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The Best of Anime 2018

Now that 2018 is officially over, it’s time for our yearly foray into annoying everyone with our questionable opinions, the Best of Anime 2018 post. As with last year, this year’s iteration will continue being written by one writer. Through a complete hiatus from blogging and other real-life obligations that made this year my busiest yet, I still managed to watch approximately ~80 series this year, and while I won’t guarantee total objectivity (like such a thing exists), I’d say I’m generally well-informed about whatever I’m wrong about. That said, I will be attempting to take a multitude of picks across the spectrum for each category to make up for the lack of a second opinion. What this means is that you may not see as many repeat winners this time around as you would otherwise, so mileage may vary here more than previous years.

Continuing from last year, there are numerous categories in the following areas: Production, Miscellaneous, Genre, and Notable Others. Due to lack of series candidates, the lack of involvement of specific writers that specialized in certain categories, and/or the belief that I may not have watched enough shows to make an informed decision about specific genres, some categories have been omitted from previous years. This includes the Soundtrack, Plot Twist, Underappreciated, and Exceeded Expectations categories. Added back to this year’s post are the Animation (tweaked to include overall visuals) and Disappointment categories.

Encoding and videos for the OP/ED/Song categories were done by Xumbra, who will be retiring from encoding following his many contributions over the last decade. So here’s a shout out (thanks!) for him and everything he does for the site behind the scenes, especially in regards to not only this post, but the PVs that you found in each of the seasonal previews as well. It goes without saying that Xumbra will be missed, as will all the cage jokes that came with him. Included at the end are the final results of the Reader’s Choice Poll.


Disclaimer: As always, disclaimers abound. Please keep in mind that “best” is subjective. What’s best for us isn’t necessarily best for you, and that’s perfectly fine. This list shouldn’t be taken as some kind of inviolable truth, but rather the opinions of a guy who had too much time on his hands and spent it conjuring up a list of picks based on all the anime they watched. Naturally, my choices will be influenced by my own tastes, experiences, and personal impressions, and these are just recommendations, nothing more and nothing less. Before you go bashing one of my choices, please make sure you’ve at least given the series a chance so you may know where we’re coming from. Aside from that, we ask that you respect our opinions and the opinions of others in the comments, just like we respect yours. Thank you.

Disclaimer #2: The choices in this post are not reflective of the opinions of all Random Curiosity writers. They are solely the opinions of myself (Zephyr), save for where otherwise noted. Thank you for your understanding.

Note: For a show to be considered, it has to have met the requirements outlined in the Reader’s Choice Poll. For OVAs/movies, the additional requirement is that it’s been either released on BD or DVD, so that viewers outside of Japan have had a chance to watch it.




Visuals and fluid movement. It’s all about the quality of what we see on screen and what impressed us the most. To a certain degree, character designs and overall art style fall into this category too.

Known for their ability to produce breathtaking visuals, Kyoto Animation comes up big with yet another winner in Violet Evergarden. Critically acclaimed and much discussed—Violet Evergarden stole the hearts of its viewers with its dramatic story, memorable soundtrack, notable heroine, and amazing visuals. The series likely would’ve succeeded even without the visual prowess of KyoAni behind it, but having such stunning backdrops only made the Evergarden experience that much more special, especially when it served to emphasize the world’s different locales and the many stories that came from them. Rounding out the category are a variety of series that either impressed in a similar manner (overall visual excellence), provided its own unique artistic style, or had fluid movement reflective of tremendous effort being put into its animation.

Honorable Mentions: Free!: Dive to the Future, Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou, Mahoutsukai no Yome



As the somewhat polar opposite to what’s on the surface, here we’re looking at depth and what captivated us from start to finish. You don’t need amazing visuals to tell a good story, so it’s about the original material (if any) and the screenwriter’s adaptation of it here. Good cliffhangers that keep you on the edge of your seat week after week suggest the series is doing something right, whereas filler-esque showings don’t.

As with any year, picking a memorable story was a difficult task. I came into this post with Steins;Gate 0 in mind on the merits of its dramatic plot twists and time-travel shenanigans, and ended up putting it as the winner here for a few days. After some careful consideration and discussions with others however, I have come to the conclusion that there were better overall candidates, and 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season replaces Steins;Gate 0 here as 2018′s new best story winner. It wasn’t as flashy as many of the other series here, but that’s the beauty of 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season in a nutshell—it didn’t need it, choosing to forego theatrics and thrills with personal tales and a singular focus on its characters. Through Rei’s continued climb as a Shogi player, Hina’s dealings with the bullies at her school, and Yanagihara’s continued fight as the last hope of his generation, this was a series whose characters provided all the drama and development needed to keep you invested, culminating in an emotional payoff that rivaled that of many other candidates here. Ultimately though, this was a year where many of the series were very close however, and it’s important to note that many of the honorable mentions could’ve won this category depending on personal preference—including heartwarming series like Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, the crime thriller Banana Fish, the magical Mahoutsukai no Yome, and the tear-inducing Violet Evergarden to name a few.

Honorable Mentions: Banana Fish, Mahoutsukai no Yome, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, Steins;Gate 0, Violet Evergarden


Opening & Ending Sequence

Whether for its originality or ability to showcase what a series has to offer, opening sequences are always fun to watch. We tend to look forward to new ones and the songs that will be featured in them, and sometimes get a glimpse at what’s coming up in the show too (for better or worse). Here, the focus is on the sequence itself, even though the song may play a part in making it memorable.

Unlike opening sequences, endings don’t strive to draw the viewer in and get them psyched up about the episode that’s coming up. Instead, they’re an outro to what you’ve just seen and may highlight a specific aspect/emotion of the series, though sometimes they’re completely irrelevant to the actual story and are just an outlet for sheer fun/comedic value. Whichever the case, there are certain sequences that we enjoyed more than others.

Violet Evergarden OP [Official MV]
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho ED

It seems like just yesterday that TRUE made her stage name debut with the opening theme to Buddy Complex. It’s been a gradual and much deserved rise to stardom for her since, as she followed up with themes to series like Hibike! Euphonium and Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans. Despite her many memorable compositions, her theme for Violet Evergarden arguably comes in as her best, showcasing the strength of her vocals while also demonstrating her ability to diversify into different types of compositions. The song’s lyrics being a perfect representation of Violet’s journey only serves to sweeten the cake, combining with a simple, yet breathtaking sequence to make this an opening that I didn’t dare to skip and re-watched multiple times on a weekly basis. That said, I’m admittedly biased toward this song given the opportunity to hear it performed live just a few weeks ago, so mileage will definitely vary here. As with previous years, this category will likely be known more for the omissions I had to make due to pick limitations more than anything—including the openings to Beatless, Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory, Grand Blue, Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara, Yuru Camp△ to name a few.

Honorable Mentions w/ [Official MV]:

Sometimes simpler is better, and in the case of Sora yori mo Tooi Basho this holds especially true. The sequence itself isn’t much—it’s just a montage of moving images with no character movement or complex animation—but it does everything it has to, providing one of the catchiest themes of the year while tying it to heartwarming (see “adorable”) backdrops that made you reflect fondly on the episode you just finished and the series as a whole. Notably, you’ll note that none of the characters or penguins are ever shown alone, and there’s much to be said about how a fitting ending sequence that compliments the show does so much more than one that just looks good or has a song with powerful vocals. With that said, there were many great ending sequences this year, and like with the opening sequences, this category will likely also be known more for the omissions I had to make—including the endings to 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season, Hataraku Saibou, Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara, Steins;Gate 0, Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii to name a few.

Honorable Mentions w/ [Official MV]:



With the sequences covered, the attention is now on the actual songs. Insert songs are also up for consideration, with the only real criteria being that it’s something we never got tired of listening to. There’s no bearing on if it was created specifically for a series or even if the series was any good, we’re simply picking some of our favorite songs that were featured in an anime.

Uchiage Hanabi – “打上花火” (DAOKO × 米津玄師)

When it comes to the best songs, some of the themes I often find myself remembering are the openings to Kakumeiki Valvrave from 2013. The series wasn’t the greatest, but it managed to bring together legendary vocalists T.M.Revolution and Mizuki Nana for not only one, but two of the most notable duets in recent memory. It goes to show that you don’t have to have a great series to have spectacular themes and this is a category I love because it lets me mention and look for themes that may have been overlooked because it was in a series that was disliked or otherwise unpopular. With that in mind, it’s only fitting that this year’s winner is a duet that also comes from a movie that never met the high expectations placed upon it. I couldn’t mention the theme in last year’s post because the BD/DVD didn’t release until this year, but now that is has, I get a chance to share one of my personal favorites from the past few years, and the duet by DAOKO x Kenshi Yonezu really speaks for itself—especially once you hit 2:40 and the song’s climax kicks in. Rounding out the category are a series of themes that follow a similar pattern of coming from underwhelming or underappreciated series, and here’s hoping that with the variety of songs I picked here, at least one song here manages to catch your eye or make you interested in either the show it came from or at least the soundtrack behind it.

