You know, I’ve been writing reviews for nearly three years now. So let me start by thanking all those of you who have consistently read them Fluffy, Kupo, Sky, NT, OA, UZ, etc… and those of you who leave comments. I really enjoy reading those. You’re a beauteous crowd and it’s been an honour to entertain you. I hope I’ve also made you think at times. But I’m not here today to stroke your egos. Since I have been doing this for a while, and will probably continue to do so, I’ve decided to give out some yearly awards. Here’s how it’s going to work. The awards are going to be based not on what came out that year, but on what I reviewed that year. So, this first one covers everything from Blood+ to Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge. Those of you on WordPress haven’t had all of these posted yet, so if there’s one you really want to see just say so and I’ll be sure to get that up. There will be awards for both the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Now, I want to end this on a positive note. So I’ll start with a negative award and, since this is sort of a first run, if you have any suggestions for ways I can expand or improve on this feel encouraged to leave a comment. I won’t necessarily adopt the idea, but I do enjoy constructive feedback.
The Moffat award for unbearably awful writing within a supposedly mostly serious series or OVA:
I saw some real stinkers this year, and these are undoubtedly the worst of them. The nominees for the Moffat award are (all of these will be in alphabetical order): Aku no Hana, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge & School Days.Three truly horrendous works but the Moffat award can only go to one and the “winner” is… Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge. I suppose it’s not that surprising. Both School Days and Cheesesteak Suppository did get ratings above a “1” after all. Crime Edge was the only “serious” series I watched this year that merited no points whatsoever.
The Simone award for writing excellence in a mostly serious series or OVA:
Yes, with the bad have certainly come the good and these are the top for this past year. The nominees for the Simone award are: Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino, Petshop of Horrors & Psycho Pass. Three excellent works any one of which would make a worthy recipient of the Simone award. And the winner is… Psycho Pass. I struggled with this one since I like all three roughly the same. In the end, Psycho Pass gets the win just because it deals with more difficult material than either of the others does.
The Abrams award for horrendous film writing:
I’ve seen quite a few films this year. Some good other horrible. The worst of the latter category merit mention. The nominees for the Abrams award are: End of Evangelion, Kara no Kyoukai 1 & Midori Shoujo Tsubaki. No matter which one wins, they’re all terrible. The Abrams award goes to… End of Evangelion. Pretentious and poorly plotted, this isn’t just the worst film I’ve seen this year, but it ranks among the worst I’ve ever seen.
The Miyazaki award for stellar film writing:
There are some films I’ll never forget and that will always make me smile be it from pure joy or bittersweet memories. I’ve reviewed some really excellent ones this year. The nominees are: Ghost in the Shell, Grave of the Fireflies & Nausicaa. Three brilliant films. The Miyazaki award goes to… appropriately enough, Nausicaa. This one was a real toss up between Nausicaa and Grave of the Fireflies, but Nausicaa won for one major reason. It did more. It took on more themes and handled them all perfectly. It had the greater challenge, so it takes the award.
The Macfarlane award for most failed comedic attempt:
Comedy can be a tricky thing. It’s generally very hit or miss. That being said, some attempts at comedy don’t just miss, they throw their bats in the air and give themselves concussions. These are the comedies that hurt themselves the worst. The nominees are: Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari, Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai and Sekirei. Not only are these series completely lacking in humour, but they’re downright vile. The Macfarlane award goes to… OreImo. As terrible as all of these are, at least the other two don’t feature incest.
The Pratchett award for wit:
We’ve looked at the misses. Now let’s look at the comedies that hit their marks the best. The nominees are: Bottle Fairy, Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku & Slayers Perfect. The Pratchett award goes to… Bottle Fairy. Cheerful, creative, upbeat and downright fun, Bottle Fairy is definitely the funniest comedy I’ve watched this year.
The Meyer award for worst written romance:
Love is in the air and plastered all over media. Usually romance plots follow a very basic pattern and there ends up being nothing special about them. Sometimes, they stand out either for positive or negative reasons. These are the latter. The nominees are: Inukami, OreImo & School Days. This was actually hard to pick nominees for since there were so many badly written romances in a lot of the worst anime I’ve seen this year. I ended up narrowing it down by picking only those romances that had a significant bearing on the plot and had factors that made them egregiously terrible. The Meyer award goes to… OreImo.
Kanemaki award for loveliest romance:
I don’t know why so many writers have trouble with romance. I actually had a pretty hard time finding actual well written couples for this one. I just haven’t seen that many anime with good romance this year. Still, those that did it well deserve to be honoured. The nominees are: Battle Athletes, Btooom & Kara no Kyoukai 2. All of these have good main couples. The Kanemaki award goes to… Btooom. I did like Battle Athletes main couple better, however, Battle Athletes also had some really badly written side romances. In the end, Btooom’s one good romance wins out over Battle Athlete’s one great and multiple crap ones.
