Voting for Anime Awards ends on Friday! The Features Team argued about who should win Best Film, Best Director, and Anime of the Year! Don't forget to vote.
Anime Awards voting end on Friday! We've been super pumped because of the community's reactions to the nominees. However we have gotten so loud with our individual opinions on who we think should win that we’ve been told to duke it out via written words instead of continually disrupting our coworkers (sorry fam).
We've hit every category in the Anime Awards and this is the last installment in our argumentative saga. So we're gonna get down to the nitty gritty of Best Film, Best Director, and finally ANIME OF THE YEAR. Let’s down to business!
This is admittedly the area where I feel least qualified to deliver a prediction, but I nonetheless feel very confident. Just based on box office it’s likely the one everyone has seen, so… Anyway, My Hero nailed its theatrical debut with an original story that felt plausible and made great use of the existing characters. All Might literally flexing on the villain is one of the greatest moments from the entire series only made possible by this film.
When I think of what constitutes an amazing film, I like to think of how the overall package leaves me feeling after I watch the whole thing. I usually want a film to leave me wanting more, but satisfied with the story I’ve been told, and for anime films, I want to see amazing, crisp visual storytelling tied to great voice acting and musical packages. For 2018, no film really left me feeling that way other than The Night is Short, Walk On Girl. The musical number alone was worth checking out the film for, and the movie also captured a lot of that joy of life style of film that usually gets talked about for college and early adulthood films.
Before My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, I’d never been in a theater for an anime film that had such an excited audience. Usually there’s this reserved feeling of “Okay, we got this far. We’re seeing anime at an actual theater and if we play it cool, maybe this will happen again.” But thanks to the popularity of My Hero Academia and the growing appreciation for anime in America and I was faced with an audience that treated My Hero Academia: Two Heroes like a WWE show. There was so much cheering and love and when I left, I was just so happy to be an anime fan.
There isn’t any dialog for about the first ten minutes of Liz and the Blue Bird. It opens with one of the main characters’ footsteps ringing out into the air, and then a piano melody begins playing to the beat tapped out by her shoes. The music and imagery play off of one another in a way I’ve literally never seen in a movie before. It was so beautiful that the majority of the audience I saw it with was in tears LITERALLY BEFORE ANY CHARACTER SAID ANYTHING. This is truly the best possible movie Sound! Euphonium could have received. It’s one of the best anime experiences I’ve ever had, and I love it a lot.
Tatsuya Yoshihara for Black Clover
If a director is the champion of a production, I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Tatsuya Yoshihara. He’s gone above and beyond to make Black Clover a success and it’s really shone. Just following him on Twitter, you can see he lives this series and his extracurricular efforts to elevate the production are well known. His bringing in animators of all types and levels of experience to deliver the surreal experience of episode 63 is something I hope to see more regularly from Black Clover in the future.
Masaaki Yuasa for Devilman Crybaby
Devilman Crybaby left me a blubbering mess by the end of it, and I hated Masaaki Yuasa for it. My only real exposure to Devilman came when I was younger and watching old VHS tapes of anime, and back then I just saw Devilman as this dark and action filled story; in Devilman Crybaby, Yuasa certainly didn’t shy away from those aspects, but he found a way to make the story even more tragic as the ending drew near. The blending of Science Saru’s visual style with Go Nagai’s manga, topped with the amazing soundtrack, is a package that could only really be created by someone with a keen eye.
Akira Amemiya for SSSS. Gridman
I’ve spent a ton of time over the last few months spreading the good word about SSSS. Gridman, but as my turn in the awards season comes to a close, I feel like I should give it one more parting compliment: The director, Akira Amemiya is awesome. Coming off of Inferno Cop and Kill la Kill, I think SSSS. Gridman, due to its subject matter, might be his best work yet. Even relatively static scenes between characters crackle with energy, and the battles are usually spectacular.
Norihiro Naganuma for The Ancient Magus’ Bride
How do you heal from something that has broken you completely? The Ancient Magus’ Bride seeks to answer that question. Chise’s journey to learn magic and undo the traumas of her past could have come off as tone deaf or emotionally exploitative in the wrong hands, but Naganuma’s earnest depiction of her struggles elevated this show into one of the most emotionally engaging anime I’ve ever seen. How do you heal from something that has broken you completely? Use your pain to connect to others.
Anime of the Year
A Place Further is an amazing production delivering one of the greatest and most original stories I’ve seen in years. From having zero source material and playing with the idea of a story about girl psychics, the staff somehow pulled together an airtight and thoroughly researched story with fantastic moments and intriguing character subplots. It was excellently paced, affirming, and I honestly can’t think of a single thing they could have done to improve it.
This category was pretty tough to choose from, and in the end, I chose the brilliant Hinamatsuri. I went into this series knowing absolutely nothing other than it was a comedy. But underneath the comedy, the real strength of Hinamatsuri emerged as a story about people with real problems looking for connections. Despite Hina being a selfish brat, she’s also relatable, Nitta is somehow one of the best anime dads in memory, and I really had a hard time not crying at Anzu’s story of finding a family, losing them, and finding a new one. I loved Hinamatsuri from beginning to end, and can only hope that we may get another season of it!
I haven’t talked a lot about Devilman Crybaby because 1) Everyone has been talking about Devilman Crybaby, and 2) I didn’t watch it until late in the year, and I didn’t want to be the guy to burst, Kool Aid Man-style, into conversations about Fall Anime and say “BUT DID YOU GUYS SEE DEVILMAN CRYBABY? HEY. HOLD ON. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?” I didn’t really get into anime until college, which means I missed the age where I would watch a Dragon Ball Z or a Berserk or anything else and think that it’s insanely, unflappably, almost perfectly rad. But watching Devilman Crybaby, I think, gave me the closest thing to that. This sense of “Oh, man. Anime really is the coolest thing in the world. Also, I need a Mountain Dew.”
This wasn’t the most visually beautiful anime of the year. It didn’t have the best music, the best character designs, or the best dialog. But Shirase’s journey to find her mother in a far off land transformed these parts into a truly amazing whole. Shirase, Mari, Hinata, and Yuzuki all feel like completely realized people and their journey to Antarctica is one of the finest examples of how anime can tell stories like no other medium can.
Woo! So we hit every category, had a lot of fun writing this up, and have exhausted our physical and written voices concerning who we think should win for now. We can't wait to see who wins!
If you haven't voted for Anime Awards, you still have time! Voting ends this Friday and the place to see all of the nominees for every category and vote for your favorites is right here!
Who do you think should win: Best Film, Best Director, and Anime of the Year? Tell us in the comments below!
Ricky Soberano is a Features Editor, Script Writer, and Editorial Programming Coordinator for Crunchyroll. She’s the former Managing Editor of Brooklyn Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @ramenslayricky.
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