Honorable Mentions:Rise” (Harukana Receive EP1 Insert), “Anno Domini” (Mahoutsukai no Yome EP8 Insert), “Button” (ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen OP), “Gate of Steiner” (Steins;Gate 0 EP23 ED), “Won’t Forget You” (Tokyo Ghoul:re EP24 Insert)




Branching away from strictly picking series and focusing on some specifics is the idea behind the miscellaneous section. The first one is our favorite character, who won his or her way into our hearts for whatever reason. The criteria here is somewhat loose, but with numerous options in a single series, multiplied by almost a hundred in the past year, it’s actually quite difficult to pick one above all others. Be that as it may…

Talk about having a boat load of notable characters. We had All Might: the literal symbol of peace, the man at the center of one of the most memorable scenes in anime this year, and a guide just trying passing the torch to the next generation. We had Okabe Rintarou: the man whose journeys through time were just as notable as the physical and psychological pain he had to overcome. We had Violet Evergarden: the heroine who grew leaps and bounds with each new experience while showing us a beautiful coming of age tale. We also had the “immortal” Sugimoto: the man whose exploits in Golden Kamuy made the series much better than I ever anticipated given his raw skill and his always hilarious interactions with Asirpa. All things considered, Ash Lynx pales to the other characters when it comes to the magnitude of their feats, but there’s something refreshing about a character who was just a regular human, but managed to carve himself a place in a world filled with nothing but guns, drugs, and illegal trafficking. This was a kid who grew up as a child prostitute and sex toy for a mafia boss but used the time and resources he was given to lead a gang at 17 and take the fight right back to him. Add in some run ins with the triads and other local gangs, and this was someone who just didn’t have any business accomplishing anything close to the things he did. Yet, despite losing friends and getting injured multiple times in the process, he persevered and made Banana Fish one of this year’s most thrilling shows as a result, making him a character worth remembering for his exploits and the relationships he had with the rest of the cast.

Honorable Mentions: All Might (Boku no Hero Academia 3), Okabe Rintarou (Steins;Gate 0), Sugimoto Saichi (Golden Kamuy), Violet Evergarden (Violet Evergarden)



This may be part of a plot twist or something you see coming a mile away, but we’re concerned about the impact the death has on the story and us as viewers. Well-executed screenplay leading up to it may play a big part, but there are also cases where a character dies so suddenly that we’re left in complete disbelief. In both cases, it’s the lingering impression we’re basing our selection on.

Show Death Picks ▼




Action, action, and more action! The action genre ranges anywhere from shounen-crazed series to war-filled mecha shows. For battles, choreography plays a huge role, so that was definitely taken into consideration.

With League of Villains’ rise and the continued decline of All Might on the horizon, you knew heading into Boku no Hero Academia 3 that this was the season where things would really start to go down. What many anime-only viewers didn’t realize was that it would culminate in not one, but two especially amazing fights—the first of which yielded one of this year’s most memorable moments. Without going too much into spoilers, let’s just say that a certain smash involving the United States was involved, and it’s likely that you heard people talking about how crazy it was to see it play out even if you weren’t watching the series at the time. Following things up an epic clash between sworn rivals only added to the adrenaline rush, and this was an action packed season for the ages as the symbolic torch passed from one generation to the other. Interesting enough, many of 2018′s notable action series candidates revolved around old school mecha combat, meaning that one’s mileage would have varied considerably for this genre depending on your affinity for them.

Honorable Mentions: Banana Fish, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou, SSSS.Gridman



Emotion-filled romance at its finest. The relationship between characters and the emotions involved are the appeal, and the main criteria for selecting a series here. A sentimental story is always good, with tear-jerking scenes being a plus. This is the series that had the best romantic mood from the character interactions to the big confession.

2018 was interesting in that many of its romances were atypical in presentation or pairing choice. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni and Mahoutsukai no Yome had protagonists with large age gaps, and the latter starts off with one partner literally buying the other off the black market. Darling in the Franxx and Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai were the more traditional candidates in this regard, and it was hard picking a winner because each series had its own appeal despite a few having elements that some may have found… disagreeable. With that said, I came in expecting to pick Koi wa Ameagari no You ni on the basis of it being a romance story that wasn’t so much about the romance between its protagonists as it was their interactions pushing them to rediscover old passions. What I ended up settling on instead was Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai and it’s a choice that came down to me feeling that the series was the most consistent in its narrative and natural in its romantic developments. For all the appeal Mahoutsukai no Yome had in its magical backdrop and all the dramatic buildup Darling in the Franxx had with its romance, the former felt more like a fantasy with romance added on and the latter actually suffered from being a bit over dramatic, with a certain episode literally driving some of its viewers crazy. Tada-kun felt like the series that represented the genre the best as a result, although there are definitely arguments that can to be made against it. When you get down to it, I think its this category that ends up being this year’s most difficult to agree on, and you’d really be hard pressed to find any actual consensus here given the fact that many of the genre’s candidates also crossed into other genres.

Honorable Mentions: Darling in the Franxx, Koi wa Ameagari no You ni, Mahoutsukai no Yome



A lot of good series out there depict an emotion-filled story where the romance comes secondary, if at all. Strong depictions of friendship and in challenging situations can really draw a viewer into the story and start making them sympathize with the characters. It’s a bit of an all-encompassing genre, but only a handful of series really pull viewers in with their screenplay.

Given how well 3-gatsu no Lion handled drama in its previous season, it reasoned that its second would do the same. What I didn’t expect was a season that did things even better than the first, and this was a season that built on existing foundations by supplementing its shogi focus with a more personal touch. By showing Hina’s dealing with class bullies, Yanagihara’s position as the last hope of those he used to play with, and Souya’s own personal burdens—we were shown a new side to the drama behind their respective lives and gained a new found respect for the characters and the situations they’ve had to overcome. More importantly, we were able to see how Kiriyama decided to make himself available to either help or just listen to their respective problems. It goes to show just how much he’s grown throughout the series and 3-gatsu no Lion’s Second Season wasn’t so much about the drama as it was a story of the growth that’s come from it. With that said, there were many quality dramas in this year’s repertoire, with Violet Evergarden coming in as a very notable second here.

Honorable Mentions: Banana Fish, Megalo Box, Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara, Violet Evergarden, Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru: Yuusha no Shou



When it comes to science fiction, a futuristic world with advanced technology, robots, space travel, and superhuman abilities is the usual connotation. However, that’s not the only setting that fits this genre. Sometimes all a series has to do is play up a single sci-fi aspect and do it well to go down as an excellent sci-fi series.

There’s a bit of irony in the fact that in a year we don’t have any mainline Gundam series, we ended up getting a ton of mecha series that utilized the same old-school mecha combat and/or political intrigue mix that Gundam was known for. This was a great year for a particular sub-set of Sci-Fi fans as a result, though viewers of the original Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu would likely disagree with the inclusion of the franchise’s “modern remake” as a series worth watching (compared to the original). Either way, Steins;Gate 0 comes in as this year’s easy pick for best Sci-Fi, and there’s not much to say here that hasn’t already been said by others. Its predecessor was one of the best series we’ve had in the last decade, yet Steins;Gate 0 occasionally managed to match and sometimes exceed the drama and excitement of the original, while introducing a new timeline that was arguably even darker than the original. The fact that many viewers loved the series despite already knowing how some things would play out showcased just how exceptional the series was, and this was truly a treat for fans of the franchise and the genre in general, giving us a real benchmark on how to make a good time-travel story. In terms of omissions, A.I.C.O. Incarnation comes in as a series that’s worth at least mentioning, as it was better than I thought it would be despite having its share of pacing and developmental issues. With the likely increase in Netflix original content in the future, it’s important not to go sleeping on releases from them given the tremendous investment they’re putting into original content.

Honorable Mentions: Darling in the Franxx, Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory, Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou, SSSS.Gridman



The best horror shows are those that incite visceral feelings of shock, fear, and pulse-pounding dread. Gore is not a necessity for this genre, as there’s always psychological thrillers that are just as gripping if not more. However, those that can provide both an unsettling atmosphere and a good scare are even better.

Ah yes, goblins. Those nasty little things that look a lot worse than they actually are. They’re just trash for the low level adventurers to take care of aren’t they? Yeah well, that’s how things would normally be. If you’re in the Goblin Slayer universe though, you’ve got something else coming—poisonous arrows, endless torture, and all sorts of brutality to be exact—and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect anything like what I saw those first few episodes. I can’t imagine goblins the same way I did before as a result, and even if I could, I don’t think I’ll be getting that heavy metal accompaniment out of my head anytime soon. I suspect that my impressions of the series won’t be as high years down the line given that much of the series’ initial shock value played a large part in its enjoyment, but for now, the fact that it managed to do what it did on its initial run makes it a winner for this category in my book—narrowly inching out underappreciated crime thriller Banana Fish. I’ll say, this would’ve been a very interesting category had Shingeki no Kyojin Third Season finished in its entirety to count for this year.

