For the spring 2018 season of anime, we were reminded that the anime industry can be an incredibly harsh place. It’s unfortunate, but that isn’t what I want to focus on.
Instead, I will be looking back over what I watched and celebrating my favourite characters, moments and other such things. The shows I watched were:
- A Place Further Than the Universe
- BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS
- Dragon Ball Super
- Fate/EXTRA Last Encore
- Hakumei and Mikochi
- Hugtto! PreCure
- Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko
- Laid-Back Camp
- Maerchen Maedchen
- Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles
- Mitsuboshi Colors
- One Piece
- Pop Team Epic
- Slow Start
This post will contain potential spoilers for any of the shows listed above.
I’ve also made a slight tweak: Best Plot is now Best Concept, because sometimes the shows I watch don’t really have much in the way of plot.
With that said and done, let’s just dive straight in.
Best Opening Theme
“Shiny Days” by Asaka
Shiny Days may bear a strong resemblance to both the Jackson 5’s “ABC” and “I Want You Back” at the beginning, but it soon becomes its own incredibly catchy tune. It’s a fun upbeat song, and hearing that means that comfy times will follow. Runners-up: “ne! ne! ne!” by STARTails☆ (Slow Start); “Watashi no Tame no Monogatari ~My Uncompleted Story~” by fhána (Maerchen Maedchen)
A trip to Antarctica
A Place Further Than the Universe focuses on four girls who are very keen to go an an expedition to Antarctica. We see as they sort out all the preparations beforehand, and what they get up to during their time there. This involves very strong character development and plenty powerful moments.
Runners-up: Girls trained in swordplay fight creatures known as aradama (Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko); Girls with powers based upon books enter a tournament (Maerchen Maedchen)
There are plenty of good protagonists from this season, but I figured I’d give Maerchen Maedchen a little recognition. Hazuki would always try to escape and lose herself in a book when faced with any trouble, though meeting a girl named Shizuka caused a change to come about her. She also happens to be something of an anime fan herself.
Runners-up: Kanami Etou (Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko); Rin Shima (Laid-Back Camp)
A member of Yukari Origami’s elite guard in Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko, Yume is a Toji who simply wants her strength to be recognised. She refused to rely on the power of the aradama unlike her allies, and proved to be an incredibly mighty foe.
Runners-up: Jiren (Dragon Ball Super); Lynne Daves (Maerchen Maedchen)
Best Female Character
There are plenty of amazing female characters from this season, so picking out just a single one is pretty tough. However, I think I’ll have Laid-Back Camp‘s Rin win this one, simply because she is my favourite character of that particular anime. She enjoys camping, and embarks on a few solo camping trips. Rin eventually goes camping with other people, and discovers the fun of camping in a group.
Runners-up: Harumi Taniguchi (citrus); Shirae Kobuchizawa (A Place Further Than the Universe)
Best Male Character
The narrator of Laid-Back Camp is actually Rin’s grandfather. Chiaki happens to encounter him whilst she is scouting for a campsite, and it becomes increasingly clear that he is the one that Rin inherited her love of camping from.
Runners-up: Android 17 (Dragon Ball Super); Hariham Harry (Hugtto! PreCure)
Best Cast of Characters
Antarctic Expedition MembersWith A Place Further Than the Universe being character-driven, it probably won’t come as a surprise to discover that I am incredibly fond of most of the characters we see. Kimari and her friends are a pure joy to watch.
Runners-up: The Camping Girls (Laid-Back Camp); The Maedchen (Maerchen Maedchen)
Despite how she looks, Kamuri is actually the same age as Eiko and Tama. She is a dangerously adorable character, and Maria Nagawa voicing her only adds to that. For those unaware, Nagawa is also the voice of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid‘s Kanna.
Runners-up: Hakumei (Hakumei and Mikochi); Ariko Kasumi (Maerchen Maedchen)
Most Badass Character
I’m sure this isn’t the first time I’ve featured Goku here, but with him mastering Ultra Instinct and giving the Tournament of Power a memorable climax, I’d say he has earned this spot once more.
Runners-up: Kanami Etou (Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko); Hiyori Juujou (Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko)
Hazuki Kagimura and Shizuka Tsuchimikado
Hazuki makes it extremely clear that she is infatuated with Shizuka from their very first encounter. Shizuka soon grows to appreciate Hazuki a whole lot, and the two form a strong bond.
Runners-up: Yuzu Aihara and Mei Aihara (citrus); Rin Shima and Nadeshiko Kagamihara (Laid-Back Camp)
Goku vs. Jiren
The climax of the Tournament of Power sees Goku attain a power unlike any he’s ever had before, in order to fight for the fate of his universe. Jiren is a mighty foe as well, and he has just as much on the line.
Runners-up: Toji vs. Princess Tagitsu (Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko); Ellen and Kaoru vs. Yume (Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko)
A Place Further Than the Universe
More often than not, A Place Further Than the Universe uses insert songs in order to enhance scenes and make them even more powerful than they already were. This makes those particular moments even more powerful.
The video embedded above is just one of many insert songs, ‘Haru ka Tooku’, which features in episodes 1 and 3.
Runners-up: Dragon Ball Super; Pop Team Epic
Last Days of the Antarctic Expedition
A Place Further Than the Universe follows Kimari and her friends as they embark on an expedition to Antarctica. The girls all grow as characters due to the experience, and the ending just caps off what is an incredible experience.
Runners-up: End of the Tournament of Power (Dragon Ball Super); More camping (Laid-Back Camp)
Best Ending Theme
“POPPY PAPPY DAY” by Popuko and Pipimi
The ending theme for the insanity that is Pop Team Epic has a few variations. I enjoy the original song, though I’d probably highlight the Route 66 and 8-bit Mixes to be my favourites.
Runners-up: “Harvest Moon Night” by Mikochi and Konju (Hakumei and Mikochi); “Hugtto! Mirai☆Dreamer” by Cure Yell, Cure Ange and Cure Etoile (Hugtto! PreCure)
A Place Further Than the Universe
To put it simply, A Place Further Than the Universe is an incredible experience. Kimari, Shirase and the others going on an expedition to Antarctica is an incredibly compelling watch, and I feel it is a show that anyone who has any remote interest in anime should watch at least once.
Runners-up: Laid-Back Camp; Katana Maidens ~ Toji No Miko
So there we have it, my look back at the winter season of anime. Beside all the issues surrounding Maerchen Maedchen‘s production, this was a very good season.
Let’s do this again at the end of the next season.