Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Mascot Characters and Pets of 2018

Tuesday's Top 5

Previously I hadn’t done a yearly post for mascot characters and the closest I’ve got is my favourite mascot and pet character top 5 list written back in 2016. However, that isn’t really fair to some of the adorable mascot characters out there and 2018 had some great mascot characters.

So, my criteria is that the character is more cute than annoying and is important enough to the plot of their story that removing them would actually hurt the narrative. They also need to feature heavily in fan art and merchandise. That means main characters are actually able to also be mascot characters. I know that other people will define it a bit differently and that’s fine, but that’s what I’m working off for my choices. And if you want to know why I lump pets in here as well it is because with some characters it is difficult to tell if they are a mascot, a pet, or both.

Without any further delays, let’s count down my top 5 anime mascot characters and pets of 2018 and then I’d love to know which characters caught your eye this year.

Honourable Mentions:

This time I’m giving honourable mentions to Sir Balgary from Record of Grancrest War (great potential character but too limited in appearance) and Navi from 100 Sleeping Princes (too annoying and fairly useless).

Number 5: Romero from Zombieland Saga

In case you are wondering, I do appreciate that I am choosing a character from a show I dropped. That said, the name alone is enough here to warrant a mention. In a story about zombies giving a shout out to a legend of the horror movie genre was an A+ move and one I definitely appreciated in the first episode of this series. However, I don’t have a lot more to say other than zombie dog with a taste for squid because honestly I didn’t hang around long enough with this series to really get into the character (so breaking my own criteria before we even really get into the list).

Zombieland Saga Episode 1 - Tatsumi

Number 4: Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card

Kero, or Cerberus, is the guardian of the Clow Cards (though apparently not that good at his job) and he’s been with Sakura since the beginning of her journey. He continues to play as her stuffed toy in Clear Card, coming under increasing scrutiny from her brother, still insatiable when it comes to sweets, and still just not quite as useful as it seems he should be when it seems like he’s needed but other-times surprisingly useful. That said, Kero remains an amusing member of the cast and one who is needed in a lot of scenes or Sakura would end up talking to herself a lot and that is not a good sign.

Number 3: Rimuru From That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime

While it has taken this show a fair while to grow on me, there’s no denying that the titular slime is an iconic character of the season and the year. Not to mention I would love to get my hands on a Rimuru plush because that would be just this side of adorable. With his internal monologue critiquing the world and reacting far more exuberantly than his exterior slime self, Rimuru has been a pleasant enough protagonist but his most valuable trait is that he just looks so cute (and when was the last time you saw a cute slime).

Number 2: Mii-Kun from How To Keep A Mummy

You have no idea how hard it was not to give this adorable let bundle of bandages take out the first place. Seriously if someone had floated the idea of ‘cute mummy’ prior to my seeing this series I would have asked them what planet they were from. And yet, How To Keep A Mummy gave us the single most adorable mascot character ever and it didn’t matter what Mii-Kun did, he was cute. I’d love pretty much anything Mii-Kun themed and honestly this character deserves to be in some kind of cuteness hall of fame.

Below my number one choice I’ve shared a tweet from the amazing Mel that actually combines my number 1 and 2 choices together. This absolutely made my day. 

Number 1: The Platelets from Cells At Work

Honestly, I don’t think it could have been any other group of characters. The platelets are cute and every scene they are in makes you tilt your head and go ‘aww’, even as they serve a vital function both in the ‘body’ and in the anime. Still, any platelet scene was just precious and clearly the writers knew that spacing them out beautifully so that you never had too much but got a continuous drip feed of adorableness. Given how easy this one is to cosplay and how cute people look in the costume, I’m expecting that we’ll be seeing platelets for a fair while to come. 


Right, so that is my list and now I’m turning it over to you: who are your top mascot characters and pets from 2018.

