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Arguably the most popular serialized Shonen Jump, “My Hero Academia,” is releasing its fifth season this year. 

The spring semester is finally underway, and if students' first week was anything like mine, a pile of homework is waiting patiently to be completed. Even if that’s the case, there are some positive ways to keep 2021 from becoming too stressful. Yes, I’m talking about the long-awaited releases of some of the largest anime franchises to date. So buckle in, I’m about to cover some of the most anticipated anime series and movies coming out this year. 

TV Series 

“Tower of God” 

“Tower of God” started out as a webtoon created by artist Lee Jong Hui in 2010. It follows the main protagonist, Bam, as he climbs the mysterious tower in hopes of finding his lost friend Rachel. The webtoon gathered quite the following through the years and witnessed its first anime season release in 2020 on Crunchyroll. Luckily for fans, the return of Bam and his friends in season 2 is set to release in April 2021. 

“My Hero Academia” 

Arguably the most popular serialized Shonen Jump, “My Hero Academia,” is releasing its fifth season this year. “My Hero” follows the young Izuku Midoriya — also known as Deku — as he makes his way through the world of super heroes while attending the prestigious U.A. High School. If anime fans have yet to start the show, there isn’t a better opportunity to catch up as the new season approaches. 

“Bleach” 

It’s happening. “Bleach” is returning to complete the series with season 17 this March. The popular anime was originally released back in 2004, and while the manga has already finished the story, the last arc has yet to reach the small screens until this year. Ichigo will surely maintain his stubborn and protective reputation in this upcoming season of “Bleach.”

“Baki” 

I’ll admit it, I’m not the biggest fan of “Baki.” However, the anime community supports this Netflix series with its lives, and it’s hard to ignore the presence of one of the best voice actors in the business, Troy Baker, as he steals the show as Baki himself. If viewers like never-ending fights between outrageously large men, then “Baki” season 4 might be something to keep up with. 

“Seven Deadly Sins: Dragons Judgement”

Dragons Judgment” is a sequel to the popular series “Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath of God” and saw its first episode release Jan. 13. It follows Meliodas, the leader of the “Deadly Sins,” and the other quirky, yet dangerous former holy knights. The next episode is set to release Feb. 3, so be sure not to miss out. 

Movies

“My Hero Academia” 

I’ve already introduced Deku with the announcement of “My Hero” season 5, yet fans are getting even more content this coming summer. The third movie might be considered a spin-off and was announced recently. Although it doesn’t have a name or synopsis yet, it’s still worthy to note that the series will continue in its path of adding more lore in the form of films. 

“Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train”

It might have a ridiculously long name, but anime lovers shouldn’t sleep on the continuation of “Demon Slayer’s” story with the upcoming movie, “Mugen Train.” The gang: Tanjiro, Nezuko, Zenitsu and Inosuke will keep fighting for the protection of humans, and even some demons, this year. There are little details known besides the release being in 2021, but this should be enough to hold fans down as there’s currently only one season available to watch.  

“Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon A Time”

One of my biggest regrets so far in life is that I have yet to watch anything of the “Evangelion” franchise. It features giant mechs controlled by the neural network of specific humans as they fight to protect the world from angels. I know, it sounds absolutely amazing, and it’s also one of the most esteemed animes out there. If that isn’t convincing, then I’m not sure what is.

It was set to release Jan. 23, but as of a few days ago, it was delayed because of production difficulties with COVID-19. However, I decided to keep this on the list with the hope that it’ll act as a good luck charm and influence the release to still occur this year. 

Hopefully this list provided anime fans, and even some non-fans, with a few exciting shows and movies to look forward to in 2021. These are just a few of the many outstanding series set to release, so keep those eyes peeled as there are always hidden gems waiting to be found.

Contact Daniel Carter at carte3dt@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.