[Vivid] Owari no Seraph - 01 [03C5F816].mkv_snapshot_00.40_[2015.04.10_02.24.44]

The Best Anime Of 2015 – Part 3: VMA Awards

There’s a running joke in Shirobako about how the director will tell every department involved in making the anime that they are the most important in ensuring that the anime turns out good. They play it for laughs but the director is more right than not; each department and person is needed to give their best or else it will show in the final product somehow. I wish I had the expertise to cover all the departments that deserve recognition but I don’t and until I do, I’m not going to pretend I otherwise.

So, let’s see who’s won this year’s VMA Awards.

Before getting to the awards, 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 year is under consideration for this year’s awards. If one needs a refresher on any or all the already completed sections, the following links will get one to the relevant section(s).

Best Performance by a Seiyuu

Nominees:

  • Aya Hirano as Migi from Parasyte -the maxim-
  • Unshou Ishizuka as Joseph Joestar from JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders 2nd Season
  • Tomoaki Maeno as Decim from Death Parade
  • Juri Kimura as Eruna Ichinomiya from Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku
  • Megumi Han as Rinko Yamato from Ore Monogatari!!
  • Miyu Matsuki as Anna Nishikinomiya from Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
  • Kana Hanazawa as Hana Midorikawa from Prison School
  • Marina Inoue as Sodachi Oikura from Owarimonogatari

Miyu MatsukiWinner: Miyu Matsuki as Anna Nishikinomiya from Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Runner-up: Marina Inoue as Sodachi Oikura from Owarimonogatari

As I watch anime through the year I will pencil in the outstanding efforts in the various categories into a mental version of this series of posts and then watch to see if anyone can be better. I penciled in Miyu Matsuki for this award by about the midway point of  Shimoneta, displacing Unshou Ishizuka as Grandpa JoJo, and she held off a late charge by the very talented Marina Inoue. So, well before I started active work on this post,  I realized when I saw the news that Miyu Matsuki passed away last October from complications of Chronic active EBV infection that I needed to finish these award posts, even if I was suffering through writer’s block, so that I could make sure, in my own little way, there is a record of my appreciation and respect for such a talented seiyuu. If you’ve seen Shimoneta then I don’t need to tell how compelling Miyu Matsuki was able to make the love-hungry Anna in the anime. I’m positive I would have lost interest in this show if it wasn’t for her work as Anna. Also in 2015, Miyu Matsuki voiced the memorable Shiina’s mother in Koufuku Graffiti which was just the latest role she voiced in a Shaft series. My favorite role from a Shaft series done by Miyu Matsuki was Yoshinoya-sensei from the Hidamari Sketch franchise but she appeared in many of their other works like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Maria+holic, Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, and Paniponi Dash!.

Best Seiyuu Cast

Nominees:

Shirobako
Yoru no Yatterman
Shokugeki no Souma
Ore
Monogatari!!
Prison
School
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Lupin III (2015)
Haikyuu!! Second Season
Owarimonogatari

[Chihiro]_Prison_School_-_11_[720p_Hi10P_AAC][D90ABA26].mkv_snapshot_21.53_[2016.01.26_22.19.28]Winner: Prison School
Runner-up: Haikyuu!! Second Season

Haikyuu!! probably has every seiyuu of note who can voice a high school boy somewhere in it’s cast, and, if it doesn’t then they are probably being saved for a later season. The seiyuu, along with the character designer, have the very difficult task of breathing individuality and personality into dozens of characters, many only getting their 15 seconds of fame. They continue to do a superb job with Haikyuu!! and there’s no reason not to see them get renominated when the third season airs this fall. Speaking of character designs, Prison School had some of the most original designs of any anime this year and they required a substantial effort by all the seiyuu to make these designs work and the seiyuu of Prison School met and exceeded the challenge.

