The Grand Finals are at last upon us. Now it’s time. Kaiju-Fighting Giant Robot versus High School Girls In Love! FIGHT!
Voyager: All right, the combatants are ready and the stage is set. It’s time to finally stick a fork in this debate and bring the year to an end by crowning the champion of the first ever Anime TKO.
EvilBob: Welcome to the Fall 2018 Anime TKO Grand Finals!
FALL 2018 ANIME TKO FINALS
EvilBob: Gridman’s got the touch! He’s got the power!
Voyager: …you do realize that means you’re gonna die, right?
EvilBob: Not today!
Voyager: Today, tomorrow, I don’t care when we write this, dude. It’s happenin’, either way.
EvilBob: …Hello, Police? I’d like to report an attempted murder. Yeah, it’s my boss again.
EvilBob: Of course! You think your little high school girls can beat my Gridman? If you do, you’re sadly mistaken. This battle’s as good as mine.
Voyager: Battle? Please. This is bad comedy.
EvilBob: No, it’s action. A category that Gridman delivers on in spades with Trigger’s trademark style. Everything about the fight scenes was amazing. How the animation captured the feel of a guy in a big, rubber suit to how they handled the weight of these giants, stomping through a city. The effects were awesome, the theme playing over the triumphant bits is something I know you have a weakness for.
EvilBob: And the transformations and moves were incredible.
Voyager: …Ya done?
EvilBob: No, but Gridman is. Because it actually… you know… ended. Wrapping up everything in a satisfying package. Which is more than I can say for a certain other anime.
Voyager: Ho? Everything, huh? So, uh… question. How’d that whole romantic subplot go?
EvilBob: Wha- um… uh… I… erm…
Voyager: And that villain of yours. What, exactly, did he want, again?
EvilBob: Well, he… uh… he was a bringer of chaos and-!
Voyager: Hm? That’s strange, I don’t recall that ever being brought up in the episode. Wasn’t that just your personal take on the finale?
EvilBob: T-that doesn’t make it wrong!
Voyager: Doesn’t make it right either. Especially with all the buildup around him. Like there was some super ominous plan he had in mind, all along.
EvilBob: Well… well, how ’bout all the character development? Anti and Akane’s arcs were awesome! We even saw Anti become a hero! An Anti-hero, if you will. Eh? Eh?
Voyager: …Uuuugh. If there is any mercy in this world, kill me now…
EvilBob: Sorry. I’m not gonna be Mercy.
Voyager: I hate you.
EvilBob: I know!
Voyager: Wanna know what I don’t hate, though? All the character development in Yagate Kimi ni Naru.
Voyager: I mean, sure, Anti and Akane’s arcs were genuinely pretty good. I’d even say they were the best things about the show. But they were really pretty straightforward and didn’t do a lot with exploring the intricacies of their characters. Tell me. What’s one thing that Yagate Kimi ni Naru is really good at?
EvilBob: …being pretty?
Voyager: Actually yes. But we’ll come back to why it does that better in a moment. I was actually referring to how well it manages to get into the characters’ heads. With everything from its dialogue and internal monologue to its direction and even its actual good use of flashbacks, the characters feel fully realized and well-rounded. We know what they’re thinking, what they like, what they want, all of it. Gridman has a nice and straightforward arc about a lonely girl, creating a new reality in order to escape her own, and it does that job well. But that’s about it.
EvilBob: Y-yeah, but look at how fun Gridman was! C’mon. You know you like it.
Voyager: …I do! But not that much. Baka. Honestly, Yagate Kimi ni Naru just pounds it into the dirt in just about every category that matters. Visually? Sure, Trigger’s got style points. But when your peak is Kill la Kill, this doesn’t exactly look nearly as amazing as it could. And it was just style. Meanwhile, Yagate Kimi ni Naru is not only gorgeous, its visual storytelling – as we all know, by now – is absolutely top notch.
EvilBob: But it didn’t even end!
Voyager: Didn’t it? It’s a typical “Read the Manga” ending. Perhaps I should remind you that those aren’t necessarily a bad thing – Boku no Hero Academia. The resolution of the main arc isn’t something that needs to be delivered in one cour of an anime that’s still going. The arc that was most important was Yuu coming to grips with her own feelings and getting over her fear of taking a leap. So tell me something, Bob. What was the entire point of Episode 12?
Voyager: The final episode might not have resolved the issues at hand, but let’s be honest. There was no way one episode of this was going to do that. So what did it produce instead? One really enjoyable episode where Yuu actually took yet another leap and Touko’s development marched on despite not concluding.
EvilBob: …can I talk, please?
Voyager: If you can come up with something useful to say, sure.
EvilBob: If only this one had a second cour. If it just had a little more time…
Voyager: Oho! So he admits it! Well, Bob, even if it did have a second cour, it wouldn’t matter. We’re comparing the here and now. I agree that the show probably could’ve used more time to flesh out some of its ideas to their fullest extent. But it didn’t get that. So what we wound up with was Trigger at what I’ll call half-mast. A reasonably fun and genuinely compelling series in places, but hampered by its reliance on knowledge of the original and not being given the time to explore everything they wanted to do. But hey. At least they didn’t blow it. It was a good ride!
EvilBob: …so what Voyager’s trying to say here is that he really likes SSSS.Gridman, so it wins, hands down. The winner is indeed-
Voyager: Ooh. This Winter 2019 season list is actually looking a lot more “interesting” than I’d expected. What, oh what, shall I give him?
EvilBob: …*sigh* The winner is… Bloom Into You.
Voyager: Aw, see? That’s the spirit.
EvilBob: …I hate you.
Voyager: I know!
Yagate Kimi ni Naru (Bloom Into You)
EvilBob: Mark my words, Voyager. Next season will be mine. I’ll have my reven-!
Voyager: Dibs on Mob Psycho 100.
EvilBob: DANG IT!
Voyager: And that’s the end of our little tournament.
EvilBob: It sure was… a doozy.
Voyager: I hope you all enjoyed this as much as we did!
EvilBob: Whoa, there. What’s with this “we” business?
Voyager: Heavens, Bob. I had no idea you were such a sore loser.
EvilBob: I had no idea you were such a sore winner. Oh, wait. Smash Bros. I did.
Voyager: You wound me, sir!
EvilBob: Oh, come off it.
Voyager: So. Shall we do this dance again, next season?
EvilBob: Absolutely! After we… look at the… list. Wait… crap!
Voyager: Aaanyway, thanks, all, for tuning into the first ever Anime TKO. This silly little tournament was a blast to put together, and now my list of bragging rights is even bigger! Hope y’all had fun with it and Stay Toon’d for word on what we’ll be doing with the next one!
EvilBob: Thanks for letting us waste your time, peeps! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go cry in a corner!
Voyager: Keep up the Awesome!
EvilBob: And Keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take care!