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Karandi James
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NENDOROID NO. 1036 CELLS AT WORK!: PLATELET
NENDOROID NO. 1036 CELLS AT WORK!: PLATELET

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12 Days of Anime Characters – Sayaka

12 Days of Anime Title Image

Here we are at Day 5 of the 12 Days of Anime. Moving on from Elias and the Ancient Magus’ Bride, today we turn our attention firmly to the grounded realities of being the unrequited love in a high school romance and handling it with as much grace and poise as a character can possibly muster.

Yes, I am looking at Sayaka from Bloom Into You today and I must admit I’m pretty happy to look at her even if her story is ongoing and she is continuing to evolve.

Bloom Into You Sayaka

Sayaka was a character who at first was seemingly very easy to overlook. She was the one who walked behind or beside Nanami Touko and it seemed like she was just going to be the token friend of the main love interest so that it didn’t look like she had no friends. That was severely underestimating both Sayaka and the narrative Bloom Into You was trying to tell.

Instead of just remaining the friend, we learn fairly early on that Sayaka is interested in Nanami and wants to be more than friends, but she’s been gently put to the side by Nanami. For Sayaka, that’s an acceptable position, by Nanami’s side, because nobody else has Nanami’s heart either. However, after Yuu enters the picture we begin to see Sayaka first become a little jealous of this first year gaining too much of Nanami’s attention, and then we see Sayaka actually having to come to terms with her feelings and the understanding that they are not going to be reciprocated.

Bloom Into You Episode 8 Sayaka and Nanami

This is kind of hard position for anyone to be in, but high schoolers are fairly emotionally ill-equipped to deal with heart break. Still, in Sayaka’s case, she isn’t so much heart-broken as second guessing herself. Should she have made a more aggressive move on Nanami earlier before Yuu entered the picture? If Nanami was okay with two girls, why couldn’t it be her? 

It is watching Nanami process these ideas and feelings that she really began to shine. The whole time she continued to work admirably on the student council and interact with the others in a fairly natural manner. While there was a small verbal confrontation with Yuu, the two mostly just aired where they were sitting in relation to Nanami and then continued to work together, at times joining forces to reign in Nanami’s enthusiasm.

Bloom Into You Episode 7 Sayaka

Sayaka is a great character. She doesn’t go to extremes, she has a clear goal and motivation but she understands that just wanting it doesn’t mean she can achieve it. She deals with disappointment and while that doesn’t stop her wanting, it does allow us to see a character not succeed and still continue on.

Bloom Into You Sayaka

I really loved meeting Sayaka this season and part of me wants a spin-off story where she does find her true love and gets her own happily ever after.

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Karandi James
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Bloom Into You Original Soundtrack
Bloom Into You Original Soundtrack

Have Your Say on the Best and Worst Anime of the Season

Tsurune Episode 9 Seiya

And we’ve come back around to that time of the season. It is time to vote for the best and worst of the Autumn season. As always, this is an entirely subjective, opinionated vote and best anime in this context just means the one you liked the most. That said, you can vote for up to three anime in each poll should you not be able to decide.

On that note, the top three anime chosen this time will go into the best anime of the year poll that will run from January 1 to January 19 in 2019 before the winner is announced.

So let’s do this. Vote for your favourite anime of the season below. You have until the 29th of December to cast your vote. And if you wish to, leave us a comment telling us what you voted for and why.

Alright, and moving straight on to the worst of the season. Remembering, this is the worst anime you actually watched. We’re not voting for shows we assumed were horrible from either the PV or the first episode. This skews the results meaning the ‘worst’ anime is usually an average one, but it is the worst one that the readers actually watched this season.

Thank you for voting and if you could, please share the poll. The more the merrier.

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Karandi James
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WONDER BOY: THE DRAGON’S TRAP (MULTI-LANGUAGE)
WONDER BOY: THE DRAGON'S TRAP (MULTI-LANGUAGE)

Why More Time Isn’t Helping This Story

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode Review Title Image

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 11 Review

Reminder: the poll is now open for you to vote on the best and worst anime of the 2018 Autumn Anime Season. Be sure to jump in and have your say.

There are so many anime that cram a million ideas into eleven or twelve episodes and fans end up saying, ‘that was good but I wish it had more time’. When Alicization was announced we also got the announcement that it was going to run for four cours which is a massive length of time in seasonal viewing. That was kind of exciting. Having that much time meant the story didn’t need to rush through things and the story could be planned out and paced well.

