Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018 [Best Recommendations]

Shounen was once the king of fantasy anime, but there has been a continuous shift in recent years towards a different subgenre in fantasy: Isekai. Of course, there are plenty of occasions where we are also treated to a combination of both, but the latter’s rise in popularity has made it the focus of many fantasy anime in 2018. As a result, it’s easy to see why Honey’s Anime Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018 will end up filled with a variety of Isekai. For fans of traditional fantasy Shounen, don’t let that discourage you because there are still plenty of those around.

The Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018 haven’t necessarily reinvented the wheel this year but have instead found interesting ways to interact with their environment that have provided a fresh feel to a timeless genre. We’ve still got medieval fantasy worlds aplenty in our list, but these new perspectives, largely thanks to Isekai, has changed the way we look at these worlds and made for riveting series to watch. Others have used the advantage of previous seasons to continue building on their worlds and focus on increasingly thrilling stories. These are the two key trends that have characterized the Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018.

10. Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2018 – September 2018

Takuma Sakamoto has nothing going for him outside of his reputation as the Demon King Diablo in an MMORPG called Cross Reverie. When he’s summoned into a fantasy world resembling the MMORPG he called home in the body that he once inhabited virtually, he hides behind the persona he’d built as Demon King to survive the many social interactions to come. The two girls responsible for his summoning quickly find themselves at his mercy when their enslavement spell backfires unto them. Takuma is eager to rid himself of the enslavement spell but for now, that’ll mean learning to interact with the two girls and the many people he’ll meet in this world.

How Not to Summon a Demon Lord is a perfect illustration of how a change of perspective can freshen up a traditional fantasy world. Takuma’s socially awkward demeanor and his portrayal of a fictional persona of a demon lord is a new dynamic we haven’t seen much in fantasy anime. It becomes even more interesting because Takuma must negotiate his demon lord character with his internal desire to help the two girls that have summoned him. It’s an example of how sometimes changing the fantasy world isn’t necessary but changing the character you’re telling the story of can make everything feel new.

9. Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen (Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card)

  • Episodes: 22
  • Aired: January 2018 – June 2018

Sakura’s successes in changing all the magical Clow Cards into Sakura Cards are short lived when she wakes up from a dream with a mysterious cloaked figure to discover that all of her cards are now blank. In another dream, she receives a key that remains in her hand when she wakes up and turns out to be a means of capturing a whole new set of transparent cards. Together, with her friends Shaoran, Tomoyo, and Kero, she’ll need to begin a new journey in capturing all of the transparent cards and figuring out who is the cloaked figure that haunts her dreams.

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card is one of two on this list that stand out on their own. It’s a Shoujo fantasy series and predominantly set in the present day. The show focus around Sakura’s quest to capture destructive cards from episode to episode but also touches upon her maturing relationship with Shaoran and has a larger plot that develops over time but isn’t an immediate focus. It’s everything you would’ve loved from the original series with the characters maturing a bit as they’ve since grown. In the end, Sakura’s a classic schoolgirl by day and magical girl by night character, but with less of those series being prevalent today, it helps the show stand out on this list.

8. Violet Evergarden

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2018 – April 2018

Violet Evergarden was a tool of war who had little reason to exist beyond hurting the enemy. With the end of the Great War, Violet found herself maimed and the sole man she dedicated her life to on the verge of death. After recovering from her wounds, Violet discovers she is without purpose in a world without war. Through a strange set of circumstances, she eventually ends up employed by CH Postal Services where she finds a new purpose in life: the task of writing down people’s thoughts and feelings into words. Having a tough understanding of human emotion thanks to her troubling upbringing, Violet will find such a purpose to be even more tasking than that of war.

You won’t find a more unique selection on this list than Violet Evergarden. As a drama, it’s incomparable to any other fantasy series you’ll see here. It’s a show about finding the right way to express feelings and emotion, of learning to move forward past grief, and of growing as an individual. It’s slow paced but rewarding, and one of the best-looking anime you’ll see all year.

