I got to watch a lot of great anime this year, but what were my favorites? And which did I think was the best of the best?
Because this is a list of my favorite anime, I am not suggesting that the anime on this list are definitely the cream of the crop and anyone who disagrees is wrong. The anime that I chose for this list are series that I was able to enjoy, relate to their themes, or I thought had a very important message to share.
Before I get to the list, I'm going to also explain why some anime are not on this even if they're pretty good or fantastic. I decided to exclude anime that did not premiere in 2018, so series like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan are not on this list. I am also excluding series that I did not watch but are highly praised by the anime community, including shows like After the Rain and Run with the Wind. Finally, I'm not including any series that I have not yet completed like Laidback Camp and How not to Summon a Demon Lord.
Now without further ado, here is the list of my 18 favorite anime of 2018!!
18. Harukana Receive!
This was one of those series that I did not really plan to get invested with when I started it. I went into it for cute girls playing beach volleyball with a lot of fan service and playful antics. Halfway through the season, I was actually invested in the characters and when it was time for the two main pairs to square off, I was conflicted about who I wanted to see win. While giving me a competitive sports anime, Harukana Receive also did not disappoint and still delivered some fan service and the cute stuff that I love. I would say that my biggest problem with the series is that the final showdown of the season lasts awhile and can get a little boring to watch.
17. Cells at Work
An anime about the human body with anthropomorphized cells doing their daily duty sounded fun and educational, and Cells at Work definitely succeeded in both aspects. A lot of the times that I was laughing at the antics of a Red Blood cell who is always losing her way, I was actually learning a lot about how the body responded to viruses and parasites. The only reason why this series isn't higher on my favorites list is because I felt that the gag of cells as anime characters got a little boring to me at time. However, this is still a series that I recommend to friends and anyone looking for something fun.
16. Planet With
The main appeal of Planet With was not the fights between mechas, which were actually pretty epic, but instead the battles between philosophies and practices. It was an anime that explored how love and forgiveness were not weaknesses but strengths and that while power could corrupt it was not especially evil. As a Christian who believes in loving everyone, I like the heart and themes of Planet With. The only about this series that disappointed me was that it was too short. Towards the end of the series, I was getting attached to the characters and found their relationships charming, but there wasn't enough to really get me to fall in love.
While it is probably not the best representative of sports anime, Megalobox is responsible for getting me interested in the genre. The fight scenes were not always the best, but this show was so easy to fall in love with after the first episode. The retro art and animation makes it stand out and the soundtrack is still one that I listen to whenever I'm working out or trying to hype myself up. The story of Gearless Joe had such an impact on me that it reminded me of the joys of fighting and competing.
14. Anima Yell!
I love watching anime about cute girls doing cute things and after the first episode of Anima Yell!, I knew that I was already in love with the main girls. There aren't a lot of Chair anime out there...oh, I mean "Cheer" anime"...but I am already waiting with anticipation for a second season. The girls were all charming in their own ways, but the two that stole my heart were the energetic Kohane and the self-conscious Kotetsu. However, Anime Yell! is not my favorite moe show of 2018. That title would have to go to a show with another pink-haired loli and her group of friends.
13. Comic Girls
This is my favorite moe show of of 2018 for a number of reasons. Comic Girls had plenty of cute girls doing cute things, and it made me laugh while also touching my heart. As a writer with a love and interest in comic books, I found Comic Girls to be extremely relatable. While being entertained, I also found myself being highly motivated to write and create. Like Bakuman, an anime about a manga artist and writer, I will come back to Comic Girls whenever I need a spark to reignite my passion for writing and storytelling.
12. Golden Kamuy
I am surprised that this series isn't more popular. Golden Kamuy has something for everyone. There is action, adventure, comedy, a little bit of romance in the second season, and a lot of history about Ainu culture and the history of Hokkaido. Though I do doubt that I would have included this series after watching just the first season, fortunately, the second season also came out this year and it made me realize how much I missed the characters and absurdity of Golden Kamuy. If there is any anime on my favorites list that I want more people to watch it would be Golden Kamuy.
11. Darling in the Franxx
I will admit that the last few episodes of this series took a very strange turn, felt very rushed, and were drastically different in tone compared to the beginning of the series. But I also have to admit that Darling in the Franxx was a great series in the beginning with plenty of intrigue and mystery. It also had Zero Two who is definitely going to be remembered for years to come in the anime community. Darling in the Franxx has plenty to criticize and I think it failed to live up to its full potential, but it was still one of my favorites of 2018 and a show I will not soon forget.
10. Revue Starlight
The only thing that I like more than cute girls doing cute things is cute girls fighting with swords. Revue Starlight caught my attention with the first episode and while I am not 100% of what happened throughout the whole show, I was entertained by the musical numbers and fight scenes. Mahiru also became one of my favorite best girls, I learned to respect Tendou Maya, and now whenever I see a giraffe I am not going to be able to unhear it saying "Wakarimasu". As a story about pursuing your dreams even if they seem impossible and not giving up on love and friendship, Revue Starlight will always remind me to not give up on being the top star.
