AniTAY’s Winter 2021 Sequel Guide

Arcane
Arcane
Jan 8 · 17 min read
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New year, new platform, and a tidal wave of sequels means that now is an excellent time to revisit our Sequel Guide format. While previously, the AniTAY Sequel Guide was mostly objective and purely informational, in order to line it up with the tone of the rest of our content, the Guide has now been trimmed down to only the shows we really wanted to talk about, which in Winter 2021 luckily gives us a ton of stuff to write up. And, rather than a dry synopsis, our writers are taking the chance to tell you why they think you should (or even shouldn’t) catch up with these stories, in brief reviews with a little more of a personal touch.

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Attack on Titan: Final Season

Presented by Doctorkev

Studio: Mappa

Genres: Action, Horror, War, Seinen

Why You Should Catch Up:

Whether you like it or not, there’s no denying that Attack on Titan is a phenomenon,extending its influence far beyond the usual anime fandom slums. Perhaps bolstered by the appearance of the first season on Netflix, many millions of viewers gravitated towards this intensely strange anti-war, anti-fascist slice of grand guignol drama.

Based on Hajime Isayama’s long-running manga, the first three seasons were masterfully adapted by the peerless Wit Studio. When they stepped down from production on this fourth and final season, fans were concerned that some cut-price hack of a company would replace them (cough DEEN cough). Thankfully, these fears were unfounded as respected studio MAPPA (Jujutsu Kaisen, Dorohedoro, Sarazanmai) have taken up the reins of what looks to be an extremely challenging section of the story to adapt.

For those who inexplicably have never heard of the show, it’s basically: “what if mecha, but fleshy?” Protagonist Eren Yeager grows up entirely within the bounds of his walled city, until one day massive monstrous beings who look like grotesque mutated humans — the titular Titans — break through the walls, devouring the populace. Eren escapes with his childhood friends Mikasa and Armin and subsequently trains to become a warrior in order to fight back against mankind’s hideous, mindless oppressors.

What follows is a complex story filled with twists, turns and revelations, frequent horrifying character deaths, clandestine political manoeuvring, military coups, and pulse-pounding, kinetic action sequences with some of the most impressive (and strategic use of) 3D CGI in anime. Attack on Titan’s characters are well-drawn and flawed human beings with varying motivations. Even the central trio make screw-ups and bad decisions that come to haunt them. Stunning betrayals and plot inversions are par for the course, and this convention follows into the setup for the final season.

Without spoiling the end of the third season too much, it’s clear that it was the author’s original planned conclusion. Of course, publishers enjoy earning money, so convinced/forced/threatened him to extend the story and we’re now at 32 volumes and the final chapter is in sight, likely within the next few months.

Granted a strange start date (December 7th 2020), by the time you read this, the final season will already be well underway. With a confirmed episode order of only 16 episodes, it seems unlikely the entire concluding 11 or 12 volumes can be covered in this time. Perhaps this will be a similar deal to season 3, which was split in half with a space of almost 9 months between sections.

With a new studio and new staff at the helm, there are bound to be visual changes, and with the story’s setting very different to how it started, it may feel like an entirely new show. Fans should be encouraged to stick with it to give MAPPA a chance — newcomers should start with season 1. Despite appearances, this is NOT a good jumping-on-point for this heavily-serialised story.

Time To Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

Essential:

TV series: 23.5 hours

  • Attack on Titan Season 1: 25 episodes
  • Attack on Titan Season 2: 12 episodes
  • Attack on Titan Season 3: 22 episodes

Optional:

4 Compilation movies: 8 hours

  • Attack on Titan — Part 1: Crimson Bow and Arrow (Covers Season 1, episodes 1–13)
  • Attack on Titan — Part 2: Wings of Freedom (Covers Season 1, episodes 14–25)
  • Attack on Titan: The Roar of Awakening (Covers Season 2)
  • Attack on Titan: Chronicle (Covers Seasons 1–3(!))

