2018 was another big year in anime however looking back there just weren’t that many anime I’d rewatched. Still, there were enough for the list and I have a great variety of titles here. Unfortunately the super cute and education Cells at Work didn’t make the final list (Platelets!), no did Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (which has less impact on a rewatch). Tsurune was the other anime I considered but unfortunately it went head to head with that other sports anime I liked from 2018 so didn’t quite make the cut.
No. 1: No sequels of any kind.
No. 2: Only one anime from each season which gave me 4 picks from each year.
No. 3: Other than 2019 anime, no matter how brilliant an anime was if I hadn’t rewatched it since it aired then it didn’t make the list. If I don’t like it enough to watch it more than once then it doesn’t deserve to be on an anime of the decade list.
Incidentally these anime are not the technical best anime of their seasons but are the ones I would pick if I could only watch one anime from that season. They are anime I loved, for whatever reason, and felt deserved to be remembered.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens in the story of a group of characters who are all involved in the dark underbelly of Hakata city where apparently the majority of people are hitmen or similar (it makes no logical sense for that many to be in one city but let’s just go with the setting). In the first episode we meet Lin who is hired/coerced into killing Banba but instead ends up offering to protect him until his boss coughs up more money and so the story begins. This one is a mix of dark subject matter and murder with an overly upbeat and jazzy tone over the top so it won’t work for everyone and it isn’t as zany or fun as stories like Baccano that came out the decade before. Still, I definitely appreciated what this anime had to offer.
The ensemble cast all bring something to the table, the weird mix of professional killers and hobby baseball team kind of works, and the music is great. The story is broken into a couple of distinct arcs, some stronger than others, and that makes it very easy to digest. Definitely not for those who don’t like blood or violence as why it isn’t horrifically gory, there are some confrontational images.
Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori
I wonder if two titles could be any more contrasting. After Hakata Tokotsu Ramens, Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori with its slice of life/hang out with handsome anime guys serving great anime food vibe couldn’t be any more different. Everything about Rokuhoudou is soothing and relaxing. These guys make coffee or tea and serve an assortment of customers in the gorgeous setting of their cafe. They do go to another location at one point to promote their services but by and large you are going to get to just bliss out in one of the prettiest anime cafes ever.
This anime is my comfort food and I’ve watched it more than once since it aired when I found myself stressed out as it is really impossible to feel stress while absorbed in this anime. This one isn’t going to change the world but it is definitely an anime I was glad I came across when I did.
Banana Fish is one of the few anime I went out of my way to watch despite it not being available on the services I normally use. By and large that was because everything about the write up to this anime appealed to me and honestly it didn’t disappoint. While the overall narrative is logically implausible and despite efforts at updating certain elements of the story there’s clear issues where the story has become dated in places, this one was a great watch. Okay, it was also a fairly emotional viewing experience and not for the faint of heart with its core of sexual abuse, gang violence and drug development.
What makes this anime more than just a sensationalist splash in amongst so many anime that want to tackle dark subject matter is the relationship that develops between the protagonists Ash and Eiji. Watching the two grow closer together, the mutual trust they place in each despite the situation they are in, and the way they look out for one another is a truly beautiful experience and one I wouldn’t have missed.
Run With The Wind
I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion on this blog that I’m not really into sporting anime. Run With The Wind is the only sports anime that made the final cut for this list as I look at my favourite anime from the last decade. It did this because it developed some really solid characters with the teammates, had some fantastic visual and sound direction (seriously, the sound direction deserves recognition), and gave us a solid and satisfying conclusion at the beginning of 2019. The only criticism I’ll lob at this one is that it is a slow burn initially. Worth it but definitely slow going in the early part of the season.
While Run With The Wind gives us a different kind of team dynamic to the usual sports club story it really gave us the time to get to know the ten members of the team and what ended up driving them whether they joined up for the team willingly or not. This slow development of character comes to fruition in the final handful of episodes where we see the ‘event’ they were training for in full and each character has a moment to shine and conclude their character arc. It is well worth the time to check out this anime.
I can hardly believe tomorrow is the last post. Before we look at 2019 though I want to know what you thought was the best anime of 2018.
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