More and more anime is being produced on a yearly basis, which makes it easy for gems to slip between the cracks. These works weren’t mega-hits, but they are worth your time due to artistic flair, nice stories, and great casts!
1. After the Rain
After the Rain lost out on viewers due to its -ahem- problematic premise of a high school girl crushing on a middle-aged man. The actual story has more nuance to it as it shows how emotional bonds can overcome personal trials, such as depression and a mid-life crisis. It’s certainly less Akira Tachibana: DILF Hunter and more about exploring human emotions.
2. Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens
Fans of stylish anime like Durarara!! and Bungo Stray Dogs need to check out Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. Despite the title, it’s not about ramen restaurants, but instead about an underground society of assassins. Various characters with seemingly separate lives are intertwined as the mystery plot progresses.
3. Gakuen Babysitters
A series about babysitting shouldn’t be this fun! Gakuen Babysitters takes a seemingly mundane premise and makes it worthwhile with loads of comedy — who knew babbling toddlers could be so funny? But don’t think the anime is just in it for the laughs, there are plenty of tender moments that will wet your eyes.
4. Mitsuboshi Colors
Relive fun childhood memories, or fantasy about non-existent ones, with the mischievous cast of Mitsuboshi Colors. This adorable trio is all about having fun and pursuing all sorts of “adventures” around their home town — often to hilarious conclusions. The adult cast rounds out their personalities, especially Saitou.
5. Hakumei and Mikochi
Not many iyashikei anime is as warming and relaxing as Hakumei and Mikochi. The series follows two lilliputian girls living a fairy tale styled forest. There isn’t a grand adventure to save the world, but instead, you enjoy the duo go about their tiny lives.
Hinamatsuri is a high-concept comedy that failed to connect with general fans. It consists of vignettes starring three girls facing absurd situations: Hina is a powerful esper living with a gold-hearted yakuza, Anzu is a homeless esper attempting to find her way in life, and Hitomi is an overworked middle schooler. Manga fans lament how the yakuza storylines were ignored, but it’s one of the best comedies of 2018.
7. Tada-kun Never Falls in Love
Less is more in this understated rom-com. Tada-kun Never Falls in Love favors slice-of-life moments instead of contrived storylines, forced comedy, and awkward emotional moments. It’s a simple, but a refreshing story in a crowded genre.
8. Golden Kamuy
Golden Kamuy got off to a rough start due to shoddy animation, but don’t let that keep you from an exciting adventure. The series follows a war veteran and an Ainu girl searching for stolen gold. They meet a wide range of personalities and confront the perils of nature during their blood-soaked quest.
9. Angels of Death
Angels of Death is divisive due to marrying the battle royale genre with black comedy. Is it an ironic take on edgy anime or just a failed attempt at innovation? Either way, it’s a fun ride!
10. Revue Starlight
The community didn’t know how to approach Revue Starlight and most fans assumed it was just another idol anime — which is way off-base. Music is prevalent, but Revue Starlight focuses on stage plays that focus on students participating in stage battles to captivate their audience.
11. Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
Anyone who has worked in retail needs to watch Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san. The short-format anime is filled with relatable (and frustrating) scenarios of dealing with customers and strange co-workers. Despite being only 11-minutes, it’s easily one of the best comedies of 2018.
What anime from 2018 do you think is underrated?