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My Top Five Anime From 2018

2018 is quickly coming to a close and what better way to cap the year off than to look at some of the best anime that aired during the past twelve months! There was an absurdly large amount of slice-of-life anime with a unique twist thrown in, be it Yuru Camp's focus on winter camping or Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii's take on working professionals who happen to be otakus through and through. The five anime I've listed below are perhaps the most memorable ones I've watched this year, even beating out stalwarts like Boku no Hero Academia and Shingeki no Kyojin. On the other hand, I'm betting that anyone's list would differ from mine and it just goes to show how much the year had to offer, for fans of any genre and even for the casual viewer.

1. Yuru Camp
I never imagined that an anime about winter camping could end up being that entertaining to watch. From Nadeshiko and friends bumbling about in the first few episodes to Rin showing her expertise in winter camping, there was hardly a dull moment. I even learnt a thing or two about the craft, although that knowledge is wasted on me considering I'm hardly a fan of the great outdoors. Yuru Camp is the kind of anime that you'll watch on a slow weekend, especially during the holiday season right now where the pace has slowed to a crawl. Little wonder the title is translated to Laid-Back Camp.

2. Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan
Everyone knows how good ufotable is at crafting spectacular 3DCG sequences, just watch an episode of Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works or Tales of Zestiria The X and you'll be blown away by the battles. But the studio's 13-episode long monthly special, Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan, has shown that they are no slouches in the 2D department either. The studio has traded the depressing colour palette of Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel and lifelike 3DCG for pastel tones and an exclusive focus on 2D animation, only resorting to their trump card during the cheekiest of moments. It's a big departure from what they usually produce, both production-wise and thematically.

3. Hinamatsuri
'Absurd' is the perfect word to describe this crazy slice-of-life anime. Yakuza, tween girls with superpowers, monks worried about their smartphones, you name it, Hinamatsuri probably has it. If you're a fan of Gintama's humour, you'd enjoy this title very much. On the flip side, there are moments where Hinamatsuri feels extremely grounded, such as Anzu's struggles with the beggar gang and Hina's poorly thought out attempts to thank Nitta for his kindness. The characters felt real despite all the yakuza and superpowered madness present in the show, a testament to the source material and screenwriters.

4. Grand Blue
For college students and those of you who've had university experience, this anime is relatable in so many ways. The ludicrous amount of drinking, tomfoolery and banter between friends is close to what students experience, although drinking out of a human-sized vase is probably not something you'll see in any university...I think. Grand Blue doesn't take itself too seriously and knows when to focus on the main cast - before quickly returning to more silliness and alcohol-induced antics - much like how college students behave, actually.

5. Zombieland Saga
I went in to the first episode without any expectations and was surprised by every episode that aired. Zombieland Saga was a rollercoaster ride from start to end, even if it did feel like one large advertisement for the Saga prefecture in Japan at times. I would set aside time to rewatch certain portions of the show, even as the episode count of other anime in the Fall season continued to stack up. It definitely held its own in competitive Fall season that featured titles like Sword Art Online: Alicization and Goblin Slayer. One could even call it the sleeper hit of the season, an anime about a zombie idol group, of all things.

Written by ET

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