Hello there and happy holidays! We’re well into December now and I hope everyone is spending their last few weeks of 2018 in a fun way. As for me, I’m just glad I finally can take a break from school for a couple of weeks.
As the year winds down, I was thinking about how there were definitely some great and enjoyable anime simulcasts throughout 2018. Even though I tend to not be the best at keeping up with weekly anime, I still found myself enjoying a ton of shows, some even becoming my favorites out of all the anime I’ve seen in my life.
That being said, nesha asked me to write a top 10 post which I gladly said I’d do. So today, I would love to share my thoughts on the top 10 seasonal anime I saw throughout this fun year. I’d also like to make a disclaimer here and remind you that this is my personal list and solely my opinion. I know there were amazing and well-praised shows in 2018 like HeroAca, A Place Further than the Universe, Violet Evergarden, etc., but either I didn’t get a chance to see those or I didn’t finish the said show for some reason. That’s all, here we go!
pop team epic.
Let me first say that I actually didn’t finish or even enjoy this show *this list off to a great start lol— I just thought that the jokes weren’t funny as people were saying they were; maybe it was because I don’t fully understand that specific type of humor. Pop Team Epic, to summarize it, is basically a ridiculous comedy anime revolving around parodying memes and pop culture references. The two very memorable protagonists, Popuko and Pipimi, both star in most of the comedic segments shown and give us an anime filled with randomness, drama, and comedy.
You might be wondering why I even put this show on the list after I mentioned that I didn’t enjoy it. Well, that’s not entirely true, plus there are actually a lot of noteworthy things that surprised or impressed me in this show. The pop culture references were spot-on and some of them were genuinely funny. The parodies of various aspect of Japanese entertainment like Kimi no Na wa., Pokémon, Kemono Friends, and even foreign stuff such as making fun of how YouTubers at the end of their videos tell you to like and subscribe, I have to admit that some of these jokes in Pop Team Epic were clever and made me chuckle.
One more thing to note about this anime is the voice cast. My god, sometimes I wonder how the studio behind this show, Kamikaze Douga, managed to gather this stacked voice cast. Pop Team Epic does voice casting a little different than normal, as they have a completely different pair of seiyuu voicing Popuko and Pipimi every single episode and there are female and male variations. But that’s not even the best part! I could absolutely tell Kamizake Douga put a lot of thought into casting seiyuu for this show since each pair in each episode were affiliated with each other in some way in other popular anime or media. Pairings like the legendary voices of Cell and Frieza from the Dragon Ball series, the seiyuu of Mio and Ritsu from K-On! reuniting, two of the most popular and talented male seiyuu in Tomokazu Sugita and Nakamura Yuuichi working together, the list goes on and on. It was really nice seeing these voice actors and actresses I’ve known from the past, working together in this show, and I have to thank Pop Team Epic for that.
cells at work!
This show was an interesting one, definitely. I’m sure most of us know about this anime, but if you don’t, I’d be happy to tell you about it. Cells at Work is an anime essentially about showing what’s going on in a human body and the daily tasks of all the 37 trillion+ cells that help you function in life. From the red blood cells transporting oxygen to the lungs to the white blood cells fighting infectious diseases, this anime actually did a really nice job portraying the different cells inside our bodies and what they do. Now I’m in no way knowledgeable about cells and organisms but I could tell that this show wasn’t messing around and wanted to be as accurate as they can be when it came to the biological part. The fact that they briefly and clearly explained what each cell does and portrayed them in a pretty literal manner, you could say that this show can be somewhat educational.
But other than the educational/factual part of this show, the rest of this anime was enjoyable to watch. The narrative and drama between these cell-based societies and the different viruses and germs that invade the body, how funny it was to watch the reality and intense atmosphere of what happens inside your body when you’re sick, the violent-yet-intriguing and well-animated action sequences, the amusing cast of characters such as the clumsy red blood cell or the cute little Platelets; overall there was a ton to like about this anime.
dragon pilot: hisone and masotan.
This one was definitely … what you would call, a ‘dark horse’ anime of the Spring season. I don’t think many people checked this particular anime out while shows like WotaKoi and Steins;Gate 0 were among the popular ones around the anime community. However, I thought Hisone to Masotan was a nice and interesting anime for others to watch. In this anime, we follow Amakasu Hisone, who after struggling with unintentionally hurting others with her words because of her personality, joins the Japan Self-Defense Force to start fresh. One day as she was ordered with a task, she stumbled upon an actual dragon called an OTF aka. Organic Transformed Flyer, hidden in the base, in which it chose her to be its pilot. Thus, Hisone discovers her fate of being a dragon pilot, and with three other pilots, she was put into the experimental OTF program.
I thought a lot of things in this anime were well-executed. How studio Bones took no time at all to get us into the main plot of this story, each character having a unique and enjoyable personality, the entertaining interactions between said characters, and some tiny slices of drama and romance being implemented in a good way; I just liked this weird yet fun show.
zombie land saga.
