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  • Welcome to the anitube anime awards.

  • Five of the best anime youtubers have gathered here to crown the year's best anime in over

  • 20 categories.

  • Strap in for the hot takes and enjoy.

  • Music is often the heartbeat for any series or film and no work embodied this more than

  • Kyoto Animation's film Liz and the Bluebird.

  • Composed by Kensuke Ushio, Liz's OST was as tactically constructed as any score ever.

  • Everything is so deliberate from the performance pieces that illustrate restraint, flight and

  • love to the quieter melodies, that allows for the gravity of each scene feel as personal

  • as can be.

  • The music is soft it's almost as if it's woven into the fabric of the story.

  • Liz is a deeply personal tale that rummages into the innermost psyche of two girls struggling

  • with their love and futures.

  • Ushio said “a story like this should remain hidden from everyone else, so I wanted the

  • music to be like holding your breath, secretly watching.”

  • The performances however are where the crux of the themes are and Akito Matsuda returned

  • to the Hibike!

  • Euphonium franchise to once again compose the concert piece.

  • The third and fourth movement of Liz and the Bluebird is the most monumental performance

  • piece I have heard in anime.

  • Even in sound direction, Kyoto Animation is a cut above.

  • Is it really surprising that a show about a bunch of idols from different time periods

  • being raised from the dead and forming an idol supergroup to save a dying rural town

  • would have one of the most bold, quirky and energetic openings of the year?

  • The brass sections, drum fills and dark, roughly sketched visuals dominating the intro serve

  • as your cue to buckle up because it's a ride, reflecting the tonal dichotomy of its

  • premise while capturing everything that makes it so fun and endearing.

  • Visually balancing dark horror aesthetics, glamorous idol theatrics and campy comic book

  • flair while being accompanied by music that's every bit as well arranged in its tonal blends,

  • transitions and performances as the series itself, it's tight and engaging while also

  • being silly and excessive in all the best ways.

  • As tense symphonic instrumentation effortlessly transitions into a soaring pop chorus laden

  • with colorful, frenetic splashes of action choreography, it's thematic emphasis on

  • the value of team effort to overcome individual failure comes to the center, bowing out as

  • the girls take the stage.

  • It's everything that makes Zombieland Saga special wrapped up in a tightly constructed

  • ninety second package: it's dark, hilarious, thoughtful and uplifting, and as such the

  • opening is exciting, memorable, and unskippable.

  • This category was not won without a mighty fight.

  • From Kaos's iconicABABABABA”'s, to perhaps the most wild Mamoru Miyano performance

  • ever, an impressive feat indeed, to even my beloved Moyo, all these worthy comers fell

  • one by one, leaving Hisone Amakasu as the last one upright in the ring.

  • In a series that had Moyo in its cast, it was Misaki Kuno who still managed to be the

  • standout.

  • I recognized her as the voice of hyper-cute characters like Shio, Momo, and this season's

  • Mao, but in Hisone and Masotan she provides a much broader performance.

  • Amakasu is one of the most idiosyncratic characters in anime, and her captivating personality

  • helped carry the series.

  • This hilariously and relatably beleaguered millennial wants to be friendly with everyone,

  • but often has her efforts foiled by her tendency to start rambling her incredibly blunt thoughts

  • rapid fire without noticing it.

  • All of this is delivered with a unique-sounding voice that doesn't have a conventionalanime

  • girlsound to it.

  • Misaki Kuno's voice, usually restricted to sickly-sweet hyper-moe tones, makes full

  • use of its range, and over the course of the series is put to use portraying every possible

  • emotional beat masterfully.

  • Add to all that her incredible licking sound effects, and I couldn't give the crown to

  • anybody else.

  • It's only natural for Koito Yuu to win best character given her series' intense focus

  • on every aspect of her person.

  • While partner Touko may be the chief driver of the plot, it's Yuu's internal feelings

  • that serve to ground the series, acting as a starting point for the viewer's investment.

  • It's not hard to feel sympathetic for her in her desire to fall in love but inability

  • to do so, and then her slow path of coming to discover, through fits and starts, that

  • really, her own heart is beating, simply can't be missed.

  • Of course, this is absolutely not an entirely happy process, and it's hard not to feel

  • a similar sympathy for Yuu's confusion as she does come to love Touko, plunging her

  • into deeply conflicted feelings.

  • As with the show she comes from, it's sad to say her story is not over, but I doubt

  • anyone would be disappointed by the course of development she goes through.

  • She truly is beginning to Bloom into herself.

  • Kase and Yamada are a perfect couple and the best 2018 romance anime has to offer.

  • They're adorable and brimming with chemistry, the dynamic between Yamada's bubbly, affectionate

  • personality and Kase's cool, confident demeanor never failing to bring a smile to my face.

  • Both are complex, independent people, coming from different social circles with their own

  • distinct quirks, passions and goals, and much of the story's conflict revolves around

  • their attempts to navigate those complexities in an effort to cultivate the emotional intimacy

  • needed to grow as a couple, especially when outside circumstances, nervous energy and

  • sexual tension inevitably threaten to create misunderstandings between them.

