Anime

Relive your favorite Darling in the Franxx moments!

Hey there!

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The Top 13 Anime of 2018

Hello and welcome to my super extra personal anime list. I need to point out that this list is made solely by me (Vincent) and is in no way a reflection of any team members or associates of mine.

This will certainly show my taste in anime (or lack thereof if you would so have that opinion).

I'd like to also mention that before we get started, this list isn’t of anime that have just released in 2018.

This is anime that I've watched in 2018. Many of which are very popular, such as Cowboy Bebop, One Punch Man and RWBY. Everything on this list, I had not seen prior to 2018.

With all of that out of the way, lets dive right in!

13. Tokyo Ghoul season 2

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Wow. All I can say is wow and I don't mean that in a good way.

This is the only series I'm splitting between seasons because I feel like this one really needed it.

The change in direction, budget, and writing, really shows and makes season 2 of Tokyo Ghoul stand out, with it's two-dimensional characters, focus on the wrong cast of characters, lack of animation, terrible plot decisions and I could go on and on, but we have great anime to talk about instead.

12. To The Forest of Firefly Lights

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This short forty minute movie was quite a delight. Even though it's so close to my terribly reviewed Tokyo Ghoul season 2, I actually believe this was an enjoyable watch. It's a charming, mysterious love story and while it's not my personal taste, I can see why others would find this special.

11. The Cat Returns

An older, yet magical film directed by Hiroyuki Morita. I don't really remember much about this movie other than there being a fancy cat and it was a whimsical ride to be a part of. I would recommend this for avid fans of Hayao Miyazaki.

10. One Punch Man

This may be a shocker to many people because I know this is a really popular anime. For me personally, the humor just didn't land as much as it seems to for others.

It relies very heavily on the title character's ability to “one punch” anything he faces. For me, knowing the end result or I dare say, the punchline of most of the jokes, made it less funny for me.

The best arc, was when the main character was missing (which is never a good sign), in which case it was highly compelling and motivating. Another anime on this list was able to take One Punch Man's best moments however and replicate them time and time again. So for now, Saitama, wasn't able to one punch this list...

My goodness I'm corny...

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9. Aggretsuko

This was one of the most different shows I’ve watched this year.

This show strikes close to home with its unrelenting mockery of real life situations that we find ourselves in. I enjoy this show for how casual the watch is. I however, prefer different subject matter than work, when I'm not working.

I recommend this show to anyone who has access to Netflix. One episode is all you need to get a good idea for how this show is.

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8. Cowboy Bebop

This may be a large shock to many fans. For a lot of people, Cowboy Bebop is their favorite anime of all time. I love most of the music. I love how stylized it is and how many genres this show mashes together.

I could see why this was such a hit back in the day and has remained to be so cherished.

For me, I just wasn't hooked throughout the show. It's good episode to episode, but it wasn't very engaging for me.

While it may have a lot of ideas that were newer at the time, I have since seen similar themes play out in more meaningful and powerful ways. That's why Cowboy Bebop is my number 8 of 2018.

TOKYO GHOUL:re Call to Exist - PlayStation 4
Bandai Namco Entertainment America

7. Tokyo Ghoul season 1

Yes, I enjoyed Tokyo Ghoul season 1 more than Cowboy Bebop. I loved season 1 to a shocking amount. I thought the performance by Austin Tindle in episode one was insanely great. I was interested in ghouls and the morally grey area they lived in. I was invested in Kaneki as a character, experiencing this new world through his eyes, as I had a front row seat. This season was riveting and the only reason why it's not higher on my list is because it ended in a train accident.

I struggle recommending this series to anyone. However, it may be worth watching if you like Psycho Pass, Deadman Wonderland, or Attack on Titan.

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6. Attack on Titan seasons 2 and 3

Speaking of Attack on Titan! I remember not being that excited by season 1. I thought it was okay and I remember watching it all. However, because of my lukewarm reaction to it, it caused me to put this series on hiatus. I eventually caved and decided to continue watching and man, I'm really glad I did!

Season 2 gives you some new mysteries and a *few* answers. I recommend Attack on Titan for anyone that loves incredibly exhilarating music, animation, mystery and don't mind seeing death...lots and lots of death.

Attack on Titan: The Last Stand
Publisher Services Inc (PSI)
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5. Fate Apocrypha

To my surprise Fate Apocrypha lands at number 5 on my top 13 list. I heard from many other fate fans that this series was mediocre. I however found it to be better than the more popular Unlimited Blade Works. The premise not being centered around a whiny school girl and a boring school boy protagonist, really helped this shine in my opinion.

I’m just so tired of school anime, so maybe that’s just my problem that I’m dealing with as a mid-twenties adult.

