Likely anyone reading this article knows of Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards this year as well as has formed their own opinions on them. Be it disliking the nominations or being fine with them but disliking the winners. Since everyone has voiced their opinion, and I don’t expect anyone from Crunchyroll to read this, so what’s the point? For one I notice a lot of complaining but not suggestions. Don’t get me wrong, there certainly have been people giving constructive feedback but they get buried under “FUJOSHI BIAS OMG BAN FUJOSHI VOTERS!” so I thought it would be nice to have a post somewhere on the internet (I’m also sure exists somewhere).
First off is the nominations. According to Crunchyroll the nominations were chosen by a blind vote from 7 people. I had previously only heard of 3 of these people before and they seem like good choices with the listed credentials for the others looking fine to me. My first problem arises with a statement said by Miles (one of Crunchyroll’s employees, specifically social media) on a number of occasions when people were complaining about the lack of variety, “That/those show(s) didn’t view very well”. Why does this matter? If you’re picking 7 judges to give the nominations instead of making a post asking fans for nominations I’d expect the 7 judges to have watched a large variety of anime. Even if they didn’t watch all the shows was there really anyone on the panel who didn’t know KyoAni is consistent with great animation and had 2 shows this year?
Another issue is when the nominations were submitted the fall season wasn’t over. I learned this from Glass Reflection (one of the judges) and Miles’ discussion video where both mention things from later parts of fall shows not happening yet (such as Izetta’s crash and burn). Why was any fall show up for nomination if they weren’t done yet? Not only does this add recency bias as in November, you’re more likely to remember a show you’re currently watching each week than a show you haven’t thought about since it ended in March. Personally if I could make one change it would be with this, either make the awards include fall-summer shows (ex: this award show would have been Fall 2015-Summer 2016 shows with Fall 2016 being ineligible) or collect the nominations in mid-January. Obviously fall shows will be fresher in people’s minds than winter shows but at least now (not counting 2 cour shows) you aren’t actively watching a show that isn’t done yet and voting.
There is still something quite broken with the nominations that I’m not totally sure how to easily fix. Namely, how was Kabaneri nominated in almost every category yet won none? It didn’t even get a runner-up in anything. I’m not arguing it shouldn’t have been nominated as I thought the action was pretty good for example and there was a good fight scene (although the one on the train with the 4-armed Kabani was much better than the one nominated) but I think with how often it showed up to not receive a single award shows a misunderstanding between the judges and voters, which is a bigger point in itself.
People complain about how much Yuri on Ice won. While I agree it didn’t deserve most of its wins (best animation? Really?) was it really a surprise to anyone? I’ve heard random people on the bus talking about it multiple times (which hasn’t happened since One Punch Man), I’ve seen people talking about the actual figure skaters characters were based off talking about it. Before I watched the show I felt like I already had with how much Twitter was talking about it which I don’t recall ever happening. This is also part of the point I was getting at last paragraph.
It almost seems voters and judges were using this simply as “what’s your favourite show?” instead of “what show do you think best fits best _ of the year?” I think the best category to showcase this is villain of the year. Here our nominees are Erased’s main villain (hiding identity due to spoiler), Biba (Kabaneri), Yoshikage Kira (JoJo’s) and Tomura Shigaraki (My Hero Academia) (also I like how his picture his his hand grabbing Tsuyu’s face instead of actually using him). Kira is probably one of the greatest villains in fiction period so I’m perfectly fine with him but my problem is the other 3. Biba is what caused popular opinion of Kabaneri from “pretty good” to “awful show” and getting only 9% of the votes (with other actually almost getting the same at 7%, only ~2000 less votes) it seems the voters mostly agreed. With Erased and Tomura neither were particularly good villains within the show. Yes, WITHIN THE SHOW. I know Erased guy is supposedly better in the manga where his backstory and motivations were shown and having read My Hero Academia I can agree Tomura is a pretty good villain but in the context of the show we could take any of the one-off villains from any “monster of the week” show and they’d have just as much story relevance. So either nominators voted based off the manga which shouldn’t be allowed, Can you imagine if someone voted Rindo Kobayashi as “best girl”? No way would that be accepted even though Food Wars! had a season this year, or they just thought “I liked Erased, Kabaneri, and My Hero Academia so there’s 3 villains to vote for” which also isn’t right.
So how do we solve these problems? Basically you’d need judges who have together watched every single show in the year (with some overlap) and that all have different preferences so unless a show really deserves a spot they aren’t all going to vote for it. This is probably harder said than done as I don’t expect Crunchyroll to spend the year reading obscure anime blogs or watching anime Youtubers with 50 subs to see if these people watch a large amount of shows and if they’d make good nominations. They could do what their forum is doing with their own awards and simply take the most voted for shows from each season but then if a season happens to be really strong in romance shows with 4 or 5 great ones and one really weak with 1 good and nothing else we’d end up with the good and a bad show and only 2 of the great shows.
I’ve seen requests to limit the amount of times a show can be nominated but I don’t agree with this. What happens if this year we get an action show with amazing animation, great fight scenes, some of the best characters ever (both male and female) with a great OP and ED, amazing villain, a heartwarming scene, and it has a great couple. That show would make all the categories but 2 (maybe 3 depending on if the lead is actually a good hero or not) and if it’s legit the best show in all these categories why not let it run?
Overall the anime awards have potential to be something western fans look forward to each year but not in the current state. There’s so many other things that could be altered for next year. If it’s hard to fill a category with 4 choices (best villain) just drop it. I hope the event continues and gets better and better each year.