Tuesday’s Top 5: Visually Interesting Anime from 2018

Tuesday's Top 5

Continuing my lists of anime from 2018, I am now looking at the most visually interesting anime. Notice it does not claim the best visuals or animation. To be honest, as long as something is watchable I generally don’t pay a huge amount of attention other than to decide something looks pretty or not. For instance, Angolmois managed to have me complaining about how ugly it looked almost every episode so I knew it had to be pretty bad for me to pay that much attention to it (that and Devils’ Line – what was it with weird filters this year). 

Still, there are some requirements for an anime to be on my radar for visuals. I need to like the look it is going for. It needs to feel slightly different from the other shows I’ve been watching. Some good choices in direction usually help. And, let’s be honest, the animation needs to be pretty smooth. Now, some of my choices on the list won’t have all of those things, but that’s kind of what I’m going for. And that term ‘interesting’ is in the title for a reason. I need to have found the visuals interesting, as in I thought they were worth mentioning and discussing on more than one occasion because they grabbed my interest.

Which is kind of how 18if made it onto the top of the list for 2017 and March Comes in Like a Lion took out second place in 2017 and top place in 2016. These anime demanded that I pay attention to their visuals and gave me imagery that stayed with me well after the episodes had ended. So what made my list in 2018? 

Honourable Mentions:

This year I’m giving an honourable mention to Run With The Wind and Darling in the Franxx. Franxx’s animation was gorgeous and the character designs were really cute. Even if I’m not a big fan of Trigger in general, it is hard to argue with those visuals. Run With The Wind has moments of spectacular direction and aesthetics and then large stretches where it feels pretty ordinary. If it could harness those moments where visually it just nails the scene, it would definitely have made it on the official list.

Number 5: Cardcaptor Sakura – Clear Card

While there were many parts of this reboot/sequel that didn’t quite work out as well as I would have liked, visually this was everything I could have ever wanted. Cardcaptor had always been beautiful but the update to the look of the show was spectacular. The magical moments sparkled and did everything they needed to, but it was the attention to detail on the everyday aspects, trees, leaves, flowers, cooking, background characters, that really sold me on the visuals of this one. While the story ended up being kind of meh, there is no denying how pretty this anime turned out.

Number 4: Tsurune

I will admit, this one has some wavering quality with some sequences being outstandingly pretty and others being more ordinary, but it never looks bad. The archery has so far been beautifully animated, the characters are lovely to look at and differentiated enough that you don’t get confused, and there’s just a general care and attention to detail here that is truly pleasurable to watch. I accept that some of what makes this work is how the visuals and sounds are paired together, but ultimately this is one very pretty sports anime.

Number 3: My Hero Academia Season 3

Right, it would have been just plain wrong to leave this one off of the list. For all that I didn’t find season three as enticing as seasons one and two, this season really did bring some spectacular animation to the mix of the already fairly amazing character designs and general distinct look of the show. For all that My Hero Academia is pretty classic shounen, everything about the look of the show has managed to make itself feel unique and the ongoing impressive quality of the action sequences where it never feels like lazy or reused imagery means this anime remains one that should be praised for just how good it manages to look.

Number 2: March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2

So, yeah, this one is on the list for the third year in a row (because it is awesome). I’m kind of sad that once again it has lost out on first place given it is still a truly amazingly beautiful anime to watch. Even in its most mundane moments, March Comes in Like a Lion manages to use an impressive combination of visual symbolism and interesting direction to draw the viewer’s eye to whatever they wish us to focus on. They are crafting an amazing character journey and the reason it works so well is very much because of how they present each stage. However, what really impressed in 2018 was the scene where Rei returned to his foster parents’ house. The awkwardness of that scene and the emotions both characters were feeling came through beautifully. It was something really simple and yet it worked spectacularly well. Wait, why didn’t I put this at number one again?

Number 1: Bloom Into You

Oh right, March Comes in Like a Lion couldn’t quite beat this one for direction in its second half of season two (which is all that aired in 2018). Now, if you want to see something that feels like it has been carefully constructed with love and attention to detail in every single frame, Bloom Into You is the anime for you. I love the direction, the use of colour and contrasts, the character designs, quite literally everything about this anime is beautiful and it works to construct a story that emotionally takes the audience on a ride. It is a truly amazing thing to see in action and there isn’t a single sequence that isn’t worth rewatching just to think about how it has been put together and why it is so amazing.


And that brings us to the end of my list of visually interesting anime for 2018. However, as always, I am dying to know what the rest of you thought this year. Please share your favourites in the comments below.

