I’ve noticed a rather annoying pattern as the year has progressed, the more work I’ve been saddled with at my job, the less time I have to watch anime, which in turn ends up pushing this seasonal progress report back further and further, with this being the nadir of this vicious cycle. At the time of this article being written, there is only roughly two weeks overall left in the Fall 2018 season, and for many of the shows that will be appearing in this progress report, it is actually their last week as they air their finales. I’ll be honest, as the weeks went by and my backlog of episodes kept growing, I was debating whether to even do the progress report this season or not, but as you can tell I ultimately decided to go ahead with it.
In the future, I will probably strictly adhere to putting the progress report out before the end of the second month each season. In some seasons that will mean having shorter articles, though, as the thing that keeps causing the delays is I keep putting the article off so I can catch up on all the shows I am watching.
Speaking of, this season I’ve kept up with my absolute lowest amount of simulcasts this entire year, a mere 12 titles in all. There were a few more shows I had been watching or had in my queues, but like many other shows I feel behind on, and decided to put them aside for watching in the future, namely because they were shows with multiple cours, so I had plenty of time to catch up to them in the future. Two examples of these are Sword Art Online and Karakuri Circus.
So with all that in mind, many of the medal placements you’ll find in this article is in all likelihood where the shows are going to end up, as the shows ending this season only have one or two episodes left. We’ll start with my silver medal shows because for once I don’t have any show progressing towards a bronze or black medal.
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill
This show has just been a blast in excessive, silly, over-the-top buddy cop action and comedy, with a tiny bit of some genuine pathology sprinkled in for good measure. This spin-off to the much beloved Tiger & Bunny isn’t anywhere close to being as good as the show it broke off from, but it is still a nice entertaining way to pass the time.
Iroduku: The World in Colors
The newest show from P.A.Works, Iroduku is an absolutely gorgeous show to see, easily becoming one of the season’s visual highlights. The show also has some rather interesting writing, combining teenage romantic angst with the struggles of a burgeoning mage who was flung into the past by their grandmother. The only real issue with the show is that its pacing is, well to say it moves at a snail’s pace would be an insult to snails. I still enjoy what I am seeing, but many episodes felt drastically longer than they really were.
RWBY Vol. 6
This current volume of RWBY is only about halfway through, but I think I can safely say after three consecutive volumes since the passing of the Monty Oum, that RWBY just isn’t the same show it was under his guidance. I don’t hate the current form RWBY takes in, but I think it says a lot that despite the episodes being much longer on average, the show somehow has less plot progression, coupled with a stark downgrade in the quality of the action scenes. RWBY under Monty was great, now it is merely just “good”, and I am fine with that.
Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
Honda-san is easily the best short I’ve seen this year so far that isn’t named Aggretsuko. It is a hilarious take on the lives of people who work in retail, and the variety of horror stories Honda-san and his equally monstrous coworkers experience are sure to ring a bell or two with anyone who has had to work in the field. The show also has a lot of hilarious references to other manga and anime, which grants it an additional source of humor that people can relate to. The one thing I don’t get is why it took so long for a comedy series about working stiffs literally starring a skeleton to come along.
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
The isekai genre can be...a bit hit or miss nowadays, for lack of subtlety. As a result, any of the shows that come along that a genuinely good must be clung to like a drowning man to a log. The Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is one such isekai show. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it takes several genre conventions and executes them extremely well, and sometimes even in clever ways.
One example of this is how the show handles the requisite OP powers for its main character, Rirumu. Instead of just magically having all the badass skills he’ll ever need right off the bat, Rirumu has to slowly accumulate his abilities, often by assimilating it into his gelatinous body somehow. He then unlocks stronger abilities by doing combos of lesser skills. All in all, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is just an all around purely fun series. It occasionally has some more serious moments and even serious episodes, but for the most part, it is pretty laid back and whimsical.
