4 June 2021
- Jujutsu Kaisen
Jujutsu Kaisen is a recently newer anime that’s caught the eyes of anime lovers. Since the first season began airing in October of 2020, popularity has been racking up for this new hit anime. Voted anime of the year at the 2021 Crunchyroll Anime Awards, it’s safe to say that Jujutsu Kaisen is definitely worth trying out.
To defeat a curse that threatens his friends, high school student Yuji Itadori, who possesses immeasurable physical strength, consumes a part of Ryomen Sukuna, the overall primary antagonist known as the King of Curses. Subsequently, the two grudgingly share the same body, but Yuji can usually maintain his control over the high-level curse. Yuji joins other Jujutsu sorcerers to exorcise curses threatening everyday people, but many deem him too dangerous to be kept alive.
On the surface, Jujutsu Kaisen has a rather generic plot that doesn’t traverse too deep. It appears like any other story involving a clean-cut conflict of good vs. evil in which all antagonists are ominous and a constant threat that protagonists must eliminate. Still, Jujutsu Kaisen holds a unique place in anime with its characters, pace, and quality. The characters are very memorable and likable, each with their diverse personalities, abilities, and motivations. They are highly engaging to follow, even if two-dimensional or consistent with tropes. However, it is worth noting that the fast pacing can hinder the development of characters and interpersonal relationships. The show makes up for it with action-packed episodes regularly occurring one after another that undoubtedly keep viewers hooked. With quality consistently exquisite, the animation perfectly captures all thrilling fight sequences instead of individual ones.
“I actually really enjoy the villain because he feels different from other villains. There’s an evil side, but Sukuna is on his own side, and he does really whatever he pleases and doesn’t help either side. It’s refreshing to see a villain like him because he’s a curse and should be working with other curses, but he thinks no one deserves him as an ally,” said an AHS student.
Haikyu!!, with the release of its first season back in 2014, has become one of the most popular current anime revolving around sports. With four seasons and at least one more anticipated in early 2022, the series continues to be cherished by anime fans. Like other anime in the sports genre, Haikyu!! hooks viewers even if they have little to no interest in the targeted sport.
The story centers around Karasuno High School’s volleyball team as they train and develop their abilities, aspiring to win at the national tournament. Shoyo Hinata, impassioned about volleyball despite his smaller height, is one of the latest first-years on the team, along with gifted, self-centered Tobio Kageyama. Before even potentially reaching nationals, the team faces countless obstacles, from defeating unbeaten opponents to defining the genuine value of a team.
While Haikyu!! has a simple premise and episodes can be slow, it’s easy to follow and enjoy. Without a doubt, its characters are at the heart of its attraction. Haikyu!! is abundant with dynamic characters from Karasuno’s team and their opponents. Seeing how they simultaneously develop as characters and players provides viewers with a deeper understanding of each of them. The development between characters is equally as strong, providing a solid base for coordination and communication within the team. Haikyu!! also has a distinct ability to convey the atmosphere of a situation very effectively. Through its deliberate animation and visual choices, the tension and desperation can have viewers on the edge of their seats, longing for what happens next.
“There’s a character for everyone, it’s very easy to find your favorites. Also, the character development is amazing; it feels like you’re growing alongside the characters,” said a member of the AHS anime club.
- Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan sets high standards for anime across the board, from foreshadowing and symbolism to the complex plot. It needs no introduction for many as its first season aired back in 2009, allowing the series to attract new viewers throughout the years.
Pushed to the brink of extinction, humanity resides inside three walls built to protect them from the man-eating titans beyond. Eren Jaeger is a young boy idealizing life outside the cramped walls and without titans. After things take a turn for the worse, his dreams and hatred for titans drive him to train and join the Survey Corps, the military legion dedicated to eliminating titans. Attack on Titan is a dark fantasy that mixes horror with intense graphic gore and violence. Even if man-eating titans and heavy gore may not sound very appealing, the show has surprised many with unexpected twists that propel the story forward.