8 OVAs: 3.5 hours

  • Attack on Titan: Lost Girls OVAs 1–3
  • Attack on Titan: No Regrets OVAs 1–2
  • Attack on Titan OVAs 1–3

Where to Catch Up:

  • Attack on Titan Seasons 1, 2, 3: Crunchyroll and Funimation streaming, Blu-ray/DVD
  • Attack on Titan Compilation movies: Blu-ray/DVD, no streaming options
  • Attack on Titan OVAs: Bonus DVDs with special edition manga volumes, in subtitled English on Region 1 only, no streaming options, no dub
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Cells at Work!! 2nd Season / Cells at Work! Code Black

Presented by Doctorkev

Studio: David Production (Cells at Work!! Season 2), Lidenfilms (Cells at Work! Code Black)

Genres: Action, gore, comedy, edutainment

Why You Should Catch Up:

Cells at Work! is a hilarious, gore-drenched yet educational 2018 anime from David Production (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Fire Force). Set inside an average human body, Cells at Work! details the day-to-day trials and tribulations of the individual cells that comprise you — a human being. Think Osmosis Jones with anthropomorphic cells, but with insane degrees of seinen-level violence.

Seen primarily through the eyes of Red Blood Cell AE3803, she’s a rookie erythrocyte who continually loses her way while delivering her essential packages of fresh oxygen to the body’s peripheries. She repeatedly finds herself in harm’s way, only to be rescued by the fittingly pallid, eye-bagged and haunted (yet still strangely handsome) White Blood Cell U-1146.

Red Blood Cell meets many other cells during her travels, such as the adorable schoolkid-esque platelets, graceful yet terrifying macrophages, roided-up commando-style Killer T Cells, pep-talk offering Dendritic Cells, antibody-fluid-filled-super-soaker-packing Beta Lymphocytes, massive prong-bearing Eosinophils, mysterious (because no-one knows what they do) Basophils, and even deeply troubled, tragic yet dangerous Cancer Cells. Not to mention a menagerie of colourful bacterial and viral antagonists who wouldn’t look out of place in your average Dragonball Z episode.

Cells at Work! never takes itself entirely seriously, except for its commitment to scientific accuracy. This show is fantastically well researched and authoritative enough that I keep volumes of the manga to give to the medical students on placement in my practice to read during their personal study time. With a primary focus on haematology and infectious disease, it doesn’t fulfill the broadest of curriculum outcomes, but paired with one of its spin-off series, its scope widens considerably.

This is why it’s interesting that they’ve chosen to release two new Cells at Work! seasons back to back — the first is a direct follow up to the original show — and the second is an adaptation of spin-off manga Cells at Work Black, this time from Liden Films (Killing Bites, As Miss Beelzebub Likes).

Black’s main conceit is that while the main series is set in a body that functions normally and focuses on exploring physiology, the spinoff is set in a body that does not function correctly. iIs inhabitant drinks alcohol to excess, smokes, eats poorly and is in the process of developing multiple diseases. Expect this show to depict exhausted and stressed cells bitterly sacrificing their lives to combat enormous, gloopy cholesterol plaques, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases… Also, the main duo are gender-swapped and this version of White Blood Cell has… uh… significant assets her male counterpart lacked.

Watch Cells at Work! for the goofy humour and massively OTT gory action (who knew individual cells had their own voluminous blood circulation?) but stay for the medically-certified-(mostly)-accurate education.

Time to Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

Essential:

  • TV Show: Cells at Work! (13 episodes, 5 hours approx.)

Optional:

  • Movie: Cells at Work! The Return of the Strongest Enemy. A Huge Uproar Inside the Body’s “Bowels”! (“Hataraku Saibō!!” Saikyō no Teki, Futatabi. Karada no Naka wa “Chō” Ōsawagi!)

Where to Catch Up: TV show: Crunchyroll, Movie: unreleased outside of Japan.

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Dr Stone: Stone Wars

Presented by Arcane

Studio: TMS Entertainment

Genres: Shounen, Action, Sci-Fi

Why You Should Catch Up: Dr. Stone blasted onto the scene in 2019 and quickly sparked a conversation about how different it was from the other shounen airing at the same time — it wasn’t much like My Hero Academia, Boruto, or Black Clover, being a story about a boy who does not fight. Indeed, Senku — the world’s most intelligent onion — is probably the least physically gifted person in the cast of the show, and differentiates himself from other shounen protagonists through his intelligence and level-headedness. Not only can he formulate a plan quickly for any situation, but he also understands the value in relying entirely on his friends to survive in the world in which he finds himself. Senku is not particularly to everyone’s taste — he’s incredibly aware of how smart he is, and is not shy about it in the slightest — but his tendency to go on supervillain-esque monologues despite being the protagonist quickly endeared me to him, and made his antagonist foil all the more effective.

