Updated: This article now highlights the winners of each category and includes my final thoughts on the award show.
Tonight at 5pm PST marks the 4th annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards, the anime equivalent of the Oscars among the community. The awards show is both a big deal and also considered an absolute joke in the community due to the award’s continued issues that they have refused to address.
The reason this is important is simple, there are actual awards given out to studios, directors and voice actors and reputation at stake. Just like how Hollywood blockbusters brag about their Oscars or Golden Globe nominations or victories, the same could be said about the Crunchyroll awards. It is a massive honor for this foreign market to receive this level of praise and recognition in the West, namely North America for these awards. With real awards at stake and a reputation that series and studios receive from nominations alone it draws in a lot of concern when you compare the shows that were nominated compared to all the shows that aired this year and how they do not reflect the diversity of shows we see every year.
Before I jump into my argument I would like to condense all of the categories and nominees for each so you can see the issue with the awards ceremony this evening.
Crunchyroll Anime Awards 2020 Nominees:
Anime of the Year:
- Carole and Tuesday
- Demon Slayer – WINNER
- Mob Psycho 100 Season 2
- O Maidens in Your Savage Season
- The Promised Neverland
- Vinland Saga
- Emma (Promised Neverland)
- Hyakkimaru (Dororo)
- Saitama (One Punch Man S2)
- Senku (Dr. Stone) – WINNER
- Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer)
- Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket)
- Ai Magase (Babylon)
- Angela (Carole and Tuesday)
- Askeladd (Vinland Saga)
- Garou (One Punch Man S2)
- Isabella (Promised Neverland) – WINNER
- Overhaul (My Hero Academia S4)
- Bruno Bucciarati (Jojo Golden Wind)
- Hyakkimaru (Dororo)
- Kanata Hoshijima (Astra Lost in Space)
- Naruzou Machio (How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?)
- Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama (Mob Psycho 100 S2)
- Tanjiro Kamado (Demon Slayer) – WINNER
- Carole (Carole and Tuesday)
- Chika Fujiwara (Kaguya-sama Love is War)
- Emma (Promised Neverland)
- Kohaku (Dr. Stone)
- Nezuko Kamado (Demon Slayer)
- Raphtalia (Shield Hero) – WINNER
- Tetsuro Araki & Masashi Koizuka (Attack on Titan S3) – WINNER
- Kiyotaka Suzuki (Babylon)
- Shinichiro Watanabe & Motonobu Hori (Carole and Tuesday)
- Yuzuru Tachikawa (Mob Psycho 100 S2)
- Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sarazanmai)
- Kunihiko Ikuhara (Vinland Saga)
- Attack on Titan S3
- Demon Slayer
- Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
- Mob Psycho 100 S2 – WINNER
- Vinland Saga
Best Character Design:
- Tsunenori Saito, Original Character Design by Eisaku Kubonouchi (Carole and Tuesday)
- Satoshi Iwataki, Original Character Design by Hiroyuki Asada (Dororo) – WINNER
- Yuko Iwasa (Dr. Stone)
- Yuko Yahiro, Original Character Design by Aka Akasaka (Kaguya-sama Love is War)
- Kayoko Ishikawa, Original Character Design by Miggy (Sarazanmai)
- Takahiko Abiru, Original Character Design by Makoto Yukimura (Vinland Saga)
- Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan S3)
- Mocky (Carole and Tuesday) – WINNER
- Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura (Demon Slayer)
- Tatsuya Kato, Hiroaki Tsutsumi, and Yuki Kanesaka (Dr. Stone)
- Yugo Kanno (Jojo Golden Wind)
- Kevin Penkin (Shield Hero)
Best Fight Scene:
- Emperor Crimson vs. Metallic (Jojo Golden Wind)
- Levi vs. Beast Titan (Attack on Titan S3)
- Mob vs. Toichiro (Mob Psycho 100 S2)
- Tanjiro & Nezuko vs. Rui (Demon Slayer) – WINNER
- Thorfinn vs. Thorkell (Vinland Saga)
