Most people know I’m an otaku, and this year I actually had some time for anime. While this list will largely be 2018 releases, there will be a few anime that I only watched for the first time in 2018. Also, this is in no particular order.
Like a true anime snob, I watched most of them in sub form, but this time mostly because I was watching late at night after most/all of the family was asleep(and while I tried to get the final one down for the night) so I had the volume barely audible, and needed them.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
I’ll call this a 2018 one since it didn’t finish until early 2018 ;p
Y’all probably already know I love anthropomorphic skeletons (and this fact will come up again later in this post ;p ) and I was really intrigued by Elias’ design.
I was really into the way the story took actual myths and worked with them, embracing that many fairy stories are actually dark, eg/ I *knew* those little fairies were trying to trick her. I also enjoyed seeing Titania and Oberon and their interactions and Leanan Sidhe. The way the magic was worked into the real world was quite cool too.
I love unusual male leads for the romantic roles (hence casting a skeleton and a troll as romantic leads in my own stories) so Elias is my kind of leading man, not to mention broody backstories are such a hit <3
Their romance is so cute and adorkable, but also they themselves as individual characters are so rich, as are the others around them.
If you don’t mind a bit of dark in your romance (a bit? scratch that, fairly sizeable is more accurate) and unconventional male leads then you’ll love this one.
Cells at work
I was LIVING for the vibe between White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell.
I’ve never found something so educational to also move me. Seriously the number of times I was edge-of-my-seat during this show was surprisingly high, even moreso considering the content. I mean they’re cells – why was I so emotionally involved? Seriously, 2 million blood cells died inside me in the time it takes to put the period on the end of this sentence.
One problem though was I was constantly wanting there to be an opportunity for Red Blood Cell to save White, but thanks to my (limited) knowledge of biology I knew it was never going to happen and it was frustrating to know that but still have the want deep inside.
A slight heads up for those who aren’t a fan of gore, White Blood Cell spends half his screen time covered in blood, typically from slashing his way through various bacteria and germs.
For serious, this was soooo good. It was my Friday morning treat for when I finished my word count and trust me, the words never flowed faster any other day of the week for those couple of months ;p
A gamer for the male lead and a fujoshi for the female – I was instantly connected to both of them. Every episode had both at least one ‘problem’ for the characters where they dealt with something nerd related that I almost always sympathised with fully, and one romantic moment which left me swooning. Such a good combo. I could watch this show forever, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll never get a second season, so I’ll just content myself with the manga.
Also, I definitely fell in love with Hirotaka <3 and that’s when it dawned on me: I have a type. My favourite characters in anime I watch consistently have:
- dark hair (this is occasionally a missable option eg/ Shiho Kimizuki from ‘Seraph of the End’ and Yuta Sakurai from ‘Recovery of an MMO Junkie’)
Extra points awarded for broody backstories and hyper-competence at something(especially if that leads to cluelessness in other things enhancing the requirement of adorkable).
Masculinity is not a requirement though, as I also love Mirai Kuriyama from Beyond The Boundary (glasses + adorkable + broody back story).
See here for a small strip of some of my favourite characters.
*character walks on screen wearing glasses/puts on glasses*
Wow, the emotional depth in this one is amazing. The way it handles the effects of war on people, both soldiers and civilians and takes the care to show how not everyone responds and reacts the same too. I can’t even tell you how regularly I cried watching this.
I was fascinated by Violet herself, and wish we got to learn more about what happened to her before the Major came into her life (though maybe that’s covered in the light novels?). And what sort of stone heart wouldn’t be moved my her memories of him? *cue tears again*
Her mechanical arms were also really intriguing to me. I wanted to know so much more about the maker, the designer, whether this sort of prosthetic was common, or insanely expensive or unique to her alone. Some of the questions got a bit of an answer but largely even those answers felt a bit glossed over. Thinking about it all got me excited and gave me a story idea, though, so I’m not complaining.
I also enjoyed the special that came out after the series.
Magical Girl Ore
I do love me some magical girl anime, especially how more recent series are all trying to go in new and exciting directions. But lately the trend has been to darker paths, eg/ Puella Magi Madoka Magica, The Magical Girl Raising Project, and Magical Girl Site, which is all well and good, but I’m delighted to see some out of the box but still light-hearted fun.
It does lean a bit more toward the ridiculous though, with a yakuza for the ‘cute mascot’/guide, enemies with hella buff bodies but cute teddy bear-esque heads and the main two girls’ ‘singing careers’. There’s the trope of course of the lead girl being head over heels for a boy, but that boy, Mohiro, is hilarious oblivious and blase. Also, the magnificent tangled romance of it all, it’s like a romance dodecahedron rather than just a triangle XD
My Hero Academia
Ok sure this has been out a while, but I only just started. Considering my love for super heroes I should have been in on it earlier, I’ll blame the delay on my irritation with never ending series.
I binged the whole three seasons in four or five days. The kids were into it too and it was school holidays – that’s my excuse ;p
Something I really love though is how so many of the quirks are highly unusual and how quite a few have downsides and repercussions – something I love putting on my own super powered characters (read Short Circuit if you’re not sure what I’m talking about). It really makes me want to get back to writing in that world.
You can probably predict based on what I said about Wotakoi who my favourite character is (no prizes, cos it’s too obvious).
My one issue with the series though is even at the end of the third season they were still regularly putting the character names and their quirk up on screen for characters who had been primary characters from the start. I’m serious, yes, I freaking know who Todoroki and Ochaco are and what their freaking quirks are because I’ve been watching them for the last 60 something episodes.
Skull-face Book seller Honda-san
Obviously with my passion for anthropomorphised skeletons as characters I was 100% in for this show from the start, but add on how true to life the retail worker experience is between not just types of stores(Honda-san’s books store as compared to my video game store) but even in different COUNTRIES and I was impressed.
Honda-san sells comics, so there are lots of references and hilarious otaku characters, including fujoshi, in the show. All his fellow employees wear various monster ‘masks’ and are named for their masks, but as the character base expands they start to be almost anything sometimes, even a publisher asking ‘can i have a koala head’.
It’s also really fun to look at how book-selling works in Japan. I love learning about differences in industries like that, and would love to know as much about the Australian bookseller retail market as I’ve learned from Honda-san.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
I’m also enjoying a lot of the LitRPG style anime, like ‘That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime’. This goes back far though, to Konosuba, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, and Log Horizon (no prizes for guessing who my fave is in that either).
The opening episode is awesome both in watching him sacrifice himself, but also how every thought he makes as he passes factors into his ‘reincarnation’.
It’s so fun to watch him rolling around as a slime and solving problems. Since it’s still coming out while I’m writing this, obviously there’s much more fun to come, and I’m definitely looking forward to it.
You’ve probably noticed I’m a bit all over the shop genre-wise, but to be honest that’s part of what I love about anime, so so so many sub genres for me to sink my teeth into and try out 😀
Were there any stand out series for you this year? Anything you’re hanging out to watch next year?