The Spring 2021 anime season is soon coming to an end, and it gave us some pretty good one-cour shows like Tokyo Revengers and Eternity to You, as well as some big new shonen beginnings with Edens Zero and the Shaman King remake. Overall, it was an average anime season with a few good shows, but it didn’t quite bring hits like the previous seasons’ Jujutsu Kaisen, Wonder Egg Priority, and Attack On Titan: The Final Season.
This Summer 2021 season seems like it’ll be more of the same: there aren’t any standouts that feel like instant hits, but there are definitely a few candidates for Summer 2021 hidden gems. While we wait for more news on upcoming high-profile titles like the Jujutsu Kaisen movie coming out in December and the upcoming Chainsaw Man anime (which finally has its first trailer that’ll surely have you barking in anticipation), here are our picks for the upcoming Summer 2021 anime worth checking out.
From anime studio Madhouse, whose works are worth watching out for in any season, Sonny Boy is a sci-fi thriller anime that follows an ensemble cast of students who one day find themselves to be the only people in existence. The trailer offers little to no details as to the cause of the world population’s disappearance, only positing the question “Is this utopia, or hell?”.
While we don’t have much to go on storywise, Madhouse production aside Sonny Boy seems to be a promising show because of its director and original creator Shingo Natsume, who’s done animation work on Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, One Punch Man, and The Tatami Galaxy among many other big-name projects. No matter how the story’s mystery unfolds, Sonny Boy is sure to be a visual treat that clearly shows Shingo Natsume’s experience as an understudy to anime legends Masaaki Yuasa and Shinichiro Watanabe.
The theme of being able to redo one’s life has been an anime trope for as long as isekai and time travel/time loop anime have existed. The idea of being able to start again is what grounds those seemingly fantastical, sci-fi shows to a more human level. Remake Our Life! is an explicit take on this theme, making use of time travel to tell the story of how Hashiba Kyouya, a 28-year old failed game developer would redo his life if he could go back 10 years in time.
Just like other more grounded takes on time travel anime like Tokyo Revengers and Erased, Remake Our Life! doesn’t get too heavy-handed with the time travel mumbo-jumbo and instead uses Kyouya’s experience as a game developer to frame the show’s events. The trailer asks, “If you could go back 10 years, what route would you choose?” in reference to how Japanese games and visual novels often have plenty of branching paths and routes for players to follow. Remake Our Life! is a story about someone loading his save file from 10 years ago to try and get a better ending in the game we call life.
If Remake Our Life! is a bit too serious for your taste, there’s another do-over anime from Summer 2021 that takes a more whimsical approach with the isekai genre. Meikyuu Black Company tells the story of Kinji Ninomiya, a shut-in whose dream of living a luxurious work-free life comes to fruition through his expertise in real estate investing. Just as Kinji is about to start his ballin’ new lifestyle, he’s transported into an isekai as a poor, lowly human forced to work as a crystal miner.
Armed with his financial know-how and determination to rise from poverty, Kinji forms the Black Company with his fellow miners to rise through the ranks of the company and stand at the top of the food chain. It’s a riches-to-rags-to-riches story told with the same gung-ho tone and energy of shows like Gurren Lagann and Dorohedoro. If you’re looking for something fun to watch from the Summer 2021 season, this is the show for you.
Anyone familiar with Japanese folk tales might recognize the phrase “Peach Boy”, as it’s the literal English translation of the name of one of Japan’s most recognizable folk heroes, Momotaro. A boy born from a giant peach who would later become a fierce, demon-slaying warrior, Momotaro is often referenced or depicted in anime, but these shows never tamper with the original Momotaro folk tale. Peach Boy Riverside is an exception.
Peach Boy Riverside is set in an isekai-like fantasy setting that looks closer to medieval Europe than ancient Japan, and the trailer quickly shows why: the events of the story are meant to be a continuation rather than a retelling of the classic folk tale. The story follows Sally, a princess who one day meets Mikoto, a peach-bandana wearing warrior who lives to slay demons (or “Oni” as the folk tale goes). It all seems to be a vanilla, Dragon Quest-like adventure anime at first, until the trailer quickly cuts to Mikoto (heavily implied to be Momotaro) violently striking down a group of demons. Sally, the story’s seemingly innocent princess is also shown to have a sadistic streak, hinting that Peach Boy Riverside might be darker and more gory than you’d expect.
For fans of gore-fest fantasy anime like Akame ga Kill and Goblin Slayer, you’ll surely get your weekly fix of monster bloodletting in Peach Boy Riverside.
Uramichi Oniisan is the only anime on this list that features no fantasy elements nor fantasy settings. It’s a slice-of-life comedy anime that follows its titular character Omota Uramichi, a 31-year old man who works as a fitness instructor on an educational show for children. The comedy of the show comes from Uramichi and his colleagues being happy-go-lucky staff on a children’s show despite their miserable real life personalities.
The manga was originally categorized as a “dark comedy,” and for good reason. While Uramichi Oniisan creates comedy from the contrast between its characters’ day jobs and daily lives, it shows the harsh realities that come with being an adult. The humor of Uramichi Oniisan is something you’d only find funny once you yourself have reached a certain age, but despite the manga’s all-too-real themes, there’s something comforting about finding laughter in these unfortunate situations.
Featuring an all-star voice cast with Hiroshi Kamiya (Levi, Saiki Kusuo), Daisuke Ono (Erwin Smith, Jotaro Kujo), and Tomokazu Sugita (Joseph Joestar, Gintoki Sakata) among many other seiyuu greats, Uramichi Oniisan is a comedy anime for the tired, jaded grown-ups in your life.
The Summer 2021 anime line-up also includes a bunch of niche anime shows that might tickle your fancy, so be sure to check out the full list of upcoming shows on your anime news site of choice (I usually go to AniChart). For more handpicked news on upcoming anime releases, we’ll be sure to keep you updated, so don’t forget to follow our social media channels.
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