The near-totality of Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s dominance in the various categories made writing up a winter seasonal awards post pretty pointless. This season, however, saw a more diverse and larger group of noteworthy anime to choose from. There was shows about ghostly girls, alien girls, superheroes both in America and Japan, demons of Hell with undemon-like behavior (4 different ways), conspiracies, cautionary tales about monetary policies and privately owned prisons, the everyday life of various people from metaphorical trolls to lesbian stalkers to high school girls, historical tales set in the Sengoku period (both genderbent and tea-centric) and an alternative 1920’s where Victorian fashions were still worn along with the standard handful of decent to poor shounen series and low-budget/low-quality fan service shows that every anime season seems to have. So let’s take a look back the spring anime season.
Before starting, below is a listing of the shows that I watched this season and are the pool from which the picks for all the awards are coming from.
Also, as a reminder, I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum but there’ll be some because of how they’ll relate to specific awards. As for the continuing shows, only the part of the series that ran during this season is under consideration for this season’s awards.
Carry-over shows watched this season (1): Gosick
New shows watched this season (20): X-Men, Dog Days, Tiger and Bunny, Nichijou, Yondemasu yo Azazel-san, Hanasaku Iroha, Fireball Charming, Steins;Gate, Hyouge Mono, Hidan no Aria, A Channel, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera, Maria+Holic Alive, Ao no Exorcist, The World God Only Knows II, Seikon no Qwaser II, C – The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (AnoHana), Deadman Wonderland
Shows that got dropped (8): Hen Zemi, Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox, 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku, Sket Dance, Sofuteni, Astarotte no Omocha!
Best Female Main Character(s)
Winner: Nano from Nichijou, The Professor from Nichijou
Runner-up: Ohana from Hanasaku Iroha
Nano’s eternal quest to slow how quickly The Professor gets into trouble, pass as a human and go to school makes her an obvious pick for this award but leaving out the other half of this comedic duo dynamo – The Professor – with her precocious intelligence bent on world snack domination just felt wrong. They beat out Ohana; she was a character that I was sure at the beginning that I would detest but she turned out to be the exact opposite.
Best Male Main Character
Winner: Rintarou Okabe from Steins;Gate
Runner-up: Tiger from Tiger and Bunny, Furuta Sasuke from Hyouge Mono
Early on, when I was still unsure how the plot to Steins;Gate would play out, the reason I kept watching was mad scientist Rintarou Okabe was an absolute treat to watch. I was worried, however, that he’d become boring after a while if the “mad scientist” shtick got old but, with every episode, we learn more about him and what makes him tick and he’s pure distilled awesomeness.
Best Supporting Character
Winner: Grandma from Hanasaku Iroha
Runner-up: Matsurika from Maria+Holic Alive
A couple of years back I wrote a short post about how anime needs more old characters. One of the reasons is their age instantly gives them the a body of experience that quickly and easily gives them a depth to their character that younger characters have to struggle to obtain. The grandma, Sui Shijima, from Hanasaku Iroha is another great example of this and is easily the best part of the show.
Winner: Meme from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Loud, brash, and egocentric Meme becomes a screen-grabber whenever she’s onscreen, even if the other characters would rather her not be. I still don’t particularly like Meme because of her complete lack of decent parenting shown at the beginning of the series but throughout the series she’s shown that there is a decent human being inside.
Winner: Prince Enma and Princess Yukiko from Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera
I keep this award just to actual couples in the anime so that sadly left AnoHana out of the running, even with it’s tantalizing hints at how the characters would couple-up after finally moving on from the memory of Menma. Instead, I choose the oddball couple of Prince Enma of Hell and Princess Yukiko, the ice demon. I’m not sure how it’ll work out but this relationship was on the smaller reasons for how good Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera ended up being.
Best Character Ability/Power
Winner: Rintarou Okabe’s ability to remember past world lines from Steins;Gate
Runner-up: The ability to control an element from Seikon no Qwaser II
By rights, being able to control an element should win this category but, much like the alchemy in Full Metal Alchemist, it’s never exploited to it’s full potential. (For example, who cares if one can make cool iron scythes; let me see that person fight if his lungs are full of helium or that person has all the calcium drawn out of his bones, breaking them, and then having a heart attack from having way too much calcium in the blood or that person’s sodium levels are changed causing diarrhea, disorientation, lethargy, seizures and a coma or one of my sister’s favorite, the nursing student one, have his potassium levels changed causing paralysis, a heart attack and an inability to breathe among other fun things.) Rintarou Okabe’s ability to remember past world lines in a normal person wouldn’t be that noteworthy except he happens to be studying time travel and one of the side-effects of the type of time travel he’s perfected causes him to jump to alternative world lines.
Best Cast of Characters
Runner-up: Hyouge Mono, Tiger and Bunny
This was almost as easy to pick the winner as the next award but Hyouge Mono and Tiger and Bunny put up a spirited charge. I could even see Hyouge Mono edging AnoHana but there’s only been 5 episodes subbed so far and the characters are just now getting a chance to shine.
Best Character Development for Cast
This is the easiest award to pick for this season and should be self-evident.
Best Character Development of a Single Character
Winner: Rintarou Okabe from Steins;Gate
I love how Steins;Gate started out with a great character, Rintarou Okabe, and has slowly built him up even more. Episode 13 gave us some tantalizing hints at how much room there still in for Rintarou Okabe to grow. I could very well be back next season calling him one of the greatest characters of the year (if the ending doesn’t stink and he gets the chance to continue improving).
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.