Top Anime Picks – Summer/Fall 2010, Part 1: Cast and Character Awards

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that I intend to review not just the most recent anime season but also the previous season as well. The reason for this is two-fold. The first reason is because these awards are my short-cut method in highlighting which anime I would recommend to potential viewers and I’d be failing in what I see as my duty if I passed over a season that contained praise-worthy shows. (Even though by now I’m incredibly late in covering the summer season. 🙂 ) The second reason is writing this post will help me better remember this batch of anime shows in the future and it will also serve as a written record I can use if need be.

So, sit back, relax – it’s time to cover 32 anime over 2 seasons with 29 award categories and one countdown bursting at the seams with awesomeness.

Summer Season

Carry-over shows watched this season (4): Katanagatari, Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Rainbow – Nisha Rokubou no Shichijin, K-On!!

New shows watched this season (10): Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi, Amagami SS, Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, Mitsudomoe, Highschool of the Dead, Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin, Shiki, Asobi ni Iku yo!, Sengoku Basara 2, Moyashimon Live Action

Shows that got dropped (1): Seitokai Yakuindomo

Fall Season

Carry-over shows watched this season (4): Katanagatari, Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, Amagami SS, Shiki

New shows watched this season (14): Ore no Imouto, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Sora No Otoshimono Forte, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Otome Youkai Zakuro, Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, Shinryaku! Ika Musume, The World God Only Knows, Arakawa Under the Bridge 2, Kuragehime, Star Driver, To Aru Majutsu no Index II, Yosuga no Sora

Shows that got dropped (3): Bakuman, Hakuouki Hekketsuroku, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo

Note: For shows that run multiple seasons, only the part that ran during the season is under consideration for that season’s awards. (s) denotes the summer season and (f) denotes the fall season

Best Female Main Character


Winner: (s) – Azunyan from K-On!! ~ (f)Nino from Arakawa Under the Bridge 2

Runner-up: (s) – Togame from Katanagatari, Yui from K-On!! ~ (f)Stocking from Panty and Stocking, Tsukimi from Kuragehime, Nymph from Sora No Otoshimono Forte, Togame from Katanagatari

Azunyan was the linch pin that held K-On!! together and she gave it the needed dimension to turn K-On!! into one of the best slice-of-nostalgia anime ever. (Slice-of-life is just too broad of a term since it covers at least three different types of shows: the nostalgic like K-On! and Hidemari Sketch, the relaxing like Ichigo Mashimaro and Aria, and the contemplative/ambiance type like Natsume Yuujin-chou and Haibane Renmei.) And she was just so likable as a character, as was Nino, the fall season winner. Nino squeaked past a very tough field of contenders this season to repeat her win of this award. It seems like the more time she spends with Ric, the more expressive and human she becomes.

Best Male Main Character


Winner: (s) – Shichika from Katanagatari ~ (f)Kuranosuke from Kuragehime

Runner-up: (s) – Mario from Rainbow ~ (f) Tomoki from Sora no Otoshimono, Takuto Tsunashi from Star Driver, Shichika from Katanagatari

Shichika turned out, much like Katanagatari, to be a lot more interesting then those first couple of episodes that ran last winter lead us to think. He almost won this award twice but couldn’t quite overcome the cross-dressing, protector of interesting historical buildings – Kuranosuke.

Best Supporting Character(s)


Winner: (s) – Assistroids from Asobi ni Iku yo! ~ (f)The Phantom Thief Empire (Arsene, Twenty, Rat, and Stone River) from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

Runner-up: (s) – Ui from K-On!! ~ (f)Kuroneko from OreImo, Sugata from Sora No Otoshimono Forte, Briefers Rock from Panty and Stocking

Asobi ni Iku yo! was a really fun series to watch in part because the people behind it knew their SF and the assistroids were a great example of this knowledge. Likewise, Milky Holmes was a really fun series in part because it was so over-the-top and that included the villains which made picking just one villain impossible.

Best Screen-grabber


Winner: (s) – Father from Mitsudomoe ~ (f)Kurara from Kuragehime

Runner-up: (s) – Microbes from Moyashimon Live Action ~ (f)Mom from Ore no Imouto, The spirits of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Amazoness and Billy from Arakawa Under the Bridge

Just because a character has a small part doesn’t mean he/she/it can’t become a memorable part of that show. Both winners (Father and Kurara) were prime examples of this.

Best Couple


Winner: (s) – Togame and Shichika from Katanagatari ~ (f)Togame and Shichika from Katanagatari

Runner-up: (s) – none ~ (f)Ko and Nino from Arakawa Under the Bridge 2

Togame and Shichika made a good couple but I wanted to take this chance to mention the worse couple was definitely Usui and Misa from Maid-sama, not because I wanted some other pairing but because I really didn’t like how this shoujo series depicted the relationship between the two of them – you’d think a series aimed at girls would show the main female in a more empowering light.