Golden Kamuy 2nd Season
The second season of Golden Kamuy, the wonderful series about
a historical fiction action-adventure gold hunt Ainu cuisine continues strong from where the first season ended. Speaking of, that’s really the only reason this season of Golden Kamuy is currently sitting on another gold medal for the series. It is right at the threshold of a platinum medal, because I love the hell out of this series, but I need anything that feels remotely like a conclusion. I’ll even accept just the conclusion of an arc. Anything would be better than how the first season ended. This is one of those shows whose ultimate fate will be decided by its season finale.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
Rather fittingly, the latest Part in the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure franchise is currently on track towards a gold medal to match the golden Stand of its JoJo, er, GioGio. This is quite honestly probably the most purely entertained I’ve been in a JoJo’s Part since Part 2, and I am just all in on the zero chill no shits given mentality of our group of mafioso main characters. They have one of the best collection of Stands I’ve seen from a hero team in JoJo’s so far, and I can’t wait to see what David Production has in store for us going forward.
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Unwieldy title aside, Bunny Girl is one of the best written shows of this season. Instantly bringing to mind parallels to the excellent Monogatari series, Bunny Girl actually improves in some areas over Monogatari, while also falling short of it in others. The areas it improves on Monogatari are the greatly decreased focus on fanservice, and the relationship between Mai and Sakuta in Bunny Girl is much more believable than the one between Araragi and Senjougahara in Monogatari, though both are great. Where it falls short compared to Monogatari is the visuals department. CloverWorks, the studio working on Bunny Girl, is most certainly not Shaft, so the show isn’t much of an artistic visual spectacle.
Run with the Wind
This sports drama about marathon relay racing comes to us from an all-star team at Production I.G. Many of the staff are experienced at handling sports anime, particularly the amazing series Haikyuu!!. The director has experience adapting well received novels and visual novels before, too, directing the anime adaptations of Robotics;Notes and Joker Game. Most interestingly, however, is the person who is writing this adaptation. It is none other Kohei Kiyasu, the voice actor for Ippo Makunouchi from the Hajime no Ippo franchise.
Enough about the staff, though. The show itself is excellent. It features a lot of things not usually seen in sports anime. For starters, the cast are all college students, as opposed to high school students. On top of that, while many of them have athletic abilities, it is almost entirely in different sports. Instead, our main character is one of the few members of the team with proper experience dealing with the sport. Normally the main character in a sports anime is a newbie to the sport, so they can function as a audience surrogate to ease them into the sport.
Gridman is an incredible love letter to the tokusatsu genre. Trading in the cheap rubber suits and pyro for a 2D/CGI hybrid mixed with Trigger’s signature stylistic flair. It is also a stellar example of why the main character in a work isn’t necessarily the protagonist, as despite the show being called Gridman, the series is really about the character Akane, specifically her downward spiral and, hopefully, her redemption. With Trigger coming off of catching a massive L earlier in the year with DARLING in the FRANXX, it is great to see the studio find their footing once again.
Thunderbolt Fantasy Sword Seekers2
Gen Urobuchi’s vanity puppet project is back, baby! It is hard to actually say if this season of the wuxia bishonen and bishojo puppets is better than the first, however, because it is so drastically different. This season of Thunderbolt Fantasy has seen the show simultaneously narrow its focus and increase its scope. On one hand this season has a significantly reduced cast compared to the first season, and similarly, a reduced number of unique locations. On the other hand the plot involving the Sorcerous Sword Index and the 30+ mystical swords of legend contained within is a far greater threat to the world than the plot of the first season. Nevertheless, the writing is still as sharp as ever, and the artistry of the puppets combined with the visual spectacle of the fight scenes is something no other show can match.
Zombie Land Saga
I love zombies, and I love idol anime. Naturally, an idol anime about zombies is right up my weird, eccentric alley. Zombie Land Saga is able to use both halves of its formula to outstanding effectiveness, both for laughs and emotional gut punches. The show can be a bit janky in the visual department, but it makes up for it with some incredible character writing. The dialogue in Zombie Land Saga alone is a highlight. Many of the jokes to be found in this series simply comes from the way the characters say things. Of course like any self-respecting idol anime, the cast themselves are amazing, with each episode jumbling up my list of favorite characters, depending on who gets used the best in the particular episode. I honestly never expected a goofy little show about undead idols to have so much heart.
So there you have it, the current standings for the simulcasts I’ve watched this season. Stay tuned for my seasonal favorites article where I’ll be including all the shows I’ve finished this season shortly after the season effectively concludes next Friday. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts on the shows airing this season in the comments down below. Until next time!