Best Year for Anime? 2018 Favorites & Best Of: The Award Edition

With 2018 officially over, it’s about time people start listing off their favorites as well as the best of 2018. Some would argue that 2018 was the best year for anime the past few years, and I do think it was extremely great. Every season had a wonderful variety of shows that made up for a diverse year that seemed like it had an anime for nearly everyone to enjoy. And what was more was that a handful of these anime were actually really good. If I were trying to look at anime objectively, I’m not sure I could go through all from this year and truly analyze and decide which is best, but I can share with you what I think is the best of 2018 in my opinion. So here we go! It’ll be a long list but let’s get started! And don’t forget to leave me your favorites in the comments!

—Luna

Best Comedy – Grand Blue

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Honorable Mentions: Asobi Asobase, Chii-chan’s Journey Home, Aggretsuko

Grand Blue came out of left field for me. Never a fan of most comedies, I had dedicated my time this year to watching this genre. While Grand Blue wasn’t the only thing that made me laugh, it was certainly the one that made me laugh the longest and hardest for it’s utterly ridiculous shenanigans. Plus it taught me the valuable lesson to ALWAYS bring a lighter.

Best Drama – Violet Evergarden

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Honorable Mentions: Piano no Mori

Now Violet Evergarden was actually the first anime I watched this year, and boy was it a good one. Bringing a wonderful story and beautiful animation, Violet Evergarden was all anyone could talk about for a while. Tear jerkingly touching, it’s been popular with both hardcore and softcore anime fans alike (even popular with those who NEVER watch anime). And it’s no wonder! The stories within this amazing masterpiece tug at the heartstrings and appeal to wide audiences. This is an anime worth watching again and again.

Best Action- Sword Art Online: Alicization

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Honorable Mentions: Sword Art Online: Gun Gale Alternative, Angolmois

I’m not a huge fan of SAO. So making it on the list has to be good. What’s more is that this category was made hard by deciding to go with Alicization or Gun Gale Alternative. Both were very good, but Alicization gives me a lot more hope for the overarching story of SAO as it delves into some interesting concepts while dazzling with good fight sequences. Either way, SAO this year has given me hope in the franchise again, so this was an easy one despite other strong competitors.

Best Sci-Fi – Darling in the FranXX

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Honorable mention: SSSS.Gridman, Hinamatsuri

Do you remember all the hype about this? I sure do. 2018 was a good year for our favorite makers of Gurren Lagann to produce not one but two sci-fi anime. The earlier of the two was Darling in the FranXX and it was good…and then at times not so good. To be honest I wasn’t sure I should give it best sci-fi, but let’s be real. It deserved to be here.

Best Horror- Ito Junji Collection

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Ito Junji I both love and hate you. Hate because of all the creepy things you produce, but also love because all those creepy things make me happy regardless. A true king of horror, Ito Junji”s anime brings to life some of the more haunting stories of his. It’s a perfect amount of spook factor for those horror lovers, but certainly not for the faint of heart. There are no honorable mentions here, because only the king deserves this one.

Best Slice-of-Life – Gakuen Babysitters

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Honorable mention: Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san, Violet Evergarden

ADORABLE. ADORABLE. ADORABLE. Gakuen Babysitters was a manga that seemed like it wouldn’t be popular as an anime but it is. About a boy taking care of his little brother and helping out at his school’s babysitter club, this slice-of-life will warm your heart and make you squee from cuteness.

Best Romance- Bloom Into You

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Honorable mentions: Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Citrus, Bunny Girl Senpai

Now, I didn’t even think I was going to watch Bloom Into You when it came out, but I gave into it after watching the opening on youtube one day. I’m so glad I did. While there was a lot of romance anime’s as always, this one truly stood out to me, but not because it was a same-sex couple. No, Bloom Into You, stood out to me because it contemplates the question of what love is. How do we feel it, how do we think of it, what is the difference between love of a love and love of a family or friend? This anime isn’t shy to think about these questions and tells a story I feel that anyone can relate to. It’s so worth a watch, I’m so glad I didn’t skip over this one because Bloom Into You is honestly a wonderful delight.

Best Girl- Red Blood Cell from Cells at Work!

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Honorable mentions: Violet Evergarden, Platelette (Cells at Work), Rikka Tarada (SSSS.Gridman

Red Blood Cell is both extremely ditzy but extremely adorable. But let’s be real, I chose her because you literally need this girl to live. Best. Girl. Forever.

Best Boy- Haise Sasaki/Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul: re

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Honorable mentions: Eiji Okumura (Banana Fish), Mikhail (Sirius the Jaegar), Luke (Phantom in the Twilight)

The third season of Tokyo Ghoul was a huge improvement from season 2 (well, that last episode in season 2 was pretty good). And it brought back with one of my favorite boy’s of all time. Considering this is the last season of Tokyo Ghoul, I’ve got to give it to my boy.