The main antagonist of the show, Tsukasa, is a man in complete ideological opposition to Senku. Where Senku sees the “New Stone Age” as an opportunity to jumpstart scientific progress with his massive wealth of knowledge and accelerate back to the modern world, Tsukasa aims to make the new world different, into one where the young, strong, and virile can rule and shape the world without being oppressed by old and entrenched power. While Senku wants to keep things peaceful so that he can continue his work towards the future, Tsukasa is keenly aware that Senku’s success means his failure, and that he’s going to have to use brutal force in order to get what he wants. In doing so, the story positions him less as a maniacal crazy person, and more someone in a philosophical battle with the “hero” in which both have completely valid and nuanced points. Tsukasa isn’t evil, but he’s definitely driven, and he’s much smarter than people expect him to be, yet has a different kind of intelligence than Senku’s — where Senku has book smarts but is loud and somewhat obnoxious, Tsukasa has practical knowledge and remains cool and quiet at almost all times.

To say much more would be to spoil some of the major twists of the first season, but what I’ve described here was what ultimately sold me on Dr. Stone. The writing is smart without discarding the fun side of shounen, and I’m hoping that now that we’ve seen the (messy) conclusion of Food Wars and are approaching the end of Haikyuu!, we’ll still get shows about dudes punching each other (literally or metaphorically) that have more to think about than the next fight scene.

What You Need to Watch + Time to Catch Up

  • Dr. Stone (24 episodes, 9 hours approx.)

Where to Catch Up: Crunchyroll

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Laid-Back Camp Season 2

Presented by Stinolez

Studio: C-Station

Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life

Why You Should Catch Up:

Laid-Back Camp is a simple show. It’s about high school girls who like to camp. So, why should anybody bother to catch up with the first season and be prepared to watch the second season? This series takes this simple concept and elevates it. Everything is executed flawlessly, from endearing characters, a scenic world, and funny comedy to help move the story forward. Despite Nadeshiko and Rin being standouts, every other character is interesting, charming, and remarkable. All this is backed up by excellent backgrounds, great animation, and attention to details on everything. Most importantly, Secret Society BLANKET is a welcoming community, so snuggle by the fire with us.

Time To Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

  • Yuru Camp△ OVA (3 episodes, 24 minutes) — Optional
  • Laid-Back Camp, (12 episodes, 5 hours approx.)
  • ROOM CAMP, (12 episodes, 36 minutes) — Optional

Where to Catch Up:

Crunchyroll, OVA unreleased outside of Japan

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Log Horizon: Destruction of the Round Table

Presented by TGRIP

Studio: Studio DEEN

Genre: Virtual-Isekai (V-sekai), Action, Drama, Comedy, Sci-Fi

Why You Should Catch Up:

In spite of its… let’s say “controversial” visuals, Log Horizon has aged into being one of the best isekai series of the 2010s. Sure, the template was pretty simple when it started (thousands of players of a fantasy MMO wake up to find themselves in the game itself), but Log Horizon quickly gained an attractive identity by seriously asking what would happen if this were the case. Instead of a tired power fantasy, the show instead analyzed economics, foreign relations, and even the psychology of its characters, from “why we game” to the implications of death not being equal for everyone.

But don’t let this make you think this series is completely dry; it still has plenty of fun moments, with welcome good doses of comedy and many a “heck yeah!” moment, such as when two groups of players fight to complete separate raids at the same time. It’s been six long years since season 2 came out, and I’m more than excited to see where things go from where we left off.

Time to Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

  • Log Horizon (25 episodes, 9.5 hours approx.)
  • Log Horizon 2nd Season (25 episodes, 9.5 hours approx.)

