Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards have returned for a second year, seeking to find the best anime of 2017. This year, Crunchyroll is asking its community to vote for their favorites across 17 categories. The nominees for each category have been hand-selected by a panel of judges with experience in the industry. Voting for the Awards begins on January 22. The winners will be announced at The Anime Awards Show, a live-streamed awards ceremony in Los Angeles on February 24.

Yuri!!! On Ice swept the awards in 2016, winning 6 categories including Anime of the Year. Fans complained that popular anime received nominations in too many categories last year, pushing out more deserving shows and making it easy for a small set of popular shows to win the majority of categories. This year, Crunchyroll has expanded the Awards, adding genre-specific categories and providing more curation of nominees to try and ensure a wider selection of anime is recognized. For the most part, it’s succeeded – this year’s Awards have a much wider variety of shows, and there are few (if any) categories that have nominees that are guaranteed to win. Despite the expansion, this year’s Awards may not be able to escape last year’s fate. Six shows received at least 5 nominations this year, and one show (My Hero Academia Season 2) received 9.

Voting for the Awards will take place at The Anime Awards’ website, in three week-long voting periods, grouped by category type. During week 1 (January 22 to January 28), fans can vote in the Awards’ technical categories: Best Animation, Best Score, Best CGI, Best Film, Best Opening, and Best Ending. Week 2’s polls (January 29 to February 4) focus on the genre-based categories: Best Action, Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best Slice of Life, and Best Continuing Series. The final week (February 5 to February 11) contains the most prestigious (and controversial) awards: Best Girl, Best Boy, Best Hero, Best Villain, Manga of the Year, and Anime of the Year.

See the nominees for this Year’s Anime Awards below, along with my thoughts on several of the categories. Don’t forget to vote for your favorites at TheAnimeAwards.com beginning on Monday, January 22.


Anime of the Year

It goes without saying that the follow-up to 2016’s powerhouse hit My Hero Academia would make the list again this year. Little Witch Academia is the other series with a strong chance of winning AOTY (and several other categories). Surprisingly, all but two nominees for AOTY are sequels (Little Witch Academia follows two OVAs released in 2013 and 2015).

There’s a wide gap again this year between Japanese and American anime fans. Of the top 10 results of Niconico’s annual poll for 2017, only two shows (Land of the Lustrous and Made in Abyss) show up on Crunchyroll’s Anime of the Year poll. Niconico’s other top 5 picks included Kemono Friends, Konosuba Season 2, and The Saga of Tanya the Evil, all of which are worthy of consideration for AOTY, but are missing here.

 

Best Action

 

Best Animation

  • Land of the Lustrous
  • My Hero Academia Season 2
  • Little Witch Academia
  • March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2
  • A Silent Voice
  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

A Silent Voice sneaks into this category despite being a full-length movie, but I can’t fault Crunchyroll for including it. Kyoto Animation has always been known for stellar animation, and A Silent Voice continues their tradition of producing some of the best visuals in the industry. KyoAni’s exceptional animation quality is also present in Kobayashi-san, the studio’s other nomination in this category. While the animation in My Hero Academia isn’t really my style, I can appreciate the effort that Studio Bones has put into maintaining the comic book feel that’s present throughout the manga. Likewise, Little Witch Academia continues the classic Trigger feel that bleeds into every show they touch. While Trigger’s animation quality or style isn’t anything new at this point, it’s definitely deserving of a nomination.

Best CGI

 

Best Comedy

Konosuba and Kobayashi-san are the obvious frontrunners here, both of which were received exceptionally well during the winter season. While Tsurezure Children (the only TV short to receive a nomination this year) is more of a romance anime than a comedy, the comedic interactions between many of the couples earns it a spot on this list. Gamers! fills a similar role, although most of the comedy comes from the almost-unbelievable misunderstandings that happen between Amano and, well, everyone.

Best Continuing Series

 

Best Drama

 

Best Boy

 

Best Girl

The Best Boy/Best Girl categories are always extremely subjective. This year’s nominees span most genres, and most fans will be able find a character on each list to adamantly defend. My personal vote for Best Girl goes to self-described “Elite NEET” Morioka Moriko. Recovery of an MMO Junkie is one of the few anime to portray a relatable main character older than 25. Her interactions with other characters in the series is adorable, and her character’s progression throughout the show is admirable. My vote for Best Boy goes to Kazuma Satou, easily the funniest protagonist of recent years, despite being only isekai lead to not be insanely successful in his new world.

 

Best Film

The entries in this category are theatrical releases, and are currently not available to stream. Instead, we’ve linked the theatrical trailer for each film.

Somehow, Your Name. made the list this year, despite premiering in 2016 (including screenings both at Anime Expo and a Los Angeles theater that year). Your Name. is unequivocally Makoto Shinkai’s best work, and is the most deserving of a win in this category, but I can’t see myself voting for it as it shouldn’t be eligible this year. A Silent Voice, KyoAni’s 2017 drama tackling the issues of bullying and disability, is the other clear frontrunner in this category.

 

Best Manga

The entries in this category are not available to view online. Instead, we’ve linked to the physical releases.

 

Best Opening

I might have a bias for idol anime, but I’m disappointed that Love Live! Sunshine!! failed to receive a single nomination this year. In fact, no music-oriented anime (Love Live! Sunshine!!, BanG Dream!, Idolm@ster SideM, or Wake Up Girls! Shin Shou) got a nod for OP, ED, or score. The OP for New Game!! deserves an honorable mention in this category for its pre-chorus animation. Comparatively, some of the official nominations in this category seem lacking. There are some solid contenders here, though – Acca, My Hero Academia, and Princess Principal’s openings all have a great style that fit their respective shows. (There’s also no love at Crunchyroll for the best meme OP of the year.)

 

Best Ending

  • Step Up Love / ステップアップLOVE (Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond)
  • Ishukan Communication / イシュカン・コミュニケーション (Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid)
  • Kirameku Hamabe / 煌めく浜辺 (Land of the Lustrous)
  • Hikari, Hikari / ひかり、ひかり (Recovery of an MMO Junkie)
  • Behind (Just Because!)
  • Kafune / カフネ (March Comes in Like a Lion)

On the other hand, Crunchyroll’s picks for ED are on-point. Hikari, Hikari and Ishukan Communication have both been in heavy rotation on my anisong playlists this year. Likewise, the ED sequence for Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond is practically unskippable.

 

Best Score

 

Best Slice of Life

 

Best Hero

 

Best Villain

 


Overall, the nominees for 2017’s Anime Awards are solid, providing viewers with a wider range of choices than 2016’s Awards and showcasing how many good shows aired this year. There are a few categories where I’d have liked more under-the-radar anime to get a nomination, and there’s still a chance that one or two shows can sweep the Awards this year. Voting for the Awards starts on Monday, January 22 at TheAnimeAwards.com, and runs through Sunday, February 11.