Crunchyroll Anime Awards Nominations, rated

Crunchyroll has announced its annual Anime Awards, and voting for 2020 is now open. This will be the fourth year of Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards, and throughout these years, it has had complex reactions from fans.

The first year, 2017 (for the 2016 season) was known by many fans as “The Yuri On Ice Awards”. The most vocal fanbase of Yuri On Ice swept almost all categories it was nominated in.

For future years, some of the nomination and vote tallying rules have changed, and in 2019, it was only somewhat the “My Hero Academia” awards.

This year, more adjustments have been made, including expanding the judge pool and adjusting the categories to reflect the year’s landscape. The most notable of changes is the missing “Anime Film of the Year” category. Given the limited releases available this year, we at the Avocado even had trouble nominating more than a couple films, so this is understandable. However, it is a bit sad not to give it to Promare, which was an excellent film.

Now, without further ado, I shall review and rate each nomination category based on several factors. Or maybe just one. Who knows? Let’s get to it.

Anime of the Year

Nominees

  • Carole & Tuesday
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Mob Psycho 100 II
  • O Maidens in Your Savage Season
  • The Promised Neverland
  • Vinland Saga

Quality of Category: 10/10. Obviously Anime of the Year has to be here. It’s the crown jewel of any award show. This category has been around since the beginning and will probably outlive you all. Not me, though.

Quality of Nominees: 7/10. O Maidens is the definite outlier here. Every other category got at least a few top 3’s listed in the Pits, but this didn’t crack anyone’s top 6. If this nomination was simply based on the first few episodes, I could see it, but this show’s promising first few episodes anime of the year does not make. O Maidens flails in the middle and comes to a vaguely satisfying conclusion. This nomination is especially egregious considering the anime that is clearly missing in this category…

Please Replace: O Maidens in Your Savage Season with Kaguya-sama: Love is War. The romantic comedy elements are performed much better, and it’s less melodramatic tone provides for a more entertaining and tonally consistent season. The ending of Kaguya-sama works much better to both finish the emotional arc and set up for future seasons. Plus it won the Pits! Were the Crunchyroll judges even paying attention to the most important yearly media popularity contest held by a spin-off website based on the comment section of a media web zine?

Best Protagonist

Nominees

  • Emma – The Promised Neverland
  • Hyakkimaru – Dororo
  • Saitama – One-Punch Man Season 2
  • Senku – Dr. STONE
  • Tanjiro Kamado – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Tohru Honda – Fruits Basket

Quality of Category: 9/10. This category makes for some interesting contention. What makes a good protagonist? Should they be powerful? Complicated? Just be Izuku Midoriya? We’ll decide here. It’s interesting to note this category has changed from “Hero of the Year” in 2017 and “Best Hero” in 2018, to “Best Protagonist” in 2019. Perhaps this is the reason Deku didn’t win last year.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. I’m pretty happy with the diversity of character here. Hyakkimaru was a bit of a surprise, considering how few people talked about this series, but I think this is still quite a good choice. The two characters I probably would not have chosen are for the same reason, but that’s more of the philosophical question of what makes a good protagonist. I’m very happy to see Tohru get a nod.

Please Replace: Saitama – One-Punch Man Season 2 with Mob – Mob Psycho 100 II. There are a ton of great protagonists to choose from, but Mob is one of the ages. Plus he would be the most obvious to replace Saitama. I almost went with Senku, since his main draw as a protagonist is his overpowered nature, but I think replacing Saitama being in a second season pushed him over the line. This would be a hard category to choose for anyone, so I’m not too upset to see Senku and Saitama here, in the end.

Best Antagonist

Nominees

  • Ai Magase – BABYLON
  • Angela – Carole & Tuesday
  • Askeladd – Vinland Saga
  • Garou – One-Punch Man Season 2
  • Isabella – The Promised Neverland
  • Overhaul – My Hero Academia Season 4

Quality of Category: 9/10. This Category goes hand-in-hand with Best Protagonist. It raises similar questions, and also got two name-changes over the year, from “Villain of the Year” to “Best Villain” to “Best Antagonist”. I think the current iteration is the best, as it is a bit wider and can include some interesting smaller antagonists.

Quality of Nominees: 6/10. Wow. There are two choices here which make the series they’re in actively worse. For the second worse, Overhaul is by far the least interesting villain to show up in My Hero Academia. The current season is interesting despite him, not because of him. His motives are uninteresting, but at least his power is pretty cool. That being said, some of these are really solid choices. Isabella and Angela both get very good characterization. Garou’s arc made for some interesting plotting in One-Punch Man. I haven’t watched much Vinland Saga, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to that one.

Please Replace: Ai Magase – BABYLON with Bench-kun – ORESUKI. BABYLON‘s decline in quality can be tracked almost directly with how much Ai Magase is in it. If you’re into stupidly overpowered villains whose motivations, abilities, and point of existence are unclear, she’s the villain for you. Meanwhile, the obvious meme choice is completely absent. Bench-kun has his own villainous music and sound effects referencing Darth Vader, and provides for some of the funniest gags in the whole show. I was genuinely surprised not to see Bench-kun here.

Best Boy

Nominees

  • Bruno Bucciarati – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
  • Hyakkimaru – Dororo
  • Kanata Hoshijima – ASTRA LOST IN SPACE
  • Narusou Machio – How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?
  • Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama – Mob Psycho 100 II
  • Tanjiro Kamado – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Quality of Category: 10/10. This is a classic question in anime and makes for the most heated debates. It was brave of Crunchyroll to have a category that is so hard to nail down what it actually means, but any fan can intrinsically tell you whether a character is a good boy or not.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. This is a category that can split a lot of people. Some protagonists are better boys than others, while some side characters really shine in their best boy-ness. I’m giving two byes here, having not seen Astra or Dumbbells, but Hyakkimaru is a bit of an odd choice here. I love him as a protagonist, but he’s a bit complicated to be best boy, in my opinion. Mob is a great choice, as is Bruno.

Please Replace: Narusou Machio – Dumbbells with Kyo Sohma – Fruits Basket. How in the world can you have a best boy contest without either Yuki or Kyo. Kyo vs Yuki is one of the eternal questions. It’s historic for its divisiveness and we had a chance to repeat it! I chose Narusou to be replaced mostly because I don’t know who even watched Dumbbells.

Best Girl

Nominations

  • Carole – Carole & Tuesday
  • Chika Fujiwara – KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR
  • Emma – The Promised Neverland
  • Kohaku – Dr. STONE
  • Nezuko Kamado – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Raphtalia – The Rising of the Shield Hero

Quality of Category: 10/10. For the exact same reasons as Best Boy.

Quality of Nominees: 9/10. There are two here that had to be here, and they were Chika and Raphtalia. I’ve never even seen Shield Hero and I know who Raphtalia is due to sheer best-girl-ness. Still, Chika’s gonna win. Chika was best girl.

Please Replace: Kohaku – Dr. STONE with Sunao Nako – Hitoribocchi. The prize here is pretty in the clear, but I enjoy seeing nominations from Cute Girls Doing Cute Things shows. Kohaku is fine, but Sunao is better.

Best Director

Nominees

  • Tetsuro Araki – Attack on Titan Season 3
  • Kiyotaka Suzuki – BABYLON
  • Shinichiro Watanabe & Motonobu Hori – Carole & Tuesday
  • Yuzuru Tachikawa – Mob Psycho 100 II
  • Kunihiko Ikuhara – Sarazanmai
  • Shuhei Yabuta – Vinland Saga

Quality of Category: 9/10. This is a really tough category to judge and becomes even moreso in a popularity contest.  I appreciate that it is here, though. We’ll see if they get it right. This category was added in 2019.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. I might have tipped my hand with my distaste for Ai Magase, but I don’t think even BABYLON is really out of place here. Some of these lean a bit more wacky or flashy, while others are moving.

Please Replace: Tetsuro Araki – Attack on Titan Season 3 with Mamoru Kanbe – The Promised Neverland. Not a huge gap in talent here, but I felt like Neverland had a bit more memorable direction.

