3: Underrated 2018 Anime

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Day three of the 12 Days of Anime is upon us, and I’m writing this post for two specific reasons. First, because I just posted about Overrated 2018 Anime yesterday and second, so that I could have an excuse to write about A Place Further Than The Universe.

2018 wasn’t the year for underrated anime, which I guess is a good thing as it usually means that the quality anime got their deserved recognition. Besides the previously mentioned series, I will only talk about one other show, Kyoto Animation’s Tsurune.

A Place Further Than The Universe

Starting off with a big statement, A Place Further Than The Universe will likely end up as my pick for Anime of the Year. A story about adolescence, growth, and journey. The series contains basically everything I personally look for in an anime and does them all well to top it off. First and foremost are true character development and cohesive story, but stunning backgrounds, music, and animation are not without abundance here either.

Backgrounds don’t get much more beautiful than this, do they?

Character synergy is one of the most important aspects of any show that doesn’t focus entirely on a single character. An average show might run into issues in this department, but A Place Further Than The Universe definitely doesn’t. Despite the four main characters having entirely different personalities and baggage, they recognize this in themselves early on and adapt to support each other regardless as the series progresses. I can only very rarely say that a cast truly meshes well together, and this series is a perfect example of that.

All good stories usually tend to loosely follow the same basic story structure, and this is no exception to the rule. A Place Further Than The Universe clearly defines its overarching goal in the first episode and spends the first three episodes on exposition and introducing the main cast. After a solid lead-up to the climax at the end of episode nine, we glide down to the resolution at the very end of episode twelve. Despite only being thirteen episodes long, the show never feels rushed but instead feels well-paced.

Continuing on, there isn’t a single piece of bad music in the series. Whether we are talking about the OP/ED or the OST, all are brilliant and seamlessly integrated. You could say the same about the backgrounds and animation, although there are always the standouts (for instance, the chase scene in episode two was one of my favorite examples of good animation from the series). I could go on and on about A Place Further Than The Universe, but let’s save the rest for another day. For those who haven’t seen this yet, it’s an absolute must-watch.

Tsurune

It’s rare for Kyoto Animation to have a show go under the radar, let alone one as good as Tsurune. While not anything you might call particularly “exciting” on the surface, it handles the elements it does have extremely well. Again, it has a pretty diverse main cast of characters, who at this point in the series still don’t fully come together. It’s also similarly focused on coming to terms with that fact among other things, especially in the case of our main character. Minato Narumiya, despite once being excellent at archery, developed target panic and left the sport.

First needing to accept this fact before returning to archery, he then has to overcome it: with the help of both new and old friends of course. It’s a long process that we’ve yet to see through to the end, but Kyoto Animation has done a good job with the storytelling so far, making me confident that the end will be wrapped up nicely. Tsurune has a simple yet calming air about it, which translates over into the visuals as well (as pictured above). While not a drama-heavy or action-packed series, there is just something about it that makes me keep wanting more.

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I was tempted to add Bloom Into You to this post as well, but it hasn’t proven itself yet to be on the same level as those that I did. Furthermore, I could write an entire post on A Place Further Than The Universe by itself, so let’s hope this doesn’t deter me from doing that (I never did get around to doing one about Tsuki ga Kirei last year). Well, that’s enough rambling about my laziness, I hope you enjoyed and I’ll be back tomorrow with Day Four of the 12 Days of Anime!