2018 was a solid year for animation across the board, whether we’re talking about kids’ shows, blockbuster movies, or even series meant for an older audience. It’s to that latter, often underrepresented category we turn today as we revisit the best that the year had to offer in new animated series for adults.
Before we take a look at the newcomers this calendar year, it’s worth remembering some of last year’s shows that have returned in 2018 for a second (or more) go-round. Tops on that particular list include Season 2 of Big Mouth, a Netflix comedy series that somehow manages to walk the line between heartfelt humor and offensive subject matter; Castlevania, another sophomore Netflix season that improved on the first fantastic outing; and shows for the little ones like Vampirina and Spirit Riding Free.
Unfortunately, 2018 didn’t bring us new episodes of Lastman, Apollo Gauntlet, or Danger & Eggs, but we did have a good crop of new shows overall to keep us busy. This rundown of the best animated shows for adult audiences includes some of what you might expect: super-violent, hypersexual, R-rated stories that are definitely not meant for the kiddos. But it also features some titles you might not have considered when thinking about adult animation, like shows steeped in political satire, modern throwbacks to cartoon classics that older audiences will appreciate, and even a workplace anime series that’s just perfect for today’s frustrated Millennials.
While not a ranking, the following shows are listed in order of increasing maturity; in other words, feel free to watch some of the first few series with the kiddos (depending on their ages, of course) and make sure to give the last half of this list a wide berth if the little ones are around. The list also ends with my favorite newcomer of the year, which may or may not line up with your own. Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments!