2018 is winding to a close, which means that it's time to talk about the best anime the year had to offer. Y'all already know that Akira Midousuji of is my horrible son and that in my next life I plan to be reincarnated as Present Mic's mustache, so I'm not going to burn two slots on Yowamushi Pedal and My Hero Academia sequels. This year it's fresh material only - so with that in mind, here's my personal top 5.
5. Run With The Wind
Run With The Wind isn't actually finished yet, and because it's 25 episodes long, it won't be completed until 2019. It may be too soon to label it as That being said, it's the only anime from the Fall 2018 season that I genuinely look forward to every week. It's a sports anime by Production I.G., the same studio that's responsible for Haikyuu!!, and the art style is quite similar to what's on offer there. The story, though, is a lot quirkier. Kiyose Haiji has one goal in mind - to put together a team of runners that can compete in the Hakone Ekiden. To do this, he gathers fellow students to live in a run-down college dormitory - concealing the requirement that to live there, they have to participate in the school's track team. His final member, Kakeru, is actually a talented runner - but no one else has any running experience at all. The premise is just odd enough to make it stand out from other sports anime, and the college setting is a nice change from the usual high school one. The characters are charming but flawed, and the story is engaging. It might not be the greatest anime ever made, but I love it.
4. Violet Evergarden
Violet Evergarden is a gorgeously animated Kyoto Animation production about a former child soldier who takes a job as an Auto Memories Doll - a person who writes letters that express the contents of other people's hearts. The nuances of emotions don't come easily to Violet, and she struggles on the job - but she keeps trying in the hope that someday, she'll understand the words her former major said to her before they were separated: I love you. If you've seen this amazing anime, you already know why it's on the list. Each episode features cinema-worthy art and animation, so even if you aren't finding Violet's most recent client especially engaging, it's hard to care when everything is so beautiful. Besides that, Violet herself is a fascinating character who experiences significant development over the course of the show, and the people around her grow and change too.
3. A Place Further Than The Universe
Shirase Kobuchikawa is going to Antarctica if it's the last thing she ever does. Why? Because her mother disappeared on an expedition there, and she wants to know where she ended up. But Shirase won't be going alone: along for the ride are Mari Tamaki, who wants to shake up her boring, everyday life, Hinata Miyake, who wants to do something fun before she has to take exams, and Yuzuki Shiraishi, who has never had friends before - plus a whole crew of professional explorers. What makes this anime so great is twofold. The first thing is that it features some of the most gorgeous scenery in the entire world. Let's face it, most of us are not going to Antarctica. While the animated version is no substitute for the real thing, it's still deeply captivating. The second thing is that it's about women and girls setting and achieving nearly impossible goals. Not only do Shirase, Mari, Yuzuki, and Hinata successfully make it to Antarctica, they also endure some serious training in order to survive its harsh climate. Who helps them along the way? Powerful women who are professional explorers. It's great to have such an empowering show for girls and women - there aren't nearly enough of them out there. 2. After The Rain
I did not expect to love After The Rain. The premise is a sketchy one: 17-year-old Akira Tachibana starts working at a family restaurant after she got injured and had to quit running track. There, she finds herself falling in love with Masami Kondo, her 45-year-old manager. Like most non-creepy adults, I don't love the idea of a teenager entering a relationship with a grown man. But After The Rain isn't about an illicit romance. Kondo never reciprocates Akira's feelings - rather, he sees her as the child she is. This anime isn't about Akira and Kondo falling in love with each other. For Akira, it's about having her first crush, and using those feelings to give her the courage to resume her former life as a track star. For Kondo, it's about how being around Akira reminds him of what his young self used to want - to be a writer - and prompts him to reconnect with his former writing buddy and resume his novel. If you're avoiding this anime because of its premise, just watch it. It's beautiful. 1. Cells At Work
Cells At Work was the anime I'd been waiting for. Long before it got an anime adaptation, I was reading the manga - actually, I devoured it. I'm obsessed with health, medicine, and the human body, so this series was right up my alley. When I found out that it was getting an adaptation, I was over the moon - and it totally exceeded my expectations. Life inside the human body is as adorable as it is disgusting. This anime will make you coo over how cute the platelets are one minute, then make you feel genuine sympathy for cancer cells the next. The art is bright and beautiful, the characters are compelling, and the scientific accuracy is amazing. There were plenty of great anime this year, but nothing made me happier than Cells At Work.
Which amazing anime did I miss? Tells us your own Top 5 in the comments.