Somehow 2021 ended up being one of the best years for anime ever, and while no show really pierced my all time favorites list, I had a blast watching so many shows. I decided to make an anime awards since it seemed like a fun thing to do, and I’m so glad because I watched so many fantastic anime I would’ve normally skipped over.
So here’s the qualifying rules. Any anime that ended in a 2021 season according to MyAnimeList counts for this awards. So things like Jujutsu Kaisen counts, but Ranking of Kings does not. For movies, they needed to have an English release I was able to see in 2021, so even though Demon Slayer: Mugen Train aired in Japan in 2020, it’s US 2021 release qualifies it for this list. Also a series can only get nominated once per category. This was intended to avoid Zombie Land Saga Revenge nabbing all six Best Episode nominations, but it also explains why Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation fails to show up over Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2. I also of course needed to have seen the show. The only shows I saw that are not nominated in a single category are My Hero Academia Season 5, Mieruko-chan, Given Movie, and Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation (Part 1), so any other show evading nominations completely weren’t eligible in the first place. With that, lets begin the awards.
Best Original Work
Starting off with a big category, Best Original Work is pretty self explanatory. If the anime is an adaptation of a work originating in another medium, it’s not eligible.
The Aquatope on White Sand – P.A. Works
I love every show P.A. Works puts out about girls working, and setting this one in an aquarium is like they’re catering to me specifically. The Aquatope on White Sand manages to bring the delight of being part of a community and working towards a common goal directly to your eyes and heart. I love basically everything this show had going on and I’m really happy that it showed that this framework can tell so many unique stories.
SK∞ – Bones
SK8: The Infinity (I’m not typing out SK∞ everytime) is a super fun skateboarding show (the only skateboarding show?) that manages to offer exciting action and lovable characters throughout its run. While it might be pretty untraditional for a sports show, it still utilizes the love of sport to give us insight into these definitely gay boys.
Wonder Egg Priority – Cloverworks
A lot has been said already about Wonder Egg Priority. Most of it bad, but fuck that. I like Wonder Egg Priority. It brings together rich characters and amazing animation with a super interesting premise. The show does have a massive content warning for every single possible thing ever, so its hard to talk about. I don’t have time to get into why I think the ending is less offensive than the commonly suggested alternatives, but I do understand people who think the show was problematic from the start. With only my interpretation in mind, it’s extremely satisfying seeing our four main characters face their trauma head on and learn to overcome them. It is a massive letdown that the ending is sequel bait and the show will probably never get a sequel, but almost every anime I watch is some incomplete adaption to a manga and will never get a sequel. Wonder Egg Priority does an amazing job getting to the point, and I will hope that someday the team gets to tackle a second season to answer the many lingering questions and can do so on a healthy production schedule with well paid staff.
Odd Taxi – OLM
The first anime nomination to not feature main characters who are definitely gay but unconfirmed in the text, Odd Taxi is a thrilling mystery show that places you at an unexpected viewpoint (its the taxi driver that’s why its called Odd Taxi). Tokyo works like a puzzle box with all the characters each moving independently as part of a bigger picture. Carefully paying attention easily reveals whodunnit, but its so satisfying to watch it all play out.
Vivy -Flourite Eye’s Song- – Wit Studio
Unfortunately another not gay show, Vivy -Flourite Eye’s Song- tackles one of my other favorite things, time travel. Well there’s not much time travel, but a little bit is always fun. Vivy -Flourite Eye’s Song- provides thrilling drama and action in my exact favorite flavor, making it a stand out show. It even has a girl with blue hair like I’m pretty sure all of these anime folks are trying to cater to me right? Even if it didn’t, Vivy -Flourite Eye’s Song- still had me in tears many times throughout its run as I followed Vivy’s quest to save humanity and find … umm … humanity in herself?
Zombie Land Saga Revenge – MAPPA
It’s not often that an original anime gets a sequel, but Zombie Land Saga definitely deserved one. Zombie Land Saga Revenge delivers on everything the original established by providing more fun excursions for these zombie idols I love so much. It ties together great character building into an emotionally gripping finale. Even if I would want Lily to have way more screen time, it’s still a standout show in a standout year.
And the winner of Best Original Anime is … Odd Taxi!
Odd Taxi might not be my favorite original anime this year, but I do think its the one that gets being an original anime the best. It’s a wholly succinct work that expertly uses the anime medium to tell a compelling original story. Odd Taxi is such an easy recommend to anyone and it shows how to do an original anime right. In any other year basically any of these titles would’ve won this category, but this year gave us over 6 great original works.
Okay maybe every single category is pretty self evident. Best Script, like almost every category, has no restrictions. Is the writing in your show good? Then lucky you, you could be nominated for best script.
The Heike Story – Reiko Yoshida
The Heike Story managed to get me invested in a historical drama full of largely immoral characters and really makes me care for them. That’s not an easy feat, especially when the show directly attempts to make you understand just how immoral these characters are through the tragedy Biwa faces in episode one. Telling the Heike’s story through the perspective of Biwa is such a brilliant move as we can focus on the characters I actually want to get invested in while simultaneously providing the bigger picture.
Odd Taxi – Kazuya Konomoto
Writing a tightly-knit mystery is hard. I should know, I’ve tried. Odd Taxi does it while writing compelling characters and an engaging plot full of unique situations and individuals. Also like Yano? Its hard to write rap without having it have to be plot relevant and character informative. I wouldn’t know, I haven’t tried.
Beastars Season 2 – Nanami Higuchi
Beastars Season 2 continued Beastars‘s great writing. It’d be so easy to make a bunch of talking animals talking about how they really want to eat each other but can’t cringy, but it’s actually engaging! It’s some sort of metaphor for how much being a drama kid sucks, but I wouldn’t know, I was a loser in high school.
To Your Eternity – Shinzō Fujita
To Your Eternity manages to jump from scenario to scenario and character group to character group seamlessly and keep its engagement high throughout. The tragedy laced story manages to feel upbeat and sincere at most moments because of the strong character writing. It doesn’t ever have tonal whiplash in spite of the polar opposite moods the show takes at time.
Horimiya – Chiaki Nagai, Sawako Hirabayashi, Takao Yoshida
There are extremely few shows that deal with characters who are in a relationship already. There’s no catalogue of tropes, shorthand, scenarios, or anything to pull out. Despite that, Horimiya manages to have extremely strong writing that deals with the evolving nature of the titular relationship as well as the relationships between the side characters. It brings nuance to both romantic relationships and the friendships of its large cast of characters and shows how relationships between two characters changing can affect unrelated characters. It does all that while also managing to be a cute and fun romance full of lovable characters and juicy drama.
Blue Period – Reiko Yoshida
I didn’t look up who wrote Blue Period‘s script before deciding on the nominations, and I think that shows just how good a writer Reiko Yoshida is. Outside of working on a lot of my all time favorite works (K-On!, Bakuman., A Silent Voice), I just nominiated her twice in the most prestigious anime awards out there (this one). To anyone who has ever even attempted to make art a bit more than doodling in your sketchbook’s margins, Blue Period speaks to the joys and mostly struggles of trying to improve at art. It’s not a kind look at the craft, rather its a scathing criticism of the art school process from all angles. It’s written as if it comes from a place of sincerity and love for creative work. The show also manages to tie struggles with creating art into the difficulty of being queer in a way that speaks strongly to the queer experience.
