Where everything isn’t quite My Hero Academia S2-biased.
So Crunchyroll is having their second anime awards show, and while they’re trying to add more variety to the mix so we don’t have another Yuri on Ice-like situation where that show basically won every category, I don’t think they’ve been adding enough variety to the mix. For one, they have a manga category, but they don’t have a game category? On a more serious note, Hero Academia 2 is in a lot of the categories, and unfortunately it’s the only really popular show amongst most of them, so we’re pretty much set up for another awards sweep. I’ve seen a few people make their own predictions/hopes on who’s going to win, but honestly I could care less. It’s just too predictable who’s going to win what award because anime as a medium tends to be dominated by what’s popular as much as video games, and the fanbase driving said popularity are very vocal and very numerous.
I prefer to be surprised, and as an act of rebellion, I’m making my own faux-awards show with (positive) categories I made up on the fly. And nothing stupid like “best boy” or “best girl”, which are some of the dumbest prizes I’ve seen in my life. Just a few simple obligatory awards to anime I enjoyed from last year, and unlike my “best of 2017” list, video games aren’t going to be in here. With the exception of the “best live-action adaptation” award, it’s all Japanese cartoons. And all series to boot, because according to most anime fans, those are the cartoons that really matter.
Oh and just so you know, my personal favorite series of 2017, Scum’s Wish (which apparently people hated so much it could only get on Crunchy’s drama category even though its awesome music and visuals should have at least given it a nomination for some of the technical awards), won’t be considered for any awards since I already praised it in detail with the “best list” and it’d be redundant to do it again. Plus I’m rebelling against the Crunchy awards for being too predictable, and allowing my favorites to enter would make me out to be a hypocrite. I know that sort of makes this faux-awards show come off like a runner-ups bonanza, but do you guys really want me to repeat myself?
Also, it is a runner-ups bonanza. I wasn’t really happy with how I only gave lip-service to some of the other anime I enjoyed in my best list and am using this Crunchyroll Awards thing as an excuse to highlight them properly. Or at least the ones that stuck in my mind since writing that at any rate. Seriously, I have all but forgotten Yuasa’s new movies by now. But enough stalling. Let’s start this thing.
Best Popular Anime: My Hero Academia S2
Okay, you know what? As much as I rag on Hero Academia S2 sweeping the Crunchy awards and all, I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun watching it. Sure it’s not my favorite superhero thing from Bones, but I really got absorbed by this show when it returned with its visually satisfying action and well-developed character arcs. I know a lot of people would prefer Made in Abyss or maybe even Ancient Magus’ Bride to win this award, but while Academia S2 wasn’t exactly something I’d consider great, it’s the show I’d be less hesitant in rewatching or buying the blu-rays for. Maybe it doesn’t deserve best of the year, but sometimes things are popular because they’re good, y’know?
Oh and on a side note, this is the only sequel to get an award on here. My rule that sequels should never be considered for praise unless they’re an improvement on the original still stands, and I can’t think of a single one aside from Academia who could separate its success from its parent.
Best Kickstart to Greatness: Made in Abyss
Yeah anime fans, suck it. I’m saying Made in Abyss is a “kickstart” to greatness instead of an actual great anime. What do you got to say about that? “Oh no, first that guy put our favorite anime of the year into the runner-ups category and now he’s not even considering it great in this poor excuse of an awards show”. “Yeah, well he loves that anime where the teacher gets to be a manipulative bitch all her life and ends up getting the best ending as a result, so fuck him”.
Look, the show is fine, okay? Well-animated, atmospheric, has great music, gives off a good sense of adventure, and actually handles “kids being in a crappy world” a lot better than when the series composition dude gave us Now and Then, Here and There. Once it gives me a better story than “the Abyss is dangerous” to accompany its phenomenal world-building, then maybe I’ll call it anime of the year. Also, can we please stop with the pedophile humor going forward?
Best “Wow This Didn’t Suck”: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
There are a few anime out there that I skip because they don’t look too appealing to me, but I go back to binge-watch later when somebody mentions future qualities that might be worth writing about. Said anime this year were Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Kado the Right Answer, Made in Abyss, and Neo Yokio. However I already gave Made in Abyss an award, and despite the toblerone memes, Neo Yokio stops being amusing when I realize I’m watching Jaden Smith be a pretentious ass. So Dragon Maid wins this award, not just for the numerous cool cosplay it inspired, but for the surprisingly likable characters, amusing jokes, social satire, and overall sense of familial warmth I thought anime was incapable of producing within me.
Best Runner-Up Romance: Tsuki ga Kirei
Now here’s the main reason I had to exclude all my personal favorites from this awards ceremony. Practically all of the non-video game stuff I enjoyed in 2017 were romance-focused and Tsuki ga Kirei just couldn’t match up to them in terms of visuals and ambition. I know a lot of people prefer this series’ well-executed sweetness and expanded time for development. I don’t, but I’ll admit this series is the best “straightforward” romance anime I’ve seen in years. The dialogue was naturalistic. The characters had interesting faults that fit the story. The direction is surprisingly thoughtful given it’s Seiji Kishi directing for a company that produced Yosuga no Sora. And besides, there isn’t any other romance anime that even qualifies for this award.
What’s that? Recovery of an MMO Junkie and Tsuredure Children you say? Sorry, let me rephrase that. There isn’t any other romance anime that even qualifies for this award that I care about.
Best Series That Isn’t Finished Yet: The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Considering only two-cour shows in the Fall season and long-runners that I’m obviously not watching are the only things that could qualify for this list, Ancient Magus’ Bride really had no contest. I’ll give my opinion of this show another time, but while I can understand that the first twelve episodes are self-contained enough to function as a standalone show, I don’t think we should give Magus’ Bride any awards until the Winter season ends. The show is a bit more inconsistent than I’d like, and what was that I said before about not stating an anime is good until it’s actually over?
Best Anime I Didn’t Watch: Land of the Lustrous
It was going to be either this or Rakugo Shinjuu 2. And I’ve been informed Rakugo’s second season wasn’t an improvement (or at least much of one) on the first one, so it got disqualified. If you’re wondering why I’m not putting Girls’ Last Tour on here, first off, I did watch most of it. Second, I think that show is really boring, and when the majority of the fanbase consists of people who keep saying to me with a straight face that the 2003 adaptation of Kino’s Journey totally holds up as a masterpiece, I’m guessing it’s not just genre biases that are keeping me from getting absorbed.
Best Live-Action Anime: Gintama
Considering the track record of transferring anime into live-action, I thought Tokyo Ghoul was going to run away with this award for being the only one last year that was half-decent. And then I saw the live-action Gintama, which instantly fed me shit and then smeared boogers on my sleeves for being so wrong. This film adaptation of the popular Shonen Jump series is not only freaking hilarious, it is one of the best movies I’ve seen from 2017, as well as a new personal favorite of mine. Considering I’ve never liked the manga or any of the anime adaptations, no one is more surprised by this than me. And while there are a variety of reasons for this that I’ll get into another time, I put most of what makes this movie work on the actors. Sure they may not have the distinctive voices, but trust me when I say that the guy who plays Henpeita in this adaptation, Jiro Sato, is literally the funniest actor to ever exist.
And those are all the awards I’m giving out. Now go vote for whoever you want in that Crunchyroll thing and then sharpen your middle finger because you’re gonna need it in a few days.