One of several sites where one can find anime to stream legally, Crunchyroll has a decent catalogue of anime and manga. Keeping up with most new releases can be difficult, so it helps to be able to consider the best anime out as they come. However, what we’re doing here is simply giving you a peek into which titles are the best to come out in the past year! These are the titles from 2018 that we deem the most worthy of your attention, so take note – the top 10 best anime on Crunchyroll in 2018!
10. Darling in the FranXX
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2014 – July 2018
It is the distant future and the human race has been driven to the point of extinction by beasts known as Klaxosaurs. The surviving remnants of humanity live in large fortress cities they call Plantations. It is here where the hope of humanity is bred – children are trained to pilot giant mechas known as the FranXX, the only weapons capable of defeating the Klaxosaurs. They are piloted by male-female pairs of children who know nothing than this bleak reality and the heavy burden of humanity’s survival on their shoulders. Hiro is an aspiring pilot who has lost confidence after failing an aptitude test. He skips his class’s graduation ceremony to hang out in the forest at a nearby lake, where he meets a strange girl with horns coming out of her head. She calls herself ZeroTwo – the codename of an infamous FranXX pilot known as the “Partner Killer”. During this meeting; however, the Plantation suffers a sudden Klaxosaur attack and ZeroTwo prepares for combat in her heavily damaged FranXX. With her partner dead, Hiro offers to pilot the FranXX alongside her and they easily defeat the Klaxosaur, setting off a partnership that stands to give meaning to Hiro’s dreary life.
In a long line of mecha anime that have sprouted from Neon Genesis Evangelion’s seed, Darling in the FranXX is an action-packed mecha anime that is intense and unpredictable. Dropping early on in 2018, the anime very quickly became a talking point in various anime communities and its appeal comes in the form of the relationship Hiro forms with ZeroTwo, the mysteries surrounding ZeroTwo and of course, the kick butt scenes involving FranXX exterminating Klaxosaurs. While the premise may be something that we’ve seen before, Darling in the FranXX is a show that boasts some characters who we explore and learn more about throughout the series and its exploration of their dreary reality.
9. Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (Run With the Wind)
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: October 2018 – March 2019
Kakeru is a former elite runner at high school finding himself being chased for stealing food. He’s saved by a Kansei University student and runner named Haiji, who persuades Kakeru to move into the old apartment named Chikuseisou, where he’ll team up with the other residents to enter the Hakone Ekiden Marathon. This is one of the most prominent university races in Japan and Kakeru accepts Haiji’s proposal; however, what he doesn’t know is that all the Chikuseisou residents, save for himself and Haiji, are complete newbies to running.
Running in at 9th place is one of very few sport anime concerned with the activity of running in and of itself. Run With the Wind is like other sport anime in how its characters have goals or aspirations; however, it differs in making its protagonist a ready-made expert who has to prepare others in order to achieve his goal. Characters in Run With the Wind are likeable and in addition to decent characters and story, the anime has beautiful scenic animation that couples together with the activity of running – it feels like the breathtaking scenes of a morning run, but in anime form.
8. Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2018 – September 2018
The Demon King Diablo is the strongest character in the entire world of the fantasy MMORPG Cross Reverie. Possessing the game’s most powerful artefacts and the highest player level, he bulldozes through anyone foolish enough to confront him. In reality; however, Diablo is just shut-in gamer Sakamoto Takuma, a guy with virtually no social skills. Caring about nothing other than his virtual life, Takuma’s mundane life continues until he is transported to another world via a summoning spell and to cap it all off, he’s there with Diablo’s appearance! This new world resembles that of Cross Reverie and soon he’s confronted with two girls responsible for his new surroundings – Rem Galeu, an adventurer and her elven companion, Shera L. Greenwood. They attempt to perform an enslavement ritual on Diablo but it backfires, making them his slaves instead. Having to stick to the role given to him, Takuma accompanies the girls on their quest to unbind their contract while staying in character as the dangerous Diablo.
A list of anime for any calendar year would not be complete without a standout Isekai title or two. How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is familiar in a compound fashion – various elements are a staple of the Isekai trope; however, the series’ boasts some major differences in how it immediately explains how its protagonist finds themselves in their predicament. The overwhelming power of Takuma as Diablo is a recurring theme and indicative of the link between his favourite video game and the new world he finds himself having to explore. It also has interesting side stories for its deuteragonists Shera Greenwood and Rem (not the twin) which offer some layers of characterisation for the two.