Honorable Mentions: Banana Fish, Devilman Crybaby, Megalo Box



Where science fiction seeks to explain the remarkable happenings of its universe via technology and logic, fantasy is less concerned with that. Wizards, dragons, and Tolkien-esque adventures are what usually come to mind, but those aren’t mandatory. As long as the focus is less on what makes the world tick and more on using magic and wonder to tell a story, it’s probably a fantasy tale you’re looking at.

As much as I would’ve liked to pick Violet Evergarden here on the basis of its alternative history and beautiful backdrops, when it comes to being the best representative of the genre, Mahoutsukai no Yome was just a better fantasy. With magic playing a core part in everything and a world that was essentially a fairy tale at times—albeit sometimes with a darker twist—Mahoutsukai no Yome ticks off the fantasy checklist like few others have in the past few years. Adding in a romantic undertone between its protagonists only served to heighten that fairy tale vibe, and this was a fantasy that made full use of its magical backdrop to develop its respective subplots and leave its viewers in awe of the author’s imagined world and their representation of creatures such as fairies, phoenixes, and dragons. To say that Mahoutsukai no Yome was a magical experience—pun intended—would be an understatement, and while 2018 was sadly lacking in quantity in the fantasy department, I’m glad that between this, Overlord III, Violet Evergarden, the ones we did have ended up quite enjoyable.

Honorable Mentions: Lost Song, Overlord III, Violet Evergarden



The ability to make you laugh until you cry – that’s probably the number one criteria when selecting a comedy of the year. From everything to sheer stupidity, quirky characters, and timely comedic pauses to perverted fun, elaborate setups, and witty jokes, it’s the lighthearted nature and humorous entertainment value of these series that we love.

As they say, the early bird gets the worm. 2018 was notable for having almost all of its best comedies arrive in the first half of the year, including early winter sequels like Dagashi Kashi 2, Osomatsu-san 2, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan 2. While sequels were plenty and just as funny as their predecessors, it’s the newcomer in Hinamatsuri that takes the cake as this year’s best comedy. I mean, to start off with a whole Terminator introduction sequence and psychic powered beat down of an entire organization? That was comedy gold. Add in quality voice acting from Nakajima Yoshiki and Tanaka Takako, some deadpan humor, slapstick routines, satire, and black comedy? Yeah, things only got better from there. You could get a ball of laughs from pretty much every show here though, so you really couldn’t lose when it came to comedies this year—especially given that there were so many candidates I expanded the Honorable Mentions past their usual 5 just to include them.

Honorable Mentions: Asobi Asobase, Dagashi Kashi 2, Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2nd Season, Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, Osomatsu-san 2, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan 2, Zombieland Saga


Romantic Comedy

The romantic comedy genre separates itself from the individual romance and comedy ones by teasing us with potential relationships but never quite settling on one. Instead, the enjoyment comes from the character interactions themselves, often – but not always – in harem-like scenarios.

You thought this was just a series about a girl wearing a bunny suit didn’t you? You thought wrong. OK, well technically the girl is a a big part of the story, but the bunny suit—jokes aside, the rom-com genre has gone through some rough times over the past few years, and Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai comes in as the series that bucks the trend a bit. With a lovable cast of characters mixed in with all kinds of Sci-Fi/supernatural shenanigans, the premise may not have been anything we haven’t seen before, but how they put everything together made the series special in its own way. This was a show whose characters just clicked from the very beginning, luring us into its world by starting off with one of the most ridiculous confessions in recent memory. With each arc came a new focus character that just added to the chemistry of the cast and this was a show that I made sure to save time for just to see its witty character interactions. Having a catchy opening only made things better, and in ways, the series takes after Monogatari and Oregairu in some regards. Given how much I loved the aforementioned, I think you can tell how much fun I had watching Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai to mention them in the same sentence, and this was truly an example of how important it is not to judge a series by its cover, as what we got was a rom-com worth remembering and one of the better shows of the year period.

Honorable Mentions: High Score Girl, Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii


Slice of Life

A laid-back series with no reliance on heavily gimmicky plot devices nor a constantly progressing storyline is what this genre stands for. The character interactions themselves in an otherwise “normal” setting are the highlight, along with any incidental humor that results from them. A lot of times, they’re just really cute and innocent happenings, and that’s exactly what makes a good slice of life series.

As with previous years, slice of life comes as the most loaded category of the year, giving us over a dozen candidates worth watching. Despite the many candidates, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho arrives as this year’s easy winner, sending us over to the far reaches of Antarctica to deliver a feel good story for the ages. Hands down one of this year’s best series overall, we followed our main quartet as they took a plunge into the unknown and came back with tears in our eyes as they used the expedition as an opportunity to overcome personal challenges and bring closure to their respective pasts. This wasn’t just your average slice of life where you followed a cast around and occasionally laughed along with their shenanigans. It was a series that made you invest in its characters and think about taking a moment to appreciate the simpler things in life. At the same time, it was almost like a challenge to its viewers, telling us that it was OK to step out of our comfort zones and do something different once in a while—judgment or silliness be damned. All the while, it did an amazing job showing the inherent beauty of nature while showcasing the difficulties of setting up camp in a place as inhospitable as Antarctica, and there really aren’t enough words to say how well Sora yori mo Tooi Basho worked as both a slice of life and something much, much more. Yuru Camp △ comes in as a very close second on the merits of its similar focus on enjoying the simpler things in life and rounding things off are notable omissions—which include Miira no Kaikata, Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori, Slow Start, Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san, and Zombieland Saga to name a few.

Honorable Mentions: 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season, Grand Blue, Hataraku Saibou, Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, Yuru Camp △


Category Defying

Also known as the Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Memorial Award, this is the category for those shows that deserve to be on this list, even if we don’t have a clue where they should go. Many series cross into multiple genres, which is why you see shows being featured in multiple categories in this section. These series defy genre. They twist and squirm, evading our attempts to label them and are just themselves, as well as good. This is the category for shows that deserve recognition, even if we aren’t rightly sure what they were.

So imagine you’re hiding a treasure you don’t want anyone to have. You’re planning to grab it once you get out of prison, but until then, you figure it’s best to leave a map for yourself so you don’t forget where you put it. It seems straight forward until you decide that the best way to make sure the map doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to tattoo parts of the map to the backs of a bunch of other convicts. Now we got a bunch of people going around skinning people so they can piece together the map. Add in a really, really old Hijikata Toshizou and a man who claims to be immortal, and there’s no way a show like this would work, would it? Yeah, I didn’t think so either—that is until I watched Golden Kamuy and loved every minute of it. For whatever reason, the show just works despite its ridiculous plot line and array of over the top characters. There’s an adventure to be had here—mixed in with a ton of plot twists and the occasional poop joke—and while it avoids being neatly described by just a singular category or genre, don’t let that or the occasional use of terrible CGI fool you into thinking that this show isn’t worth a try. Rounding out the category is Free!: Dive to the Future, which warrants a mention on the merits of it being a series that wouldn’t have otherwise been mentioned *due to the omission of the sports genre from the post.

Honorable Mentions: Free!: Dive to the Future*


Notable Others

Biggest Disappointment

The pitfall of excessive hype and anticipation for anything is the disappointment that results when things don’t meet expectations. With regards to anime, this is doubly true when a series has precedent established by its original and a sequel falls incomparably short. At times it’s only a small letdown, but sometimes we’re left wondering what we did to deserve sitting through it. We’re not looking for the worst series of the year here, but the biggest disparity between expectations going in and way the series turned out.

You know a show’s bad when I had to bring back the category just to mention it here. Tokyo Ghoul:re was just that bad and it’s a real pity considering that its first season was actually tolerable coming off the heels of the disaster that was √A. Sure, there were problems with pacing resulting from a clear decision to end the season on a very particular part, but it wasn’t bad enough that things couldn’t be salvaged with a proper second season. In hindsight, I don’t know why I expected they’d actually do things right here given the series’ adaptation history, but I suppose that I couldn’t have predicted just how big of a train wreck we’d get. To suddenly try and go through the rest of the series in a mere 12 episodes? To say that this was an insult to fans of the franchise would be putting it lightly. If it were some other line of work, people would be out of jobs for the kind of half-assed adaptation we received, and there are no words to express the disappointment that I (and likely many others) felt with how this series and franchise as a whole was handled. I would’ve rather have had no adaptation than see what we ended up getting here—a steaming pile of trash that left non-manga viewers lost and wasted everybody’s time. Rounding out the category is Beatless, a series that actually picked up toward its latter half to the point where it was arguably worth watching, but disappointed nonetheless in its initial build up and the lengthy investment required for its ultimate payoff. Amanchu! Advance comes in as a near inclusion, as the sudden incorporation of the supernatural and fairy-tale elements made it a sequel that paled considerably to the original.

Honorable Mentions: Beatless


And Finally…

Best Anime 2018

The be-all, end-all of the year. This pick is always a hotbed of controversy, so here’s the exact criteria we used to make it: if we were to meet an anime fan for the first time and they were to ask us to recommend a show that aired in 2018, what would it be? Without knowing the person’s tastes, we would naturally default to the show that did the most things right, one that had wide appeal and deserved it, that had superb animation and told its story well, and above all else, that we enjoyed. The winner of this category should be a high anticipation show that supremely deserved it, or a dark horse that blew everyone out of the water. This is subjective as hell, but you can find a list of our best picks below.

