Welcome to SnapThirty’s inaugural ‘Anime of the Year Awards’ for the Year of 2014. It has been a wild ride for anime fans with countless classics making a major impact on the anime community and industry. We have laughed, we have cried, we have been shocked and boy oh boy have we had some fun. So in honor of this year in anime we present the awards for the best of the best and even a look at some of the most memorable moments in anime this year. Without further adieu, these are the winners for SnapThirty’s 2014 ‘Anime of the Year Awards’:
Anime of the Year 2014 – Space Dandy
Who else but Dandy, baby? No other anime this year redefined the very definition of what anime is and could be more than Space Dandy. Helmed by legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe it was almost a given that Space Dandy was going to be good. Regardless of that I don’t think anyone could ever have expected the impact this crazy space comedy could possibly have had on both the anime industry and the culture that surrounds it.
It is series that much like the series native chameleonian aliens changed its skin week to week, with different writers and directors tackling the epic space comedy. Through that Space Dandy proved to be a proverbial kaleidoscope look at what exactly anime can be, breaking new ground for the medium in ways no other series in recent memory has done.
Space Dandy broke down all cultural barriers with an incredible simultaneous English language dub broadcast in several countries across the globe. It made major news headlines with publications that normally don’t look at anime twice and it made its way into viewers hearts with its playful sense of humour and thoughtful old soul that lay beneath it. Like anime classics before it such as FLCL, Cowboy Bebop and Evangelion, Space Dandy is a landmark title that changes everything about anime as we know it forever.
Best Anime Studio of 2014 – BONES
No other anime studio has had such a hot streak as BONES. Hit after hit, BONES have put out brilliant series after brilliant series. With series such as Space Dandy, Noragami, Captain Earth and even Chaika – The Coffin Princess, BONES have produced some of the best of the best in anime this year leaving all other studios in the dust. When it comes down to it, BONES did quality anime better than anyone this year and that is what BONES is the best anime studio of 2014.
Best Animation of 2014 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
“OH NO!”, can you really believe the winner of Best Animation for 2014 is JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders?! Well you should because, let’s be honest, this series winning an award like this is anything but unbelievable. When an anime adaptation of a manga comes around, most fans want to see the source material done justice. Stardust Crusaders takes that justice and gatling punches it to death because it knows full well that simply “doing it justice” will absolutely not suffice. Studio David, the animation production company behind the series, have done everything in their power to make Stardust Crusaders as visually similar to the manga as they could while simultaneously adding enough depth, colour and vibrancy so as to not produce an anime that is flat and dull. Not only does Stardust Crusaders play host to wonderful visual direction but it also features quite a high standard of traditional animation and it is exactly why it has won this award. There’s no Anime more visually stimulating than JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders.
Best Soundtrack of 2014 – Your Lie in April
There were so many incredible anime soundtracks this year but none stood out more than the soundtrack of music themed anime Your Lie in April. While there was a lot of great soundtracks none were more important to the series it backed than that of Your Lie in April. The soundtrack for this series is almost a character in and of itself. Without the music the series simply couldn’t exist. It is that pivotal to the show that even replacing one song would throw it completely off balance.
Take a show such as Parasyte for example. It is a show with a great soundtrack but if you swap any of its tracks in or out, you could quite easily capture the same feel with another song. Such is not the case with Your Lie in April’s soundtrack which is beautifully composed right down to the minutest details. These songs make the series what it is and tell a story when words can’t. If that isn’t what makes a brilliant soundtrack, I don’t know what does.