At first glance, specific characters appear black-and-white, and arguably, moments for potential character development are wasted. Some characters, however, are very dynamic, undergoing profound change after a realistic progression of time and experiences. The bonds between the characters are strong, fun to see interact with, and emotion-evoking, which flawlessly demonstrate the themes of trust and betrayal throughout the show and further evocative responses from viewers. Attack on Titan also has a flawless capacity to involve many different perspectives in the story. As a result, the lines between protagonist and antagonist, friend and foe, and right and wrong all become blurry. There’s an innovative, compelling sense of ambiguity that leaves viewers in thought long after it’s over.
“Attack on Titan is an anime whose popularity is, in my opinion, deserved. It draws the watcher in with a chilling concept and dynamic animation, and then tells a story that sheds light on the realities of war and the human spirit. I found some of the middle seasons to be a bit slow, but really enjoyed the show as a whole,” said anime club leader Savannah Duvall.
Horimiya, which premiered in January of this year, is one of the latest romantic comedy anime that grasped the attention of anime fans with its relatable characters and breathtaking art style. Of other anime in its genre, Horimiya incorporates several distinct characteristics.
At Katagiri High School, Kyouko Hori is known as the popular, attractive, and academically reliable girl, while Izumi Miyamura is the boy known as gloomy, isolated, and just downright weird. When the two meet outside school by coincidence, they realize they have more in common than appearances first suggest, including their secret self outside school. Because of its honest way of tackling identity and relationships, Horimiya has a different feel than other anime in this genre.
Horimiya is overall a very raw and candid anime that deals with real-life concepts in a believable manner. It explores the idea of judging others by appearances only, along with the consequences of giving others a label. There’s less focus on characters admitting feelings for one another, and instead, it emphasizes the depth of relationships and social identity. Even with relatively heavier topics, Horimiya conveys a humorous, light-hearted tone that enables the story to unfold in a captivating way. Each character exhibits their anxieties and passions to which viewers can ultimately empathize, incorporating another true-to-life element. Horimiya is a compelling portrayal of high school experiences with realistic struggles and hopes, making it very appealing.
“There was a nice blend of comedy that made you laugh and nostalgic moments that triggered some memories from your childhood,” said an AHS junior.
- Demon Slayer
Demon Slayer, a relatively new anime that began airing in the spring of 2019, captivates both those who love anime and those less familiar with it. With the release of its first season, Demon Slayer quickly gathered enough popularity to be awarded anime of the year at the 2020 Crunchyroll Anime Awards.
In a world where most people have no idea that murderous demons exist, Tanjiro Kamado and his family are no exception, living a rather ordinary life until struck by tragedy. Returning home one morning, Tanjiro discovers the bloodied corpses of his family and that his younger sister, Nezuko, has become a demon. He precedes to train with aspirations of joining the Demon Slayer Corps to defeat the beings at fault for the deaths of his family. At the same time, he vows to turn his strangely amicable demon sister back into a human, although a human and demon team-up is unheard of.
Demon Slayer is very slow-paced, and some episodes are less engaging as a result, creating an urge to skip ahead. Still, the pacing mostly works in the story’s favor as there’s more emphasis on acquiring knowledge and training before any fight sequences. The realistic, leisurely time progression allows growth to be captured on screen regardless of how minor. Demon Slayer has a terrific balance of emotion, comedy, and action that makes the story all the more enjoyable. The heartfelt, profound moments aren’t limited to the protagonists, but some antagonists have humanlike qualities and flaws that evoke sympathy despite their wrongdoings. Visually, Demon Slayer is essentially a masterpiece, and the stunning, smooth animation sets Demon Slayer apart from other anime.
“Demon Slayer has a very unique animation that I’ve barely seen anywhere else. The story is emotional too, and that always gets my attention when watching anime,” said a member of the anime club.
“Demon Slayer is a fantastic anime and work of art all around. With beautiful animation, voice acting, and sound design, it expertly tells the story of Tanjiro’s quest to avenge his family and save his younger sister. The fight scenes are riveting and the humor, as well as the exploration of characters’ interpersonal relationships, is handled well. I personally loved watching this anime and binge-watched most of it in a week or two,” said anime club leader Savannah Duvall.