As with previous years, the best narratives tend to be my best picks as well, and 2018 ends up the same in this regard. What is surprising however, is that I’m not picking the series I put for best story (3-gatsu no Lion Second Season) and I’m also passing on other top genre candidates and popular series like 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season, Boku no Hero Academia 3, and Violet Evergarden. Sora yori mo Tooi Basho was just that special. No, it didn’t have anything flashy, any supernatural twists, and the world wasn’t at risk of imploding if the protagonist failed to do what they needed to do. What it did have was an uncompromising vision and the most heart. This was a series that knew what it wanted to show and how it wanted to show it. Rather than relying on anything excessively dramatic or superficial, it let nature speak for itself—showing off its inherent beauty while never forgetting about its potential dangers. All the while, it gave us an unforgettable journey with a quartet that weren’t particularly special by themselves, but came together to become something more and conquer a place where few have gone to before. This was an tale of self-discovery, success, and overcoming obstacles. It was a challenge to its viewers to enjoy the simpler things in life, while not be fearful of stepping outside one’s comfort zone regardless of the potential ridicule or judgment. More importantly, it was a series whose emotional payoff was second to none, resulting from heartwarming and genuine interactions that showcased not only proper character development, but emphasized how much dedication was put into the series. This was a series that was truly memorable in many ways and the fact that it initially aired a long time ago in the winter yet still remains a fond memory is just another testament to that.

Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical Order): 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season, Banana Fish, Boku no Hero Academia 3, Golden Kamuy, Hinamatsuri, Mahoutsukai no Yome, Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, SSSS.Gridman, Steins;Gate 0, Violet Evergarden, Yuru Camp △


Best OVA/Movie 2018

The same as above, except for the not-regularly-broadcasted offerings. These aren’t covered very often on the site, but we’ve each had the pleasure of watching enough to find some that really caught our eyes.

In a year that didn’t have a masterpiece in the same vein as last year’s Kimi no Na Wa, I felt that for the most part, many of the candidates here were similar in terms of their overall impact and excellence. Personal preference plays a bigger part here compared to other years as a result, and with the expectation that there won’t be any real consensus on a best OVA/Movie, I settled on Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou as my personal pick. There were pacing issues, questionable developments, and the dramatic style was reminiscent of Okada Mari’s previous works—but when you consider that it was her debut directorial work, it was promising start in terms of its setting, general plot, and animation/soundtrack accompaniment. I don’t think it wouldn’t have won this category if it were in any other year, but credit should still be given to a movie that was generally solid and worth watching, if not just to see the gorgeous world she created as the movie’s backdrop. Also, the fact that it wasn’t stylistically the same her previous works—there were less plot twists and dramatic flair—showed a willingness to diverge from her usual formula, making her future works something worth looking out for. Aside from that, you couldn’t really go wrong with any of the other good/great candidates here, with Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower giving us yet another (but perhaps the best) take on the Fate/stay night universe, No Game No Life Zero giving us another exciting glimpse at a universe we may never get to revisit (where art thou, second season?), and ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen giving us a heartwarming—albeit delayed and brief—conclusion to what was a great and underrated series.

Honorable Mentions (Alphabetical Order): Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya: Sekka no Chikai, Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower, Liz to Aoi Tori, No Game No Life Zero, ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen


Reader’s Choice – Favorite Anime 2018

Your choice for 2018. With everyone allowed to pick up to five series, we have a pretty nice spread of results. In exchange for finding out if there was one series that everyone would’ve picked with a single vote, we have a much better idea of the other ones you enjoyed. The top choice is still pretty unquestionable though, since it was good enough to make it into the majority of your top 5 picks.

The Top 5:
Boku no Hero Academia 3 – 6.2%
Violet Evergarden – 5.49%
Sora yori mo Tooi Basho – 4.83%
Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai – 4.63%
Goblin Slayer – 4.23%
Here are the full results.

The votes have been tallied and Boku no Hero Academia 3 comes in as the Reader’s Choice for Best Anime of 2018. Given its popularity and the fact that this season gave us two of the franchise’s best moments—that’s saying something given how many great moments we’ve already had the previous two seasons—it’s not a particularly surprising win, and I don’t think that many will have too many qualms with at least putting it in their top 5 or 10 regardless of personal preference. Rounding out the remaining spots are other popular picks in Violet Evergarden, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, and Goblin Slayer—all of whom really speak for themselves as series that were great throughout their run and deserve their many accolades. Ultimately, there wasn’t much in terms of surprises, although I didn’t expect Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai to garner as much votes as it did and in the opposite sense, I had expected both Steins;Gate 0 and SSSS.Gridman to fare better than they did.


Reader’s Choice – Favorite OVA/Movie 2018

Your OVA/Movie choice of 2018. As mentioned in the disclaimer above, the choices here were restricted to what’s been released on BD/DVD so that viewers outside of Japan have a chance of watching them and making an informed decision. It didn’t make sense to restrict such offerings to a small pool of voters this year and not have it up it for consideration in 2013, so if you wanted to vote for anything that premiered in theaters, you’ll get your chance next year.

The Top 5:
Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel – I. Presage Flower – 12.0%
ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen – 6.46%
Violet Evergarden: Kitto “Koi” wo Shiru Hi ga Kuru no Darou – 6.24%
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya: Sekka no Chikai – 5.07%
Code Geass: Hangyaku no Lelouch – I, II, and III – 4.79%
Here are the full results.

It feels like with the release of Fate/Grand Order, the Fate franchise has become more popular than ever before. This past year gave us multiple movies, a multi-season TV series in Fate/Extra (though this one didn’t fare as well), and additional announcements for adaptations based on two of Fate/Grand Order’s most memorable singularities. As such, it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise when two of the top five picks here ended up being those two aforementioned Fate movies, and they’re understandable picks given that they were the two best theatrical Fate releases to date and also ones that managed to reach the most amount of viewers given their simultaneous worldwide subbed release in theaters. ReLIFE: Kanketsu-hen comes in as much deserved honorable mention and similarly popular series, coming together with another popular winner in Violet Evergarden: Kitto “Koi” wo Shiru Hi ga Kuru no Darou. The Code Geass theatrical remakes round out the list as the last of the top 5, and I’m admittedly surprised at how high it placed given the tendency for remakes/recaps to not be nearly as well-liked, though I suppose it does make sense given how popular its original was and the expectation that re-watching some of its biggest plot points would set things up nicely for the upcoming sequel. Barely missing on the top 5 by less just two dozen votes at 6,7, and 8 respectively were my own personal picks in Liz to Aoi Tori, No Game No Life Zero, and Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou (a.k.a. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms).


When it comes down to it, 2018 may be remembered not for its new adaptations or original series, but for the many quality sequels we received. 3-gatsu no Lion, Boku no Hero Academia, Dagashi Kashi, Full Metal Panic, Overlord, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan, Shokugeki no Souma, Steins;Gate, and Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru were just some of the series that received sequels worth talking about this year, and it just goes to show just how well received their original counterparts were, how well their worlds and characters were made, and/or how well that particular staff of people work together. At the same time though, it does makes you wonder—in the face of all the new adaptations and the many original series we’ve gotten in between the release of these sequels, what is it that continues to make them successful? Is it just because the same (or similar) staff tends to carry over into sequels? It is just because good stories tends to have a easier time maintaining a certain level of quality, especially when it comes to adaptations? Or could it be indicative of a problem with the quality of the content being made now? Either way, I just hope that a fine balance continues to be had in regards to making sequels and trying out something new/original/innovative.

With that said, this was a year that didn’t really save its best for last, and many of 2018′s consensus top 5 aired in the first quarter (if not, the first half) of the year. 3-gatsu no Lion Second Season and Mahoutsukai no Yome highlighted the pack as Fall 2017 carry overs, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, Violet Evergarden, and Yuru Camp △ arrived in the winter, and Boku no Hero Academia 3, Hinamatsuri, and Steins;Gate 0 following up in the spring. There were a handful of successes in the summer (Banana Fish) and fall (Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai), with a sprinkling of some good/great OVA/Movies in a year that otherwise didn’t offer any real masterpieces in that regard.

Genre-wise, 2018 was highlighted by the usual quality offerings in Slice of Life, while rounding things up with a good selection of Action, Comedy, and Drama. Romance/Romantic Comedies arrived with their own large selection of candidates, though mileage definitely varied more than usual on those categories, making its quite possible that some series that appealed to some people didn’t even make it watch lists of others. Sci-Fi and Fantasy had their own share of picks as well, though the former had more appeal to the sub-set of fans that like mecha combat and the latter had three good/great series in Mahoutsukai no Yome, Overlord III, and Violet Evergarden, but didn’t offer much else. Aside from that, Golden Kamuy came in as a series that straddled multiple categories, with Banana Fish and Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai likely being two of the bigger surprises of the year along with multiple category winner Sora yori mo Tooi Basho.

