This Week in Anime
The Best and Worst of 2018

by The TWIA Crew,

Another year of anime has come and gone, leaving so many memories in its wake. This week, Nick, Micchy, Andy, and Steve break down the highs and lows of their 2018 experience.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Not Safe For Work warning for content and language.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @A_Tasty_Sub @vestenet


Nick
Hey, Steve. Micchy and Andy are stuck marathoning Baki while we get to relax over the holidays. Now's our chance to talk about them behind their backs.
Steve
Finally it's their turn to suffer. Nothing for me to do but sip on this nog. Ahhhh~
Micchy
HEARD U WERE TALKIN SHIT?
Steve
OH. Uh. Hi.
Micchy
Look, if you thought you had vanquished the Heybot! menace, then I got news for ya pal.
Andy
And here I thought I got assigned Baki as a gift from Hobo Father Christmas.
Steve
Well hmm, this isn't usually how this works. But I suppose while we're all here—and I know this sounds crazy, but bear with me—maybe we should talk about anime?
Nick
This is entirely too many people to talk about one show tbh.
Andy
I thought we were gonna make a nativity with Micchy in the manger, but I suppose we could talk about anime instead.
Micchy
I'm going to pretend you didn't say that. I suggest we all look back at this whole year of anime, which certainly had its ups and downs!
Andy
Some downs more recent than others...
Nick
I think we've thoroughly documented the lows of 2018.
Micchy
Now let's not forget that 2018 kicked off with an instant classic in DEVILMAN crybaby! Man, that was early in the days of our Netflix dump tradition, so it's hard to believe that it premiered less than a year ago.
Steve
Yeah, let's start with the good stuff, for the sake of all our sanity. And wow it does not feel like Crybaby came out this year. 2018 has been a trip. Kinda funny how maybe the first anime I watched this year ended up being one of the year's best.
Nick
In hindsight, 2018 kinda blew its load early. Like there are very few things that could even come close to topping Crybaby this year.
Andy
My brain keeps trying to tell me it was the best of 2017, but I think that's only because it doesn't want to admit 2018 peaked so fast.
Steve
It's the Masaaki Yuasa magic.
Nick
Micchy
For reals tho, I was a little late to the Crybaby train, but I'm damn glad I made time to catch up on it between all the other anime this year. Yuasa's vision of the '70s classic managed to feel new and relevant while also retaining much of the original's spirit.
That's in no small part thanks to the queer themes that the modern update brought in with Miko, aka anime's best spider lesbian. Also, I posit that any work of art would be improved with a rapping Greek chorus.
Andy
I hate spiders and I still love Miki-2.
Nick
I hate monster girls and I still love Miki-2.
Andy
No monster girl will ever be as bad as any of the weird little sisters you ended up watching.
Nick
But yeah, DEVILMAN crybaby is the kind of singular creation that comes along so rarely, and I'd recommend it to anyone who can stomach the sheer amount of blood & fucks it features.
Steve
There are just a few moments out of the entire year that stuck with me as hard as moments in Devilman. Both Yuasa-original stuff like the heartbreakingly gorgeous motorcycle scene at the end of episode 9 and the choice to go all-in on the original manga's ending. It's necessary viewing imo.
But to be fair, that entire Winter season was pretty stacked. I mean we had A Place Further Than the Universe, After the Rain, Laid-Back Camp,
and of course:
Andy
Ah yes, Bob Epic Team.
Nick
I fuckin' swear PTE didn't happen this year. It feels at once ancient and timeless.
Steve
It definitely feels more like an anomaly where our universe briefly intersected with another one than an anime that aired on television.
Andy
That's because it's still airing right now.
Micchy
Andy, how dare you.
Steve
Bkub will not stop until all anime is corrupted. And that's probably for the best.
Andy
I'm willing to embrace this future if it means Netflix dumps will now have a required amount of Pop Team Epic.
Nick
Though in the case of ImoImo, I'm not sure you can corrupt something that was already evil incarnate.
Micchy
If it means more legendary segments like Hellshake Yano, I'm all in favor of infinite Pop Team Epic. Just man, what a work of art. A straight adaptation of Pop Team Epic would've been weird enough, but it went above and beyond in sheer creativity, showing that there can be an art to shitposting.
Steve
Seriously, it's incredible that they managed to make the anime adaptation work as well as it did, embracing the anarchic aesthetic completely by letting the animators just go hog wild.
Andy
It has completely raised the bar for 4-koma adaptations, by which I mean it has already traveled to the future, murdered all the competition, and buried the bodies so deep that we'll be digging up the offal for years to come.
Micchy
And let's not forget that horse racing special it had where Heybot was a My Little Pony. Truly, PTE was the pinnacle of cursed.
Andy
No actually, I'd like to forget that.
Steve
c o l l e c t i v e l y f o r g e t t i n g t h a t
Micchy
Too late, I'm already making arrangements to have that played at all of our funerals.
Nick
Speaking of forgetting, I almost forgot to mention a show that totally took me by surprise this year: Garo -Vanishing Line-
Steve
Man, that's one of the shows I regret not finishing. Someday, though!
Micchy
Vanishing Line didn't quite make my top five, but I gotta give it credit for taking the basic premise of Garo (knights hunting supernatural manifestations of human folly) and turning it into an indictment of techbro-driven late capitalism.
Andy
I completely missed the boat on Vanishing Line. I never finished the original Garo: Sex Dad, and for some reason that stopped me from checking this new one out.
Nick
There are certainly more consistent shows, but few things this year have stayed with me like watching the "villain" of the show realize his escapist tech utopia was built on top of a literal foundation of corpses.
