The 2012 GLORIO Awards Part 1: Behind the Scenes

awards_part1

We here at the GLORIO Blog take pride in the wide variety of opinions, preferences and perspectives our writers have to offer. It makes for some interesting (and sometimes heated) debate among ourselves, and as we look back at the anime of 2012 we’d like to share those debates with our readers. And so we welcome you to the first annual GLORIO Awards!

For the first part of our awards coverage, we’ll be going Behind the Scenes – taking a look at all the magic that happens before your favorite anime hits the screen. So put on your best formalwear, take a stroll down the virtual red carpet, and join in on the debate.

Best Soundtrack

Jel nominates: Saeko Suzuki and TOMISIRO, Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne
Melancholy Space Organ Beach Music

Dragonzigg nominates: Yoko Kanno, Kids On the Slope
Smooth, relaxed and wonderful to lie back and listen to, nothing else sounded quite like this

Irothtin nominates: Yuki Kajiura, Fate/Zero
Ominous chanting and deep orchestral sounds are a perfect fit for a battle royale between legendary heroes.

Lifesong nominates: Hiroyuki Sawano and ryo, Guilty Crown
Catchy pop rock and powerful vocal pieces.

Marlinclock nominates: Yoko Kanno, Kids On the Slope
The Queen of Jazz back to score a 60’s period piece? What could be better.

Aquagaze nominates: Yoko Kanno, Kids On the Slope
An atmospheric ensemble of both new compositions and genre classics that succeeded in its one purpose: Getting modern geeks excited about jazz music again.

Gee-Man nominates: Yoko Kanno, Kids On the Slope
Oh come on, there’s like three other people before me who will have already said something.

And the winner is…

award1_soundtrack

Marlin Says: When I heard of Kids on the Slope, I was instantly sold. Not only did I love the setting, a period piece in 60’s Japan about kids growing up through jazz and their friendship, but that Yoko Kanno herself was producing the score. As many people know, Yoko Kanno was the woman behind The Seatbelts and the fantastic jazz soundtrack that backed perrenial classic Cowboy Bebop. I could not have thought of a better match for this anime. The ending of episode 7 is one of the best I can ever think of, thanks primarily to a fantastic piano and drums duet by the two main characters that just perfectly encapsulated their feelings without even needing to say them. While the story itself petered into a let down of wasted potential, the music was never anything but superlative.

Best Opening Song

Jel nominates: “The Everlasting Guilty Crown” by EGOIST, Guilty Crown
Huge, driving pop rock anthem and really pretty visuals

Dragonzigg nominates: “Escape” by Hemenway, Eureka Seven AO
Soaring, rocking power ballad raised the hopes of a generation of fans (before the show crushed them)

Irothtin nominates: “To the Beginning” by Kalafina, Fate/Zero
Kalafina delivers a heavily melancholic tune to match Fate/Zero’s darker second half.

Lifesong nominates: “The Everlasting Guilty Crown” by EGOIST, Guilty Crown
Does a lot to sum up the show, beautiful vocals and beautiful visuals.

Marlinclock nominates: “Sono Chi no Sadame” by Tommy Tominaga, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
The sun leads those who seek the path of glory!

Aquagaze nominates: “Abnormalize” by Lin Toshite Shigure, Psycho-Pass
Husky vocals, meandering buildup and yelping guitars turn a song that should never end well into a hyperkinetic sledgehammer.

ItsaTimmy nominates: “Sparkling Daydream” by ZAQ, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions
I merely nominated this because it makes my brain HURT SO GOOD!

Gee-Man nominates: “Feel So Moon” by Unicorn, Space Bros.
It’s silly and quirky and maybe not my actual favorite OP of the year, but goddamn does it make me feel so moon.

And the winner is…

award2_OP

Zigg Says: Escape is what Eureka Seven was always meant to be about. Escape from your boring, suburban life to a world of endless adventure surfing across the skies. This song came closer than anything I’ve ever heard to capturing that feeling of soaring away. It’s a tune with an irrepressible rhythm, from the catchy electronic beat which it opens with to the long, drawn out note it ends on, and it’s also a rare anime song that has decent, poetic lyrics that accentuate what you feel when listening to it. Mostly though, it’s here because of hope, the hope you got when you heard those guitars and saw those bright blue skies, those new faces and the one familiar one. I remember the moment I watched this OP for the first time and became convinced, totally convinced, that the spirit of Eureka Seven finally lived again. Alas, it was not to be, but even today, watching this makes me dream what might have been.

Best Ending Song

Jel nominates: “Wareta Ringo” by Risa Taneda, From the New World
Striking art style and lovely vocals from the series’ lead actress

Dragonzigg nominates: “Wareta Ringo” by Risa Taneda, From the New World
Distinctive stop-start rhythm explodes into a beautiful tune tinged with an edge of sadness.

