By MeesterO 2 Comments
Alright we are back for Round 2
So with the conclusion of Goblin Slayer (since it was a week delayed from everything else), I hearby dub this season of Anime over, the Fall Lineup is "over" (excluding ongoing series), and we're full on our way to Winter 2019. This is the period where we are no longer allowed to talk about what happened in Fall because soon we will be bombarded by atleast 249 new shows debuting at the same time and nobody has time for any of that shit. Except for now, where I'm going to take the time to go back over the recent year of really good shows to share what I thought was great, sucked, and was FranXX'd (Seriously, this blog is going to get very messy when we reach that point). THERE WILL BE SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU ARE INSANE ENOUGH TO GO BACK INTO THE ENDLESS BACKLOG OF SEASONAL ANIME, YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
SO Without further adeu, we start off with:
BEST EPISODE OF THE YEAR: LAST PERIOD EPISODE 7 - ANIMAL FRIENDS
Alright so Last Period (Which was actually mentioned in my Game of the Year Blog... for some reason) is a relatively... "unknown" gacha game that I only found out about through the anime. The Anime naturally should be about the epic story of the characters you see in the game on the quest to do what you do in the game. Alright so Last Period's anime does none of that. Last Period, instead of wasting its time trying to sell you on the game most of the time (Like Granblue's bullshit) through a serious trek through the actual game story, it decides to... literally take the piss out of gacha games, cultural phenomena within japan, and also for some reason... CERTAIN SHOUTOUTS TO RIDICULOUS ANIME INDUSTRY CONTROVERSY.
Episode 7 is literally a gigantic retelling of the Kemono Friends scandal that Kadokawa managed to orchestrate. Using the Last Period characters, and them dramatizing the actual real life events (albeit a bit exaggerated). The main characters visit one of the party's hometown and take a tour via an extremely popular tour guide that everyone absolutely loves and adores. Shortly after said tour guide has been fired from his position after all the love and dedication given to him by... everyone, for absolutely no reason (on the surface). Chaos spreads as everyone goes on about their own way to try and convince the Mayor to let the damn tour guide keep his job, even going so far as multiple parties starting petitions, and summoning 5* characters from the actual game to sign said petitions. Its later revealed by the mayor (due to one of the summoned characters talking sense into him) to reveal the reason why he fired the tour guide in the first place and then decides not to fire him (He fires him because he doesn't understand what taking a vacation means). Everyone keeps their jobs, and everything ends happily... The actual series of events that this show jabs at does not end the same way, and even calls them out on it.
This episode is weird, this show is bonkers, and there are plenty of dumb enjoyable episodes just like this one. Yet this one just sticks out as the showcase episode for me in this oddball show because of how deep it was willing to go with its cuts. Relentless. I couldn't stop laughing the entire time. If this caught your interest at all, then I'm glad to say that there's plenty more like this within the show, it was definitely a dark horse during its spring run.
RUNNER UP: ZOMBIE LAND SAGA Episode 8 – Go Go Neverland SAGA
Essentially this episode is the point where Lily is revealed to be a trans girl, and it goes into depth how she died and her life before becoming one of the Zombie Idols of this weird collection of girls. It's pretty emotional and I didn't expect it to hit me in the ways it did because I myself do not relate to the situation, nor can I ever, but it was a really good episode. I cannot do it justice within a small mention.
WORST ADAPTATION: GOLDEN KAMUY
The caption honestly sums this one up... Man. It wasn't even impossible to adapt this show, it would have been kind of limited in scope (maybe less limited than what we got but still). I easily dropped this in favor of the manga after the anime atleast sold me on the concept of the property, which is overall still the way to go about experiencing this fantastic IP. As I started reading ahead and watching too (I dunno if they decided to catch back up with some concepts) but early on you would have never gotten the impression that Sugimoto was dealing with a lot of pre-war PTSD moments that were shown in multiple flashbacks while in the anime those scenes played out without even a mention of these flashbacks.
Friends have also told me that the adaptation has just straight up cut out entire story arcs, and a lot of the silly little attentions to detail are just gone like facial expressions and the cooking. I don't think I will ever go back to the anime personally, as this show along with Made in Abyss (mostly due to there just not being enough Made in Abyss to consume at any given time) has reignited my love for reading manga... Also what the fuck man, why did this show have to get mauled by a bad CGI bear.
