Sometimes when life becomes overwhelming, I like to take comfort in watching horror shows and movies, as well as my favourite feel-good titles, which is precisely what my humble anime watching wrap-up for Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 entails. While I was not able to see as many serials as I would have liked, what I did indulge in helped me to make it through these tough seasons and for me that means it was a fantastic couple of seasons of watching the things.
I actually managed to check out quite a few new (as in unseen) titles that had been lingering on my Watchlist for quite some time and kept the re-watching shenanigans to a minimum. Hell, two of the anime are even from recent respective simulcast seasons! I am mildly impressed with myself if I do say so…myself.
Anyhoo, you can view my completed serials down below. For now, I have recommendation posts planned for at least two and a full review for another, as these are titles that spoke most to me during my watching escapades. Another one is my all-time favourite thing in existence, and I haven’t quite figured out what type of post I would like to do on it. Hell, I’ve been thinking about doing a write-up on this glorious anime for years, so when the right idea strikes, I promise to take full advantage of it.
Snippets are spoiler-free as usual. I tried to include a brief list of content warnings as well as the demographic, genre, and airing season. Please, let me know if you’d like information on more specific content warnings, or if you see something that you’d be interested in my reviewing.
Aggretsuko (Aggressive Retsuko) Season 4: A seinen, comedy series about an office worker named Retsuko who likes to do death metal karaoke as a way to de-stress from the frustrations of work and life. Season 4 centres on the collision of Retsuko’s personal and professional lives. Once again, through lovely deadpan comedy, I felt the themes and episodes of this season striking me in the heart. Dating is pretty bloody tough and when you toss in presumptuous bullshit and anxiety, it can turn into Emerald from Final Fantasy VII. Relatable and quirky, yet thoughtful and inspiring, season 4 kicked just as much ass as the previous instalments. I cannot wait for the next one! CW: Toxic and hostile work environments. Alcohol and food consumption. Brief crude language. Brief gaslighting. Depiction of work-related depression. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. [Netflix] (Fall 2021)
Arte: A seinen, slice-of-life anime series about a noblewoman in Italy during the Renaissance who gives up her life of luxury and comfort in order to become an apprentice to a talented artist so she may hone her skills and passions. But her gender creates quite the bit of qualm and chaos for her on this journey of self-discovery. This was a feel-good serial recommended to me when I needed a story to warm my heart and give me fluffy vibes. In so many ways, it succeeded 1000%, yet in a couple of ways it was also a let-down. I shall be doing a full review for this title, so keep an eye out over the coming weeks. Overall, however, I feel it is a wonderfully delightful, pick-me-up for anyone needing a spot of inspiration in their lives. CW: Sexism and misogyny. Depiction of indentured servitude, mistreatment of poor peoples, and rigid gender inequality. Some mildly crude language and sexual references. Alcohol and food consumption. RECOMMENDED. [Funimation & Hulu] (Spring 2020)
Initial D: First Stage: A seinen, sports (drift racing) series about a teenage tofu delivery dude who turns out to be the baddest motherfucking racer around, which changes his perception of the world around him in absolutely fabulous yet unexpected ways. This is my ultimate beloved anime of all-time. I watched the first season because I needed it’s Eurobeat-infested embrace like a freezing cold kitten stuck in the snow, and of course, it didn’t disappoint. CW: Some crude and strong language. Food consumption. Mild gaslighting and bullying. Depiction of car accidents. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, BITCHES. [DVD, Funimation] (Summer 1995)
Outlaw Star: This seinen, space western, space opera follows a red-haired, womanising dude named Gene Starwind and his assorted crew of kooks as they search for a legendary outer space treasure trove via an inherited ship they named Outlaw Star. There were tons of things that I loved about this series from the continuation of story from episode to episode in an almost effortless manner, to the witty eccentric characters, to Gene’s growth as a person as he discovers many things on his journey, to the cheesy humour and the action—it’s just an excellently underrated sci-fi anime that needs more love. CW: Space violence, blood, and death including suicide. Some crude and strong language. Some sexuality and nudity. Food, alcohol, and drug consumption. Depiction of enslavement, classism, and misogyny. RECOMMENDED. [Blu-Ray, Funimation] (Winter 1998)
