Anime Oscars?

animeoscars

Like I mentioned earlier, I (sadly) have more than a passing interest in these types of awards. The 2008 Tokyo Anime Fair Awards were just announced to, as far as I can see, reasonable disinterest. I can see the logic behind the choices behind these awards, even if I don’t particularly agree with all of them (in all honesty, I surprisingly haven’t seen most of the winners, so it’s hard for me to have an opinion either way). But as Kaioshin Sama from When Anime Past Meets Present puts it, if you don’t like the results of a given set of awards, why not make your own. But it’s not like I’m taking his advice (I’m starting to sound like a tsundere now), I’ve been playing with this idea for months.

Before we begin, a few comments on the real Oscars. To the surprise of very few, Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture. In all honesty, it wasn’t my pick. It’s a feelgood movie, and I can see why it’s popular among the Academy (and, evidently, among the voters of pretty much every other major film awards), but I don’t consider it a top shelf film, as good as it was. There were quite a few little things that bugged me, and the script all too often relied on coincidences which pushed suspension of disbelief. It’s also overly romantic, almost on the realm of “fairytale” if you think about it deeply, which generally isn’t my thing. I hadn’t seen all the nominees (most of them, though), and my personal pick for best film of the year was a tie between Frost/Nixon and The Wrestler, the latter of which was snubbed. In my eyes, both those films were 9/10 films, while Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button were 8/10 films. For comparison, I thought The Dark Knight (yes, yes, I know, one doesn’t mention this film while talking about Oscars other than the Best Supporting Actor gong unless one wants to incite nerd rage) was an 8/10 film, and marginally better than Slumdog Millionaire. I haven’t seen Milk, The Reader, Revolutionary Road or Gran Torino yet, all of which have been touted as “up there”. My final assessment is that this year’s crop of films are no where near as good as last year’s crop, where three of the Best Film nominees were 10/10 films in my eyes.

Anyway, here’s my mock Anime Oscars, as I’d call it. The eligibility is as follows: if part of it aired in 2008, it’s eligible, but series that finished in 2008 have an innate advantage over series that are ongoing. Obviously I’m going to be biased by what I’ve seen, so there’ll be no mention of Macross Frontier, Gundam 00 or Casshern SINS. And, yes, even despite that, I’ve almost certainly forgotten something or someone deserving. Feel free to point out any obvious title or person I forgot to recognize.

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Best Animation
Nominees:
Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners
Code Geass R2
ARIA The Origination
Mouryou no Hako
True Tears

And the award goes to: Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners
I’ve said it earlier, but this is a no brainer, IMO. The animation in Kara no Kyoukai is superb. Just to explain this award, the criteria is a bit of a mix between art, animation and cinematography. One could make strong arguments for the presence of Kaiba and ef – a tale of melodies, but in this instance, I snubbed them.

Best Soundtrack
Nominees:
ARIA The Origination
Natsume Yuujinchou
Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners
Shigofumi ~Stories of Last Letter~
Kaiba

And the award goes to: Natsume Yuujinchou
I decided that the soundtrack award should be judged purely on music original to the anime, which is why I didn’t give Nodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~ a nomination. Kara no Kyoukai was a tough one to judge, since I haven’t heard the full OST, but Kajiura Yuki‘s music is (as usual) very good in the anime. But I’ve chosen Yoshimori Makoto‘s Natsume Yuujinchou soundtrack, which is both ambitious and whimsical, but also technically very well executed.

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Best Script
Nominees:
Kaiji
Spice and Wolf
Kaiba
Kure-nai
Mouryou no Hako

And the award goes to: Kaiji
I decided against splitting this award into “Best Original” and “Best Adapted” for the simple reason that there’s so little anime that aren’t adapted these days. It was tough even getting five nominees, which is why I had to resort to a series I haven’t even completed yet in Mouryou no Hako. In the end, I awarded this to Kaiji, which had a very well woven and thought through plotline combined with some brilliant dialogue (and monologues), great character development and genuine depth.

Best Female Seiyuu in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Inoue MarinaZoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Kitsu Chiri)
Hayamizu RisaKannagi (Kimura Takako)
Nakajima Yumikoef – a tale of melodies (Amamiya Yuuko)
Paku RomiKaiba (Popo)
Tanaka RieKimikiss ~Pure Rogue~ (Futami Eriko)

And the award goes to: Paku RomiKaiba
One of the common themes throughout both the female voice actor categories is that a lot of them have voiced male characters. I don’t think there’s too much controversy in giving Paku Romi this award. There were a few other seiyuu I thought about for this category, such as Sawashiro Miyuki for Kannagi and Hirohashi Ryou for any of her performances in ARIA The Origination, Clannad or Kimikiss ~Pure Rogue~ (although, if I did nominate her, it would have almost certainly been for the first one).