RUNNER UP: PERSONA 5 THE ANIMATION:
Seriously, this one is a waste of time, and it doesn't take home the prize mostly... because it never had a shot in the first place. Deserves a mention though, that first fight with the Personas was crap, and what seemed to be the actual soul of the game was gone. It had no Style man, and without style, P5 is an even bigger mess.
That ending track though was hot, for real.
WORST SHOW TO TRY AND GET THROUGH WHILE PLAYING GRANBLUE FANTASY: YU-GI-OH VRAINS
Guys, I love Yu-Gi-Oh, and I probably will never stop loving Yu-Gi-Oh. I will never play the card game again but I love watching youtube videos about what people think about it. I also love to rewatch old episodes of literally every arc up until I think the arc before VRAINS... I don't really know what happens post 5Ds... or most of what happens in 5Ds. All I know is that throughout the entire year I have tried to sit down and watch this show, and... I keep playing Granblue instead.
This show is not bad guys, honest its just I just can't keep up with it while I multitask because holy shit theres alot going on per duel... I will get through VRAINS one day, but for now its just going to be picked apart episode by episode until I eventually watch it fully to completion. Maybe I'll finish by the time the arc after VRAINS is done so I don't have to watch that one. Also like... the main characters name is fucking Playmaker. PLAYMAKER. If that doesn't say you're losing this fucking duel then I don't know what it takes anymore.
RUNNER UP: CARDCAPTOR SAKURA: CLEAR CARD
Pretty much everything I said about VRAINS in the first paragraph... Even the Granblue part... mostly fell off because this came out around the same time as the actual collab? And I got distracted and also had other shows to watch. I'll get back to you Sakura... maybe if Winter 2019 has nothing.
BEST SHOW I WILL NEVER WATCH BUT IS STILL AWESOME: THUNDERBOLT FANTASY
Okay so Thunderbolt Fantasy suffers from the same problems that I have with VRAINS but instead of watching through it like an episode every three months I never actually start episode 1. Everything I've seen about this show is sick, hilarious, awesome. I fucking love puppets. I will eventually watch this one day maybe. For now though it just sits in my Queue... as more seasons get Greenlit and it gets much bigger...
I mean not all is lost, I didnt get obsessed with Jojo until like midway into part 3 being aired and i marathon'd the entire series after seeing Zappelli punch a frog so softly that he made the rock underneath it crack. All it takes is that one moment when I actually see the episode, and then I'm lost.
BEST SHOW I DIDN'T EXPECT TO LIKE AT ALL BECAUSE IT WAS AN SAO PROPERTY: SAO ALTERNATIVE: GUN GALE ONLINE
I don't like Sword Art Online. I shouldn't like Gun Gale Online. I came out of Gun Gale Online now completely hating Sword Art Online. Mostly hopped up on memories of MMO Junkie (YES ITS NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL, YES I KNOW ABOUT THE GUY WHO MADE IT), I was softened... up to this idea a bit I guess. I don't normally like Isekai at all, but I make my exceptions, I'm a man of simple tastes. I like Overlord, I like Konosuba, I like this show. All oddly share kind of the same reasons why I like the show. Yes I'm human garbage I won't deny that.
All due seriousness though, yes this show is not without its flaws or its bad CGI near the end, but man there were a lot of good shootouts, the show came out around the height of the PUBG balloon so I was super sold on the this pink soldier loli going around kicking literal elementary school kid ass in a videogame. The later story bits are kind of insane and mostly driven by the antics of an insane person who just so happens to be the one person that the main character LLENN adores in real life... then more weird shit happens, there's a laser sword, I'm told the laser sword is from SAO... I dunno, I had fun. Honestly, isn't that what... anime... is SUPPOSED to be about?
BIGGEST SURPRISE: ZOMBIE LAND SAGA
Okay so most of Cygames outings this year seemed to come out of a random draw (AAAAAAAYYYYYY) from a hat and whatever two concepts they pulled out... that's what they make a show about... except the second concept was always "Idols" apparently. Case in point, their first outing with this idea being... the girls are Race Horses. Yet while Umamusume proceeded to dominate BD sales over the actual "Popular" shows like Violet Evergarden and... the OTHER show, by being an outlet to buy really cheap Granblue items normally valued at hundreds of dollars for the LOW LOW PRICE OF 120 USD. Zombie Land Saga just decided to exist as a show about Zombies... and the zombie girls are also idols.
