After a relatively light summer season, fall 2021 looks to be downright packed with exciting anime, with both brand new shows and continuations of fan favorites. As always, some highly anticipated titles are bound to disappoint and great shows can come out of nowhere without advanced hype, but either way, the following 12 anime stand out the most heading into the new season. These are shows that anime fans will definitely want to keep an eye on.
The Heike Story
The Heike Story got a head start on the rest of the fall season; two episodes have already premiered as of this writing. When talking about the biggest anime of the season, though, it can't be ignored. Director Naoko Yamada (K-on!, A Silent Voice) and animation studio Science SARU (Devilman Crybaby, Star Wars: Visions) have teamed up for this artful adaptation of one of Japan's major historical epic poems, centered around a child who can see the future living through the Genpei War.
New episodes of The Heike Story premiere Wednesdays on Funimation.
Komi Can't Communicate
Some of the best news for anime fans this fall is come from Netflix finally starting to release new anime episode-by-episode only a week or two after each episode premieres in Japan. Komi Can't Communicate, a comedy about an utterly average high school boy helping his beautiful but socially awkward classmate make 100 friends, is one of the first shows Netflix is trying out its new release model on. The manga by Tomohito Oda has been one of the most requested for an anime adaptation.
Komi Can't Communicate premieres in Japan on Oct. 7 and on Netflix worldwide on Oct. 21.
Blue Period, based on the award-winning manga by Tsubasa Yamaguchi, tells the story of an intelligent but aimless delinquent who finds purpose when he joins his high school's art club. The series' character-based drama is mixed with detailed information about artistic techniques and processes, so this "edutainment" anime could very well end up inspiring viewers to pick up a pencil or paintbrush themselves.
Blue Period premieres in Japan on Oct. 2 and on Netflix worldwide on Oct. 9.
Blade Runner: Black Lotus
Blade Runner: Black Lotus is bound to attract attention from viewers outside of anime fandom even if it proves controversial within the fandom itself. This attention is due to its connection to Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Blade Runner and a celebrity-filled dub cast led by The Matrix Resurrections' Jessica Henwick. The controversy is due to its CG animation, which has had mixed responses. Hopefully, the story and action will be strong enough to override any doubts about the show's visual style.
Blade Runner: Black Lotus will premiere on Adult Swim's Toonami block and stream on Crunchyroll sometime this fall.
Fall 2021's big new Shonen Jump adaptation is a darker one than usual. Platinum End comes from the minds of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the creators of Death Note, and promises a similar mix of mind games, murder and the supernatural. The story follows an abused teenage boy who is empowered by an angel to seek revenge against his foster parents -- and is also selected as one of 13 candidates to potentially replace God.
Platinum End premieres Oct. 7 on Crunchyroll.
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon - The Second Act
The demon princess twins Towa and Setsuna and the bounty hunter Moroha are back for more adventures in Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon - The Second Act. Promotional materials for the new season have been highlighting the main characters from the original Inuyasha, who were mostly absent from the first season of this next-generation sequel, so upcoming story arcs could be working hard to push fans' nostalgia buttons.
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon - The Second Act premieres Oct. 2 on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.
Lupin the 3rd: Part 6
Anime's favorite thief has been busy in recent years. Lupin the 3rd: Part V was only three years ago in 2018, which was only three years after Part IV in 2015. Lupin the 3rd: Part 6 moves the action to England, with Lupin III becoming Sherlock Holmes's top suspect in the murder of Dr. James Watson. Made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Lupin III anime, the new series is bringing on a variety of guest writers including Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii.
Lupin the 3rd: Part 6 premieres Oct. 10 on HIDIVE.
The sci-fi/mecha anime SAKUGAN previewed its first episode at Crunchyroll Expo this past summer, and it gets off to a promising start. The story, about a girl genius and her protective father on a quest throughout an underground labyrinth, has the potential to become emotional, but the premiere episode demonstrates a keen ability to keep the action fun and entertaining even when the narrative turns dark. If the show continues to build from this opening, this could be one of fall's sleeper hits.
SAKUGAN is scheduled to premiere on Oct. 7 and will stream on Crunchyroll.
Ranking of Kings
At the very least, Ranking of Kings looks like it will be one of the cutest new anime of the season. This fantasy comedy from Wit Studio, based on a web manga by Sosuke Toka, follows a deaf prince named Bojji who befriends a shadow creature called Kage on his quest to become king. The noitaminA block hasn't had the best year in 2021, but this charming-looking Ghibli-esque series could end the year on a high note.
Ranking of Kings premieres Oct. 15 on Funimation.
Madhouse and MAPPA, two major animation studios both founded by Masao Maruyama, are teaming up for takt op.Destiny, the first anime in a new multimedia franchise. Set in a dystopian future where alien monsters have banned music, a number of young women with "Musicart" powers and their "Conductors" have become resistance fighters. The story could easily get convoluted, but if the animation and music impress, this has the potential to be a fall anime highlight.
takt op.Destiny premieres Oct. 6 on Crunchyroll.
Demon Slayer Season 2
Demon Slayer Season 2 is by far the most widely anticipated anime of fall 2021 -- a status that's only going to increase due to the long wait for new episodes to actually begin in earnest. Technically, the new season begins on October 10, but the first seven episodes are simply an extended split-up version of the series' record-breaking movie Mugen Train. The new storyline, The Entertainment District Arc, begins with Episode 8 and will most likely start airing at the end of November, barring any delays.
Demon Slayer Season 2 will stream on Funimation and Crunchyroll.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean
Last but not least, another highly-anticipated anime premiering much later than the others, it almost might make more sense to count JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean as part of the winter 2021 anime season since the first batch of episodes drops sometime in December. The anime adaptation of the sixth part of Hirohiko Araki's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure manga features the first female JoJo, Jolyne Cujoh, who must escape from prison after being framed for murder by DIO. Her bizarre adventures should be well worth the wait.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean will release episodes on Netflix in monthly batches beginning in December.