Best of 2018 – Anime Awards
Welcome to AllYourAnime.Net’s third ever Best of the Year Anime Awards! We’ve reviewed every season over this past year, giving us the confidence to pick out the titles that shone above the rest and are worth going back for if you somehow skipped over them. These are the titles that deserve to be remembered past 2018, exemplifying the best the year had to offer.
Below you’ll find the awards broken down into seasons, with winners for each and a couple runners-up that were too good to ignore outright. At the end only one of the four seasonal winners will be crowned Best of the Year. We also have a couple personal awards to dole out as well. So, without further delay:
(Note: only TV anime were considered for these awards.)
Best of Winter 2018:
Tom: After The Rain took top spot for the Winter season thanks to solid animation, strong direction, and endearing characters. After the Rain focuses on young Tachibana, a former high school track team member, and her infatuation with the manager at her family diner job, Mr. Kondo. Initially people were weary due to the age gap between the two leads, afraid the series would attempt to justify a particularly wide May-December romance. But After the Rain keeps things innocent, never allowing its relationship to exist as anything more than innocent, and uses Tachibana’s unrequited affection for her boss, Mr. Kondo, instead to talk about learning to pick yourself back up after a fall.
Linny: After the Rain had people buzzing about its premise, shocking people with its 16 year old female protagonist nursing a crush on the 30+, divorced manager. And then it had people buzzing again, this time with praise for how well the show handles the intricacies and delicacies of teen heartache and emotions, soaring far above and away from any sleazy content and helping viewers relive or connect with the trials and tribulations of teenage crush.
Tom: Killing Bites is absolutely absurd. It’s a story focused on an underground fighting federation, where fighters are boosted by infusing them with animal DNA and turning them into “Brutes.” Hitomi Uzaki is one such fighter, infused with the DNA of a honey badger, making her particularly deadly. College student, Yuya Nomoto then finds himself thrust into this underground world after an unfortunate encounter. It’s the kind of series you watch just to see how crazy everything will get. The series succeeds at its over the top nature, offering increasing levels of ridiculous violence, badassery and reaction faces that veer straight into comedy. It dabbles a little with some uncomfortable material that keeps it from earning top spot for the season, but otherwise stands as a series worth watching if you want pure fighting absurdity.
Linny: If you love schlocky and over the top brutality in your anime, you MUST HAVE watched Killing Bites. If not, then go check it out ASAP. Killing Bites contains all sort of outrageous content, from sleazy fan service to gore riddled physical showdowns, guaranteed to shock some and offend others. But with its cast of genetically modified human-animal hybrids and its battle royale style tournament plot line, it’s sure to be a guaranteed blast for those strapping in for a campy, bloody time.
Tom: Laid-Back Camp does the impossible: It makes camping look like a ton of fun. Focused on a group of girls gradually coming together to appreciate winter camping, the series is ultimately light on characterization, character arcs, and even plot. Yet Laid-Back Camp is one of the few, true slice of life series that somehow still manages to produce engaging, easy-going content that’ll help relax you after a stressful day. This is largely thanks to beautiful visuals, light-hearted dialogue and a warm atmosphere.
Linny: Laid-back Camp is undoubtedly a love letter and advertisement for the appeal of camping in winter. Watching its adorable cast of high school girls explore the bliss of camping, camping food, and being treated to all the glorious shots of nature and background work is sure to have most viewers not only relaxed but secretly contemplating the viability of going winter camping themselves.
Best of Spring 2018:
Tom: Hinamatsuri’s dead pan comedy, quirky characters, yet heartfelt undertone make it the stand out of the Spring season, offering not just comedy antics surrounding the psychic girls that come trying to live a normal life in Japan, but also all the characters swept up in their efforts.
Linny: Hinamatsuri’s plain Jane looks and animation fail to hide or deter the fact that it is one of 2018’s funniest series. Combining the bizarre premise and personalities of its telekenetic powered girls to spin stories that range from gut busting hilarious to tear jerking heartwarming, Hinamatsuri earns itself a place as one of THE shows to go back to, especially for all the comedy fans out there.
Tom: Gurazeni offers an entirely different approach to sports anime, focusing on the life troubles, money issues, and such that Bonda and other players have to contend with on a near daily basis. The series gives a glimpse into the life of a Japanese Baseball player through one off narratives, focusing on different players and issues each week, making it a fun little series for fans of light comedy and more easy-going drama.
