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The 20 Best Anime Of 2021, Ranked

List Rules
Vote up your favorite anime that aired in 2021.

2021 was an amazing year for anime. So many fabulous shows came out that it's impossible to name them all, but we're going to name 20 of them.

Some of the most popular anime of 2021 were also the best action anime of 2021. Popular shonen like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan had new seasons, and there were also great new shows like Tokyo Revengers. Not an action fan? Don't worry, the year covered every genre imaginable. From history anime like The Heike Story to sports anime like Sk8 to romance series like Horimiya, there truly was a show for every taste. 

Do any of these anime make it onto your personal list of the top 10 best anime of 2021?

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  • 1
    680 VOTES
    86 Eighty-Six
    Photo: 86 Eighty-Six / A-1 Pictures

    A war without casualties sounds great - unfortunately, it's not exactly realistic, and it sure isn't what's going on in 86. While most of the Republic of San Magnolia believes that the war against the Giadian Empire is being fought solely by machines, few realize that someone has to risk their lives controlling those machines - that is, the people of the 86th district. 

    Vladilena Milizé gets the opportunity to supervise this squadron. Everyone expects her to treat the people of 86 as disposable, but she sees their humanity and can't bring herself to do that. But her attempts at kindness don't necessarily result in trust. Shinei Nouzen has been to hell and back, and he doesn't immediately believe in her good intentions. 

  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is a controversial series that deals with a lot of tough topics. After leading a miserable life as a shut-in, Rudeus Greyrat is reincarnated into a magical world. While this sounds like the standard isekai harem formula, it manages to be totally unique. 

    We're including this show because it's a highly rated, complex story with excellent world building and characterization. That said, we don't recommend it to everyone. Rudeus has some genuinely terrifying thoughts about children, and the narrative goes back and forth about how well it handles that sensitive content. 

  • 3
    650 VOTES
    Horimiya
    Photo: Horimiya / CloverWorks

    If you're tired of romance anime where the couple spends the whole time getting together and you never get to see the relationship in action, you should watch Horimiya. 

    Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura don't seem like they have much in common - Hori is a bubbly, cheerful girl, while Miyamura is on the quiet side. But they do have something in common - both of them are hiding their true selves from the rest of the world. Hori is actually an extremely responsible person who has to spend most of her time taking care of her younger brother, while Miya is secretly tattooed and pierced. Though the contents of their secrets are dissimilar, the fact that neither person is who they seem brings them together. 

  • To Your Eternity
    Photo: To Your Eternity / Brain's Base

    Want to watch an anime that's thoughtful about the meaning of human nature but will also make you cry buckets? Try To Your Eternity. An orb that can transform into the life forms it encounters after those life forms pass away lands on earth. Eventually, the orb begins to develop an identity and a name - Fushi. He meets human beings and begins to form bonds with them, all while a mysterious being is watching his every move.

    But all is not peaceful for Fushi. From conflicts with other humans to attacks from the Nokkers, it's all Fushi can do to keep the people around him alive.