YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Animated Series of 2021

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top animated series of 2021 But Why Tho

With a range of all-ages series to those made for mature audiences, there was no shortage of series to choose from in 2021. With companies like Netflix pushing out animated series consistently there was just too much to choose from. From fantastical worlds and slice-of-life to shows based on video games and superheroes, we have a broad selection of series to make our Top Animated Shows of 2021 list and are right here for you to start over your holiday break.

To make the Top Animated Shows of 2021 the series must have aired one season (or the majority of the season) in 2021. It could be a new season or new series entirely, and there were no audience age restrictions in order to celebrate all the animation we watched this year. As always, we’ll be making an anime specific list, so this is only focused on non-anime series. Now, let’s dig into our Top Animated Shows of 2021 list.

15. Infinity Train, Season 4

Infinity Train - But Why Tho

 

Animation Studio:Cartoon Network Studios
Where to Watch:
HBO Max

Harley Quinn has taken down the Joker and Gotham City is finally hers for the taking. Harley’s celebration is cut short when Penguin, Bane, Mr. Freeze, The Riddler and Two-Face join forces to restore order in the criminal underworld. Calling themselves the Injustice League, this group now stands in the way of Harley and her crew from taking sole control of Gotham as the top villains of the city.

14. Star Trek: Prodigy

Top animated series of 2021 - But Why Tho (1)

Animation Studio: Nickelodeon Animation Studio, CBS Eye Animation Productions
Where to Watch: Paramount+

Exiled on a mining colony outside Federation space, a group of lawless teens discover a derelict Starfleet ship. Dal must gather an unlikely crew for their newfound ship if they are going to escape Tars Lamora, but The Diviner and his daughter Gwyn have other plans.

13. Kid Cosmic, Season 2

Kid Cosmic Season 2

Animation Studio:Mercury Filmworks
Where to Watch: 
Netflix

Kid Cosmic follows the adventures of an imaginative and enthusiastic boy who lives with his free-spirited Grandpa in a sparsely populated desert town. The Kid’s dreams of being a hero seem to come true when he discovers 5 Cosmic Stones of Power in a wrecked spaceship. He forms a team of local heroes to stop an onslaught of alien attacks to steal back the stones. Though the Kid and his team are the good guys, they’re really bad at it,and the Kid learns that his fantasy of being a hero is very different from the reality of what it actually means to become one.

12. Solar Opposites, Season 2

Solar Opposites Season 2

Animation Studio: Important Science, Justin Roiland’s Solo Vanity Card Productions!
Where to Watch: Hulu

A family of aliens from a better world must take refuge in middle America; they disagree on whether Earth is awful or awesome.

11. Amphibia, Season 3

Top animated series of 2021 - But Why Tho (2)

Animation Studio: Disney Television Animation
Where to Watch:
Disney+

Amphibia chronicles the comedic adventures of 13-years-old Anne Boonchuy who, is magically transported to the world of Amphibia, a wild marshland full of talking frog-people.

10. Arcane

Arcane Act 3 Review

Animation Studio: Fortiche Production, Riot Games
Where to Watch: 
Netflix

Arcane dives into the delicate balance between the rich city of Piltover and the seedy underbelly of Zaun. Tensions between these city-states boil over with the creation of hextech — a way for any person to control magical energy – in Piltover; and in Zaun, a new drug called shimmer transforms humans into monsters. The rivalry between the cities splits families and friends as Arcane brings life to the relationships that shape some of League of Legends’ famous champions including Vi, Jinx, Caitlyn, Jayce and Viktor. Based on the world behind the game League of Legends, the animated event series features a complex world filled with moral decisions, breathtaking animation and suspenseful storytelling.

9. Young Justice: Phantoms

Young Justice Phantoms Episode 9 - But Why Tho

Animation Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
Where to Watch: HBO Max

Join the teenage superheroes as they save the world as well as deal with normal daily life issues.

8. Rick and Morty, Season 5

Top animated series of 2021 - But Why Tho (3)

Animation Studio: Justin Roiland’s Solo Vanity Card Productions!, Green Portal Productions
Where to Watch: HBO Max

After having been missing for nearly 20 years, Rick Sanchez suddenly arrives at daughter Beth’s doorstep to move in with her and her family. Although Beth welcomes Rick into her home, her husband, Jerry, isn’t as happy about the family reunion.

7. The Owl House, Season 2

Top animated series of 2021 - But Why Tho (4)

Animation Studio: Disney Television Animation
Where to Watch: Disney+

Accidentally sent to the world of the Boiling Isles before a trip to summer camp, a teenage human named Luz longs to become a witch, with the rebellious Eda and pint-sized demon King at her aid.

6. What If…?

What If... Episode 8 - But Why Tho

Animation Studio: Marvel Studios
Where to Watch:
Disney+

Following the creation of the multiverse in the season one finale of Loki, What If…? explores various alternate timelines of the multiverse in which major moments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films occur differently, as observed by the Watcher. In the second season, following the formation of the Guardians of the Multiverse, the Watcher continues to explore more strange worlds, meeting new heroes and keeping the multiverse safe.

5. Maya and the Three

Maya and the Three

Animation Studio: Tangent Animation, Titmouse, Inc., Mexopolis, Maya Entertainment, Netflix Animation
Where to Watch: Netflix

Set in a world based on pre-colonial Mesoamerica and other indigenous cultures, Maya, a warrior princess, is celebrating her fifteenth birthday, but when the underworld gods appear and announce she must pay for her family’s misdeeds, everything changes. If she refuses to go along, the world itself will be ravaged by the gods, so she embarks on a quest to fulfill a prophecy which says that three warriors will appear who will help her defeat these gods and save humanity itself from destruction.

4. Masters of the Universe: Revelations

He-Man: Masters of the Universe Revelations Part 2 Review

Animation Studio: Powerhouse Animation
Where to Watch:
Netflix

The war for Eternia continues in the second part of “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” an innovative and action-packed animated series that picks up where the iconic characters left off. With Skeletor now wielding the Sword of Power, the weary heroes of Eternia must band together to fight back against the forces of evil in a thrilling and epic conclusion to the two-part series.

3. Castlevania, Season 4

Castlevania ending

Animation Studio: Powerhouse Animation
Where to Watch: 
Netflix

In the epic final season of Castlevania, Wallachia collapses into chaos as factions clash: some attempting to take control, others attempting to bring Dracula back from the dead. Nobody is who they seem, and nobody can be trusted. These are the end times.

2. Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K 

Marvels MODOK

Animation Studio: 10k Multiverse Cowboy Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Marvel Television
Where to Watch: 
Hulu

Taking over the world has never felt farther away as the megalomaniacal super villain M.O.D.O.K. struggles to maintain control over his evil organization and his demanding family.

1. Invincible

Invincible Episode 8

Animation Studio: Cartoon Network Studios and Frederator Studios
Where to Watch:
Amazon Prime Video

INVINCIBLE is an adult animated superhero series that revolves around 17-year-old Mark Grayson, who’s just like every other guy his age — except his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, Omni-Man. But as Mark develops powers of his own, he discovers his father’s legacy may not be as heroic as it seems.


With so many amazing series, there were naturally some that narrowly missed making it on our Top Animated Shows of 2021 list. Five of our honorable mentions are Infinity Train (Season 4), Hit Monkey, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Bad Batch, and Inside Job. Did your favorite animated show from 2021 make it on the list? Let us know on social media @butwhythopc.

The synopses of the series on the Top Animated Shows of 2021 list were taken from their dedicated pages on platforms.