Best OP

Nominees:

Death Parade
Kantai Collection: KanColle
Rolling
☆Girls
Yoru no Yatterman
Ore
Monogatari!!
Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo
Punch Line
Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki
Show By Rock!!
Gangsta.
Prison
School
Gakkougurashi!
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
One Punch Man
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
Lupin III (2015)

Gakkou Gurashi_opWinner: Gakkougurashi!
Runner-up: One Punch Man and Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider

This is probably the longest list of nominees for any award and there’s a reason for that – there were a huge number of really great OPs this year. Truly an embarrassment of riches. In the end, I had to split very minute hairs, so when I say that The Perfect Insider had the best song, know that One Punch Man’s song was maybe 0.01 or less behind. Or, when I say that One Punch Man had the best animation for an OP, know that I nearly loved the animation found in The Perfect Insider just as much. Both of these songs were surpassed by the OP of Gakkougurashi! because an OP needs to get the viewer ready for the show and the small weekly changes to the OP of Gakkougurashi! as the show got grimmer and grimmer felt like iron stakes being driven into my brain through my eyes and on more than one occasion I went to pieces before the OP was finished. (As an aside, after the stunt Erased pulled with the episode 11 OP, expect it to be at least the runner-up for 2016.)

Best ED

 Nominees:

Shirobako
Tokyo Ghoul
√A
Death Parade
Kantai Collection: KanColle
JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken: Stardust Crusaders 2nd Season
Shokugeki no Souma ED1
Shokugeki no Souma ED2
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai
Ranpo Kitan: Game of
Laplace
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
One Punch Man

[DameDesuYo] Tokyo Ghoul Root A - 11 (1280x720 10bit AAC) [59832ACC].mkv_snapshot_21.52_[2015.03.23_19.50.38]Winner: Tokyo Ghoul √A
Runner-up: Shokugeki no Souma ED1

I’m not familiar with the manga to Tokyo Ghoul, nor am I familiar how this season of Tokyo Ghoul relates to the source material. It really doesn’t matter because, at the end of day, it seems like knowing about the source material complicates the job of reviewing anime. The first half of Tokyo Ghoul √A is a mess, a complete and utter mess that should have scared me away from finishing it. The thing that kept me going was the ED. It featured a very strong song – maybe my favorite ED song of the year – and illustrations drawn by the original mangaka (or so I read) that changed weekly and had some property about them that demanded my attention. The second half of  Tokyo Ghoul √A turned out to be a completely different experience – a different series, really – and I became glad that the ED made me stick around. If it wasn’t for Tokyo Ghoul √A then we would have seen ED1 and ED2 of Shokugeki no Souma place first and second in this award. JC Staff had a crazy awesome year this year after many not-so-hot years so it feels a bit weird to be talking about JC Staff shows in a positive manner outside of one of the few areas – the OP/ED – that they’ve historically pretty good at. So, we can move on to the next award because I don’t need to stuff a reflection about Shokugeki no Souma here like I needed to with Tokyo Ghoul √A.

Best Background Music

 Nominees:

Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Ore
Monogatari!!
Gatchaman Crowds Insight
Hibike! Euphonium
Noragami Aragoto
One Punch Man

[HorribleSubs] One-Punch Man - 07 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.06_[2015.11.16_04.06.38]Winner: One Punch Man
Runner-up: Hibike! Euphonium

I am a visual learner, not a audial learner; this helps explain why the Sunday sermons go in one ear and out the other and why I like subtitles for everything I watch, even if they’re speaking English. I am, therefore, not the best judge for this category; however, I do enjoy well done music, so, here we are. In 2015, there was one show that I was constantly thrilled over the music that was used and that was One Punch Man. The soundtrack album was a bit of a disappointment because I was looking for full length versions of the songs used but it was full of  short <2 minute tracks. So, if this award had been Best Soundtrack something else would have won. The music for One Punch Man was always just perfect for what was needed in the scene; mainly, that meant it needed to get our blood pumping, though, it excelled during the calm, reflective scenes as well. My favorite pieces (as they appeared on the OST) were: The Cyborg Fights, Theme of One Punch Man ~sadness~, Battle!!, and Wet My Scales.

