Written by Shiggins
4 categories. 5 to each. These are the best of every anime I was able to watch this year, and all in one article for your personal enjoyment/hatred. So let's celebrate this excruciatingly long year's ending by looking back at the shows that came out, and judging them! Obviously, with these limitations, some shows won't have made the list but I welcome you giving your favourites to me down below in the comment section!
Note: Spoilers ahead for several anime, but I've tried to keep things as brief as I can for the ones who haven't watched Devilman Crybaby or Violet Evergarden.
I didn't expect to like Aggretsuko as much as I did, with its cutesy designs and smaller episodes, but that quickly changed when I learned about Retsuko, the red panda! Voiced by Erica Mendez in the dub and Kaolip in the sub, Retsuko is a hard worker in a company's accounting department that is slowly starting to get weighed down by the frustrations that the daily grind brings. The only reason she hasn't snapped and gone on a killing spree in her workplace is her love for death metal!
If you've ever worked retail or accounting, or really any job like this, you know exactly what it feels like to be Retsuko. And if you don't, it's because you're the pig causing the poor red panda to shut down. Managing to remain optimistic and face misery head-on is something we've all had to deal with at some point in our lives, and it helps that she's as likeable as she is pitiful. I get her, and that's why she's on this list.
Akira Fudo (Devilman Crybaby)
When coward and constant crybaby Akira Fudo ran into his old friend and was dragged into checking out a devil-worshipping nightclub, his life changed forever. He became stronger, faster, got a sweet new haircut, and was even given dominance over a demon that allows him to fly, destroy beings of hell and way more than I can list in this article.
Possessing tons of heart and courage, both of which are brought across well by voice actors Griffin Burns and Kōki Uchiyama, but not in the bland princely way we're used to, Akira is interesting enough to keep the attention of the audience and the other leads, causing many a shipper between him and his friend. And in all honesty, he provides some of the greatest spectacles of the year every single time he transforms into his Devilman form. It can get crazy in this series when Akira changes!
Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)
By all accounts, this character should be absolutely annoying. As we've seen before in many other shows, especially anime, our protagonist is a confused innocent of purity that doesn't understand normal convention and has no hope of living in society without some form of aid. What instantly makes Violet Evergarden, voiced by Erika Harlacher and Yui Ishikawa, is that her situation is understandable and the writing is so strong.
Trained her entire life for war, Violet is placed into confusion when her body is too damaged to continue the fight and the dying words of her commander are ones of love. She gets a job writing letters for those who are unable to for various reasons, and her journey leads her to learn about herself, the world she inhabits, and experience tons of tragic tales that help to recreate her from the ground-up. She also has robot hands! Name one unlikable character with robot hands! (Don't.)
Mirio Togata/Lemillion (My Hero Academia)
My Hero Academia had many great characters worth talking about this year, but I'm going to give this spot to Mirio Togata, the third year student of U.A High School and Midoriya's senpai, who was only in a couple of episodes but managed to steal the scene. Blessed with the power to travel through walls, Mirio is wise, strong and voiced by Tarusuke Shingaki in the subbed form, with Ricco Fajardo joining the splendid dub cast.
Of course, Mirio is only going to get better next year when he's fighting alongside Midoriya against the sinister Overhaul, but he still gets this spot for being such a quirky character in his own right that provides the right amount of joy and potential that we should always expect from an MHA character. It's crazy how big this anime has gotten, isn't it?
Brandish μ (Fairy Tail)
If you've ever read any of my Fairy Tail review where Brandish shows up, you'll know I already love her. So obviously she's going to appear in my favourite characters of 2018 list, thanks to her finally appearing in moving form! Thanks to sub voice actress Manami Numakura and dub voice actress Amber Lee Connors for giving her a voice!
Childish, coy, lazy, ridiculous and by far the best member of Zeref's elite gang of villains known as the Spriggan 12, Brandish is a great laugh who will later provide some awkwardly-handled drama, but she at least manages to remain endearing and adorable throughout. If you aren't a fan of her, you aren't a fan of Fairy Tail. Don't @ me.
Goku, Frieza and Android 17 vs Jiren (Dragon Ball Super)
Nobody could have predicted this one when Dragon Ball Super first aired! Goku teaming up with his most infamous enemy, destroyer of his own race, and purple-headed foe Frieza, with back-up support from enemy-turned-ally Android 17, to take down an alien that looks like he crashed in Roswell then immediately hit the gym for 50 years. The Tournament of Power needed an ending, and the one we got was perfect.