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Karandi James
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Drum Roll For The Best of Summer 2018 Anime Announcement

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet

Summer has indeed had its ups and downs and to be honest, it is probably the weakest of the seasons 2018 has offered us so far. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to follow, review, and discuss. However, I did find if a lot harder than normal to narrow down my choices for best of the season given there was a lot that was kind of okay but nothing that really demanded I pay attention to it. (Banana Fish and Attack on Titan Season 3 are missing from my own awards as they are both going to continue on to the next season).

As always, thanks to people who voted in the poll for best of the season. After I get through my picks, I’ll announce the winners of the reader’s poll.

To my awards…

Best Story – Steins;Gate 0

Steins23d

While there’s some questionable execution and pacing issues with this story, in terms of the story I was most interested in following, Steins;Gate 0 wins hands down. Angolmois is too straight forward, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord was entertaining but not exactly a riveting narrative. There just hasn’t been much that I’ve watched this season with an overly interesting plot so Steins;Gate 0 remained my favourite story of the season even if I did criticise it, a lot.

Best Visuals – My Hero Academia Season 3

Hero61a

Bones continues to deliver some quality visuals and animation in My Hero Academia this season. While I felt the characters and the plot were a fair bit weaker than season 2, the visuals did not drop the ball and whatever scene we were watching was delivered with impressive or interesting visuals. The fight between Midoriya and Bakugou is probably the stand out from the second half, but realistically the action in My Hero Academia is always exciting to watch. It would be nice to see the kids get into a wider variety of settings from time to time, but this is still my visual pick for the season.

Best Opening – Cells at Work

Cells at Work - Episode 2 - Platelets

Am I coming up with excuses to include platelets? Definitely. But because I took Attack on Titan out of the running, I had to choose the opening to Cells at Work as my favourite. It is good fun with a lot of energy and I loved that for one episode we even had different characters singing the opening. It was a surprise and a bit of fun. This one really suits the show and just gets you excited for the adorableness to follow.

Best Character – Diablo (How Not To Summon a Demon Lord)

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 4

Right, so it is kind of rare for an isekai protagonist to make it into my favourite character list, but I really like Diablo. He’s great fun to spend time with and a lot of the draw for the show is his character. I would love to see more of him in a follow up season and just see if he learns to balance out his inner insecurities with his external demon lord persona. One thing I know for sure is that it will be fun.

And of course, cutest character goes to the the Platelets

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And now…

Best Anime of the Summer 2018 Season – Cells at Work

Cells at Work Episode 8

Having taken out Attack on Titan and Banana Fish from the running, I was pretty much left with Cells at Work, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord or Phantom in the Twilight as shows I genuinely enjoyed this season. Phantom in the Twilight fell short with its ending. How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is fun and all, but it isn’t without its issues. So the anime that was most consistently entertaining this season was Cells at Work.

I’m actually fairly surprised that this is my best of the season, but it kind of speaks of how hit and miss the season has been. That said, this one is a fairly solid piece of entertainment. It isn’t going to change the world, but it is a great way to spend a Sunday morning and it certainly kept me entertained this season. I even learned a couple of things from it.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting was incredibly close and also pretty scattered this season. By the final days the top two were deadlocked and remained that way until the final hours of the vote. With 178 votes this is the most participated in vote to date so hopefully we can continue to grow this number and make the data more reflective of the community as a whole. Still, here are the results.

Best of

And the winner is… Banana Fish.

Banana6b

Totally not surprised, though I am amazed at how close the vote was between Cells at Work and Banana Fish with Attack on Titan dropping off early on. Still, all three of these will go on to the best of the year poll joining the best from the last two seasons and whatever wins the Autumn poll. I’m also throwing My Hero Academia into the best of the year poll because amazingly I totally left it out of this vote (whoops).

Anyway, Banana Fish has kind of taken over my twitter timeline most weeks after the episode airs so I’ve really enjoyed it and there are some really excellent blog posts being written about the series so I can tell there are some really big fans out there. Hopefully the second half is as entertaining as the first was.

Thanks everyone who participated in the vote. We say farewell to another season of anime but enter a new one with all new possibilities laid out before us. Check back later for my worst of the season poll.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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One Day Left To Vote… What Is Your Best and Worst For the Summer Anime Season?

One more day to go and then the poll will close. I’ve got more votes this time around than ever before for the best of the season, and almost the most votes ever for worst. That said, as of a few hours before this post is going out, best of the season was deadlocked so I’m kind of hoping one of the shows has a last minute rally of votes. I’ve never had a tie before and I’m not really sure what to do with it. Thanks to everyone who has voted and hopefully you can all get your final votes in before the poll closes tomorrow.

Sorry My Hero Academia was left off the poll. It will go into the end of the year poll for best for the best of the year because that was just an oops on my part.

Whichever way, be sure to have your say and please share the poll.