Anno award for flattest, most uninteresting cast:
You need interesting characters to make for a good work of fiction. Not necessarily likeable or moral ones, but interesting ones. Some anime fail utterly to deliver on this end. Let’s look at the worst of this year. Our nominees are: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge, End of Evangelion & School Days. The Anno award goes to… End of Evangelion. I honestly had a really difficult time deciding whether to give it to this or Crime Edge. Both have a cast of obnoxious, one-dimensional characters. In the case of Evangelion they’re angsty and defined by their baggage. In the case of Crime Edge, they tend to be defined by their fetishes. Both lead to absolutely horrendous casts. In the end, however, I decided that Crime Edge was slightly less terrible due to the canines.
Moore award for best cast:
The difficult part in choosing this one was the there were quite a few anime I saw this year with really good casts of characters. In the end, I narrowed the selections down to those with a bit larger casts that still managed to keep all the major characters compelling. The nominees are: Ano Hana, Bishojou Senshi Sailor Moon, & Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino. The Moore award goes to… Sailor Moon. I love these characters. They’re a joy to watch, they have some strong development and they have amazing interactions.
Bendis award for dullest major conflict:
Conflict moves stories. When the conflict is dull or really badly written, the story is going to be boring, anti-climactic, flat, trite or some combination of the four. This year’s worst conflict nominees are: Cosette no Shouzou, From Up on Poppy Hill & Kuroshitsuji II. The Bendis award goes to… From Up on Poppy Hill. The conflict in this one is trite. It’s virtually non-existent. It’s super predictable so there’s no tension. It was just terrible.
Claremont award for most compelling conflict:
Even though there were quite a few dull conflicts and non-conflicts out there, there were also some really interesting ones. The nominees are: Ghost in the Shell, Nausicaa & Psycho Pass. These were all really interesting conflicts with some good turns along the way. The Claremont award goes to… Psycho Pass. What this one came down to was Psycho Pass’s greater length giving it more time to build up the conflict and, unlike many other series, it didn’t blow it at any point. It kept it interesting throughout.
Liefeld award for visual ineptitude:
Even a terrible anime can have decent visuals. But some go the extra length to have the ugliest art they possibly can. The three that went the most out of their way in that regard are our nominees: Aku no Hana, Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, & Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki. The Liefeld award goes to… Aku no Hana. With jerky animation, boring visuals and borked perspective, this is some of the worst animation I’ve ever seen.
Urbino award for visual excellence:
Art in anime, when done really well, doesn’t just look good, it enhances the narrative. These are the best examples of that I’ve seen this year: Nausicaa, Petshop of Horrors & Psycho Pass. The Urbino award goes to: Nausicaa. It’s probably not a great surprise since Studio Ghibli’s known for their gorgeous artwork, but it really was a close call.
Spencer award for acting incompetence:
Most of the acting I’ve heard this year has been decent. Some of it has been stilted or emotionless as a result of the characters being poorly done, bad directing, or just incompetent actors however. The nominees for the Spencer award are: Blood: The Last Vampire, Midori: Shoujo Tsubaki & Sailor Moon (the English dub.) For those of you who don’t remember or didn’t see that review, I actually compared and contrasted the original with the English dub. The Spencer award goes to: the English dub of Sailor Moon. The voice acting in this wasn’t just terrible, it was borderline unlistenable. One actress shouted constantly, another whispered and none had the remotest level of talent or skill.
Sir Stewart award for impeccable acting:
I’ve seen some anime with terrible casts, certainly, but I’ve also seen anime with really skilled actors giving great performances. The Sir Stewart award nominees are: Black Rock Shooter (the OVA), Bottle Fairy, & Slayers Perfect. These weren’t the only good performances but they were certainly at the top. The Sir Stewart award goes to… Black Rock Shooter. What ended up deciding this one is the chemistry between Hanazawa Kana and Sawashiro Miyuki. It is really difficult to convey chemistry between characters using only your voice and this OVA does that magnificently. Let’s move on to the final awards, warp factor nine.
Perry award for ear-splittingly awful vocals:
We didn’t just hear performances good and bad this year, we also heard quite a few songs. Some of which were pretty horrendous. The Perry award nominees are: Animal Crossing for KK Slider’s performance, Brave Story for Ketsui no Asa ni, & Sailor Moon (the English dub) for the mockery they turned the opening song into. The Perry award goes to… The English dub of Sailor Moon. As bad as both of those other musical performances were, they can’t even compare to the dubbed version of Sailor Moon. It took the music of a great song and put in lyrics that could have been written by a six year old and let someone with less musical talent than a vuvuzela sing it. It’s wretched.
Kloss award for harmonious and lovely vocals:
There were a lot of good songs in the anime I watched this year. Even some of the bad ones had really good music. It was tough, but I picked out the best. The Kloss award nominees are: Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan for the song of the same name, Inukami for Hikari & Slayers Perfect for Midnight Blue. The Kloss award goes to… Slayers Perfect. Horie Yui and Saeko Chiba are both spectacular singers, but neither one can quite compare to the peerless voice of Hayashibara Megumi. Midnight blue is definitely the best song I heard in any anime this year.
That’s it for this year’s awards. It’s been a pretty good year. Sure, I’ve seen some terrible anime that are probably against the Geneva convention, but I’ve also seen a lot of good ones and I’ve had fun sharing my experiences with them, good and bad, with all of you. Have a happy day of love with the person you love. Goodnight, Everybody.