Unfortunately, eleven episodes in and I have to concede that it isn’t what we are getting. While I have no idea what happens in the source material or what needs to get covered (nor do I really want to), as an anime viewer, Sword Art Online Alicization is missing the mark over and over again. There are exciting moments but they are scattered far and wide and the narrative in-between is anything but exciting. Not even the nostalgia of being reunited with Kirito (a character I actually quite like) is enough to keep me from starting to wonder if maybe they could have given this story a much tighter edit and produced something far more engaging to watch.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 11 Kirito and Eugeo

Episode 11 is a great example of what this series has consistently done wrong. It starts with Eugeo getting knocked down by Alice which is a fine enough transition for us given he was all stunned that he was seeing Alice, so no problems there. Then we see Eugeo and Kirito chained to the dragon mount about to be flown to the citadel. No issue. However, let’s delay the journey we started so many episodes ago yet further by having a tearful farewell from the pages who also hand their swords over to Alice.

You know, they could have just had the swords already strapped to the mount, handed over by the school, if they really needed viewers to know that Eugeo and Kirito would in fact get their swords back. This whole sequence was more amusing than emotional and to be honest I’m not sure how invested we’re supposed to be in the pages given they’ve been used strictly as plot devices up until now and with the scene change it is hard to know whether we’ll ever see these characters again.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 11 Kirito

The sequence in the cell works well enough though just when they are about to escape, Kirito decides to question whether Eugeo is ready to go against the church. Again? Really? Hasn’t this issue already been clearly established and put to rest? It really feels like a rehash at best and bloat at worst and it adds nothing. 

Jump a few minutes later to the boys pausing in the rose garden for a heart to heart. Again, it adds nothing to either character. It adds nothing overall to the plot. Every part of this conversation feels like we’ve heard it before and it is neither interesting at this point or particularly relevant to the current situation.

Finally, we get to the end of the episode where they encounter a knight who has apparently been waiting for them in the garden and they all get ready to fight.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 11 Knight

So all those overly long pauses and conversations were just trying to time it so the episode could end on this cliff-hanger rather than getting to this fight this episode. Seriously? And while it wouldn’t be a problem if they had kept the conversations fun and interesting, instead we just feel like we’ve heard it all before.

The cut to Asuna was also pretty bland and while we did gain some new information from that, again it was given in the least interesting way possible outside of text scrolling across the screen so no excitement to be found there either.

Sword Art Online Alicization Episode 11 Asuna
Have they actually told us why she can’t go into Underworld?

There isn’t a lot more to say. Sword Art Online Alicization has a potentially very interesting premise that it has so far managed to drag out the execution of to the point where it is almost actually distracting and even as a fan I’m finding myself losing focus mid-episode because not enough is happening. While early on this could be forgiven as setting its scene, we’re now nearly one cour through the show. There’s no excuse at this point for still feeling like we haven’t even finished setting up.

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Karandi James
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SWORD ART ONLINE: LOST SONG
SWORD ART ONLINE: LOST SONG

The Disillusioned Girl Dreams of Simpler Times – Excerpt

Bloom Into You Episode Review Title

Bloom Into You Episode 11 Review

Reminder: the poll is now open for you to vote on the best and worst anime of the 2018 Autumn Anime Season. Be sure to jump in and have your say.

Bloom Into You has defied all of my expectations. It is a stunningly beautiful anime with incredible directing most episodes. The characters feel believable and as though they have real depth and complexity, and the story has been kept simple so there never feels like unnecessary clutter.

But…

This is an excerpt of a post written for patrons. To see the full post please consider becoming a patron. For $1 a month you will gain access to all patron only reviews.  For existing patrons, the full post can be accessed here and if you need the password, it is available on my patreon site. A huge thanks to everyone who supports the blog.

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Karandi James
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Bloom Into You Trading Acryl Key Chain Box
Bloom Into You Trading Acryl Key Chain Box