  • It's the kind of mature, down-to-earth relationship that defines the best romance stories; however,

  • what really sells them as a couple is how well the franchise balances those complexities

  • with the state of simply being in love.

  • Both are learning how to effectively communicate with each other and what it means to be a

  • couple, yes, but at the same time they're total dorks, endearingly awkward and helplessly

  • head over heels.

  • In the quiet, intimate moments they share with each other the extent of their feelings

  • is so strongly felt as to be tangible as they continue to fall for each other with every

  • word, interaction, touch and every passing moment.

  • This award felt wrapped up from the moment it's original CV came out in 2016.

  • Animation brings stories to life, giving movement and personality to the stories we love and

  • no television series embodied this more than Kyoto Animation's Violet Evergarden.

  • It isn't commonly referred to as the greatest TV production ever for no reason.

  • Evergarden has a mastery of movement and camera work that make it the true-est spectacles

  • of spectacles.

  • From subtle character acting to bombastic full body crying and action sequences the

  • animation is a cut above.

  • It's ultra detailed characters move so fluidly and realistically for every frame that you

  • can often get fooled that it's animated on ones.

  • The crowds have a certain life tot hem, everyone and everything is moving and for a television

  • series to accomplish this feels paramount in its production.

  • Violet Evergarden does many things well, it's music is moving, it's storyboards amaze

  • and it's directing is world class, however it's animation is where it shines brightest.

  • It's no big surprise that two series with a focus on theater would take the spotlight

  • when it came to best cinematography.

  • Revue Starlight staged its twists and emotional beats brilliantly, but ultimately it's Bloom

  • Into You that claimed position zero.

  • As it is, the source manga already had incredible panelling, with a focus on subtle body language

  • that gets us into the heads of its characters, so the team adapting it had a strong base

  • to work from.

  • But they didn't slack either, bringing new visual concepts like the deep suffocating

  • water Yuu finds herself lost within to further enhance the experience.

  • The flower imagery indicative of the series' shoujo stylings help tell the story of this

  • blooming romance, and as complicated, traumatic feelings take center stage tenderness and

  • care is given to the portrayal of these hardships.

  • Runners' up like Revue Starlight and Gridman paired strong direction with fantastic animation

  • executions of that vision, but as far as pure excellence in cinematography goes Bloom Into

  • You is in a class of its own.

  • Perhaps the defining trait of anime is it's lavish designs.

  • Each show has a dedicated aesthetic identity that at times weighs more than the story itself.

  • And Revue Starlight handles in spades creating the most vibrant world of the year.

  • Quirky school slice of life by day and epic battle surrealism by night, the show balances

  • many forms but blends them into a masterpiece.

  • It's use of color is genius and it's attention to atmosphere might be better.

  • It's visual flair in revue's lend to how dire these auditions are and make them memorable

  • in a year that might be anime's finest.

  • From the stage designs in the auditions and the actual starlight play to the character

  • and costume designs drawing from Takarazuka inspirations the show leaves a visual impression

  • that is lasting.

  • The stages have all these moving parts, littered with symbolism and thematic purpose that bolsters

  • already rich writings into something special.

  • Starlight is about theatre and tragedy and it demands such excellence from it's one

  • of a kind design.

  • It was a close call between this fight and a few other legendary encounters likeRin

  • vs Dogand my personal favorite, “WATASHI NO SMARTPHONE, GAH!” but you can't spell

  • anime awards without...My Hero Academia.

  • All jokes aside, would you expect anything but greatness with Yutaka Nakamura on the

  • job?

  • This battle is beautiful to watch, and when you add Yuki Hayashi's hype soundtrack to

  • the mix, you've got yourself a spectacle that easily surpasses its manga counterpart.

  • Beyond the presentation, this fight marks a key turning point in the boys' relationship,

  • as it's here where they finally stand on equal footing and acknowledge each other as

  • true rivals.

  • Deku stops putting Bakugo on a pedestal like he once did All Might, Bakugo learns to respect

  • Deku as an actual obstacle on his path to the top and not just a mere pebble.

  • This fight embodies the shonen aesthetic at its core and acts as a symbol of how Hero

  • Aca continues to carry the torch passed on by its Jump predecessors.

  • After lowering the curtain on the narrative's main source of conflict, Violet Evergarden's

  • tenth episode recontextualized the show's thematic focus in light of that resolution,

  • being one of the most gorgeously constructed episodes of 2018.

  • As Violet begins her most emotionally taxing job yet her personal growth is framed through

  • the eyes of those around her and in the context of preceeding episodes.

  • While its dramatic conceit is evident early on, it's executed with such prowess and

  • sincerity so as to land every emotional target with resounding accuracy, showcasing some

  • of the show's most expressive character animation, vocal cinematography, effective

  • sound management and emotive voice acting.

  • As it unravels a moving vignette of devastating loss and parental love it slowly turns its

  • attention to Violet and her own experience of the episode's events.