- Ushiwakamaru vs. Tiamat (Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia)
- Baki Hanma & Kozue Matsumoto (Baki)
- Kaguya Shinomiya & Miyuki Shirogane (Kaguya-sama Love is War) – WINNER
- Mafuyu Sato & Ritsuka Uenoyama (given)
- Reo & Mabu (Sarazanmai)
- Rika Zonazaki & Shun Amagi (O Maidens in Your Savage Season)
- Ymir & Historia (Attack on Titan S3)
Best VA Performance (JP):
- Mamoru Miyano (Reo Niiboshi – Sarazanmai)
- Saori Hayami (Shinobu Kocho – Demon Slayer)
- Yuichi Nakamura (Bruno Bucciarati – Jojo Golden Wind) – WINNER
- Yukino Satsuki (Ai Magase – Babylon)
- Yuuko Kaida (Isabella – Promised Neverland)
- Yusuke Kobayashi (Senku – Dr. Stone)
Best VA Performance (EN):
- Kyle McCarley (Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama – Mob Psycho 100 S2)
- Laura Bailey (Tohru Honda – Fruits Basket)
- Erica Mendez (Retsuko – Aggretsuko Season 2)
- Billy Kametz (Naofumi – Shield Hero) – WINNER
- Faye Mata (Aqua – Konosuba)
- Casey Mongillo (Shinji – Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- Aggretsuko S2
- How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?
- Isekai Quartet
- Kaguya-sama Love is War – WINNER
- My Roommate is a Cat
- Ascendance of a Bookworm
- Astra Lost in Space
- Attack on Titan S3
- Demon Slayer
- The Promised Neverland – WINNER
- Carole and Tuesday
- Fruits Basket
- Stars Align
- The Promised Neverland
- Vinland Saga – WINNER
Best Opening Sequence:
- Kiss Me by Nai Br.XX & Celeina Ann (Bahi JD – Carole and Tuesday)
- Kawaki wo Ameku by Minami (Shoto Ihata – Domestic Girlfriend)
- Inferno by Mrs.GREEN APPLE (Hideyuki Morioka – Fire Force)
- 99.9 by MOB CHOIR feat. sajou no hana (Yoshimichi Kameda – Mob Psycho 100 S2) – WINNER
- Touch Off by UVERworld (Kazuaki Shimada – The Promised Neverland)
- Mukanjyo by Survive Said the Prophet (Takahiko Abiru – Vinland Saga)
Best Ending Sequence:
- Hold Me Now by Nai Br.XX & Celeina Ann (Yoshiyuki Ito – Carole and Tuesday )
- Sayonara Gokko by amazarashi (Osamu Kobayashi – Dororo)
- veil by Keina Suda (Taiki Konno – Fire Force)
- Chikatto Chika Chikaa♡ by Konomi Kohara (Naoya Nakayama – Kaguya-sama Love is War) – WINNER
- Stand by me by the peggies (Kayoko Ishikawa – Sarazanmai)
- Torches by Aimer (Toshiyuki Yamashita – Vinland Saga)
Compiling that entire list felt extremely redundant at times which is one of the issues with these award ceremonies that I want to highlight on, there are too many nominations for a single show. Overall there are 18 categories this year for Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards and of those you have Demon Slayer and Carole and Tuesday with half of them (9 nominations each). Vinland tallies in with 8 nominations along with Promised Neverland and Sarazanmai. From there Mob Psycho S2 has 7 total nominations, Attack on Titan has 6 and Dr. Stone has 5. Then there is One-Punch Man S2 which was was a terrible season due to its many production issues and it takes two nominations away from other shows that had more positive impact on the community during 2019.
While many of the nominated animes are very good and rightfully deserve those nominations, it is still an issue of how many nominations each one has and for what categories they are nominated for. Take for example, Fruits Basket which is known for being the shojo romance above all others, while receiving three nominations the categories it is in make no sense compared to the categories it should have been in. For having a best couple ad a few solid romance series in 2019 there should have easily been a Romance genre section for Fruits Basket to be nominated in. Topping that bizarre decision off, Fruits Basket also lacks a nomination for best girl and best couple despite have an adorable female protagonist and being a romance series. Instead Fruits Basket is nominated in best drama, best protagonist and best English VA.