Best Anime Protagonist of 2014 – Shinichi Izumi ft. Migi (Parasyte)
It’s a known fact that the Anime worlds most hated protagonist is Shinji Ikari from the huge psychological blockbuster anime Neon Genesis Evangelion so, if you think about it, a character that plays host to a set of personality traits the exact opposite of Shinji’s would be considered the best Anime protagonist ever right? Yeah, I think so, but what exactly are those characteristics? Well, first of all, a good protagonist must be brave, but that’s a given. A good protagonist must also be strong…but not too strong! He/she needs to have an obvious human side for us to all relate to and a good protagonist must always have someone to protect otherwise what’s the point of fighting? A truly great protagonist features something we here at SnapThirty hold in quite high regard, and that thing is…evolution. Charles Darwin taught us that if you don’t evolve you die and if there’s one thing that the winning duo Shinichi Izumi and Migi do better than anything else it is evolve. In a short time our hero Izumi goes from being a normal schoolboy to the lone defender of our planet and walks the path of a hero in one of the most realistic ways. Be it how he reacts to the death of someone close to him or what he does to stay alive, Shinichi constantly impresses us with a sense of growth and/or metamorphosis, physical or psychological. A good series is lead by a great protagonist and as far as they come…Shinichi and Migi may just be the very best.
Best Anime Antagonist of 2014 – Jason (Tokyo Ghoul)
Certain things make an antagonist likable: Their look, the way they stand, the way they walk, the way they talk, but none of those things make an antagonist great. Over years of watching anime, reading manga and playing video games we feel as though we finally understand what makes an antagonist truly amazing and it has nothing to do with their exterior. Jason, of the anime/manga series Tokyo Ghoul, has won the SnapThirty award for 2014’s greatest antagonist and, if you’ve seen the series, you’d know that Jason isn’t even shown too much throughout, making it kind of a weird choice. Wrong. Jason is the perfect antagonist and it is because of the way he influenced the growth of the protagonist without being in the spotlight for more time than he needed. Though not the greatest Anime of the year or even of the season it aired in, it was Jason that made it more than worth while watching and it was also thanks to Jason that the audience got the Kaneki Ken they always wanted…even though some didn’t know it. Jason pulled the strings from the shadows and when the time came to teach a lesson, he did it with everything he had and what he had was the capability to destroy what the main character used to be and pushed him further up the evolutionary chain, thinking not of the repercussions but only of his greedy self. If Tokyo Ghoul did one thing right…it was Jason.
Best Theme Song of 2014 – Haikyuu!!
Music and sports go hand in hand. When you’re ready to bat, run, jump, spin or whatever it is you need to do, sound can help boost your spirit and prep you for action. This is something Haikyuu!! Knows all too well. From the moment it begins, the opening song “Imagination” by Spyair serves to amp you up for some sweet anime volleyball, with all the slow motion and visible air currents that anime provides. But more than that, it prepares you to watch one specific team fight in the hopes of victory. Seriously, if you’re not rooting for Karasuno by the time the show begins, you weren’t paying attention.
And now for something a little bit different…
Worst Use Of Sexual Harrassment in Order to Obtain Supernatural Powers in an Anime Series – Kenzen Robo Daimidaler
Most Contrived Reason To Fake Your Own Death in an Anime – Muhammed Avdol (JJBA) in Order to Buy a Submarine
Most Least Seen Visuals in an Anime Series – Terraformars
Most Awkward Sexual Encounter In An Anime Series – Brynhildr in the Darkness (Kazumi meet’s Murakami’s Knee)
Most Frequently Used Catch Phrases of 2014
“Are you really Shinichi Izumi?” – Satomi Murano (Parasyte)
“OH NO!”/”OH SHIT!”/OH MY GOD!!!” – Joseph Joestar (JJBA)
Most Copyright Infringing Character Designs in an Anime Series which Didn’t Result in a Lawsuit but Probably Should Have – Tokyo ESP
Worst Hair Style in a Card Games Anime and Just About Any Anime Ever Really – This Guy From Cardfight Vanguard G
Worst Anime of 2014 That We Wish Wasn’t Real But Sadly Is –
Kenzen Robo Daimidaler
Well that wraps things up for SnapThirty’s inaugural Anime of the Year Awards for the year of 2014. To see how the SnapThirty team came to their tough decisions check out the latest SnapThirty podcast for a look into the decision making process. Be sure to leave a comment below with your thoughts on the year of 2014 in anime and what you think of our choices. This has been SnapThirty’s Anime of the Year Awards, you now know the truth of the world of anime. You’re welcome!