Steve
Okay, but enough about Amazon.
Nick
Plus on a purely aesthetic level, it's maybe my favorite thing MAPPA's ever made. That whole finale is bonkers.
Micchy
That finale features triple axolotl vore, and if that's not worthy of recognition then I don't know what is.
Steve
Yeah, that sounds like Garo alright.
Andy
Speaking of which, 2018 was a strong year for vore. We got more Attack on Titan, Slime Isekai, and probably the most explicit one, Dragon Pilot.
Steve
I say this a lot but I still don't say it enough: god bless Mari Okada.
Micchy
And what a year for her in particular! We also got her directorial debut, Maquia, which I know made at least three of us cry in the theater for two hours straight.
Nick
Boy do not get me started on Maquia. If I was judging purely by how much of my body weight was shed in tears, that film would be my #1 with a bullet. There are few things as cathartic and mortifying as crying in the back of an arthouse theater while three old ladies on a knitting club field trip sit right in front of you. And for that experience I am very thankful to Mari Okada.
Andy
I'm gonna pretend that story ends with the knitting club turning around and handing you a tiny Maquia they made during the movie.
Micchy
I mean, it's pretty wild that anime movies screen in enough places now that we got to see it. If you told me five years ago that I'd be going to theaters for this stuff on the regular, I would've laughed in your face.
Steve
Yeah I was about to say, it's really freaking cool how we're getting all of these theatrical runs for anime films. Even if a lot of them are limited, this is above and beyond anything I grew up with. And I hope it continues to expand!
Andy
I sadly didn't catch Maquia but I fully agree. I managed to see multiple anime films at a local theater in the midwest. That's astounding and I hope whatever black magic the industry is working continues to work.
Steve
Besides Maquia, I'm so grateful I got the chance to see quite possibly my favorite film of the year in theaters—the exceptionally gorgeous and exceptionally gay Liz and the Blue Bird.
Nick
Unfortunately, I never got around to seeing that one during its run. I missed out on a lot this year, since I missed The Night is Short Walk On, Girl too. I really should make time for more films, because there's nothing quite like watching a movie in a room with a bunch of other anime fans.
Micchy
Oh yeah, Night is Short screened this year too! I saw it in 2017, so I completely forgot to put it on my list, but seeing it at a con with a room full of anime nerds was easily one of my best theater experiences ever.
Steve
Oh right, we did see that together! AnimeFest 2017 was wild.
Andy
Night is Short is wonderful and I know it's technically a 2017 film, but Devilman is barely a 2018 thing, so I'm more than willing to call it a wash and declare Yuasa the best director of the year.
Steve
I couldn't possibly complain about that assessment.
Nick
Pshaw. Y'all with your fancy artsy movies with subtitles. The REAL best viewing experience of the year was seeing the MHA movie in a theater packed full of the most hyped fans I've ever seen.
Andy
I can second this, and I know the kids are gonna be alright when I see them that happy to be watching anime.
Nick
Hell, MHA in general just had an explosive year. Between the movie and season 3, it was a smorgasbord for my Bakugo-stanning heart.
Steve
Yeah, season 3 really went some spine-chillingly great places. And a lot of them were on Toga Street.
She's one of the year's most precious cinnamon rolls.
Micchy
I'm not fond of the fact that season 3 ended on naked buff Tintin. Now whenever I think about MHA, this is the image that pops into my head.
Nick
Oh don't worry, you'll get your fill of Tintin next season. Y'all anime-onlys are in for a ride next fall.
Steve
That's just what I love to hear.
Andy
#NeverForget
Micchy
#bestofTWIA
Nick
Though as powerful as MHA was this year, I can't say it's my favorite either. That title was unexpectedly usurped by this wonderful cat and his terrible mouth.
Steve
Nya. (TL: "yes i wholeheartedly agree.")
Andy
Hell yes Mizukami and his horrifying monster cat.
Micchy
And let's not forget the maid voiced by Heybot!
Steve
Andy
Planet With manages to do more in 13 episodes than most series can do in 50, and does so while absolutely nailing both its themes and character writing.
Nick
I talked about Planet With so much this year and I still feel like I could go on about it for another five columns, just discussing what it has to say about violence and empathy, but I'll just say that nothing—not Crybaby or A Place Further Than the Universe or Gridman—managed to hit me like Planet With's finale. I will die for Mizukami.
Micchy
I wish I could bear to watch Planet With. Unfortunately, I'm still too traumatized by Heybot! to listen to that voice for more than two seconds.
Nick
It's a highly idiosyncratic show that won't work for everyone, but even if it doesn't, you can always READ SPIRIT CIRCLE.
Steve
It's def one of the year's best, but I wanna circle back to A Place Further Than the Universe for a moment, because I think its climax also deserves praise for being able to induce Pavlovian tears in me with a single screencap.
Nick
I too tear up when I look at my work email on Mondays.
Andy
I too tear up when the penguins are not on screen.
Steve
Atsuko Ishizuka had been on my radar for a while, so I'm really glad she finally got to direct something unequivocally excellent.
Andy
It was a nice surprise that we got a show about high school girls that actually cared about who they are as people. And penguins. I cannot overstate how important Penguins are to me.
Micchy
Thanks guys, I'm feeling things now. Speaking of which, here's one that you probably wouldn't expect on a best-of list: To Be Heroine.
Nick
I can confidently say that nobody else will have that on their list.
Micchy
Yeah, because only five people watched it.
Steve
i can't imagine why

Andy
Is this collateral damage from watching all of Heybot!? You can't watch Planet With but your brain allows this?
Micchy
Look, To Be Heroine is about adolescent anxieties, reaching out to people in need, the evils of corporate greed, and also underpants.
Nick
Yeah like, we joke, but I went from being pretty dismissive of TBH to genuinely getting invested in it. It's not something for everyone, but I'm grateful it exists.
Micchy
Every synopsis makes it sound like this mindless raunchy cartoon, but it also has a hell of a bleeding heart. And that's what I come to anime for! I love the medium for both over-the-top goofiness and sincere emotional drama, and that's To Be Heroine to a T.
Nick
Also I frankly don't see where Steve gets off scoffing at anything when he and I both watched a 15-episode Jeff The Killer self-insert romance fanfic.
Steve
It was 16 episodes, thank you very much. I love me some trash, and Angels of Death was some of the year's best. Completely bonkers premise with some sag in the middle, but it followed through in the end with spectacular trashy finesse. Also sometimes you just wanna hear Nobuhiko Okamoto swear a lot.
Andy
Now that I can respect.
Steve
Speaking of trash, this probably won't be what many people consider one of the year's finest ventures, but few shows were as consistently entertaining as Gun Gale Online, which like Angels of Death, is another anime about loving someone so much you have to kill them.
I guess I have a type.

