It’s that time of year where I go over the best and worst things I’ve reviewed since February 14th of last year. We’ll start with the bonus reviews, best and worst of.
Bonus Reviews Worst in Show:
I’ve only had this one for a couple years and the previous winners were Civil War & Detroit: Become Human. The big stinkers I had to choose from here were The Little Mermaid, House of M & X-men Evolution. And since The Little Mermaid got rated slightly higher, that leaves two X-men related contenders. Both are series with major plot issues. Both are works that screwed the characters they used. But in the end, the worst by a narrow margin was:
The reason why is a very simple one. House of M had more impact on comics and works that came after. The only thing Evolution did was give us two characters, Spyke & X-23, who never seem to appear in anything good. House of M was used for a bunch of other terrible comic stories and events.
Bonus Reviews Best in Show:
Our previous winners were Ohimesama no Himitsu & Secret Six: Villains United. For this one, I really had two options. The romantic comedy Saving Face or the classic BBC take on the Hogfather. It’s a tough choice since both are absolutely phenomenal. But the accolade goes to:
Doing an adaptation of a novel as good as anything in the Discworld franchise is very difficult. Most films and series wouldn’t even try. They’d just give you a cheap work that vaguely resembles the original. Which is one of the big reasons the Hogfather stands out. So much care went into deciding what could be cut without compromising the core of the story and what we get is the perfect adaptation.
I’m not going to list every series/film I’ve seen this year this time round. If you’re really curious about everything eligible, you can scroll through the blog to last year’s awards and check. This will also be the last year I include previous winners in the post itself. When I get the chance this or next week I’ll do two posts. A hall of shame and a hall of fame where I catalog all the winners and I’ll just link and edit that next year. Just because I’ve been doing this long enough that the lists of previous winners is getting unwieldy.
The Moffat Award for worst writing in a series or OVA we’re supposed to take seriously. Previous wall of shamers were: Dansi Bunri no Crime Edge, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Madhouse’s X-men, Brain Powerd, Elfen Lied & Tiger & Bunny.
This year they’re going to be joined by Satsuriku no Tenshi
This series was truly awful. It’s not just really stupid, it’s really stupid, full of plot holes and with horribly written characters. I’ve technically seen worse horror since this isn’t quite as bad as Elfen Lied, but it comes really close.
The Simone Award for best writing in a serious series or OVA. Our previous winners have included such classics as Psycho Pass, Ghost in the Shell SAC, Nanoha StrikerS, El Cazador de la Bruja, Mononoke & Cowboy Bebop. This year they’re joined by:
Chrno Crusade is one of those rare series where everything falls together perfectly. The plotting, characters, romance, ending… they all come together for a near perfect whole.
The Abrams Award for worst writing in a film. We’ve seen this go out to End of Evangelion, Metropolis, Hetalia: Paint it White, Hanare Toride no Yonna, Arion & Bio Hunter. This year I had a very clear “Winner” in:
For those of you who don’t remember Phantom Yuusha Densetsu, it was a terrible OVA film with a nonsensical plot, severely under-written characters and very low effort.
The Miyazaki Award for best writing in a film. Previous winners were Nausicaa, Kara no Kyoukai 4, Spirited Away, Mononoke Hime, Koe no Katachi & Futari wa Precure Splash Star: Tick Tack Kiki Ippatsu. This one also had a clear winner this year with:
Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai was a fascinating film with an interesting aesthetic and a very well constructed story.
The Macfarlane Award for worst comedic/ light-hearted series. Prior wall of shamers have included: OreImo, Kill la Kill, Sunabouzu, Kashimashi, Idol Project & Grand Blue. This year they’re joined by the obvious choice:
There was a point this year where I thought Miyuki-chan would easily take this award. Then this came along. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is easily among the worst comedies I’ve ever seen. Obnoxious characters, zero funny moments and incessant idiocy.