Taking a look at the entire list of nominees you will also notice that the same applies to a few series. As for the series that have several nominations like Carole and Tuesday and Demon Slayer it sets a concerning predicament where one anime can easily overshadow all others in a given year.
While I truly believe Demon Slayer rightfully deserves that anime of the year nomination, it does not mean it is the only anime of this year but by having 9 total nominations, it has the opportunity to sweep the awards tonight and basically stating that it is the only anime this year on an industry level.
There is also the issue with Carole and Tuesday being a musical anime like given and having nominations in all musical categories from best score to best opening and best ending. While Carole and Tuesday has outstanding music and variation of songs by giving it a nomination in every single musical category also robs many other series of the musical composition they present.
In the best score category you have the legendary Hiroyuki Sawano behind Attack on Titan season 3 and the likes of many other great artists like Kevin Penkin for Shield Hero and Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura for Demon Slayer. There are several fantastic works nominated in this category with a wide variation of soundtracks that work perfectly for each series they are in. The issue with Carole and Tuesday is that it is on a different level by bringing together so many different artists and composers that it gives it an unfair advantage over all of these other works.
For “industry leading experts” Crunchyroll doesn’t seem to acknowledge these issues by nominating a single anime for both opening and ending categories like Fire Force, Carole and Tuesday and Vinland Saga. There is also no clear separation of musical genre anime and soundtrack compositions when there definitely needs to be during years when we have anime that are focused on just music because composers for other series need recognition and not be overshadowed by a looming giant.
Also, like I said previously with the numerous nominations for a single series and nominations to series like One-Punch Man season 2 which were far from the most memorable of their season, there are several anime from 2019 that were not nominated. When talking about romance series and the best girl and best couple categories you have series like Oresuki and Quintessential Quintuplets that came out during that year. Quintuplets especially left a massive impact on the community. The character designs and adorable sisters alone still produce all kinds of fan art in mass even a year after its release. While each series has its strengths and weakness it definitely deserved a nomination in those categories. Alongside those two romance series, we also had series this year like Boogiepop and Others that tried to do something different the give it a possible qualification for best director and Senko-san was a wholesome comedy that also had the community talking.
Other series that were popular in 2019 that failed to receive a single nomination were Cautious Hero, the isekai comedy that had humor similar to Konosuba. 2019 also had the third season of Bungou Stray Dogs, a mystery/drama series and No Guns Life that could easily fit the nomination for best drama and character designs but was ultimately left forgotten despite reaching a demographic that has not been catered to in recent years.
There were so many great series this year that are ultimately absent for the awards ceremony and it is quite concerning when you notice that most of them come from the Winter and Spring season. While Cautious Hero, Oresuki and No Guns Life were more recent with being in the Fall season it is quite alarming to see so many series from the early parts of the year absent. Keep in mind these are supposed to be industry experts, they should know this stuff better than me or even the anitubers that we watch. But ultimately with so many snubs and series being nominated in categories that are not their strengths coupled with the sheer quantity of nominations a single series has, it makes you wonder if they truly know that much.
So many nominations come from series that ran in the summer or fall season, the most recent ones, and just because it is more recent doesn’t mean it is better than what came before it. That kind of mentality is ok but not for someone who claims to be an expert and analyzes it and keeps up to date on series.
That’s why the Crunchyroll Anime Awards are such a disservice to the industry. There is recognition and awards being distributed by people who don’t seem to know enough of the industry that they speak for. Granted, not every series can or should receive a nomination but the nominations should reflect what the community acknowledge as great for that year.
I will be updating this post once the awards ceremony concludes tonight with the winners and give my final thoughts. Until then you can keep up to date with me on Twitter tonight @Con_Skye while I give my thoughts on the ceremony.