Just a reminder that the top 3 shows will go into the poll for anime of the year at the end of the year up against the winners from best of Winter and Spring as well as the next season.

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Best of Summer 2018

This is not the technically most proficient show nor any other measurable criteria. This is simply the anime you enjoyed watching the most this summer. For whatever reason at all, which show did you most eagerly await the next episode of and which have you been happiest to watch week after week? You can have three picks so make them count.

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Worst of Summer 2018

Just a reminder, this is the worst show you actually watched, which means the show that gets the dubious honour of winning is still a show that you felt the need to finish even if it is somewhat lacking. Which anime did you start with high hopes (or maybe not) that ended up disappointing?

As always, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to vote and if you leave me a comment below letting me know what you picked and why that would be fantastic. But, as I mentioned above, the more the merrier, so please help me share the post so that the poll can be as reflective of the community as possible.

And look forward to the beginning of October when the poll results are announced.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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The Poll For Best and Worst Anime of Summer 2018 – Have Your Say

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Episode 23

Down to 5 days to vote. With 141 votes for best show of the season a winner has started to emerge but it is still barely three votes ahead of second and only four votes ahead of third place. Also, one or two shows seems to be making last minute rallies and have been closing in on those leaders in the last couple of days. The worst of the season seems more or less decided with 78 votes, but by all means keep throwing your votes in.

Sorry My Hero Academia was left off the poll. It will go into the end of the year poll for best for the best of the year because that was just an oops on my part.

Whichever way, be sure to have your say and please share the poll.

Just a reminder that the top 3 shows will go into the poll for anime of the year at the end of the year up against the winners from best of Winter and Spring as well as the next season.

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Best of Summer 2018

This is not the technically most proficient show nor any other measurable criteria. This is simply the anime you enjoyed watching the most this summer. For whatever reason at all, which show did you most eagerly await the next episode of and which have you been happiest to watch week after week? You can have three picks so make them count.

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Worst of Summer 2018

Just a reminder, this is the worst show you actually watched, which means the show that gets the dubious honour of winning is still a show that you felt the need to finish even if it is somewhat lacking. Which anime did you start with high hopes (or maybe not) that ended up disappointing?

As always, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to vote and if you leave me a comment below letting me know what you picked and why that would be fantastic. But, as I mentioned above, the more the merrier, so please help me share the post so that the poll can be as reflective of the community as possible.

And look forward to the beginning of October when the poll results are announced.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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The Poll For Best and Worst Anime of Summer 2018 – Have Your Say

There are ten days to go for you to have your say in the reader poll. So far results have been mixed but we’re starting to see a top 3 choices emerge in both categories. Just a reminder that the top 3 shows will go into the poll for anime of the year at the end of the year up against the winners from best of Winter and Spring as well as the next season.

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Best of Summer 2018

This is not the technically most proficient show nor any other measurable criteria. This is simply the anime you enjoyed watching the most this summer. For whatever reason at all, which show did you most eagerly await the next episode of and which have you been happiest to watch week after week? You can have three picks so make them count.

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Worst of Summer 2018

Just a reminder, this is the worst show you actually watched, which means the show that gets the dubious honour of winning is still a show that you felt the need to finish even if it is somewhat lacking. Which anime did you start with high hopes (or maybe not) that ended up disappointing?

As always, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to vote and if you leave me a comment below letting me know what you picked and why that would be fantastic. But, as I mentioned above, the more the merrier, so please help me share the post so that the poll can be as reflective of the community as possible.

And look forward to the beginning of October when the poll results are announced.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Consider supporting the blog by:

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Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

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The Best and Worst Anime of Summer 2018 – Have Your Say

Cells at Work Episode 10 Platelets

Readers, you have chosen the best anime of Winter 2018 and the best anime of Spring 2018. You’ve also let everyone know what you felt the worst show of the Winter and Spring seasons were. Now it is time to once again stand up and be counted. From now until September 30 you can vote on the shows you feel are the best and worst of the Summer anime season.

The top three shows from the best of the season poll will go on to face off against other great titles from the year in my anime of the year poll whereas the worst shows will just kind of slink off into the sunset and be forgotten. As always, I ask that you vote only for shows you actually watched rather than a show you started and dropped or put on hold.

But as always, I am very much looking forward to finding out what people enjoyed this season, and what really missed the mark for you. And as always, the more the merrier so if you can share the post, I’d greatly appreciate it.

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Best of Summer 2018

This is not the technically most proficient show nor any other measurable criteria. This is simply the anime you enjoyed watching the most this summer. For whatever reason at all, which show did you most eagerly await the next episode of and which have you been happiest to watch week after week? You can have three picks so make them count.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Worst of Summer 2018

Just a reminder, this is the worst show you actually watched, which means the show that gets the dubious honour of winning is still a show that you felt the need to finish even if it is somewhat lacking. Which anime did you start with high hopes (or maybe not) that ended up disappointing?

