In December 2016, Crunchyroll announced the holding of the inaugural edition of the Anime Awards. This awards ceremony was born under the premise of celebrating the achievements of the anime industry in an effort to unite fans around the productions, characters and artists that dominated the conversation during the last year globally.
The gala has not been without controversy in its short history, both for the method and criteria for selecting nominees and winners, as well as for the categories to be voted on. But beyond any controversy, it never fails to generate debate among the community.
Nominees are chosen by an international panel of judges made up of journalists and content creators, who are chosen by the Crunchyroll team. The winners in each category are those who receive the highest number of votes: the decision of the judges has a weight of 70%, while the vote of online fans has the remaining 30%.
Next, we remember those productions that have obtained the highest awards granted in the Anime Awards: Anime of the year Y Best film -Category that was only in force in two ceremonies. In addition, we tell you where you can legally stream these titles in Mexico and in some Latin American nations.
*Note: The year in parentheses corresponds to the date the award ceremony was held.
Yuri !!! on Ice (Anime of the year, 2017)
Director: Sayo Yamamoto.
The first edition of the Anime Awards was completely dominated by the acclaimed original production Yuri !!! on Ice, from MAPPA studio, which remains to date as the only winning series as Anime of the Year that triumphed in all the categories to which it was nominated. A total of 7 victories, also highlighting the recognition for Best animation. The story follows the virtuous skater Yūri Katsuki, who returns to his hometown after suffering a painful defeat in the Grand Prix of Figure Skating on Ice, there contemplating the possibility of retirement. Then his idol, five-time world champion Viktor Nikiforov, appears before him with the offer to train him and revive his career. Yuri !!! on Ice surpassed eight other productions that year to win the crown: Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, Erased, Joker Game, Kiznaiver, Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, Re: ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. The latter received the highest number of nominations in 2017, but went home empty-handed.
Made in Abyss (Anime of the Year, 2018)
Director: Masayuki Kojima.
Study: Kinema Citrus.
Made in Abyss surpassed Land of the Lustrous, Little Witch Academia, as well as the second seasons of Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, March Comes in Like a Lion and My Hero Academia, to prevail as Anime of the Year in 2018. Based In Akihito Tsukushi’s homonymous manga, the series follows Riko, an orphan girl who lives in a city built on top of the ‘Abyss’, an immense well that is home to vast ecosystems and treasures never before seen by mankind. One day, Riko receives a message from her missing mother – the legendary explorer Lyza, the Annihilator – that simply says, “I will be waiting for you at the bottom of the Abyss.” Despite the warnings, she and the humanoid robot Reg begin their descent, facing increasingly dark dangers and revelations with each step. The production of Kinema Citrus enjoyed an immersive art and detailed animation of the backgrounds, which were accompanied by the excellent score composed by Australian Kevin Penkin, who won the Best Soundtrack award during the ceremony.
your name. (Best Film, 2018)
Director: Makoto Shinkai.
Study: CoMix Wave Films.
Despite being released in theaters in Japan in August 2016, your name. had its commercial run in the West –including in multiple Latin American countries– until 2017, therefore, the film was eligible in the category for Best Film in the edition held at the beginning of 2018. Little can be added about the phenomenon that Kimi no Na wa. represented for the anime industry in the international market, entering the taste of audiences that are usually alien to Japanese animation. This romance with a touch of fantasy stars Mitsuha and Taki, two teenagers with extremely different lives in opposite corners of Japan, who begin to exchange bodies. This fact creates a special bond that motivates them to meet in person and we see them face different obstacles to achieve it. Makoto Shinkai’s masterpiece was accompanied in the short list by acclaimed films such as A silent voice, by Naoko Yamada, or In this corner of the world, by Sunao Katabuchi; as well as well-received franchise films such as Fate / Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel I. Presage Flower, Girls und Panzer der Film, and Kizumonogatari III: Reiketsu-hen.
Devilman Crybaby (Anime of the Year, 2019)
Director: Masaaki Yuasa.
Study: Science SARU.
The person in charge of cult works such as Mind Game (2004) or the series The Tatamy Galaxy experienced a resurgence in his career after co-founding his own studio. In Science SARU, Masaaki Yuasa has been able to unleash his animation style without restrictions and with radically different titles in tone and themes, which have allowed him to achieve greater recognition from critics and international audiences. The consolidation came with Devilman Crybaby, a brutal reinterpretation of Gō Nagai’s eponymous manga. The story centers on Akira Fudō, a student turned Devilman after merging with the fearsome demon Amos, that is, an entity with supernatural powers that retained his human heart and soul. The series provoked a polarized reaction among viewers because of its graphic content of violence and sexuality, as well as its nihilistic perspective on society. However, his production values and complex themes earned him the favor of the jury in 2020. Yuasa also won the first prize for Best Director in the history of the Anime Awards.
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (Best Movie, 2019)
Director: Kenji Nagasaki.
Platform (s): Netflix and ariGato TV.
My Hero Academia has the honor of being the franchise with the highest number of nominations (26) and triumphs (13) in the history of the Anime Awards, however, the most important award that the saga inspired by the Kōhei manga has obtained. Horikoshi was not without controversy. My Hero Academia: Two Heroes was voted Best Film in 2019 over jewels like Naoko Yamada’s Liz and the Blue Bird; Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, by Masaaki Yuasa; or the Oscar-nominated production Mirai: My Little Sister, by Mamoru Hosoda. That year not even Maquia: The Story of Eternal Love, Mari Okada’s endearing debut feature, got a place in the shortlist. Although the legal distribution of anime series has made great strides globally during the last decade, the accessibility of Japanese animation in theaters is still limited. Not all the films that we hope to see make it to our theaters and when they do, it may be months or even years apart from their original release in Japan depending on the region. Perhaps this is why the organizers decided to eliminate this category in subsequent editions.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Anime of the Year, 2020)
Director: Haruo Sotozaki.
Platform (s): Funimation and Crunchyroll.
The adaptation of Koyoharu Gotōge’s manga gave rise to a phenomenon such as we have rarely seen in the history of the medium. Certainly, there is no other franchise that a close comparison can be made to in the modern era if we review all the records that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has set across industries as diverse as manga, film, or music since the anime premiere. Such success is not limited solely to Japan, as demonstrated by the triumph of the Ufotable and Aniplex series in three categories of the Anime Awards in 2020, including Anime of the Year, in which it surpassed Carole & Tuesday, Mob Psycho 100 II, Or Maidens in Your Savage Season, Vinland Saga and The Promised Neverland. A classic fighting shōnen that follows Tanjiro Kamado, a noble-hearted young man forced to become a demon hunter, in order to find a method to restore humanity to his sister Nezuko. With plenty of material to adapt, we have no doubt that this will not be the last time we see Tanjiro and company appear at this gala.
Which series will join these winners during the 2021 Anime Awards?
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