Utterly gorgeous in every frame, brutally visceral and with amazing choreography, this was the day that Dragon Ball Super made history. Jiren reached the climax of his own character development, Freiza and Goku found a way to work together, and it all just clicked perfectly. Not everyone loved Super, which I understand, but everyone adored this, I'm sure.
Akira Fudo vs Ryo Asuka (Devilman Crybaby)
I'll keep this one brief since I don't like giving out spoilers for Devilman Crybaby, as it needs to be seen to be properly appreciated, but basically, it ends with the Devilman fighting Satan itself! Humanity is a wreck, so many characters have met a tragic end, and now it's up to these two friends to battle it out for the planet's rule.
What follows is a battle across the world, with flashing lights and beautiful music, as we're given a battle that's far less barbaric and cathartic than you'd think, but still wonderful to watch all the same. And the way it ends... I don't even want to tell you. That's how much I loved it.
All Might vs All for One (My Hero Academia)
The greatest fight of this constantly-rising series so far is, of course, All Might in his final bout against his archenemy from long ago, before his own power is gone forever. To save the world and the good people from the wrath of the faceless All for One, All Might launches forward and doesn't hold back.
With the last of his reserves, All Might takes on every attack from All for One and the people cheer for their beloved hero, who has been forced to reveal his greatest secret to them all. They clash, and while I enjoy the subbed version, I must say that Christopher Sabat delivers one of his best performances during this scene. It's difficult, emotional, and as cool as a superhero fight should be!
Naruto and Sasuke vs Momoshiki (Boruto: Naruto Next Generation)
I did an article not too long ago about the Boruto series, where I summed it up by feeling it was fine for what it was, but nothing about it grabbed my attention. Well, I actually forgot it existed until I started writing this list, and discovered everyone raving about the fight against Momoshiki, who was also the villain of the Boruto film. And unlike in Dragon Ball Super, repeating a movie's fight has certainly paid off.
We never got enough of Naruto and Sasuke as proper companions fighting together in the real series, so that is a major plus here. And thankfully, the fight is deserving of these two icons. I don't care enough about Momoshiki or Boruto to continue watching it, but I could watch this fight of ridiculous techniques and explosive action over and over. So at least Boruto finally gave me a reason I'm glad it exists.
Luffy vs Katakuri (One Piece)
Despite my hatred for Monkey D. Luffy, I have a soft spot for a lot of One Piece characters. From Brook, to Franky, to Garp, to Nico Robin, to Buggy the Clown. And the most recent dude in my soft spot is Charlotte Katakuri, the third-eldest child of Big Mom, and the one who gives Luffy one of his strongest ever fights to finish off the Whole Cake Island arc.
Katakuri is what keeps this fight exciting, with his unique ability to manipulate mochi (a Japanese rice cake), and his surprisingly personality involving honouring his foe and devouring donuts blissfully. If it wasn't for how fun he was, and how inspired it is to use such a harmless product as a dangerous weapon, this fight wouldn't be anywhere near as great. But it is great, and that's what matters.
Goku and Frieza team-up (Dragon Ball Super)
Frieza, the iconic enemy of the entire Dragon Ball franchise since his first appearance in 1989, standing alongside Goku (and Android 17) for the same goal. That is historic in anime, and it can't be stated enough how big a shock it is, and a risk. It's like Voldemort fighting alongside Harry Potter. Or Trump standing side-by-side with Obama. It just doesn't happen!
And that's why I love it so much. I support stories taking risks (unless they are desperate to be controversial and do a stupid rape scene or something), so I applaud this decision. It grows the characters, brings us something new, and gives me what I wanted without even knowing about it.
"It's Your Turn" (My Hero Academia)
All Might has won the battle, but his strength is gone. His power is diminished, and the world is in shock. He stands strong however and forces a smile, fulfilling his role as the Number 1 Hero. The villains, including All for One, have been arrested and All Might looks to the camera, raising his hand slowly, and points with pride as he utters the words "It's your turn". The world cheers, but Midoriya cries as he alone knows the true meaning behind them.