Best Character Designs

 Nominees:

Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
Shirobako
Death Parade
Yuri Kuma Arashi
Punch Line
Gangsta.
Prison
School
One Punch Man
Haikyuu!! Second Season
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
Lupin III (2015)

[Commie] Prison School - 01 [E8289115].mkv_snapshot_07.18_[2015.10.08_15.57.04]Winner: Prison School
Runner-up: Lupin III (2015)

Finally, it’s one of those easy to pick awards. I fell for the character designs of Prison School from the first moment I saw them and my love of them just deepened as the series aired. Runner-up was a much tougher choice. Shirobako, in particular, should be lauded for it’s diversity of realistic body shapes and ages shown; however, the freshness and distinctness of Lupin’s character designs in such a long-running franchise were just too good to be passed over.

Best Animation Style

Nominees:

Rolling☆Girls
Yuri Kuma Arashi
Death Parade
Koufuku Graffiti
Kekkai Sensen
Gangsta.
Gakkougurashi!
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
Owarimonogatari
Lupin III (2015)

[Asenshi] Yuri Kuma Arashi - 01 [97E8C378].mkv_snapshot_07.48_[2015.02.16_18.49.59]Winner: Yuri Kuma Arashi
Runner-up: Rolling☆Girls

Before I go further I want to give a special award to Owari no Seraph for it’s awesome backgrounds.  It seems a shame to not acknowledge the show at all just because it’s rather plain character designs kept it from being nominated here. I was so impressed by the backgrounds to Owari no Seraph that I called it Backgrounds: The Anime. For overall best animation style, it was incredibly difficult to even thin the nomination list down, much less, pick a winner and runner-up. Of the two animation awards, this one is a bit more subjective, though, I’d be objectively wrong if I’d pick a generic looking series. Neither Rolling☆Girls or Yuri Kuma Arashi could possibly ever be construed as generic. I’m not sure what you’d call the animation style of Yuri Kuma Arashi but it was right in my wheelhouse and that helps it to the top spot. It’s highly reminiscent to the style seen in Shaft series but it would be wrong to think one is copying from the other. This is an example of different people being influenced by the same person and the viewer seeing this influence across the different works.

Best Animation

Nominees:

Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Shirobako
Rolling
☆Girls
Death Parade
Yoru no Yatterman
Show By Rock!!
Kekkai Sensen
Hibike! Euphonium
One Punch Man
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
Haikyuu!! Second Season

Hibike! Euphonium_hairflipWinner: Hibike! Euphonium
Runner-up: One Punch Man

This is probably the most controversial pick of my awards because of how many great moments of animation from so many of the most talented animators in the world were found in One Punch Man. However, beyond these memory-searing awesome action scenes it was obvious the rest of the series was “merely” your standard above average Madhouse production. KyoAni cannot do action scenes as well as those found in OPM but that might be the only type of animation that they can be bested at on the TV level and Hibike! Euphonium has it’s own memory-searing awesome scenes like in episode 5 with it’s “The hair flip that launched a thousand ships” scene, to name just one. So, because it had a more consistently stronger effort it ekes past OPM.

Top Animation Studio

Nominees:

A-1 Pictures
JC Staff
Wit Studio
Madhouse
Lerche
Tatsunoko Production
Bones
Mappa

[Commie] Ore Monogatari!! - 04 [A3CBE54E].mkv_snapshot_19.36_[2015.05.03_02.29.05]Winner: Madhouse
Runner-up: JC Staff

The end of the world in neigh! JC Staff almost won the Top Animation Studio award this year. If that is not the clearest sign of the impending end of the world, I don’t know what is. The last time JC Staff had a series that I gave my highest rating to was when George W. Bush was still President (Potemayo from the summer 2007 season) and this year saw them create two such series – Prison School and Shokugeki no Souma. They were bested by Madhouse who, while known for countless great series, attained a level of superiority that was almost scary this year, especially considering the diversity of show types. They lead off with Death Parade, followed by Ore Monogatari!, then finished with One Punch Man. And there was the second half of Parasyte and Overlord that were pretty good in their own right, as well.

That’s it for part 3 of my 2015 anime awards. Stay tuned for countdown of the top anime series of 2015.

