comScore Spring 2021 Anime Season First Episode Blitz (Part Two) | The Mary Sue

Spring 2021 Anime Season First Episode Blitz (Part Two – Crunchyroll and Netflix)

Seven more anime to check out (or not)!

Tokyo Revengers screencap going back to the past

Hello there, fellow anime enthusiasts, and happy “it’s Monday, I guess” to you all. Last week, I started up my series of first-episode write-ups for some new springtime anime. Today, I’ve got more episodes to discuss, because yeah, there’s a LOT to talk about this season.

I’ll give a quick synopsis of each series, tell you my thoughts, and let you know if I personally think the series is worth watching. I should note that this isn’t every new anime that’s come out, just the series I was personally interested in.

Since there’s so much anime to get through (10+ on top of the 8 I already reviewed) we’re gonna divide this up again! Today, I’ll go into the stuff I watched on Crunchyroll and Netflix, and tomorrow I’ll tackle Funimation + an extra Crunchyroll one that I’m watching tonight (To Your Eternity).

 

Crunchyroll Series

  • Let’s Make a Mug Too

Let's Make a Mug cast

Synopsis: The city of Tajimi, located in the southern part of Gifu Prefecture, Japan, is famous for Mino earthenware. The city is dotted with historical pottery producers and ceramic art museums. It has facilities where you can try your hand at making pottery and many restaurants that serve food on Minoware dishes.

The story begins when a high school girl moves to a shopping street in Tajimi. Many encounters await her, friends, town folk, ceramic art, etc. What will she discover in a town famous for ceramic?

Worth checking out episode 2? If you need a warm cup of tea, yes.

Let’s Make a Mug Too is one of those series that will probably make you cry if you watch it on a feels-heavy day. The premise is simple (a girl who returns to her mother’s hometown and picks up the craft her mom used to do), and the cast is made up of endearing young girls who come together via ceramic art. The feels part comes in when our main character, Himeno, remembers her mother via the smell of clay, or her father quietly leaving the room when Himeno brings up joining the pottery club because it brings up memories of his late wife. It’s a relatable form of grief/remembering a loved one where the most random thing will trigger memories, even if Himeno’s mother died when she was a child. Himeno’s mother was, apparently, well known in the world of ceramic art, and Himeno’s father made a promise to watch Himeno closely so she doesn’t fall ill as her mother did.

There’s also a live-action segment following the episodes where the main voice actresses actually go to the town where the story takes place. I gotta say, it’s pretty clever to use a pottery anime to discuss your town that’s known for ceramic art.

The voice actresses after the show

All and all, I recommend this series if you’re in the mood for some soft, quiet storytelling that’ll inevitably have an episode (or two) that makes you cling to a box of Kleenex. I probably won’t watch it weekly, but I do see myself clicking on it if I need to trigger some emotional family memories.

 

  • ODDTAXI

Our main character and his latest customer

Synopsis: “So, where to?”

This town should look familiar, but suddenly, it’s not.

The taxi driver Odokawa lives a very mundane life. He has no family, doesn’t really hang out with others, and he’s an oddball who is narrow-minded and doesn’t talk much. The only people he can call his friends are his doctor, Gouriki, and his classmate from high school, Kakibana.

All of his patrons seem to be slightly odd themselves. The college student who wants the world to notice him online, Kabasawa. A nurse with secrets named Shirakawa. A comedy duo that just can’t catch a break named the Homosapiens. A local hoodlum named Dobu. An idol group that’s just starting out named Mystery Kiss… All these mundane conversations somehow eventually lead to a girl who’s gone missing.

Worth checking out episode 2? Yes, let’s hail the cab over!

I expected a kinda quaint, anthropomorphic series whose main premise was “look at the walrus taxi driver listening to the problems of the Animal Kingdom,” and that is the premise… but add a missing girl? And our walrus being pinned as a suspect? And shady cops? And a nurse that may be stealing drugs from the hospital she works at? All the characters we meet are interesting and the series is, clearly, linking them together, but the question is how is everyone connected, where is this missing girl, and who is Odokawa (our good??? boy walrus) talking to in the closet?!

This ended up being way more intriguing than I expected and I wanna know what happens next.

