Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Anime Discourse - Crunchyroll's Anime Award

Now let me start off with the forewarning that you are basically about to read a rant by someone who is infinitely more biased towards Mob Psycho 100 than any other anime in these awards. Not to say that I don't like the anime listed, because for the most part I either do or I haven't watched them yet, but MP100 is a very important series to me for a multitude of reasons I may or may not go into one day.

I was originally going to write this when the nominee list was first released, but I'm lazy and now that the results are out I'm actually fueled to write this. I'm going to go briefly over the category winners (finishing out with the animation category because that's where I take real issue) and then talk about the general problems in the awards themselves. Also, I won't be talking about Anime of the Year since the winner isn't being revealed until the 28th because of... reasons? I don't know there's a party or something and it all seems like a load of BS, but it's whatever.

Having said all that, please remember that these are all my opinions and they may differ from yours because those are your opinions. We're all just here to rant and have a good time!


First up, we have Hero of the Year.

The other two entrants in this category were Mumei from Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and Mob from Mob Psycho 100.

Now, Deku winning isn't really much of a surprise considering he is officially a 'Hero' (or at least training to be one) and all. This is also the first in the trend Jojo being the most popular write in. Now am I salty that Mob didn't win? I mean no, not really. Would I have liked him to? Yeah, but I already kinda knew it wasn't gonna happen. Keeping my expectations low.

Next is Villain of the Year so get ready for all those juicy spoilers you didn't want, but got anyways because CR didn't tell you there would be major plot spoilers if you wanted to vote.

The other two entrants were Tomura Shigaraki from My Hero Academia and Biba from Kabaneri.

Now I'm gonna be honest in saying the only anime from this category that I've watched is MHA. I didn't really start watching anime again until halfway through the summer season so I have a lot of catching up to do. Regardless of that, I think this is the most "fair" results out of all of them. Knowing pretty much the gist of what happens in Erased (as the Spoiler Queen I am, of course) Gaku makes sense as the winner BUT you can really see Jojo about to take the lead here. There's only a .06% for fuck's sake! Maybe next time, Jojo fans, maybe next time.

Next is Best Boy.

The other two entrants were Deku from MHA and Yakumo from Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju.

Now listen, I really really wanted Reigen to win if not only for the beautiful irony that is a 28 year old sweaty man winning best boy. And I wouldn't really have a problem with Yuri winning if I didn't think almost all the other characters in the show are better than him (also, why did they pick this image for him? Okay, I'll stop nitpicking now.) But I mean honestly, Phichit is one of the sweetest characters in the show, wouldn't he have made more sense for this category? And don't say it's because he's not the main character because Reigen clearly isn't the MC of Mob Psycho, whose protagonist is an actual boy.

Now obviously following is Best Girl.

The other two entrants are Mumei from Kabaneri and Nico Niiyama from Kiznaiver.

Here is another category that I don't have much invested in and even though MHA is the only one I watched, I didn't vote from Uraraka! Honestly, I'm not too invested in her character (especially not with where the anime ended off) and again I get why Rem won. It's really not a surprising outcome.

Next is Best Fight Scene aka the category I would have had an aneurysm over if the results were different.
The other two entrants were Mumei vs Kabane from Kabaneri and Altland vs Moss from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans.

I am going to skillfully ignore that Naruto vs Sasuke in the Other category and just go through saying this - I don't care if you are a MP100 fan or not, if you have watch this scene then you know this is one of the best choreographed, best animated fight scenes in anime. Everything in this scene flows exceedingly well, it carries stakes that the audience cares about, and has complete character arcs in such a short time that you cannot objectively say it shouldn't have won. However, I do think that IBO fight should have been in second. If anything, Deku vs 'Kacchan' (why don't they call him Bakugo in this?) is the worst fight on this list due to it's exceedingly drawn out nature.

Here is Most Heartwarming Scene with a winner no one was surprised over!

Also featuring one of the few well animated scenes after the first two episodes. The other two entrants were "Makoto flies over her home" in Flying Witch and "Kakeru and Suwa learn to understand each other" in Orange.

Honestly, I don't really find this scene "heartwarming" at all. It's the implied reward for the seven episodes of relationship buildup (and I won't go into the relationship aspect of that here), but all that's all that it really is. There is a difference in my book between "heart warming" and "romance" and this scene falls very clearly into the "romance" category.

Next up is Best Drama.

The other two entrants were Joker Game (ha!) and Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju.

Again, nothing about the winner here is really that surprising, but I did think that Kiznaiver would have been closer to tying. What's most surprising is that Joker Game was allowed on this list at all (it shouldn't have been allowed on the AOTY list, either.)

And let's just pretend that there was any suspense in the Best Couple category.

The other two entrants were Katsuhira and Sonozaki from Kiznaiver and Luluco and Nova from Space Patrol Luluco.

I'm just gonna come right out and say it - I don't like the couple that is Yuri and Victor. Do I ship them together? I mean yeah, but that's mostly because I find the idea of them with anyone else to be... weird. But as a romantic relationship I just don't like them. Or I guess it's more that I don't care for it than not liking it, a neutral status. I just don't like how their relationship progressed (a lot of people say it was natural, but I find it to be the opposite) and this pairing has minimal appeal to me. And let's not even start on the percents...

Here we have the category where everyone is a winner - Best Comedy.

The other two entrants were Keijo!!!!!!!! and Space Patrol Luluco.