7. Yuru Camp (Laid-Back Camp)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018 – March 2018
Shima Rin’s ideal getaway is camping at the base of Mount Fuji. Her favourite activity in the whole world is camping – from pitching tents to gathering firewood, she does all of it by herself and loves it. One of Rin’s normal solitary camping sessions becomes camping for two when she comes across lost girl Kagamihara Nadeshiko, who then takes refuge at her campsite. Nadeshiko had intended to see Mount Fuji but fell asleep on her way there, finding herself alone, she solicited help from the only other person around – Rin. The two girls enjoy their chilly night together, eating ramen and having campfire conversations and when Nadeshiko’s older sister finally comes to pick her up, both she and Rin ponder the possibility of camping together again.
Moe is forever, and this is proven by the incredibly calming Yuru Camp, which dropped early last year. The animation fits the story and its characters like warm fuzzy socks on cold feet and it was an incredibly pleasant watch especially to decompress after a long day. The camping aspects were also educational – which is great because it’s nice to know that Rin knew exactly what she was doing. This of course also highlights the fact that anime truly is for everyone as it managed to weave in the outdoorsy nature of camping with cute and likeable characters. Overall, Yuru Camp is a very pleasant watch and recommended any year, not just 2018.
6. MEGALO BOX
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2018 – June 2018
Megalo Box, an evolved form of boxing that uses mechanical limbs called Gear in order to enhance the user’s speed and strength. Junk Dog is an underground Megalo Box fighter brimming with potential; however, because he participates illegally, the only way he can make money is by throwing matches under the direction of his boss Nanbu Gansaku. However, everything changes when the Megalo Box champion Yuuri enters Junk Dog’s underground ring pretending to be just a random challenger. After Junk Dog is beaten in a single round, Yuuri leaves him with a challenge to face him again, in the official ring. Backed by the criminal syndicate responsible for his underground matches, Junk Dog enters the worldwide Megalo Box tournament, under the name “Joe”. With three months left for him to qualify, Joe must fight his way through opponents stronger than anyone he’s ever faced in order to finally get his rematch.
In commemoration of 50 years of Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow’s Joe), from which MEGALO BOX character Junk Dog clearly gets his name, we have this hard-hitting title which boasted some incredible animation and direction. There was almost a coolness overload that came with this title; however, it also managed to bob and weave together a decent story of rivalry and of course, boxing. In many ways, Megalo Box punched its way into the best anime of last year and stood out for its gritty storyline which was augmented by its art. Unlike most anime which simply earn themselves a straight reboot, MEGALO BOX was a great tribute to a legendary sports anime and manga and deserved the attention it received.
5. Steins;Gate 0
- Episodes: 23
- Aired: April 2018 – September 2018
Traumatized and depressed after his ordeal concerning his friend Makise Kurisu, Okabe Rintarou is no longer the eccentric we once knew. He now lives life as a regular college student and spends his days trying to forget his past alone. While working at a college technology forum presentation one day, Rintarou meets Hiyajo Maho, the interpreter at the presentation hosted by one Professor Alexis Leskinen. They reveal Amadeus, an AI capable of storing a person’s memories and creating a perfect simulation of that person’s likeness and personality. Okabe learns that Hiyajo and Leskinen were friends with Makise Kurisu and simulated her in Amadeus and they hire him to test the AI, a task which brings him face-to-face with the very demons he’d been trying to escape.
The first thing anyone watching this notices is the fact that Okabe Rintarou has completely abandoned his Hououin Kyouma alter-ego. He is now a shadow of his former self and this is evident even in the way he chooses to dress – black for every occasion. This season of the Steins;Gate story answers some questions yet also props up several more and by the halfway mark, you’re left completely stunned at the true gravity of the events of the story. There are some new characters as well as revelations – in both the Steins;Gate universe, as well as the characters.
4. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) Season 3
- Episodes: 12 (split-cour)
- Aired: July 2018 – October 2018
Several centuries ago, giant humanoid creatures known as Titans appeared, driving humanity to the brink of extinction. Their appetites for human flesh know no bounds, and soon after their appearance, humanity began fighting a seemingly hopeless fight for survival. If it weren’t for the remnants of humankind choosing to find refuge behind tall concentric walls, human beings would have long since gone extinct. Eren Jaeger, Mikasa Ackerman and Armin Arlert are three children living in the town closest to the outermost wall. They dream of one day exploring the world beyond the walls. One day, this peaceful scene is destroyed when a massive Titan appears and tears a hole in the outermost wall, letting in hordes of Titans which then tear apart the town. Eren promises that he will eradicate every single Titan on earth in hopes that one day, humanity will be able to live without fear. Now in the third season, we come to realize that the true enemy was closer than we thought.