7. Goblin Slayer

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: October 2018 – December 2018

There is an adventurer whose sole purpose in life is the task of slaying goblins, he is fittingly called Goblin Slayer. Priestess, a brand-new adventurer, has her first encounter with Goblin Slayer in dire circumstances. Having joined a group of similarly new adventurers for her first adventure, she could not have expected that they would end up overwhelmed by a horde goblin. On the verge of sharing the same tragic fate as her fellow adventurers, Goblin Slayer’s timely arrival allows her to live on. Priestess decides to accompany the lonely adventurer from thereon, aiding him in all his goblin slaying business.

Goblin Slayer is part of that trend of fantasy anime that have switched up perspectives to liven the genre up. Here, we focus on a young man who has a fixation on goblins because of a tragic past. Goblin Slayer’s fixation has alienated him from almost everyone around him and socially stunted him. Through the Priestess, we see Goblin Slayer’s xenophobic dedication to the eradication of goblins but also his slow progress in learning to open up after closing himself off from others for so many years. That’s not to mention that this is another of the better-looking series you’ll find on this list.

6. Sword Art Online: Alicization

  • Episodes: 18+
  • Aired: October 2018 – Ongoing

Kirito has been helping with the development of a new Full Dive technology called Soul Translator. Whenever he does a Full Dive into the Soul Translator, he enters a world where he is a kid and has no memory of his real life as Kirito. Similarly, when he leaves the Soul Translator, he has little memory of his time in it. When Kirito is injected with a poison syringe, he awakens to find himself in the world of the Soul Translator again except this time he has no memory of his past time in the Soul Translator and only memories of his real life as Kirito.

Alicization has a rather interesting mystery established at the start of the season that leaves viewers with a myriad of questions. Despite being one of many sequels on this list, Sword Art Online introduces us to a whole new fantasy world with Alicization, one that feels more alive and thus more consequential than the previous world Kirito has visited. Kirito also spends most of his time in Alicization with a different set of characters accompanying him and a greater emphasis on his friendship with a boy called Eugeo. This is a welcome switch-up to the usual Sword Art Online dynamic and gives us new characters to support.

5. Overlord II

  • Episodes: 13
  • Aired: January 2018 – April 2018

Yggdrasil was a world that was once the setting of a game but became real when one of its greatest players, Momonga, remained in it as the servers closed. Momonga’s ambitions as a skeletal dark lord led to others desire to see him killed and one of his own servants manipulated to attack him. Having survived the ordeal has only increased the interest that the Slane Theocracy, responsible for the manipulation, have in him. Furthermore, as other nations become embroiled in war, Momonga will find himself becoming further involved in the world’s politics.

Overlord II steps away from focusing on Momonga and starts to shine some light on the rest of the characters that make up the world of Yggdrasil. We get a big picture of the show’s intention of building up a kingdom for Momonga to rule. While Momonga’s look and the title of the show may betray a villainous lead character, it’s all a mask for Momonga’s more moral goals of creating a society for all demi-humans. Overlord II tends to be at its best less when we see Momonga dispatching his enemies and more when we get to see the many side characters help contribute to Momonga’s idealistic goals.

4. Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu (The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of the Commandments)

  • Episodes: 24
  • Aired: January 2018 – June 2018

Meliodas, leader of the Seven Deadly Sins, must gather his comrades after having finally redeemed their reputation in the eyes of the Kingdom of Leones to be able to save the world from the wrath of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments, chosen by the Demon King himself, were very much responsible for the downfall of the sins and terrorized the world thousands of years ago. Unfortunately, not only will uniting the Seven Deadly Sins prove challenging, but their current power may not even be strong enough to defeat them.

Meliodas never felt like he had much of a challenge in the previous season of Seven Deadly Sins but that all changes with the Revival of the Commandments. The leader of the Sins has his past unearthed by his fellow sins as he tries to regain his old powers in a bid to be able to save the people he cares about from the commandments. We also get to see the unwavering confidence his fellow sins have in him start to crack and his own optimistic personality take a slight step back. It’s a welcome change in a wonderful Shounen that at-times made its lead out to be too powerful.