 

  • Fairy Ranmaru

Our main five fairies

Synopsis: Set in a world of cruelty and heartbreak, Fairy Ranmaru follows five young men who work at the mysterious “Bar F” and who offer to heal the hearts of their clients, wiping away their tears and causing smiles to bloom like flowers. They take no payment… aside from stealing their clients’ hearts.

Worth checking out episode 2? They’ll take my heart, but I dunno if they’ll take my viewership.

This certainly isn’t the only pretty boy anime of the season but it may be the most blatantly obvious one. From our first meeting of the five fairies being all of them standing together, naked, as they introduce themselves to the audience – sorry, I mean, The Queen – to them having fairy rules that tell them to NOT fall in love or get physical with the opposite sex, it’s clear that we’re supposed to think these dudes are hot and ship them with one another.

Granted, at least one of the fairies is a rule-breaker who messes around with women, but it’s okay to defy some rules (I guess) as long as the main one is left intact (don’t let humans find out you’re a fairy).

Seeing magical boys is a rarity, and the fact that their human forms are so drastically different from their fairy forms is interesting. It’s more than just a hair color change or a new outfit, they change into men (some way more muscular than others) and come with theme music and entire transformation sequences. Like. No one is gonna suspect these boys as being the men in the pic I used above:

The fairies in human form

They fight against negativity (literally, their first monster is born from a jealous girl harassing her ex-boyfriend’s new love interest online) and the battle landscape is a sight to behold, full of images representing the monstrous force they’re facing (in this case, several eyes from the Internet, and I swear, at one point, the Twitter logo).

That being said, the first episode is… okay. If you’re a regular anime watcher you can look at the pictures and immediately identity the personality type for each character. Also, the series doesn’t always follow its own rules. For example, someone finds out that her classmate is a fairy and there are zero consequences. Also, why are their ears still pointy, lol! Still, if you want some magical cheesiness with a good-looking cast who gets tied up in the ending theme, this might be worth your time.

A+ ending theme

I am looking respectfully.

Seriously though, can I get an artbook of this?

 

  • Backflip!!

Our main team competing

Synopsis: Each laugh takes them higher. Each tear makes them stronger.

The final summer of middle school, Shotaro Futaba discovers boys’ gymnastics and is completely enamored by it. Shotaro ends up going to Soshukan Private High School (also known as Ao High) and decides to visit the boy’s gymnastics club. He’s greeted by very unique senpais and a star gymnast named Misato Ryoya. Dedicating your life to something you love during your fiery days of youth… of course, there is frustration and fights, but see how these boys work together as a team towards a similar goal in this drama about sports and youth. This spring, see passionate boys give their all for their youthful dreams!

Worth checking out episode 2? The bluebird’s feather flutters down to land on the word YES.

My sports anime fangirl heart adores how cute this series is. Also, the animation is pleasant to look at, especially during the floor routines. Every time I watch gymnastics (in real life) I’m reminded that I could never be a judge because I think it all looks great. Shotaro feels the same way, immediately inspired to join the team when he goes to high school… assuming he can get over his shyness. Shotaro is peak lovable good sports boy, having played a couple of different sports but not really finding anything that stuck for him. Gymnastics is the first time he decided to join a sport instead of having someone pull him in, so he’s enjoying it more than he ever thought possible.

The rest of the characters fit the archetypes you typically see in sports anime, but it’s nice to see them supporting Shotaro (who’s completely new to gymnastics) and it’s fun watching them interact with one another. I also have a soft spot for series where boys are doing something that most expect girls to do, especially if the boys take great pride in what they do instead of being bothered by it. I’m looking forward to seeing the full team come together for a beautiful routine.

 

  • DON’T TOY WITH ME, MISS NAGATORO

Nagatoro and her Senpai

Synopsis: Nagatoro is a freshman in high school who loves teasing and torturing her older male classmate! What’s her motivation and why does Senpai put up with her? Does Nagatoro just want to create misery for Senpai? Or maybe she secretly likes him?

Worth checking out episode 2? If you can withstand the teasing, yes.

