The final set of awards before going to my top shows of the season cover the music, vocal actors, and animation aspects of this season’s anime. Or the three parts to anime that are heavily dependent on the preferences of the individual viewer. 🙂
Best Male Seiyuu
I often wonder how much does a great character improve how I think of a seiyuu’s performance and, conversely, how much does a great job by the seiyuu go into improving that character. One way to separate the two is to look at other roles that the seiyuu has done and see if they’re consistent. In the case of Souichiro Hoshi, I adored his voice in Sengoku Basara when he played Sanada Yukimura (the hot-headed red guy) and in Phantom when he played the scheming brother Toru Shiga and I still remember another role he did as K1 from Higurashi. So, I have some confidence to say that Souichiro Hoshi does a great job injecting the right level of manliness into Tomoki’s character and thus earns the fall season Best Male Seiyuu award. Here’s a video of him singing from episode 10:
Best Female Seiyuu
If I apply the same test to Saori Hayami, I find that I loved her voice as Kou, the shrine maiden, from Wagaya no Oinarisama and Saki from Eden of the East. And more importantly, for the purposes of this award, her work as Ikaros impressed me. Which I found odd at first because Ikaros comes off as very emotionally flat but thinking about it more, that might be the reason why I’m impressed with her work so much. Namely, Saori Hayami does such a good job making Ikaros feel emotionally detached and then does an equally great job voicing Ikaros as she tries to learn what it means to be human. So Saori Hayami wins this award and here’s a video of her singing from episode 10.
Winner:Astro Fighter Sunred
Runner-up:To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, Sasameki Koto
A good crop of openings this season which made it hard to pick just one. Sunred squeaked past everyone else based on the superior use of the animation to channel the humor of the series and distill it down into a minute and half of hilarity.
Winner:Sora No Otoshimono
Runner-up:Kemono no Souja Erin, Hetalia Axis Powers – America version
Sora no Otoshimono had a different ending song and completely different animation to accompany that song for each of it’s thirteen episodes. My favorite was the one that ran a blooper reel of “mistakes” made during the filming of the show. So for going well above-and-beyond what one expects for even the best anime, Sora no Otoshiomono easily wins this award.
Best Background Music
Blue Literature holds the special place as the only anime that my sister has ever wanted the soundtrack album for. Of course, I can’t seem to find any information if one is going to released which is just my luck because I had the very same reaction to the background music as I watched this show the first time. My favorite piece was the one that the woman played at the beginning of Kokoro and elsewhere.
Best Dressed Characters
Winner:To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
It was obvious that J.C. Staff received a large enough budget for Railgun that they could attend to all the small points. And a large wardrobe for it’s characters is definitely a small thing but it correlates well with high-quality anime. I also think it’s a great non-time consuming way to let the viewers know more about a character’s personality.
Best Animation Style
Winner:Kimi ni Todoke
The lovely animation style to Kimi ni Todoke made it a difficult show to drop but eye-candy does not automatically make a show a high quality one. So, eventually, I just couldn’t stand watching more of Kimi ni Todoke but that does not mean I would deny it an award that it deserves. And Kimi ni Todoke’s lovely, lush watercolor style does deserve this award.
Runner-up: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
While each story of Blue Literature displayed a varying amount of animation style which made it difficult to pick it for Best Animation Style, each and every story displayed a high level on animation quality. I’m not surprised by this because, after all, Madhouse animated Summer Wars, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, all of Satoshi Kon’s works, and a bevy of other high quality animated shows. It inched past Railgun mainly because Madhouse was able to make all the varied animation styles work.
Top Animation Studio
AIC is not one of the anime studios that get talked about often; they lack the star power that a Gainax, J.C. Staff, or Kyoto Animation has and at the same time they lack the negative attention that a Sunrise, Studio Deen, or Gonzo has. They’re probably best known for the Oh My Goddess franchise to most people though maybe some know them from animating Bamboo Blade, Asu no Yoichi, or Ga-Rei: Zero. This season they released four shows: Sora No Otoshimono, Sasameki Koto, Nyan Koi, Astro Fighter Sunred; and a glance at the awards I’ve given out so far sees all four getting mentioned and winning a fair number of them. The weakest show of the four, Nyan Koi, was still a pretty good show and better than much of the rest of this season’s shows. Therefore, they were the easy pick this season with Madhouse a very distant second.
That’s it for part 3 of my summer 2009 anime awards. Stay tuned for my top overall picks of the season. 🙂