  • When she finally gives voice to them after completing her work, everything the series

  • had been building up to clicks into place in the most heart rending way imaginable.

  • From the beginning, Violet Evergarden had always been about learning to understand and

  • express human emotion, and it's here that her understanding of that concept is fully

  • realized with an overwhelming sense of pathos, being among the most effectively resonant

  • of the year.

  • It's hard to argue that Bloom into You is the year's best romance.

  • Focusing on the complex interplay of people's feelings, it derives its drama not from absurd

  • happenstance but through the reasonablebut diametrically opposedwishes of its characters.

  • A yuri anime, it serves as an important queer work altogether, focusing on topics such as

  • aromanticism and lesbianism, with its sapphic young women always taking center stage.

  • And that comment is quite literal, as it also highlights theater, with a central element

  • of the plot rotating around the upcoming school play which forces its leads to deal with their

  • emotional hang-ups.

  • While its lack of a conclusive ending may frustrate some viewers, it spends the time

  • before this conclusion on the most genuine romance that's come out in anime for a long

  • time.

  • If you're a viewer who's frustrated with how rarely anime has its couples kiss, or

  • often, get together at all, then this is a show for you.

  • Don't expect warm fluffy feelings, at least not consistently, but this romantic drama

  • is a seriously great show.

  • At face value, Comic Girls is an unassuming title about cute girls making manga...but

  • it's actually one of the most relatable depictions of artist anxiety I've seen.

  • The protagonist, Kaos, is both a nervous wreck and an adorable dork, which helps the tone

  • fluctuate seamlessly between her heavier insecurities and the lighthearted optimism the series puts

  • forth.

  • Improving to the point where one can consider their workgreator even just okay can

  • be a huge struggle, but at the end of the day, making content is fun.

  • The source material displays a genuine appreciation for the creative process, and the anime enhances

  • that vision well beyond the confines of a 4-koma manga with audiovisual additions that

  • only increase the hilariousness of these exaggerated characters.

  • That's why the pain of progress depicted in Comic Girls is able to resonate so strongly

  • while still being a joy to watch.

  • Yuru Camp certainly offered some stiff competition for best Kirara-kei, but where that show was

  • comf, Comic Girls is honest, and that's inspiring.

  • Crafting an action series can be a bit of a tricky balance.

  • Contenders like Sirius the Yeager delivered strong sakuga setpieces, but were merely middling

  • in the storytelling department.

  • Planet With delivered captivating philosophical concepts, but many of its action scenes were

  • justokay.”

  • When it came to delivering fantastic action while also being an overall stellar series,

  • nothing could compete with SSSS.Gridman (sorry Megalobox, you were close).

  • Gridman channels the spirit of Hideaki Anno's Gainax like nothing else.

  • Moody mist swaddles a depressed character in their contemplation as they walk the streets

  • of an urban city, giving us a moving and meaningful study of that depression.

  • From the frequent powerline shots, to more on the nose references, this is quintessential

  • Anno-school directing.

  • Another Anno-ism is the passion for Kaiju, Super Sentai, and classic mecha that is impossible

  • to restrain.

  • I'll admit that these action sequences won't appeal to everyone.

  • If you can't find any love in your heart for actors in awkward rubber suits clumsily

  • fighting, or for combining robot sequences, this might not do much for you.

  • But if you can't find love for them in your heart you are a traitor to the otaku community

  • and your crimes will not soon be forgotten.

  • Gridman is beautiful genuine cheesy passion, sheer excellence, and an instant modern-classic.

  • Planet With may not be the first work that comes to mind when I say the word, “drama”,

  • but I can assure you that it deserves that title.

  • A fascinating piece on the nature of politics and ethics, its large cast shows a remarkable

  • variety of ideologies, all grounded in the life experiences of these characters.

  • As just a small example of what makes the show work so well: at one point, main character

  • Souma expresses anger at the fact that no one has given him space after his entire planet

  • was destroyed, referring to specific characters and activities we're never made privy to

  • beyond this.

  • This creates such a strong sense that Souma had a life before we met him that I started

  • crying on the spot and this is just one of many such moments in the series.

  • It's a show that could absolutely have used another cour and yet it remains well-paced,

  • conveying great progress throughout its run, earning it this accolade anyway.

  • Those who want toleave politics out of their animeshould pass, but all non-hypocrites

  • ought to give it a go.

  • Anzu is a blessing to this world, and her character arc surrounding the plight of homeless

  • people in Japan is a great example of the genuine empathy that grounds the supernatural

  • insanity of Hinamatsuri.

  • This show has it all - goofy facial expressions, well-choreographed action scenes, witty dialogue,

  • brilliant voice acting, and it's all tied together in this ordinary setting.

  • A psychic alien girl just materialized out of thin air!

  • Where did she come from?

  • Why is she here?

  • Who knows, but she needs a place to stay and...education, I guess.

  • This middle-schooler works as a part-time bartender, and she's responsible, a diligent