Where to Catch Up: Sadly, season 1 is no longer streaming on any reputable service in the US, but season 2 is available on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, and Hulu (the latter two of which have the dub). As FUNimation has licensed Destruction of the Round Table for simulcasting, there is a strong possibility that the first season will appear on that service sometime in the near future.

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Non Non Biyori Nonstop
Presented by
DilKokoro
Studio: Silver Link
Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, Seinen
Why You Should Watch:
There is something in Non Non Biyori for nearly every kind of anime fan. It has a cute, laid-back vibe that makes it very accessible for viewers. Also, Silver Link crafts stunning scenes that speak for themselves just as much as the show’s characters do. It knows how to deliver a comedy scene, while also having moving displays of innocence from its characters.

If there is one thing that keeps fans (including myself) hopeful for this third season, it is that the success of Non Non Biyori maintains its popularity and proliferation despite long gaps between seasons. Indeed, it appears that the everyday life of a small rural town stays cozy and evergreen. After what might have been a trying year for many, this is the perfect medicine for a little relaxation.

Time to Catch Up + What you Need to Watch:

  • Non Non Biyori (12 episodes, 4.5 hours approx.)
  • Non Non Biyori Repeat (12 episodes, 4.5 hours approx.)

Where to Watch: Crunchyroll (subbed) HIDIVE (subbed and dubbed)

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The Promised Neverland 2nd Season

Presented by TheMamaLuigi

Studio: Cloverworks

Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Action, Psychological

Why You Should Catch Up:

The Promised Neverland’s first season instantly cemented itself as an anime classic, reaching both seasoned anime veterans and rookies alike through its captivating premise, stellar art and animation, and pacing that both moves at a blistering pace without sacrificing the depth and consideration necessary for horror series to work. Emma, Ray, and Norman’s adventure to escape Grace Field House is a testament to the power of youthful ingenuity to escape the confines of those in power, a tour-de-force of horror, action, and just the right amount of levity to stave off the darkness. As a reader of the manga myself, The Promised Neverland’s anime elevates the source material through its impeccable visual and sound direction alongside an understanding of what makes both anime and thriller shows engaging. If you haven’t given the first season a shot, do yourself a favour and check it out immediately — I promise you won’t be disappointed.

The status quo changes with The Promised Neverland’s second season. The needle moves to survival as Emma and her friends encounter new allies and foes alike. Grace Field House was just the beginning — William Minerva calls, and it is time to answer.

Time to Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

  • The Promised Neverland (12 episodes, 4.4 hours approx.)

Where to Catch Up: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hidive

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The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬

Presented by TheMamaLuigi

Studio: Bibury Animation Studios

Genres: Romance, Harem, Comedy

Why You Should Catch Up:

Fuutaro Uesugi’s romantic adventures continue in The Quintessential Quintuplets’ second season! Now, I know harem series get an often-deserved bad rap. The Quintessential Quintuplets, however, stands as one of the best modern harem romance series through its focus on character growth first and romantic shenanigans second (though there’s still plenty of that!). Each of the Quints grow into their own alongside Fuutaro and each other, making the journey towards “who will win” just as if not more engaging than the destination.

Because the series is always empathetic towards its core characters and portrays their problems, relationships, and growth as both genuine and earned, it earns its place amongst the hallowed halls of romance anime. This second season, if it follows the pace of the first, will adapt some of the most beloved parts of the manga, and the turning point from which the series invests fully in its cast and begins the slow movement towards its conclusion. Though its genre trappings may not appeal to everyone, its understanding of that genre and honest portrayal of the tropes and ideas that follow make it a series to turn on, pick your favourite Quint (Yotsuba, duh), and settle in for the romantic ride of your life.

Time to Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

  • The Quintessential Quintuplets (12 episodes, 4.4 hours approx.)

Where to Catch Up: Crunchyroll, Funimation

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Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Battle of Kimluck

Presented by Requiem

Studio: Studio Deen

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Stabbing

Why You Should (Maybe) Watch:

Orphen (birth name: Krylancelo..I’d have changed it too) was once the most promising student at the school of sorcery known as the Tower of Fang, but left the tower under shady circumstances and these days works in unsavory business like moneylending. That is until he is drawn against his will into an attempted marriage scam and encounters a terrifying Dragon called Bloody August, with whom he has a deep history. Now he travels with an heiress who won’t leave him alone, a long suffering apprentice, and two (mostly) useless dwarves as he attempts to (for various spoilery reasons) protect Bloody August from other sorcerers sent by the Tower.

