pills.

You can already see from the grim background in the trailer. The soot smudged costumes. BLACK takes place in the body of someone who does the exact opposite of what all those school PSAs tell you. Don’t do drugs? Drinking? Smoking? Screw it, let’s do it all. The role reversal only makes for more contrast, with our male lead now being the nervous red blood cell and our female lead being the cool white blood cell. I think these differences will make for a new yet still similarly entertaining experience.

SK8 the Infinity

Key visual of Winter 2021 anime SK8
Discover the world of “S”

Reki is a young skater, addicted to the highly secretive underground races known as “S.” He drags Langa, a transfer student with no experience skateboarding—let alone competing at top speed against some dangerously passionate opponents—, to the mine where “S” races are held.

Skateboarding is one of the most unique subjects I’ve seen for a sports anime. It’s not the same volleyball, baseball, whateverball you see flooding the genre. And due to my personal lack of balancing and coordination skills, skateboarding’s also always been something that’s impressed me. So I’m eager to see where they take it.

Especially considering SK8 is headed up by Bones, the same studio responsible for the likes of FMA: Brotherhood and Boku no Hero Academia, I’m expecting this to be the gem of the whole winter 2021 anime season.

Tenchi Souzou Design-bu

Key visual for Winter 2021 anime
The customer is God

Earth is weird. Animals are weird. And for all the fantasy worlds out there and all the whacky creatures residing in them, I think Earth still ranks up there in terms of crazy. We’re used to the crazy. But if you really think about the things you see around you in a place perfect for cultivating out of nowhere thoughts (like the shower) then you’re gonna come up with some good questions. Maybe ones like: “Why do spiders have eight legs when snakes have no legs? That’s not fair.” or… “Why the hell is a giraffe’s neck so long?”

Now I can’t guarantee they’ll answer those specific questions, but if anyone could it’s Heaven’s Animal Design Department! Because it’s their fault. They made everything. Of course they did it at the request of a pretty bizarre client, but even so.

The very concept of this anime was enough to sell me on it. But on top of that the promo art so far has been bright, fun, and certainly eye-catching with all those cute animals. That means Tenchi Souzou Design-bu‘s characters are doing their job right?

Kemono Jihen

Key visual of Winter 2021 anime Kemono Jihen
Looks like his nickname isn’t the only thing that’s not human…

So far in this list of winter 2021 anime we’ve got comedy. We’ve got romance. We’ve even got sports. But where’s our classic supernatural shounen? Where’s the action? Well that’s where Kemono Jihen comes in.

It starts when animal bodies start to appear and rot away overnight in a remote mountain village. Inugami, a detective who specializes in the occult, takes on the case. While he investigates the cause of these strange corpses he meets an almost equally strange boy.

The boy is called “Dorata-bou” after a youkai who lives in the mud. He’s a boy who doesn’t seem quite human. Shunned by his peers, he works in the field every day instead of going to school. But Inugami’s arrival gets him involved in a new line of work…

Winter 2021 Sequels

Along with the host of new shows, there’s also plenty of titles returning to the screen in Winter 2021. Many marking the end of legends. Such as…

Seven years since its first season aired, Attack on Titan will be coming to a close.

Neon Genesis Evangelion will be saying bye-bye in the final movie of its rebuild.

Gintama will also be saying goodbye in its final movie. But hey Odd Jobs forever, right?


That wraps up Miso’s look at the winter 2021 anime lineup! Will you be watching any of the anime on this list? Let us know in the comments!

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