Overall, the anime awards were not a sweep this year like I thought they would be nor what they were in prior years. This year only saw Demon Slayer and Kaguya-sama winning the most awards at 3 total. Mob Psycho, Shield Hero and Promised Neverland closely followed with 2 wins each. It was definitely a more balanced year and provided a decent representation of the anime of 2019. There were a couple of unexpected wins like Senku winning best protagonist and Raphtalia winning best girl but there was also one major snub this year that I personally take issue with. The best antagonist category was nominated to Isabella from Promised Neverland over Askeladd from Vinland Saga. I take issue with this because as someone that also loves to write stories on my free time I saw Askeladd as one of the greatest villains in modern entertainment. He was cunning and ruthless and would use every underhanded, dirty tactic to get his way. He was truly a scumbag worthy of being called a villain to some extent whereas Isabella is more of a conflicted person who’s actions are purely motivated by fear of death if she fails to appease her alien overlords. It’s one of those situations were you take a deeper look into things from a character standpoint and analyze each character’s motivations and really discover what drives them to act on decisions that make them a villain/antagonist. In the end, I personally find a self-serving motivation as a stronger drive for an antagonist over someone that acts out of fear of failure because with one, you cannot convince them and the other you can possibly convince to join your cause.
The anime results aside, I do think this year’s awards ceremony continued to dip into lower quality compared to the 2nd Annual Awards show that had an actual stage and came across as more of a budget E3 presentation. This year we had the awards ceremony open up with Crunchyroll’s mascot, Hime who was more like a budget Kizuna AI then followed with a host who’s introductions and comments most of the time were extremely cringe-inducing. The audio quality of the ceremony was absolutely trash and violated video production 101 etiquette with the speaker’s mics being extremely low in volume while the ceremony’s background music and sound effects in between award presentations was blaring out the speakers on my computer. When Crunchyroll transitioned to their Brazil branch for a short segment there was no audio when they people were speaking and instead of addressing these technical issues they just cut away from them and swept the mistakes under the rug. Having this inconsistency with their audio led to a poor user experience were even the chat was saying that the audio seemed muted and they would have to turn their volume up just to hear but then quickly reduce the volume when they cut to music or a commercial break.
The worst decision Crunchyroll made this year though was that they showcased the winners for 6 categories back-to-back without presentations, probably due to lack of presenters but it still made for a poor experience. There was less time going over the awards themselves and more time set aside for the fluff like performances. Speaking of, they honestly thought have a terrible rap performance by two of their employees was a good idea despite the entire segment being absolutely agonizing to experience.
I’ve seen my fair share of cringe so far in my life and continue to see many kinds every day but this performance will most likely be one of the worst things I will ever experience. The lyrics themselves were repetitive and horribly pronounced that it sounded like they kept saying “mega sex” and while I wish I could have been able to laugh the entire thing off and meme about it, it truly was so painful to listen to that I was begging for it to stop like the time years ago when I was on a wooden roller coaster that screeched like a banshee and violently rocked back and forth and stuck in places.
To make matters worse after this experience I was told from a friend that knows Japanese that Crunchyroll’s “translators” were using a horrible Google translate as well as mistranslating what the Japanese speakers were saying. For a company that does business with foreign nationals, it would do them wonders to know enough about the language to be able to communicate with them in person because it just makes it difficult to take Crunchyroll as a series anime distributor when they seem so out of tune with the foreign nationals they work so closely with.
Going forward, I think they need to work on their Japanese for these moments as well as being more in tune with social media trends and their users so they can avoid making cringe content and addresses. It would also do them wonders to not showcase the live chat because that was an absolute amateur decision on their behalf. It doesn’t take a minute of research to know what people type in live chats and to see the live chat showcased behind the presenter made the ceremony even more difficult to take seriously when you would see the screen fill with comments like “CRINGE” or so and so was robbed or even “Are you fucking serious with me?”
I would definitely say they need to take this production quality and decisions into consideration to make an even better experience if they continue to keep moving forward with this tradition.