All in all, I think 2018 felt different from previous years because it felt very easy to differentiate its better/best shows from the rest and to come up with my top 10. I suppose in that respect it means that we had a lot more shows that were not as great as a result, and admittedly, there were a decent amount of series that were lackluster in between the good ones that were mentioned above. I can’t quite say it’s significant enough to represent a trend or anything given the tremendous amount of personal preference that goes into this thing, but at the very least I can say that 2019 should at least have a decent foundation to start off with given the quality of 2018 carry overs like JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze, Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken, Shingeki no Kyojin Third Season, and the ever popular Sword Art Online: Alicization.

On a more personal note, 2018 was a year that saw me become so busy that I didn’t blog a single series at all. Unfortunately that’s not expected to change (in fact it’ll probably become worse due to additional job requirements), so it’s likely that my blogging hiatus will continue for the foreseeable future. I’ll attempt to watch enough to get this post set up for next year regardless and I’ll also be continuing my contributions to the previews (at least in regards to the OVA/Movie lists), but it’ll be more difficult to do compared to previous years, and it’s highly likely that I may not be able to watch the same number of shows that I have been, so I apologize before hand if I end up omitting a series next year that you may have felt was worth considering.

Looking forward to 2019, I think it’s safe to say that “optimistic” is the buzzword once again, and here’s hoping that the carry overs from 2018 will set up a good foundation for the winter season. Last but not least, I’d just like to take a moment to say thanks once again to everyone that continues to visit Random Curiosity, and I hope that the new year brings with it your continued visits and good fortune.

January 3, 2019 at 5:45 pm
  • January 3, 2019 at 6:00 pmOne Pinch Man

    2018 is such a wonderful for anime, maybe one of the best in the decade, as we have more diverse choice of good anime, especially on Winter and Fall of 2018.
    Here is my personal thoughts on Best of Anime 2018. You may disagree or discuss it.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Thank you all the wonderful people on RandomC, both the writers and the commenters, for keeping the site alive for over a decade. It’s been fun reading and having conversations here.
    I have some things to say. I wish we have comment preview button back and we can edit our comments. Also, that Popular Series tab seems weird to be left unupdated.
    Well, that’s all from me. Happy New Year!

    • January 3, 2019 at 6:56 pmOne Pinch Man

      After a short observation, this year’s top pick for Reader’s Choice Poll, Boku no Hero Academia 3, is only 6.22%, the lowest in the last 6 years. Maybe that’s a little proof that anime has been easier to watch and more socially acceptable to mainstream audience thanks to streaming services. I wonder what will await us in 2019.

  • January 3, 2019 at 6:39 pmYuuki

    Bunny Girl Senpai is NOT a rom-com.

    • January 3, 2019 at 7:07 pmZephyr

      The way we classify romantic comedies is: “The romantic comedy genre separates itself from the individual romance and comedy ones by teasing us with potential relationships but never quite settling on one. Instead, the enjoyment comes from the character interactions themselves, often – but not always – in harem-like scenarios.

      The series may have settled on one specific pairing, but the rest of the parts are generally on the mark and fits in with how we’ve historically sorted shows into rom-com. Looking through its classifications across multiple other anime databases and websites also note rom-com as a descriptor, so I settled on including the series here as a result. You’re free to disagree though, and I do understand where you’re coming from in the sense that you could have put the series in other genres, but given the other candidates and genre associations for this year’s post I just felt it was the best category to put it in.

    • January 3, 2019 at 8:04 pmdanes256

      It’s a rom-com.

  • January 3, 2019 at 6:44 pmStilts

    Woohoo, Sora yori mo Tooi Basho for the win! Good choice Zephy, I knew you were a smart one :D

  • January 3, 2019 at 8:03 pmLyfe

    @Dagashi Kashi 2

    It’s a shame they slashed its runtime so it could share a timeslot with another show. It was 2 x 15 minute slots for the broadcast. I hope they return to full length episodes if they do a third season.

    • January 3, 2019 at 8:28 pmZephyr

      Yeah, as much as I liked it, the shorter run time really changed the dynamics of how the show was.

  • January 3, 2019 at 8:14 pmsealouse

    Only one i disagree with is the best story pick. Just nope.

    • January 3, 2019 at 9:18 pmZephyr

      Story was pretty hard to pick this year. I was pretty much just flipping coins and deciding what to pick based on pick diversity at some point. I’ll probably look back in a week and go like “gah, maybe I should’ve taken the opportunity to advertise Banana Fish more” or change it to some of my other candidates or something.

  • January 3, 2019 at 8:15 pmWanderer

    Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho wins! An excellent choice. It and Yuru Camp are the only two shows this past year that are (in my obviously 100% correct opinion ;) ) perfect. They both completely accomplish everything that set out to do, and nothing about them was lacking. By the latter I mean that there’s nothing about them that makes me go “if only they’d fixed this one thing” or “If only X was just a little better” or whatever. No, every element of these two series worked perfectly to accomplish exactly what was intended, and could not have been handled better.

    I expect to remember them for a long time as true works of art.

  • January 3, 2019 at 8:33 pmKiraboshi

    Yess! I completely agree Ash Lynx for winning that category. Never seen a character like him in anime where he is a gang boss but portrayed in a way it made him feel real and human.

    • January 3, 2019 at 9:00 pmZephyr

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • January 4, 2019 at 2:46 amKiraboshi

        Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 3, 2019 at 9:08 pmDoom Slayer

    I’m in full agreement that Yorimoi was the winner, but there are some things not mentioned here that truly make Yorimoi the top pick: was able to do so much in its run, unifying its characters with a shared goal while simultaneously giving each of them unique reasons for being there. Each of Komari, Shirase, Yuzuki and Hinata got something different out of their experiences – the trip itself acts as a catalyst for these learnings, and it was a beautiful, well-chosen catalyst.

    Finally, yes, Yuru Camp and Slow Start are contenders the title of “Best Slice of Life”, although I would also add Harukana Receive, as well! Here’s to a solid 2019, as well!

    • January 3, 2019 at 9:17 pmZephyr

      Yeah, I did like Harukana Receive more than I anticipated, but with all the potential picks it was difficult finding a spot for it, so I did what I could and at least made a mention of the first ep’s insert song. ^^

  • January 3, 2019 at 9:48 pmqwert

    I think I’d have to disagree on Tokyo Ghoul Re as the top disappointment. To be disappointed in something you have to have that initial positive expectation in it in order to then be let down. After how the previous adaptations went anyone should have known going in that this was going to end up being a train wreck. And the original series source material wasn’t even THAT bad by comparison while the Re manga was a total shit show of it’s own to begin with.

    But Beatless… I went into Beatless having read the manga which served as an intro and was excited to watch the anime and get the whole story. I did not make it through the first episode because I could not suppress the urge to choke the life out of the MC with my own bare hands.

    • January 5, 2019 at 6:44 pmtheirs

      I’m also a fan of the manga, and I guess it depends on your expectations of it. I think as long as you can accept that Lecia is the dominant one in the relationship, it’s okay. If you’re interested to know the continuation just watch from episode 6? onwards. Can’t say the boys get better, but I think they did a good job in showing why the AIs chose them.

      Besides the production issues, I think they did a relatively good job in showing stuff. As noted in the article, it does pick-up later on. I’m not too fond of the final scene, but I can see why others might like it. So, I wouldn’t say there’s no disappointment in Beatless for me.

    • January 5, 2019 at 8:12 pmZephyr

      Regarding Tokyo Ghoul, I suppose part of it was because I felt as meh as the first season was, it was better than Root A, and they did more or less follow the manga’s developments. As such, there was the expectation (or at least hope) that if they faithfully adapted the rest of the series while emphasizing a certain fight between mentor/student, there could’ve been a decent second or third season to follow. I did mention in the excerpt that in hindsight it was silly as hell for me to have hoped for this though.

      As for Beatless, it ended up a lot better than it looked at the beginning, and part of me wants to argue that it was worth watching it to the end. The problem with it was that it took a long time for the story to really pay off and the initial depictions of Arato as being essentially inept really turned viewers off. At the very least though, they did end up explaining why Arato was chosen despite him being who he was, and the reasoning played a decent part in turning around some of the negative feelings I had regarding it.

  • January 3, 2019 at 10:26 pmAshley Yakeley

    Disappointed Golden Kamuy didn’t even get an Honourable Mention for Best Anime.

    • January 4, 2019 at 1:35 pmSherris


    • January 5, 2019 at 8:06 pmZephyr

      Yeah you know what, that was my bad on missing that. It’s there now.

  • January 3, 2019 at 10:45 pmRedjuice Fan

    Not seeing SSSS Gridman is any of them makes me sad, although seeing it in quite a few honorable mentions means something.

    • January 4, 2019 at 5:48 amRedjuice Fan

      Just saying. Sora yori mo Tooi Basho deserves the best anime spot because it is indeed a very good series. My problem though is that it doesn’t leave an impact on me. I actually only watch it after it is finished and I heard good things about it. And I actually forgot this series existed. I just finished watching it and thought “it’s good.”

