Top 5 Anime of 2018 (AOTY)

Okay, well, I explained my situation in the last post so I’m not going to again. However the same things apply and it made making an AOTY post really difficult especially because with everything that happened I could barely handle watching anime yet I still forced myself to take on upwards of 18 shows a season which normally isn’t much of an issue but now had some consequences. I don’t remember much of any of what I watched even after doing that best of post, so trying to pick the “top” shows of shows I forgot existed already – by no fault of their own for many of them – seems pretty stupid. However, picking from what I could remember still proved kinda difficult as I really enjoyed all of these a lot and 4 of the five share a 9/10 and the leftover being a 10/10.

I included more honorable mentions than usual to make the post longer rather than “because I couldn’t pick!”. I’m dealing with shit still so I needed a way to give you more to read and that was a lot easier than trying to write a long thing about any specific thing(s) which is what I typically would do. If you know me I hate when people do a top list and include 30000 honorable mentions as a way of including everything they wanted just like people who, when asked their favorite anything, list off way more than 1 thing – so I felt like I needed to point it out since I’m doing something seemingly similar.

Honorable Mentions:

Maquia & Hero Academy: Two Heroes – I don’t want to include anime FILMS on a top anime of the year post. Amazing just not suited for this, but absolutely some of the best things to come from the medium this year.

Slime Time / Jojo Part 5 – Neither is finished so I’d feel weird putting them in the actual list. I feel like usually for shows that continue through and primarily air in the next year I treat as that next year’s anime so don’t be surprised if they show up in 2019’s end of year posts. Jojo is no surprise of course – not only because all the prior seasons were great but because the manga was also still good up until after Jolyne’s part, but Slime I’m still shocked that it is what it is and that it’s so good at being that.

Yuru Camp – I loved Yuru Camp, it is maybe one of the most genuinely relaxing anime out there and has an OP that will always be high rated from me. However, something about it just made it not be AS good as I had hoped, maybe I knew at the time but I sure don’t know now – but I gave it an 8 for a reason even if I don’t remember what that reason was. Still, I loved it, you should watch it, it is such a warm sweet soft nice thing and that’s coming from someone who fucking hates camping and had to do it all the time as a kid.

Hinamatsuri – I mentioned it in the ‘best of’ post but, while being fucking hilarious and having a lot of great original humor, this ended up having a lot of weak episodes and plot points throughout. Absolutely a great comedy worth watching, just not something deserving of the top 5 of the year.

Attack on Titan 3 – Filled with a lot of retarded shit but in that fantastic AoT way as well as some fucking awesome action and set pieces. It was actually a really good season especially because it did more than just the usual Titan slaying and character-killing-off-ing and focused more on the political and societal situation that the show never really touched on in the past too much while also giving us some seriously intriguing mysteries to latch on to and keep you waiting for the next season.

5. Pop Team Epic

If Pop Team Epic kept up the pace of episode 1 it might be higher on this list, but instead of maintaining a full blown Teekyu level of insanity it became a more normal…ish random style comedy anime. Still, it was really strange, full of immense creativity at times (Hellshake Yano being one of the best examples), and Popuko is still one of my all time fav anime girls – but only when she has a male voice – because she is both super cute and super cool at the same time. I use her yakuza enforcer look for an avatar in multiple places and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

4. Chio’s School Road

This is another comedy series that really stood out this year, only this one was a lot more because of the original humor than anything else which is a big reason it is higher up than Pop Team. It also features one of my runners-up for best girl, Manana, who shows up a few episodes in and then ends up a main character alongside Chio for most episodes. A simple journey to school taken sometimes to extreme levels of weird shit and other times actually just having simple relate able scenarios for the humor – a good mix of outlandish and familiar with great character design, great seiyuu work (especially Chio’s who sounds way too much like Rina Satou at times), and a lot of fun ideas.

3. Cells At Work

There are very few things, even within anime, that are both genuinely educational and also totally entertaining; Cells at Work is one of those rarities. While it mostly only covers things most people learned as children it can still teach you a little from the unique perspective making it so much easier to put the concepts into a more easily digestible form while also being hilarious, cool, and full of lovable characters. And, for actual kids like my niece for example, it’s actually a great learning tool for anyone hitting the grade that they first learn about this stuff in.

However, the thing I really appreciate the most about this series and that makes it stand out as truly special to me is that this concept is nothing new; things like Osmosis Jones or Inner Space have existed for decades…yet Cells at Work is the first thing taking this concept and representing it in such full form. Osmosis Jones is the easiest thing to compare it to to explain what I mean. Cells goes all-in with every aspect – there isn’t that weird mix of realistic with fake, there aren’t blobby monster things that are mobsters driving cars around in an otherwise realistically depicted part of the human body, there aren’t police officers who do osmosis through otherwise normal fleshy bits of the inside of a person. Cells at Work did the best ever full and consistent total remake of the human body as something it isn’t – which ironically gets across what they are trying to teach far better than the awkward and confusing mash-up of “this is a body” and “these cells are alive and just like us in a society just like ours!” that most things attempt. Instead every aspect of the human body and all the cells, even medicine we take, is depicted in a way that is completely consistent to the rest instead of being a terrible mash-up of the body and real world society and technology. It seems small and easy but this is the only thing that’s ever actually DONE that that I’m aware of and it does it extremely well.

2. Jashin-chan Dropkick

I doted on this so much in the ‘best of’ post that I can’t really expand much more on it. Jashin-chan is a perfect throwback comedy that brings a lot of great new jokes to the table and fantastic cast with it and it delivers non-stop laughs and a nostalgic and wonderful feeling of what comedy anime used to be. Genuinely one of the most purely fun things I’ve seen since maybe Garupan which I praised in nearly the identical way in terms of being just pure fucking fun to watch. I absolutely loved it and I super highly recommend it as one of the best comedies in a long time.

1. My Hero Academy 3

MHA’s first season was also my AOTY for 2016, and while season 2 didn’t quite make it in to the top 5 it was still one of my favorites of 2017, so seeing this here is not that big of a surprise. Yet it’s not just a love for the franchise and it’s habit of elevating a nearly forever-shitty genre overall that put it at number 1 or even in the top 5, it’s the level of consistently incredible episodes and the return of those non-stop powerful moments that this season had from start to finish that elevated it to the top. This season has so many of the things that were originally started back in the first episodes of season 1 finally paying off in amazing, fucking cool, and extremely emotional ways. It is shows like this, seasons like this, that remind me of how much I love this medium and how much more anime can do than almost any other entertainment when it really tries. I felt like season 2 had a few slip-ups and wasted a lot of potential by turning into a more generic feeling battle shounen with the whole battle arena bullshit but season 3 really is a return to form featuring pretty much nothing to complain about and huge character moments instead of a focus on “now look at THIS fight!”.

Really though it was all those things built up since even episode 1 of the entire franchise finally paying off that puts this as my AOTY. Deku and Bakugo’s rivalry, All Might and All For One, learning who the angsty edgelord with all the hands really is, the demise of the most important hero in the world and the consequences on society that came with, and so many more things that have been there the whole time finally all just pop off at once and it resulted in something that never stopped being fantastic. The writing, the massive amounts of character development, and the perfect directorial decisions made every episode absolutely make this deserve to be number 1.

It was also the only show to have the United States of Smash.

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