However, this show is definitely not without its faults (I'm looking at you Jack the Ripper!). This series also has a similar issues as season 2 of Tokyo Ghoul, by feeling like it's focused on the less interesting characters. However, different from Tokyo Ghoul, it's more boring cast of characters is still more interesting and have more dimensions to their personality and character arcs.

Where Fate Apocrypha stumbles, it also manages to paradoxically succeed. For everything that I could gripe about this show, I have two things that I absolutely love. The animation and suburb is some of my favorite. I recommend this to any fan of fantasy anime.

4. Your Name

Having a movie appear at my number 4 spot is saying high praise for the movie because I almost always prefer series. However, “Your Name” is transformative and magical. Anyone that has emotions should watch this.

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Your Name.
Starring Ry�nosuke Kamiki, Aoi Y�ki, Ry� Narita, Mone Kamishiraishi

Seriously, purchase Your Name and watch it now. Your girlfriend will love it, you will love it, your dog will love it. It’s so great!

3. My Hero Academia

My top 3 might be different any day of the week. Seriously, I didn't want to put these last three in any order. I could very much see myself putting MHA at number 1.

So, why is it number 3? For me it's mostly two things, it's that it's not a finished series and it's not my favorite theme.

MHA is certainly an experience though! It's almost just as much fun being a fan of this series as it is watching it. Going to the theater and watching this was a highlight of my year, as well as watching Blindwave react to it, and I'd recommend this show to any anime fan!

Taken from the first trailer for RWBY. If you think this looks good, the animation only gets better!

Taken from the first trailer for RWBY. If you think this looks good, the animation only gets better!

2. RWBY volumes 1-4

Like MHA, this series isn't completed and I tend to like finished stories to unfinished ones. However, unlike MHA, a fantasy world filled with dark monsters, giant scythes, guns, and magic is right up my alley!

I honestly thought this show was just about four girls who fought with crazy weapons, but really this show has so much more going for it then that. Had I known about the rich lore and amazing world that Monty had built here, I would have given this show a watch sooner.

I recommend this show to anyone who likes Final Fantasy or Harry Potter.

RWBY: Combat Ready
Arcane Wonders

Now it’s time for my number 1 spot… I don’t think you’ll be surprised if you know me…

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1. Darling in the Franxx

Sharing some aspects of Gurren Lagann, this show really surprised me with the connection to family, friends, and love that it has. Much like Your Name, this show felt like a complete transformative experience for me and had me in tears by the end of this journey. I really need to watch this series again to have a better understanding of its deep, complex, and powerful themes and messages.

The biggest knock against this series for me is I personally prefer fantasy to sci-fi. I enjoy the world of MHA and RWBY more than this world, but I just can't overlook the affect this show had on me and how much it resonated with my soul.

I recommend this show to anyone who likes artful masterpieces.

Well, that’s my list! How offended did you get over my opinion? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading and as always.

Stay Awesome!
Vincent

Darling in the Franxx is AMAZING!

Hello, it’s Vincent here and I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m tired of hearing people talk trash about Darling in the Franxx, or perhaps even worse, tell me how the first sixteen episodes are perfection and then it all goes downhill from there into straight GAR-BAGE.

If you’re with me, then enjoy! If not, then buckle up, because this is going to be a bumpy ride. Oh, and of course, there’s spoilers, so only keep reading if you’ve seen the show!

The Animation and Music

You might be wondering, “why are we starting with the animation and music? No one is complaining about the that!” If so, then good. My idea is to start off with the easiest aspects of the show to agree upon before diving deeper into the more difficult subjects.

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I mean can anyone seriously say this show is animated poorly? It might not be their preferred style, but you’d have a hard time convincing many people that this looks poor.

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And don’t even get me started on the music. The entire official soundtrack is just amazing from beginning to end.

”Kiss of Death” is making waves among fans and disgruntled fans alike.

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The song is captivating and gives off the emotion of this deadly but attractive presence that Zero Two brings.

You can watch a video by PhenomSage that wonderful breaks down the second opening and much of the symbolism it has. It gives a great perspective of how meticulously well designed the intro is. It’s almost as if the intro is so well done with its details, symbolism, and design, then this show would be as well.

THE CHARACTERS

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You still here? Good! Before I just spout about how well these characters are written, let’s try and come up with some common ground we can agree upon.

I believe that while not in all cases, a three dimensional character is usually a good sign of a good character. If a character is two dimensional, they are far less believable and don’t leave any sort of impression on the viewer. Furthermore, they can be very one note and predictable.

So, how can we say for certain which characters are three dimensional in Darling?

While, there’s many different criteria, I like to follow these rules:
1. What’s this character’s main characteristics?
2. Do they ever differ from those characteristics?
3. Does this character have a goal?
4. Does this character challenge their beliefs?

You can take any main character from Darling in the Franxx and apply this to them and end up realizing that Kokoro or even Zorome are complex three dimensional characters.