We've all seen the hero pass the torch to a younger generation before, from anime to superheroes to that retiring manager at McDonald's, but this might be my favourite version of it ever. All Might is a character that we could have easily hated, but scenes like this show exactly why he's so beloved. And the way it's presented, with only Midoriya not able to join the cheers for his own personal hero, is absolutely heartbreaking for everyone. My Hero Academia was about to begin a new era, and this is how it all began.
The Ending (Devilman Crybaby)
Earth dies. Then it doesn't. I cry my eyes out. I lie down on the ground and have an existential crisis.
And no, I'm not telling you any more than that. It's too much. You just have to watch it yourself.
Death Metal karaoke (Aggretsuko)
This may seem like an odd choice, but it's one that stuck in my mind. I've worked retail many times, and I've dealt with the public and bastard bosses far too much. At the end of the day, you sometimes feel like screaming, quitting your job and just collapsing. We all need to release so we don't go insane, and that's what the red panda does here.
When she's fed up, frustrated, treated like crap by the pig and weasel, she goes to a place she can be alone and rocks out by herself. Nobody to judge her, pressure her, force her to do their work for her. It's entirely understandable and one of the most relatable moments of the year, for someone like me at least.
The mother's letters (Violet Evergarden)
The last moment on this list goes to when I cried my eyes out during the 10th episode of Violet Evergarden, and I absolutely implore you to watch it. Violet is asked to write some letters for the mother of a young girl, but this causes a disruption between them and Violet must continue her work despite this conflict.
The conclusion to this is absolutely amazing, and I still can't get over it. I feel like crying right now, even as I write about it. I'm not sure I have the strength to watch it again, but I hope I do someday because it's such a fantastic conclusion to the episode that, even if you see it coming, is still executed brilliantly enough that you don't even care about any predictability. Go watch it now! Go!
Serving as a reboot to the classic manga by Go Nagai, Devilman Crybaby features Akira Fudo being dragged to helping his childhood friend into absorbing a demonic entity so he can fight off a growing army of demons who seek to take the Earth away from humanity in the goriest way possible.
With animation that ranges from hilariously bad to pitch perfect, the tone of this series can often be a roller-coaster that many won't enjoy. And at first, I didn't either. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I eventually grew to love these characters, appreciate the absolute insanity, and found myself fully immersed with this story. It's not for everyone, but it certainly was for me, eventually.
A Place Further than the Universe
The surprise anime of the year comes in the form of A Place Further than the Universe. In fact, I'll admit to you right now that I actually thought this was a sci-fi series about a group of girls putting on spacesuits and going through space. It turns out that the picture I saw from far away was of them in snowsuits, and they are going to Antarctica.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly why this series works so well when many others like it have come and gone, but I think it might be because of the characters and their relationships. These girls are adorable, but not so much that you feel alienated like with Lucky Star, they're hilariously written, (which is another way they're different from Lucky Star, boom!) and they get along so well that you want them to succeed. Maybe the place is actually the friends we make along the way! Wait... that doesn't make sense, but you know what I mean!
My Hero Academia Season 3
Have I raved about this series enough? Clearly not, since here I am yet again! At this point, what more can I say? It's the third season of My Hero Academia, the hit shonen with Izuku Midoriya trying to become a hero like his idol, and this year's entry contains some of the best arcs and battles in this show yet.
Whether it's the training camp, the fight with All for One, the exam for the Hero Licence or meeting the Big 3, there's at least one moment for everyone here to enjoy. The laughs, the action, the characters... It's a continuation of everything I love about this series, and only one unlikable filler episode to get in the way. See, Naruto and One Piece? You don't have to give us 2 billion episodes every year!
The story of Violet Evergarden is by far the quietest anime on this list, but even the silence speaks volumes. When the titular character, raised on the battlefield to fight in an endless war, is damaged and sent to the peaceful country, she is given a job as a ghostwriter and must learn about civilisation, love and herself.
Every episode is a story on its own. Every story is as strong and emotional as a movie, if not more so. And it all leads up to a satisfying conclusion that will melt your stone-cold heart. In fact, every conclusion might not do that. If you're sensitive like me, don't be ashamed! Just get in there, and experience it for yourself!
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind
It's more Jojo. What else do you need to know?
Ten Other Anime Also Worth Checking Out
|Rascal does not Dream of Bunny-Girl Senpai|
|Gintama: Shirogane no Tamashii-Hen|
|That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime|
|Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Ten Commandments|
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere or go to his tumblr page http://otakugajeel.tumblr.com/