2018 was an incredibly interesting anime year – for one, we were never truly short of familiar things to watch as certain shows found themselves revived, while we also got a healthy helping of great shows! From Shounen to Slice of Life, 2018 was a great year for anime old and new – but what is an anime without its characters? Like the years before it, 2018 saw some truly memorable characters – from their appearance to their impact, here are our top ten most memorable anime characters of 2018!
10. Violet Evergarden – Violet Evergarden
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2018 – April 2018
After a four-year-long war, the continent of Telesis enjoys a period of peace and prosperity again. Violet Evergarden is a young girl raised for the battlefield who was maimed towards the end of the war, left with nothing but words from the one person she adored the most. In her period of recovery, Violet begins working at CH Postal Services after her intended post-war guardian family refused to take her in. There, she sees the work of an “Auto Memory Doll”, a person hired to transcribe people’s thoughts and feelings onto paper. Moved by the notion, Violet begins working as an Auto Memory Doll, a journey which will take Violet on many adventures, both outside and within.
Violet’s stoic yet also visibly innocent demeanour is an aspect of the character that stands to stick more than her trademark metal arms. Watching Violet Evergarden is watching the journey of a character who isn’t equipped to deal with the emotional but also not equipped for a functional human life without being guided through it somehow. However, the closest thing to some sort of guide is no longer around and she has to get to know new people at her new place of work, which slowly begins her acquaintance with the emotional aspect of being.
9. Escanor – Nanatsu no Taizai (Seven Deadly Sins) Season 2
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2018 – June 2018
In an era akin to the European Middle Ages, the Holy Knights of the Britannia of the Kingdom of Liones use powerful magic to maintain order and protect the region. Despite this, a small squadron of Knights turned their blades towards the kingdom in an attempt to overthrow the ruler of their country, Liones. This treason was subdued by the Holy Knights, but rumours of their, of the “Seven Deadly Sins”’ survival. Ten years later, the Holy Knights staged an insurgence of their own, becoming the new tyrannical rulers of Britannia. Elizabeth, the third princess of Britannia embarks on a personal mission to find the Seven Deadly Sins and ask for their help in order to take back her kingdom from the Holy Knights.
The Lion’s Sin of Pride, Escanor, is possibly one of the haughtiest, most arrogant anime characters you could ever come across. He is at all times wholly cognizant of his own perceived greatness and will never hesitate to remind an opponent that he is more powerful than they can ever be. However, this is only true of Escanor during the bright hours of the day – at night he regresses to what could be considered his “true” form: a scrawny, timid bartender who merely resembles his prideful self in appearance.
8. Tsukasa Eishi – Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars!) Season 3
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017 – December 2017
15-year-old Yukihira Souma has helped his father as the sous chef of the restaurant his father runs and owns. Over the years, Souma developed a love for creative and daring cooking and dreams of one day taking on his father’s mantle as head of the Yukihira diner. However, one day he finds the restaurant closed and his father gone on a journey to test his cooking ability abroad, and on top of that, Souma’s father sends him to Toutsuki Culinary Academy. Toutsuki is notorious for its low graduation rate at a measly 10%, and it is even more renowned for its Shokugeki – intense contests where students face off in a clash of cataclysmic culinary proportions. New to the environment of gourmet cooking, Souma finds himself a fish out of water, but this is the perfect chance for Souma to test the skills he learned under his father.
The white-haired super cook who leads the entire student body of Toutsuki as far as cooking ability goes, Tsukasa Eishi. This guy’s dazzling form and output in the kitchen was something to truly relish in the episodes he was present and his very appearance in the third season of Shokugeki no Souma further increased our knowledge of the structures in Toutsuki, as well as the outstanding members of the Elite Ten Council. Tsukasa’s achievements make him out to be quite intimidating; however, his demeanour is fairly quirky as his absent-mindedness takes centre stage on quite a few occasions.
7. Rimuru Tempest – That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October - 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.
“Remember that slime on That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime?” Well, of course they do. Anyone who caught this breath of fresh otherworldly air last year will definitely have their memory committed to Rimuru Tempest, the reincarnated Mikami Satoru in a new world following in the footsteps of various other Isekai titles before it.
6. Ash Lynx – Banana Fish
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2018 – December 2018
Aslan Jade Callenreese, also known as Ash Lynx, is a young runaway picked off the streets of New York and raised by the infamous mafia boss, Dino Golzine. Now 17 and leading his own gang, Ash comes into possession of a drug called “Banana Fish” – the same two words his brother, Griffin, has been muttering since his return from the war in Vietnam. Ash’s investigation is hindered when Golzine sends his men to Ash’s hideout to retrieve the drug. While Ash is at the bar, his friend, Skip, introduces him to Ibe Shunichi and his assistant, Okumura Eiji, a pair of Japanese photographers. The two are looking to report on American street gangs. They're interrupted by Shorter Wong, one of Ash’s friends, who warns them about Golzine. Soon after that, Golzine’s men storm the bar and kidnap Skip and Eiji. Now Ash must rescue them and continue looking into Banana Fish, but will his mafia connections do his investigation more harm than good?
Tall, blonde American gangster youth with a mystery to solve and a Japanese love interest? Sounds interesting enough, if Ash Lynx weren’t as cool as he is, the basic premise of his character would definitely speak for him. However, Ash Lynx is quite the badass and our eyes were blessed consistently throughout Banana Fish, especially in the fight scenes featuring one of our 2018 favourite blondes.