Nothing about this show should work, but somehow Cygames, the thing they just threw together without developing a game for in the process *coughcoughthehorsegamewasdelayedintonextyearcoughcough*, turned out to be their surprise hit. A show with a ludicrous plot, carried by its superb comedy writing, and vocal talent (honestly that reminds me of another show near and dear to my heart), it also boasted one of the best episodes of the year revolving around the littlest member of the idol group... I cried. I don't know if they had more planned, or had a gacha game now in the works for this... all I know is that I will eventually want more Zombie Land SAGA. I fell in love with this cast of characters. I love Saki being this 90's ass punk kid with a fixation on Tamogachi, I love Lily because its a character you normally don't see that often being treated like a serious manner, I love Tae because... well... yeah. Also you really can't go without acknowledging the mad performance that Mamoru Miyano gives as his character Kotaro, the fucking insane producer of this zombie idol group, who just... literally is having the time of his life.
Theres laughter, tears, and overall enjoyment throughout this show. It arguably is way better than it had any right to be. It also has a sick ass opening that in all honesty is about as zany as the show itself. Give this one a watch, I can't recommend it enough.
RUNNER UP: LAST PERIOD
Last Period doesn't win this mostly because I gave it Best Episode over Zombie Land, and all honesty I enjoyed Zombie Land more as it came from nothing, where as Last Period came from I could believe this property was from a fake game... but its real. STILL check both of them out if you get the chance.
BEST OPENING: GOBLIN SLAYER
... JUST KIDDING GUYS IT'S YU-GI-OH VRAINS, ITS ALWAYS YU-GI-OH
...*coughcough* Okay with all seriousness this was a super hard year for Openings... fuck even the worst show of the entire year has one of the best openings of the bunch... Yet there's just something about Goblin Slayer's opening that just speaks to me. It says... alot of broken english and nonsense, but it's the WAY its said that makes me go like "YEAH LETS KILL SOME GOBLINS AND NOT HORRIBLY DIE MAYBE"
Also like I can't really fit Goblin Slayer any other way into these awards mostly because I wouldn't call it the "best" adaptation or anything, but man this fucking show got me to read the manga and maybe even the LN in the future, I can't stop thinking about it... and there's atleast one show that is better than it that came out this year. So I give it best opening, I can't stop listening to it, much like the other ones that were so good, but it fits the tone of the show so well and its just, good.
RUNNERS UP... THERES A COUPLE OF THEM (links because im not embedding a thousand youtube videos)
ZOMBIE LAND SAGA (GO BACK ABOVE TO WATCH IT)
... DARLING IN THE FRANXX - (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzJqxT1UGho) (Franxx... we're not going into it now but yes, if I was giving an award out for an entire OST, it would go to... this fucking show, its only strong point)
SAO: GGO - (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1RMnM782u8) It rips... atleast for me it did
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: SSSS.GRIDMAN - (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd-1FWppNTA) This shit is more hype than You Say Run... atleast for me. GRIDMAN does not win this category because...
BEST ENDING: SSSS.GRIDMAN
Youthful Beautiful... is the best ending out of the entire year... AGAIN, at least for me. This is the only other anime song I've listened to nonstop as soon as I heard it play after the first episode... and it just hooks me. It's a great song to cap off of watching just about any of the episodes, it always got me pumped to wait for the next episode week after week.
BEST CHARACTER: Kotaro Tatsumi - Zombie Land SAGA
It's really hard to pick one character from the entire cast of this show, but in terms of raw energy and performance none of them quite hit the same level as the eccentric producer that runs the idol zombie group Franchouchou. Right from the get go his bombastic personality is what drives the group into doing early shows that devolve into headbanging death metal concerts, a pretty sick rap battle, and really really misguided PR stunts that include doing a commercial for a local fried chicken restaurant. Almost none of his plans work out in the logical sense, but still manage to accomplish a sense of progression for the group. Whenever something questions his intent, he always reaffirms his dominance over the situation by going on incredibly hilarious and insane tangents, and he's really REALLY good at saying the word "Go".
If you removed Kotaro from the show, quite honestly we probably wouldn't even be talking about it right now.