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Best Male Seiyuu in a Supporting Role
Nominees:
Ueda YujiDetroit Metal City (Johannes Krauser II)
Furusawa Tohruef – a tale of melodies (Amamiya Akira)
Narita KenCode Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (Jeremiah Gottwald)
Inoue Kazuhiko Natsume Yuujinchou (Madara)
HakuryuuKaiji (Tonegawa Yukio)

And the award goes to: Ueda YujiDetroit Metal City
Basically for managing to say “rape” ten times in a single second. This is almost always a challenging category to find five standout performances in, owing to the fact that there’s such an imbalance between the number of male characters and female characters in anime (let’s just face it, that’s what the viewers want). Off the top of my head, the only other possibilities for this category would probably have come from Code Geass R2, such as Wakamoto Norio and Nakata Joji, the latter of whom is almost an unbackable favourite for this award next year for his performance in Kara no Kyoukai.

Best Female Seiyuu in a Lead Role
Nominees:
Kawasumi AyakoNodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~ (Noda Megumi)
Sawashiro MiyukiKure-nai (Kurenai Shinkurou)
Koshimizu AmiSpice and Wolf (Horo)
Nabatame HitomiYakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo (Yakushiji Ryoko)
Kuwashima HoukoKaiba (Kaiba)

And the award goes to: Koshimizu AmiSpice and Wolf
It was very hard in this category to look past Kawasumi‘s Nodame, but her impact isn’t quite as big because its a role we heard her in last year. Sawashiro and Kuwashima are another two female nominees voicing male characters, and both had really great years last year (I was very tempted to nominate both in the supporting category for their slightly more feminine performances in Kannagi and Clannad respectively). I also really wanted to find a spot on the list for Yuki Aoi‘s performance in Kure-nai. This is easily the most competitive acting category, and in the end I just kept coming back to Koshimizu‘s performance in Spice and Wolf. She brings Horo to life with a great deal of vibrancy and a hint of mischief and shows a lot of emotional range over the course of the series.

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Best Male Seiyuu in a Lead Role
Nominees:
Fukuyama JunSpice and Wolf (Kraft Lawrence)
Kamiya HiroshiZoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei (Itoshiki Nozumu)
Hagiwara MasatoKaiji (Itou Kaiji)
Tomokazu SekiNodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~ (Chiaki Shinichi)
Fukuyama JunCode Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 (Lelouch Lamperouge)

And the award goes to: Fukuyama JunCode Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2
I resisted as much as I could, but at the end of the day, was there really any better male seiyuu performance last year than Fukuyama‘s portrayal of Lelouch? I kinda rue to admit it, but I don’t think there was. A few other male seiyuu can consider themselves unlucky to miss out on a nod, like Nakamura Yuuichi (Clannad) and Kamiya Hiroshi (Natsume Yuujinchou), even though I did nominate the later for Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Fukuyama gets two nominations, the second for Spice and Wolf, but it’s very hard to look past the massive amount of range he demonstrates in Code Geass R2. Lelouch’s characterization was one of the highlights of Code Geass R2, and a lot of the credit for how believable he was must go to his seiyuu. Ironically, if I were nominating a “Worst Male Lead Seiyuu” award, he’d get that for Rental Magica. He’s been busy this last year.

Best Director
Nominees:
Matsuo KouKure-nai
Yamamoto YutakaKannagi
Shinbo AkiyukiZoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Yuasa MasaakiKaiba
Nakamura RyosukeMouryou no Hako

And the award goes to: Shinbo AkiyukiZoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Is my bias showing? No, really, I honestly think Shinbo‘s directing in Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, where he was pretty much off-the-wall, was the best directorial effort of the anime year. He was truly unrestrained, experimenting with aspects of anime that we generally take for granted, but he still managed to execute them nearly flawlessly and bring us an incredibly entertaining and irreverent comedy. I think his courage and ambition really stands out in a medium which seems to be losing people prepared to take a risk. The same goes for Yuasa as well, who also deserves kudos for Kaiba.

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Best Anime
Nominees:
Kaiji
Kure-nai
Kaiba
ARIA The Origination
Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

And the award goes to: Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
Anyone who’s read the Year in Review article probably knew who I was going to give this award to. Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is just so remarkably witty, IMO. It’s the funniest anime since Azumanga Daioh, and the fact that I can speak about it in the same breath as that comedic gem is an indication of just how much I respect its sense of humour. That doesn’t take anything away from the other four nominees, all these titles carry a big stamp of recommendation from me. Picking the five best anime of the year (in my eyes) was fairly easy, picking a “winner” was slightly harder.

It kinda goes without saying that this is just my opinion, and I’m interested in seeing where people would disagree. Your thoughts? Also, for the sake of curiosity, a table:

Title Nominations Wins
Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 4 2
Kaiba 6 1
Kaiji 4 1
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 3 1
Spice and Wolf 3 1
Natsume Yuujinchou 2 1
Kara no Kyoukai – The Garden of Sinners 2 1
Detroit Metal City 1 1
Kure-nai 4 0
ARIA The Origination 3 0
Mouryou no Haku 3 0
ef – a tale of melodies 2 0
Kannagi 2 0
Nodame Cantabile ~Paris Chapter~ 2 0
Kimikiss ~Pure Rogue 1 0
Shigofumi ~Stories of Last Letter~ 1 0
True Tears 1 0
Yakushiji Ryoko no Kaiki Jikenbo 1 0

22 Responses to “Anime Oscars?”

  1. Well, I think I made myself too clear on which particular anime deserves to sweep most of these awards (imo).

    Other than that, I haven’t watched Mouryou no Haku, Casshern Sins, or Kara no Kyoukai, which I think have the potential to change my choices.

  2. Films of ’08 you should probably see if you haven’t: In Bruges, Doubt, Let the Right One In(Swedish, also about vampires, but still).

    Best supporting actor of ’08 was Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt. Heath is a tolerable enough choice, though, and I don’t blame the Academy for choosing him, especially in honor of his RECENT PASSING.

  3. @gaguri: I have a feeling that, if I’d seen all of Mouryou no Hako, it would have done better in these awards. It looks like the fansubbers are having difficulties subbing this one.

    @GreatGlistener: I don’t like to think Heath Ledger’s death influenced voting for the award, as naive as that may be. When I saw his performance, I genuinely thought he deserved to win, dead or not. Then again, I haven’t seen Doubt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman is almost always good.

  4. Oh, I don’t disagree that Heath’s performance was great. It’s really what made the film for me, as well as many other viewers. I suppose I simply enjoy more down-to-earth characters. One of the causes for choosing Heath might have been that his performance overshadowed all of the others in the film, while the performances in Doubt were excellent all around (though some might argue that Meryl Streep’s does something similar). Or it might just be that very few in the Academy actually saw Doubt. Of course, there’s always the possibility that another actor from a film I haven’t seen deserved to win, but who knows~

  5. Finally, an anime award contest where Natsume Yuujinchou does win something (^^) although in a category that I didn’t anticipate. I thought Kaiba would win here, but no matter. Plus, judging from all the positive feedback I’m getting, I really need to pick up Kara no Kyoukai soon.

  6. @AC: I’ll knock down your perception of Kara no Kyoukai a bit by saying that the only thing I really enjoy from it is the animation (I’m waiting for lower quality versions of the latest movie because my computer sucks).

    As for the list, I generally agree with it aside from best soundtrack which I would probably give to Macross Frontier despite that fact that it’s pretty much the soundtrack of Star Wars with J-pop and J-rock and the “Best Anime” category.

  7. @Shadowmage I was wondering if I was the only one to notice that Kanno quoted a lot of Western film music in Macross Frontier. I counted Hans Zimmer and John Williams (as you mentioned) when I listened to that OST.

  8. I think Sword of the Stranger is the only snub I can think of and that belongs in the best animation category since it is a beautiful piece of work itself. Honestly, had Moryou no Hako received better treatment from fansubbers, it should win a good amount of awards. (Imo.) Surprisingly Kaiba did not win much despite the merits and acclaim. Kaiba is the only anime of the bunch I plan to see in the future at some point. The others, either I have seen them already or just purely disinterested.

    @AC
    Well, I think you should just give the Kara no Kyoukai movies a try and that is about it. I do believe this is one of those overhyped things that only gets praise from technical merit mostly. The first movie confused me and I had no idea what was going on. And, the fifth movie is where I don’t think repetitious mindfucking is always the best way to do things. But, if you do come in with low expectations then the movies will turn out better and let you appreciate the artwork more for the most part. That is how it went for me anyway.

  9. @Flash Sword Irene
    Well, like I said, I’m biased by what I’ve seen, and I haven’t seen Sword of the Stranger. As for Kara no Kyoukai, the excessive repetition in the latest movie is one of its few flaws, IMO, but I didn’t mind it so much since it played to one of the film’s themes. It’s obviously the type of film that divides audiences, but I thought it was just brilliant.

