2021 was, as far as years go, not the best.
But it was an exemplary year for animation, an artform that broadened the kind of stories it told and embraced new aesthetic tools to tell those stories. 2021 brought us jaw-dropping works in traditional animation, computer animation, and stop-motion animation, and within those formats embraced different styles and contours. The result was a whole bunch of movies, TV shows and shorts that were endlessly surprising and just as inspiring.
Here is our list of the very best animation from 2021, works that proved that limitless creativity and powerful new technology can create works of art that we could only have dreamed about a short time ago. Imagine what 2022 will bring.