And the winner of Best Script is … The Heike Story!
If it wasn’t obvious from me stealing Blue Period‘s intro to gush about Reiko Yoshida, she was obviously going to win this award. The Heike Story really surprised me in just how much I liked it. While the show’s crew was comprised of a dream team of creatives, the subject is still not going to be something I’d jump at the opportunity to watch. Coming away from the show, I knew that the strongest element of the show was it’s script. If the writing wasn’t so good, I don’t think all off the other amazing elements would’ve been able to keep up.
I’m surprised the order I chose put Directing as the third category, but yeah it really doesn’t fit anywhere else. Best Director is a tricky one since the Director touches everything. I’m mainly going to be looking for strong cinematography, editing, and storyboarding along with cohesion of the work as a whole. Obviously the director is not the sole person doing most jobs and there’s tons of writers, artists, and editors that come into play with those aspects of the work, but I think the director’s style tends to shine through most there.
Wonder Egg Priority – Shin Wakabayashi
Wonder Egg Priority manages to make sense of a nonsensical dreamscape while bringing exciting action scenes. At the same time, it’s real world depictions of these smaller more intimate moments with our characters also work extremely well. I think it’s extremely impressive that the directorial debut of Shin Wakabayashi managed to take form in an original work that oozes so much style and personality.
Komi-san Can’t Communicate – Ayumu Watanabe, Kazuki Kawagoe
Komi-san Can’t Communicate combines extremely snappy editing with a manga-inspired visual flares to make the anime feel extremely unique. The cinematography keeps Komi-san Can’t Communicate at a fast pace that suits the comedy of the show well. The show does slow down to focus on the internal feelings of Komi-san, which provides better insight into her character along with diversity in what’s being shown. The only thing holding Komi-san Can’t Communicate back is Netflix’s staunch refusal to have a good subtitling system that allows for all this text on screen to get translated. At the very least, it shows how strong the use of on-screen speech bubbles is because I still found them to be extremely effective at providing more depth to the scenes even when I couldn’t read a majority of them.
Link Click – Haoling Li
So I’m not really interested in what is and isn’t anime, but Link Click is on MyAnimeList as a show that ended in 2021, and as such I will say it’s phenomenal. It manages to take the premise and adapt it into so many different genres. While doing that, the directing always feels correct. It feels like I’m watching a tragedy when proper, it feels fun and snappy when it’s a action romcom, every scenario is met with it’s own flare that adapts the overall show to the more niche genre its tackling.
Pompo The Cinéphile – Takayuki Hirao
Pompo the Cinéphile (if I’m willing to do the accent, maybe the infinity isn’t that bad either) is full of inventive scene transitions and cinematography that keep the viewer (me) hooked all throughout. It felt like I was watching Edgar Wright’s take on anime, which is really what I want from anything I see. If more shows could have half as inventive cuts as Pompo the Cinéphile, anime would be so fucking good.
SK∞ – Hiroko Utsumi
SK8: The Infinity manages to expertly capture just how cool some of these skateboarding tricks are. Most of the skateboarding is just characters moving forward fast, yet the show make it much more exhilarating by showing it in different ways, perforating it with audience interactions, and spicing it up with those sick tricks exactly when needed.
Pretty Boy Detective Club – Akiyuki Shinbo, Hajime Ohtani
It takes approximately .00001 seconds into Pretty Boy Detective Club to detect the expert directorial skills of Akiyuki Shinbo. The show is laced with interesting shots taking inspiration from anything and everything. Do the extreme close up, sporadic editing, theater spotlights, artstyle shifts, your pick define Pretty Boy Detective Club more than the rest? Nah it’s just everything all together being so wild and so calculated that it’s this cohesive piece of, shall I say, beauty?
And the winner of Best Director is … Takayuki Hirao for Pompo The Cinéphile
Pompo The Cinéphile directing is just too good. It’s everything I want in anime and wish we could see more of. I’m looking forward to what Takayuki Hirao does next and I hope people garner inspiration from the inventiveness of Pompo The Cinéphile and let it bleed into other works.
Best Score might generally not include soundtrack, but for this I’m just going to assume that every piece of music made for the show is part of the score. It can be background music or insert song, everything is done with intention to giving the best musical experience for the show.
Yuru Camp Season 2 – Akiyuki Tateyama
Yuru Camp Season 2‘s atmosphere of absolute comfiness can be attributed to, well, tons of things, but I think the one aspect that defines it the most is the music. The soundtrack is this super peppy fun time, but yet it delivers a calming sensation all the same. If I was ever to go camping (not a chance, nature hates me), I would definitely want to listen to these notes and pretend that I was Rin. Heck, I might just do that but on my couch with a blanket.
SK∞ – Ryō Takahashi
It’d be a shame if a skateboarding show didn’t evoke the music of 90s and early 2000s when the craze was at its max, and a shame SK8: The Infinity is not. SK8: The Infinity score mixes alternative rock music with songs that would fit in any JRPG set in the modern day. The music always adds an extra layer of style to make every scene feel that much more skater.
Zombie Land Saga Revenge – Funta7, Yasuharu Takanashi
Zombie Land Saga Revenge‘s is just so good. I listen to Franchouchou’s songs still to this day. If Lily’s scat-rendition of Life was on Spotify, it’d be over for my ears because I would have it playing non-stop.
Blue Period – Ippei Innoue
There’s this one really standout moment in Blue Period that’s the music is heavily responsible. As Yaguchi finally starts to have fun with making a really good piece, the music that accompanies it is this smooth jazz piece. This fits so fucking well; it conveys the exact kind of mood that’s going on there and establishes what being in the zone is like. The use of jazz sparingly in a soundtrack is just such a good call. Also, I really love the use of vocals in some of these song, specifically “The Prep School Teacher Appears.”
The Heike Story – Kensukei Ushio
Kensuke Ushio is one of the only composers I can recognize by ear for good reason. His music helps set the mood of every scene in The Heike Story. If the writing wasn’t so sharp, it’d be easy to get lost in the music, but the score alone can tell the story just as well.
Belle – Ludwig Forssell, Taisei Iwasaki, Yuta Bando
Belle has gotten a wildly large amount of praise, and a large factor of that is the music. I think it’d be hard to convince an audience the impact this girl has and the divide between her online and offline personas if the music wasn’t so good I would believe it’d be a megahit. Kaho Nakamura’s vocals really do help define the already amazing accompaniment and create a soundtrack that just wildly fun and beautiful.
And the winner of Best Score is … Akiyuki Tateyama for Yuru Camp Season 2!
While all the nominees had amazing scores, I think Yuru Camp Season 2 was most defined by it’s music. It carried it’s entire being on those tunes being comfy and cozy, and it succeed immaculately.