Best Animation

Nominees

  • Attack on Titan Season 3
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
  • Mob Psycho 100 II
  • Sarazanmai
  • Vinland Saga

Quality of Category: 10/10. This is another somewhat technical award, but is absolutely essential to awards in animation. Even shows with boring plots and annoying characters can shine in their animation. This award has been around since the beginning.

Quality of Nominees: 9/10. I’m pretty happy with all of these, to be honest. I’m expecting that Ufotable’s Demon Slayer will take it, but seeing Sarazanmai and Mob Psycho up there too satisfies me.

Please Replace: I’ll just keep everything here. I’d be tempted to add Rilakkuma and Kaoru for the unique stop-motion animation, but judging between that and 2D animation would be very difficult.

Best Character Design

Nominees

  • Carole & Tuesday – Tsunenori Saito, Original Character Design by Eisaku Kubonouchi
  • Dororo – Satoshi Iwataki, Original Character Design by Hiroyuki Asada
  • Dr. STONE – Yuko Iwasa
  • KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR – Yuko Yahiro, Original Character Design by Aka Akasaka
  • Sarazanmai – Kayoko Ishikawa, Original Character Design by Miggy
  • Vinland Saga – Takahiko Abiru, Original Character Design by Makoto Yukimura

Quality of Category: 9/10. Character design is another interesting technical award. This is a bit easier for a large audience to judge. Which show has the most interesting, original, or cutest characters? This category was added last year.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. Since JoJo’s won this prize last year, I assume that somewhat disqualified it from this year’s choices. Kaguya-sama’s addition here seems like it’s trying to make up for the snub in Anime of the Year. Also interesting is that the only series not listing an original character designer is Dr. Stone. Was the same designer used from the manga? I appreciate that Dororo made it here. It appears to be a critical darling this year. The job of adapting Tezuka’s original designs to a more modern style was quite the task and I appreciate it getting some love in this department.

Please Replace: KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR with Fruits Basket. One of the most immediate and recognizable difference between the previous adaptation of Fruits Basket and the current one is the updated character design. It gives a softer and more mature feel to the new adaptation and I am here for it. That being said, I think most of these are the right choices.

Best Score

Nominees

  • Attack on Titan Season 3 – Hiroyuki Sawano
  • Carole & Tuesday – Mocky
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura
  • Dr. STONE – Tatsuya Kato, Hiroaki Tsutsumi, and Yuki Kanesaka
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind – Yugo Kanno
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero – Kevin Penkin

Quality of Category: 9/10. Another excellent category. It’s been around since 2018 and was sorely lacking in 2017.

Quality of Nominees: 10/10. This is a pretty stacked list. Sawano’s scores are always good and listening to a bit of Shield Hero’s OST I can see why it got a nom. That being said… Carole & Tuesday has to win it, right?

Please Replace: None on this one.

Best Fight Scene

Nominees

  • Emperor Crimson vs. Metallic – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
  • Levi vs. Beast Titan – Attack on Titan Season 3
  • Mob vs. Toichiro – Mob Psycho 100 II
  • Tanjiro & Nezuko vs. Rui – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Thorfinn vs. Thorkell – Vinland Saga
  • Ushiwakamaru vs. Tiamat – Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia

Quality of Category: 8/10. This is a pretty specific category, but can really show off some excellent animation, direction, and characterization. This has been around since the beginning.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. The required Demon Slayer fight is there. Some of these fights last entire episodes while others are just barely there.

Please Replace: Levi vs Beast Titan seems like the clear odd fight out. It’s like a minute of Levi slashing the heck out of BT. Although it’s well animated and cathartic as heck, it doesn’t really stand up to the competition here. I don’t know what to replace it with.

Best Couple

Nominees

  • Baki Hanma & Kozue Matsumoto – Baki
  • Kaguya Shinomiya & Miyuki Shirogane – KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR
  • Mafuyu Sato & Ritsuka Uenoyama – given
  • Reo & Mabu – Sarazanmai
  • Rika Zonazaki & Shun Amagi – O Maidens in Your Savage Season
  • Ymir & Historia – Attack on Titan Season 3

Quality of Category: 8/10. This one is tough, because it can (and this year does) include “couples” who aren’t dating yet. Still, a classic category that’s been there since the first Anime Awards.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. This season didn’t have a ton of confirmed couples, or even couples that are definitely gonna end up together, so I don’t dislike this list. Some of them I haven’t seen, so I’ll just trust that they’re cute.

