9 Jan 2011

Anime of 2010 (Staff and Overall Awards)

The people behind the animation and best of the best of 2010.

Staff Awards

Best Female Seiyuu


Hanazawa Kana (Angel Beats, Kobato, Kuragehime, etc...) - This is her year. Appearing in a lot of shows, and continuing to impress fans with vocal variety. She pulls off Tenshi well enough to compete with Nagato Yuki's seiyuu, while her energetic portrayal of Kobato makes the character all the more lovable. The live-dubbing session at AFA X certainly brought many fans to tears.

Best Debut:

Yazawa Rieka (Soredemo) - She makes an incredibly strong debut with a really likable character. And she sings! Soredemo is her only credit so far, with nothing announced for the Spring 2011 season. Hoping to see a lot more of her in the future!

Runners Up:

Omigawa Chiaki (Arakawa, Soredemo, Seitokai Yakuindomo) - A rather unique "moe" voice among a sea of indistinguishable moe voices.

Taketatsu Ayana (K-ON!!, Railgun, Oreimo, etc...) - Azusa! Moe + Neko + Tsudere. She seems to be the go to person for "nyan~" type voices/characters and slowly easing into the tsundere stereotype.

Other notable performances: 

Fujimura Ayumi (Maid-sama) - The main character of the show, her tsundere-ness is extremely cute. Her shy-till-almost-crying and frustrated voice are both excellent.

Aikawa Juri (Ika Musume) - As the lead character, Aikawa-san does a good job portraying Ika-chan and carrying the whole series on her shoulder.

Best Male Seiyuu
Male voices don't often stand out, but when they do, they are excellent.


Asanuma Shintaro (Tatami Galaxy) - Asanuma's dialogue in Tatami Galaxy hits the ground running and rarely slows down.

Runners Up:

Sugita Tomokazu (Disappearance of Haruhi, Arakawa) - Just awesome. A choice quote I saw in a forum: "I wish all my inner-thoughts were voiced by Sugita Tomokazu".

Fukuyama Jun (xxxHOLiC Rou) - Another perennial favourite, Fukuyama-san is excellent as the more mature Watanuki.

Anime Staff Spotlight

Yuasa Masaaki, Director (Tatami Galaxy) - This isn't his directorial debut, and might not even be his best work so far, but it is my first introduction to him. Often weird, always visually creative, Yuasa-san is perhaps best known for great pacing, consistency and focus in his directing. Visually, this guy is unique and creative, but knows when to hold back in order to maintain consistency (Mind Game would be a prime example here when you compare it to Gainax's Panty and Stocking). Surprisingly, Tatami Galaxy was named number 2 best anime of 2010 on 2chan, giving it more popularity than what a series like this would usually get.

Matsumoto Norio, Key Animator (Naruto) - His counterpart, Animation Director Wakabayashi Atsushi, might be really good at action scenes, but this year I found out that it doesn't work out that well (parts of Naruto Shippuden 167 was just a bunch of gif artists trying too hard to show off) without Matsumoto-san. The sense of speed in his scenes have a certain calmness and surgical precision not seen in many other animators' work.

Yoshiura Yasuhiro, Director/Writer (Eve no Jikan) - Yoshiura-san's "superflat" style caught my eye when I was browsing Cruchyroll a few years ago. He started off writing and directing the 9 minute Mizu no Kotoba, then the 23 minute Pale Cocoon. From 2008 to 2009, he released an online anime series called Eve no Jikan for free. In 2010, Eve no Jikan the movie was released in Japanese theatres, marking the first time Yoshiura-san produced any financial success (Pale Cocoon was quietly released on DVD in Japan and Europe with little success). I loved everything he has released so far (the first thing I watched was Mizu no Kotoba on Crunchyroll), and I do hope this year's success would help him secure enough funds to continue producing great anime.

Best Animation Studio

Bones - I don't think you can find a studio that consistently produces such detailed animation in every single production. In year 2010, they had Fullmetal, Heroman, and Star Driver. Heroman wasn't that great as a series, but the animation and art was very slick. Fullmetal wins Action Anime of 2010, while Star Driver (still ongoing) seems to be set to win Action Anime of 2011. The great thing is that despite being a 12-year old studio, they only focus on a handful of shows each year, with at most 2 series running at the same time (none debuting in the same season), allowing them to maintain quality, unlike Madhouse and Shaft of late.

Overall Awards

Best Animation (Technical)


Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - Its amazing to see such detailed animation in a long series like this. Often shows like this would cut corners for many episodes before having an epic action sequence in a single episode. Fullmetal, on the other hand, has good animation every episode, great animation for every action sequence, and awesome animation for fights that can last several episodes in a row! Even if this award was just for a single sequence, I think the last few minutes of episode 19, Gluttony's capture, and all fights involving King Bradley are the best animation I've seen this year.

Runners Up:

Angel Beats! - Amazingly animated concert scenes show very good use of CG, almost to the point of looking like it was drawn.

Hanamaru Youchien  - Just for its awesome ED sequences alone, this series deserves a spot on this list.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt - The actions scenes in episode 6 are the craziest I've seen this year.

Best Art (Style)
Detailed art needs good animation to carry it through, but great stylistic art can do a lot even with limited animation.


Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt - It's weird to award this to a series whose art style is so derivative, but it's such a joy to watch how they twist this kiddy "Powerpuff" style around with such irony. Gainax is taking American pop-culture and turning it upside down.

Runners Up:
Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy) - Gets some getting used to, but eventually you will see the flexibility Yuasa-san gets with it. The stylized photos are never superfluous, always appropriate and creative.

Biggest Surprise


Kobato. - The premise seemed a little boring at first, but the characters quickly grew onto you and suddenly you care about Kobato's quest to fulfill her greatest wish.

Other notable mentions:

Hanamaru Youchien - I didn't expect to enjoy this series, but I did.

Biggest Disappointment

J.C. Staff - Maid-sama felt like a typical romantic comedy, Nodame paled in comparison to it's live-action counterpart, Okami-san failed to build upon so much potential, Bakuman doesn't look good, and Milky Holmes was just... weird (not in a very good way). The only bright spark might be the animation quality of Index season 2, but even that series has pacing issues and is filled with too much fan service. It's a pity, since this is the studio that brought us Honey and Clover (great slice of life), Toradora (great romantic comedy), and Ghost Hunt (great horror atmosphere).

Best New Series


Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy) - I think I've already said a lot about this series, but I can't possibly recommend it enough. It reignited my faith in anime TV series being able to take risks and deliver a solid experience.

Runners Up:
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

Best New OVA/Movie


Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu (The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi) - After such a long wait, fans got season 2 and the Endless 8 arc. However, KyoAni redeemed themselves with this fantastic movie. Showcasing their best talents at KyoAni, this movie has got fans into a frenzy and ready to consume more Haruhi-related media and merchandise.

Runners Up:
Eve no Jikan
Summer Wars

And that's that for Anime of 2010! I have a few more reviews coming up, as well as a combined post for Spring 2011 Anime impressions.

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