Best Sound Design
Did those sound effects seem good? Yeah? Ye. Okay I think it’s a lot more than just sound effects cause there tends to be a lot of sound related jobs, but overall I’m looking for shows that were good on the ears in the departments that weren’t the accompanying music.
The Heike Story – Eriko Kimura
I have a lot of categories to get through, and I’m already bullshitting maybe 63% of what I write, so for sound design you’re just gonna have to trust me. The Heike Story sounds good. I was impressed just by trying to grab a screen shot.
Yuru Camp Season 2 – Takeshi Takadera
Yuru Camp Season 2 has a lot of things that need to sound right, and they do! Lots of camping noises.
SK∞ – Masafumi Mima
Those skateboards roll on like at least five different surfaces all with different noises. That’s pretty good.
Star Wars: Visions – Skywalker Sound
So apparently this one studio did all the post production sound for all these different styles of shorts and nothing seemed out of place. I’m almost certain this was because Disney wants to make sure that lightsabers sound correct in every piece of media, but that’s still impressive to work within those limitations. Didn’t do any actual research tho sorry.
Blue Period – Hiromi Kikuta
Honestly this is here just for the one scene where the art supplies sound like welding tools.
Those Snow White Notes – Noriyoshi Konuma
Okay so, like, I watch A LOT of music anime. Usually you can tell when the music is worse and better, some anime like Hibike! Euphonium do it better than others. Those Snow White Notes, however, is like phenomenal about it. The scene where Setsu plays with … the professional who I don’t see listed on MAL is just so well done at converying exactly what’s happening through playing. I was like “dang this professional is forcing Setsu to match him while playing pretty simply and with emotion” and then the characters commented that later. Like, that’s some impressive shamisen playing to convey that just through the audio. Now I’m not sure which of the shamisen players were playing what, but here’s the following people credited with playing at all during that episode (5): Ai Shibata, Daisuke Sugiyama, Fūma Tanaka, Kōji Nagamura,
And the winner of Best Sound Design is … Yorinoshi Konuma for Those Snow White Notes!
Yeah it feels a bit odd that I’m declaring the winner as the Sound Director when I’m mostly gushing over the actual shamisen playing, but I’m sure there’s efforts from a lot of people who went into making the shamisen playing so telling to someone who’s never heard of the instrument before throughout the series.
So for Best Art it’s going to be a mix of a lot of things from background art, art style, and drawing quality. It’s one of three art related categories and it’s the most vague, but it’s basically looking for artistic strength that’s not going to be highlighted in the animation or compositing categories.
Wonder Egg Priority – Yuki Funagakure
Wonder Egg Priority looks like it’s a kyoani work while at the same time looking nothing like a kyoani work. I think it’s really impressive that they were able to mimic the artstyle as a base and then pervert it to fit the theme of the show. It really makes it unique and wholely their own while still taking the best aspects of why kyoani shows look so good.
The Heike Story – Tomotaka Kubo
Yeah I’ve been gushing about the art already. It looks like a mix of a SCIENCE SARU usual work and the e-maki. The use of texture throughout the work really helps cement that this could easily be us reading a picture scroll. On top of just smart art decisions, a lot of the show just looks pretty. Those environmental shots are just very well drawn especially for the simplicity in detail.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop – ???
So I couldn’t find an Art Director for Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop. Maybe that’s good because the art is done by more than an Art Director. Maybe that’s bad, because generally no one knows any of the staff that work on anime. Regardless, Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop looks ridiculously good. I love this art style a lot, and I love the way the characters maintain the background art style. The use of a lot of bright colors is just so good. It’s not easy to pull off making something this much more colorful than life, but it’s just eye candy all the way down.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 – Aiko Taira, Masakazu Miyake, Miu Miyamoto, Sumiko Aihara
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 shows why they had 4 Art Directors because it’s art is very good. The linework especially having this quality like it’s an inky pen. It really helps establish the fantasy vibes of this show, and super high quality art definitely helps get through how uncomfortable this show can get.
Pui Pui Molcar – Harune Satō, Ikuko Iwatsuki, Kei Sato, Leina Muramatsu, Michiko Kaihatsu, Tomoki Misato
Komi-san Can’t Communicate – Masaru Satō
Komi-san Can’t Communicate really stands out artistically especially for a standard high school comedy anime. It’s not doing anything special, and it shows why you don’t really need to. It’s has appealing characters that can convey emotion which is pretty crucial to a comedy show. The art style is fun and the show is just a joy to look at.
And the winner of Best Art is … Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop!
The art of Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop just makes me the most happy to look at. I love these bright colors with so much contrast. I need more stuff to look like this just to feed my eyes; they’re hungry.
You got those tweens and key frames. They play at probably 24fps on twos but who knows maybe its something else.
Violet Evergarden: The Movie – Akiko Takase, Kazumi Ikeda, Kohei Okamura, Miku Kadowaki, Nobuaki Maruki, Tatsunari Maruko, Yuki Tsunoda, Yuko Myouken
Yeah so it’s no surprise that Kyoto Animation makes good animation, but like damn do they make some good animation. The character animation is just so well done. The range of expressions shown through animations is just wildly better than anything else there is. Violet Evergarden: The Movie might not have all the flashyness that a lot of the nominees will have, but the animation is still worthy of acknowledgement.
Wonder Egg Priority – Akiko Motoyoshi, Dan Ni Zhang, Hirohiko Sukegawa, Iori Hisatake, Jia Mei Deng, Jun Yamazaki, Kazumasa Ishida, Keimon Oda, Kerorira, Maiko Kobayashi, Moe Yamaguchi, Naoya Takahashi, Saki Takahashi, Tomomi Kawatsuma, Yasushi Nishitani, Yuzu Hori
Wonder Egg Priority is filled with extremely well animated fight scenes along side superb character animation when out of battle. Apparently there’s a large amount of limited animation used in these, which I think makes it all the more impressive. Sure I noticed some funny stuff rewatching this one scene 12 times to grab a screenshot, but it looks so good in motion. If the girls weren’t so badass when defeating these trauma monsters, it wouldn’t work anywhere close to good enough.
Jujustu Kaisen – Haruka Matsuda, Jeong Ryeon Kim
Even seeing this show at occasionally 360p, it’s pretty freaking obvious that Jujutsu Kaisen looks great. The animation on the Jujutsu powers is phenomenal. The fight scene’s smooth animation keeps pace with its fantastic choreography.
Scissor Seven Season 3 – Chen Chuxian
So heads up I couldn’t find any reference for who the animation director is, so I had to … ummmm … read the credits and I might have grabbed the wrong name, the name for only one episode, or not enough names. My apologies and I wish I could just put the entire credits for every show everywhere, but I’m doing my best I don’t have infinite time and space. Anyways actually talking about the show yeah Scissor Seven Season 3 has really good animation. I’m a big fan of the simpler and rougher art style because it looks so good when in motion. Season 3 had a lot more fight scenes than usual, and while that may have made the show worse since it’s not flexing what Scissor Seven does best, they all look phenomenal and are really fun to watch.