Anti - SSSS.GRIDMAN
I thought Anti's character arc throughout the entire 12 episode run was one of the best of the year. His transformation from run of the mill kaiju villain to cool guy kaiju with the heart of a human was paced reasonably well. His desire to kill Gridman because that's what he was born to do to becoming an actual Gridman, still fostering the rivalry with the character himself but gaining the want to help people. He was given a whole lot more depth than he ever really needed, and it's not wasted.
HONDA-SAN - SKULLFACE BOOKSELLER HONDA-SAN
Honda-san is merely a relatable retail worker, to me at least. He tends to get a lot of people who come in expecting him to know exactly what they want because he simply works there. He has is specialties but doesn't know everything, and then fights social anxiety trying to give them the best experience possible. I've probably have found more depth in him than I was supposed to given this is a 10 minute runtime show, but it's an endearing show to me, and also hilarious where others find it hard to watch because of the "cringe" factor.
BEST MOMENT OR SEQUENCE: THE HELLSHAKE YANO SKIT FROM POP TEAM EPIC
AND I STILL CAN'T FIND THE ENGLISH CLIP GODDAMN IT
RUNNER UP: SPECIAL YAOI BOOK - SKULLFACE BOOKSELLER HONDA-SAN
If you liked that clip... thats the entire show. So you either get to enjoy MORE of it, or, you've seen everything that you have needed to and don't need anymore of it! It truly is Anime of the Year 2018.
The "Hey, don't fucking watch this"
(I have rewritten this part of the blog almost 4 times now, I have too much negativity to say about this show that it turns into one long tangent that still manages to not fully say what I want it to say)
Darling in the FranXX is very much a show that should have had it all. Within the first two episodes you had a mysterious world filled with intrigue, a cast of colorful characters with many varied personalities. The lines were never set in stone with who you thought were against the main characters, the show honestly kept you guessing who you were supposed to root against. The totalitarian government that the kid pilots were born to serve or the giant kaiju robots that were actually destroying everything the government was trying to hold together. Not only that, Zero Two honestly had the best character design out of the entire year of there being characters created or adapted for their shows.
This show stops being enjoyable around episode 4 when it throws off the facade of it being about giant robots fighting other robots, and it heavily leans on manufactured character dramas and love quadrangles. The second half introduces so many goddamn subplots with absolutely no time to develop any of them. It tries to say important things about human life, transhumanism, the importance of individuality, and of course the continuation of breeding as a species. All the while bringing up these topics and having nothing of substance to actually say about them, aside from the breeding as a species because the ENTIRE second half is devoted to two of the teens getting it on and getting married... and they weren't even the main couple.
In the end Darling in the FranXX is a worthless show not worth yours, mine, or anyones time. It squanders the raw potential it had with really poor writing, a terrible attention to its own worlds detail in both the first and second half. It had THE one moment of the year where it spiraled the fanbase to write death threats to everyone that WASN'T involved with how one single episode was written. I never want to think about this show again, I wasted 12 hours of my life that I will never get back because I was so curious and dumbfounded about this show that I believed TRIGGER could pull it out in the end with some sort of miraculous ridiculous stunt. They couldn't, and I was left wondering if I could give TRIGGER the benefit of the doubt ever again. This collaboration of A1 and TRIGGER, for me, will go down as one of the worst anime shows to be made in the last decade... Don't fucking watch this.
Which is why it surprised me that The Best Show of the Year was...
TRIGGER HAD FINALLY DONE IT, THEY HAD SAVED ANIME. From what? THEMSELVES. (Ha ha, I didn't come up with that joke). Yes, SSSS.Gridman is the collaboration product by the People who make Ultraman, and the people who brought you classics such as Inferno Cop and Ninja Slayer (specifically the director attached to this project). These people came together to not only put out a show I shouldn't nearly have such an affinity for, but all the while doing everything right that... the OTHER show tried to do, but succeeds in full force. Even weirder that Gridman manages to accomplish so much more than FranXX could with having only half of the episode count.
