2018 was a year chock-full of pleasant surprises! Miraculously (given how busy I’ve been), I managed to find the time to watch approximately 80 anime. Of this number, the shows that I enjoyed the most were often the ones that surprised me the most.
Of the anime that aired this year, the ones that pleasantly surprised me the most were A Place Further than the Universe, Cells at Work, Hinamatsuri, and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. A Place Further than the Universe reignited my desire to travel, Cells at Work managed to be both entertaining and educational, Hinamatsuri was unexpectedly moving, and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is shaping up to be a surprisingly wholesome story about an unlikely hero bringing people together and making the world a better place.
Of the anime that aired a year or more ago, Beyond the Boundary, Knights of Sidonia, Magical Girl Raising Project, and Selector Infected WIXOSS proved to be the biggest (and best) surprises! Beyond the Boundary had one of the most entertaining casts of characters I’ve seen in a long time, I was fascinated by the world of Knights of Sidonia, with its photosynthetic, genderless plant-people, I loved Magical Girl Raising Project’s twist on the magical girl genre (not all of the magical girls were, well, girls), and whilst Yuzuki’s feelings for her twin brother were both illicit and incestuous she was still one of Selector Infected WIXOSS’ most likeable and interesting characters.
All of these pleasant surprises have prompted me to consider the expectations that I have of anime. In the past I’ve been burned one too many times by shows that I’ve had high expectations of. Take Blood-C, for instance. I had hoped that this show would be a satisfying sequel to one of my all-time favourite shows, Blood+. But, instead, it turned out to be thinly-veiled torture porn related to Blood+ in name only. This isn’t the only time when high expectations have proved to be my undoing. Until quite recently I’ve hoped that every show I watch would be a perfect blend of moving, groundbreaking, and thought-provoking. I think that these are good things to hope for in a show, but, as I’m sure we can all agree, to expect them of every show would be unrealistic and unattainable.
Sometimes an anime may be just one of these things (many of the above shows were, indeed, moving, but few were groundbreaking or thought-provoking) or maybe none. Maybe it’s simply enjoyable. For example, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is certainly not moving, thought-provoking, or groundbreaking (rather, it’s one of a long line of isekai shows), but it still manages to entertain me week after week thanks to its lovable, unconventional heroes (including ogres, goblins, and a slime). I think, going forward into next year, instead of having these lofty (or even rock-bottom) expectations, I will try going into shows simply hoping to have a good time watching them. A much more reasonable expectation, don’t you think?
And that concludes the 12 Days of Anime. I hope that you enjoyed reading my entries as much as I enjoyed writing them. Looking back over them I think it’s safe to say that we’ve a lot to celebrate over this year! Anyway, have a very merry Christmas and an even better new year!