Demon Slayer: Mugen Train – Akane Okabe, Akira Matsushima, Aoi Okabe, Atsushi Ogasawara, Atsushi Tanaka, Atsutoshi Hashimoto, Haruo Sotozaki, Junichi Minamino, Kōji Akiyama, Masato Nagamori, Mieko Ogata, Mika Kikuchi, Miyuki Satō, Moe Tsuzuki, Nana Ishigo, Satoshi Takahashi, Shōgo Fujiwara, Tetsuto Satō, Toko Uchimura, Tomonori Sudō, Yuka Shiojima
I think revenue says enough but yeah the animation on fights in Demon Slayer: Mugen Train is really good. I love the art style of effects from the different sword style. It’s also a movie done by ufotable. Everything was in Demon Slayer: Mugen Train‘s court to have amazing animation, which honestly kinda hurts it. What fun is it to just give the award to the obvious choice wink wink.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 – Aiko Taira, Masakazu Miyake, Miu Miyamoto, Sumiko Aihara
The magic casting in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 looks really cool. Rudy uses a lot of varied magic, all of which look uniquely good and correct. I think the show works so well because the character animation between the fight scenes is really strong though. Something about the way that the heads are sometimes animated I dunno. There’s only like a handful of actual fights in the show, so for me to think “wow this has great animations,” it must be doing something right.
And the winner of Best Animation is … Wonder Egg Priority!
Yeah I think even if something like Demon Slayer: Mugen Train has the flashiest animation with the most amount of frames, I think watching the animation in Wonder Egg Priority just made me the happiest. Like something about how cool the fight scenes look with the transforming weapons and horrifying-trauma incarnates right next to pillow shots cut into character staring off into the distance looking discontent hits all the right notes. I didn’t really notice where they hid the budget-running out, and that’s really impressive too. Except that one scene that was at like 4 frames per second but I’ll let it slide.
All those character drawings, backgrounds, vfx, and more gotta be smushed together by someone. I love to see all the post-processing effects and camera work. Bad compositing can really hurt a show and good compositing can really make you think “wow Kyoto Animation is such a talented studio.” Also, I’m gonna be crediting the editors here. I think that’s the best role to credit?
SK∞ – Honami Yamagishi
“Why did I nominate SK8: The Infinity for compositing” – me referencing my notes.
Violet Evergarden: The Movie – Kengo Shigemura
It’s got lighting. It’s got camera focus stuff. It’s got like 3D backgrounds that are impossible to tell or something cause they’re wild.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 – Akinori Mishima
All that good art stuff that this show does so good is really brought together by the compositing. Maybe I’m not qualified to make 3 art categories if I’m just gonna say that they can do some good lighting and textures in all of them. Sorry this is like already 3 days overdue at this point and I’m not like halfway done. Give me a break. I really do think compositing means the world and it deserves its own category.
Wonder Egg Priority – Daisuke Hiraki
I really should’ve done like a thematic analysis of this show cause it’s just so hard to talk about without a thousand disclaimers. I’ve already praised its art like 80 times, so like it’s no surprise it has good compositing. Like you could convince me its Kyoani show if I didn’t know it was CloverWorks.
Jujustu Kaisen – Keisuke Yanagi
Can I just link to like the entire internet circa September 2020 through March 2021? MAPPA really did a great job with all the visual effects. They were composited super good, even if I was stuck watching it on Florida internet.
Link Click – ???
Once again my inability to read languages that aren’t english has forsaken me to not be able to credit anyone here. Anyways this show has to convey a lot of different moods and time periods and I think it all comes together really nicely. I can’t say for certain, but I feel like something looks different between when they’re in a photo and when they’re not, so like that’s impressive. Also, like, unrelated but can I go back and nominate Link Click cause like wow the music in this is really good. Everyone and their mom have praised Belle, I can go and give credit to Link Click instead.
And the winner of Best Compositing is … Kengo Shigemura for Violet Evergarden: The Movie!
Wow! Who could’ve seen that coming. Really a surprise even to me, the sole person doing all the work on this entire thing. Really if I do this again next year, I might have to make this like a ham contest.
Finally it’s been a while since I there was a category that was just “these things are the best.” I mean it was only the first one, but now we get only those from here on out. So much easier to talk about then pretending I know anything about production. So, like, if it’s not obvious, only movies qualify for Best Movie. It’s the same rules for all movies said in the beginning. I think only two movies didn’t qualify for this, so sorry that I missed out on a bunch. If I didn’t have too many things to consider already, I would’ve probably saw On-Gaku: Our Sound and Sailor Moon Pretty Guardian The Movie, but I have enough regrets and struggles already.
Violet Evergarden: The Movie – Kyoto Animation
Yeah I cried during this movie. A lot. This movie actually cheats though. They know I care so much about Ann and having the movie start off continuing that plot line had me instant bawl. I was really worried I wasn’t going to like the direction they take with this movie, but in the end it ended up being really sweet and not creepy so A+ job. It just made me so happy for Violet it really was a good send-off to her arc.
Belle – Studio Chizu
Belle is really good. Those people who stood and clapped for 16 minutes straight might have been overdoing it, but regardless the movie was phenomenal. It looked great. It sounded great. It’s an interesting take on the classic story. Also the one scene in the middle. You know the one. That scene gives me life just thinking about it months later.
Pompo The Cinéphile – CLAP
Yeah if the cinematography of Pompo The Cinéphile wasn’t worthy enough; it’s got a lot of other good traits! The movie takes place in Nyallywood, which follows my favorite fake-name trend of just taking real words and replacing the beginning with Nya. Too bad this can’t win or be nominated for any more awards since I ran out of official GKIDS screenshots.
Shirobako Movie – P.A. Works
There’s not a category for Best Fight Scene (or Scene in general) both because I did too many categories and because I’m not equipped to answer it. That being said, the winner would definitely be the Yakuza scene in Shirobako Movie. It’s just so well done. The fact that this movie is a musical on top of is just the cherry on the cake. I was thinking before seeing it, “there’s no reason it should be a musical, but I hope Shirobako Movie is a musical,” and then it was!!!! Like, even the creators knew Miyamori needed to sing her feeling through. The only thing holding this movie back was not going harder into that angle because there’s only like 3 musical numbers or something.
Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish – Bones
Josee, the Tiger, and the Fish is a really good film. It has really great art and character animation. I had it nominated but then had to give the anti-movie bias to be fair to non-movies. The movie might be a bit melodramatic, but you know I eat that juice up. I can excuse the “plot would be solved with a cell phone” evenmoreso than usual here because it’s based on a book from the 80s. I do worry about how it actually represents disabilities and I can’t really speak on that angle, but I hope it’s good. The biggest flaw here is that the name sounds like a really bad FMK.
Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop – Signal.MD, Sublimation
Not only does Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop look good, but also it’s super cute too. Who doesn’t love a good romance where the characters magically fix each others flaws by becoming friends. I love friends.
And the winner of Best Movie is … Violet Evergarden: The Movie!
Yeah one of my favorite shows getting an amazing movie, who could’ve imagined it’d be the winner. Not only that, it continues on the best episode and also kinda just does the same thing but reverse. I can’t help it that premise just gets me every time.
