2021 has been a big year for anime, not just with the arrival of big series such as Odd Taxi, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, the second season of Demon Slayer, and Star Wars: Visions, but also with some major movies that represent some of the best of the medium. Now, with this year's Golden Issue Awards, we here at ComicBook.com thought we'd take the opportunity to honor the biggest films in the field, debating which should come out on top between established franchises such as My Hero Academia, Sailor Moon, and Evangelion, but also with newcomers such as Belle. With that being said, only one movie could take the top spot.
And the winner of the 2021 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Anime Film is...
Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon A Time!
Hideaki Anno, as a creator, helped forge a world that changed the face of anime forever, introducing fans to the world of NERV and the psychological issues plaguing the young pilots of the mechs known as EVA units. The Rebuild of Evangelion film franchise took the opportunity to not only retell the events of Neon Genesis Evangelion, but to add some thoughtful changes into the story that remains one of the best examples of mech in the medium and is rightfully considered one of the best examples of anime period.
Thrice Upon A Time brings the series to a close, while also allowing Anno himself to give the series a new ending. That ending diverges from the cerebral finale of the television series, giving Shinji a very different outcome from the one that so many fans are familiar with. On top of a heartfelt story, Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0 uses some out of this world animation to bring the film series to a close. Should this be the last time that we are able to explore the world of NERV, it certainly is a finale that feels earned and is able to highlight the passion and creativity of Evangelion's creator, Hideaki Anno.
The final film of the Rebuild series certainly had some major competition with the likes of Belle, World Heroes' Mission and Sailor Moon Eternal, but Hideaki Anno's love letter to the world that he created easily took the top spot for us when it comes to the best anime movie of 2021.
Congrats to the cast and crew of Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Thrice Upon A TIme on their Golden Issue Awards win!
The nominees for Best Anime Film are: