Jacquie’s 2018 Year in Review – Anime

Looking back, I didn’t have incredibly strong feelings about any series I watched in this past year. So I considered the titles that I rated most highly at MyAnimeList, that is, the ones that scored an 8 or high-7, as I did not give any 9s or 10s last year. However, there were 2 notable series that did not get ratings at all because they were not anime: an American cartoon that was based on a Japanese video game, and a Japanese-Taiwanese co-production puppet show, both on their second seasons. And honestly, I think those were more flawless than the other titles on my short-list!

Things are certainly continuing to be weird here at Jacquieandbini. You may recall I selected a 3D CG short (Ikemen Sengoku: Bromances Across Time) as my Anime of the Year for 2017. For 2018, two non-anime series are dominating my year-end “anime” chart. I don’t think you’re likely see a Top 10 like this anywhere else!

I’m keeping it simple this time. Please follow the links if you wish to view the previous write-ups.

☆ Top 10 Anime or Anime-like Series:

#1. CASTLEVANIA Season 2 (8 episodes)

Aired Autumn 2018
(streaming: NETFLIX)

#2. Thunderbolt Fantasy: Sword Seekers (Touri-ken Yuuki) (season 2) (13 episodes)

Aired Autumn 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#3. The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu: Die Neue These – Kaikou) (12 episodes)

Aired Spring 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#4. SCHOOL BABYSITTERS (Gakuen Babysitters) (12 episodes)

Aired Winter 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#5. DOUBLE DECKER! Doug & Kirill (13 episodes)

Aired Autumn 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#6. MEGALO BOX (13 episodes)

Aired Spring 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#7. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2 (Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan 2) (24 episodes)

Aired Winter 2018 to Spring 2018

#8. How to keep a mummy (Miira no Kaikata) (12 episodes)

Aired Winter 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#9. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san (Gaikotsu Shoten’in Honda-san) (12 episodes)

Aired Autumn 2018
(streaming: Crunchyroll)

#10. BANANA FISH (24 episodes)

Aired Summer 2018 to Autumn 2018

☆ The Biggest Slogs:
There were a few shows that seemed very promising in the beginning but ultimately felt like a chore to get through, with no real payoff at the end. The dubious honours in this category go to:

01. Angels of Death (aired Summer 2018, Crunchyroll)
02. SANRIO BOYS (aired Winter 2018, Crunchyroll)
03. Phantom in the Twilight (aired Summer 2018, Crunchyroll)

☆ Anime Songs TOP 10 COUNTDOWN:

10. INKYA IMPULSE, by Honda Hanako(cv:Kino Hina), Olivia(cv:Nagae Rika), Nomura Kasumi(cv:Kohara Konomi) feat. Ikepy & KSKN (ASOBI ASOBASE ED)

09. Heavenly Visitor, by TRIGGER (IDOLiSH7 ED3)

08. KISS OF DEATH, by Nakashima Mika (Produced by HYDE) (DARLING in the FRANXX OP)

07. Growth Arrow, by OLDCODEX (Butlers X Battlers OP)

06. One Side, by OLDCODEX (SERVAMP: Alice in the Garden Main Theme)

05. Treasure, by Narek (cv: Ishikawa Kaito) & Vino (cv: Umehara Yuuichirou) (Dame x Prince ANIME CARAVAN ED3)

04. The Perfect World, by Marty Friedman feat. Jean-Ken Johnny & KenKen (B: The Beginning ED)

03. His/Story, by Nishikawa Takanori (Thunderbolt Fantasy: Sword Seekers OP)

02. narrative, by SawanoHiroyuki[nZk]:LiSA (MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM NARRATIVE Main Theme)

01. Roll the Dice, by Nishikawa Takanori (Thunderbolt Fantasy: Sword Seekers ED)

Mid-Autumn 2018 Anime Ranking

Due to the demands of work and travel, I haven’t had much time for watching anime this season, never mind writing down my thoughts about what I have seen, which makes me sad. Unfortunately, that means this quarterly post might be a little bit more half-assed than usual.

Note: I am aware that two of the shows on my list are not technically anime, but whatever, it’s my blog, so I’ll put in whatever I want… even if it’s the top 3!


01. DOUBLE DECKER! Doug & Kirill (ep. 1-10) – So far, this show has simply been a lot of fun. DOUBLE DECKER! can be serious when it wants to be, but when it goes for funny, it hits the mark because it is always smart enough to recognize its own stupidity. It’s full of interesting and colourful characters; even the narrator has quite the personality! And more than any anime I’ve ever seen, DOUBLE DECKER! acknowledges the existence of things like workplace sexual harassment and LGBTQ issues while telling its greater story.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


02. Thunderbolt Fantasy S2: Sword Seekers (Touri-ken Yuuki) (ep. 1-8) – It’s an incredible treat to get more of Urobuchi Gen’s Taiwanese puppet show! The writing is stellar and I just love these characters. The explanation as to why so many people have been crossing the Wasteland was so obvious in retrospect, I could have smacked my head. I fully expect that Sword Seekers will continue to surprise and impress me.

