Last year in 2018, I managed to watch more anime than I had done so in previous years combined. While I still wasn’t able to watch nearly as many serials and films as I originally wanted, I felt proud and accomplished with what I had seen, especially given how hectic the year was for me on a personal level. Around the Summer simulcast season all the way until the New Year’s bell, my watching took a dive as I stepped away from seasonal anime to take care of some sick kitties. Because of that, I ended up missing out on quite a number of serials that I believe I probably would have enjoyed immensely, or at the very least, would have wanted to test out.
In 2019, I am limiting myself with what I watch seasonally so that I can focus more on the sheer quantity of completed content that has been hanging around on my Watchlist for a while. Today, I wanted to shine a light on five serials from 2018 that I will strive to start and finish before this year is out! Some of these are popular titles, others a lesser known than their counterparts. Narrowing down my list was very difficult. When I sat down and wrote out all of the anime that had caught my interest, the initial listing was well into the tens and twenties. It took me a couple of days and lots of research to limit myself to five. On the positive side of that, when (if) I manage to finish these five, the next set will be ready to go!
The list is numbered from five to one, and will have a brief synopsis, some generic information, and a link to its MAL page for anyone interested in checking out the mentioned titles. Let’s take a look at my personal pickings.
05. Golden Kamuy Season 2
The second season of the Golden Kamuy series began simulcasting in Fall and finished with 12 episodes. It was produced by Geno Studio. Golden Kamuy is about a guy who’s known as being invincible. After the war, he promises his dying friend that he’ll take care of his (the demised dude’s) family. Through some plot elements, Sugimoto (the protagonist) stumbles onto a dark and twisted treasure hunt of sorts that involves skinning people with tattoos that he believes will help him fulfil the promise he made.
My biggest reason for adding season two to my list is because of how much I adored season one (my first impressions). It isn’t a perfect anime by far, but it had a great blending of intriguing characters that varied from disturbing to hilarious, action sequences, morbid humour, and cultural exploration (Ainu culture). I purposefully chose not to watch the second season via simulcasts because I knew that I would become impatient with having to wait week-to-week. Instead, I’m hoping to marathon the entire season in a day or so. During my hunt, I did see a couple of posts speculating about a third season. If any of you have seen seasons one and two, do you know if there will be a season three for sure? I’d love more information on that, if possible.
04. Goblin Slayer
Ah, the controversial title of the year. Goblin Slayer also aired during the Fall season, with 12 total episodes and production via White Fox. The series is basically as it sounds. Goblins are the terror of the world, wreaking havoc and chaos, and adventurers hunt them down and kill them. A small group of adventurers are brought together to investigate missing village girls and end up realising that the task at hand is far more challenging than they imagined.
I know the series had quite an uproar of a premier to it, relating specifically to certain violent triggers. Those triggers are something that makes me a bit cautious when I think about starting it up as they are ones that can have strong negative impacts on me. However, with that said, my interest doesn’t come from the controversy of its content, but from the fact that it’s a fantasy series that is filled with action. I love fantasy, whether its in books or other media, and I’ve been craving a decent newer fantasy anime for so very long, and I veer closer to dark fantasy than the rest. I’m hoping Goblin Slayer will deliver on that front. It doesn’t have to be perfection, just far better than Record of Grancrest War, which was the last fantasy series I watched and was let-down by.
03. Violet Evergarden
Some people have called this the best anime of 2018, and after listening to some of the music and seeing some screenshots of the animation, I feel that I can understand why. Violet Evergarden was a Winter anime with 13 total episodes. It was released via Netflix at different times depending on the country, so over in my corner of the world we didn’t get the whole season until around Spring to Summer. I don’t know much about the plot—I wanted to know as little as possible to get the full experience of watching it—other than that it takes place after a great war and follows a young woman named Violet who can’t remember much except for her commanding officer, Major Gilbert, whom she desperately wants to locate.
I was able to watch the first episode shortly after it aired and I was floored by many things, which I gush about in my first impressions of it. One of the things I quickly realised was that Violet Evergarden was going to be a marathon worthy serial for me. However, by the time I finally got access to it in entirety, life had swept in and occupied most of my time. Since the serial’s Special episode has also been released, the time to sit down and get enveloped with it as has arrived! I’m thinking it will be the perfect thing to watch during Spring given the scenery and settings exhibited in the PV material.
Oh look, a series that I discovered only recently when I went searching for 2018 serials on the legal streaming sites that I have access to. I actually remember a fellow blogger, Scott, rocking the SSSS in his Twitter name sometime last year, so I think that may have helped keep the title alive in the back of my mind. SSSS.Gridman was another Fall series with 12 episodes and it was produced by the studio TRIGGER. I don’t personally like to know anything about mecha shows prior to watching them, so if you’d like you can click the pink-coloured title to go to its MAL page and learn more.
I saw this in the CrunchyRoll catalogue, looked up some PV visuals for it, and was instantly marvelled by it. I fricking adore mecha shows. I will admit that I haven’t seen many when you think about the sheer number of mech-related media there is, and that it has been many, many years since my last mech-anime experience (not counting Darling in the Franxx because I haven’t finished it…yet). Nonetheless, I am so ready to dive back into this specific subgenre of anime. My experience from watching Robotech (Macross) (just to name one) has shown me that marathoning mecha serials is the best way to enjoy them because I tend to get very invested while watching.
01. We Rent Tsukumogami
Okay, I know that this one is extremely obscure, however, that is a huge part of the appeal. We Rent Tsukumogami was a summer anime series that spawned 12 episodes and it was produced by Telecom Animation Film. It takes place during the Edo period and follows a unique shop of items where everything can be rented; a place where items transform into spiritual beings after having been in existence for approximately 100 years.
I had never heard a lick of anything about this anime until I went catalogue browsing on CrunchyRoll. The fact that it takes place in the Edo period was an immediate draw. Then the supernatural aspect of the plot was the second draw. Looking up the PV visuals was the final draw before it went onto my list. I like the fact that I know nothing about it and that I’ve heard nothing about it. Recently, serials that garner very little attention or receive average interest have been astonishing me the most with how much pleasure I get out of them. It’s an odd trend, and I’m not sure why there’s a co-relation there, but it is one I will use to my advantage to find great things to watch/engage with. Also, as I’ve mentioned briefly, the series takes place during the Edo period, which is an era in Japanese history that I really like to see portrayed in anime because of the various imaginative takes on the time period.
Looking back at this list, I feel it has some decent diversity to it in terms of genre and type. Once I finish these titles, I will go ahead and create another list of 2018 watchlist winners. Have you seen any of these serials? What did you think of them, without giving spoilers? Is there one you would recommend more over the others? Please, come chat with me in the comments and make my weekend better! I’d love to hear from you. 😊