With some of the most stunning animation seen last year, Attack on Titan’s third season was incredibly intense as it delved even further into the mysteries of the Attack on Titan universe. Like always, characters died, but others were finally held up to light for further inspection – this is in reference the diminutive blade virtuoso, Levi, as well as a fair number of other characters whose true motivations and backgrounds will leave you about as stunned as when you experienced the big reveal the first time round.
3. Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) Season 3
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2018 – September 2018
Summer arrives for the students of UA Academy and the first thing on the agenda is their Summer Training Camp. Kicking off with a forest camp run by UA’s professional heroes, the students have to face each other in battle and muscle through rigorous tests; however, the entire camp is derailed when the League of Villains invades and attacks the students in an attempt to capture someone… This is the intense third season of Midoriya Izuku’s tenure at UA Academy in hot pursuit of his dream to become a prolific hero like his idol, All Might. Things take a serious left and Izuku and his classmates must fight hard to survive the chaos starting off with their training camp gone wrong.
Carrying on very strongly from the previous two seasons is Midoriya Izuku’s story of how he became the greatest hero. The third season of My Hero Academia was incredibly intense, featuring various fights both anticipated and unanticipated and did a lot of work towards the character development of prominent characters like Katsuki Bakugo and the infamous wielder of the All-For-One Quirk. The series’ dark tone was truly felt in several instances, particularly in the Summer Training Camp where training turned into an all-out fight for survival. This third season did a bit to explore the world of heroes, gave us more villains and even explored aspects of the universe that were shrouded in mystery. Truly one of the standout features on Crunchyroll last year.
2. Tensei Shitara, Slime Datta Ken (That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 2018 – Ongoing
37-year-old Mikami Satoru’s life ends abruptly and violently when he is killed by a passing robber one day. In a strange turn of events, Satoru finds himself reincarnated in a fantasy world as a slime known as Rimuru Tempest. In this world, Satoru has access to a plethora of strange abilities, abilities which break him away from his old ordinary life and augment his adventures in a whole new world.
A breath of fresh air sounds a little bit far-fetched a description for an Isekai anime, given that the trope itself has been done to death by almost every storytelling medium imaginable. However, be that as it may, That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime seems to breathe new life into the trope and presents a familiar otherworldliness explored through the lens of a very unusual type of protagonist.
1. Golden Kamuy
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2018 – June 2018
Hokkaido, Japan. Sugimoto is a soldier who survived the Russo-Japanese War during the Meiji Era. Nicknamed “Immortal Sugimoto” for his inhuman resilience and consistent cheating of death, he now seeks the riches promised by the gold rush in order to take care of the wife of one of his deceased comrades who lost his life during the war. While looking for gold, Sugimoto finds a hidden stash of gold hidden by criminals. After being saved from the harsh elements by a young Ainu girl, Sugimoto partners up with her and ventures into an adventure to beat the criminals to the hidden riches.
The best that Crunchyroll had to offer in 2018 was none other than Golden Kamuy, an adventure of survival, resilience and quite the fair bit of comedy. We were treated to two seasons of this brilliant show – two seasons of an intensely thrilling adventure which features some subtle yet very refreshing references to the aboriginal Ainu people of Japan and their culture. The series boasts captivating art and character design and when need be, the art itself is able to carry aspects of the show like its comedy, its drama and of course, it’s sometimes unsettling violence. The characters are never quite like their introductions and they are an additional delight in the experience of this show – fan favourite Shiraishi stands out for his ridiculous banter and comedic scenes but do not be fooled – Golden Kamuy is every-bit as story-driven as any other show on this list.
While it did face a mass exodus of various FUNimation licensed shows, Crunchyroll is admittedly a great source of anime and manga and boasts an impressive catalogue of great anime year in, year out. Each season is exciting because the service is very quick to update and sub its shows. 2018 was a year of incredibly memorable anime titles overall, many of which found a home in Crunchyroll. What were your favourite titles on Crunchyroll in 2018? Drop a comment below and let us know all about them, we might have some shows in common!