Tuesday’s Top 5: Surprisingly Good Anime in 2018

Tuesday's Top 5

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.

30 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Surprisingly Good Anime in 2018

  1. The more you’ve been mentioning Voice of Fox on Twitter, the more I want to check it out, even if it’s only doing ok for everyone else. There it is again: Bunny Girl Senpai. It seems I MUST check that one out soon. And thanks for reminding me to finish Cells at Work—I loved what I’ve seen, and I’m not quite sure why I haven’t finished it yet!

    (and Dakaichi, yaassssss)

    1. Dakaichi has been really fun. I get that it has a fairly small audience and range of appeal, but I’m having a great time with it, though the last episode wasn’t as solid.

  2. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about these anime but haven’t watched any of them. Feels like I’m missing out on all the fun 😂

    1. Cells at Work particularly was very fun. A lot of these shows come from this season so they could go either way at this point, but they certainly grabbed my attention more than I thought they would going into the season.

      1. Cells at work sounds really good. I need to find the time to watch it.
        That’s true It could go either way. Hopefully they’ll end on a bang though.

  3. It was thanks to all the reviews that had me start to watch bunny girl. I tend to not like harems as much since the main character guy is such a potato. However like most good harems it is more than just the boy being surrounded by girls. I found the characters and the theories enjoyable. Also I really like everyone’s hair…

    1. Bunny Girl Senpai really has taken the community by storm and there’s so much being written about it. Reading the review is almost as much fun as actually watching the show.

  4. Quite a few shows have surprised me by being either great fun or really enjoyable. Aside from your top two which we’ve discussed before some of the titles that caught me out are:

    Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san
    After The Rain
    Chio’s School Road
    Asobi Asobase
    Grand Blue
    Boarding School Juliet

  5. Rascal was this year’s Dark Horse. Nobody expected anything from it and it just blew up without anybody being the wiser.

    I’m excited for the final episode a few weeks from now so I can do a full series review.

  6. Yeah, I wasn’t planning to watch Bunny Girl Senpai at the start of the season either. I only fell back on it after the initial batch of shows I picked out all disappointed me, so that’s definitely been a very pleasant surprise. Also Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, which I started on a whim not expecting to stick with it for very long (ecchi and slapstick isn’t usually my combo of choice), and instead it won me over with a charming cast of characters – most of them, anyway – and a surprising amount of warmth and heart.

    1. I will admit, I did not get through the first episode of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs. I did read quite a few reviews about it while it was airing and once it was done, but it just wasn’t for me.

  7. Loved Demon Lord, loving Bunny Senpai, need to watch the others you’ve mentioned. Another that I was really surprised by was Chio’s School Road. I really didn’t expect to laugh so hard or often watching a series about girls walking to school.

    1. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Chio’s School Road. It isn’t really something I’m interested in checking out as I’m not big on comedy but it is an anime that definitely seemed to get people talking while it was on and it wasn’t an anime I’d heard anything about before it started.

  8. I actually wasn’t expecting Bunny Girl Senpai to be exactly *bad* so much as just… completely different. For obvious reasons. I fully expected Demon Lord to tank *hard* and wound up enjoying it a lot.

    1. These two definitely seemed to be the oddities of the year where people expected one thing, got something else, and really liked what they ended up with.

  9. Bunny Girl Senpai and Demon Lord are absolutely the two surprise hits of the year for me. Cells at Work was also excellent, and I also enjoyed Island, even though the plot is absolutely nuts.

    1. Island didn’t work for me but I know a lot of people ended up enjoying it when they stuck with it. Eventually I might go back to it but with so much on my watch list I don’t know when that would be.

  10. I’m tempted by Voice of Fox. Hoenstly, stick a Kitsune mask on something and you’ll grab my interest it seems. I hadn’t realised it was a short episode series though. That may actually make it easier for me to watch right now.

    1. I’ve been really surprised by how good it is. Okay, it isn’t holding a candle to something like Bunny Girl Senpai but short anime about a ghost singer and an idol competition didn’t exactly make me expect much and Voice of Fox has been really fun so far.

  11. Definitely Bunny Girl Senpai, as you keep saying the Sakuta-Mai dynamic is a gift (actually surprised it didn’t make a mention here!)

    Shamelessly piggy-backing on your earlier post — Attack on Titan S3 would be another for me.

    I found S2 very difficult to get through so was pleasantly surprised to find the show so balanced & its pacing so on point. The political intrigue kept me rapt as the show played its world-building cards at long last, the tone indulged in a lot less needless bombast than it used to, and it was poignant seeing Eren finally grow some self-awareness & get in touch with his vulnerable core. I find the show’s worldview too fundamentally nihilistic to really love it, but I still found S3 very entertaining, certainly much more than I had previously expected.

    1. I agree. I definitely intended to start season three, see that it hadn’t moved on from season two, and call my Attack on Titan watching days done. Instead I ended up engrossed in the new season and just really enjoying it. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying Attack on Titan this season.

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