Sorry to break the Hidamari Sketch streak but this was my favorite screenshot from 2011.
Did you feel your ears pop just now? I know I did. We’ve finally here – the rarefied air were this year’s best anime titles inhabit.
Before getting to the final countdown here’s some stats that the numerical-minded might find interesting. Using just the top 6 anime series:
- This year has three anime original series, 2010 saw 2, 2009 had none, 2008 included 2, and 2007 also had 2.
- This year marks the fourth year that a Shaft series appeared and the third year that KyoAni has appear as well.
- This year Brain’s Base joins Shaft from 2010, AIC from 2008 and KyoAni from 2007 by placing two anime in the top 6 in one year.
I’m sure I’m not the only person that after building something will sometimes find a small pile of odds’n’ends that one hopes does not belong in the completed product. This part of the awards is like that pile of parts; as I was arranging awards into the various groups I started accumulating awards that didn’t really fit with the others. Instead of putting these categories in a little bag and forgetting about them until something goes wrong, I decided to add this fourth part to be able to cover them as well.
Step three for awesome anime – after creating memorable characters and giving them a worthy stage – is to use every part of the production process to bring-out/enhance the positive aspects of the anime and hide the negative aspects. Getting the right seiyuu can be the difference between a character being a success or failure. Inappropriate music can ruin the climax of a series and nothing can make a whole anime series fail as assuredly as poor animation quality. Conversely, in the right hands, a small budget can be overcome through creating the right animation style. Stellar OP/ED with it’s combination of music and animation can build excitement and anticipation for the anime and ensure viewers come back next week.
There’s other parts to an anime’s production – like script writing, cinematography, sound editing, etc. – that won’t gets awards here because I’m not knowledgeable enough in these areas to put any confidence in picking winners. Which is why I call this set of awards the Voice, Music, and Audio awards. I’m hoping next year I’ll be able to include a few more areas of the production to these awards.
Step 2 in making extraordinary anime is to take your cast of memorable characters and give them a stage that lets them shine.
I’m not fussy about which stage is chosen nor do I think one type is inherently superior to another. A well-done comedy is as difficult to make as a well-done drama and both deserve the same level of praise for succeeding in their respective spheres of influence. With a competent execution, a shoujo anime is as good as a shounen anime and/or a slice-of-life anime and/or a sports anime and/or a science fiction anime and/or romantic comedy anime and so on and so forth.
This bit of enlightenment was something I learned after starting my anime blogging and pushing myself to watch a wider variety of anime. Which is one of the reasons I’d suggest giving anime blogging a chance to people that want to deepen their appreciation of the art form.
A part of me didn’t want to finish this post because then I’d be quasi-officially done with the spring season and I’ll miss it; it was a great season. I really shouldn’t be sad, though, the few new summer anime that I already checked out make the summer look like another promising season and there’s a number of great series continuing as well.
After looking at the characters in part 1 and then the show built around those characters in part 2, the third group of awards will focus on the extras in an anime; namely, the vocal work, music, and animation quality. These components aren’t among the core reasons why an anime is successful or not but they can exert a surprising amount of influence for either outcome.
Not that I’m implying correlation equals causation; maybe that’s something Okabe from Steins;Gate could study after he was done changing the world’s ruling power structure and defeating the secret organizations – he could study how integral are the vocal work, music, and animation quality towards an anime’s success or failure.