The Pratchett Award for best comedic/light-hearted series. Previous hall of famers were: Bottle Fairy, Doki Doki Precure, Yuru Yuri San Hai, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka 2, Azumanga Daioh & Galaxy Angel 2. Joining them this year:
Sailor Moon Stars was a series with a great sense of fun. Endearing characters, really funny moments. It’s just a delight to watch.
The Meyer Award for worst romantic elements. Previous hall of shamers were: OreImo, Mawaru Penguindrum, Love Hina Again, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Wolf Guy & Junjou Romantica. This year they’re joined by:
Chalk up another for Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. With its shitty, chemistry bereft romances. I thought about giving this to Gunbuster but it wasn’t nearly as bad.
The Kanemaki Award for best romantic elements. Previous winners were: Btooom (Himiko/ Ryouta), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS (Nanoha/ Fate), El Cazador de la Bruja (Ellis/ Nadie), Shuumatsu no Izetta ( Finé/ Izetta) & Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san (title characters). This year it goes to:
I’ll be honest, it was really hard to choose this year. I love Chrno & Rosette as a couple. I adore Haruka & Michiru in Stars. And this week’s review of Given gave us another really strong contender. But Quatre & Trowa are one of my favourite couples in anime and watching the series again just reinforced how well they work as a pair.
The Anno Award for worst cast of characters. Previous Hall of Shamers: End of Evangelion, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Love Hina Again, Kashimashi, Elfen Lied & Grand Blue. This year they’re joined by:
I was tempted to also give this one to Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo or to give another to Satsuriku no Tenshi but Goblin Slayer ended up taking it. Part of it is the heavily harem-inspired characterisation. Part of it is the one-dimensionally rapey villains. Part of it is that it just has a larger major cast than Satsuriku. Part of it is the laziness in not even giving these characters proper names. The final part of it is the abundance of “rape or near rape as back story” for the female characters in the series.
The Moore Award for strongest cast of characters. Previous winners were: Sailor Moon, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin, Death Parade, Sailor Moon S, Hunter x Hunter 2011 & So Ra No Wo To. This year they’re joined by:
The only reasons I gave Sailor Moon Stars this one over Chrno Crusade are that Stars has a larger cast to work with. And Stars does not have a dirty old man character. I also considered Gundam Wing, Bubblegum Crash & Arslan Senki, but Stars outshined all its competition, in the name of the moon.
The Bendis Award for worst conflict. Previous winners were From Up On Poppy Hill, SAO, Ice, SAO II, AD Police & Meisou-ou Border. This year it goes to:
Satsuriko no Tenshi doesn’t have a conflict that even works in theory. She wants to die but first she wants to lead a serial killer out of a complex and she doesn’t want to be killed by anyone but this one dude. It only sounds like a nonsensical mess because it is.
The Claremont Award for best major conflict. Previous winners were: Psycho Pass, Shingeki no Kyojin, Nanoha As, Haibane Renmei, Vivid Strike & Figure 17. This year they’re joined by:
Arslan Senki shows an epic conflict spanning many years with a lot of well thought out strategic elements. The only reason it’s winning over Chrno Crusade, however, is that a lot of Chrno Crusade’s episodes are more stand alone whereas everything in Arslan connects to the main conflict.
The Liefeld Award for worst visuals. Previous winners were Aku no Hana, Amada: Mario Brothers, Corpse Party, Garzey no Tsubasa, Elfen Lied & Ajin 2 for the series category. DBZ: Fusion Reborn, Hanare Toride no Yonna, Arion & Godzilla Kaijuu Wakusei for the film.
This year, the winners are:
Lovecraftion horror is difficult enough to add visuals to since so much of it is based on creatures that are indescribably horrific but when you make those visuals claymation that makes Gumby look high quality, you just destroy any chance to make anything remotely scary. Which is what The Dunwich Horror & Other Stories did.
Phantom is an awful looking film. Janky, half-assed animation. Low effort artwork in general. They clearly just didn’t care.
