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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 iconic “ABABABABA”'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
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 conventional “anime
girl” sound 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 like “Rin
vs Dog” and 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
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 reasonable — but diametrically opposed — wishes 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
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
Improving to the point where one can consider their work “great” or 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
just “okay.”
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 to “leave politics out of their anime” should 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
student and good at her job!
The most entertaining aspect, funny or not, is watching these fish-out-of-water characters
interact with such mundane concepts like family, gambling, running for student council, the
existential horror of working under capitalism.
For as weird and hilarious as Hinamatsuri can be, its nonchalant attitude towards these
details seems to suggest that we're all our own version of weird deep down, and that's
We can find our own place in the world anyway.
March Comes in Like a Lion came back strong with its sophomore season at the tail end
of 2017 by delivering on some of the franchise's most resonant episodes yet, and that meticulous
attention to craft and conscious storytelling transferred effortlessly into its second cour.
Right out of the gate it lowers the curtain on its most emotionally turbulent arc yet,
lending it the gravity befitting its subject matter and bringing it to a thoughtful and
cathartic resolution.
From there it broadens its thematic scope even further, developing and exploring the
unique psychological experiences of its cast while subtly but purposefully building on
its overarching narrative of personal growth and the value of healthy support systems in
assisting that growth.
Continuing to balance its painfully intimate understanding of trauma with its sincere comedic
charm, each episode weaves an expressive and detailed audiovisual tapestry of emotional
pain and life affirming optimism.
It's a human story in the sense that it reflects the best and worst parts of the human
experience through the lens of radical empathy and the visual medium's full capacity for
expression, and as such it's one that I expect to return to whenever I find myself
needing the hope and comfort it offers.
The show's gone underwatched as a result of being an unlicensed kids' anime, but
Aikatsu Friends more than deserves its place as the year's best sequel.
A sports anime at heart, the story of Aine, Mio, and the other main characters is consistently
Watching previous iterations of Aikatsu is totally unnecessary, though its themes remain
within the same vein.
While the well-executed competition is sure to draw some viewers, including those who
feel somewhat skeptical about idol anime, the focus on establishing healthy and co-operative
relationships is a new one to the franchise, and serves not only as a good education for
children but as an effective point of both drama and enjoyment for older viewers.
It'd be hard for you to avoid some welling of emotion due to the many of the challenges
that these girls have to go through.
Factor in the fantastic dance scenes, boasting some of the best CG in the industry, alongside
the stellar character design work, and it's hard to go wrong with this still-ongoing series.
Netflix tried to take this one with Aggretsuko and Devilman, and failed.
Fate offered up the greatest entry the franchise has ever had with Fate//Stay In The Kitchen,
and failed.
Ultimately, nothing was going to be able to take this crown from Kase-san.
This 58 minute adaptation of the beloved yuri manga is a total passion project from Steins;Gate
chief director Takuya Satou, who engaged in a long struggle to get it made after reading
the source material and falling in love with it.
It's no wonder that the series endeared itself to him so strongly.
Kase-san is a no-bs yuri story.
It avoids the trap of spending 2 whole volumes keeping our couple apart going “but I couldn't
be in love with a girl, could I?”
It avoids the cloying “purity” some works focus on by portraying the two as clearly
sexually attracted to each other, while not doing so in a way that feels focused around
gratifying a male audience.
Constant adorable character animation brings these emotions to life in the ova, and basically
perfect directing makes every emotional swell heart wrenching.
Kase-san is the story of a beautiful relationship, beautifully told, and I couldn't be more
thankful for it.
Film is often hailed as the visual medium's most accessible form.
It allows directors and staff to tell stories in digestible ways and often times get consumed
on the widest scale.
Anime films this year has been as strong as every, but none that reached the heights of
Naoko Yamada and Kyoto Animation's Liz and the Bluebird.
Euphonium's latest installment works both as a stand alone film and also a continuation
of the story.
Yamada's gift is telling subtle interpersonal relationships through the subtitles of humanity.
The grabbing of hair, the way we walk, how we hug and the moment we break down.
Liz captures all of this so eloquently, it is absolutely a story about what makes us
human told through the beauty of youth and music.
It's about flight, pain, loss and bonds.
It about bettering ourselves told by a production staff that specializes in nuance.
Look, if you thought that anything but the masterful grounded look at lesbian life was
going to win you don't know our panel of judges well enough.
Yuu, Touko, and Sayaka all have cases to make for being the best character of the year,
the series nails shojou-style melodrama without ever needing to make use of frustrating coincidences
or irrational decisions to create that drama, and Nakatani does a massive talent flex by
centering the latter arc around a play that sounds so interesting I want to go see it
What other series can just casually drop in a tease of a masterpiece in an entirely different
medium as a plot element?
But if there's any element of Bloom that best encapsulates my affinity for it, it would
be Miyako and Riko.
A happy healthy adult gay couple is such a rarity, and getting to see them tease each
other, or exchange a kiss when one of them gets home from work, lets my see my experiences
on-screen in a way that really only a couple of works offer.
For me the anime of the year is going to be a work that combines technical excellence
with a strong personal appeal that pushes it up over the top of the other well-executed
competition, and for us this year, that work was Bloom Into You.
Oh shit baby!
I'll soon be launching my Twitch stream and you can go vote right now on what game
I'll be playing.
Wanna see danganronpa?
Wanna see Persona?
Wanna see Dream Daddy?
Jump into the Discord server and make your voice heard!
Speaking of, it's time for this video's jumbotron message, at my new $35 tier you
can make me say whatever you'd like, and these time Okami Otaku wants to say, “If
I believed in a god, her name would be Yamada Naoko and heaven would be called Kyoto Animation.”
Thank you to Okami, and thank you to everyone who was a part of this, Zeria, Subtitled Anime,
Caffeinated Telescopes, and Mathwiz, they're all linked, check em out.
Finally, a thank you to Sykur, Jonathan Conley, Tyler Mohnke, Tincho37, Elaine Aldfelt, DavidMcCown,
SmokeWeedSephiroth420, jman4747, Chase Sutter, Lucas Holcomb, and everyone else supporting
me on patreon already, see ya next time.


Anitube's BEST ANIME 2018

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二百五 2019 年 9 月 11 日 に公開
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