Alcoholic Anime Awards 2009
If I were to make a list of things I love in this world, two of the items near the top of list would be anime and booze. Anime and booze is also a winning combination. One time I watched Strike Witches with a handle of vodka, and while I had very little idea as to what was going on, the show has never been funnier. Last year I wrote a top 3 best and worst list, but I’m going to try something a little different this year. This year, I’m going to combine my love of anime and liquor and give out awards named after various drinks. If you are the creator and happen to be wasting your time reading an American blog, take a shot of your award if you want some kind of trophy.
The Everclear Award for Best OVA
Everclear is the strongest liquor you can buy in the United States. At 95% alcohol, one shot of this stuff packs a wallop. Just like with an excellent OVA, sometimes less is more.
This year, the award goes to Seto no Hanayome Gi which took a rewatch to appreciate how fucking awesome this series was. Seto no Hanayome combines fanservice with self parody that is rarely done this well. The OVA is essentially more of the same, which is not a bad thing at all. It doesn’t push any boundaries, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in polish. After watching Seto no Hanayome again, I realized that good comedy is hard to come by, and amongst the good, Seto no Hanayome is one of the best.
The Absinthe Award for Best Visuals
Absinthe is famous amongst liquors due to its hallucinogenic properties. Those of you who have seen Moulin Rouge will remember the scene where the characters take a shot and start seeing fairies. Sadly, modern absinthe doesn’t make you see shit that isn’t there, but the closest thing would be to watch a trippy anime.
I was tempted to give this award to Bakemonogatari, but because it’s just SHAFT doing what it usually does, I had to pass on this one. This year, the best visuals go to Trapeze (Kuchu Buranko) for being completely insane. What is most surprising about this show is that it is made by Toei, a mainstream studio who does shows like One Piece. The combination of outlandish colors and live action images makes the visuals enough to watch this show. I also like how the cases in each episode are all intertwined and play into each other. If I did drugs, this show would be at the top of the list to watch while on them.
The Flavored Vodka Award for Surprisingly Good Anime
Despite being a heavy drinker, I am not much of a fan of vodka. It doesn’t matter if I drink cheap or expensive vodka, it all tastes equally bad to me. That’s why when my friend introduced me to fruit flavored vodka, I was hesitant at first. One shot and I was sold.
The show that surprised me the most this year was Kampfer. I didn’t even bother mentioning it in my Fall 2009 preview since the premise seemed so bad and generic, that it wasn’t even worth watching. When gg started subbing it, saying it was one of the worst shows ever, I took it as a challenge, and decided to check it out. While the premise was as bad and generic on screen as it was on paper, the lack of seriousness and absurdity of the situations made it worth watching. Despite being a show about fighting girls, there is very little fighting, and most of the time is spent around the densest man/woman of all time and his/her superpowered harem. The references to the seiyuu add another layer of fun to those who have watched too much anime such as myself. While it is utter garbage, Kampfer says a lot about the modern anime industry that warrants its own post in the future.
The Jello Shot Award for Strong Ending
Jello shots are a potentially dangerous drink because your body must digest the jello before your body can absorb the alcohol. Because of this, you may get drunk up to hours after you eat them. Similarly, there are anime that don’t get good until much later.
I didn’t enjoy Aoi Hana that much in the beginning. I started watching it under the assumption that the story was about Fumi and Akira’s relationship. Because of this, I was confused when Fumi’s romance with her senpai became the main point. However, after watching the entire series and thinking on it for a while, I realized that the story was mostly about the senpai and the results of her unrequited love. It’s a bittersweet story that leaves a weird flavor in your mouth when all is said and done, but it is one of the better yuri anime out there, especially since most of it is now mindless fanservice.
The Goose Island 312 Award for Best Anime of the Year
My favorite drink is beer, and my favorite beer is Goose Island 312. I currently live in Chicago, and while I’m not a fan of the city or the Midwest, this beer is making me consider staying here for graduate school, just because it’s only available here. It’s that damn good.
Despite priding myself as a manly man, I have to admit that my favorite show of the year was K-ON! I wrote about it when it when it finished, but now that it has been over for several months, and I’ve had time to think about it some more, I realize why this show was so good. I really enjoyed K-ON! because it was a strong, semi-original adaptation. I’ve been reading the manga, and it’s actually not that funny compared to other 4 koma manga. The jokes are predictable, and the art is nothing spectacular. However, the way Kyoto Animation took this rather generic manga and fleshed it out into something cute and charming demonstrates why their shows are consistently successes. Unlike many manga adaptations, which either follow the source material to the letter (Hayate no Gotoku 2) or deviate from it completely (Fullmetal Alchemist), KyoAni found a comfortable middle ground with K-ON! and added enough original content to keep people who had read the manga interested, while keeping it close enough that it doesn’t alienate these same fans. I’m looking forward to the OVA coming out next month, and can’t wait to see if it will be new material or a manga adaptation. Either way I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.
The Beer Pitcher Award for Honorable Mentions
Despite my love for 312, there are other beers I enjoy drinking from time to time. Other good shows this year in no particular order were Bakemonogatari, Maria Holic, Eden of the East, Haruhi Season 2, Kanamemo, to Aru Kagaku no Railgun, and Kimi ni Todoke. Bakemonogatari was really good, and a close second to best anime of the year, but lost just because of my unhealthy obsession with Mio. Maria Holic was a delight to watch, especially since the cheap SHAFT look works so well for it. Eden of the East had a great story, and I’m eagerly looking forward to the movies, especially since I have no idea how it will end. I enjoyed Endless Eight and consider it to be a work of art. Kanamemo was fun to watch just because of Haruka, the alcoholic lolicon. Railgun is the strongest show this season, and is just as interesting as Index, but with much better pacing. Finally Kimi ni Todoke is shoujo done well, although it is a bit too close to the manga for my taste at times.
I hope you enjoyed my brief year in review. Now that I’m done applying for graduate school, I should have more time to write during the rest of my winter break. I’ve been hooked on Darker than Black recently, and need to finish off this season’s shows. Besides a review of Kampfer, I have nothing much else planned. We’ll see what kind of inspiration hits me. Have a happy holiday everyone!