Starting in Japan and spreading throughout the rest of the world, “anime” has become one of the most watched animations (ranging from children to adults) from Japanese television in the 21st century. The origins of anime date back to the beginnings of the 20th century, but its apogee has come from the newer generations, which have easy access to technology and therefore have looked up animations online and stumbled across what has come to be known as “anime.”
These Japanese animations have mostly come from comic books known as “manga” in Japan and have been adopted as animated TV series or movies through the years. They all have different genres, such as romance, comedy, drama, action, tragedy, supernatural, and slice of life (scenes that portray a character’s life). The plots of these animated stories, their characters, the soundtracks, the tremendous voice acting, and the depth that these stories portray have captured the attention of many people who have become anime fans.
This new year of 2018 has promising releases from anime series that have been developed recently, such as the following:
1. One Punch Man: Season 2
One Punch Man is an ongoing anime series that began streaming in 2015. The story unfolds in an Earth-like supercontinent planet, where dangerous monsters and supervillains have been mysteriously surfacing and wreaking havoc in all twenty-six cities. Saitama, the main protagonist, was a salaryman on a job hunt when he saved a boy from a monster. For the next three years, he trained to become a hero “for fun.” After undergoing rigorous training, he beats all his enemies with one punch. Saitama was not recognized as a true hero, so he then becomes a C rank hero, which is the last category of hero ranks, going from C, to B, to A, to S rank (highest rank). He goes about his day, trying to become the hero he always wanted to be… well, for the most part. After defeating every enemy he came across, he becomes bored and wishes to fight someone worthy of his strength.
The first season of One Punch Man, composed of twelve episodes, ended with Saitama defeating Boros, leader of a group of alien invaders responsible for the destruction of one of the twenty-six cities (A-City).
Fans are desperately waiting to see what happens next and have their answers to questions such as Will Saitama finally be recognized as the great hero he is? What are the real motives of “Metal Knight,” an S class hero who is seen as an enemy of another S class hero? Will Amai Mask, rank 1 A hero, confront the hero association thinking that the S class heroes are incompetent to deserve their title?
The release date for Season 2 is rumored to be in Spring or Summer 2018. No specific date has been announced.
2. Attack on Titan: Season 3
Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) is an ongoing anime series that began streaming in 2013 and continued into the second season in 2017. The story unfolds in an alternate world where Titans—giant, dumb creatures who kill humans for fun—have infiltrated the human world. As a means of defending themselves, humans created walls surrounding their towns to keep the Titans out of their territories. These walls are known as Wall Maria (wall at the outermost part of the territories), Wall Rose (wall at the middle of the territories), and Wall Sheena (wall in the innermost part of the territories). The fate of the humans was threatened when two gigantic Titans appeared and destroyed Wall Maria; the mystery lay in that these Titans were different because they possessed intelligence, speed, and force unlike any other. Titans like these two appeared more throughout the series. The story follows Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert: three childhood friends who follow their goal to exterminate Titans, discover their mystery, and avenge the deaths of their families. To combat the Titans, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin gain positions in the Survey Corps, one of the three branches of the military that deals with killing the Titans outside the safety of the walls. The other two branches are the Garrison Regiment, which guards the walls and the civilians, and the Military Police Brigade, which guards the royal family inside the innermost wall living relaxed lives.
The second season of Attack on Titan, composed of twelve episodes, ended with Eren, alongside the Survey Corps, defeating the two Titans (Colossus Titan and Armored Titan) that destroyed Wall Maria with a special and unknown power inside of Eren. It was discovered that there were humans living outside the protection of the walls in unknown places; therefore, a part of the mystery of the Titans might be that the Titans were human beings before they turned into those giant monsters.
The wait for the next season is almost over! Fans are wanting to see what happens next and answer questions such as: Who is the guy that appeared alongside a talking Titan at the end of season 2 and what is his relation with the Titans? What is Eren’s hidden power and how did he receive it? Where is Eren’s father and what does he have to do with the Titans? Will the complete mystery of the Titans’ creation be discovered and at what cost?
The release date for Season 3 is in July 2018, but the exact date is still to be determined.
3. My Hero Academia: Season 3
My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia) is an ongoing anime series that began streaming its first season in 2016 and continued the second season in 2017. The story unfolds in Japan, in a world where almost every human is born with unique superpowers known as Quirks (Kosei). Superheroes are born from those superhumans to fight the villains infiltrating the Earth. Izuku Midoriya, the protagonist of this series, was one of the rare cases in which he wasn’t born with any superpowers and got bullied because of it. Even though he didn’t have any Quirk, Midoriya dreamed of meeting the number one hero in the world, All Might, and entering the U.A. High School for Heroes to become a superhero. His dream of meeting All Might came true and in the long run received All Might’s Quirk: “One For All.” Midoriya entered the U.A. High School and met lots of new friends aiming to become heroes, but also encountered lots of villains inside and outside the academy’s walls. The League of Villains appeared with their leader, Tomura Shigaraki, with the goal to kill All Might. With the help of his friends, teachers, and All Might, Midoriya battles the villains and wins against them the first time, but there’s always bound to be a second.
The second season of My Hero Academia (25 episodes) ended with Stain, the wanted Hero Killer, getting defeated by Midoriya and his friends (Todoroki and Iida) and finally getting arrested by the police. Meanwhile, new villains want to join the League of Villains to destroy All Might and anyone that gets in their way. In the final episodes, it’s revealed that the true master and leader of the League of Villains is a man with a similar Quirk as All Might ( “All For One”) that also wants him dead. Finally, the students of U.A. High School get prepared to go to a training camp in summer!
