jazzcatte: vasenka, from the manga kutsuzure sensen (Default)
[personal profile] jazzcatte
Wow I watched a lot of anime this year! Way more than I usually do. Some of this was because there was a lot of good stuff coming out,and the rest just because I was already following a ton of stuff so why not.

Anyway, now that we're heading into the home stretch of the fall season, I wanted to write up some of my thoughts and opinions about what I watched this year. It turns out, I have enough material for a pretty solid top 10, so that's most of what this post is. There are some other things that I watched some of, dropped, or otherwise didn't feel strongly about, and I'll touch on those a bit before the end.

  1. Legend of the Galactic Heroes - Die Neue These - Those of you who know me are probably not surprised to see legend of the galactic heroes on this list. You might be surprised to see it this low. Die Neue These is a new adaptation of the classic story (I'd say that the original OVA and the gaiden releases are easily in the top 3 anime of all time), this time with CG animation and flashy effects. So far we've got a single-cour series, with at least 3 movies on the way, likely to cover the first major arc of LoGH. To be frank, it just isn't as good as the original. The animation is pretty and high-resolution, but loses some of the warmth and expressiveness of the old OVA. While I appreciate their attempts to make Frederica a bigger and cooler character earlier on, ultimately the fact that they choose to stick with the original novels instead of repeating some of the original OVA's (in my opinion sensible) changes and additions leave the storytelling just a little bit worse. Additionally, while following up a soundtrack comprised entirely of Canonical Masterpieces is not a task I'd envy, the music in DNT feels sparse and monotonous compared to the lush orchestral backing of the original. It's still really good (and makes this list) because it's still legend of the galactic heroes, but the OVA's on Hidive now so you really have no excuse for not just watching the original. That's why DNT is here, at number 10.
  2. Hanebado - I love sports anime and I love girls and so it's good that we finally got a decent sports anime about girls. There have been other animes about girls who play sports but this is the first time in a while that I've seen the fiery competitive spirit that characterizes more typical examples of the genre put into an anime that's primarily about women and their relationships with each other. While not as gay in the final analysis as it initially looked, the galaxy-brained mom-stealing plot and every character's substitution of badminton for therapy made for a really good watch. Ayano's mom die challenge.
  3. Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight - A lot has been said about this anime, and so I'll start by just linking this. I have mixed feelings about this show, not least because I found the main couple's arc to be a little unsatisfying, and ultimately starlight just seems to be a really terrible play and I can't understand why everyone's so excited about it. This anime makes the list, and gets as high as it does, because Banana stole the entire show by being a really interesting and fun character with a very satisfying arc that took a story we've heard before (tragic heroine loops through time to relive time with loved ones) and recontextualized it to be about fear of loss and moving on. Seeing Banana have to face the future (and seeing her handle it with a surprising amount of grace, given how long she's implied to have been looping for) was very cool, and despite the fandom's preference for Claudine/Maya, Banana/Junna is the ship, in my imo.
  4. Hinamatsuri - This next portion of the list is mainly just "this was a good manga, and they made it into a good anime". I liked Hinamatsuri a lot, and the anime adaptation does well by it. The jokes translate well, and the animators avoid getting too gross with it in most cases. I love my awful psychic daughters and if you hurt them I will kill everyone in the room and then myself.
  5. Yuru Camp - Continuing the trend of "good adaptations of good manga", Yuru Camp does a perfect job of being a relaxed, chill experience. I spent a lot of my childhood summers on camping trips so it had a bit of nostalgic flavor for me. One of the best soundtracks of the year rounds out a truly excellent show that you really should watch if you haven't.
  6. Mitsuboshi Colors - Yet another good adaptation of a good manga, Mitsuboshi Colors is cute, funny, and hates cops almost as much as I do. The show is about three kids who form a super-hero team/secret club, and just generally get into antics in their town. If nothing else, at least watch it for the scene where three elementary schoolers shoot a cop in the dick with a rocket launcher. Also, Pops rules and I want all of his sunglasses.