      SSSS.Gridman I go in due to nostalgia, and a lot of scenes in there left a giant impression on me (Grid Beam and final episode for example). It is one show that makes me do what I normally don’t, that is looking at it’s shot compositions, and wanting to watch it again after it ends. I am actually sad that maybe people dont give this show a chance because CG or Darling in the FranXX.

      SSSS.Gridman, is to me, my Anime of the Year, and also my Top 5 favourite anime of all time. It being in a lot of the honorable mentions just shows how strong this show is as a contender.

      • January 6, 2019 at 11:29 pmStilts

        Expectation is a huge factor in enjoyment. Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho definitely got a boost upon initial airing because no one (who didn’t have a huge amount of faith in the director/writer/staff) thought much of it, and then it came out and was stellar. So you’ll lose some of that after people hype you up on that.

        That said, good fiction also just effects different people to different degrees. It has to; no truly great art can be great for all people, because then it would be too accessible, and wouldn’t dig deep. I think about the series at least once a week, and watch snippits 2-3 times a month. Different strokes, etc.

        Maybe I should watch Gridman…

  • January 3, 2019 at 10:59 pmKisaChan94

    Glad Banana Fish gets the Love it deserves.
    Ash is definitely best Character this year since he has been through so much and overcomes it all he is one Character I’ll never Forget. Even though Banana Fish here, wasn’t Anime of The year for some, for me my #1 Anime for 2018 is Banana Fish hands down

  • January 4, 2019 at 12:13 amUrahara

    I dropped Steins’ Gate 0 halfway through despite being a huge fan of the 2011 series
    Does it get better later ? because the beginning did not impress me much

    • January 4, 2019 at 2:32 amOne Pinch Man

      I’d say yes. Steins;Gate always gets better later.

    • January 6, 2019 at 3:38 amJayDrink

      While the first half of the season was terrible (at least having the first ED song to look forward to each episode made it watchable for me), the last 7 or so episodes were classic Steins Gate. I want to say it was worth sticking with it up until those last 7 episodes, but honestly just skip ahead if you don’t want to be bored. But yeah, the 7 last eps were on par with the first season – awesome.

  • January 4, 2019 at 1:17 amCrimson7

    I kinda feel bad that I dropped Banana Fish. Not because I thought it wasn’t a good anime. It just got too dark for me, with all the stories of abuse that Ash went through.

    On a side note, these non-episodic posts really show RC’s age. I mean, Flash Player? With links to macromedia.com?! The site needs an overhaul.

    • January 4, 2019 at 3:52 amZephyr

      Yeah we got HTML5 (etc.) and what not comin in by the next preview.

  • January 4, 2019 at 1:46 amHunter-Wolf

    While i think Sora yori mo Tooi Basho was pretty damn amazing i think the AotY should have gone to Violet Evergarden, not just for the stunning visuals but more so because Violet’s character arc is really unparalleled in modern anime, the way she gradually changes from the stiff doll-like not-very-self-aware behavior she exhibited in the first few episodes to getting overwhelmed with emotions and crying because of what happened in ep11 (goddamn it, that episode) is meticulously done and for that it deserved to win.

    • January 4, 2019 at 1:52 amHunter-Wolf

      I meant ep10 .. sheesh .. my memory sucks XD

  • January 4, 2019 at 1:51 amKatsu

    As someone who considers season 1 of Steins;Gate to be among the best ever anime TV series produced, I have to say I was gutted by season 2. IMO it tried to be a lot of things but failed at all of them in the end. Also, surprised Asobi Asobase didn’t get Comedy either – its the funniest thing I’ve seen in years!

  • January 4, 2019 at 2:52 amZero

    An important question – its 2019. Will there be a The Best of Anime – Decade Edition?

    • January 4, 2019 at 3:55 amZephyr

      It’s been mentioned, but it’s too early in the year to really confirm anything in terms of format, who’s available to do a post, etc. I was thinking it may be viable to at least look back at each year and see how some shows fared in hindsight though.

  • January 4, 2019 at 6:12 amxchyssa

    I love every bit of this!

  • January 4, 2019 at 7:09 amMichel Sabbagh

    *sees A Place Further Than The Universe take top honors*

    All is right in the (anime) world. Seriously, though, it’ll take A LOT to top one of the most consummate examples of character chemistry and emotional adventure out there. I firmly believe it’s an essential watch for any creative talent irrespective of artistic medium.

    Also neat that the New York Times acknowledged its quality.

  • January 4, 2019 at 10:21 amJindujun93

    Not even a single mention of YagaKimi and Planet With? Oh my, what a disappointment of a list. I mean, I get it not winning a single category and I didn’t expect as much, but not even seeing them in the honorable mentions really stings.

    • January 4, 2019 at 12:11 pmZephyr

      Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch both of them to completion in time for the post’s deadline.

      They’re definitely shows I plan to watch within the next week or two however, and they’ll be added as needed to the Honorable Mentions of their respective genres depending on how my impressions are after.

  • January 4, 2019 at 10:33 amNamaewoinai

    When i watch this show on episode 12…on the near end of it, my responds is pretty much this…

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 4, 2019 at 11:10 amPyon

    Every year I appreciate these ‘best of anime’ posts more than I could express with words, so sincerely thank you for 2018 one!

    This year I actually agree with most of your picks Zephyr more than ever. My slight complaint would be just a comedy genre, where Asobi Asobase was my absolute number one for this year and I kind of miss not seeing Grand Blue or Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san in honorable mentions.

    If anything, 2018 will be the year I’ll remember mostly for so many shows that surprised me in many ways, that I never thought I’d enjoyed them that much. My personal the best of surprising anime (and pretty much a list of quite underrated shows):
    Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, Yuru Camp, Megalo Box, Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai, Golden Kamuy, Hataraku Saibou, Zombieland Saga.

    And one last thing: your synopsis for Golden Kamuy might be the best I’ve read so far. Glad this show gets the love it deserves.

    • January 4, 2019 at 12:18 pmZephyr

      Grand Blue was tough genre-wise because it was a mixture of slice of life, comedy, and sports (and even then there would be some who would have qualms with considering diving a sport).

      As such, I worried about was that if I put it as a comedy, it would give the expectation that you’re watching it purely for laughs, which I didn’t think was completely accurate given how much of the series revolved around the daily day-to-day. So while it shortchanges the series a bit in terms of how funny it actually was (it was pretty darn funny), I figured it would’ve been better for people to come in with the view that it was a slice of life and have a pleasant surprise of some additional laughter instead. I definitely see where you’re coming from though.

      As for Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, like the above comment, that was unfortunately one of the shows I just didn’t finish watching in time for the post so I couldn’t put it up for consideration on my end. I’ll definitely add it in as needed if I can catch up in the next week or two before things get really busy for me IRL again. Work’s been unfortunately very hectic.

      • January 4, 2019 at 12:53 pmPyon

        Fair point with Grand Blue. I kind of considered it in opposite ratio, as mainly comedy with some amazingly great slice of life moments, but I clearly get your reasoning here, so fair enough.

        As for Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, definitely recommend for lighthearted comedy that can really surprise at times. It’s obviously not possible for one person to watch everything, so I expected it was the reason for not mentioning it. Still as for someone who had busy year, you managed to get to know lots of shows and the ‘best of’ post really turned out top notch.

  • January 4, 2019 at 12:49 pmtalal

    devilman crybaby nowhere to be found or even mentioned in many categories both official and fanpoll? not to mention the fanpoll being dominated by series in the last cour, what load of BS is this

    • January 4, 2019 at 12:52 pmtalal

      also goblin slayer winning over DVMN crybaby in horror? seriously what in the actual hell was going through OP’s mind when they picked these awards?

      • January 4, 2019 at 12:56 pmtalal

        not even a honorable mention in AOTY18 when it was the only show from this whole page and certainly more than AOTY winner which struck beyond just the anime community and brought in a wider audience and mainstream and actually prompted mass discussion and conversation, I expected better from this site

      • January 4, 2019 at 1:35 pmSherris

        I agree. Goblin Slayer is more disgusting than scary.

    • January 4, 2019 at 2:28 pmZephyr

      I think it’s interesting that you mention how the fan poll is dominated by series of the last cour when only 3 of the top 10 in the fan poll (Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai, Goblin Slayer, Zombieland Saga) aired in the Fall.

      Nonetheless, it’s perfectly fine to disagree with picks, but let’s not post three separate replies to say effectively the same thing. Tastes are going to differ depending on the person, the shows watched, and the site/forum you visit to discuss specific shows. I respect that you clearly liked Devilman Crybaby more than many viewers here, but to just go “that’s BS or oh what the hell were you even thinking,” really isn’t productive from a discussion standpoint, especially when you’re not even going to start things off by asking more about the thought process behind it.

      Aside from that, it looks like we’re also going to have to agree to disagree on the rest of your assertions either way, as there were plenty of other shows that also struck beyond just the anime community and it’s really an open argument as to who exactly did the most of that, as Sora yori mo Tooi Basho even made it into a New York Times article (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/03/arts/television/the-best-tv-shows.html?fbclid=IwAR3b3rwVYu47XLh1mcdT_H6yZ2USlGDHPmlnxB7DujeH6u1QEKS9voGgnbA) for instance.

