As 2018 draws to a close, anime fans can say they had a good year when it comes to anime. Devilman Crybaby messed many people up, while the divide continues of how over or under rated My Hero Academia is among fandom. No matter what your preference is, there definitely a lot to watch this year. So, we here at PCU would like to share our personal preferences and if you missed it, you can find it on many different platforms.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (available on Crunchyroll and FUNimation)
Plot (from FUNimation): Crime reaches new heights in the seedy underworld of Fukuoka—a city home to very sinister professions. Among those who kill, torture, and seek revenge as a means of living, a so-called “killer of professional killers” is becoming more than just an urban legend. Private detective Banba is on the case, but when he uncovers a dark conspiracy, it may be the one curveball he can’t hit.
The Good: This is a good noir story that thus far is very unpredictable yet simultaneously tense. There are a lot of characters that may seemingly be a lot to track, but once you get to the third episode, viewers should have an idea about the players. The series has a good mix of lighthearted moments as well as some dark intense crime drama especially towards the end of the run. This is a great new series for those that want to get onboard new as it’s not too far in.
The Bad: Some may be concerned with the violence towards women, particularly one of the characters who has a penchant for murdering women who have no families looking for them. Another issue is that the English dub wasn’t that good. There were a few small lines that were missed that totally made the sub version. So far, I prefer watching the sub version over the dubbed.
The Bottom Line: While many people were looking at more established shows this past winter, this one was a sleeper hit for me. Again, even though there are a lot of characters, keep an eye on Banba and his would be killer, Lin Xiaoming. At the end of the arc, Lin’s past catches up and the consequences may be deadly, while it’s a bit predictable, it’s insane how things gets to this point in the first place.
Gundam Build Divers (available on Crunchyroll)
Plot (from Crunchyroll): Gunpla Battle Nexus Online (GBN) is a new network game that lets people enjoy a variety of missions using Gunpla in a virtual cyberspace dimension. Middle-school students Riku Mikami and Yukio Hidaka recruit their classmate Momoka Yashiro and dive together into this vast world. Becoming “Divers,” or inhabitants of GBN, they meet a mysterious girl named Sarah who has an amazing sensitivity to Gunpla. They begin playing alongside her, but… Through many encounters and experiences, Riku and his friends will build not only Gunpla, but their own adventures as well!
The Good: Let’s be honest, for some, the worst part about some of the Gundam series is there is entirely too much exposition and not enough robot on robot destruction.For something a little lighter, some may want to give this series a look. GBD is not your standard fare of Gundam shows that are set in far flung futures with war torn worlds and deep thinking politics. Instead it’s a show where middle school kids are building their own GunPla models and using them to battle them in virtual worlds. In a sense it’s like Disney Infinity with a touch of VR. The series was very cute and lighthearted with a gentle slope of world building involved. The best part is, you get to see some iconic Gundams that we all have seen over the decades in a different light.
The Bad: If you are not a dyed in the wool Gundam fan, you may not recognize all of Gundam that you see or understand their significance. On the flip side, if you ARE a Gundam fan, you may be disappointed that some of your favorites didn’t make the cut. Or worse yet how some may have been under utilized.
The Bottom Line: This is a series designed to be lighthearted and fun. If you need a big mecha series that isn’t deep and serious, this is the show you should check out. The animation is bright and colorful, it’s easy to follow and the ending is very satisfying.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
Plot (from Crunchyroll) In the world of guns and steel that is Gun Gale Online, LLENN has been a devoted, female solo player. She is obsessed with two things: donning herself entirely in pink and honing her skills with consistent game play. She soon discovers her love for hunting other players (a.k.a. PK), soon to be known as the “Pink Devil.” Meanwhile, LLENN meets a beautiful yet mysterious player, Pitohui, and the two click right away. Doing as she is told by Pitohui, she enters the Squad Jam group battle.
The Good: If you didn’t keep up with the first two series (and the new Alicization) then good news. You don’t have to have watched them to know what’s going on here. This series acts as a stand alone and is very well done. One of the themes tackled here is self esteem and how others may view us and how we see ourselves. Also those looking for plenty of action will get it here. Lastly, some of the over-sexualization and ‘rapiness’ of the other series is absent in this series and makes it a lot easier to enjoy.
The Bad: There is nothing I can think of except some minor pacing issues but overall it was an enjoyable show.
The Bottom Line: Yet another show that was more action and less filler. It was also mercifully short at 12 episodes so you can binge this in less than 1/2 a day. Many of the issues that has plagued other SAO shows are absent and makes this an enjoyable watch.
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (Sorry if you didn’t catch this in theaters, we’ll have to see how else it might be made available)
Plot (from Funimation): Deku and All Might receive an invitation to I-Expo, the world’s leading exhibition of Quirk abilities and hero item innovations! Amid the excitement, sponsors, and pros from all over, Deku meets Melissa, a girl who is Quirkless just like he once was. Suddenly, I-Expo’s top-of-the-line security system gets hacked by villains, and a sinister plan is set in motion. It’s a serious threat to hero society, and one man holds the key to it all—the symbol of peace, All Might.
The Good: This movie kept you on the edge of your seat, just like the series does! The action, the storyline, and the bromance of Kirishima and Bakugo going strong! Reflecting back into the life and times of All Might and getting a glimpse into his escapades in America was wonderful and hearing him curse is always hilarious to me.
The Bad: I wanted the secondary characters from class 1-A to play more of a role in the movie. They had their momentary screen time but then they were gently placed on the sidelines and I missed having the whole squad taking part. Also, give me more All Might backstory!…please~?
The Bottom Line: It’s literally everything we love about the show packed into a feature length film! Deku is never one to leave us wanting and baby boy knows how to bring the house down. He and All Might are in sync and kicking but in the way we love, and we got to enjoy a new set of villains, and with a twist to boot! Also, even if you haven’t seen the whole series, if you made it through the first few episodes of season 1, you’re good to go and enjoy with the rest of us!
Violet Evergarden (Available on Netflix)
Plot (from Anime News Network): A certain point in time, in the continent of Telesis, the Great War, which divided the continent into North and South has ended after four years, and the people are welcoming a new generation. Violet Evergarden, a young girl formerly known as “the weapon”, has left the battlefield to start a new life at CH Postal Service. There, she is deeply moved by the work of “Auto Memories Dolls”, who carry people’s thoughts and convert them into words. Violet begins her journey as an Auto Memory Doll, and comes face to face with various people’s emotions and differing shapes of love. There are words Violet heard on the battlefield, which she cannot forget. These words were given to her by someone she holds dear, more than anyone else. She does not yet know their meaning but she searches to find it.
The Good: This series art style and details are captivating. If the story itself doesn’t draw you in – with the struggles of a girl trying to understand herself and make sense of other’s feelings through writing – then the alluring landscapes, the action in the battle scenes, and trips around the world just might.
The Bad: The storyline jumps a bit since we’re essentially experiencing different things, alongside our titular character. If you’re not a fan of multiple storylines going on, this will require you to pay attention to piece them all together. It’s not drastic like a bunch of riddles or anything, but if you want to grasp the weight of Violet’s thoughts and how she’s processing everything, then keep your wits about you.
The Bottom Line: The journey to understanding what it is to feel and to love, and appreciate how others view the world was such an emotion cluster. The story does provide some a pretty decent ending in my opinion, of course I would have loved this to be a longer series (thankfully there’s a movie coming in 2020). Overall, this is a really good story of a veteran of war, trying to acclimate to civilian life, and the tear-jerking moments along the way.
Hinamatsuri (Available on Crunchroll)
Plot (from Crunchyroll): Nitta Yoshifumi, a young, intellectual yakuza, lived surrounded by his beloved pots in his turf in Ashigawa. But one day, a girl, Hina, arrives in a strange object, and uses her telekinetic powers to force Nitta to allow her to live with him, putting an end to his leisurely lifestyle. Hina tends to lose control of herself, wreaking havoc both at school and in Nitta’s organization. Though troubled, he finds himself taking care of her. What will become of this strange arrangement? It’s the beginning of the dangerous and lively story of a nice-guy outlaw and psychokinetic girl!
The Good: This was a hilarious series to watch. Watching Niita try and become a better person, now that he is responsible for the life of another living person, is endearing, and the process is exciting and tragic at the same time. Hina is a precious, deadpan comedic relief who tries her best to get used to her life here, although to Nitta’s dismay.
The Bad: There’s this one character who really irritated me. It’s not their fault, that’s the character they were given, but I wish they weren’t as much of a disappointment as they were. I had my hopes up and they let me down. (Watch the series and guess who I’m talking about.)
The Bottom Line: This series really does come with some serious moments that portray the struggles of being a single parent. You are watching Nitta grow up, while he is forced to raise Hina into a decent person. There’s plenty of laughs throughout, so no worries that even if you aren’t a parent (like me), you can still enjoy the show and keep up with the hilarious moments.
And now for a few fan picks
Liahona G.: Goblin Slayer. (The Editors at PCU seconds this pick!!) I really like the characters and how their interactions with Goblin Slayer go from condescending to friendly over the course of the series. Also, I’ve also seriously been missing fantasy anime that is actual high fantasy, and doesn’t involve some random kid getting trapped in a video game that happens to be that genre. Say what you want about the more controversial aspects of the series, but it has been nothing short of a breath of fresh air.
Courtney P.: Uh, how has no one mentioned GOLDEN KAMUY???? Historical, action packed, sentimental, and full of dick and poop jokes? I love it.
Jeremy S.: SSSS Gridman. The animation resembles tokusatsu shows and despite the jarring fan-service, it makes excellent call backs to the older Gridman show (or Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad if you’re familiar with that name), Transformers and other Toku shows. But that’s my guilty pleasure.
Tulie M.: Zombie Land Saga, because of the following: it uses the idol group theme as a vehicle for death positivity (the acceptance of death), while simultaneously using the zombie motif as a metaphor for the group’s unconventionality as an idol group, which in turn serves as a critique over Japan’s “perfectionist” pop-idol groups.
Justin R.: Batman Ninja. Giant feudal Japan robots come together to form one giant Megazord-like robot and fight a swarm of monkeys in the shape of a giant monkey.
**Honorable mention only because it came out awhile back but I am interested**
A’marn A.: Assassination Classroom because, it was a new story with endearing characters. It wasn’t the same ole story just with a new twist. I don’t know if it’s under-rated. Never heard anyone talk about it. A class of misunderstood kids created to kill a teacher in one year; what’s not to love about it?