Irothtin nominates: “Mystery Surrounding You” by Satomi Satou and Ai Kayano, Hyouka
A cutesy sequence that meshes well with the themes of the series.

Lifesong nominates: “Days of Dash” Konomi Suzuki, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Helps define the anime and fits the theme of the story wonderfully.

Marlinclock nominates: “Above Your Hand” by Annabel, Sankarea
A great gentle melody that perfectly encapsulated this quirky supernatural romance.

Aquagaze nominates: “Wareta Ringo” by Risa Taneda, From the New World
An eerie pop song that blossoms into the breakbeat anthem for a brighter future.

ItsaTimmy nominates: “Inside Identity” by Black Raison D’etre, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions
Oh man, this was catchy as all hell and it looked great visually as well. So much fun to watch every week.

Gee-Man nominates: “Beauty of Destiny” by Shihoko Hirata feat. Lotus Juice, Persona 4 the Animation
While P4A itself might not have been perfect, the songs written for it feel just as much a part of the Persona universe as the soundtrack from the game itself.

And the winner is…

award3_ED

Aqua says: Just like how every well-known pop song nowadays needs to have dubstep in it, back in the late 90s breakbeats were all over the place. ‘Wareta Ringo” starts off suspiciously similar to one of the many cookie-cutter semi-acoustic R’n’B chart-toppers from my childhood, but it quickly shows that composer and funky art-popper Chikara Ozu just knows his pop tropes very well. Stop-and-go fingerpicking, interspersed with Risa Taneda’s tender vocals and eerie violins build up to a chorus that answers to certain universal notions of all things catchy and good on the ears. Digitized call-and-responses? Check. String ensembles? Check? However suspiciously well it may colour between the lines, “Wareta Ringo” is both a delightful trip down memory lane and a perfect complement to a show with a soundtrack that sounds as if it were composed by a hoodied and hungover Yuki Kajiiura in a grisly London garage.

Best Art Direction

Jel nominates: Ayumi Miyakoshi and Masakazu Miyaki, Humanity Has Declined
Creepy Fairy Tale vibe with colorful creatures and settings painted in swirly pastels

Dragonzigg nominates: Emi Kesamaru, Tetsuhiko Nagashima and huke, Black Rock Shooter
Painted a series of colour themed nightmares in a surreal world of the mind

Irothtin nominates: Takayuki Nagashima and Yusuke Takeda, Sword Art Online
The visuals are about the one thing I can’t really fault this show on – the art of each game is distinctive and atmospheric.

Lifesong nominates: Yusuke Takeda, Guilty Crown
Full of symbolism that really added a lot to the anime.

Marlinclock nominates: Chihako Shibata, My Little Monster
Brains Base really outdid themselves with a fantastic color pallet and texture that blew everything out of the water.

Aquagaze nominates: Hiroshi Katou and Yumi Hosaka, Kyousogiga
This show is basically what happens if you take the most talented animators in Japan and lock them in a room with heaps of money from Pretty Cure merchandise and 40 kilos of acid.

ItsaTimmy nominates: Shigemi Ikeda, Mysterious Girlfriend X
I loved the old school anime style that MGX was coated with. 80’s anime at 1080p.

Gee-Man nominates: Seiki Tamura, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine
A noir aesthetic combined with some dynamic set pieces made for a very pretty anime.

And the winner is…

award4_artdirection

Gee Says: While people to this day still argue over whether Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine is actually a  decent entry into the Lupin canon or not, one can’t deny that it was gorgeous. The noir appeal combined with the beautiful pencil-sketched aesthetic created a distinctly unique and appealing look that was rarely found anywhere else this year. The early episodes captured the dynamism and spontaneity of the Lupin universe perfectly while still giving it a more nuanced look, whereas the later episodes introduced some truly surreal set pieces that really gave its viewers an idea of what animation can look like and accomplish when it pushes the boundaries of art and illustration. Regardless of which approach you prefer, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine was a visual treat from beginning til end.

Best Character Design

Jel nominates: Katsunori Shibata, Sengoku Collection
Wins almost for sheer quantity, there’s a wide variety of cool colors, outfits and weapons

Dragonzigg nominates: Yusuke Yoshigaki and huke, Black Rock Shooter
Takes already iconic designs, and streamlines and enhances  them to create a totally distinctive ensemble of warriors

Irothtin nominates: Takashi Takeuchi, Atsushi Ikariya and Tomonori Sudou, Fate/Zero
Every main player has a distinctive look and silhouette, even the plain people in contemporary clothing.

Lifesong nominates: Hiromi Kato and redjuice, Guilty Crown
Inori, awesome uniforms, the outfits have a very distinct look all around.

Marlinclock nominates: Takashi Takeuchi, Atsushi Ikariya and Tomonori Sudou, Fate/Zero
Taking figures from history and legend and making them your own has a lot of promise, Fate/Zero did not disappoint.

