Year in Review: 2018

With 2018 behind us, let’s take a look back and take a second look at some of the best things it had to offer.

2018 was a light anime year for me. Not that I usually watch a ton of anime, just that this year was unusually light on shows I was interested in off the start. Devilman Crybaby was not one of those shows though, in fact watched the entirety of it in a few days (I am usually a one or two episodes a night kinda guy). That show hits the ground running in terms of its pacing, and it doesn’t let up. Every episode is a bomb shell, action packed and full of meaty content to pick through. Whether you want something with a bit more of an artistic touch to it (thanks to Masaaki Yuasa) than your general run-of-the-mill show or something that will keep you clicking next episode, Devilman Crybaby is an excellent watch.

Megalo Box caught my attention with its gritty style that reminded me of the many night spent watching YTV’s anime blocks in the mid-to-late 2000’s. It just screams old-school from its color palette, grainy visuals to the way the plot plays out. Classic underdog story that would have fit right alongside Naruto, Bleach and whatever else was airing at the time. I honestly would love for more new anime to call back to those times like Megalo Box did, it was an incredibly fun watch in 2018.

Violet Evergarden is one of those shows that just sweeps you away in its beauty. Every episode was a marvel to watch, with vibrant colors, beautiful visuals and some stellar animation work all coming together for a visual treat. The story itself is just as beautiful and touching, following the footsteps of broken soldier turned letter writer Violet Evergarden. Probably my favorite anime to come out of 2018 that I have seen so far, it is my top pick for anyone wondering what they should watch.

A Place Further Than the Universe is kind of the exact opposite of the other two series I picked as the best from 2018. More endearing and funny than anything I had watched, and somewhat inspirational. Seeing the girls go on their wild journey put a smile on my face from beginning to end.

Manga once again has been my choice of entertainment throughout 2018. If I had any bit of free time, chances are I was browsing through the latest Weekly Shonen Jump or chewing through my backlog of stories to read.

Dead Dead Demons Dededede Destruction was one of the few new series I added to my reading list in 2018. Written and illustrated by Inio Asano, I knew it was going to be good. The art is incredible, as if I expected anything less. The characters are just as weird and interesting as ever. From what I have read so far, it is definitely not as depressing as some of Asano’s past works which is honestly a nice change of pace. I haven’t read much of this one yet (as the series is still pretty early on in its english release) but it is by far one of the most interesting and I cannot wait to see where it goes.

Dr. Stone has kept strong throughout 2018, with the conclusion of the latest arc being my favorite in the series so far. 2018 also saw the release of the paperbacks, allowing me to finally hold Dr. Stone in my hand (nothing against electronic reading, but nothing beats a physical book). The beginning of Dr. Stone is just as good as I remember, so if you are looking for a new series I would still recommend it. Seriously, check it out if you haven’t already!

The Promised Neverland was also an ongoing Jump series that finally saw its physical release in 2018. Unlike Dr. Stone though, I am not a fan of the beginning arc. I will say that the later parts of The Promised Neverland are significantly better thoughespecially some of the chapters that came out over 2018. If you can get through the slow paced start that these initial volumes have, things start to pick up in speed and the story moves at a nice pace. 2018 was a good year for The Promised Neverland, so here’s hoping 2019 keeps it up.

My Hero Academia is quickly becoming one of my favorite shounen of all time. 2018 was a fantastic year for the series and the start of 2019 is looking to continue the trend. My Hero Academia Vigilantes saw a physical release in 2018 as well, which was my first time trying the spin-off series. Although I still prefer the mainline series, Vigilantes is still a great title I think everyone should be reading (especially if you are already into My Hero Academia).

A Nintendo fan-boy loves the new Smash Bros. game, who would have thought? In all seriousness though, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate truly is the ultimate smash game. All the characters ever introduced, so many stages that I haven’t even been able to try all of them yet (let alone in their different forms) and rock-solid gameplay that feels incredibly fresh. I was worried it was going to feel like an expansion to Smash 4 but that fear was unwarranted, as Sakurai really poured his heart into this one to make it the feel incredible to play. If you have a Switch, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is on the “must own” list for sure. Not that I have to tell anyone that, it’s probably pretty obvious at this point.

I have been waiting for Octopath Traveler since they released the teaser trailer way back in the presentation for the Switch’s launch. The game looked beautiful, and promised classic 16-bit era JRPG goodness. It delivered everything I had hoped honestly. Interesting and unique characters with individual stories I can get invested in. Addicting gameplay that keeps me hooked for hours. Best of all, the presentation of the game is so beautiful that every moment in the game is a treat so it never feels like a slog. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a classic JRPG quite like I enjoy playing Octopath Traveler.

The last game I played that I wanted to spotlight is Monster Hunter World, which brought one of my most beloved franchises into glorious HD. I won’t claim to be an expert in Monster Hunter, or even skilled at it, but that doesn’t stop my love for this series. I jump in to it whenever a new title is released, though I rarely finish them and reach the harder hunts in the later half. That’s ok though, because the game is fun beginning to end. This is especially true if you hop online to hunt with others or find a group of friends to play with. Countless hours were spent hunting the same monsters trying to get a specific item to drop for an armor piece or weapon, and ever minute of it was a blast. I love seeing Monster Hunter looking so good, and the open-environment design of the areas (instead of areas being separated by loading screens) made navigating and exploring feel incredibly fluid.

 


That’s it for now. There were plenty of other things from 2018 that I could have mentioned, but these were what really stood out to me as being special. What were some of your favorite things to come from 2018? Be sure to leave a comment, maybe it’s something I should be checking out myself!

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