The Urbino Award for amazing artwork. Previous series winners: Mushishi, Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig, Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans & Flying Witch. Previous film winners: Nausicaa, Tokyo Godfathers, Spirited Away, Mononoke Hime, Kaze Tachinu & Mary to Majo no Hana. This year they’re joined by:
Bubblegum Crash may be an older series but it still looks really impressive. Even moreso given how much modern technology they didn’t have access to. Seeing the Sabres go into action is definitely a treat.
For films, I had trouble deciding between Marnie & Totoro since both films look pretty much equally fantastic. I ended up letting the rating difference decide since something had to break the tie.
The Spencer Award for worst Acting. Previous winners: Sailor Moon’s English dub, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ice, Kashimashi, Wolf Guy & Yousei Hime Ren. This year it goes to:
Fushigi no Kuni no Miyuki-chan is awfully acted. While Kouda Mariko is a capable actress in series like Kemono Friends or Dirty Pair Flash, all she does in this series is run around and scream. And that’s the most prevalent sound in the series.
The Sir Stewart Award for best acting. Previous winners were Black Rock Shooter (OVA), Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, Glass no Kamen, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Hunter x Hunter 2011 & Cowboy Bebop. This year it goes to:
This was tough to pick since I’ve reviewed quite a few series and films with excellent voice acting. I ended up narrowing it to Chrno Crusade and Glass no Hana and the ultimate reason I gave it to Chrno Crusade is that Glass no Hana only has three major characters and most of the film focuses on the three of them whereas Chrno Crusade has quite a robust cast and they’re all excellent.
The Perry Award for awful music. Previous winners: English Sailor Moon, Street Fighter II, Mars of Destruction, Kagewani, Arion & Puni Puni Poemii. This year they’re joined by:
Onigamiden has a lot of problems. One of them is that the music does not match the aesthetic and isn’t properly balanced. It’s definitely not a good sound.
The Kloss Award for fantastic music. Previous winners: Slayers Perfect, K-on the film, Love Live 2, Love Live the Film, Shuumatsu no Izetta & So Ra No Wo To. This year it goes to:
While there are some songs in other anime, like Raging Waves or Shoot Love Hunter, that I would prefer on a stand alone basis, Given excels at taking its music, theme tunes included, and making them heavily plot relevant. While still being good songs. Which is why it takes the win here.
Five Worst overall of the year:
#5 Goblin Slayer
There were a lot of “3” ratings that could have made this list. But only room for one with the 2 and 1 scores. The reason I ultimately picked Goblin Slayer as opposed to Gunbuster or Onigamiden is that I have a special hatred for dark and stupid content.
#4 Fushigi no Kuni no Miyuki
That series that tells us sexual harassment is funny when it’s among women.
#3 Satsuriku no Tenshi
The only thing horrific about this horror series is the quality.
#2 Phantom Yuusha Densetsu
There were two 1 scores this year. This was the slightly less shit of them.
#1 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
This was easily the most obnoxious series I watched this year. And the longest series in the bottom five. Just to prolong your agony.
Five Best of the Year:
#5 Gundam Wing
There were a lot of “8” score and only room in the top five for one. The reason it went to Gundam Wing over Arslan Senki, Totoro, Given, Bubblegum Crash or any of the others is just because I think it’s slightly closer to a “9” than any of them.
#4 Omoide no Marnie
This was an excellent film with a touching story and strong dynamic between the two main characters.
#3 Chrno Crusade
There were three perfect ten scores this year and ranking them from slightly more substantial problems to slightly more significant is going to take a lot of nit-picking since the top three are all excellent with basically microscopic quality differences. And the only reason Chrno Crusade is ranked lowest of the three is that it has the Elder.
#2 Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai
This is a fantastic film and I can’t recommend it enough. The reason it takes the two spot is that I felt my nitpicks for it were a little more substantial than my nitpicks for the best anime of the year.
#1 Sailor Moon Stars
The best season of one of the best magical girl franchises of all time.