Fans are desperately waiting to see what happens next, but the big questions are: Will Bakugo (one of Midoriya’s hero “friends”) be captured by The League of Villains and turned into an enemy? Will Shigaraki get his dream of destroying All Might? Will the U.A. High School students will be ready for what’s coming for them? Will Midoriya finally master his Quirk?
A release date for Season 3 is now confirmed for April 7, 2018!
4. Sword Art Online: Alicization (Season 3)
Sword Art Online is an ongoing anime series that began streaming the first season in 2012 and continued into the second season in 2014. In the first arc (an extended storyline in an episode sequence), the story unfolds in a future 2022 Japan where virtual reality is in its hype. The NerveGear, a helmet that stimulates a user’s brain and leaves the user in a sleeping state, was invented to play one of the most popular virtual reality games created by Akihiko Kayaba: “Sword Art Online” (SAO). In the month of November, players of SAO discovered that once they logged into the game, they couldn’t log out. The problem came when the game’s developer sent a message to the players telling them that they could only get out if they completed all one hundred floors and bosses of Aincrad (SAO’s main castle); if the players died in the game, they died in real life, and if someone from the outside world removed the NerveGear from the user’s head, that player would also die. Kazuto Kirigaya (Kirito), the protagonist and experienced player of this story, makes his goal to complete all one hundred floors of Aincrad and destroy the person behind all this nonsense. Throughout his journey, Kazuto meets people along the way that help him achieve his goal, one of them being Asuna Yuuki, a girl whom he falls in love him. In the second story arc of the first season, a second virtual reality game appears called “Alfheim Online” (ALO) in which Asuna gets captured by Nobuyuki Sugou, a game developer who intends to marry Asuna. Kazuto, with the help of his cousin Suguha, eventually reunites with Asuna and destroys Sugou and his plans.
The second season of Sword Art Online with 24 episodes develops with yet another virtual game released called “Gun Gale Online” (GGO) in which mysterious murders have been happening. Kazuto then takes on an investigative job to determine who’s behind all the murders. In the game, Kazuto gets help by a player named Shino Asada (Sinon) and together they discover the truth behind the murders of a player known as Death Gun. The season ends with two out of three suspects getting captured in real life, with only one by the name of Johnny Black escaping.
The wait for the next season is almost over and fans are excitedly waiting for their questions to be answered, such as Will Johnny Black be found and destroyed by Kazuto or will the enemy get his way this time? Will there be another virtual game invented with Black hiding inside it or will this game come to life in the real world? Will the lives of Kazuto and his friends be at risk once again?
The release date for Season 3 is soon in 2018 but isn’t determined exactly when; although, it is rumored to be released in Spring 2018.
5. Fairy Tail (Season 9) FINAL SEASON!
Fairy Tail was an ongoing anime series that is finally reaching its end in TV animation. This series began with its first season streaming in 2009 and continued with the other seasons up until season eight, which ended in 2016. The story unfolds in a world of wizards, mages, powers, and legendary creatures who live their lives in search of battles. In this world, different guilds of mages exist to use their abilities for paid job requests. Lucy Heartfilia, a mage from a wealthy family, escapes her homeland in search for one of the most powerful and destructive guilds: Fairy Tail. Lucy encounters wizards from Fairy Tail along the way such as Natsu Dragneel, a dragon slayer who wants to find his missing dragon father (Igneel), with his cat companion (Happy); Gray Fullbuster, ice wizard; and Erza Scarlet, also a dragon slayer. All of them later embark on journeys and missions together to bring peace to humanity, but they soon get encountered with an immortal dark wizard named Zeref. A battle then emerges between the Fairy Tail guild against the dark guild known as Grimoire Heart, which results in attracting an evil dragon: Acnologia. After surviving the battle and surviving Acnologia’s attacks, Fairy Tail participates in the Grand Magic Games to decide who is the strongest guild in Fiore (a kingdom). After the games, conflict arises when it is believed that Tartaros, another dark and evil guild, wants to unseal a book that is believed to contain Zeref’s dragon: E.N.D.
Fairy Tail ensues a battle against Tartaros and Acnologia appears once again. Igneel, Natsu’s father, suddenly appears from inside Natsu to help kill Acnologia, but Acnologia ends up killing Igneel. Natsu then decides to disappear for a year while he trained hard to get revenge for his father’s death.
The last episode of the eighth season of Fairy Tail with 12 episodes ends with Natsu returning from his year-long training to reunite with Lucy and discovers that the Fairy Tail guild disbanded and no longer existed. Natsu then makes it his mission to reunite the Fairy Tail guild once again.
After years of going hand in hand with Fairy Tail, fans are desperately waiting for its final season release. It’s nostalgic to know that the TV animation is about to end, but questions such as the following can’t be left without answering: Will Natsu accomplish his revenge? Will every one of Fairy Tail be found alive and well? What will Zeref do once the Fairy Tail guild is back?
The release date for Season 9 Finale is soon in 2018 but isn’t determined exactly when.
Every anime fan is hyped to see what new plots, characters, twists, and songs are coming this new year of 2018, not just from anime episodic series, but also from anime movies and OVAs (Original Animation Videos).
Alas, will 2018 be able to top off past years’ anime? There’s only one way to find out!
Photo Credits: My Anime List.com