Linny: Gurazeni is definitely not your standard sports show and certainly not one aimed at the shonen crowd sports anime has come to be strongly associated with. Dealing with the inner thoughts of Bonda Natsuke, a left handed average ranked baseball pitcher, Gurazeni gave us a look into the financial side of sports as a business along with some of the more random personal drama that these fictional Japanese players face. Unfortunately, Gurazeni can be a bit uneven and even mundane as the status quos seems to reset at the end of every episode and one off anthology like plots revolving around one off characters made the show feel a little repetitive and scattered.
Tom: Legend of the Galactic Heroes is part of a highly regarded novel series of the same name. This is actually the 2nd anime adaptation and had long time fans worried this new iteration would botch it. Thankfully Galactic Heroes does justice to the story’s heavy political intrigue, war time strategy and military skirmishes as two political and military powers fight for dominance.
Best of Summer 2018:
Tom: Asobi Asobase does everything to subvert your expectations, going so far as to present the series as anything but a bizarre comedy. The opening song and animation lull you into the sense that Asobi Asobase is yet another cute girls doing cute things, when in actuality these girls are absolutely insane, generating some of the most surprising and hilarious comedy of the year.
Linny: Asobi Asobase is a show I wish I could talk people into picking up completely blind about its premise and content but then what would I write here? For the uninitiated, if you love extreme reaction face style comedy, stop reading and go watch this show RIGHT NOW. For those familiar with it, Asobi Asobase offers some of the most bizarre and 180 degree switch reactions and reaction faces, employed as its main source of humour. This does run the chance of becoming repetitive for some, but for others, tuning in to each episode to see what absurd situation and reactions the girls will get themselves in is a never ending (for 12 episodes) quest of laughter and wtfs.
Tom: Harukana Receive remains largely a respectable series that takes its female characters seriously, giving them some fun slice of life type content and even a couple gripping beach volleyball match ups. While the show remains fairly strong throughout its run, it gradually develops a bipolar attitude towards fan service, frequently shifting between framing these girls with respect and getting all up in their business. Still, the series manages to producing endearing characters and keep the melodrama on the down low, making it a more easy going sports anime.
Linny: Honestly, Harukana Recieve ending up as a runner up is more of a testimony to how dry the season was rather than the show’s brilliance. Rarely amazing, Harukana Recieve starts off noteworthy for its abstinence from showcasing its female casts’ curves. But soon, it dives head first into that very cliche trope and coupled with characters that fail to really stand out as exceptional and unique, Harukana Receive devolves into an average sports anime at the best.
Tom: Planet With is tight, cutting much of the filler that can often plague mecha anime and keeping itself laser focused on the plot. This comes at the detriment of some character work, but the series moves so fast it crams in what could’ve been the plot to at least a second season and a movie! This makes Planet With move at breakneck speed, but never feels rushed, creating a surprisingly strong and engaging story about Earth and the invasion of aliens seeking to limit man’s potential for fear of our violent natures.
Linny: Planet With was flashy to look at with its stylish, unique ensemble and designs. Throw in a rather unique opening episode featuring strange characters and an unusual superhero team and it seemed like Planet With was here to leave its mark. Unfortunately, the plot turns into generic, predictable slop and once you get over the visual style, Planet With is left with little to write home about. Nonetheless, what it does, it does with style and for those who want something that looks unusual, thus giving off the impression of being fresh, Planet With could be worth adding back to your catch up watch list.
Best of Fall 2018:
Tom: Rascal stood out this fall thanks to witty banter, endearing characters and a strong focuses on drama and comedy. It defied expectations thanks to containing deeper characterization than most Light Novel adaptations and while the ending felt a tad rushed, its strong focus on Sakuta’s efforts to help each girl he comes across deal with her inner turmoil made for a gripping episode every week.
Linny: Surpassing everyone’s expectations, Rascal defied popular harem tropes and norms to carve out a story that was part teen drama and part heartwarming character exploration. It impressively features a cast of fleshed out female high school characters, a hero in a committed relationship within the first three episodes and some in depth explanation that turned whatever ‘cliche’ elements it had into something completely different and much deeper than what it seemed at first glance. It stumbles occasionally and the ongoing nature of its source material peeks through but Rascal manages to stand out among light novel adaptations thanks to its cast and its more in depth treatment and rejection of popular tropes.