Cutest Character- Mii-kun from How to Keep a Mummy

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Honorable mention: Kotaro Kashima (Gakuen Babysitters)

There were a lot of cute anime and a lot of cute characters this year. But I HAD to give it to this adorable little mummy. He said nothing, the most he could do was bark, but watching How to Keep a Mummy always warmed my heart and made me squee like I was a middle schooler again. All of the creatures in this anime were drop dead adorable but Mii-kun made me love him so much I had to track down this comic and start practicing japanese again so I could read chapters (not even kidding).

Worst Character- Chihiro Kamina from Lord of Vermillion

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SQUARE ENIX YOU LET US DOWN. Now, this anime was really close to being most disappointing, but then I thought, y’know, it probably would’ve been a better anime if Chihiro wasn’t the main character.  See at first I really liked him, but I felt like over the course of the anime he just…lost his character somehow. And not in any particular direction. He just sort of became a pointless person despite being the main character and I felt like there was no purpose behind the choices he made except for plot. Which is terrible when your main character is just being dragged by the plot and not a real character. I wish Chihiro had better characterization, I feel like the series would’ve benefited if we saw more personality from him.

Best Couple- Hirotaka x Narumi from Wotakoi, Love is Hard for Otaku

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Honorable mentions: Eiji x Ash (Banana Fish), Yuu x Touko (Bloom into You)

This was a piece of cake. Now, I’m a working girl. I’m an otaku. I hide it at work. That’s why Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku really hit me hard even though the romance was low key. It kind of described just like…a perfect thing. It was refreshingly mature while also still being youthful, nerdy, comfortable, and still something to sigh over longingly. Hirotaka x Narumi might have started for convenience, but it ended up with a beautiful and heartfelt relationship. That’s the kind of relationship I long for.

Best Fight- Deku vs. Kaachan from My Hero Academia season 3

Izuku Midoriya vs. Katsuki Bakugo | My Hero Academia Wiki | Fandom

Surprise surprise. Of course My Hero Academia was on here at least one. But I’m serious guys, this fight was really cool. I know a lot of people were hyped about All for One vs. All Might, but to be honest I think this rematch between Deku and Bakugou was way better in both animation, character growth, and actual fighting. The stepping stone this created for these two characters was necessary and welcome, I feel like we’re finally seeing the real Bakugou, and more importantly this was so much fun to watch. I expect whoever choreographed it had fun.

Best Opening- “I wanna be” by Spyair – Gintama: Shirogane no tamashii-hen

Gintama.: Shirogane no Tamashii-hen | Anime-Planet

Gintama is over. That is certain. And it certainly went out on a high note with it’s opening song. I watched this first in a long list of all the openings from this season, and I’m still singing it in my head. For some reason the tone of the song makes me feel nostalgic, and a little emotional as I remember this is the last season of Gintama. Even though it wasn’t always the best or amazing, it was a fun ride. And this song makes me feel all of that.

Best Ending- “Hoshie” by Sanjou no Hana – Sirius the Jaegar

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Sirius the Jaegar was a delightful surprise this year. I found it to be such a great anime to watch, and the ending song reminded me a lot of openings from early 2000 anime’s (which is pretty much when I started watching anime). Combine the catchy song with some great visuals that show Yuliy and Mikhail as children and I’m already hooked. I think I’ve listened to this so many times I memorized the lyrics. So good. 10/10.

Best Movie- Mirai

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I watched this in the theater with Star. It wasn’t an epic story, a blockbuster, or totally stunning. But it was a fantastical adventure that explored family, relationships, our past and present and how all the little moments make up who and what we are. There were some really amazing moments in here and the movie was incredibly cute. I really recommend it. It’ll have you tearing up at the warmth in this story.

Favorite OVA- K Seven Stories: Memories of Red – Burn

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I have a love/hate relationship with K. I love it but also hate bits of it. But I was excited to watch the Seven Stories OVA’s. Naturally, I’d thought I’d love Lost Small World as it was my favorite K side manga (focusing on the friendship of Yata and Fushimi and how they came together and then came to be at odds). However, it was a bit of letdown since it couldn’t include everything in the short hour. BUT then I watched Memories of Red – Burn, which instead told the story of the few days leading up to the first season of K. This means of course, the red clansman Totsuka’s death. I thought this chapter was beautifully animated and gave a wonderful glimpse into the life of the reds, the mindset of the red king, and gave us a true connection with Totsuka that we never got to experience in seasons 1 and 2. The manga version of this didn’t make me cry. But the OVA did.

Most Disappointing Anime- Senjuushi

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Literally I don’t have that much to say about this because I couldn’t make it through the first episode. I was so excited about this, thinking it might be similar to Hetalia. I was wrong. Oh, so wrong. The character designs made little sense, though I’d hoped they’d derive more to match whichever gun they were, and the fighting was a total let down. I was so disappointed. I wanted to just forget this ever existed.

