Many great anime series graced our screens this year, and each genre, from romantic comedies to thrillers, had a few popular titles. Unfortunately, some of these series just didn’t catch on with fans — likely due to shows like My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan dominating the headlines. The year may nearly be done, but thanks to streaming sites like Crunchyroll and Netflix, these shows certainly aren’t. Here are the five most overlooked anime series of 2018.
- Premiered: Spring
- Studio: TMS Entertainment
- Genre(s): Action, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life, Sports, Drama, Tournament
In the distant future, the world of boxing has changed. Fighters use mechanical limbs, or Gear, to increase their speed and power to compete in Megalo Box, a boxing tournament. The series follows Junk Dog, a fighter who gets paid to throw underground matches. But this all changes when he steps in the ring with the champion, Yuri. After losing in the first-round, Junk Dog receives a challenge: to fight his way up through the Megalo Box ranks to once again face the champ.
Motivated by Yuri’s words, Junk Dog enters Megalonia, a worldwide tournament that’ll decide the strongest Megalo Boxer of them all. Junk Dog takes on the name “Joe” and begins his climb from the very bottom of the rankings. But with only three months left to qualify, Joe must face off against opponents the likes of which he’s never fought before to make a name for himself.
We can’t believe how easily this sports anime slipped through the cracks this past spring. Fortunately, Megalo Box is still available on streaming services. So, don’t forget to check it out before the winter 2019 lineup starts.
- Premiered: Summer
- Studio: J.C.Staff
- Genre(s): Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi
Planet With follows Sōya Kuroi, a high schooler with no memories of his past — and that’s not even the weirdest part. He lives with an anthropomorphic cat called Sensei and a gothic lolita girl named Ginko. And although Kuroi can’t remember his previous life, he’s still happy. Well, until the teddy bear-shaped UFOs appear. As expected, conventional weapons don’t work against these strange creatures. It takes seven men and women transforming into powerful weapons to bring them down.
Kuroi finds himself forced into battle, but not with the aliens — he’s fighting the heroes instead. But what is Kuroi’s reason for taking a stand against humanity? His lost memories hold the answer.
While Planet With didn’t make a splash last summer, it’s still worth your time. The anime takes its time to tell a very profound story that recognizes humanity’s flaw without the needing to fix it. And like many mecha series as of late, it focuses on various themes and is a mixture of genres like comedy, drama, and action.
- Premiered: Summer
- Studio: LIDENFILMS
- Genre(s): Drama, Sports, Seinen, Tournament
Unfortunately, sports series are often overlooked by anime fans — and that includes Hanebado! The intense badminton show follows Aragaki Nagisa, captain of her school’s badminton club, who suffered a crushing defeat in a tournament six months prior. Fueled by her anger and the fear that all she’s done has been for nothing, Aragaki spends every free moment training. But the arrival of Kentarou Tachibana and Hanesaki Ayano shakes things up for the young badminton player.
Tachibana, a former Olympian, becomes the new coach of the school’s badminton club. Ayano, on the other hand, is the daughter of legendary badminton player Shindo Uchika — and she also happens to be the girl who defeated Nagisa a few months back. Even so, it seems Ayano doesn’t want to have anything to do with the sport anymore. However, Tachibana believes that such a talent shouldn’t go to waste, especially with the badminton club having so few members. Will Aragaki finally have the chance to face her rival? Or will she always be one step behind Ayano?
- Premiered: Summer
- Studio: Kinema Citrus
- Genre(s): Drama, Music, Psychological, School
Starlight is a famous song and dance revue show, inspiring girls around the world to perform on stage. As a result, childhood friends Karen Aijo and Hikari Kagura make a promise to each other to one day be theatrical stars. But their dream comes to an unexpected end when Hikari moves away.
Even so, Karen never forgets their promise. Years later, the two friends receive a mysterious invitation to audition for the lead role in Starlight. But they’re not the only ones who aspire to take the stage. Karen and Hikari must compete against other girls looking to claim the same coveted spot. It won’t be easy, but if Karen and Hikari want to make their dreams, they’ll have to do whatever it takes.
Tomohiro Furukawa (Angel Beats!, Guilty Crown) directed the coming-of-age anime series and Hiroyuki Saita (New Game!, Selector Spread Wixoss) served as the lead character designer. Despite its impressive production quality, cute character designs, and touching plot, Revue Starlight didn’t get as much attention as other summer releases. Nevertheless, the show did manage to get an English dub release on HiDive.
Record of Grancrest War
- Premiered: Winter
- Studio: A-1 Pictures
- Genre(s): Action, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
The world of Atlatan is at war due to the events of the Great Hall Tragedy. What was supposed to be a joyous union between Fantasia Union and the Factory Alliance ended in disaster. Chaos, a dark energy from another dimension, brought forth an onslaught of monsters and demons that brought the ceremony to a halt. From within the Chaos appeared the Demon Lord of Diabolos, an evil creature who instantly killed the leaders of both factions, shattering any hope for peace between them.
Having failed to prevent this disaster, mage Siluca Meletes travels the countryside to study under a master magician. But she gets into trouble when she runs into a group of soldiers. Luckily, Theo Cornaro, a young warrior with the ability to banish Chaos helps the young mage out. The two then set out to liberate Cornaro’s hometown and bring balance to Atlatan.
Although the otherworld fantasy genre has become oversaturated, you should still check out Record of Grancrest War. Its captivating storyline and amazing magical fight scenes will have you binging it in no time.