Aquagaze nominates: Yuuchi Takahashi and Atsuya Uki, Tsuritama
Uki’s scribbly designs could not have fitted the show better: adorable without being trite, and evoke a sense of individuality, absurdity and summer fun.

ItsaTimmy nominates: Osamu Sakata and Kana Hashidate, Dog Days’
Hey, don’t look at me like that! Everyone looks so damn cute I couldn’t help it.

Gee-Man nominates: Takako Shimizu and Hirohiko Araki, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
I won’t lie, despite being an artist I didn’t really think too much about this one. I just love how unabashedly crazy everyone in Jojo looks.

And the winner is…

award5_character

Iro Says: Takashi Takeuchi gets a lot of flak for having “sameface” characters, and while that does ring true to an extent, I think he’s exceptional at giving all of the characters a distinct vibe. Just by looking at the characters you can get an idea of the way they think and feel, whether it be Kiritsugu’s suit and longcoat ensemble, Saber’s practical battle dress, or Waver’s collegiate outfit.

I still don’t know what’s the deal with giving all the Celtic heroes spandex, though.

Best Script

Jel nominates: Yukito Kizawa e.a. adapted from the light novel by NisiOisin, Nisemonogatari
Wonderfully written playful banter and witty musings by insightful characters

Dragonzigg nominates: Jukki Handa adapted from the light novel by Torako, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions
No show spewed as much entertaining babble this year, not even the next nominee.

Irothtin nominates: Akihiro Yoshida e.a. adapted from the light novel by Gen Urobuchi, Fate/Zero
Everybody laughed at me for this because of the circle walking in the first episode.

Lifesong nominates: Mari Okada e.a. adapted from the light novel by Hajime Kamoshida, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou
Awesome dialog, jokes that are almost always funny and most importantly a focused story.

Marlinclock nominates: Shoji Gatou e.a. adapted from the light novel by Honobu Yonezawa, Hyouka
This story really had smart dialogue and great characters, each believable for their faults, their dreams, and their responsibilities.

Aquagaze nominates: Yukito Kizawa e.a. adapted from the novel by NisiOisin, Nisemonogatari
NisiOisin’s wit stands as the ringmaster of a Das Racist-esque circus of dadaism with quick-fired snapbacks, associative wordplay and sexual tension lurking around every corner.

ItsaTimmy nominates: Yukito Kizawa e.a. adapted from the novel by NisiOisin, Nisemonogatari
So much bloody talking yet the anime is more then watchable. How can you manage that with a script that is anything but stellar?

And the winner is…

award6_script

Zigg Says: Chunibyo and I may have ultimately disagreed on direction, but nobody can deny the path it took there was superbly entertaining. This was a show that new exactly what to have its characters say at exactly the right times. Half of it was the superb gibberish which the script concocted for its insane cast to babble at each other in increasingly silly sequences, but what really set Chunibyo apart was that even when the comedy took a backseat the writing remained impressive, alternating between gentle romance and tortured sadness while never drifting out of character. It was alternately sly, witty, touching, goofy and adorable. No other script covered so many bases and excelled at them all.

Best Director

Jel nominates: Akiyuki Shinbo, Nisemonogatari
There is only one Shinbo

Dragonzigg nominates: Shinobu Yoshioka, Black Rock Shooter
The best fights this year, hands down, paired with some amazingly well shot and staged ‘real world’ sequences.

Irothtin nominates: Ei Aoki, Fate/Zero
We manage to get well-implemented action scenes and good series flow out of what was originally in text format.

Lifesong nominates: Shin Oonuma, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia and Kokoro Connect
I am always impressed with Shin Oonuma’s work at Silver Link and this year had some incredible examples.

Marlinclock nominates: Ei Aoki, Fate/Zero
The battles in this show were some of the best scenes of this entire year.

Aquagaze nominates: Yasuhiro Takemoto, Hyouka
With a clever combination of creative camera angles, polished visual touches and artistic flair, Takemoto’s cinematic directing is only one of the many parts that make up KyoAni’s splendor.

ItsaTimmy nominates: Akiyuki Shinbo, Nisemonogatari
It’s Shinbo. ‘Nuff said.

And the winner is…

award7_director

Jel Says: A good director will often go unnoticed and unappreciated. A great director makes his presence known, and as far as anime goes Shinbo is at the top of the list. The -monogatari series has been a great showcase for his talents, providing a steady stream of odd dialogue and cute girls for his surreal interpretations, obtuse camera angles and sexy… typography. With its production values improved over its predecessor, Nisemonogatari is one of Shinbo’s best looking works to date, confirming his methods are more than just parlor tricks to mask a modest budget.

That concludes our the first part of the 2012 GLORIO Awards! Which ones do you think we got right? Which ones are horribly wrong? What would your choices be? Please share what you think, and stay tuned for the Part 2.

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