It’s that time of the year again, where I look back to what the previous year offered in terms of TV anime and pick (or try) what series/creators did the best in certain artistic categories. I felt like cheating on a lot of those but in the end, I kinda manage to short them to a single. Although, you will see later that I’ll make a lot of honorable mentions.
Sometimes I forget why I created this blog and why I started writing. I rumbled around in my mind a lot either it would be any good doing it, being that half of the community is doing more a less the same. Well, I ended up doing it after you guys positive feedback. I don’t think that I’m at my best but I hope to match your expectations!
— 宮本託自 Takuji Miyamoto (@9iurouS1muM1FMn) April 15, 2019
Best Opening: Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari OP2 – Directed and Storyboarded by Takuji Miyamoto (宮本託自)
- Although, having some really good runner-ups none other sequence left the mark that Miyamoto’s well-paced and story-driven opening on Shield Hero. Miyamoto went out of his way to immerse himself in a series that he previously knew nothing about. Although he mentioning about being worried upon receiving the offer to take the job about if his style would fit the show, he just went for it and with the already completed musical theme adjusted his drawing to the flow and the storytelling. Being that it was given just a week to complete the boards, Miyamoto still managed to portrait every cut as he wanted. The sequence was able to make any viewer jump right into the story even without watching the anime but also providing some nasty spoiler for the ones watching already.
- The first part of the sequence was all about conveying sad and heavy feelings through the depictions of hopeless and empty expressions in an all-black and white tone, to then get evanish way on the later part and gives the place to bright colors of hope and happiness. The action sequences were indeed astonishing but the part that got to shine the most for me was the amazing homage to the title of the show of form of an exuberant and full of life scene ending perfectly the opening.
Honorable Mentions – Domestic na Kanojo/Assasins Pride/Jojo’s Golden Wind OP2/Oresuki/Beastars/Fire Force OP1/Dororo OP2/Hitoribochhi
— Evandro ペドロ (@evandro_pedro96) February 1, 2019
Best Ending: Kaguya-sama: Love Is War EP 3 ED – Direction, Storyboards, and Animation by Naoya Nakayama (中山直哉)
- If you say to me that Kaguya’s episode 3 ending wasn’t done with the use of the rotoscope technique, I would without a doubt believe in that, the amount of polishness that went on every single drawing is incredible. Being that Nakayama is an ex-Kyoani turned freelancer not too long ago is not that much a surprise. But much of the credits got to be given to him and the choreographer for creating that wonderful and cute dance moves and we can say that Nakayama wasted no efforts on the production of this magnificent piece of animation, he just by himself drew 845 key-frames of the 1124 drawings in total. (In a normal anime episode the average amount of drawings is 3000 to 5000)
- It’s a shame that it only got his time to shine just for one episode, however, it surely left a mark. We don’t have to look any further, just by looking at the official upload of the ending on youtube, it got over 2M views in just one week and over 12M as of right now. It’s sure to say that this brilliant dancing sequence went absolutely viral and led to innumerous real-life dancing videos over the internet if you ask me, it was totally deserved.
- Naoya Nakayama just recently directed and also animated some cuts of the ending of a highly anticipated anime of this season by me, Koisuru Asteroid, not to go to in deep about it but we can expect a lot of output from him on the show since he’s one of the main animators. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his works and how much of his own style will develop throughout the show!
Honorable Mentions – Hoshiai no Sora/ Sword Art Online: Alicization S2/Bungou Stray Dogs S3
Best Photography: Kimetsu no Yaiba – Photography Direction by Yuichi Terao (寺尾優一)
- When it comes to photography and visual aesthetic, Ufotable’s composite on Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer) looks way ahead of his counterparts. Being you a fan or not of the storytelling side of the show, no one can deny how harmonious and meticulous done was Ufotable’s work on making Kimetsu look as photorealistic as possible but also reminding you how dorky and “out of the line” the anime can be.
Honorable Mention: Azur Lane
Best Art Setting – Fire Force [Toshiki Amada (天田 俊貴) x Studio Bihou]
- Although we end up not know much of the world on this first series, the small part that we got the chance to see and explore by itself had one of the richest settings I’ve seen the past year. Toshiki Amada and Studio Bihou did an amazing on the series environment throughout the 24 episodes long, which got the perfect touch of enough realism and color by the composite department led by Yousuke Motoki.
Best Designs – Vinland Saga [Takahiko Abiru (阿比留隆彦)]
- In order to portray Yukimura’s authentic art from the manga, it got to be someone who could really pull out his game to make it possible. Takahiko Abiru was the one chosen for this meticulous and really important task, he surely didn’t disappoint. His detailed designs brought to life the character from the manga in the best way possible, even though it may’ve been arduous for all the animators and animation directors to match his desired designs. Especially on the key moments where Abiru’s art truly shines.
Honorable Mention: Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! [Hiromi Nakagawa (中川洋未)] / Shinchō Yūsha [(Mai Toda (戸田麻衣)]
Anime of The Year: Run with the Wind [Kazuya Nomura (野村和也)] / Vinland Saga [Shūhei Yabuta (籔田修平)]
The phase “Hashiru no ga suki ka” never left my mind, the moment I saw Haiji asking the same to Kakeru while jiggling his body on his bicycle I knew that I was in for a ride. That scene was magical, as for the show. A few animes gave me the feeling that Kazetsuyo did, while at the time I was a college student as well, I immediately saw my self on the characters in many aspects. The sole idea of constant growth and development made the show a genuinely organic felling, that lend me many to question “What I would do in that situation if it were me?”.
One of the great things about Production I.G. anime sports is that at the end of the show, it got you totally immersed in the displayed sport, and this was no different with Kazetsuyo. The more I watched the more I actually wanted to run like them, I mean, that’s also one of the main points of the show, right…? At the end of the show, I couldn’t be more fulfilled, it was an absolutely awesome experience.
Talking about great adaptations Vinland Saga was the other anime that split my opinion on this category. How could I not consider Vinland… Right of the bat, I went for this show with the lowest expectations, mostly because I didn’t know how the production would hold on for such a long number of episodes also considering how heavy detailed were Abiru’s designs.
Coming for a young former 3DCG director, Shūhei Yabuta, demonstrated right at the start having a strong decision power in order to please both manga readers and anime-only watchers by changing the manga’s original order of events in together with the series compositor Hiroshi Seko. As mention by Yabuta-san himself, he does like to put the effort on the timing between the dialogue lines and big moments, as well as how to place the music. As a matter of fact, Yabuta-san chooses meticulously the tracks for each episode so that the viewers can properly enjoy the animation x sound at their best harmony. These other minor details made Vinland Saga a work worth of praising like it’s aforementioned manga counterpart. Needless to say, although the production had many struggles, Yabuta-san and all the staff efforts ended up delivering in all aspects.
Honorable Mention: Hitoribocchi no ○○ Seikatsu/Wataten/Beastars
Bónus: Best Sister – Mya-nee 💖