If you know me well, I am a pretty avid fan of the whole Japanese idol culture. The upbeat and poppy music, the flashy appearances of the idols themselves, and even the negative aspects revolving around Japanese idols interests me *not in a sadistic way, for that last comment lol— So when I heard that another anime about idols was airing in this current Winter 2018-2019 season, naturally I had to check it out.
Zombieland Saga is about seven young ladies who all had passionate aspirations to become popular idols until they, unfortunately, met their ultimate demise and died. For example, it was just another peaceful day for the aspiring idol and teenager Minamoto Sakura until as she was leaving her house to go to school, a truck hit and killed her. She awakens ten years later as a zombie and sees that she was chosen to be a part of an all-zombie idol group in order to save the city of Saga.
This show absolutely put a new spin on the idol genre of anime, while still maintaining the traditional narrative style you’d see in a lot of idol-based shows. I think what shined the most was the quirky idol shenanigans that their crazy, sunglass-wearing producer put them into; whether that be having them star in a commercial for a local chicken restaurant or smoothly transitioning what was an idol concert into a sick rap battle between two members. Everything this group did, as well as the individual narratives that were filled with a good amount of drama and great character development, was a blast to watch and I’m glad I could experience it.
Hinamatsuri, I think was one of the shows that made me iffy at first on if I actually wanted to watch it but in the end, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. A story about Nitta, an intimidating yakuza member who stumbled upon and ended up raising a strange young girl named Hina, who happens to have unbelievably strong supernatural powers … it’s better than how I described it, trust me.
What really stood out to me in this show was the great balance between dumb, funny comedy, and actually really good storytelling. While the main storyline of how Nitta has to deal with Hina’s shenanigans and her making his life a complete disaster was leaned more towards being funny, it was some of the side stories involving Nitta, Hina, and the other characters that really reflected the nice storytelling of this anime.
For example, watching Anzu —Hina’s friend and rival— transition from a determined girl who wanted to bring Hina back to their world into her becoming homeless in Japan and ultimately changing as a person as she learned many things along the way of trying to survive in an unknown world, it gave us a legitimately good and even sometimes emotional story to watch. While I really like hilarious humor (and I believe the comedy in this show was great), this unexpectedly good aspect I mentioned just put another level of enjoyment in this anime.
morning glory and kase-san.
While I really do enjoy romance anime, I never really was exposed to the yuri side of the genre. It’s not like I don’t like romance anime with a gay or lesbian relationship; it’s just that I haven’t really seen many of them. And for the ones I’ve tried watching, they didn’t really live up to my expectations. But in the middle of the year comes an OVA called Asagao to Kase-san, a yuri romance about two young ladies: a timid girl named Yamada Yui who really enjoys everything about gardening, and the tomboyish, athletic Kase Tomoka. These two begin dating and shortly start to deal with the different challenges that comes with being involved in a teenage romantic relationship.
I actually really loved watching this short OVA and made me want more of it. It was great watching such a pure, innocent relationship between these two and I definitely could tell the creator of this narrative wanted to go a more realistic route when dealing with a relationship between two teenagers. It definitely reminded me a lot of another ‘pure’ romance called Tsuki ga Kirei, since there were a lot of similarities with how these two acted around each other, as well as how they genuinely wanted to keep being a couple despite some obstacles being in their way. Another noteworthy thing is the visuals in this OVA; so beautiful, so cutesy, and so perfect for this kind of anime.
uma musume: pretty derby.
As I’ve mentioned before in one of my past reviews, I don’t watch many sports anime despite me being an avid fan of various sports like basketball and baseball … I dunno, I’m weird lol..,..
But this past Spring anime season gave me the opportunity to add to my tiny list of watched sports anime with the airing of P.A. Works’ Uma Musume: Pretty Derby. To put it simply, this show is about an alternate universe where famous and talented racehorses are reborn into ‘horse girls’, train at a prestigious institution, and compete against other horse girls. Oh yeah, they’re Japanese pop idols too because why not?
As ridiculous as that premise sounds, I gotta hand it to them for representing and expressing horse racing and, I guess, track-based athletics in a great and traditional manner. If someone were to ask me for a good example of a sports-related anime, I would definitely say Uma Musume. Why, you may ask? Well, in my opinion, this anime encompasses what you usually see and what people love in sports anime; the intense atmosphere, the competitiveness within the characters, bitter rivalries, smooth and great-looking animation, drama, inspiring events, and much more. This show honestly made me want to check out other sports anime like Haikyuu!! or Kuroko no Basket, after seeing how intense a sports anime atmosphere can get. Hell, I was literally on the edge of my seat whenever Special Week was in a close race with another talented horse girl.
..,..however, I’m still weirded out about the idol part, I have no idea why they added that in.
asobi asobase: workshop of fun.
If I had to choose what was the absolute best comedy anime that came out in 2018, I’d say Asobi Asobase hands down.