Please Replace: I’ll leave this alone, but shout out to the potential war if they’d nominated Yuki/Kyo and Tohru. Think about it!

Best VA Performance (JP)

Nominees

  • Mamoru Miyano – Reo Niiboshi – Sarazanmai
  • Saori Hayami – Shinobu Kocho – Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Yuichi Nakamura – Bruno Bucciarati – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
  • Yukino Satsuki – Ai Magase – BABYLON
  • Yuuko Kaida – Isabella – The Promised Neverland
  • Yusuke Kobayashi – Senku – Dr. STONE

Quality of Category: 10/10. I think this is another quite necessary category. Difficult to judge from an English-speaking audience, but necessary. It was added in 2019.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. Like I said, this is a difficult one to choose. Some roles are performed well without much to chew on, but this category rewards the more difficult or complex performances. I don’t hate Yukino Satsuki’s performance as Ai. I just hated the writing of her character. I am pretty sure Yuuko Kaida’s Isabella would win this, but Yuichi Nakamura’s Bruno was also very well done.

Please Replace: This is another that I don’t feel the need to change. I can’t think of a specific actor who really showed their range in a mind-blowing way this past year.

Best VA Performance (EN)

Nominees

  • Kyle McCarley – Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama – Mob Psycho 100 II
  • Laura Bailey – Tohru Honda – Fruits Basket
  • Erica Mendez – Retsuko – Aggretsuko Season 2
  • Billy Kametz – Naofumi – The Rising of the Shield Hero
  • Faye Mata – Aqua – KONOSUBA–God’s blessing on this wonderful world!
  • Casey Mongillo – Shinji – Neon Genesis Evangelion

Quality of Category: 10/10. Oh man this nomination list had me wondering when certain shows came out, but then I remembered that some shows just got voiced over in English and others got new voice-overs. Still, quality category. Added in 2019.

Quality of Nominees: ?/10. I’m gonna go ahead and recuse myself on this one. Laura Baily’s Tohru was really good from the small amount that I’ve seen of it, but I watched very few shows in English this year.

Please Replace: Again, recusing myself. In the clip they used, Shinji sounds a bit weird.

Best Comedy

Nominees

  • Aggretsuko Season 2
  • How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift?
  • Isekai Quartet
  • KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR
  • My Roommate is a Cat
  • Sarazanmai

Quality of Category: 9/10. This is an original category and a solid genre selection. Anime can be weird with its genres, but you can at least tell a comedy from a drama, mostly… Mostly. One issue here is that some shows can be very good but not as funny, which makes them a little hard to place here.

Quality of Nominees: 7/10. Who added Isekai Quartet? I’m a sucker for silly gags, anime nonsense and shortform anime, but this one was a dud. Points back for My Roommate is a Cat, though. That was delightful.

Please Replace: Isekai Quartet with Hitoribocchi. Hitoribocchi was a sweet gag show that deserved at least a nod here. Hell, you could have even thrown in Quintessential Quintuplets over Isekai Quartet.

Best Fantasy

Nominees

  • Ascendance of a Bookworm
  • ASTRA LOST IN SPACE
  • Attack on Titan Season 3
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
  • Sarazanmai
  • The Promised Neverland

Quality of Category: 8/10. This is a new category. I don’t hate it. It covers a few shows that might not compete as well in Drama or Comedy, but also has quite a bit of overlap. I suppose this will reward more creative fantasy worlds.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. Ascendance of a Bookworm seems to be the odd one out here. It’s definitely going to be the underdog against names like Demon Slayer and Sarazanmai. Nothing feels too out of place, though.

Please Replace: It’s a bit odd not seeing Dr. STONE or Boogiepop here. There were a lot to choose from this year, so I don’t know how well I’d narrow down this category.

Best Drama

Nominees

  • BABYLON
  • Carole & Tuesday
  • Fruits Basket
  • Stars Align
  • The Promised Neverland
  • Vinland Saga

Quality of Category: 9/10. Comedy and Drama are the two pillars of storytelling genre, so it makes sense to have both of them here. This has been around since the beginning.