Anime are overated amirite? You gotta watch a whole FOUR hours of content? Who has the time anymore. What we need is good episodes. Just 22 minutes to get some good content? Now that’s something I can fit into my super fulfilling and busy life I lead. I’ll be crediting the Episode Director here. Hope that’s correct.
Link Click Episode 5 “Farewell” – ???
Yeah this should really be like Episode 4 + 5, but you know it’s just easier to put the feels part here. Like I don’t want to spoil anything from this episode because it’s so good, but oof the entire premise just hits me so hard. The fact that they tied it in with like basketball boys is just extra feels cause it was super easy to get attached to the short scenario. You know it’s really good because it beat out Link Click which was gay.
To Your Eternity Episode 1 “The Last One” – Masahiko Murata
Yeah there’s a very obvious theme in things I think are really good. I cried so hard from this episode. To Your Eternity was not at all what I assumed it was (okay I didn’t really have any assumptions), and episode 1 really more so than the rest of the show. I do generally think I need a lot of time to get invested in characters, so I was especially impressed that this first episode could make me care about this boy and dog so much. I almost thought that I couldn’t see the rest of the show after this because if every episode was like this it’d get overdone, but luckily the show continues to change and evolve and it never really comes close to being this episode again.
Wonder Egg Priority Episode 10 “Confession” – Yūichirō Komuro
Episode 10 of Wonder Egg Priority is probably the best example of everything the show does right and wrong. It’s very divisive, but the parts it does right is so right. The sheer trans power on display with Kaoru being super explicitly confirming he’s trans is amazing. The fight scene where Momoe beats down on the baddie while affirming she’s a badass girl is amazing. It definitely has issues probably going to explicit and hard on explaining the trauma, and Momoe not confirming she’s trans is sad (she totally is). And then the of course with Momoe’s arc finalized, she gets a new much less compelling motivation moving forward which is a let down especially since the show never gets a change to even explore or expand on it. Despite its troubles, I think the fact that it makes me happy seeing trans characters being badasses. Its also the episode that makes me want a sequel the most, since there’s definitely an implied return of Kaoru with all the alternate world nonsense in his final lines.
Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Part 2 Episode 5 “Family Squabble” – Yoshinobu Tokumoto
It’s rare for an isekai anime to get more use out of its premise than the initial exposition dumping about the rules of the fantasy world. That’s what makes this episode so special. Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation gets a lot of use out its premise, with the constant narration from the 30 y/o man juxtaposed with the child actually interacting with the world. This episode really leverages that when you’re forced to view the current situation and Rudy’s actions through both lenses. You learn a lot about Paul and how he’s terrible because you know that he should be acting as if Rudy’s a child, and it’s wrong for him to put so much pressure on him. Simultaneously, you know Paul is right and Rudy should’ve been doing more than he did. It lets you understand how both characters are in the wrong because this is an isekai, and it’s something only the viewer can really understand. Paul is just sexist tho like Zenith and Lillia are S-Class adventurers they’d definitely be more capable on their own compared to Rudy. Rudy is right to be worried about Sylphie, but he should’ve been worried sooner and be more worried about Norn and Aisha.
Star Wars: Visions Episode 5″T0-B1″- Abel Góngora
T0-B1 is kinda cheating since it’s from an anthology series, but fuck it. It’s the best one by far and the only episode in Star Wars: Visions that I think really succeeded at being a short. It had a complete story that I felt satisfied watching all the way through. All the other ones I wanted them to be full series, but this one was complete. SCIENCE SARU did a phenomenal job on every aspect. It has a lot of charm of cute hopeful robot boys. Love environmentalism message. Just lots of good stuff here.
Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5 “Little Bodda Bop SAGA” – Takashi Ishida
Episode 5 takes a dark realistic look at what it’s like to be a trans person in showbusiness. Despite Lily putting in such an immense amount of effort and delivering an undoubtedly amazing performance that showcased scat skills beyond any normal being, she’s not given the award she deserved and some cis guy gets all the accolades instead. This leads Lily to then have to go and cheer this cis boy up just because he feels bad about being inferior. A true tragedy as this episode shows that the cis get everything, and trans people have to go and put in effort into making sure that their feelings aren’t being hurt in the process of trans people doing absolutely anything.
And the winner of Best Episode is … Takashi Ishida for Zombie Land Saga Revenge Episode 5 “Little Bodda Bop SAGA”
Okay if you’ve seen the episode, you know my prior description is a joke. The episode is a super fun good time where Lily gets to go on a talent show and perform amazing scat and rakugo. It’s furthering Lily’s character arc where she gets to live out the celebrity dream she never got to fully realize because her life ended. I love how Lily gets to inspire the whole world with how much she’s in love with existing. That scat rendition of “Life” is just amazing and I need it on Spotify how did you all mess that up! Also, I understood the pun that Lily, who’s Roku-go, did Rakugo and I basically never get those puns so A+ to Tess.
I don’t know where I stole this category idea from, but I really love it. To qualify for this, you just have to not been nominated in any production category, which is basically all of the previous category. These are the shows that would’ve been the seventh nominee if I decided I wanted to write even more than I already decided. These shows honestly were on the list and were taken out in painstaking deliberation. They might appear multiple times after this point (they will actually quiet a bit), but this is more about acknowledging the quality of the shows as a whole.
Kageki Shoujo!! – Pine Jam
Kageki Shoujo!! takes a really dark look into this class of girls in a school that feeds into the fictional version of the Takarazuka Review. The show does a great job at making us understand the important characters in the class pretty thoroughly. Despite having a main character or two, it actually devotes entire episodes to the other side characters. Not even like one each, most of them get two. This huge strength is also its biggest flaw. The pacing of the show is that of one that is getting like, 75 episodes, but it only has 12. It’s a great opener to an anime I hope we get, but I fear we never will.
Aggretsuko Season 4 – Fanworks
Aggretsuko Season 4 doesn’t reach the same heights season 3 did, but it’s still more Aggretsuko. The focus on Retsuko X Haida hurts it a lot, but hey at least Anai wants to seize the means of production.
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars – TMS Entertainment
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars continues everything that makes Dr. Stone with its fun science take on the shonen power-up. I love seeing Senku just do science stuff to help out these remaining humans; it’s just really fun. Too bad Tsukasa is a terrible villain that really drags down this arc by being much more present than the first season. He’s much better when he’s not being nonsensically evil.
Sonny Boy – Madhouse
Sonny Boy does a lot of really creative and fun things. I think the use of a bunch of kids developing weird super powers they understand works really well as a metaphor for puberty. The characters are pretty compelling, at least the four kids in our main group. The other ones don’t really get enough time to shine. This show is almost great, but it’s held back by the fact that so many plot threads get brought up and go nowhere. I get that it’s supposed to be in service of the theme that the eighth-life crisis is confusing and random and overwhelming, but I don’t think the lack of closure on plot points and lack of narrative cohesion really actually conveyed that.