As always, I want to thank everyone who takes the time to vote and if you leave me a comment below letting me know what you picked and why that would be fantastic. But, as I mentioned above, the more the merrier, so please help me share the post so that the poll can be as reflective of the community as possible.

And look forward to the beginning of October when the poll results are announced.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Here It Is! The Results of the Best of Spring 2018 Reader Poll!

Welcome to the Best of Spring 2018 and while we might say there were slightly leaner pickings this time around, as always it has been fun following the shows with others in the blogosphere and discussing from week to week. Whether that is the discussions around Wixoss, the laughing at Devils’ Line, or just being perplexed by what Grancrest planned to do next, there’s certainly been entertainment to be had this season. But now, even though some shows are yet to complete, it is time to reveal our choices for best of the season.

To my awards…

Best Story – Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love

Tada4d

I realise this is a really odd choice, but to be perfectly frank the story is what failed on so many of the shows I watched this season so Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love might be a fairly ordinary story, but it was at least competently handled from beginning to end. I nearly went with Wixoss, but unfortunately that story makes no sense unless you’ve watched the three prior seasons, so Tada it is.

Best Visuals – Darling in the Franxx

Franxx20j

This is another category I struggled with more than I should but this season nothing has really visually grabbed me or made me want to discuss it (outside of the anime that have been pretty terrible). Even Full Metal Panic isn’t exactly a visual masterpiece as it is trying to reconcile a look with its predecessor from 13 years ago. While Franxx may have its issues, it does at least have an interesting and memorable look about it.

Best Opening – Steins;Gate 0

Steins8d

Finally, an easy question. The opening here is distinct and really does set the tone of the story, while also being reminiscent of the original series. I really enjoy this OP each week. The only other one that really grabbed my attention was Space Battleship Tiramisu but that’s mostly because it got stuck in my head for hours after watching.

Best Character – Sousuke (Full Metal Panic Invisible Victory)

FMP4b

Okay, he had the advantage of already being one of my favourite characters from way back when and his return was greatly appreciated. Most so when I realised that the character progress he made during season 2, even if he had to break apart a bit to get there, was going to continue into this season. Sousuke is a dynamic character who might seem static at times but each event he goes through definitely leaves its mark and it is really rewarding seeing those small advances even if they are interspersed with some backsliding at times.

Best Slice of Life (First Time I’ve Ever Included This Category) – Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori

Biyori1d

I don’t normally get to the end of anything that would actually be described as a slice of life and I got to the end of my awards and realised that this consistent sweetness and relaxation in my week had come up dry. Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t a masterpiece or an unforgettable anything, but the number of times it gave me that moment of pure mental relaxation during the Spring anime season meant it deserved a mention here.

And now…

Best Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS

Wixoss12a

This season there was probably plenty of doubt given so many shows were very hit and miss. But with Full Metal Panic giving us two recap episodes and then not finishing in time because of needlessly dragging out its run, My Hero Academia having another cour to go, and not much else that really made sit up and take note (though plenty of light entertainment shows this season), WIXOSS kind of won by default.

That isn’t to say it doesn’t deserve the victory. The culmination of four seasons of build up is a hard thing to pull off in a manner that satisfies and doesn’t feel anti-climatic and yet WIXOSS more or less accomplishes this with only a handful of minor areas where criticism could be laid. It isn’t the single most exciting thing ever, but nor does it need to be. It is a fairly solid work delivering a compelling conclusion that feels like it is giving the audience some closure.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting this time round was scattered as it was clear there wasn’t one single title that people were getting behind. However two titles ended up gaining quite the lead and kept it most of the way with My Hero Academia only really gaining ground toward the end of the vote. Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen either of the top voted anime and will have to rectify that for one of them soon as it is available. The other I won’t be able to see unless it gets a DVD release or ends up going onto a different streaming service.

Best of Spring 2018.JPG

And the winner is… Hinamatsuri!

Hinamatsuri

Normally I would write something about the show and what I liked or didn’t about the reader’s choice, but I still haven’t actually seen this one so other than noting that it is on my watch list, I really don’t have a lot to say about it.

Wotakoi narrowly edged out My Hero Academia to take the third spot and Megalo Box is sitting in a comfortable second. These two along with Hinamatsuri will go into the poll in December for anime of the year. Interestingly enough, I watched none of these this season which could account for why I had a pretty slow season.

Thanks to everyone who voted and shared the poll. Be sure to check back for the worst of the season coming out later.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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