      As for total discussions on each individual show, it really depends on where exactly you were looking. Even then, one has to note down why the discussions were happening and what was actually discussed, as you could find tons of anime that sparked heated discussions that weren’t necessarily a reflection of a show’s quality, but rather just something very controversial about it. Last I checked, at least part of the discussion regarding Devilman Crybaby was of that variety, so just having more discussion (if this was even the case overall) doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

      As for bringing in a wider audience? I’m not quite sure how you can make that conclusion based on very limited data on anime audiences in general. You can try and aim for popularity as a measurement, but that really doesn’t give you any real sense of the overall picture.

      tl-dr:agree to disagree, but mass discussion =/= popularity =/= quality =/= inclusion on people’s AOTY lists.

  • January 4, 2019 at 2:05 pmPanino Manino

    If Random Curiosity Awards will ever have it’s “Jumping the Shark” moment, giving Steins 0 the Story award must be it.

    • January 4, 2019 at 2:57 pmZephyr

      Ehhh as controversial of a pick it seems to be for some, I think not having Hyouka mentioned at all few years ago would probably still be the biggest shark jumping moment if we ever did a “in hindsight” mea culpa thing.

      (Shh, don’t tell anyone I said this tho, haha).

      • January 5, 2019 at 9:02 amPanino Manino

        Omission is not “good”, but at least isn’t the same as doing something “bad”, like in this case.

      • January 5, 2019 at 8:13 pmZephyr

        Yeah, you know what, on second thought I’m probably going to change it to one of the other candidates at some point. The category in general this year has bothered me the most out of any this year, and it’s really damn tough to settle on one particular one.

  • January 4, 2019 at 2:27 pmsamui

    S;G Zero is a big nope for me in the story department. That was a bloated series. I’d put Goblin Slayer under Dark Fantasy instead of horror and Sora Yori for Drama since the waterworks towards the end are aplenty.

    Thanks for your hardwork though.

    • January 4, 2019 at 3:08 pmZephyr

      Yeah I mean, S;G 0 seems to have hit for some and really missed for others so I can see where you’re coming from. I suppose for me at least part of it inevitably came down to a bit of a Sci-Fi bias.

      Goblin Slayer was something I did consider for Fantasy, but it was tough given how prevalent the whole nasty/scary Goblin part was in terms of getting people to talk about the series in the first place.

      Sora Yori for Drama was definitely considered as well, but I wanted to diversify the genre by giving a spot or two for shows that otherwise wouldn’t have been mentioned, so I left it out of there. I figured also that since I was pondering having it as AOTY, I could talk about its emotional drama there anywho.

  • January 4, 2019 at 4:45 pmZyeghart

    Wow I just didn’t know that Sora Yori was so good. I even received a promotional folder in Comiket 93 when I traveled to Japan the past year. I really love this “best of…” because usually we don’t give a chance to some (very) good animes. This happened with Clannad after story, when Omni was the main writer, I believe.
    Thank you for your work and have a good new year Zephyr-san!

    • January 4, 2019 at 11:24 pmZephyr

      Thanks! Best wishes for the New Year for you as well!

  • January 4, 2019 at 7:51 pmCarmaicol

    I like to add Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! 2 as the best comedy of the year. And also Crybaby as AOTY.

  • January 4, 2019 at 8:45 pmHenrietta Brix

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 7, 2019 at 8:48 pmZephyr

      I got you. Added.

  • January 4, 2019 at 10:13 pmAtalla

    Did you watch Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san, Zephyr? It was another solid show from last winter, and while I felt it was a romance, it definitely was very funny too. I recommend it, the teasing comes off much better animated than in paper. I’m surprised it placed so low, it’s really my hidden gem of the year that I should promote more. Like, stick some political-esque yard signs around town recommending it.

    Also, I dropped Tada-kun at episode 8, guess I should go back and finish it.

    As always, thanks for doing this.

    (PS. Can we get the sports section back next year?)

    • January 4, 2019 at 11:23 pmZephyr

      Getting ready to start it tomorrow if I find some time. With some luck and if it’s as good as it seems to be I should have just enough time to catch up and maybe add it in as an HM before the post gets unstuck next week.

      Sports wise, can’t promise anything unfortunately. I used to have enough time to really watch everything, but with so many sports shows having multiple cours or being extensions of old ones I have yet to watch, it may come down to a choice between watching a few extra sports shows or watching as much as twice that amount in other one-cour series, and I may not be able to choose the former if it ends up lowering my overall watched list under what I’d prefer to have for the post to be viable.

  • January 5, 2019 at 4:45 amYoukai

    A little question: Have you ever thought to add other RC’s writers choices other than the one writing the article (Zephyr in this case) in each category? Even without a paragraph to explain it. It would be interesting to see how much your opinions vary. Just a little thought, it’s still fine this way.

    Really nice write up, I can accept most of your votes, but there are a few things I really can’t let you get over with :P (it’s just my opinion obv)

    - No mention of Rei/Hina (3-gatsu) in best character is just too sad.
    - I find all your honourable mentions in Horror/Thriller to be better than Goblin Slayer, they all surpass it on every field: entertainment value, characters, worldbuilding, story…

    • January 5, 2019 at 10:43 amZephyr

      It was considered for just the best anime category a few years back, but we were worried about logistics and pick diversity because many writers didn’t get to watch that many shows, so it would’ve ended up mostly a list of the most popular shows.

      I thought about Rei/Hina, but it was tough because I already had Rei as a mention last year.

      • January 7, 2019 at 2:44 pmYoukai

        Makes sense, keep it this way then!

    • January 6, 2019 at 12:16 amStilts

      We did multi-people Best of posts before, and the logistics were obnoxious. And that was with 2-3 people. Doing it with more would be horrifying—and that’s before the watch list issue Zephy mentioned.

      • January 6, 2019 at 3:30 pmZephyr

        I still remember the time it took us what, 18 hours just to settle on the preliminary picks for each category by vote?

  • January 5, 2019 at 6:04 amYoxhu

    While I agree completely in every field that Sora Yori won I must say that is becoming a current trend that you guys don’t do these lists in a very objective way. Like I know these are probably the staff’s picks for best on each category but at times it feels like everyone just saw one or two shows and called it a day for each category and throwing some popular names here and there.

    That’s specially true for best thriller (which should’ve devilman like no contenders there
    ), best story (steins gate 0 had a pretty weak story even in his VN form which was absolutely superior from the anime adaptation), and best ova/movie not being Liz and the blue bird (like it was mentioned as an honor but it clearly reads as you guys didn’t even watch it).

    I personally like you guys, but next time try to broad your opinions for each category beforehand. As this feels more like a personal list from a person who – clearly and understandably – didn’t watch every show this year than a true best of 2018 list.

    • January 5, 2019 at 6:12 amYoxhu

      I’m sorry I probably didn’t express myself that well. I know these are Zephyr’s picks, but what I’m suggesting is for next year try to add other staff’s opinions for each category, that way it will really feel like a complete list of the best of the best.

    • January 5, 2019 at 10:24 amZephyr

      It’s been pondered sure, but the reasoning behind keeping a small amount of writers historically is actually to help alleviate the exact things that you mentioned. Aside from logistical issues in terms of coordinating posts and what not being a problem, there’s the issue that many writers didn’t have time to watch more than 10-15 shows per season. When you have less time to watch series and watch less series overall, it means you have to be careful in choosing what you watch or you can only watch a handful of shows in general. Historically, this leads to the watching of shows that turn out to be the most common or popular, which means you’d actually have less diversity in terms of picks, and you’d likely end up with a quarter or more of the shows on this post not even being mentioned.

      I think the important thing to know is that all things considered, I don’t spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to balance my IRL job and watching 80-100 shows a year just to sit there and go, oh hey, let’s throw one or two shows in a category and call it a day. After all, I effectively retired from blogging weekly series just to make sure I could watch enough shows to make a decent end of year post that’d cover most of the shows worth watching from the year, as otherwise we wouldn’t even have anyone to do a post, which really would’ve sucked.

      Aside from that, dozens of hours are spent across the year compiling lists and making the post, and while it may not seem particularly objective, it has to be noted that the “best anime” is always going to have some kind of subjectivity. I don’t aim for or expect that it’ll please everyone, but I do try to make picks that represent good recommendations for people while taking into account popularity, things I’ve seen from discussions in various sites, my own impressions, and some of the things the staff have said when doing their new staff picks column, whether it seems like I do or not.

      Trust me, if I didn’t take into account those things, there would be a lot of picks that would’ve been quite different. That and you wouldn’t have even seen Devilman Crybaby on the list in general because I didn’t get a chance to watch it in its entirety. Yet I chose to add it anyway because from my research and impressions, it seemed to have at least a portion of viewers that really, really liked it, even if there were some that felt otherwise.

      Ultimately, I think the important part is to not look at the post as “win all/end all” in the sense that if something’s mentioned (especially if it’s a winner), it had to be better objectively or anything like that. It’s not. The post is a recommendation and nothing more despite the post being labeled “best of,” and the overall hope of the post is that somewhere in the post people will find out what’s popular and hopefully find few shows they love that they wouldn’t have watched otherwise.

