Happy New Year! 2018 has come to a close, and I wanted to chat with you guys about 5 media-related things that influenced and/or improved my year the most! This isn’t necessarily a Top Anime/Top Game kind of list, but to satisfy that I’ll list my personal Top 3 Anime of 2018 with one word each, you’ve probably heard of them all anyway:
- Violet Evergarden – GORGEOUS
- Laidback Camp – CUTE!!!
- My Hero Academia Season 3 – LEGS?
Okay, on to the fun stuff!
Dub of the Year…?
Tada Never Falls in Love is a charming romcom original from Doga Kobo with small sprinkles of stunning visuals and the blessing of a great simuldub from Sentai, making it my favorite dubbed show of 2018. From endearing Eastern European accents to the reinvention of an aggressive cat into an episode-long Notorious B.I.G. joke, trust me when I say you HAVE to watch this dub! Clever writing and playful performances balance the comedy and drama within this show in the most effective way I can imagine, making it inticing to watch even when the story swerves into predictable territory. 2018 saw fans being more receptive to shows picked up by companies outside of Crunchyroll and Funimation, but this one may have slipped under some people’s radars regardless. You can watch all of it on HIDIVE right now!
More English/Global Versions of Japanese Mobile Games
The English versions of Bang Dream! Girls Band Party and Uta no Prince-sama Shining Live arrived relatively smoothly, and one year into its US release, Fate/Grand Order was one of the top grossing apps worldwide in 2018! Couple this with the continued popularity of games like Love Live School Idol Festival and Granblue Fantasy, and it wouldn’t seem too farfetched to think 2019 might see more Japanese mobile games adapted for a global playerbase!
Voice Actors Rapped Some More
Hypnosis Mic started in the fall of 2017, but 2018 was the year HypMic went into its “Battle Season”, with climactic rap battle albums dominating Oricon sales rankings throughout the year and merchandise growing more and more absurd by the day (the latest thing I want is an acrylic stand that holds a specific collab brand eyebrow pencil–). Drama tracks included in the albums and a recent prequel manga have helped expand this crazy world where people rap into special mics to physically fight, but honestly I’m only in it to hear actors who have voiced beloved game and anime characters spit sick bars at each other! King Records even got Sho Hayami, most famous for his roles as Maximilian Jenius in Macross and Sousuke Aizen in Bleach, to be a rapping doctor. There’s something oddly fascinating and face-value cringey about the whole thing that speaks to my soul.
I had never seen Produce101 prior to Produce48, but I found myself marathoning through the first two seasons in between Produce48 episodes in a state of absolute addiction. The convergence of the grow-a-kpop-group reality show Produce101 and the juggernaut Japanese idol group AKB48 kicked up the ol’ kpop vs jpop debate once again, but as someone who stands on the outside of this argument, I’d like to think the series also showcased the difference of priorities in each culture’s entertainment, creating a uniquely balanced foundation of skill and personality in order to form a well-rounded group. In a journey full of impressive performances and unexpected twists, the group IZ*ONE was formed by voters. They released one of my favorite songs of 2018, “La Vie En Rose” within their first Korean album COLOR*IZ, and have their first Japanese single slated for February 6th, 2019.
The BEST Series to be a Fan of in 2018 was…
One of the staple male idol mobile games, IDOLiSH7 got its long-awaited anime in 2018, with chart-hitting bluray sales in Japan and a 2nd season already in the works! ((I wrote a short n’ sweet article about it back in May if you want a more in-depth opinion))
But that’s not all the franchise had in store, IDOLiSH7 also saw it’s first live concert in 2018, with both days selling out the Metlife Dome (formerly Seibu Prince Dome, where the Idolmaster 10th Anniversary concert series was held, a.k.a A Big Place) and numerous live viewings across Japan and internationally in Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. I7 landed on Oricon weekly album and single rankings throughout 2018, most notably hitting #3 in album sales in September with the release of a full collection album, and hitting #4 on the charts in December with an album by the in-universe group Re:vale (anime-only fans can look forward to learning more about Re:vale in season 2). Finally, the game itself has improved a lot over the past year, even suprising fans with member solo songs released on each of their birthdays throughout 2018. Lots of exciting firsts have made IDOLiSH7 worthy of recognition this year, and hopefully 2019 will see the series continue to grow and reach more people!
2018 was special to me in part because of everyone at Third Impact Anime and everyone who supports us! Let’s all watch and play some good things together in 2019!