Top Picks – Winter 2009 Anime, Part 2: Genre Awards

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The first part looked at the characters within the show and now this group of awards (minus one misfit) looks at the series as a whole. I used many of the same categories from the 2008 best awards but I trimmed a few because there was not enough competition. For example, the category of best slice-of-life show had only one anime that really fit, Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou. It’s good enough to be worthy of getting cited but without any competition, I just don’t feel right in doing so.

Best Action

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Winner:Shikabane Hime: Kuro
Runner-up:
Birdy the Mighty Decode 2

The first season of Shikabane Hime focused on how Oori, the main character, slowly was pushed from being your typical high school student to becoming the hero of the show. I applauded the show for this but one of the side effects was the action had to be restrained so as not to interfere. This bothered some people but I preferred this approach to developing the characters before the action starts. Now that we’re in the second season, with hero in place, the animators can let loose with the action and they have. Further, I’ve yet to see the last three episodes so the show’s not even to the truly climatic fights yet. 😛

Best Fight

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Winner: Ami and Minorin from Episode 21 of Toradora

There’s a good chance that Shikabane Hime will yield a fight that’ll be worthy of winning in the coming episodes but they’re not out yet and so I turn to one of the most emotionally intense fights I’ve seen in awhile. In hindsight this fight was probably inevitable but watching episode 21, I was surprised when Ami and Minorin got into a shouting match and even more surprised when it devolved to a physical confrontation. Minorin, as a star softball player, should have been able to handle the model, Ami, but Ami’s held her own and made it a fight and not a mauling.

Best Comedy

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Winner:Minami-ke: Okaeri
Runner-up:
Melancholy of Haruhi-chan

Both of these shows have been a little hit-n-miss with the comedy but I gave the edge to Minami-ke because the longer episode length (25 minutes vs. ~4 minutes) means Minami-ke accomplished more. This season of Minami-ke hasn’t blundered like the previous season but it hasn’t matched the first season in terms of quality. There’s been a few genuinely hilarious bits like Hosaka the curry fairy and more recently Natsuki asking a favor from the Minami sisters (remember to smile) with the overall level of comedy on the chuckle level.

Most Entertaining

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Winner:Sora o Kakeru Shoujo aka Sorakake Girl

If you’ve been following my weekly anime review, you might be surprised that this show got named most entertaining since I rarely talk about the show or rate the individual episodes near the top. What I’ve discovered about this show is that the sum has been much greater then the parts. If asked for my impression of this show, I’d mention how it’s been very entertaining with it’s oddball humor and quirky nature; it makes me laugh in a way that’s similar to Goodbye Mr. Despair.

Most Interesting Setting

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Winner: Rideback

By picking Rideback, I feel like my underlying love of science fiction is showing through. I’ve been a fan of stories that take place in worlds with totalitarian governments and feature people fighting back since reading “The Ballad of Lost C’mell” by Cordwainer Smith as a young boy. As you can guess then, Rideback takes place in a future Japan where a terrorist organization, the GGP, has been able to take over the world behind the scenes after capturing an ICBM base in Arizona. The scenario strains believability but they had to come up with something to create the scenario for the show and it’s an enjoyable one.

Best Plot

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Winner: Birdy the Mighty Decode 2
Runner-up:
Shikabane Hime: Kuro

Just about every aspect of Birdy has been improved for the sequel. This means the already good plot of the first season got ratcheted up a few levels to the awesome level. The first tip-off that this season was going to be better was the events and repercussions of the first season where still there. So the section of city that got leveled was stilled leveled and the displaced persons where still displaced. The second tip-off was when they introduced the central plot of the second season, they included the events of the first season and logically built upon them. There’s been a couple of twists as well that’s only made the plot even more intriguing.