  10. Wow, it’s always cool when somebody takes my advice. :p

    See how easy it is though, I defy the the idea that is more difficult to create with a counterpoint to something then to destroy by simply spending all of ones time trashing on that something. By the time one is done with the latter they could have just as easily made a plug for what they do like.

    I could certainly see you making these choices, even though they are all well outside my field of interest. And this was better then the Oscars, I’ll say that much for it.

  11. @Kaioshin Sama: OMG I just said I DIDN’T take your advice. WRYYYY FFUUUU!!!

    When I do this again next year, I’ll include a big dance routine which references all the Best Anime nominees at the beginning just for you. 😛

  12. I love how [i]certain people[/i] can give themselves an ego boost from the smallest things.

    That said Sorrow, isn’t this basically your one-man version of our Year in Review editorials? Maybe you might consider expanding 2009’s editorial with the seiyuu nominations for us.

  13. @Asc: Now, now. Play nice. 😉

    Yeah, you’re pretty much right, this is a one-man YiR. But this is just a bit of fun, the real Year in Review is serious business. I think it would be interesting to see what would happen with an “Anime Oscars” if we had input from all the site’s staff. I might mull over the idea… for next year.

  14. @Sorrow Kun
    I still feel that the staff for the fifth movie of Kara no Kyoukai overcomplicated things a tad too much to its detriment. Granted, the movie was not bad overall. But, I did not get the feeling that the writers were allowing things to speak for themselves per se. The movie felt rather forced in its approach and its one of the reasons why I do not like the movie as much as others. While, I don’t mind a psychological mindfucking in an anime every once in awhile for entertainment, I thought this was the case where less would have been more to sum it up.

    But, I do hope the next movie will turn out nicely since there are only two movies left. And, I would like things to be tightened up to a fitting finale. At the sametime, adding in a part for seiyuus could be interesting for the Year-In Review I have to say.

    @Ascaloth
    Dude, I have a feeling that you and Crusader make very good friends. Lol. But, I am sure Kaioshin Sama loves you too. XD

  15. @Flash Sword Irene,

    Funny you should bring up Crusader, because at one point we were actually on opposite camps of the True Tears Shipping Wars. Those were the days, too bad White Album wasn’t interesting enough to make it Round 2. :p

    But yeah, otherwise we’re on pretty good terms far as I can tell. As for certain people who has this Sunrise-class homolust thing for me going on…..no comment. ^_^

  16. @Sorrow-Kun:

    “OMG I just said I DIDN’T take your advice. WRYYYY FFUUUU!!!

    When I do this again next year, I’ll include a big dance routine which references all the Best Anime nominees at the beginning just for you.”

    I know, that was why I said it. 😛 Unfortunately certain people didn’t pick up on it. One of my things is that I like to poke fun you see, and truly it was all in good fun. It’s like when people take me so literally every single time I comment, it’s all in good fun.

    Now how do you propose going about setting up a dance routine for next year?

    @Ascaloth: Hmmm…you don’t have to be so uncomfortable around me you know.

    @Flash Sword Irene: Ascaloth has been Tsundere for me for as long as I can remember actually. As of late I get a kick out of the inner Trollscaloth and the “certain people” comment. So moe.

  17. @Kaioshin Sama

    Now how do you propose going about setting up a dance routine for next year?

    I’ll spend months of countless nights carefully planning the choreography, then I’ll blow my budget AND miss my deadline, and have to cancel it.

  18. @Sorrow-kun
    Come now, it doesn’t cost that much to hire out Yutaka Yamamoto does it?

  19. @Sorrow-Kun: So what you’re saying is that you’ll pull a Gainax?

  20. @zzeroparticle

    I probably can’t afford Yamamoto now. His price must have gone up after Kannagi…

    @Kaioshin Sama

    …but I might be able to afford Anno. Not sure how he’d go with choreographing a dance routing, though. It’ll probably have lots of slightly disturbing innuendo, introspection and deal with father issues.

  21. @Kaioshin,

    Considering your homolust tendencies towards me at times, telling me to not be so uncomfortable with you is easier said than done at times. :p

    Although considering I was the one who started the homolust gag, I suppose I just have to accept that it’s karma that you’re playing copycat towards me. -_-

    Still, maybe you should give up the homolust thing already? It’s getting about as old as the CG bashing you’re always so mad about even now. :p

  22. @Sorrow-Kun: Rotoscoping. He’d use rotoscoping. Also it would without a doubt be an interpretive dance

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