  7. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens - This is maybe my most 'controversial' pick? Or at least it's the one about which I have the most caveats. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens has scenes of graphic violence, transphobia (internalized and societal), child abuse, and violence against women. It also has a cast of characters who won over my heart (with a few exceptions). I expected Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens to be cheesy violence, but I was consistently surprised by how good it was. Having a cool trans lady assassin is also a plus. The premise (a city where basically everyone is some flavor of professional killer) is extremely goofy, but they play it straight and somehow it works? (Note: that's the only straight thing about this show). Also the protagonist lives above a shop called "Beef Gang" which I thought was very funny.
  8. Hakumei & Mikochi - There's having a lot to live up to, and then there's being an anime adaptation of the best manga of all time (seriously go read it). Hakumei & Mikochi does a good job of bringing everyone's favorite married couple of very tiny women to the screen, and it's full of the same heartwarming wholesomeness that makes the manga so good. It doesn't land further up this list because it wasn't up to the impossible task of being as good as the manga is, if there wasn't a better version of this story out there, this would be a contender for #1. The music's cute too.
  9. A Place Further Than The Universe - This one was a bit of a surprise to me. I never expected an anime about a bunch of high schoolers going to Antarctica to be this far up my list. I'm realizing I'm a bit of a sucker for when a story that I thought would be about one thing ends up being about dealing with grief, and A Place Further Than The Universe delivers in spades. The characters are fun and charming, the animation is great, and everyone is just a little bit gay (don't get me wrong, it's bait, but it's the good kind). I almost don't want to say much more because you should really just see it for yourself, but I will mention that one of the characters in-universe has an album called "the follow-backs won't stop".
  10. Bloom Into You - It is not an exaggeration to say that Bloom Into You saved anime. Even if you didn't think it needed saving. One of the best Yuri manga of recent memory is currently receiving a (thus-far) nigh-perfect anime adaptation. It's so good words fail me. Although it is a romance, Bloom Into You is also a story about recognizing yourself, being a lesbian, dealing with unrealistic social expectations and pressures (for relationships as well as for everything else), and ultimately an examination of what it means to love someone. Koito Yuu, the main protagonist, loves shoujo manga, and as a result has some weird expectations of what falling in love is like, which have lead her to believe that she cannot fall in love. She is also (although it takes a while for her to realize it) a huge lesbian. Similarly large and sapphic are Nanami Touko, who has hid herself inside a public persona she's built where she emulates her dead older sister, and Saeki Sayaka, Nanami's friend (nursing a huge crush on her) and fancy girl. Touko falls for Yuu because Touko is afraid of being loved, and she thinks that Yuu is 'safe' (i.e. guaranteed not to love her back). Yuu, a huge lesbian, falls for Touko immediately but doesn't realize it because she hasn't been transported to the flower dimension. The story goes on from there (and I won't say much more, as it's still airing). The thing that ultimately I want to emphasize about this show is how much the anime adaptation has brought to it. The manga is fantastic, but the little things that the animation does with facial animation, voice acting, and general direction have really taken it to a higher level. If you watch one anime that came out in 2018, this is the one.
Honorable Mentions:

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (way better than it had any right to be, if a bit gross about the lesbian), Yowamushi Pedal (probably still good, although I haven't kept up), Pop Team Epic (goofy and neat ideas, although I found it a little too abrasive for me to actually watch), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (not anime, not out this year, still the second-best thing Star Wars ever did, after the Ahsoka novel)

Dishonorable Mentions:

I didn't watch Citrus or Darling in the Franxx, but wow did I hate having to hear about them. Everyone involved should feel ashamed of themselves.

On Thin Ice:

SSSS.Gridman is an interesting show, but ultimately I think that Trigger is still on their bullshit here. I'm waiting to see how it turns out but please don't be horny about noted murderer and/or mmorpg player Akane, I am begging you.

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jazzcatte: vasenka, from the manga kutsuzure sensen (Default)
jazzcatte

March 2019

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