In all honesty, Season one of the Orphen remake was somewhat disappointing to fans of the original anime, including this humble writer. The narrative was much streamlined from its predecessor, telling much more plot in far fewer episodes. But, somehow, by cutting out all the filler, the show lost much of its character development. Anime fans tend to complain about filler episodes, but the fact is, for Orphen at least, a lot of what made you care about and like these characters came from those episodes off the main plot, so the somewhat breakneck pace of the remake just didn’t work.

Looking forward to Battle of Kimluck, the story is headed into a fairly action packed arc, so there is hope that they may have a chance to get a better handle on the balance between character time and plot advancement. At the very least, the animation looks better in the Previews, so again, hope springs eternal. We would cautiously rate this Worth Checking Out, Probably.

Time To Catch Up + What You Need to Watch:

  • Sorcerous Stabber Orphen (2020), (13 episodes, 5 hours approx.)

Where to Catch Up: Funimation or Hulu.

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2
Presented by DilKokoro
Studio: 8bit
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Isekai
Why You Should Watch:
The hit comedy fantasy is back after a two-year break to follow Rimuru Tempest and their family along an imaginative world in search of adventure. This anime should, by all accounts, be a tired setup — someone is transported into a fantasy world and “power creeps” along to become an overpowered entity. Where Slime sets itself apart, however, can be found in how much spirit it has that fuels its comedy. Rimuru themselves is a fun protagonist,staying likable through the entire first season despite their rapid growth and rise in power.

Season two looks to be a continuation of the growth of “Tempest”- Rimuru’s fledgling kingdom. As Rimuru makes new allies, there are many more enemies who emerge to challenge the sudden powerhouse. On top of this, Rimuru searches for further answers to the magic that brought people from their world into this fantasy realm. Adventure awaits as one of the most popular anime of the late 2010s sets off to continue its legacy in the 2020s!

Time to Catch Up + What you Need to Watch:

  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (24 episodes, 9 hours approx.)

Where to Catch Up: Funimation (dubbed), Crunchyroll (subbed)

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World Trigger Season 2

Presented by Arcane

Studio: Toei Animation

Genre: Shounen, Action, Sci-Fi

Why You Should Catch Up:

In 2014, before Black Clover and Boruto showed up at the party and decided to stay forever, a much quieter long-running shounen called World Trigger began and was immediately slept upon by most viewers because of its lackluster visuals (courtesy of Toei Animation) and somewhat slow beginning. Over the course of its airing, what was generally seen as a fairly bad first impression gave way to a sleeper hit that impressed dedicated fans with its execution, characters, and worldbuilding rather than its fight scenes.

And then, after about fifty episodes, the studio ran out of source material to adapt and had to jam an anime-original story in the middle of an existing story arc to kill time; people didn’t like it, and even the three months of extra time that gave the mangaka wasn’t enough to pull more than another thirteen episodes out of the anime, and it was cancelled. Oops.

World Trigger has however, since it went off the air, become something of a cult hit for Shounen Jump — and later Jump Square — and every few years, another wave of fans find the series, wonder what happened, and rumors start circling that the show is coming back. inally, this year we found out that it’s coming back in the seasonal format that has worked out much better for My Hero Academia to pace it more appropriately so that the strength of its story and endearing characters can appropriately shine. This does, unfortunately, leave me with the task of recommending that you watch the previous seventy three episodes, but the good news is that that just got easier this year when the English dub of the show premiered on Crunchyroll. For the anime fan tired of the typical shounen formula, I highly recommend World Trigger as a fresh, engaging, and enjoyable take on the genre.

What You Need to Watch + Time to Catch Up:

  • World Trigger (73 episodes, 27 hours approx.)

Best Place to Catch Up: Crunchyroll, basically regardless of where you live, though TubiTV also has it in the US and Canada.

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