Every week during the Fall Season I made it a habit to always watch Gridman before my Jojo, my Goblin Slayer, my Zombie Idols (since it aired on a different day and only binged everything on Saturday), I was so entrapped with how the story was slowly being rolled out, the sense of mystery and intrigue always permeated the entire series. You found out important story bits piece by piece in a logical manner rather than a massive info dump that nearly destroys the entire world you have built up. Once again you have TRIGGER nailing character design as they have been known to do for almost all of their shows. MOST IMPORTANTLY, MOST IF NOT ALL CONFLICTS WITHIN THE SHOW ALWAYS GET SOLVED BY USING GRIDMAN. It does not lose itself trying to build characters, it uses Gridman to drive the plot, as he should HIS FUCKING NAME IS ON THE TITLE CARD. All other conflicts that do not require the use of Gridman, get solved in a timely manner and do not overshadow what the show is supposed to be about.
The most magical thing about Gridman is, most of TRIGGER's failings in all of their shows, are not at all apparent in Gridman. The story is for better or worse (the last two episodes are up for debate) are properly paced, there is proper character development, there are actually no hidden behind the back twists to be found in the show, almost everything is alluded to at some point, hell they even get around the "Aliens show up lmao" by just... having the acknowledgement of aliens in the show at the start. Not only did they receive the tools to succeed in the writers aspect (by having someone who knows how to write these kinds of stories), they also do the impossible by using clunky looking CGI... and making it the standout quality of the show. CGI use in the industry is normally met with negative backlash, but where most shows use it as a detriment, Gridman uses it as it's greatest strength. Because it is an Ultraman property, because those shows had wacky people in suits punching eachother in minature cities, the CGI use in Gridman almost perfectly emulates that feeling of watching one of those shows in a 2D format. As the show goes on too, the people doing the CGI work, get really fucking good at it too. Honestly later CGI fights no longer feel clunky at all, they feel natural and surreal to the extent that it felt like I watch human beings grow as actual talent.
The only thing I can criticize Gridman for is I don't think it quite sticks the landing, but the final showdown between Gridman (Which actually BUSTS OUT his original design and the original intro to the show they were retelling) and Alexis Kerib was so great and ends in such a feelgood cheeseball way that I can totally let that slide. I had so much fun watching this show, getting to love Yuta, Rikka, Utsumi, the Neon Genesis Junior High students, Anti, and of course to a lesser extent Akane. If you have the time to, this is absolutely the one show of the entire year that I would blow my "IF you had to watch one show this year" recommendation on. Hell even after this I actually want to go watch some real ass Ultraman.
RUNNER UP: GOBLIN SLAYER
I like Goblin Slayer, I enjoy the premise of it. It's anime adaptation takes some liberties by swapping around certain arcs in the story and taking a much more serious tone by cutting down a lot of the exaggerated cutesy anime laced in with the gritty grimdark edge that can be found within the manga. It plays to its own strengths while in the process loses some of its charm.
Also theres questionable use of CGI in a lot of places (but like... not CGI bear bad), and there's definitely some... odd choices in the show itself (They seriously like had a shot of a reflection inside of a Canary's eyeball on screen for a good 5 minutes to end an episode, like what the fuck.) At the end of the day though this is a property I can't stop thinking about, and I will continue to read it as chapters come out.
The end, and things I couldn't get to:
- I didn't watch a single thing during the summer season... I hear Hinamatsuri was good though.
- I watched more shows than just FranXX in winter but definitely did not finish them or mention them. Sorry YuruCamp and Megalobox
- There are definitely shows I wanted to watch and just added them to the queue that I also didn't mention. Sorry Gundam Build Drivers.
- I actually want to watch Cells at Work before Winter arrives, seemed like something I would enjoy
- ... Sorry MHA and JoJo Part 5. JoJo is still JoJo, but man if you fell off MHA a bit after the license exam arc... I consider the next one to be one of my personal least liked.
At the end of it all:
I don't think I nearly watched enough anime this year at all, yet from the shows I did watch I did enjoy myself quite a bit. This year boasts one of my all time favorite shows, continued my love for all things Jojo, and of course Cygames slow but steady dominant rise to conquer all forms of media the likes nobody is even paying any attention to.Did you guys know they held a fanfest at the end of the year and announce an Arksys fighting game that NOBODY is even talking about?! I must be fucking going crazy!
Here's to another year of cool guy activities, we have the return of both ONE's creations in Mob Psycho and One Punch Man Season 2, and the theatrical release/sequel to my ALL time favorite anime Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection... I sincerely hope it is good. We're in for another year folks, stay tuned.