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Dated 30 April 2018: Hinamatsuri is the best Spring 2018 show so far

Utako
I suppose Utako isn't a bad person all the time.

The best show of the Spring 2018 anime season so far is Hinamatsuri. It is genuinely funny and its characters are endearing, even when they're not being bad people. When I say "they," I mostly mean the two leads, Hina herself and her reluctant guardian, the up-and-coming yakuza member Nitta. I suppose Utako the bartender is also a bad person, insomuch as extortion and contravening labor laws are generally regarded as not things good people do. Hina and Nitta are entertaining, although I'm not sure why Nitta doesn't take advantage of Hina's powers even more often than he does for his yakuza-type business. I guess he'd rather fixate on the frequent destruction of his beloved vases. Those vases were all purchased with dirty yakuza money, incidentally, so I don't feel too sorry for him.

Anzu
Go on, Anzu. Curse the bitch out.

Besides, the real stars of Hinamatsuri are Hitomi and Anzu, who are absolutely stealing the show through the first four episodes. Hitomi, by virtue of her uncanny ability to be better than everyone else as well as being a generally good person. Anzu is initially one of the Bad People, but transforms into a good person thanks to the poverty moé thrust upon her. The OP reveals that Anzu lands on her feet, so I can't feel too bad for her, but I do commiserate more with her losses than I do for Nitta and his doomed vases. I've only read the first few chapters of the manga, so I have no idea where the show is going to go. It does appear there will be a timeskip at some point, based on the sequence that started the first episode. I sort of worry Hitomi might be a little too powerful in three years, though, the way things are going.

Dated 26 December 2018: Golden Kamuy and SSSS.GRIDMAN are among the best shows of the year

Asirpa
This is the sort of happiness you can only achieve by eating animal brains.

Some questionable publicity concerning some really jarring 3DCG got Golden Kamuy off to a bad start, but the strength of its source material pulled through. I'm one of those people who believe it's better to watch an anime first before reading its source manga, so basically all of the second cours was new to me. I'm told that the show truncated quite a bit of material in order to reach the second season's climax (and that it also cut out scenes that would have otherwise included more 3DCG animals). And what a climax it was. Basically, without going into spoilers, CRAZY SHIT HAPPENS, and there are real payoffs regarding characters that the viewer has gotten to know over the course of 24 episodes. With so many strong episodes this season, the second cours of Golden Kamuy is even better than SSSS.GRIDMAN.

Akane
It turns out Akane was the show's real protagonist. P.S. Spoilers.

Hopefully, word has gotten out by now that Studio Trigger did an excellent job with SSSS.GRIDMAN. I was a bit hesitant going in, since Trigger does falter somewhat frequently, and I was entirely ignorant of the GRIDMAN franchise. In fact, I'm ignorant when it comes to the entire genre, for that matter. Basically everything I know comes from posts by @TheIvanhobe on the Twitter. It turns out SSSS.GRIDMAN is satisfying even for viewers like me. I can only imagine how stoked people who recognized the various callbacks and references must have been. I should probably point out that while I put the second half of Golden Kamuy over SSSS.GRIDMAN, I find SSSS.GRIDMAN to be better if you compare its 12 episodes to the full 24 episodes of Golden Kamuy.

Shirase
That is one blue sky.

I should also mention that while I regard SSSS.GRIDMAN and Golden Kamuy to be among the best shows of the year, both were surpassed by five other shows from earlier in 2018. At the very peak is Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further Than the Universe), an anime that even The New York Times recognized as being one of 2018's best. I put Hinamatsuri not too far behind, and then (for pretty different reasons), Hanebado!, Yuru Camp△, and Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight. Overall, a pretty good year for anime. I can't claim that Winter 2019 looks ready to compare with Winter 2018, but maybe there will be some surprises coming up again as well.

Dated 31 December 2018: Shima Rin from Yuru Campâ–³ is 2018's Girl of the Year

Rin
Best job ever.

I haven't consistently awarded a Girl of the Year title in quite a while, mostly for the same reasons why I only seem to update the world's longest-running English-language anime blog once per week these days. I actually tried regularly posting a Girl of the Week award on the Twitter this year, but fell behind once the Autumn 2018 season began. I did continue to keep track, though, so I can at least pretend I have objective metrics that I use with my made-up competition.

Akane
At least the weather's nice.

Just to recap, Shima Rin from Yuru Campâ–³ was Girl of the Quarter for Winter 2018. The Spring 2018 award went to Mishima Hitomi from Hinamatsuri. In a somewhat unexpected development, Hanesaki Ayano captured the Girl of the Quarter award for Summer 2018 despite not having the most Girl of the Week titles for that season. Girl of the Quarter for Autumn 2018 goes to Shinjou Akane from SSSS.GRIDMAN of course, one of the best shows of the year.

Hitomi
It's Hitomi's world; we're all just living in it.

Actually, all of the Girl of the Quarter winners are associated with the year's best shows. That's probably not much of a surprise. Likewise, those of y'all who watched Yuru Campâ–³ are probably unsurprised that Rin boat raced the Girl of the Year category. What is sort of surprising, though, is that Shinjou Akane from SSSS.GRIDMAN placed runner up. I fully expected Mishima Hitomi from Hinamatsuri to take the number-two spot, but her totally objective numerical rankings suffered because there were many episodes in which she had few or no scenes.