Now comes the post to sum up the highlights of 2018. Last year did not have the same quality as 2017, which saw every anime in the top five rated 9/10 or 10/10. Yet, 2018 was still a great year, offering plenty of four star anime to choose from. It was difficult to choose between them. In the end, I chose #3 – #5 based on how much enthusiasm I felt for these anime when they came out. Honorable mentions go to Hinamatsuri and Golden Kamuy.
5) Isekai Izakaya ★★★★
I cannot imagine giving a short more than four stars, but part of me wanted to make an exception for Isekai Izakaya. Dagashi Kashi II stands as another example of a well done and hilarious short from last year. (It’s ironic that the original Dagashi Kashi was too long and the sequel too short. If only season one had been a series of shorts, and the second season used full length episodes!) But, where IsekaiIzakaya trumps Dagashi Kashi II lies in how the former excelled in more than comedy and lovable characters. Isekai Izakaya builds a great fantasy world using the Holy Roman Empire of the High Middle Ages as a basis–just as Isuna Hasekura did for Spice and Wolf. In addition to exploring the world of Japanese cuisine in the anime, it offered some bonus segments alternating between a young chef showing the viewers how to make the dishes portrayed in the anime and an old gourmand touring various Japanese eateries.
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading TWWK’s post “For God or Country? Violet Evergarden and Divided Allegiance.” It was a very good post meditating on Violet Evergarden’s relationship to her country and also about the relationship between piety and patriotism. However, “For God or Country?” is a question which one should never have to ask. In that regard, it’s like the question “Liberty or Equality?” In these times of egalitarian extremism, we might be tempted to say “Liberty!” But, the fact of the matter is one cannot throw out either liberty or equality without the end result being tyranny. A society needs the proper balance of these two things to thrive: let’s say 70% liberty and 30% equality–if one can so quantify the two ideas!
In regard to God and country, the problem is not one of balance but of order, as TWWK avers: “…I understood the idea that my allegiance to God trumps all other allegiances, meaning I could still be loyal to my country, still treasure it, but not above all, not above God.” This is a very satisfactory answer and recalls the fact that some people reverse the order. America is such a great country that one does find Americans who seem to worship–worship in the archaic sense of to praise and to serve–their country more than God. This kind of patriotism exists as a vice rather than a virtue: love of God ought to come before love of country.