Best Character Ability/Power


Winner: (s) – Seeing microbes from Moyashimon Live Action ~ (f)The ability to make super-powered samurai with only a kiss from Samurai Girls

Runner-up: (s) – Glasses girl’s ability to get mixed up with the supernatural from Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin ~ (f)Arsene’s Toys of Resplendence from Tantei Opera Milky Holmes

Moyashimon Live Action is only here because of where it ran and because the microbes were animated. It wasn’t a particularly good show but the ability to see and communicate to microbes remains a very cool power. And speaking of squandered potential, Samurai Girls was set in a very interesting world with a very interesting animation style and it wasted both by being a boring harem show. It was still a cool power, though.

Best Cast of Characters


Winner: (s) – K-On!! ~ (f)Arakawa Under the Bridge 2

Runner-up: (s) – Sengoku Basara 2, Rainbow ~ (f)Kuragehime, Sora No Otoshimono Forte

These were two relatively easy picks to make. I just noticed that Kuragehime is the only completely new show (neither a sequel or continuing from an earlier season) listed. In a certain way, that makes it the best because it accomplished the most.

Best Character Development for Cast


Winner: (s) – Highschool of the Dead ~ (f)Kuragehime

Runner-up: (s) – Rainbow ~ (f)Arakawa Under the Bridge 2

Count me as the odd one that enjoyed Highschool of the Dead not for the fan-service or for the zombies but for it’s social commentary and character development. My favorite example was the gun otaku who went from social outcast in modern society to local hero and ladies man when the zombies arrived. Thinking about it, both of the winners share a commonality; if it wasn’t for the extraordinary event at the beginning – zombies appear and Kuranosuke saving the jellyfish – neither cast of characters would have had the opportunity for growth that they had.

Best Character Development of a Single Character


Winner: (s) – Sanada Yukimura from Sengoku Basara 2 ~ (f)Tsukimi from Kuragehime

Runner-up: (s) – Scam from Rainbow ~ (f)Garterbelt from Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt

One of the most important threads in Sengoku Basara 2 was the development of Sanada Yukimura into a man capable of being a general. It wasn’t always pretty to watch but it turned him into a real man; a really cool and epic one that can fight the Japanese equivalent of a Archimedes’s Death Ray and win. And for a complete change of pace, Kuragehime’s Tsukimi was the obvious pick for the fall season. All the characters in Kuragehime have had the chance to grow but Tsukimi’s transformation has been the most pronounced and the most heart-warming to see.

That’s the end of part 1; I hope to have the second part up within a day. Comments and feedback are always appreciated – I’d love to see what others would pick.

 

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6 thoughts on “Top Anime Picks – Summer/Fall 2010, Part 1: Cast and Character Awards”

  1. Love the choices for best screen grabbers. Tsukimi was the first character that popped in my head for the last category. Yukimura was a really good pick as well. Thinking back on Basara, this season was nowhere as entertaining as the last, but I did enjoy watching Yukimura grow up.

    The one I’d disagree with is Kuragehime’s development as a cast. Although Kuranosuke pushed them to do things they wouldn’t do, I feel like they as a group (Tsukimi notwithstanding) didn’t really change at all throughout the show. That’s one example where I feel the rushed ending took their impact away because they ended up “winning” by default.

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  2. I still got Sengoku 1/2, World God Only Knows, and a few more animes to start on.

    On the other hand, I did finish 95% of G Senjou no Maou. A lot of the plot happened in December-January with snow, so it was a fitting scene for the present climate. The ending left me exhausted emotionally. Which is a funny feeling, similar to riding an extreme rollercoaster for an hour or two and then getting off. It’s like it’s too fun for you to want to stop but your heart’s getting tired, so since you can’t stop any ways you might as well await the ending. And then when it finally comes, you look back and remember how it was. Code Geass R1/2 had the same effect, only it was a bit more powerful. Just a bit.

    I don’t feel comfortable with Sengoku, because I get the suspicion that I’m missing out on a lot of the plot from the video game. Sometimes that doesn’t matter, but often times it does. If the game had a lot of text, that is. I’m leery of investing time past the first episode. Although it looks like animated Three Kingdoms warfare. Maybe there’s just too many characters introduced at once for me to absorb.

    Since you mentioned Highschool’s funny antics, I think I’ll start on that. I got sick of zombies when playing L4Dead 2. But the Japanese do not disappoint, from my experience.

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  3. i really like reading your picks, helps me sort out notable series to watch. thanks!

    ps. i might have watched a different subbing group and they might have translated his name some other way but which character is “(s) – Scam from Rainbow”

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  4. Zombie Desu Ka from the new season is pretty good. Very entertaining on a per episode basis. They jam together a lot of content for the minutes. I’ve noticed that recent newer animes tends to do that with their half season, 13 episode, runs.

    It used to be anime that ran 26 episodes would be slow and boring as heck in the first 5 episodes. I didn’t even expect much of a return until the last half.

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