5. Kenny Ackerman – Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) Season 3
- Episodes: 12
- 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.
The man who raised Levi himself, Kenny already comes into this list with quite the resume and his actions in the third season of Shingeki no Kyojin brought him quite a bit of fame last year. Shamelessly blasting through the heads of those who opposed the king, viciously attacking Levi in the streets of the innermost wall and doing it all while coating his tongue in some of the crudest verbosity we’ve seen in Shingeki no Kyojin yet, Kenny was an enjoyable addition to the series. However, this being said, we cannot understate his obvious contribution to the greater unravelling mysteries of the titans, and of course, his adopted son, Levi Ackerman.
4. Zero Two – Darling in the FranXX
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: January 2018 - 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. Piloted by male-female pairs of children, the FranXX are the only weapons capable of defeating the Klaxosaurs. 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 Zero Two – the codename of an infamous FranXX pilot known as the “Partner Killer”. During this meeting; however, the Plantation suffers a sudden Klaxosaur attack and Zero Two 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.
From her long pink hair to her pink eyeliner, to those red horns protruding from her head, Zero Two is a character whose very design catches the eye and is quite memorable. Given her popularity last year and her status as an icon for the series, Zero Two is a character who went through an intensive design process which led to her being the most eye-catching of the series. However, it was not her appearance which makes her one of the most memorable characters of 2018, it is her charisma and her overall personality which earns her this right. Her cynical outlook on life not immediately apparent given her cheerful, somewhat comedic demeanour, Zero Two is a character rich in her design, as well as her layering as a character with a host of values, ambitions and even insecurities and control dramas. Zero Two is memorable because every last bit of her screamed “substance”.
3. Asuka Ryo – Devilman Crybaby
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: January 2018
Devils are immensely powerful beings that are hindered by one fact: they cannot take form without a living host. However, if the will of the host is strong enough, they can overcome the possession and become a powerful being known as a Devilman. Fudou Akira is an intensely empathetic high school student who decides to help his childhood friend Asuka Ryou in his quest to uncover some devils. When they arrive at the scene of Sabbath, a party characterised by high levels of degeneracy, they witness demons turning people into monsters and spilling the blood of innumerable people. In an attempt to save Ryou from one such monster, Akira unwittingly merges with a devil known as Amon and becomes a Devilman. The new power changes Akira physically but with the same empathy he has always had, Akira must navigate his newfound strength and use it to protect the people he loves.
Ryo’s involvement in Akira’s possession by the demon, Amon, should have been a major red flag in retrospect; however, Akira’s devotion to his friendships couldn’t let him sit idly by while his friend need help. Towards the end of the series we see that Akira’s confident blonde-haired friend is none other than the main demon himself – Satan. The jarring conclusion to Devilman Crybaby is definitely one to remember from 2018 and the emotional breakdown Ryo experiences at the end of the series having destroyed everything shows a side to Akira we don’t necessarily see for the larger part of the series.
2. Shiraishi Yoshitake – Golden Kamuy
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2018 – June 2018
In Hokkaido, Sugimoto, a survivor of the Russo-Japanese war was also known as “the Immortal Sugimoto” during the war because of his tenacity in combat. Now he searches for riches in order to help the widowed wife of his dead friend who lost his life during the war. During his hunt for gold, Sugimoto finds clues alluding to a hidden stash of gold hidden by a band of criminals. He partners with a small Ainu girl who saved his life from the elements and together they race against time to find the stash before anyone else does.
The ever-banterous Shiraishi, possibly the funniest character of 2018. This escape artist-turned-ally of Ashirpa and Sugimoto joins them on their journey very early on in the first season. His comical escapades are some of the funniest we see in 2018 and he continues to add comic relief to the series in the second season. The various funny faces Shiraishi makes in reaction to their varied predicaments, while also being incredibly helpful, particularly the time in the first season when he and Sugimoto nearly died of hypothermia and Shiraishi very conveniently had swallowed a bullet that they could use for gunpowder to start a fire.
1. Pipimi & Popuko – Pop Team Epic
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2018 – March 2018
Pop Team Epic is an absurdist comedy rife with pop culture references and banter levels beyond a lot of anime we’ve seen to date. Our protagonists, the short Popuko with an equally-short fuse and the tall, calm, cool and collected Pipimi entertain us with their numerous adventures and unending parodies all with the goal of eventually making Pop Team Epic an anime!
Quick bursts of random randomness in 2018 came in the form of these two – the inseparable Pipimi and Popuko! Pop Team Epic originally came in the form of a 4-panel manga and its anime adaptation was incredibly popular for its humour and quirkiness. Pipimi and Popuko do a lot of random stuff in the short bits that they do and by the end of a 23-minute episode, you find yourself thoroughly entertained by the sheer absurdity that each episode presents. Last year, Pipimi & Popuko definitely left their mark on anime, and on us too!
We hope that 2019 will be at the very least about as exciting and memorable as 2018 was with its anime and anime characters. Having had the pleasure of meeting several interesting characters on-screen last year, the thought of more characters who will stick with us long after their respective shows end is extremely exciting! Who was your favourite anime character of 2018? Drop a comment below and tell us all about them!