3. Shingeki no Kyojin Season 3 (Attack on Titan Season 3)

Sword-Art-Online-Alicization-1-Capture Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018 [Best Recommendations]

  • Episodes: 12
  • Aired: July 2018 – October 2018

It’s clear that not everyone within the last remaining society of humanity has the same collective goal of survival. Although the Survey Corps plots to have Eren transform into a titan in order to rebuild the wall that was shattered years ago and stymie the titan threat to humanity, the Military Police and current government don’t seem inclined to support those plans. Now led by a serial killer called Jack, the Military Police are out to capture both Eren and another Survey Corps member called Historia for reasons only a conspiring government knows.

Attack on Titan Season 3 is the season where we get a great deal of answers about what led to Eren Yeager getting the ability to transform into a titan. There’s a lot less titan-slaying action in this season as well and it becomes a war between two factions of the government military: the Survey Corps and the Military Police. It’s a welcome change of pace and continues to add layers to the conflict between humanity and titans with increasingly more indications appearing that this war isn’t as clear cut as simply being one for humanity’s survival.

2. Fairy Tail: Final Series (Fairy Tail Final Series)

  • Episodes: 18+
  • Aired: October 2018 – Ongoing

Having lost to the dark wizard Zeref and the dragon Acnologia, Natsu saw his guild Fairy Tail disbanded and its member spit up. That set back only spurred Natsu into further training to face off against Zeref and now he’s ready to gather the members of his former guild and return it to prominence. Of course, while Natsu’s plans to reunite Fairy Tail will be challenging, none of it will compare to his inevitable battle with Zeref.

Fairy Tail Final Series feels very much like a throwback to the early parts of the show in the sense that we get to see Natsu, Happy, and Lucy gather all the members of Fairy Tail once again. It’s not as straightforward as that and we see that Natsu’s former guildmembers have all been pre-occupied in their own ways since they disbanded. The most attractive part of Fairy Tail Final Series is the build-up to the inevitable duel between Natsu and Zeref that will very much have the fate of the world riding on the result.

1. Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken (That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime)

  • Episodes: 19+
  • Aired: October 2018 – Ongoing

After being stabbed to death by happenstance, Satoru Mikami wakes up in a fantasy world as a slime. The first creature he meets is a legendary dragon called Veldora that bestows upon him the name Rimuru Tempest. Newly named, Rimuru promises to help Veldora be freed from the seal that binds him by swallowing him up as the unknown being within him works on freeing it. Little does Rimuru know, swallowing Veldora has altered the delicate balance of the ecosystem in the world he now inhabits, and the endless consequences will be his to deal with.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime quickly goes from an adventure series into a fantasy city-builder. Like Overlord above, we see Rimuru aspire to build a nation where everyone is welcome because he can’t stop himself from helping and extending a hand to nearly everyone he meets. Rimuru’s inherently good nature pushes him into building a society where the many struggling people he meets, often of lesser species, can lead happy lives. These purely altruistic intentions make for one of the most likable characters in Anime and a series that’s hard not to enjoy.

Final Thoughts

The Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018 is held up by new and interesting perspectives in familiar fantasy worlds. A slime, a skeletal overlord, an anxious demon lord, a soldier turned love-letter writer, these are all characters we haven’t had the pleasure of seeing much in anime’s long history of fantasy series. That said, Shounen still reign supreme in series like Fairy Tail and Seven Deadly Sins where characters must strengthen to face powers far beyond their initial ability in otherworldly settings. Fantasy Anime tend to always offer up something interesting every year and 2018 wasn’t an exception. Are there any fantasy Anime that suit your fancy that we forgot to mention here? Any fantasy worlds that capture your imagination in 2018? Let us know in the comments below!

Sword-Art-Online-Alicization-1-Capture Top 10 Best Fantasy Anime of 2018 [Best Recommendations]


Author: Jonathan Tshinanu

Graduated from Carleton University in the capital of Canada with a degree in Film Studies and English, which basically sums me up real nice. I’m a sucker for a good story – written or visual – wherever I can find it, whether it’s in anime, video games, movies, books, albums or whatever else you can think of. If I’m not consuming, then I’m probably trying to make them myself.

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