Quality of Nominees: 7/10. Clearly some of the judges liked BABYLON much more than I did. It’s certainly dramatic, I guess. The clear contenders are pretty much all here, with one show I actually had not heard anything at all about until these nominations. Usually you can find a hidden gem or two with these surprise nominations, so color me intrigued about Stars Align. I can at least assume the judges who voted for this didn’t vote for Babylon.

Please Replace: BABYLON with anything else, probably Dororo. Welcome to the anti-Babylon complaint post. It’s just a show that seems good until you realize it has no point.

Best Opening Sequence

Nominees

  • Carole & Tuesday – “Kiss Me” by Nai Br.XX & Celeina Ann – Bahi JD
  • Domestic Girlfriend – “Kawaki wo Ameku” by Minami – Shota Ihata
  • Fire Force – “Inferno” by Mrs.GREEN APPLE – Hideyuki Morioka
  • Mob Psycho 100 II – ” 99.9″ by MOB CHOIR feat. sajou no hana – Yoshimichi Kameda
  • The Promised Neverland – “Touch Off” by UVERworld – Kazuaki Shimada
  • Vinland Saga – “Mukanjyo” by Survive Said the Prophet – Takahiko Abiru

Quality of Category: 7/10. Okay, I like the idea of this category, but I also have Problems with it. The nominees are often not the most impressive openings, but the best songs. This years actually feels a bit better, nomination-wise, but since the beginning of the Anime Awards, this category has consistently missed great OPs.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. You know what? Having the beautifully overdramatic 90 seconds that is Domestic Girlfriend’s OP here was a brave choice, but the correct one. Oddly enough, the one I feel doesn’t deserve a slot is one of the more popular shows this season. Mob Psycho‘s OP was a necessary addition here. Fire Force showing up also feels appropriate. The animation and music in that OP are top-notch. I just wish the rest of the show reached those levels.

Please Replace: Vinland Saga with My Roommate is a Cat. I know that small-time shows like this are only bound to get maybe one nomination, but this show’s OP is absolutely chock-full of cuteness and the world needs to know about it. Vinland Saga’s OP is serviceable, not bad by any stretch, but it can’t come close to being that dang cute.

Best Ending Sequence

Nominees

  • Carole & Tuesday – “Hold Me Now” by Nai Br.XX & Celeina Ann – Yoshiyuki Ito
  • Dororo – “Sayonara Gokko” by amazarashi – Osamu Kobayashi
  • Fire Force – “veil” by Keina Suda – Taiki Konno
  • KAGUYA-SAMA: LOVE IS WAR – “Chikatto Chika Chikaa♡” by Konami Kohara – Naoya Nakayama
  • Sarazanmai – “Stand by me” by the peggies – Kayoko Ishikawa
  • Vinland Saga – “Torches” by Aimer – Toshiyuki Yamashita

Quality of Category: 7/10. I have basically the same complaints about the OP category,  but I am also bad at remembering EDs.

Quality of Nominees: 8/10. No underdog choices here. I really liked Sarazanmai‘s ED, and am glad to see it here. All of these choices have some good artistic choices. Fire Force’s is probably the weakest, relying more on cheesecake and less on interesting animation. Chikatto Chika Chikaa is gonna win it.

Please Replace: I think I’m fine with these. Like I said, I’m bad at remembering EDs.

Conclusion

This year’s anime awards are, maybe, not going to be a complete sweep. It appears that this year is a bit of a drop-off for My Hero Academia, getting only one nod in its worst category. I would guess that Demon Slayer has the best chance to sweep of anything, but Carole & Tuesday and Vinland Saga got just as many nominations. This kind of competition is ideal for an award show. Critical darlings this year include Dororo and, for some reason, BABYLON. One-off noms this year include BakigivenIsekai QuartetAscendance of a Bookworm, and Stars Align.

What nominations do you disagree with? What deserved a slot instead? Did you actually like BABYLON? Why? Also, how dare you?

Comment below, and don’t forget to vote!