Top Five Anime I Watched in 2018

violetevergardentop5

Last year was a great time for anime. I could easily write up a top ten comprising of all the excellent shows I watched in 2018. That sounds like a lot of work though, so I’ll limit myself to listing off the five best anime I enjoyed during the aforementioned period.

5. Goblin Slayer: A fantasy series about an armour clad adventurer who has dedicated his life towards the extermination of green skinned vermin. Despite his bluntness and one track mind he is surprisingly popular with the ladies. The anime is infamous for its premier episode, which featured some disturbing scenes. Nothing explicit was shown, but that didn’t stop the internet from having a major meltdown, back when it aired. One can only imagine how said naysayers would react if they ever watched a hardcore hentai.

4. Darling in the Franxx: Mecha series about teenage pilots who are recruited to protect humanity from an alien threat. Not the most original premise perhaps, but executed well enough. Features solid action, a conspiracy laden plot, love triangles and a top tier waifu named Zero Two. Just like in Pacific Rim, the show’s bots are controlled by a pair of pilots (in this case a boy and a girl). Akin to Game of Thrones, the series was liked at first, but towards the end of its run many viewers soured on it. I however loved it from start to finish.

3. Attack on Titan (Season 2): The wait for series two, of Attack on Titan, was a long one – but well worth it. Following on from the first season, Eren and pals continue their battle against a neverending swarm of man-eating giants, who have breached the city walls. Despite only running for twelve episodes, Wit Studio managed to squeeze a lot of story and action into the second chapter of AOT. Some secrets are revealed and the scouts contend with a deadly trio comprising of the Beast, Armoured and Colossal Titans.

2. The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Another anime from Wit Studio makes the list. This one is a more slow paced affair, revolving around a buffalo faced mage and his beautiful redheaded missus. Highlights include the beautiful artwork, emotional scenes and storylines that see the cast interact with members of the Fae race. Back in 2017 the folks at Crunchyroll awarded Ancient Magus’ Bride best drama of 2017. After watching all twenty-four episodes I can certainly see why.

1. Violet Evergarden: An exceptional KyoAni production about an orphan girl who rebuilds her life after losing her hands (and the man who raised her) during the war. Violet transitions from a child soldier into an Auto Memories Doll. The change in career allows her to touch the lives of others, through the art of crafting heartfelt letters. My anime backlog is huge, so I seldom rewatch shows. Violet Evergarden was so good however that I ended up watching it twice. Once in Japanese and once dubbed. If you have a Netflix subscription I highly recommend that you check out this animated series.

Top Five Games I Played In 2018

vc4

This blog may be dead, but the tradition of me listing my five favourite games of the past year lives on. See below for the titles I enjoyed playing the most in 2018.

5. Batman – The Enemy Within: This sequel to Telltale’s 2016 release kicks off with the Caped Crusader battling a version of the Riddler, who wouldn’t look out of place in a Saw movie. The later episodes however focus on Bruce Wayne’s love/hate relationship with the Joker. Harley Quinn, Bane and Mr Freeze also make an appearance in what has to be one of Telltale’s better interactive stories. I love their take on this DC Comics property, so it’s a real shame that the developer has since gone bust. Their storytelling and easy platinum trophies shall be missed.

4. Super Mario Odyssey: Unlike most people, the Switch has yet to win me over. Believe it or not, I still play the Vita more than Nintendo’s console/handheld hybrid. Many of the games I bought for the system (Xenoblade 2, Breath of the Wild and Octopath Traveller) have disappointed me. On the flip side Super Mario Odyssey exceeded my expectations. Once again Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, so it falls upon a mustached plumber to rescue her. Aiding our hero in this adventure is a sentient cap who is capable of possessing Koopa’s minions.

3. Doki Doki Literature Club: I seldom play PC games, but I am glad that readers convinced me to give Doki Doki Literature Club a try. At first glance this looks like another of those generic visual novels that clogs up Steam’s marketplace. Get past the first two hours however and you will soon discover that there is more to this VN than simply deciding who, out of the club’s four waifus, the player will end up with. It’s hard to believe that a release of this quality is available to download for free. I highly recommend giving Doki Doki a go… or at the very watch a Let’s Player tackle it. Their reactions to the twist are certain to amuse.

2. Tales of Berseria: This is only the second Tales game I have ever managed to finish. On paper I should love this franchise, but the combat system has always put me off. Berseria is no different in that regard. In order to complete the game I set the difficulty to easy and automated all of the battles. Despite disabling a good chunk of the gameplay I still had a blast with Berseria. I enjoyed exploring the world, engaging with the characters and most of all the story. Unlike other Tales titles, where a group of plucky youngsters save the world from evil, the protagonist of Berseria is out for revenge. She will stop at nothing to secure vengeance, even if it means murdering the kingdom’s saviour.

1. Valkyria Chronicles 4: It’s great to once again play a Valkyria Chronicles game, after the west was denied a localization of the third installment. Part of me fears that this may end up being the series finale, as poor financial results are forcing Sega to scale back on their games output. From what I hear they may be pulling a Konami to cut costs. If you ask me they should just stop butchering Sonic’s legacy and focus more on creative titles like VC4 instead. The blend of anime cell shaded visuals and military strategy is right up my alley. Still, who am I to criticise Sega? They have technically won my Top Five contests two years running. Valkyria Chronicles 4 follows in the footsteps of 2017 champion Persona 5. Perhaps, if I can clear my PS4 backlog and play Yakuza 6, Sega will complete a hat trick in 2019. Time will tell.