The Otaku’s Study End of Year Awards // Australian Anime Release of the Year 2013
So far there have been a total of six “The Otaku’s Study End of Year Awards 2013″ articles posted up over the last couple of days which have covered the obvious inclusions such as Manga of the Year and English Localized Artbook of the year to some more surprising ones such as Conundrum of the Year and a series of “Games from Consoles Past” awards. But all that is now behind us, as the two major awards for this year are set to be announced tonight – Australian Anime Release of the Year 2013 and Video Game of the Year 2013 which cover the main topics covered on The Otaku’s Study this year.
Earlier this month I nominated seven anime titles that fitted the criteria to be crowned The Otaku’s Study Australian Anime Release of the Year 2013, and after spending a couple of days watching parts of each title I can now confirm what will be walking away with the bronze, silver and gold awards and what four will walk away with just a good grade.
As a generic means of stalling, let’s take a look at the criteria for an anime series to be considered:
Requirements to be Eligible for Australian Anime Release of the Year 2013
- The series MUST have been published in Australia during 2013.
- Must be a first release in the region, not a re-release or budget priced pack.
- Only physical releases are permissible. Simulcast / Digital releases will be counted as a Japanese Anime Release.
- Must have received at least an A- grade when being reviewed.
- The first collection in the series must have been released in 2013.
- As of Christmas Day 2013, at least half the series must have been released in Australia.
- The series must have not won any previous awards in previous years.
This is the third year that the Australian Anime Release of the Year award has been given out on The Otaku’s Study, and 2013 has once again provided a number of very interesting series well deserving of the award. While there are a number of interesting North American releases as well, the reason why the awards have been split into two is due to the greater number of Australian anime releases I have access to in comparison to the lack of North American ones I own – ensuring that the major award will go to a title I can with some confidence say is my favorite anime release of the year at least from my home region.
The winners of this award will be joining the below winners in The Otaku’s Study Hall of Fame from previous years:
The Otaku’s Study Australian Anime Release of the Year Awards // Previous Winners
- Dennou Coil – Siren Visual
- Eden of the East – Madman Entertainment
- DuRaRaRa!! – Siren Visual
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica – Madman Entertainment
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai – Siren Visual
- Cardcaptor Sakura (Uncut and Japanese Dubbed) – Madman Entertainment
Bronze Award: Bakemonogatari from Hanabee Entertainment
Hanabee Entertainment in their first full year in the Australian anime market offered us a plentiful supply of excellent anime releases, several of which earned A-grades when reviewed on The Otaku’s Study. It was a huge challenge choosing what title would earn the Bronze Award in this category, but in the end it was difficult to pass up on their Japanese-dubbed English-subtitled release of Bakemonogatari.
Bakemonogatari is not a series that you would want to watch if you cannot provide your 100% undivided attention to it, given the rapid-paced dialogue and events that need to be watched in arcs at a time to be fully appreciated. But in dedicating your attention, you will be rewarded with not only an interesting set of mini-storylines following Koyomi Araragi and the feature female protagonist of the arc, but also strong visuals produced by animation studio SHAFT and solid voice acting that culminates into one very enjoyable experience.
Hanabee’s release not only comes with subtitled character commentaries for each episode, but their DVD edition also comes with some fantastic artbook style packaging that continued through their two Bakemonogatari releases and subsequent Nisemonogatari releases. With any luck we should be seeing more releases in the Monogatari anime series in the new year.
It happened with a slip.
Koyomi Araragi thought he was done with the supernatural after his recent brush with vampires but that belief is short lived when Senjyogahara, the aloof girl in school, is as light as a feather. The cause? A crab God with a penchant for the vulnerable. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg as she’s not the only individual suffering from the effects with their brush with the paranormal.
A lost snail who can’t find their way home no matter how hard they try, and a mysterious deadly arm that can only bring misery despite how hard one wishes. The forever ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ Koyomi, can’t help but embroil himself into their lives to fix their problems with the aid of Meme Oshino, an expert on these matters.
Silver Award: Wolf Children from Madman Entertainment
With Madman Entertainment serving as the major anime publisher in both Australia and New Zealand, it is almost inevitable that at least one of their releases would end up with an award through sheer numbers (and a sizable number of quality releases as well of course). After taking Gold and Bronze last year and Silver the year before, the publisher has managed to walk away with another Silver from their end-of-year release of Wolf Children, the latest feature film from legendary anime director Mamoru Hosoda.
The main charm of Wolf Children was its two-tier storyline that not only focused on Hana’s struggle at becoming a single-parent of two very unique human/wolf hybrid children, but also the struggles faced by the children as they try to find their identity and place in life given their distinct differences. It is not the heartwarming plot that you might initially be led to believe, but rather a serious and sometimes saddening story that has masterfully been written by one of the directors that may be poised to fill in the shoes of Hayao Miyazaki given his recent retirement.
High production value made this a worthwhile watch and well deserving of second place in The Otaku’s Study Australian Anime Release of the Year 2013 awards ceremony.
Hana was a student before she was a mother. She was bright and pretty, and her future held endless possibilities. Then she met a man, who turned out to be a wolf, and together they built a family. Hana loved her mate fiercely, but fate took him from her, leaving her alone with two unusual kids she didn’t know how to raise. Frightened of being discovered, Hana and her wolf children fled to the countryside to build a new life.
Raising her little wild things was an adventure. It left Hana bruised, scratched, exhausted, and joyously overwhelmed as her pups grew stronger and wandered further every day. This is a mother’s journey. Teach your children to chase their dreams – and smile through the tears as they disappear into the world in search of who they will become. Hana wasn’t always a mother, but it was always what she was meant to be.
Gold Award: Tiger & Bunny from Siren Visual
While its first feature film released last month ended up being a fairy disappointing experience in comparison, it was hard not to consider Tiger & Bunny from Siren Visual as being anything other than my personal favourite anime release of 2013 and was well deserving of the title “Australian Anime Release of the Year 2013“. Carrying over the quote that I have referenced several times from my original review of the simulcast a couple of years ago, “the series showed me that there was still more for the Super Hero genre to offer“.
Tiger & Bunny managed to provide a successful merger of comical elements that built upon cliches present in the super hero genre and a unique and surprisingly serious storyline from the writers own mind. The end result was something that stood out in a genre used within both western and eastern animation, and every episode provided an enjoyable experience. Leaving the plot right open, let’s hope the next feature film fills the gaps in the plot.
The 25-episode television series produced by animation studio Sunrise provided the standard of visuals and animation one would expect from them, and the English dub I felt surpassed the Japanese one in terms of suitability to the genre – resulting in an experience that was just as satisfying to the eyes and ears as it was the mind. While Siren Visual tend to stick with the niche anime titles and are proudly boasting their release of Monster from next month, this was one more mainstream anime title that has worked in their favour… at least to me!
The city of Stern Bild is protected by corporate superheroes known as NEXT, who fight crime while promoting their sponsors on the popular show “HERO TV”. Veteran hero Wild Tiger relies on his years of experience and instincts to fight crime, but his tendency to destroy public property for the sake of protecting the lives of the innocent has earned him the nickname “Crusher for Justice”. Now under orders from his new employer, Wild Tiger finds himself forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie with an attitude. Two polar opposites work to fight evil in this thrilling buddy-hero action series!