This show was definitely one of the best anime in 2018 that surprised and completely destroyed my expectations. After seeing the announcement visuals and even the video for the opening song, I really thought this show would be about some pure and heart-warming story involving the friendship of these three girls. While some of what I just said is true … I definitely didn’t expect this show to be such a wacky, absurd, goofy comedy for an anime. Asobi Asobase is about three unique, young girls who form the Pastimers Club where they use most of their free time during school playing games in order to, well, pass the time.
The reason why I and many other people really enjoyed this show is because it was hilarious. Everything from how each character acted like Hanako and her being the absolute idiot of the group to the exaggerated facial expressions the animators did a superb job with, I can’t really imagine anyone not laughing at this stupidly funny anime. And the best part of it all is that the studio knows that this show is dumb and makes entertaining the audience an important part when creating these episodes.
Honestly, I believe this is the kind of anime where you actually have to watch it, in order to fully understand why it’s highly praised.
wotakoi: love is hard for otaku.
One of my absolute favorite shows of 2018, and possibly even one of my favorite romances in general, WotaKoi is not your average romance comedy anime. Instead of following some timid teenagers trying to figure out this new thing in their lives called love, we instead get to watch two couples, consisting of grown adults, be in a romantic relationship and the daily shenanigans that ensue. I’ve seen a ton of romance anime that is about and is garnered towards young teenagers, and while I do love those kinds of anime, seeing romance through the perspective of working adults was just a whole other experience. More specifically, what these couples did and how they acted on a daily basis expressed a kind of romance that seems very realistic and not dreamy like. Seeing these four friends go out drinking or a particular couple get into heated arguments, it honestly gives me a more clear picture of what dating would be like as an adult.
Plus, another major thing about this anime is that it is very much relatable to us fans in the anime community. The four main characters are all otakus, and enjoy everything from anime, manga, video games, BL, etc. Not only can the characters be relatable to us, but the best part of it all is that A-1 Pictures actually did such a good job portraying and expressing the otaku culture in an authentic way, whether that be showing a character having a figurine collection of anime girls or referencing many popular franchises among the anime or manga. And to put it all together, the romance and the otaku culture expression within these four main characters is well-balanced and well-connected, in order to create an entertaining and enjoyable anime to watch (also the opening song was my favorite opening of the year).
By the way, I reviewed this show a few months ago which you should check out if you’re interested! (click here) I also want to acknowledge that the review got over 100 likes! I never thought I would get even 100 likes on a post but thank you so much! 😀
Now finally, my absolute favorite anime of 2018 has to be Yuru Camp. Being an avid fan of the slice of life genre of anime, when I heard that a SoL about camping was coming out in the Winter 2017-18 season, it sparked quite a lot of interest from me since I know absolutely nothing about camping. But thankfully, this show expressed camping and outdoor activities in both an entertaining and informative way. Whether we get to know more about the various methods of burning firewood or the delicious-looking and quick recipes you can make while on a camping trip, I could tell that they genuinely wanted to educate viewers on all these camping-related aspects while incorporating a fun nature into it.
And the fun nature simply comes from the characters and their unique personalities. It doesn’t really matter who’s talking about these camping aspects, whether that be Rin and her mature personality or the expressive trio of the Outdoor Activities Club, you can smile and enjoy learning about the different techniques and ways of camping from either of them. Speaking of the characters, one of the best things about this show was the chemistry and interactions between characters, especially with Rin and Nadeshiko. Watching —and being surprised with— how Rin and Nadeshiko both compliment each other despite having contrasting personalities put a big smile on my face.
And really, this show was comfy as hell. I love anime where I can just sit back, relax, and be entertained. I believe that everything from the narrative itself, to the art, animation, and music helped in creating a relaxing and comfy vibe for me to enjoy immensely.
So yeah! That’s my top 10 list of favorite anime that I saw this past year. I didn’t expect me to write this much but I hope any thought of my choices and accompanying reasonings were insightful and interesting to you. I would also love to hear your own thoughts and the favorite anime you saw this year! I’d be more than happy to read your choices.
Click here to read our review of the Laid-Back Camp | click here to read our review of Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
On al’s personal blog, Slice of Alfredo, you can visit here to read about many cool and fun facts about the voice acting of Pop Team Epic! It’s definitely worth a read!
I’m not sure if this will be my last post of the year for the #moe404 blog, but if it is, I just want to say that 2018 was a really fun year for me, blogging-wise. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to join this blog as a writer and I, in no way, regret that decision I made back in March. Being able to share my thoughts on and suggest anime I’ve loved and watched throughout the years to you guys was honestly one of my highlights of the year.
While I wasn’t as consistent on this blog as I wanted to be, I really do hope you all enjoyed the 15 reviews I wrote throughout the year. By the way, if I had to choose, I think I’m the proudest of the KamiNomi review! So that being said, I just want to give my thanks to nesha and everyone who visited the #moe404 for a great 2018. I’m wishing 2019 will be an even better year for myself, as well as for everyone else.
Thank you for reading, happy holidays, and keep watching anime!
© written by sliceofalfredo revised by nesha5971 featured images are credited to 竜