Top Picks – Spring 2012 Anime, Part 3

from Aquarion Evol

Here’s a pro tip for aspiring blog writers: bribing yourself or using a carrot and stick approach is sometimes the best way to ensure you finish whatever it is your supposed to be writing for your blog. For example, I decided I really wanted to finish this series of posts covering the best anime of the spring season, so I’m currently not allowing myself to watch any of new summer anime series that I really wanted to see. It’s killing me,  especially since I’m reading my favorite blogs talking about these series; but, I will get the results I want (and I’ll really enjoy the day that I get to catch-up on these series).

Moving on, to keep up with the alliteration of “C”, this section of awards cover those elements an animation studio uses in the actual creation of an anime.

Creation

Best Male Seiyuu: Hiroaki Hirata as Mutta in Space Brothers
Runner-up: Yuuichi Nakamura as Mykage from Aquarion Evol and Houtarou from Hyouka

Best Female Seiyuu: Miyuki Sawashiro as Fujiko from Lupin and Serika from Space Brothers
Runner-up: Ayako Yoshitani as Urabe from Mysterious Girlfriend X

Best Performance by a Seiyuu: Ayako Yoshitani as Urabe from Mysterious Girlfriend X
Runner-up: Hiroaki Hirata as Mutta in Space Brothers

Best OP: Sakamichi no Apollon
Runner-up: Phi Brain S.2

Best ED: Bodacious Space Pirates
Runner-up: Aquarion Evol ED 2

Best Background Music: Jormungand
Runner-up: Hyouka

Best Fight: Hunter x Hunter episode 35-36
Runner-up: Sakamichi no Apollon episode 1

Best Animation Style: Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko
Runner-up: Tsuritama

Best Animation: Hyouka
Runner-up: Sakamichi no Apollon

Top Animation Studio: Satelight
Runner-up: A-1 Pictures

At first blush these awards seem not as important as the previous ones; after all, there might be a dozen different seiyuu (voice actors) that could successfully voice a given character and changing the animation style of an anime doesn’t readily effect what happens in the show and the OP/ED aren’t even part of the show and so on. However, a closer look reveals how connected these areas are to each anime’s identity and to how well a show can highlight it’s characters and content. For example, there are plenty of talented male seiyuu that could have done a good job with Mutta from Space Brothers but Hiroaki Hirata has just the perfect voice and mannerisms to make Mutta as memorable as he is and so he earns the Best Male Seiyuu and Runner-up Best Performance by a Seiyuu awards.

To win either the Best Male or Female Seiyuu Award for a single role is tough to do since I will prioritize those vocal actors that do successfully do more than one role in a season. Which explains why Miyuki Sawashiro wins the Best Female Seiyuu Award for her work as Fujiko in Lupin, Serika in Space Brothers, Kurapika in Hunter x Hunter (who, admittedly, was largely absent this season) and various other minor roles. She continues to be one of the most talented and versatile seiyuu in the industry. By picking for quantity and quality and sticking to mainly the main characters, I often felt bad about passing over a particularly good performance which lead to the creation of the third seiyuu award and this season’s winner of Best Performance by a Seiyuu is Ayako Yoshitomi as Urabe in MGX.  I’ve already said that MGX should not have been as good as it was and it was Ayako Yoshitomi who played a big role in why it was successful.

from Sakamichi no Apollon

This section of awards saw several series finally win after coming close before. One such series, Sakamichi no Apollon, never quite reached it’s full potential because of the compression artifacts from a short 12 episode run but that didn’t affect it’s animation quality (Runner-up Best Animation) or it’s memorable opening (Best OP) or knowing how to use it’s animation as shown by earning Runner-up Best Fight for it’s heart-pounding fist fight from episode 1. Another series, Bodacious Space Pirates, wins Best ED for the closing it used for its entire 26 episode run. Even many of my favorite OP/ED reach a point where I will skip through them sometimes but that never happened here.

I’ve mentioned in the past how I’m not that confident when discussing the background music in anime and it’s only my stubbornness that keeps me at it. This season I think I finally hit upon a composer who I’m genuinely a fan of; his name is Taku Iwashi and his work allows Jormungand to win the Best Background Music award. I thought his name sounded familiar and lo’-n-behold he did the music for Ben-to, Katanagatari, and Gurren Lagann – all anime series that I really love the music from.

I’ve also mentioned in the past how I watch the occasional anime series with my one younger sister and, with her taste for Shounen action series, Hunter x Hunter has been a series that we’ve been watching together with her liking the series much more than I have been. However, episode 35 rolls up and suddenly Madhouse decides to impress the audience by creating one of the most interesting and well animated fights that I have ever seen. It was so good that I’m now glad that I sat through the 34.5 episodes it took to get to this point and easily earns the Best Fight award. I now hope that I don’t have to wait another 34.5 episodes for another awesome fight.

from Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko

This season’s winners of the Best Animation Style and Best Animation awards showcase the difference between the two awards. Lupin (Best Animation Style) was obviously not given the budget of say Fate/Zero or Hyouka but having Takeshi Koike be in charge of the animation style and character design largely diminished the difference. The animation style for Lupin also did what every animation style should do and help the entire anime succeed by presenting the characters and content under the best possible light. The choice for Best Animation was one of the easiest to make because Kyoto Animation brought their metaphorical guns to a knife fight with Hyouka. The anime itself has only been slowly growing on me which explains the lack of awards for Hyouka this time but I think next season will see a much greater haul for the anime.

The final award, Top Animation Studio, normally goes to the studio that combines top quality work with the ability to do more than one thing at once. Sometimes I go with a studio that only has a single work but not this time; Satelight without a doubt earns this award by being responsible for Bodacious Space Pirates, Aquarion Evol, and AKB0048. All three series shared a commonality to them so it’s probably not a surprise that liking one helped in liking all three.

from Bodacious Space Pirates

Tune in tomorrow to find out which six anime earned a spot on my top 12 anime series of the spring season.

Top Picks – Spring 2012 Anime, Part 1: Character Awards
Top Picks – Spring 2012 Anime, Part 2: Content Awards
Top Picks – Spring 2012 Anime, Part 3: Creation Awards – currently here
The Top 12 Anime of the Spring 2012 Season – #12 to #7
The Top 12 Anime of the Spring 2012 Season – #6 to #1

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3 thoughts on “Top Picks – Spring 2012 Anime, Part 3”

  1. I commend your choice of Hiroaki Hirata as best male seiyuu. His characters are always just so darn likeable. The only problem is now I can’t imagine him voicing anyone except middle-aged losers like Mutta and Tiger.

    Also, how are you only discovering Iwasaki now? I’d think everyone who saw Gurren Lagann would be familiar with his particular brand of music. ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWER!

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  2. @Taka: Thanks for the comment. It’s more like I finally connected the dots and realized that several of my favorite series, in terms of music, (including Witch Hunter Robin) were done by one guy and that guy’s name is Taku Iwasaki.

    That just means anime needs more middle-aged losers like Mutta and Tiger 🙂 . Hiroaki Hirata voicing – hopefully a reoccurring character – was almost the best thing about the first episode of Sword Art Online.

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  3. Ehh, I actually liked Space Pirates’s Black Holy a lot more than the whatever-thing they were singing (I think the lyrics were complete gibberish, too…) orz

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