We know that it’s all about getting Senpai to notice you, but sometimes, Senpai’s a quiet nerd who gets easily flustered, and sometimes, it’s more effective to tease him so you can watch the tears wet his eyelashes. This is an anime series that takes the “person teases their crush as a sign of love” trope and runs wild with it, somehow doing it in a way that doesn’t make me want Senpai to run for his gosh darn life. We find out that Senpai’s used to being picked on, but something about Nagataro’s methods is… charming to him? And me, too? We (the viewer) can tell that she’s doing it to get a reaction out of him, going so far as to ask if he ever gets mad, wanting him to actually stand up for himself – something he’s never done before.

Is it tough love? I dunno, maybe?

Nagatoro and her Senpai

There’s something about her quiet apologies and the small sense of victory when she finally tells him her name that makes this series entertaining, if you’re into rowdy slice-of-life stories with a touch of fan-service… that immediately gets laughed off, lol, silly Senpai.

 

  • Tokyo Revengers

Middle school was a thing

Synopsis: Takemichi Hanagaki is a freelancer that’s reached the absolute pits of despair in his life. He finds out that the only girlfriend he ever had in his life that he dated in middle school, Hinata Tachibana, had been killed by the ruthless Tokyo Manji Gang.

The day after hearing about her death, he’s standing on the station platform and ends up being pushed over onto the tracks by a herd of people. He closes his eyes thinking he’s about to die, but when he opens his eyes back up, he somehow had gone back in time 12 years.

Now that he’s back living the best days of his life, Takemichi decides to get revenge on his life by saving his girlfriend and changing himself that he’d been running away from.

Worth checking out episode 2? My middle school self and present-day self have shaken hands to say yes!

Much like ODDTAXI I did not expect this series to go the way it did. I expected Takemichi Hanagaki to get a second chance at life, but it looks like he’s gonna get multiple shots to do one very specific thing: save the only girl he’s ever loved. His life has been so mundane that he hasn’t even thought of her until she was tragically killed. After going back in time in the most unconventional way possible, he’s in middle school again, reunited with his old gang, and reliving the start of what would lead to his dull life and, presumably, the death of his girlfriend.

This series is intriguing for a couple of different reasons, first and foremost being Takemichi Hanagaki himself. Questioning what happened to lead you to where you are today is common for all of us, leading to us wondering what would happen if we got to go back to the start of it all. Hilariously, to Hanagaki, going back to middle school (initially) is the worst because, in hindsight, he thinks he was a loser. But soon he realizes that this is a time in his life where he had friends and a girl he loved, something he doesn’t have as an adult.

I assumed we’d stick with him in middle school for a while, but surprisingly, the time travel is more involved than that. It looks like other characters are gonna be a part of this, too, set to change the future alongside Hanagaki.

You went back in time

How many times are they gonna go back, who else is gonna be a part of this, what triggers Hanagaki’s time travel, and of course, will it work?

More importantly… who pushed him toward that train in the first place?

 

Netflix Series

  • The Way of the Househusband

Tatsu in the kitchen

Synopsis: After disappearing from the underworld, the legendary Yakuza Tatsu “the Immortal Dragon” resurfaces – as a fiercely devoted stay-at-home husband.

Worth binging? Yes, the Roomba is ready!

Since this premiered on Netflix, all the episodes are available now. It’s a pretty short series (just five episodes) and is easy to get through in one sitting. That being said, if you want a quick, fun comedy to watch, Tatsu’s got you covered.

There was a lot of conversation about the art in this series since it’s, primarily, a faithful recreation of the manga, so much so that it feels like you’re watching a presentation of each page. I know this isn’t gonna be something everyone enjoys, but it works well for me because of how fast-paced the comedy is. The main gag is “Tatsu treats being a househusband just as seriously as he treated being a Yakuza,” so you get images of big scary man asking for a points card at the grocery store. It’s hilarious to read in the manga, and hearing the dialogue backed with music and sound effects amused me during every episode. 

Honestly, I thought I wouldn’t like how the anime was presented, but Tatsu’s voice actor (subbed AND dubbed) sold it for me. I recommend giving it a shot, even if you were feeling iffy about it after seeing the trailer.

 

 

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s list, which should be the end of my springtime first anime episode series!

(Image: Crunchyroll)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)