The music is always amazing in this series too. Well, it is Sawano Hiroyuki after all. The collaboration with Nishikawa Takanori for the OP and ED this time just takes it to the next level.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


03. CASTLEVANIA Season 2 (ep. 1-8 complete) – Trevor kind of takes a back seat to his mates, Alucard and Sypha in this installment. And they all take a back seat to Dracula’s court, which is the main focus of this story. We’re introduced to Dracula’s crew, as they scheme and question the loyalties and competencies of their comrades. Meanwhile, our heroes prepare for battle by hunkering down to study with books…

The 4 episodes of CASTLEVANIA season one and these 8 episodes are hugely entertaining, slickly animated productions featuring dark, intelligent storytelling. I’m very glad there’s a third season on the way!
(streaming at NETFLIX)


04. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san (Gaikotsu Shoten’in Honda-san) (ep. 1-8) – This is a hilarious short format anime. I think anyone who’s worked in retail or customer service can relate to Honda’s bookstore experiences. I love that the humour is in the situations and Honda’s reactions, and is not generally mean-spirited toward the customers that he encounters.

Saitou Souma is really great as the soft-spoken title character; and the frequent random English is funny as hell.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


05. BANANA FISH (ep. 13-20) – I greatly enjoyed the thrilling hospital escape in ep. 16. But then I thought Ash seemed to give up too easily when Blanca came on scene. I would have expected him to maybe have some ideas on Blanca’s potential weaknesses, having known him and spent time together with him in the past.

I am also frustrated by Ash’s willingness to sacrifice himself for Eiji’s sake. He shouldn’t need to do that. It’s a little melodramatic, and if I were Eiji, I don’t think I would appreciate my own survival if it meant never being able to see my loved one again.


06. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind (JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Ougon no Kaze) (Season 4) (ep. 1-8) – Another season of JoJo’s brings with it another set of awesomely flamboyant characters. This represents Part 5 of the overall saga. I’m still getting to know the new cast, but JoJo’s is JoJo’s, and it’s as consistently entertaining as always.

The highlight so far was that impromptu torture dance on the ship. I have honestly never seen anything like that before! So good.
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


07. DAKAICHI –I’m being harassed by the sexiest man of the year- (Dakaretai Otoko 1-i ni Odosarete Imasu.) (ep. 1-8) – In an unlikely development, I’m watching two BL-themed series this season: BANANA FISH and DAKAICHI. Whereas BANANA FISH is a drama and its plot involves much more than the love story, DAKAICHI is basically a romantic comedy; and as such, it works well.

I was worried that there would be a lot of non-consensual shenanigans (just look at that title), but that hasn’t really been the case, at least not between the 2 leads. I am reasonably convinced that their relations are indeed fully consensual. Also, Takato (I love his snarky internal monologue) and Junta are great characters who have real chemistry together. DAKAICHI is a lot of fun and I actually find this relationship more interesting and compelling than the one in BANANA FISH!
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


08. GOBLIN SLAYER (ep. 1-10) – Through watching this controversial anime, I’ve discovered that this is my tolerance for objectionable content: brutal violence/rape (ep. 1) challenges my idea of entertainment, but is OK; gratuitous nudity (ep. 2) is eyeroll-inducing, but OK; insects – moving, up-close, with sound effects (ep.5) are NOT OK. I really wanted a lot more censorship in ep. 5!

Despite the fact that I have almost as many complaints about GOBLIN SLAYER as the next person, I actually sympathize enough with the characters that I would say I mostly like the show. In fact, if it were only the characters and the story, GOBLIN SLAYER might be vying for a spot in the top 5 right now. However, the distasteful aspects are significant enough that I would be hard-pressed to recommend this show; and even I, myself, would not relish the thought of enduring those difficult scenes a second time.

Of course, I am also watching because Umehara Yuuichirou is voicing the lead character, his first starring role since his return to work. He was in hospital for much of 2018 after being diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and during that time it was uncertain whether he would be able to continue his career. So there was basically no way I was going to miss this!
(streaming at Crunchyroll)


09. Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudou Bu (ep. 1-6) – Gorgeous KyoAni production about some high school kids in an archery club. What happens in it? Well not much actually; don’t ask me to describe the plot. Did I mention it looks great?
(streaming at Crunchyroll)

Also kinda sorta watching:

Boarding School Juliet (Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet)

IRODUKU (Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara)

The iDOLM@STER SideM: Wakeatte Mini!
(streaming at Crunchyroll)