Best Animation- Irozuku Sekai no Ashita Kara (Iroduku: The World in Colors)

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Honorable Mention: Violet Evergarden

I’m sure this is a travesty to anyone who watched Violet Evergarden, but hear me out. Iroduku also had absolutely gorgeous animation, but what stood out to me more about it, and why I regard it as better than Violet Evergarden, is because of the explosion of colors we get in Iroduku. From fireworks, to magic, to when they jump into paintings. Iroduku stuns with these gorgeous arrays of all the colors that the main character Hitomi can’t see. It goes so far to show the difference between the black and white world Hitomi is seeing, and the beautiful world of colors she only gets glimpses of throughout the story. So even though Violet Evergarden is great, I enjoy the variation of animation in Iroduku which is equally beautiful.

Best Continuing Series- Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card Hen

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Honorable Mentions: Overlord, Sword Art Online: Alicization, Gintama

I didn’t even know how ready I was for this anime until it started. I grew up on Cardcaptor Sakura so I got super excited when this was announced. It did not let down. Despite having better animation, it managed to keep in the spirit of the old seasons. More importantly I enjoyed seeing this iteration of Syaoran and Sakura interact. I just hope that there’s a next season since the plot didn’t really resolve here. This was just…too delightful and too nostalgic to not name best continuing.

Best Adaption- Angels of Death

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Honorable mentions: Phantom in the Twilight, Banana Fish, Bloom Into You

This could be contended. I know that. But I gave best Adaption to Angels of Death after having played the computer game it was based off. The anime stayed extremely faithful to the source material, but of course gave what was dreary pixels in the game, great scenes and backgrounds in the anime. All the floors were brought to life (the gorgeousness of Eddie’s death killed me). Plus the anime gave more backstory into Zack, which is actually one thing I thought had been lacking in the game. The fact that the anime improved upon and both stayed faithful to the source material made Angels of Death stand out to me more than any other adaption this year.

Favorite Winter Anime 2018- A Place Further than the Universe

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Again. Something that I didn’t expect to like but actually really LOVED. A straight up drama, this show about these girls heading to Antarctica made me feel so many things. So many things that I honestly didn’t expect from it. It was a wonderful journey, a wonderful anime. I loved it so much, and it was so perfect to watch in winter.

Favorite Best Spring Anime 2018- Piano no Mori

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I loved this manga so much, and it’s an adaption into an anime was just as wonderful. I love how they kept the art style. Watching this again brings all the inspiration I originally got from it originally. Kai is wonderful, amazing, and I can’t wait for the second season to come out (there better be a second season).

Favorite Summer Anime 2018- High Score Girl

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I honestly didn’t think I’d like High Score Girl because it was so hard to watch due to the animation. While not bad, I personally didn’t like the way the characters were drawn and how static the cgi was. However, it was really the plot of this that made me appreciate it. Using games and passion for them, it introduced an unlikely friendship and unlikely love story that was actually very nice to watch. It felt like a time capsule of retro games, but also how said games and shared passion can bring people together. So even though the animation was eh, and the MC was annoying at times, it was overall super good.

Favorite Fall Anime 2018- Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai

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There was a lot of great fall anime, but I think popular opinion makes me have to give this one to bunny girl senpai. And it rightfully deserves it for the brilliance in the writing of this anime that looks pretty strange from afar. Puberty syndrome, while sounding ridiculous, is surprisingly profound as it manifests randomly from actual problems going on in character’s lives (the sister getting bullied getting cuts on her body for example). The characters are also very interesting in of themselves, and even the writing of their dialogue feels so natural and so familiar. There’s so much hidden within this anime, some really deep thoughts, and some really interesting concepts. Hands down, you need to watch it.

Best Anime of 2018- Banana Fish

Honorable Mentions: Violet Evergarden, A Place Further than the Universe

A great year meant it was really hard to pick a favorite or best anime of 2018, but in the end I had to give it to Banana Fish. While Banana Fish wasn’t a perfect adaption to it’s source material, it was still really impressive. It had a very good plot, pretty good animation, a touching story of love, and some really amazing scenes that still stick with me. While other shows like Violet Evergarden brought me to tears every episodes, instead Banana Fish only had its moments, but when those moments hit, they hit hard. I think out of all the shows I watched, Banana Fish was the only one where I felt a widespread of emotions. While the last few episodes felt a little rushed, I still think it overall did an amazing job of getting to the heart of the story. More importantly, I knew the source material. I read the manga, but the anime still made me feel so much that I didn’t think I would. MAPPA did a beautiful job bringing Banana Fish to life, so for me it’s the best anime of 2018.

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