Hi all! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year. Now that we’ve stepped into 2019, it’s a time of reflection and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. So then, for this mini trip down the otaku rabbit hole, I’ll be looking back at 2018 and listing off three otaku gems, one anime, one game and one manga, that were some of my favourites of 2018. Disclaimer: this does NOT mean that these franchises were released in 2018, just that I tried them and loved them in 2018. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Top Manga of the Year: Akame ga Kill
A somewhat controversial pick for the manga of the year, but one that I fell deeply in love with. The story follows Tatsumi, a country boy trying to make a name for himself in the big city. After a traumatic event, he joins Night Raid, an order of assassins that acts as a key part of the resistance movement, determined to topple the corrupt government that rules with an iron fist. Characters take part in some incredible, over-the-top, high-action battles where the only options are win or die. A far more brutal tale than its anime adaptation and with an ending far removed from what the anime had to offer, Akame ga Kill the manga is most definitely the best way to check out this franchise. For a deliciously dark and gritty action manga, look no further and check this one out for yourself.
Top Anime of the Year: Made in Abyss
This category, above all others, was by far the easiest decision I could have possibly made. Made in Abyss is set around the titular abyss, a place filled with infinite possibilities, treasures and artefacts – an attractive prospect for many a budding adventurer. However, this promise of fame and fortune is offset by the monstrous creatures that make the abyss their home, in addition to a dangerous trade off that comes with entering the abyss known as the “curse of the abyss”. As adventurers descend into the abyss, there will be no issue, but to ascend back through the abyss will result in ever-worsening symptoms, the worst of which being death. The story follows two main protagonists – the young and ambitious wannabe adventurer and daughter of a legendary white-whistle adventurer, Riko, and the robot boy with a link to the depth of the abyss, Reg, as they journey into the abyss in pursuit of Riko’s mother. With adorable character designs, incredibly detailed and luscious world, coupled with a beautiful musical score, Made in Abyss delivers an emotional punch that will draw you back again and again. I will be writing a full retrospective review on this anime in the coming months, so if you want to learn more about this series then please keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, though, if you’re in the mood for a melancholy anime that has already had a second season confirmed for an as-yet-unknown date, then Made in Abyss is most definitely one that’s worth your time.
Top Game of the Year: Spyro: Reignited Trilogy
I’m not one to be caught by nostalgia very easily. However, when I booted up this game and was met with the music and visuals of my childhood and saw the adorable purple dragon in all his HD glory, I had the biggest smile on my face that just didn’t go away. Collecting the original PS1 classic games in one HD collection, the Spyro: Reignited Trilogy is a true love letter to the series. Developers Toys for Bob have done a fantastic job here and the addition of a camera control option helps make this collection even better than before. Having the ability to toggle between the original soundtrack, composed by Stewart Copeland, or the re-imagined tracks, also by Stewart Copeland, is a perfect touch and for long-time fans of the series is yet another nod to its simpler roots. The updated voice acting does slightly affect the experience, losing the campy humour that made the PS1 games great in place of a more literal interpretation of the characters, but that’s a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things. Whether you’re a dedicated lover of the purple dragon, or a newcomer to the series, now is most definitely the best time to experience the adventures of Spyro the Dragon, with a collection that, while faithful to the originals, is given a fresh coat of paint ready for the new generation of consoles and gamers to enjoy.
With that, we’ve finished this lightning fast tour down the otaku rabbit hole. All three of these otaku goodies are most definitely worth checking out, albeit for very different reasons. I hope you have enjoyed the review and will join me next week once again for some otaku goodness. And of course, as always, keep it weeby!