This was a hilarious series with plenty of heartwarming moments that made me cry with laughter and joy. I enjoy stories about family, and I really enjoy stories about people learning to become a family and that's what I found in Hinamatsuri. Even though the main character is lazy with a dull personality, her relationship with Nitta was hilarious and it was cute to see them become father/daughter, even if Nitta was about to throw a party when he thought Hina was finally gone from his life. And like I mentioned during the 12 Days of Anime, Anzu really hit me in the feels and she deserves all the hugs and love.
8. Rascal does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
I should probably really hate this show for lying to me. I thought that I was going to get an ecchi comedy with fan service and a girl in a bunny outfit. It turned out to barely include a girl in a bunny outfit and instead was a coming-of-age story about the challenges of high school and teenage social anxiety. But while Rascal does not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai was not what I expected, it was still a really good series that had a lot to say. There were times when I felt like it was speaking to me and other times when I was so attached to the characters and I felt for them. It also still had a lot of cute girls who are all worthy of the Best Girl title.
7. Asobi Asobase
I'm not sure what more I can say about this show that I haven't already said in previous posts and twitter. This was a hilarious comedy that never failed to make me laugh, while some jokes and gags were better than others, I still couldn't keep from cracking a smile while watching the antics of these terribly great girls. Asobi Asobase is one of those anime I can rewatch again and again because it doesn't get old. Whenever I want to make a friend, I'm going to go to YouTube and find a couple clips of this show. I'm going to be really disappointed is there isn't a second season of Asobi Asobase.
6. Devilman Crybaby
How could I not include Devilman Crybaby on a list of my favorite 2018 anime? This is a series that almost everyone in the anime community was talking about when it came out on Netflix. I don't binge watch a lot of anime, but I finished this series in two days when I should have been studying. While dark and gritty, Devilman Crybaby had a lot of heart and showed that humanity is capable of good. It may not be my absolute favorite, I still listen to the fantastic soundtrack and can't help but singing along. I don't think I'm going to stop singing, "Are wa dare da, dare da, dare da, Are wa debiru, debiru man! Debiru man!"
5. Bloom into You
This was such a good show! Ugh! I loved it so much and it's now my favorite romance series, if not my favorite love story of all time! Bloom into You was a show that I knew I was going to like after the first episode, even though I kept telling myself that it wasn't my "thing". I never watched a lot of yuri of shoujo ai before Bloom into You, but I loved this series from beginning to end and I'm said that it didn't actually conclude this season. I didn't think that I would, but now I'm going to have to get the manga just so I can see what happened next for the girls of this show. I just hope that they all find happiness.
4. Violet Evergarden
I did not watch this series for a while after it came out because I heard so many negative reviews and poor responses after it came out on Netflix. When I finally got around to watching it, I was blown away. Not only was Violet Evergarden a beautiful looking series, but it really got me in the feels and a few of the episodes really stood out and made me cry. The one episode with the sick mother and her lonely daughter really got me even when I was prepared for the heartfelt stuff...and it still made me cry. Maybe I'm just really soft and it's not that hard to get me to cry, but I really liked Violet Evergarden.
3. Zombie Land Saga
The first episode of this series hit me like a truck and I could not stop talking about it for the longest time. I still bring it up whenever I'm talking about new anime that are awesome from start to finish. Zombie Land Saga continued to raise the bar with every episode and I did not expect an idol anime to be one of my favorites of this year. I am still waiting for the soundtrack to come out so I can blast it when I'm driving around the town. When the Winter 2019 anime come around in a couple weeks, Zombie Land Saga might move to the back of my head, but the LEGENDARY Yamada Tae will never leave my heart.
There are a lot of shows that came out this year that were excellent from beginning to end, but SSSS.Gridman was not just excellent, but it took twists and turns, getting better with every episode without losing its soul. I would say that it was everything that I wanted from Darling in the Franxx, but besides being a Trigger anime with giant robots, SSSS.Gridman does not have a lot in common with Franxx. This was a show that while paying homage to classics like Evangelion and other tokusatsu series, it was unique and will probably be talked about and analyzed for years to come.
1. A Place Further than the Universe
If you know me or have been reading a lot of my blog posts, it's probably not a surprise that A Place Further than the Universe is my favorite anime of 2018. After the first episode, I knew that I was watching something special and I had a feeling I found something that deserved my love. Every episode was better than the last, and even when I thought it had reached its peak, A Place Further than the Universe went even further. Besides being a show about cute girls doing cute things, this was a show about friendship and adventure. I do not think that there will ever be a show like A Place Further than the Universe.
SO...those are my favorite anime of 2018. These are all shows that I honestly really enjoyed watching this year and I am sure that there are plenty of great shows that I missed out on and that I will hopefully get back to in 2019. I am also really looking forward to some new adventures and stories from upcoming anime. If you read all the way to the end here, comment and let me know what anime you really enjoyed from this year, especially let me know of any gems that I really need to watch.