Best Story

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Winner: Clannad ~After Story~
Runner-up:
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou

Reading some reactions towards Clannad made me fully realize that plot and story are different things, they can be related but one isn’t a synonym of the other. I will agree that the plot of Clannad is weak and doesn’t stand up well to close scrutiny but from the story standpoint – it’s a gem. By the second half of Clannad, I’d come to really like the main characters of Tomoya and Nagisa and this helped make their story riveting like little else is. I will own up to shedding a pretty large amount of tears over this show, both in sadness and happiness, because being able to move a person to feel different feeling is a hallmark of a good show.

That’s it for part 2, the next part is the VMA awards and then part 4 is my top 7 shows of the season.

Read Part 1: Cast and Character Awards
Read Part 3: VMA Awards
Read Part 4: Top 7 Anime of the season

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11 thoughts on “Top Picks – Winter 2009 Anime, Part 2: Genre Awards”

  1. I agree with the difference between plot and story, Clannad is a great story but just a simple plot. anyway I still agree that Clannad After Story is one of the saddest and most beautiful anime from this season.

    First time in your site. It is great!. Keep up the good work!

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  2. @would: thanks for the comment, I’m not following Casshern Sins at the present time so I can’t really include it in my picks. It did look interesting and there’s a good chance that I’ll get to it sometime this year.

    @SebaS: Thanks, I glad you liked. Clannad is definitely sad and beautiful.

    @Kitsune: The Hosaka curry fairy skit came from episode 2 I believe.

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  3. Lol nice picks, Okaeri has indeed been better than other humor-based shows, such as Yoichi as well, even if it cannot match up to the first season for many. I have no idea why people are not watching Sorakake though, it may be random and quirky but like you said, the sum is better than the individual parts.

    I think Casshern should be in there as well but since you did not watch it…also Tytania should get something. Like best soap opera. Something.

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  4. i love your blog! when it comes to anime i tend to be picky with what i want to watch reading the post here help me pick what i should watch. Thanks (=

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  5. I have to totally disagree with you on RideBack. I recently watched it and ugh…
    It’s an interesting anime and the premise was good. But the anime as a whole was bad. With regards to best setting, I’d have to say what setting? We know it’s Japan, sometime in the not too distant future, and that GGP has taken over the world so to speak. But that’s really it. The anime doesn’t do a good job of setting up what exactly is the GGP, why they fought the “super-state”. And the real reasons behind the BMA. Overall the setting isn’t that different from any anime that sets itself in our time period and besides the RideBacks and the nifty little cellphones there’s nothing really that sets it apart from our world.

    I have to go with what Panther said and that Tytania shouldn’t gotten something. Best setting would’ve been appropriate.

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  6. The Japanese tend to treat America as a sort of Deus Ex Machina. The power differential is on a different level it seems to say.

    It would have been much more plausible if they had simply gained absolute control over the President’s “Football” but that would entail knowledge about America’s defense capabilities that don’t seem readily accessible, even to born Americans.

    A cyber coded virus or double onion shell effect would allow the USA to still believe their codes are the ones controlling the nukes, since nobody actually test fires them to check. But in reality, the organization would be calling the shots. Then absolute power could be theirs, if they can get their hands on 1. a virus that cracks a missile defense shield and 2. a demonstration strike that shows the whole world that when they claim to control such power, they aren’t kidding. Code Geass put those kinds of things to good use.

    Nobody would believe the terrorist organization had such power, until they demonstrated it. Then when something goes poof on the world globe, then all the nuclear powers can start blaming each other for the cause. Then, while this is not necessarily what the US would do, the Japanese can simply have the US go isolationist and ignore the world events due to reasons of face. After all, that has parallels to actual US policy in the past and present. If the US suspects their command over the various MIRV nuclear ballistic submarines and land based silos were compromised, proper security would demand that the security leak be covered up.

    However, if there was a politician with vast power placed just right, he could override the military’s objections for domestic planning and collusion with terrorism. It’s not that the Japanese are unfamiliar with such political trickery. They just don’t seem to apply it to America often. Is it because the only Americans they see often are the Marines at Okinawa?

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