2 thoughts on “The Best Anime Of 2015 – Part 3: VMA Awards”

  1. I actually tend to be more of an audio-oriented person. I have a good ear for music, and am fairly sensitive to voice acting and whether I’m listening to a performance that’s pleasing or grating to my ears. OTOH, unless visuals are doing something that makes them instantly stand out (good, bad, or unique), they usually just tend to kind of wash over me unless I go back to really study them, like I did with both of my favorite OP and ED choices this year. I hear people complain about things like off-model characters, for instance, and most of the time I’m just like, “Huh, I didn’t even notice.” Someone posted a link yesterday to a .gif from an anime where a girl’s dress suddenly changed color in mid-scene, and I didn’t even see it until the fourth loop.

    Favorite OP: Perfect Insider. As mediocre as the show itself was, I really dug this opening. The song is super-catchy with a great beat, and the visuals have a unique style and flair that DID succeed in grabbing my attention immediately. It’s different, and it’s really good.
    Also liked: One Punch Man, Euphonium, Danmachi, Hacka Doll, Assassination Classroom OP1, Gundam: IBO

    Favorite ED: Koufuku Graffiti. One of the two CD singles I imported this year. The song’s addictive, and I love the story it tells, with the three girls exploring and eating their way through a fantasy land of giant food. There’s also a lot more actual animation (and good animation!) than we typically get from an ED. The CD is great too, BTW. Usually with singles I never listen to the rest of the CD more than once, but even the other two songs are good. One is a super-cute duet with a musical accompaniment of piano and kitchen utensils. The other is the full version of the Taberu song that played over the episode previews (the previews only used the chorus).
    Also liked: Houkago no Pleiades (the other CD single I bought), Euphonium, Food Wars ED1

    Favorite Background Music: Houkago no Pleiades. Not many scores stood out to me this year, but HnP gets the nod for the wonderfully atmospheric ambient music that popped up here and there, some of it reminiscent of classic Tangerine Dream. That’s a type of music I enjoy but rarely hear in anime; luckily it fit this show perfectly.
    Also liked: Euphonium, One Punch Man, Rolling Girls (what little I heard before I dropped it, anyway)

    On the voice acting front, my favorite seiyuu from my list of shows this year was Mamiko Noto, who appeared in three shows I watched (albeit only briefly in KanColle) and turned in two of my favorite performances. Her turn as Chef Inui in Food Wars was comedy gold, especially in her scenes opposite the stuffy Shinomiya. Even better was her nuanced work as Einhart in Nanoha ViVid, a role that required her to play a confident, ambitious, and talented girl with lofty goals, but also someone who’s lonely, burdened, and emotionally conflicted underneath that, and her vocal work evoked all of those layers beautifully to present a capable but still sympathetic character. Two totally different characters and roles, and she nailed both of them.
    Other performances I liked: Tomoyo Kurosawa (Kumiko in Euphonium), Saori Goto (Nao in Food Wars), Takuya Eguchi (Takeo in Ore Monogatari), Megumi Han (Yamato in Ore Monogatari), Kiyono Yasuno (Kato in Saekano), Nao Touyama (all four Kongou sisters in KanColle), Jun Fukuyama (Koro-sensei in Assassination Classroom)

    I agree with all of your choices in the animation categories that I watched (I didn’t see Yuri Kuma, but the rest of your winners and runner-ups for animation, studio, and style are all good picks). I don’t have a pick for character designs, because I never thought about it.

    Like

  2. @WingKing: Thanks for the comment!

    I know that gif that your speaking of. Maybe they had a audio learner do the animation check🙂

    I’ve been spending time on Youtube the last couple of months listening to Japanese music artists and have discovered several that I really like listening too in a purely musical sense and not because they are connected to an anime. One of my absolute favorites is a group called Kana-boon. They are just flat out awesome to listen too and their videos are pretty cool to watch. I felt stupid when I realized, belatedly, why their name sounded familiar – they did the OP for Perfect Insider.

    As many OP/ED I include there’s always ones I wish I could add. I really liked the ED to Koufuku Graffiti as well.

    Mamiko Noto will forever be Ana Coppola from Ichigo Mashimaro to me. Speaking of which I really should re-re-re-re-rewatch Ichigo Mashimaro soon.

    Like

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