Fruits Basket: The Final – TMS Entertainment
Fruits Basket: The Final is a great end to a great anime, but I’m just salty it didn’t end how I want. For the direction they took, they did it very well; I just don’t think that it was the direction they should’ve taken. And for once, I’m not talking about the ship they went with. Realistically I’ll probably end up rewatching Fruits Basket and still loving it, and the show will stay with me longer than like anything else I mentioned on this entire thing.
Tokyo Revengers – LIDENFILMS
Tokyo Revengers kinda cheats. Two of my favorite things in media are punk kids and time travel, so combining them is an instant recipe for something I love. What can I say? I can’t get enough of those punk kids with brains of rocks and hearts of gold.
And the winner of Best Seven is … Tokyo Revengers
I mean I said it cheated. Like, it cracked the formula that’s how you make a good show. It helps that it has other good qualities, but who even needs to know those when the premise is time travel punk kids. Honestly like if I had more drive to learn to write, I’d probably have made this. I need more punk kid shows and more time travel shows.
Episodes are overated amirite? You gotta watch a whole TWENTY-TWO minutes of content? Who has the time anymore. What we need is good OPs. Just one and a half minutes to get some good content? Now that’s something I can fit into my super fulfilling and busy life I lead. I’ll be crediting the Musician here. Hope that’s correct. (I am weighing more than just the songs too, everything that goes into an OP is important)
Link Click “Dive Back In Time” – Bai Sha JAWS
I mean the hand animation on the tutting alone should qualify this OP as one of the best of the year, but it goes harder and has amazing visuals and a banging song to boot? This easily takes a nomination.
Komi-san Can’t Communicate “Cinderella” – CIDERGIRL
Okay I think like “banging song and great visuals” is basically the description for every single OP, but like cmon I love banging songs and great visual. Komi-san Can’t Communicate‘s is on another level though. The artstyle looks phenomenal with its strong use of colors to both look pretty and convey mood. The song has been playing non-stop on my Spotify. It’s got Najimi hopping yeah you didn’t think the caption would come into play here gottem.
The Heike Story “Hikaru Toki” – Hitsuji Bungaku
Just something about this OP does it. I really love that opening bar of the song it’s has something special. The shot with Biwa spinning around with the family does something right too.
Wonder Egg Priority “Hidachi no Uta” – Anemoneria
Wonder Egg Priority‘s is not really a banger, but it doesn’t mean it’s not an amazing song. I really love the use of real world photography in this intro. It really sets the tone for the series correctly. Even if the show has a lot of flashy action scenes, it is more intimate like this intro makes it out to be.
Odd Taxi “Hidachi no Uta” – Anemoneria
Okay maybe there’s less bangers than I thought, but this one definitely still a bop. The chill vibes combined with this more simplistic artstyle fits the show so well. The introductions for each character manages to not really reveal much but be completely appropriate and meaningful, which is perfect for a mystery with a large cast.
Pretty Boy Detective Club “Shake and Shake” – sumika
Now THIS is a banger. Pretty Boy Detective Club comes in full force with everything a good OP needs. It has so much visual flare I think color is leaking out of my computer. The music is varied and a bopping all throughout. It also does the number 1 cheat to becoming an all time great OP, have the characters dance.
And the winner of Best OP is … Komi-san Can’t Communicate with “Cinderella” by CIDERGIRL
As much as I would love to say one of my favs from this year has the Best OP or even some smaller show I didn’t give a lot of love to, I can’t. Komi-san Can’t Communicate wins by a landslide. It’s just so good and ranks among my favorite OPs of all time. It just does every single thing correctly. Great visuals, great music, great use of color, great character acting. like omg. It’s just so good and I can’t stop not just listening to it but watching it.
OPs are overated amirite? You gotta watch a whole ONE AND A HALF minutes of content? Who has the time anymore. What we need is good EDs Just … uhhh … one and a half minutes to get some good content? Now that’s something I can fit into my super fulfilling and busy life I lead. I’ll be crediting the Musician here. Hope that’s correct. (I am weighing more than just the songs too, everything that goes into an ED is important)
Jujutsu Kaisen “Give it Back” – Cö Shu Nie
Yeah you don’t need me to tell you JJK has good EDs
Yuru Camp Season 2 “Haru no Tonari” – Eri Sasaki
Eri Sasaki just has such a nice soothing voice, which fits perfectly for a Yuru Camp ED. We’re winding down from a comfy experience. The OP lets you know that there’s gonna be some antics, but the ED captures the real vibe of the show and carries the coziness home.
Scissor Seven Season 3 “Accompanying you” – Xie Chun hua
Scissor Seven Season 3 starts you off thinking the ED is just a good time where you see all your favs from the show having a fun time at the beach, and then by the end of the show you’re just crying at the notion that this ED exists at all.
Beastars Season 2 “Yasashii Suesei” – YAOSOBI
Okay so like the Beastars Season 2 ED is great, but the fact that it made the nominations but the OP didn’t for OPs is sad. Step up your game EDs cause OPs are dominating in the quality department.
Link Click “OverThink” – Fan Ka
I love how this ED uses real life footage of photo development. It really sets the right vibe for the end of the series as Link Click turns more mystery. On top of that, the song is a banger wihch is not super common for EDs. Usually the songs are great, but more in the chill or sad way. This is just jammin’ tho.
SK∞ “INFINITY” – Yuuri
SK8: The Infinity delivers everything I could’ve possibly wanted out of an ED. I see all these boys I love eating dirt like the scrubs they are. It’s great to have a good lesson to end every episode, skateboarding is dangerous and seeing these boys wipeout are funny.
And the winner of Best ED is … Link Click with “OverThink” by Fan Ka
While it’s a really close race between this and “Give it Back,” I think the dark atmosphere and accompaniment really help push “OverThink” over. The art direction is just really good with how seamless these anime kids exist with the real world creepy photo development.
EDs are overated amirite? You gotta … what? The joke wasn’t funny to start with? It’s not revelant at all in this category? Well no one told me. Whatever. Best Protagonist means the protagonist. They don’t have the be the most morally pure or whatever, the story just follows them. I mean I’m a sucker for good people tho.
Fruits Basket: The Final – Tohru Honda
Tohru is just such a good person; I can’t handle it. I love how she just does good things and cares about people. Like the show puts her in comically horrible situations, and you think that’d feel cheap, but somehow the way Tohru reacts and handles things and a bit of multi-season foreshadowing makes it okay that you know she … uhhh … you know what nevermind.
Odd Taxi – Odokawa Hiroshi
Link Click – Xiaoshi Cheng
Yeah again sucker for good people and Xiaoshi is a good boy. I love that he constantly is struggling between doing the right thing and not changing the future and doing the right thing and helping out people. That’s the kind of decision making I’m looking for.
Beastars Season 2 – Legoshi
Another good boy who’s struggle to navigate morality or something like that. He like wants to eat people but doesn’t want to eat people. Something about theater kids again. Dang if only I wasn’t a loser I would understand anime.
Shirobako Movie – Aoi Miyamori
Miyamori just works so hard; I’m crying. She wants to make the anime, and I want her to make the anime. She deserves to be rewarded for all the effort she puts into her craft. Also, she sings and like basically no one else in anime does.
