5 Jan 2011

Anime of 2010 (Story and Genre Awards)

Some of the best writing in anime. Needless to say, skip these if you don't want any story spoilers.

Story Awards

Best Conclusion
The ending and the lead up to it.

Angel Beats! - A totally unexpected twist, heart-wrenching music, and brilliant voice acting. Everyone finds peace and accepts their death. Ties up all plot lines to provide a satisfying conclusion.

Cross Game - As expected from Adachi Mitsuru, this slice of life series ends on a happy note. If you carefully analyse the characters (espeically Aoba), you'll start to see the pain they went through and how this conclusion was just waiting to happen.

Durarara!! - Some plot lines are satisfyingly concluded, while others are plastered with a "and it goes on and on" kind of feel. That's actually rather appropriate for this series, emphasizing the ever-changing adventure of life in Ikebukuro.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - Even though certain scenes during its run had set the bar really high, the conclusion still manages to beat all expectations and provide an epic end to an epic story. Alphonse's sacrifice in the final fight was such an emotionally strong moment.

Kobato. - CLAMP manages to get us so attached to Kobato and Kiyokazu that the ending drew great emotional response from me. Something that I never saw coming when I first started the series.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt - Very much the most WTF ending you could have. A pair of legs (dressed in panty and stockings) drop down from Heaven, kills the bad guy. And after the credits, Stocking betrays Panty, slicing her into 666 pieces.

Shiki - An absolutely tragic end where no one really wins. The sense of spiraling out of control as the village starts to burn, killing all the Shiki and also destroying the homes of the villagers, was just.... depressing.

Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy) - Such tight directing provided a perfect conclusion for Tatami Galaxy. The OP and ED switched places and the "Ozu Smile" at the very end was... perfect!

xxxHOLiC Rou - Hearing Yuuko's "tadaima" was the perfect ending for all fans xxxHolic.


Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy) - Nothing can beat perfect. This ending made me blog the review straight away, at 1am in the morning.

Runners Up:
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - Nicely concludes a 60+ episode epic.
Kobato. - The producers make good use of all that emotional investment in the characters.

Best Plot Twist
Like how Ga-Rei: Zero killed off its entire cast in the first episode, a good plot twist can hook audiences to their screens. With that said, a good plot twist is relevant to the plot, and not simply there to shock and confuse.

Angel Beats! - A totally unexpected twist as Tenshi reveals her reason for being there.

Cross Game - Wakaba's death in the first episode triggered a strong emotional response due to its suddenness.

Durarara!! - The revelation that Anri was the slasher was quite unexpected, setting the stage for a 3-way show down.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - Quite a few plot twists here and there, but the one that stood out the most for me was the revelation that nearly every one of the higher ups were involved. A definite "oh shit" moment.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt - Very much the most WTF ending you could have. A pair of legs (dressed in panty and stockings) drop down from Heaven, kills the bad guy. And after the credits, Stocking betrays Panty, slicing her into 666 pieces.

Shiki - A lot of the surprising stuff was actually introduced slowly in this series, so the most surprising thing to jump out was how Dr Ozaki publicly revealed Chizuru's secret. And that he was already controlled by Natsuno.

Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei (Tatami Galaxy) - Watashi giving the "Ozu Smile" at the very end gave this series the perfect twist. Watashi == Ozu.

xxxHOLic Rou - The ultimate revelation that Yuuko was "alive" definitely delighted fans.


Cross Game - The plot twist carried the series the rest of the way, which can't be said for many plot twists nowadays that are simply there to shock.

Runners Up:
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - For its shear number of plot twists.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt - For the crazy final episode.

Best Overall Story

Angel Beats! - While not the best tear-jerker, it does have the most interesting premise this year.

Cross Game - Adachi Mitsuru knows how to spin a long-format tale.

Durarara!! - The first half focused on the macro story, making the whole city feel alive. The second half focused on the micro story, bringing us in closer to the characters and their conflicts.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - Arakawa-sensei continues to wow us time and time again, up till the very end.

Kuragehime - A story about a bunch of fujoshi and a cross dresser. Now where have I heard that one before? Oh wait, I haven't. A truly unique series, in the perfect timeslot (Noitamina!).

Shiki - All through the series, you never know how things will turn out. A well-written thriller.

Sora no Woto - Filled with lots of fluff, but the main story is intriguing. You'll get hints of a grander story that is happening outside of the small town the series revolves around.

Eden of the East the Movie I: The King of Eden - Surprisingly, it improves on the series' story and slows things down so we can digest it better.

Eve no Jikan (movie) - Breathes new life into the "3 laws of Robotics" kind of story.

Suzumiya Haruhi no Shoushitsu (The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi) - As it was not the end of the Haruhi story chronologically, the director did a great job of reigniting interest in the series and get many fans eagerly awaiting the conclusion from author Tanigawa Nagaru.


Durarara!! - Fully realized world and well thought out conflict. This series brings story telling to a new level!

Runners Up: (it was hard to decide! lots of good stories this year!)
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Sora no Woto
The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi

Genre Awards
For the following categories, I'm going to just list the winners and runners up.

Best Action


Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood - Imaginative and epic battles, FMA Brotherhood is one of the best action series ever.

Runners Up:
Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance - Impressive battles become even more impressive in this movie re-telling.

This year has been mostly devoid of good straight up action series...

Best Comedy


Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku (The Legend of Koizumi) - Yes, that's Taro Aso smoking a cigar with a rifle in hand. Other characters include Mao ZeDong and Kim Jong Il.

Runners Up:
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu - Hideyoshi stole the show!
Shinryaku! Ika Musume - Doesn't have a huge cast of great characters, but Ika Musume alone was enough for many funny moments.

Best Slice of Life


Cross Game - A charming tale from start to finish.

Runners Up:
Kuragehime - Great show, but the conclusion was somewhat rushed.

Not a lot of slice of life series, though there are quite a few shows with slice of life elements in them.

Best Romance


Runners Up:
Kimi ni Todoke - Nice story, and I'm looking forward to the next season, but this is still far from a good romance series. Needs a little more decisiveness.

Not a good year for romance either...

Best Horror/Mystery/Thriller
A broad category for shows that leave you scared, wondering what might happen, or at the edge of your seat.


Shiki - Spends most of its time building up to an intense climax.

Runners Up:
xxHOLic Rou - Best horror atmosphere I've seen ever since the 1st xxxHolic movie.

Best Moe


K-ON!! - Does so many things right. The characters are lovable and not stupid or overly cute to the point where you want to hit them. Moe anime tend to tread a thin line between endearing and irritating, and K-ON manages to stay balanced. (Yes, I'll use every chance possible to post this pic of Azusa)

Runners Up:
Hanamaru Youchien - Very under-rated series. It's funny, cute, and has great ED sequences.

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