Anime’s 2021 Best Boy: From Tokyo Revengers’ Takemichi to Horimiya’s Izumi

The Crunchyroll Awards of 2022 are just around the corner and up for the running will be the classic category of Best Boy. Shoyo Hinata, Tanjiro Kamado and Izuku Midoriya have all won this category in the past. However, they have such massive fanbases that any new potential Best Boys might not have much of a chance. To fix that, here are nine new Best Boys from shows that first aired in 2021, so these newcomers can truly shine.

Izumi Miyamura -- Horimiya

izumi miyamura horimiya

Soft-spoken and reserved, no one guessed that Izumi's long hair hid multiple piercings and his insistence at wearing long sleeves was to cover up tattoos. Izumi's true personality only started to show in Horimiya when he encountered Kyoko Hori outside of school by helping her little brother home when he got hurt. The two struck up an odd relationship of being comfortable around each other with their true selves. Instead of pushing people away with an introverted persona, Izumi felt free to laugh and let loose. He allowed Kyoko and her entire family into his life. While Izumi still struggles with self-esteem issues, he is devoted and considerate. He spent the entire show learning how to let people in so he can give back a bit of himself.

Horimiya can be streamed on Funimation.

Fushi -- To Your Eternity

to your eternity fushi watch parona

Who could have guessed an orb would provoke so many tears? Though Fushi may change shape, his most common form is the nameless boy from Episode 1 of To Your Eternity; a homage to the first person who taught Fushi about love and devotion. Fushi's constant evolution, not only in physical form, but in his growth as an emotive, compassionate creature, says a lot about human connection and the power that memories hold over people. Fushi is a constant, living memory of those he once knew, but he is also a symbol of the future with his continuous change and a need to move on from every life he begins. Fushi's compassionate but protective nature speaks to the cruelty he has both seen and endured.

To Your Eternity can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

 Reki Kyan -- Sk8 the Infinity

Reki is exuberant, excitable and friendly, particularly when it comes to skating. He also has many other unexpected traits, such as the patience he exhibited when teaching Langa Hasegawa how to skate and the mature way he held down a job in order to fund his pastime in Sk8 the Infinity. His skills with art and custom-building Langa's board to fit his snowboarding style can't be overlooked either. Though Reki is still hotheaded, competitive and stubborn -- and definitely a bit of a show-off -- he finds it easy to fit into any company and he cares very deeply about people and maintaining important relationships. Naturally, Reki is two times the Best Boy when Langa is at his side.

Sk8 the Infinity can be streamed on Funimation.

Shinei Nouzen -- 86 Eighty-Six

Shinei Nouzen remembers his fallen brethren

Shin Nouzen carried a heavy burden in 86 Eighty-Six. Known as 'The Undertaker' for the Spearhead Squadron in this war drama, Shin was surrounded by death on all sides and constantly reminded of those losses; determined to remember those he couldn't save. It took a long time to get him to smile, let alone open up to anyone. Despite all this, Shin has a kind heart and takes fault for every conflict. He sacrifices everything for his companions and endures immense amounts of pain without a word, retaining the softest parts of humanity in the the midst of war.

86 Eighty-Six can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

Takemichi Hanagaki

Takemichi Hanagaki smiling

He might be a punk, but Takemichi Hanagaki is one truly dedicated boy to saving the life of his middle-school girlfriend. He relived his younger years over and over, despite the number of beatings he received in Tokyo Revengers. As the show continued, Takemichi's goals expanded to not only saving his girlfriend, but saving the members of the Kanto Manji Gang, especially Mikey Sano, who seemed to be sent on a darker path with every rewind. No matter how many tears he sheds, Takemichi is determined to keep going, dedicated to these gangster kids who he never even knew in his previous life, but now takes responsibility for with his own hands.

Tokyo Revengers can be streamed on Crunchyroll and HBO Max.

Prince Bojji -- Ranking of Kings

Ranking of Kings E10 Bojji sword

Prince Bojji is underrated, under-appreciated and underestimated in Ranking of Kings -- things that made his life infinitesimally more difficult, but forged him into the strongest blade there can be. Born completely deaf and mostly mute, Bojji is the son of King Bosse, who traded his son's power away in return for strength. However, Bojji replaced strength with agility and force with kindness, winning others to his side through genuine care and compassion for their lives, feelings and efforts. Though faced with every hardship, Bojji continues to struggle forward with determination and a smile for those at his side, a true Best Boy for 2021.

Ranking of Kings can be streamed on Funimation.

Noé Archiviste -- The Case Study of Vanitas

Nóe is the narrator for The Case Study of Vanitas, recording his side of the story and guessing at what he doesn't know to the best of his ability. Nóe is naïve, having spent most of his life cooped away in a mansion, and is in constant wonder at the world. His naivety sometimes led him to act impulsively, without common sense, and his sense of trust in people has led him astray. However, he will always defend someone he thinks is in danger, and he yearns to understand that which he doesn't, which leads him to friendships and alliances he might have missed otherwise. Nóe is a kind defender with a child's enthusiasm.

His partner in crime, on the other hand, does things a little differently.

Vanitas -- The Case Study of Vanitas

The enigmatic doctor, Vanitas, does as he wishes, which is not always exactly moral. When viewed through Nóe's eyes, Vanitas can come across as quite the human monster, but Nóe hardly ever has the whole picture as Vanitas never wants to share it. He keeps the secrets of his past close to heart, such as how he came about the Book of Vanitas. As Vanitas' story did piece together, it told the tale of someone who has gone through a lot of suffering in order to come out the other end determined to cure curse-bearing vampires. With volatile emotions, particularly when it comes to those he cares about, Vanitas is unpredictable and moody, but he cares beneath all that bluster.

The Case Study of Vanitas can be streamed on Funimation.

Yatora Yuguchi -- Blue Period

Yatora cool guy pose from Blue Period

Though Blue Period boasts an excellent roster of characters, Yatora is the primary protagonist and, as his record of improvement both as an artist and as a person have shown, he deserves a Best Boy nomination. Yatora is an inspiration for the realistic way he pursued a new dream, relying on passion to keep himself going. Through art, Yatora came to understand the people around him better, using his creative space to contemplate. Through sketches, he realized how hard his mother works each day. Through the use of different shades of red, he understood how much his friend Ryuji Ayukawa suffers. The way that Yatora is willing to have his mind changed as he embraces new experiences is a sign of a truly good person.

Blue Period can be streamed weekly on Netflix.

It's to be seen how these Best Boys of 2021 rank up against Crunchyroll's Anime Awards, but they each undoubtedly earned their place on this particular list, whether it be through art or shapeshifting or ultimate skating. To vote for the year's Best Boy, head to the Crunchyroll polls, opening on Jan. 18. The awards show will be on Feb. 9. Hopefully, a few of these Best Boys will make an appearance.

Komi Yuiko and Hitohito Tadano in Komi Can't Communicate.
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