Let’s take Futoshi for example, since he gets picked on by critics as being one of the more lackluster and “useless” characters in the series.

1. What’s this character’s main characteristics? Hungry, happy, and a good friend.
2. Do they ever differ from those characteristics? Futoshi gets angered by events that transpire throughout the series, even causing him to explode with anger and tears.
3. Does this character have a goal? Futoshi wants to be friends with everyone, wants to see them happy, and wants to Kokoro to be happy and taken care of.
4. Does this character challenge their beliefs? Futoshi’s beliefs are most challenged when the happy life he once envisioned with Kokoro begins to leave his grasp. Will he accept this? Will he accept Mitsuro as her new partner?

Futoshi is arguably the least three dimensional character of squad 13, yet he has a great bit of characteristics and challenges for him throughout this short series. After all, not every character can get several episodes dedicated to them. The time we spent with each character seemed well done, as it further developed those characters, the story, or both.

If you ask me, the weakest characters in the show are the 9’s. I couldn’t tell you any of their names aside from Alpha (did we learn them?) and Alpha, I only remembered because of the last moment we had with them.

Overall though, their inclusion was a net positive in my opinion. Having a little redemption for them thrown in at the end, also having some rivals to pit up against Zero Two and Squad 13 as a whole, was nice to see. Not every antagonist can be your main antagonist. So, let’s move on to the final and most important part.

The Story

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Welcome to arguably the most subjective section. How am I supposed to convince anyone to like a story that they didn’t enjoy? Well, to be honest, I can’t.

However, I can address some main concerns I’ve seen.

Darling Should Be About Kids and Robots
Kotaku thinks that’s what this anime is about and because it has a deeper meaning then that, it misses its landing? Nope, sorry. Just because you didn’t know it was going to have more than kids and giant robots didn’t mean that we all missed the bigger picture.

I’m personally very thankful the show was more than that or else it wouldn’t have been a favorite of mine.

Ikuno
Many hate how Ikuno was treated in the show. Many think her story was shafted because more important world shattering events were taking place.

I honestly don’t know why this is even an issue. Many characters in many shows don’t have the happiest of endings. Ikuno on the other hand seemed happy getting her internal struggles off her chest, and where her relation went after the fact. Not to mention it seemed that her and Naomi had something going as well. I didn’t need to see more, because it already showed the arc from beginning to end, and I understand that journey. What more would there be to see?

VIRN
I can’t remember where I read it, but someone said the show had been setting itself up for a rebellion arc and then turned it to fighting VIRN. While, a rebellion arc seemed like it could work and be obvious, that’s part of the issue, is it would have been obvious.

Now of course, you don’t want to do twists just for the sake of doing twists, that’s not good writing. And honestly, this twist does seem rather sudden. What makes it better however, is our characters acknowledge how crazy and sudden this twist is. This tells me the writer is self aware and meant to do this. Not only that, but you’re meant to be left in the dark during this as the characters are.

Comprising It’s “Third Time” Rule

This article talks about how the show compromised itself. Stating that it’s bad writing to set limits in your show and then to break them. The writer goes on to explain that, since Hiro broke the “three times” limit that it made the whole situation moot.

However, this isn’t true. Through this, we see tension rise among squad 13, we see how Zero Two handles the death of everyone she’s piloted with and we know that Hiro is going to be special in some way. I mean honestly, did you think he was going to die from that?

Luckily, unlike most anime. This actually seemed planned from the beginning and they explained why he’s the only one that can be Zero Two’s. It’s because he also have Klaxosaur blood. He has her Klaxosaur blood. Which all came from him wanting to help her and save her as a child.

They even had story relevant reasons explaining his amnesia, instead of just giving him amnesia like many other anime do.

That’s All For Today Darling

Well, I’m spent and I’m done rambling. Let me know your thoughts on Darling, whether they be good or bad! Is there a certain subject, you’d like me to write about, let me know!

Also, I have a Darling in the Franxx podcast called Hello Darling. New episodes release every Saturday night! I also have a newsletter, where I share free games, audio, and exclusives. You can subscribe for free here.

Stay Awesome!
Vincent

Hello Darling: A Darling in the Franxx podcast - Episode 02

Does Zero Two Scare You?! Welcome to our second podcast! You can listen by clicking the image below. Also, if you liked this episode, be sure to let me know! We’re releasing our third episode tonight, so stay tuned!

You made it this far? Become a vscriber! You’ll gain access to exclusives, behind the scenes, and more!

Stay Awesome!
Vincent

Hello Darling: A Darling in the Franxx podcast - Episode 01

Wow!!! This show is crazy and I’m loving it. Click the wonderful image below to listen to my thoughts on the first three episodes! I’ll be releasing new episodes of Hello Darling every Saturday night / Sunday morning!

If you’re reading this much, you should become a vscriber to keep up to date with this podcast, exclusives, behind the scenes, and more!