Restaurant to Another World 2: The second season in a seinen, fantasy, isekai series about a Japanese restaurant that appears to various fantastical worlds on the Day of Satur, catering to many foodies wishes and requests. Season 1 was one of my favourites because it was wholesome and feel-good and it has so much amazing fucking food. Season 2 continued that tradition with more new characters and situations that can be humbling and endearing, and many more dishes to make your mouth water and your tummy roar with yearning. It’s one of my favourite fluffy anime serials around. CW: Strong depiction of preparation and consumption of food and alcohol. Depiction of oppression, starving folx, and poverty (in brief snippets). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. [CrunchyRoll] (Fall 2021)
Say “I Love You”: A shōjo, romance series about the most popular guy in school becoming fascinated with an aloof and anti-social girl after she kicks him in the chest for supposedly looking up her skirt. This was a re-watch for me. As someone who doesn’t typically like pure romance anime, Say “I Love You” is in my top five favourites of all-time for the genre. It’s so endearing and heartfelt, sweet yet sincere, and doesn’t shy away from the more mature topics of bullying, self-harm, and self-image that is typical for older adolescence, handling those subjects with care and candidness. Re-watching this gave me the sort of fortitude that I needed during the period in which I picked it up. CW: Sexual content. Some strong language. Bullying. Ableism and negative depictions of body image insecurities including eating disorders and self-harm. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. [Blu-ray, Funimation, Hulu] (Fall 2012)
Skull Man: A shōnen, superhero, mystery anime series about a reporter named Mikogami Hayato, who returns to his hometown of Ōtomo City after many years when a legendary figure known as The Skull Man is rumoured to have murdered a famous actress. The journalist becomes determined to uncover the mystery of the Skull Man, as well as his true identity. This wasn’t a perfect anime by far, but it had some very good elements of mystery and atmosphere, as well as some interesting messages on the nature of war, the many faces of redemption, and how good and evil can be misinterpreted for one another if the circumstances allow for it. I loved the intellectual aspects of this series. I just wish it was a tad bit more fleshed out and had a less ambiguous kind of finale. Nonetheless, I think it’s worth a watch, particularly if one is into mysteries and crime thrillers. CW: Violence, blood, and deaths including brief depiction of war crimes. Some mild language. Consumption of food. Drinking. Smoking. [HiDive] (Spring 2007)
Yamishibai Seasons 1-9: A folklore, horror series consisting of short episodes that go over supernatural folklore, mythos, and tales from all over Japan. I binged-watched this whole series (thus far) in about two to three weeks. The episodes were mostly hit and miss, with more misses than hits in the later seasons, but it was a mindless thing to put in when I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. It provided a small reprieve of distractions that I was desperately searching for. I can’t say I enjoyed the whole thing, and while there are a few rather frightening and creeptastic segments, the series as a whole was mostly a let-down, which makes me sad. CW: Death of loved ones including kids. Child disappearances. Body horror. Blood and gore. Insects. INDIFFERENT. [CrunchyRoll] (Summer 2013)
That does it for my seasonal wrap-up! Goals for Spring are to dive into more slice-of-life and feel-good recommendations that were given to me last year (I made a giant list of all of your suggestions!). I also want to make more of an effort to see titles that I own yet have remained unwatched for a ludicrous amount of time. Of course, if there is something interesting in my streaming theatrics, I shall definitely share recommendations and reviews as they arise!
Thank you so much for visiting me today. If you have any favourite Spring-time anime serials that you loved with all of your heart, please drop them for me in the comments! My heart and my mind are quite hungry for it. Beyond that, I do plan on starting up a Natsume’s Book of Friends project for Spring and Summer, so keep an eye out for that as well! Until next time, keep reading and keep otakuing, mates.