Tom: Goblin Slayer was 2018’s most contentious series thanks to its controversial and edgy first episode. Assuming one makes it past that heavy dose of edge, Goblin Slayer is a generally fun series that bounces between slice of life and brutal action as our titular Goblin Slayer never falters from his quest to rid the world of Goblins. Thanks to additional characters the series ends up with a well rounded cast that keeps it from feeling too grim and edgy, while still allowing for the brutality the series pitched itself with.
Linny: As is the norm with a lot of gruesome and violent anime, Goblin Slayer fielded its fair share of controversy. However, if you’re someone familiar and fond of those kinds of shows, Goblin Slayer might prove to be one of the tamer ones you watch. The show comes up with innovative ways for its titular protagonist to take down the goblins he despises so strongly and even manages to come up with gripping escalations in its actions and plot. But its need to balance its violence with slice of life like content and comedy can make the series feel uneven and even slow at times.
Tom: Run with the Wind makes the list despite only having aired half its episodes before years end. This is largely due to the wealth of fun characters and more adult-minded focus when it comes to its story of a group of college classmates and their last ditch effort to prepare for a major upcoming marathon. Like Sakura Quest of 2017, Run with the Wind feels like it’s aimed at the older anime fan, who need stories guided with a bit more nuance not often displayed in Shonen titles.
Linny: Run with the Wind is yet another sports anime that debuted this season with a clear focus on attracting and entertaining older audiences, as in those closer to college aged or older. Rather than a nail biting, action packed sports showcase, it features the efforts of a fledgling and thrown together group of unwilling and unskilled people aiming to qualify for a big marathon event. The lack of heart pounding scenes is sure to drive the usual sports anime crowd away but those willing to give a more sombre and slow paced tale about personal conflicts and growth might come to find this one of the hidden gems of the year.
Best Short of the Year:
Tom: Space Battleship Tiramisu is the one short anime that actually felt worth a damn this year. It’s largely a parody series focused on lampooning the mecha genre, tropes, and just bizarre comedy in general. It’s animation isn’t particularly impressive, and the art can be downright cringy at times, but it well makes up for it thanks to such an on point sense of humor.
Linny: If you know us, you know we love quirky and over the top comedies and this is why Space Battleship Tiramisu easily snags Best Short for itself. Blending the somewhat fantastical premise of a battleship fighter with rather outrageous takes on everyday problems, Tiramisu managed to come up with one of a kind jokes. Watching our fighter pilot have to take his gigantic space dog on space walks, having to deal with space police and space traffic cops during a high speed battlesuit fight, it’s bizarre and hilarious scenarios like these that make Space Battleship Tiramisu the cream of the crop.
Tom’s Personal Pick of the Year:
Tom: Devilman Crybaby hit very early this year, setting the bar high for 2018 anime going forward. Since Linny didn’t watch the series it couldn’t take our top spot as anime of the year, but no list will be complete without at least a mention. Devilman Crybaby isn’t for everyone, miring itself in man’s darker, seedy nature, its troubled characters, and brutal events that culminate in an ending perfect for the series itself, but a downer for most audiences. What keeps Devilman Crybaby so engaging is its sheer adherence to its tone and style. Devilman Crybaby is more an art piece than traditional entertainment, taking audiences on a strong emotional ride, not at all afraid to let loose its most brutal of punches.
And Finally: Winner of AllYourAnime.Net’s Best of 2018 Awards:
Best Anime of the Year:
Tom: Asobi Asobase is 2018’s king of comedy. The series is just so backed with gags, and bizarre yet wonderful characters. Rarely does Asobi Asobase falter, with only an episode or two that doesn’t live up to its opening salvo of sheer comedic absurdity. If you check out nothing else from 2018, let Asobi Asobase be the one anime you watch.
Linny: Asobi Asobase gave us the memorable dialogue “How do you run away from poop?” and left an indelible mark on our mind and hearts. Looking back at all the shows we loved and loathed through this year of reviews, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I, the comedy lover, would wholeheartedly vote for a comedy, especially one that had so many in stitches.It’s a bit difficult to really talk up a comedy as its appeal is usually all in the shock and delivery of its gags which is best experienced and understood by watching the show itself. So, if you are a comedy fan who cannot get their fill of bizarre and exaggerated reaction faces and the most outrageous gags such as dolls meant to teach English spewing only NSFW lines at innocent Japanese high school girls, then please do yourself a favour and put Asobi Asobase on your screens right now!!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment and let us know which Anime you feel are the best of 2018.