Vivy -Flourite Eye’s Song- – Vivy
While Vivy is a good person, the reason I love her so much is because of the whole, like, discovering being human thing. I’m a sucker for characters opening up and learning to understand their emotions more and more. Also, she has blue hair, and y’all know that’s my weakness.
And the winner of Best Protagonist is … Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket: The Final
Okay, so like, Tohru is a homeless orphan that would’ve been crushed to death by falling rocks if she didn’t bump into Yuki in the first episode. That technically isn’t part of the season, but fuck it. Tohru deserves the world. The least I can do is give her this award.
So there’s two requirements someone needs to meet to be Best Boy. You must be pretty, you must be a boy, you must be a detective, and you must … wait what who put these rules here? Okay it’s unrelated to any of that besides the whole “you must be a boy” part. Best Boy also can’t have been nominated for Best Protagonist; I mean I need diversity of entries here. On that same note, the same show can’t have two Best Boys. Well it totally CAN, but for the sake of saying I nominated a bunch of different stuff it can’t. Best Boy is definitely an intrinsic value a character has, and, like, I’ll just know.
To Your Eternity – Fushi
Fushi is a shapeshifting sphere and it’s pretty cool that he has a strong sense of gender identity while taking the form of dead women for a good chunk of the show. It’s really great to see him develop from literally not an animal into a competent human being who deeply cares about his morals. He’s a good boy and that’s what’s most important.
Sonny Boy – Rajdhani
Rajdhani carries Sonny Boy so hard. I love how he’s such a good person who doesn’t get caught up in any of the social bull that goes on. He gets to work and actually tries to understand what’s going on while working towards solutions. I love how he’s so independent while also having great synergy with the other main cast members. I still cry just thinking about how his plot resolved, but they did resolve his arch perfectly.
Tokyo Revengers – Draken
Again with me and the good people. Draken really is the embodiment of why I love punk kids. He definitely doesn’t fit brains of rock, but he has a heart of 24k gold. He cares about his friends and his ideals and will fight for what’s right. What a good boy.
Jujutsu Kaisen – Aoi Todo
I really just wish Jujutsu Kaisen was The Friends of Aoi Todo instead because seeing him and whatever the main character’s name is being bros in high school sounds like the exact show I actually want.
Horimiya – Izumi Miyamura
Bisexual icon Izumi Miyamura is really all he needed. I love that he really and frequently considers that he totally could date men in some world where he wasn’t dating Hori. He even knows his taste in men. Absolute king shit.
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars – Senku Iwatani
I really love watching how passionate Senku is about science. It’s just pure joy seeing him walk through the diagrams and explain all the steps and concepts and whatnot. It’s cool that he wants to like save humanity and shit, but really it’s just nice to see a person so engaged with their passions.
And the winner of Best Boy is … Rajdhani from Sonny Boy
I mean cmon I don’t cry in bed thinking about how just any boy [spoilers].
So basically the same idea as Best Boy, but for girls. Do they got best girl energy? On the list. Did they qualify for Best Protagonist? Get outta here. This is honestly one of the hardest categories to make cause like who am I to say who best girl is. They all are.
Zombie Land Saga Revenge – Lily Hoshikawa
Lily Hosikawa is the Best Girl each and every year. It just happens that she also appeared in an anime that aired this year, so she can be nominated. I mean she’s perfect. Trans icon on way more levels than any normal anime character. She’s super talent with her Rakugo and her scat singing and her normal singing.
The Aquatope on White Sand – Kukuru Misakino
Kukuru is a girl who meets another girl in ruins of damaged dream. I just care so much about her succeeding. I want her to succeed at everything she does. I mostly want her to succeed at dating Fuuka because penguins can be gay too, but I’ll just have to hope that a movie will be made and allow for that to happen. She’s great, she’s passionate, it’s a joy watching her, lots of best girl qualities.
Dr. Stone: Stone Wars – Suika
I mean, do I need to say anything? She’s Suika.
Horimiya – Kyoko Hori
Hori is like such a real person it’s nice. I love like everything they do with her characters besides that one moment. She’s like insecure and also confident, and she’s super dominant but wants to Miyamura to be, like it’s refreshing that she’s not just a blanket personality but there’s a lot of nuance. She’s also a good person and, again, love me good people.
Fruits Basket: The Final – Saki Hanajima
Hanajima and Uo are literally perfect both as individuals and as friends to Tohru, but unfortunately I can only chose one, so I’m going with Hanajima. She wants to marry Tohru, which, gotta say, pretty gay. She also just has actual killer wave powers and that’s pretty badass. Agh, I just can’t get enough of good people.
Wonder Egg Priority – Momoe Sawaki
I mean badass trans girl that fucks transphobes up? Like obvious that’s elite. I do wish there was explicit confirmation, but like in any world that’s remotely accepting of trans people you don’t need her saying “btw I’m trans” when there’s way to much evidence. I just love seeing trans girls be so aggressively themselves what can I say.
And the winner of Best Girl is … Lily Hoshikawa from Zombie Land Saga Revenge
I already told you before Lily Hoshikawa is Best Girl this year and every year.
Best Non-binary Character
Yeah so there’s not enough characters in shows I saw to fill up this category, which is tragic. There should be too many best non-binary characters to fill, not lacking in four of them. If they’re non-binary, they basically qualify by default, but both our nominees are great regardless of lack of competition.
Komi-san Can’t Communicate – Najimi
Okay I need to get this off my chest. I absolutely love it when Najimi goes like “Dah Dah Dah” or however they say it. Just such great delivery. Najimi isn’t treated perfectly in the show, but it is nice that they’re treated at least pretty well. I love how confident and outgoiing Najimi is. They’re like literally the coolest person and I would’ve loved to been friends with them when I was in high school.
Blue Period – Yuka
Yuka does have to deal with so much stuff no one should, and I wish them the world. Honestly I was a lot more invested in their plot than main guys, and I’d hope they get a lot more exploration and growth if Blue Period gets a season 2. Even with their woefully low screen time, I appreciate that Blue Period gets to explore how queer people can be pressured into being a more accepted kind of gay. That’s not really a theme I’ve seen been exlpored in anything, but it’s sadly a real life issue that’s extremely common. Yuka gets to break ground exploring a lot of stuff that’s not commonly shown, and they get to be a great character that doesn’t take the main characters shit until he starts caring about them.
And the winner of Best Non-binary Character is … Both of them Fuck You
Yeah both of them are the Best Non-binary character and every character will be until there’s such a large plethora of Non-binary representation in anime that I’d struggle to find even 20 nominees. Yuka’s the best. Najimi’s the best. The world needs to do better.
Worst Anime of the Year
Yeah fuck it. I had to go and compliment like 30 shows, so I should get to air out my complaints a bit. I feel for the workers actually animating all of these, and I’m sure better working conditions would lead to strictly better anime. I can respect the talent and effort of all the staff, while saying “hey, these all have some problems.” Most of these aren’t going actually be the close to the worst shows of the year. These are the 6 worst shows I actually finished, so there’s enough merit where I managed to finish them. Platinum’s End is lucky in that regard.
My Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom X
It breaks my heart that My Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom X is bad. I loved season 1, and I was super excited to see where the show would go when it’s initial premise was gone. The fact that the answer was nowhere is tragic. I really hoped we’d see Catarina start to actually care about the fact that so many people like her and start to figure out if she likes anyone, but outside a bit of interaction with 2nd worst boy, she didn’t. I am glad that this show does just have explicitly gay girls, and that episode focusing on Nico was really good. Unfortunately just introducing more love interests isn’t really what the show needed. I’m still holding out hope that Season 3 having more focus will help it reclaim its former glory.
Yasuke gets a lot of hate for bad reasons. The show is terrible, but it’s not really for any of the reasons people throw out. If the show was more historically accurate or wasn’t science fantasy, it’d still need to have good pacing and writing to be good. They could’ve taken the fun science and magic in Sengoku Japan and made a great show. Instead, the show goes at a blistering fast pace while at the same time feeling extremely boring in the moment to moment. The show expects I’ll care about its events and characters, but gives me no reason to care about them. I love Cannon Busters and hope that LeSean Thomas’s next work returns to form.
Banished from the Hero’s Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside
This show is a mostly mediocre but cute show for the first 9ish episodes that completely hits the fan the second it tries to be a serious fantasy show instead of a slice of life. I can excuse that the final battle is randomly taking place on a spaceship for some reason, but I can’t excuse the fact that all these random characters I don’t know or care about take the main focus of the last third of the show and Rit and Red’s relationship basically get thrown away until they fuck in the last episode. If the show was really great, it probably wouldn’t be so bad that it struggles to take it home, but it was struggling in mediocrity before that.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S
This show constantly celebrates pedophilia and that makes me very uncomfortable. If you somehow took out all of that, there’d still be a lot of uncomfortable moments. The few great scenes that exists aren’t worth dredging through so much gross shit.
SSSS. Dynazenon is lacking in any kind of central theme? Like I’m not sure what it was trying to say or what was really going on. People have emotions? That’s not really a theme. I really liked SSSS. Gridman (running theme of these worst shows is I liked the previous one huh? except Kobayashi), and I do think SSSS. Dynazenon nailed continuing the atmosphere of SSSS. Gridman. Unfortunately, the great atmosphere of like eternal melancholy isn’t good enough to be a show. I need to feel like there’s a reason these events are happening.
2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball
When a problem with your volleyball show is that it isn’t enough of a blatant copy of Haikyuu!, then your show has a lot more problems. This show has maybe the worst pacing of any show on this list yet. They go through so many story beats and skip around in time so much that I never understand what’s going on, who is who, what anyone’s relationships are or their emotional states. It’s just so ridiculously hard to follow.
And the loser(?) of Worst Anime of the Year is … 2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball
Yeah I mean this show isn’t good. It’s like it knew it and switched which school it was following half way through, and then I still couldn’t even keep up with the new school. It should be so easy to see Haikyuu! and learn from what it did right, but this tried to cram the content of 74 episodes into just 12.
Best Anime of the Year
Finally, if you paid attention you can probably guess what shows are going to be here. It’s all my favorites from this year, and only one can win. I guess I make the rules so any amount could win, but only one will.
The Aquatope on White Sand – P.A. Works
When it comes to an anime that defined my year, The Aquatope on White Sand has no contender. For sixth months, I got to look forward to seeing these gay girls work so hard to save an aquarium, and that really was the highlight of so many of my weeks. I love this show a lot.
Odd Taxi – OLM
Odd Taxi is just such a compelling mystery with its great characters and interwoven plotlines. I’m struggling to find more stuff to say about these shows that fit in a blurb, so sorry. These should be great, but like I already said what’s good in the start of this. Odd Taxi is just a great show and easily one of the best of the year.
To Your Eternity – Brain’s Base
To Your Eternity is such a ride. It’s really amazing how quickly it endeared me to characters. The show played my heart like a fiddle, and I loved every second of it.
Horimiya – CloverWorks
Horimiya really is some special kind of romance show. It’s rare to explore how people’s lives change while they’re actually in relationships, but that’s what I wanna see. I love seeing couples be cute and overcome obstacles and stuff. It’s super cute; I love all the characters. What a great show.
Zombie Land Saga Revenge – MAPPA
I mean Lily aside, I still love Zombie Land Saga Revenge. The show manages to give me great insight into all these characters I love. The story arc of the last few episodes had me emotionally invested. All the songs are bangers. Truly such an amazing show.
Link Click – Studio LAN
Link Click managed to be the only time travel show to make it here, which surprised me. I mean if I didn’t decide to lock in these noms when I started this, maybe I would’ve rewatched Vivy -Flourite Eye’s Song-, but alas Link Click has to carry. But it does carry because this show rules. Good hearted kid solving mysteries with time traveling super powers is like, ugh so good.
And the winner of Anime of the Year is … Zombie Land Saga Revenge
Haha gottem. You thought I would pick Odd Taxi because it won Best Original Work, but you’re wrong. You all fell into my genius trap to fully recognize how great Zombie Land Saga Revenge is as a show. It’s got punk girl, it’s got trans girl, it’s got Yamada Tae. Everything that makes a good show is here, and it is the best anime of 2021.
Yeah this took way longer than I thought to write. I probably could’ve banged it out in a day, but it really took a month of writing a bit at a time. I think it was a lot of fun, but maybe it would’ve been better to just drop image collages and no descriptions. Video is a much better format for award shows, so I tried to make up for it. Unfortunately a few sentences is enough to make it hard to write about stuff, but not enough for actual deep analysis. I do think my representation was pretty good, but I do wish I got to watch a bit more. If I knew it was going to take a month, I probably would’ve.
It is interesting that my nominees for Anime of the Year don’t line up with my 6 highest nominations well. The six highest nominations in order were Wonder Egg Priority (8), Link Click (7), SK8: The Infinity (6), Odd Taxi (5), Zombie Land Saga Revenge (5), and The Heike Story (5). SK8: The Infinity is the only one that didn’t win a single category. It also benefitted heavily from my last minute sweep revisions. Wonder Egg Priority was nominated for Anime of the Year until the absolute last change I made thanks to a Horimiya rewatch. It is interesting that the anime I didn’t admire as much for production did dominate the fun character categories, which probably indicates that there probably deserved to be a production category for Character Design, Cast, or Character Writing or something. Overall though, having 33 shows represented (39 if you count the worst nominees) out of 43 possible is pretty good. If you don’t count Komi-san Can’t Communicate since it auto-won a category, the only shows that got more than one win are the two shows I gave a 10/10 to: Zombie Land Saga Revenge and Violet Evergarden: The Movie. I do think it was probably unfair to let movies qualify in production categories, especially art. If I do this again, I’ll probably drop movies entirely even if Pompo: The Cinephile deserves recognition for its cinematography. Overall, I’m happy with this. The writing is probably terrible, but I don’t have the energy to proof read. Sorry!