Guys, I love comedy anime. I laugh more at comedy anime than anything and it increases my quality of life 82% every time I watch an episode. Which is why anything could have won and I would have been with it (I'm still iffy on Keijo, but honestly I laughed when I saw it here anyways). Nanbaka is actually my favorite from the five listed (bright colors just appeal too much to my aesthetic) but I need to ask. Where is Osomatsu-san?? You know, that thing at the beginning of the year that became like the most popular anime of all time!? *sigh* I guess release season really does matter with things like this.

Next we have Best Action.

The other two entrants were Drifters and Kabaneri.

Again, I'm overjoyed that MP100 won, but I'm surprised that Drifters didn't come in second. I have a lot of problems MHA as an anime that mostly stem from pacing, but since I'm a manga reader and knew what was coming I willed myself to stick around. I am honestly amazed by how many people like this show since most of them are probably anime only watchers. I'm also... confused that Jojo wasn't just a normal nominee. 

And here we, at the category where I first really start to have problems. Best Opening.

The other two entrants were Kabaneri and Showa Genroku.

Okay, so I'm not "shocked" or anything that YOI won. History Maker is a great song to the point that I've had it as my goddamm ringtone since the song was released. However, I don't think an OP should be based just on the song. And while the YOI opening was... pretty? There was nothing there. Now, I'm not someone to sit through the OPs or EDs of shows after I've seen them a few times (assuming they're good enough that I'm actually willing to sit through them more than once). I have watched the OP for MP100 every single time I have watched an episode. I have watched the show three full times and am now currently on my fourth as I watch through the dub.

99 is a good song. It has great vocals, easy lyrics, and is catchy as fuck. The opening to Mob Psycho 100 is a goddamn masterpiece. It is seamlessly animated with only a couple cuts, amazing flow, and some of the most mind blowing transitions I have ever seen. Not to mention that the entire thing is like a love letter to the webcomic with about a million and one references the viewer won't get unless they've read past the arc the anime stops at without spoiling anything. And you know what? It doesn't matter if the viewer gets any of the references because the whole thing is mouth wateringly gorgeous to look at. 

Don't be surprised to hear my same exact argument here with Best Ending only to the extreme.

The other two entrants Kabaneri and Space Patrol Luluco.

There is nothing to the YOI ending. It is a series of still shots (some of them are gorgeous, some of them are not) most of which are presented as an Instagram feed. The song is good, though not nearly on the level of History Maker in catchy-ness. I've looked the song itself up several times and I honestly couldn't even tell you what it's called because nothing about it is really memorable.

On the other hand, you have All Off, the ED for MP100. I'll be honest in saying I did skip over this one on my first watchthrough because I just don't really care for EDs, especially as someone who marathons most of their shows. However, once I actually watched it I spent about 45 minutes kicking myself over why it took so long to do it. Miyo Sato, the artist for the ED, uses a paint on glass style (one of the only people in Japan that currently does so!) that is utterly captivating to watch in motion and also captures a part of Reigen's character that we don't get to see in the show (or the manga, really.) And I mean, All Off is kinda just a better song than... that other one that I don't know the name of. (I just looked it up, it's called You Only Live Once which you'd think I'd remember since I can recall all the Haikyu themes that I don't care for, but oh well.)

Oh man, know it's time. The reason this whole discourse exists is because of this little gem right here.

I have been ranting about this category since December when it first came out to both my dearest bro Pastel and my younger sister. And I've been ranting mostly because we all knew what was going to win and we all knew what should have won. This is something agreed upon by my sister who 1) absolutely loves YOI and 2) didn't mind MP100 but prefers the clean 'anime style' to sketchier shows like this and Kill la Kill.

If you listen closely, you can still hear me screaming twelve hours later. The other two entrants were Kabaneri and Flip Flappers.

Listen. Just... listen. You don't like Mob Psycho? Fine, really it's okay. I understand that people like different things from me. That's why Flip Flappers is here, another show that is beautifully animated. That's why Kabaneri is here, for fuck's sake. But YOI. Listen, even YOI fans know that there is no way in hell this is the best animated show of 2016. The first two episodes? Beautiful. Everything that follows? Unless it's shoving romance down your throat with special focus on showing how glossy Victor's lips look, don't expect much. You can actually watch the skating animation go down in quality each episode which, if you're like me and are more invested in the skating routines than anything, is deeply upsetting. You'd think at least that the finals would get a little extra attention, but nope.

I'm not going to spend long talking about MP100 because I've done a lot of that already so I'm just gonna say this. The animation in that show is kinetic with amazing flow, the ability to show off a range of both motions and emotions that aren't seen in most other anime, and is one of the best animated shows I've ever watched.

Also, I find Kiznaiver to be exceedingly gorgeous, why wasn't that on this list? Why wasn't Haikyu on here, which had around the same level of animation as YOI but with more focus on things that matter (nothing will ever beat the level of detail they put specifically into eyes)? What about March Comes In Like A Lion, a show that exudes warmth in its animation?

There are a lot of problems with Crunchyroll's Anime Awards that have nothing to do with the poor taste of the popular vote. For instance, why was Jojo only formally nominated in one category when the write ins clearly want it for more? I know that they were reaching out to more anime than just they licensed, but putting MHA and Kabaneri into basically every category wasn't really doing it. Honestly, just seeing the same anime listed in almost every category was annoying. Why not limit the amount they're allowed to enter to three categories so we get to see more than five anime? 

Given that this is the first year for the anime awards, I'm really hoping that next year a lot of these problems are fixed.

What about you guys? Satisfied with the results? Fan of an underdog anime that didn't get representation? Think I'm biased and full of crap? Fair, you're prolly not wrong. Let me know what you wanted to win and what your Anime of the Year is!

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