No doubt about it, Autumn 2018 gave me a lot of anime that I personally enjoyed. It also gave us a lot of anime that were technically pretty solid creations and between these two groups of anime that meant I ended up having a lot to watch and enjoy.
Even anime that weren’t particularly well made managed to be delightful to watch and while it won’t show up on my best of list anywhere, I’d still like to give a shout out to Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary. As a fantasy with a vaguely historical setting, the story is kind of good (okay, cliche driven but what else is new). I’d really recommend giving it a look if you are into fantasy and want a non-isekai title for a change.
However, that isn’t getting on with the list.
I tried something different this season and actually ranked the anime I watched each week so that when I got to the end of the season I wasn’t just blown away by a shiny ending and forgot about all the other issues an anime had. The system isn’t entirely without flaws and there’s a few changes I’m going to make for next season. But it means that I really am looking at the whole season rather than the last three weeks when I pick my favourite.
Alright, let’s get into this. Like every season, I’ll go through my favourites first and then I will announce the reader’s choice. The poll for best of the year where the top 3 picks from each season will go head to head will open on the 1st and will run for two weeks closing on the 14th.
Favourite Story – Voice of Fox
While this might seem random, it actually makes perfect sense in my head. There are so many anime I love this season but I love the characters, the emotions they make me feel, the visuals… for one of the first seasons ever plot has taken an extreme back seat. The few anime where it is the potential plot keeping me invested are running into next season so not even sure where the plot is actually going to go. Voice of Fox tells a simple but solid story about Hu Li struggling to make it as a singer, becoming someone else’s ghost singer and the ensuing scandal when it is revealed. While we still haven’t seen the conclusion yet, I’m really looking forward to it. Voice of Fox may not be a masterpiece by any one’s standards, but its been great fun and for a short anime it has really managed to tell a solid story and I think it definitely deserves some recognition.
Favourite Visuals – Bloom Into You
There was never any doubt with this one. The direction of this has been brilliant and the use of colour has been amazing. Bloom Into You is one of those anime I really appreciate for how well it is being put together even if it isn’t really my kind of story. I’m actually surprised by how much I’ve ended up getting drawn into it, and part of that is the characters have really been fleshed out to feel real, but a lot of the appeal of this one comes from how it has been visually presented and while I was pretty disdainful in episode one when I said it was ‘very pink’ I’ve come to really love how much thought has gone in to each and every scene.
Favourite Opening – Bunny Girl Senpai
Alright, I’m still not the biggest fan of the animation for this opening, but in terms of distinctive and memorable openings, Bunny Girl Senpai has to win. When I was looking at this category, the first few bars of the song just started playing in my head and drowned out any other opening from the season I tried to think of. Except Skull Face Bookseller Honda-San. That opening was distinct, and amusing. Worth checking out. Anyway, if you are one of the few people who hasn’t already checked out Bunny Girl Senpai please do or at least listen to this opening.
Favourite Character – Takato
I couldn’t help it. Alright, no denying Dakaichi as an anime has its issues but also no denying that I’ve seriously enjoyed Takato this season. Part of it is definitely shallow and the fact that he is a very good looking, non-teenage, male anime character, but a lot of it comes down to how interesting his character is and how much I enjoy seeing him in different situations and how he handles it. Okay, I could write all day about Takato, or I could explode the rest of the post with Takato screen caps, but I think I’ll just leave it here by pointing out Takato has been awesome and I’m going to miss seeing him each week.
Favourite Anime of Autumn 2018
Right, so this one I kind of know the answer to but I’m going to go back to my ranking system that I tried this season and take you through the whole list. Each anime I watched got ranked each week and I averaged these ranks for a final score. It was interesting and watching something like Release the Spyce go from ranked tenth on the list to third was kind of bizarre but it does make me think about the shows that have really grown in strength and those that lost momentum as the season progressed.
Scores were based on enjoyment and technical merit and so balancing shows each week where I liked an episode but it had some rough edges compared to a story that was a bit slower but was really well done made for some interesting internal debates.
- Conception = 1.25
- Jingai-San no Yome = 2.33
- Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San = 4.09
- Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary = 4.77
- A Certain Magical Index (dropped) = 4.91
- Release the Spyce 5.33
- That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime = 6.54
- Sword Art Online Alicization = 9.42
- Goblin Slayer = 9.82
- Dakaichi = 10.69
- Run With The Wind = 10.64
- Voice of Fox = 11.00
- Tsurune = 12.70
- Banana Fish = 12.91
- Bloom Into You = 14.58
- Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai = 15.69
There’s some interesting results. For instance, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has really grown on me and I’m personally enjoying it more than SAO right now. Xuan Yuan Sword Luminary is another title I personally enjoyed though in terms of quality it is probably in the right place on the list.
However, my favourite for the season, Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai did manage to come out on top even though Bloom Into You did have a number of weeks where it took the top spot. Rascal was full of great dialogue and characters and while the ending may have been a little weak it was definitely a title I looked forward to each and every week.
The Reader’s Choice
For the first time this year, the reader’s choice and my choices line up really well and the best of the season as voted by my readers isn’t something I dropped or didn’t watch. Yay. Okay, no further delay. This vote was the most decisive of the year with a clear victor determined fairly early on.
You guessed it, Bunny Girl Senpai.
However, Banana Fish and Bloom Into You as the runners up will still go into the poll for best of the year. I was interested to see how well Run With The Wind went in this poll. If it maintains the same quality in the second half it might very well win the poll next season (though I guess that depends on what else comes out).
However, that is it from this poll so now I’m turning it over to you. What did you vote for? What were your favourites this season? Let us know in the comments below.
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Previous poll results: