Fall 2021 Wrap-Up

Let’s take a look at final thoughts on Fall 2021 Series that I was not episode reviewing and have not already reviewed in full.

Surprise of the Season: Taisho Otome Fairy Tale

(from episode 12)

This one isn’t just my surprise for the season; it ranks as my biggest Hidden Gem for 2021, even over the equally-little-heralded Idoly Pride. For all of its silly elements and mediocre animation, few series in 2021 hit home on the storytelling and character development fronts as firmly and consistently as this one did, and that made for a thoroughly enjoyable viewing experience overall.

I did a full review of the title back after its 8th episode, so I will only cover here what has transpired since. Essentially, the trends established in the series up to that point continued: Tamahiko continuing to climb out of his depression thanks to the attentions of Yuzuki, and the two gradually genuinely falling in love with each other. The massive twist thrown into the series was an event whose presence was inevitable given when and where the series is set: the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, all while Yuzuki was visiting a pregnant friend in Tokyo. The strength and decisiveness that Tamahiko shows in the face of this calamity is meritorious by any standard, but all the more so because it shows exactly how much he has grown. And really, could there be any stronger testament about his feelings towards Yuzuki than the fact that he not only worries about her first but was also willing to walk all the way to Tokyo just to find her?

Honestly, I cannot think of any other recent series which has hit more strong emotional beats than this one has. It is well worth checking out if you overlooked it the first time.

Other Titles I Followed:

Banished From the Hero’s Party – This series suffered some in its last third from uneven pacing issues, but over that same period its examination of how god-granted Blessings affect the lives of people becomes an even stronger selling point for its unique angle on the topic. I also greatly appreciated how the Red-Rit relationship was allowed to continue to build in a natural direction and proved strong enough that even Ruti’s returned presence could not disrupt it. Was slightly disappointed that Ares essentially became the Fall Guy, and way too much has been left unresolved, so I am eagerly hoping for a second season.

Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc – On the whole, this is my least favorite story arc to date, in no small part because Nezuko has been given absolutely nothing to do; in fact, she’s barely made an appearance, even though she would probably fit in quite well. At least episode 4 finally introduced an interesting-looking battle sequences, but it’s going to need more than that to get back on track.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation – This one finished very strong, enough so that I may have to elevate it to my Best of Year list. (It’s a shoe-in to at least be in my Top 10.) Strong character writing matches up with the excellent visuals, and I especially loved seeing how much of a positive influence Rudeus has had on others even though he cannot seem to realize it himself. Will definitely be back for more if more gets animated.

Restaurant to Another World Season 2 – Holy heck – actual plot developments in the final two episodes! Add in a surprise guest appearance and you have an entertaining finish to a series which never wowed but consistently provided comfortable foodie entertainment with a fantasy twist.

Takt op. Destiny – The finale of this series has left me with very mixed feelings, and I didn’t feel that it resolved much of anything major. A significant disappointment.

The Fruit of Evolution – The whole series was dumb, so I suppose not much could have been expected from the ending. The finale did offer a tantalizing hook for what might happen next (i.e., Seiichi finally crossing paths with his former classmates with his harem in tow), so I suppose I’ll be back if more gets made, but it is not a franchise who continuation I am eagerly anticipating.

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon – The Second Act – I haven’t talked about this one much this season, but its more plot-intensive focus has moved it in a more positive direction and episode 37 (the most recent as I write this) is one of the strongest episodes yet. I will definitely continue to follow it.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Great Mankai Chapter – The final episode of the earlier series was a powerhouse that I rated as an A+ for how completely it finished off its story. As the waning episodes of these series showed, though, there were still a few missing pieces to be filled in, and the final episode of this one – which fully extends beyond its predecessor – does a wonderful job at that. A very strong finish for an installment that certainly had its ups and downs

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