      EDIT: Forgot to add, I did watch Liz to Aoi Tori and liked it enough. I just didn’t feel as strongly about it as I did for Maquia.

  • January 5, 2019 at 6:05 amNyast

    Is it me or honourable mentions don’t really make much sense this year ?

    This is the first year where I’m absolutely baffled by some of the choices.


    Priestess from Goblin Slayer in Character ? She has almost no character development !?

    Shokugeki No Souma in Drama ? Just huh ? If you’re nominating SNS in Drama, I think pretty much any anime is a contender..

    Megalox Box in Horror/Thriller ? There’s no horror in this anime, and even in thriller there were so many better choices. It would have won the “styling” category though.

    No mention of Darling in the Franxx in Biggest Disapointment ? How can you have expectations on Tokyo Ghoul at all after the abysmal second season ? In contrast, Darling was one of the most anticipated shows of its season, and turned out to be pretty bad, especially towards the rushed ending. Yeah, I’m baffled.

    • January 5, 2019 at 10:40 amZephyr

      Priestess was added as a nod to her popularity as a character and some of the previous staff discussions from prior weeks noting her as someone who did quite a bit in the show in general. I took those into account, along with what she did both in the beginning and end of the Goblin Slayer story. Admittedly, this was a pick where I’m not quite sure if I’ll keep past next week, but we’ll see.

      Shokugeki No Souma is a tough to associate specific genres per se, but for the most part, it did rely on drama for its competitions and the whole take over aspect regarding the school. It’s not quite as dramatic as a typical show we’d consider for the genre, but it’s drama nonetheless, just of a different type/tone.

      Horror/Thriller doesn’t necessarily need to have horror, just a darker tone or something that relies on thrills to get things across.

      As for Darling in the Franxx, I wasn’t that hyped on the series to begin with, so it didn’t really have that huge of a difference between my initial expectation and the final expectation. Also, it has to be noted that the series was still liked by a decent amount of people, so it doesn’t fit in as a universal disappointment candidate even though you, I, and others disliked some of the show’s developments.

      Tokyo Ghoul :re on the other hand was universally hated, especially the second season. In terms of expectations, I suppose part of it was because I felt as meh as the first season was, it was better than Root A, and they did more or less follow the manga’s developments. As such, there was the expectation (or at least hope) that if they faithfully adapted the rest of the series while emphasizing a certain fight between mentor/student, there could’ve been a decent second or third season to follow. I did mention in the excerpt that in hindsight it was silly as hell for me to have hoped for this though.

      • January 5, 2019 at 11:11 amNyast

        Thanks for detailing your reasonning.

        I’ll agree to disagree with many of those, though. I can see your point about Darling or Tokyo Ghoul, but I can’t follow you on Shokugeki no Souma. It’s just not that kind of show and I don’t even agree that the dramatic part was particularly well done or rememberable – at least not at the level of earning an honourable mention as a top-of-the-year show.

        Is there some kind of hidden rule that you can only nominate one show per category ? The problem is that I fail to see see how Shokugeki is doing so much better in drama than, say, Mahoutsukai no Yome.. or even other much more average shows like Harukana Receive or Irozuku Sekai..

      • January 5, 2019 at 12:05 pmZephyr

        We don’t have a one show per category, but we do have a limit of Honorable Mention picks, and I also put in an effort to make less repeat mentions of shows in the post overall in an attempt to get more shows mentioned this time around.

        Part of the genre distribution of series is also a bit of a balancing act in terms also comes down to where they were mentioned before, how many times they were mentioned, and the total spots available in a particular genre.

        As such, Mahoutsukai for instance, having been mentioned in multiple other categories and having won Fantasy was omitted from Drama. Banana Fish didn’t get a win in multiple genre categories that it was a candidate for, so it received a few more HM mentions in multiple genres as a result.

      • January 5, 2019 at 1:27 pmNyast

        Allright, thanks for clearing that up :)

  • January 5, 2019 at 6:09 amGoblin

    what about Hakumei to Mikochi?

  • January 5, 2019 at 9:29 pmDude

    I really like the list. I have but one qualm. Devilman Crybaby was a real gem with feeling, themes, style, memorable moments, and originality. It was mildly hurtful to see it trumped by Goblin Slayer, haha. Well, we all have our opinions, and different messages strike folks differently. :)

  • January 6, 2019 at 3:34 amJayDrink

    Golden Kamuy won at least one category and got an honorable mention for best anime, I’m happy!

    Guess I have to watch Sora yori mo Tooi Basho~

    • January 6, 2019 at 6:33 amJeffers

      go watch it… you will be surprised how yorimoi is well done that it can send you to antartica without leaving your house.

  • January 6, 2019 at 6:32 amJeffers

    i was actually surprised that zombieland saga didnt make it to any categories let alone even an honorable mention. that anime is a hidden gem, a sleeper. heck even the BD sales shows how it was a hit. so i wonder why it didnt get any award or even a mention here in RC. i dont believe RC missed a great show like zombieland saga

    • January 6, 2019 at 3:32 pmZephyr

      Unfortunately Zombieland was one of the dozen shows I had on my list to watch but just ran out of time to before the post had to go out. I finally got some time to catch up to Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san and getting to put that into the post now, so I’m getting on Zombieland soon. With some luck it’ll be by the end of the week.

  • January 6, 2019 at 1:14 pmShirocat

    I’m quite surprised that Banana Fish got into the best story category, while having so many plot holes, bullshits and repetitive plot line (author has weakness for kidnapping or something?). What was so amazing about story? I get that we dont usually get mafia story, with traumatic experiences of main cast, but it wasn’t really good. Started really promising, but then it became one of my biggest disappointments of this year.
    And where is Grand Blue in comedy category? :(

    • January 6, 2019 at 3:29 pmZephyr

      Banana Fish was still well liked by a fair amount of people for its non-traditional backdrop and the topics it chose to touch upon were remarked by many as refreshing, albeit controversial. It wasn’t perfect in its storytelling, but I felt there were parts to it that made it worth the mention, even if it may boil down it just being memorable for being different for some viewers. That and noitaminA shows tend to polarize viewers quite a bit anyway, so there’s definitely people out there that loved the show quite a bit or would like it if they knew about it, warranting its inclusion as a recommendation I feel like at least some people would like. As I post in the yearly disclaimer, the list in the end isn’t so much a “best of” post as it is meant to recommend shows that I felt at least some would appreciate watching or had a decent following that did like it.

      As for Grand Blue, you’ll find a brief discussion about my thought process regarding that and its genre selection with Pyon here: https://randomc.net/2019/01/03/best-of-anime-2018/comment-page-1/#comment-2422251

      • January 6, 2019 at 9:41 pmE

        I think that while there’s things to harp on in regards to Banana Fish’s imperfect storytelling, there’s also a lot to look into its literary references/parallels and thematic richness. I don’t know where you guys would categorize those things, but I feel they would normally be considered to be part of the story. So while I agree that Banana Fish is memorable for being different and tackling subjects barely brought to light by anime, I also think that there’s more to just its uniqueness when it comes to the value of its story. From its themes about adults and society failing children, to concepts concerning vulnerability, abuse, love, and so much more, it has a whole lot to take in.

        I think what I’m saying can be summed up by comparing Banana Fish to 91 Days, two revenge stories that are very similar at first glance but also very different underneath. While 91 Days’ story is more tightly written and executed, it lacks the thematic depth found in Banana Fish. Just taking Banana Fish’s ideas concerning vulnerability: Eiji is a source of vulnerability for Ash. Without Eiji around, Ash will have an easier time surviving, but would Ash be happy or even sane by the end? Eiji is as much of a weakness as a strength and despite inhibiting survival, he provides meaning to Ash’s life. It’s overall a philosophy that’s relevant to all of us: we can survive if we have no attachments, but are we really living at that point? There’s no easy answer and our response will probably differ depending on how pragmatic or idealistic we are as individuals. Meanwhile, 91 Days’ few themes are straight forward: the ugly cycle of violence, the hollowness of taking revenge, and human hypocrisy. They’re simple themes with simple answers. There’s nothing wrong with 91 Days’ approach, but for myself, I find its story lacking in comparison to Banana Fish’s despite its less flawed storytelling.

  • January 6, 2019 at 4:50 pmlucas da cruz rocha

    I will like to see best sport genre anime in the top.

  • January 7, 2019 at 4:47 amReikakou

    A Place Further Than The Universe being chosen as the Best Anime.

    All is well in the world.

    It completed me this 2018 and inspired me to move forward.

  • January 11, 2019 at 9:22 pmRyuuGP

    I think Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight should at least got honorable mention in song category. There are so many good insert songs in this anime, my favorite is Hogori to ogori (Pride and Arrogance).

  • January 12, 2019 at 6:02 amwalaoa

    I’m surprise that Koi wa Ameagari no You ni ED dint win the best ED. It was the only ED in 2018 that give me goosebump when I listen to it even before watching the anime.