I started this list in 2017 and unsurprisingly Spiritpact took out my top pick for surprisingly good show. The sequel didn’t have quite the surprise factor, though it was still pretty awesome.
Now, I will make it clear, this is not my list of best anime from 2018. That will come once the Autumn season has ended and I can do my final evaluation of the shows. These are anime that I expected nothing from, or very little, and what I got was actually pretty decent. These shows surpassed anything I ever thought they would so even though they all still have a few rough edges, ultimately these are some fun anime to check out if you passed on them initially or looking at the name makes you want to run and hide.
When looking at the list below, I’m aware a lot of them come out of the Autumn season. That’s because of all the seasons this year, Autumn was the one I expected little from most of the shows (Spring and Summer had definitely lowered my expectations) and then there were just so many shows that I have thoroughly enjoyed. However, this list are the shows that surprised me by being good, so I’d love to know what is on your list for 2018.
Please Note – Potential spoilers below.
Honourable mentions this week go to: How to Keep a Mummy and Run With The Wind.
Number 5: How Not To Summon a Demon Lord
For an ecchi filled harem isekai story about a guy who enslaves two girls on arrival (accidentally of course) this anime could easily be dismissed as trash. Those who dislike fan-service of any sort probably will dismiss it and move on as will those who by default dislike isekai stories. However, How Not To Summon A Demon Lord proved itself a fairly enjoyable romp full of interesting characters and some fairly solid magical fights. The fan service moments certainly pushed things to the limit at times, but the story being constructed was surprisingly good and they certainly paced things so that every time the thought of maybe calling it quits something very good would happen and draw me back into the story. Ultimately, I ended up really having a lot of fun with Diablo, Shera and Rem and I actually kind of hope this one gets a sequel.
Number 4: DAKAICHI -I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year-
Having read the manga of this one I was curious about its transformation into an anime and was expecting something so much worse. I’m not going to say it is all smooth sailing and there are certainly plenty of actions that would cross the lines some people have drawn for themselves, but this one has been a surprisingly fun ride. I really enjoy Takato as a character and even Junta has grown on me as the season has progressed. There are some incredibly sweet and touching moments and the more extreme aspects of the manga have been toned down (which will probably annoy those who wanted to see those scenes brought to life but I’m kind of happy with the alterations that I’ve noticed). All and all, I expected that my curiosity for this one would be short lived once it started and instead I’ve been falling more and more in love with this story since episode 1.
Number 3: Voice of Fox
Anime shorts don’t normally last long on my watch list so I’m really surprised that I’m not only watching this one but how high up my favourites list it is most weeks. Certainly not a perfect story by any means, it really isn’t wasting its time in each episode as it progresses what is a fairly competent and interesting story and a character who is fairly likeable. Sure, it could all go belly up in the final weeks and maybe I’ll change my mind about where on this list it should go, but considering I expected almost nothing from it, I’ve ended up really looking forward to and anticipating the episode each week. That and Hu Li’s singing voice is out of this world good. Would love an actual album of just that.
Number 2: Cells At Work
No surprise this one made the list. I kind of expected the show to be cute enough but get repetitive and dull. Instead, I enjoyed it each week and found the characters a true delight. Again, this anime wasn’t perfect by any means, but considering my expectations the silly smile on my face each week from the opening song on was very unanticipated. That and this show delivered on the cutest characters of all time (losing out only to Mii-Kun from How to Keep a Mummy), the Platelets. Yes, we all need more platelets in our lives.
Number 1: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
I almost did not watch the first episode of this one. I saw the title, saw the promotional art and I sighed. I avoided the first episode and watched other things. I took notes on what was going onto my watch list. And then I decided I’d give it five minutes of my time. This is now the top of my Autumn season watch list and has been pretty consistently my favourite show every single week of the season. Great characters, great writing, interesting plots, and pacing that never feels too slow or too rushed. While I will continue to make fun of their running animations, I love this show and it is one that truly convinced me that every show is worth trying (even if only for a minute).
So I’d love to know which anime have surprised you this year with how good they have been. Be sure to leave me a comment below and next week I’m going to look at my top 5 anime for visuals from 2018.
Thanks for reading.
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