Elise Wennberg – Staff Writer
Despite the drawbacks of COVID-19, the year 2020 was huge for the anime community. The number of shows released during this time, including new seasons and new anime, have stolen the hearts of many. Unfortunately, some of the anime release dates had to be delayed, but they still managed to be released within 2020.
This year marks the fifth year Crunchyroll has held the Anime Awards, where judges and fans vote once per day on a variety of categories such as Anime of the Year, Best Score, Best Animation, Best Boy, Best Girl, and more to celebrate the hard work that goes into creating a show. Voting started on January 15 and fans could vote once per day until January 22. Fans eagerly voted for their favorites and anxiously waited for the announcement of the eighteen categories on February 19. Each category has six nominees selected by plethora of judges who are experts in the field, and come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and careers, allowing for diverse perspectives.
Some of the winners for certain awards were to be expected, however, the competition increased this year due to the ever-changing ways to explore different animation styles and play with colors, light, and new effects to make the magical even more apparent.
Crunchyroll also included three categories for the best anime of its genre; the winner of “Best Fantasy” went to the second season of Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World. The first season came out in 2016 and the second has been one of the most anticipated of the decade.
The winner of “Best Comedy” went to the second season of Kaguya-sama: Love is War?. The first season drew anime fans from all genres in with its loving, humorous characters, who more often than not, “lost” in the game of love. The main female protagonist, Kaguya Shinomiya, also won the “Best Girl” award, further displaying the anime community’s love for the show.
One of the most sure-called anime awards is the “Best Boy” award, which had considerable candidates, but none that could top the love for Haikyuu!!’s Shoyou Hinata, who has captured the hearts of almost everyone who watches the show with his shining personality and earnest disposition. Some even say that he is quite literally a “cinnamon roll.”
The winner of “Best Drama” went to season two of Fruits Basket, a remake of the original released in 2001. This renewed one of the classic romantic comedies of the anime world to a newer generation with an updated art style and smoother animation.
For the “Best Animation” award, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! won for its unique animation style and realistic depiction of the work that goes into creating an anime. It takes a stab at the unfair conditions entry-level and mid-level animators go through just to make a living, often working 230 hours in a month while still barely making any money. Eizouken! also won the “Best Director” award based on Masaaki Yuasa’s hard work and dedication to the craft.
However, out of the countless anime produced this year, only one can claim the title of “Anime of the Year” and what better one then the biggest action blockbuster of the year—Jujutsu Kaisen, which also won “Best Ending Sequence” (“Lost in Paradise” by ALI feat. AKLO) and “Best Antagonist,” making it the anime with the most awards this year.
Some anime, while not taking home any awards, received honorable mentions: Great Pretender, BEASTARS, DECA-DENSE, Dorohedoro, BNA: Brand New Animal, Somali and the Forest Spirit, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Appare-Ranman!, and Tonikawa: Over the Moon for You.
Like all awards, many people have vocalized their complaints on the anime who won the first-place prize, saying certain anime were “robbed” or that some shows were overlooked due to the mass audience favor towards certain types of shows. Overall, 2020 produced some of the most groundbreaking anime in recent years, despite the many setbacks and hardships people faced through COVID-19. Many of the categories had tough competition which could have easily swayed in the favor of another anime. However, the anime that won awards clearly show how they transcend others in these categories; winning the hearts of tens of thousands to win a Crunchyroll Anime Award.