Nick
It sure was nice to get one good SAO anime this year. And nothing else.
Micchy
Super awesome to not have any discourse tire fires, like SAO, or Goblin Slayer, or DARLING in the FRANXX. None of those things happened, nope nope.
Steve
Alright, since you broached the subject, I guess let's talk about the worst anime we watched this year.
Andy
Before we do, can I just give a shoutout to all this year's reboots? I know that sounds like garbage, but we got reimaginings of Devilman, Gridman, Kitaro, and Ashita no Joe this year, and it's crazy how good they all were.
This shit still lives in my brain.
Nick
Oh I will gladly talk about Kitaro instead of any of the garbage I sat through this year.
You wanna talk stellar modern reboots, here's a kids show that switches genres every episode and makes it look easy, made me cry from sadness and laughter, and teaches kids valuable lessons about the modern world. Kitaro '18 goes harder than anything else this year.
Andy
The show literally starts by immediately murdering a youtuber.
Micchy
Meanwhile, Megalobox is one of those really awesome things that didn't make it on my top-of-the-year list but deserves to be remembered nonetheless. I feel like it fell out of the conversation pretty quickly after it ended, but it's too good to just let go like that.
Steve
Megalobox kicked so much ass. It's an aesthetic tour-de-force about dudes punching dudes. Simple, effective, and iconic. Absolutely one of my favorites.

Andy
Thankfully, it's on Toonami now and it really is a perfect fit for the block. It will probably still fall into some amount of obscurity, but I won't be surprised if I hear interviews with artists or athletes years down the line where it's offhandedly mentioned.
Steve
Also one of the year's best OPs.
Andy
The ED is nothing to scoff at either. I will stan Emi Nakamuri til the end of time.
Nick
Both are great but for pure musical effectiveness, nothing stands up to Gridman's ridiculous OST.
Micchy
Man, how is anime so good?
Andy
I love anime.
Steve
I don't wanna say too much about Gridman since it just ended, and a lot of the magic comes from riding along with it, but holy crap Gridman. What a show. Anime is so good, guys.
Nick
Yeah, anime is so grea--
Micchy
OH NO
Andy
Nick
There's the answer to the Worst Of question. It's SisWriter. It was always destined to be SisWriter.
Micchy
I dunno, Death March to The Parallel World Rhapsody also aired this year, and that one had slavery going for it.
Andy
I feel like isekai slavery is going to be an ongoing trend in our miserable future.
Nick
Well, that's future TWIA's problem, not ours.
Steve
Isekai needs to get its shit together.
Andy
Honestly, I usually just watch things that I expect to pan out, so with few exceptions I've been fairly blessed by TWIA standards.
Nick
Yeah, I don't want to let the bad drag down what was overall a super-interesting year for anime. I feel like I didn't even get to cover everything that stood out to me in 2018. There was Kakegurui, the new FLCL series, Phantom in the Twilight, and by god I will find a platform some day to gush about the Macross Delta movie.
Micchy
In the meantime, Nick, maybe you'll watch that copy of Batman Ninja I got you, because everyone deserves to witness bat bat monkey monkey batmonkey Batman Ninja.
Steve
Man, and I just caught up with Bloom Into You today, which ripped my heart out several times over, so I'm definitely not leaving 2018 wanting for more good anime to watch. And 2019 is shaping up to be ridiculously strong. Basically my feeling on this year boils down to my feeling on every year: there's just too much anime. Please help.
Andy
There really was too much! I almost forgot to mention Hinamatsuri, which was a delight every episode.
Micchy
Same goes for Aggretsuko, which just dropped a Christmas special recently.
Nick
There was a ton of cool shit this year, and next year is shaping up to match it. Like I'm already hyped for The Promised Neverland to destroy y'all.
Micchy
SARAZANMAI or bust, binch!
Andy
Please look forward to meeting my Pig Son in Kimetsu no Yaiba.
Steve
More Kakegurui~
Nick
And a partridge in a pear tree!


Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year from all of us at This Week in Anime!


Be sure to share your favorite anime memories of 2018 with us in the forums!


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