I got talking to one of my friends who mentioned that he only wants to follow an anime/films if they actually are listed with an some recognizable awards. This got me thinking of wanting to find out more about what official awards are out there and what anime films/series actually have the most award and therefore should be commended. I have done rankings based on what us bloggers think so now it will be interesting to see which one the industry rank as the best in anime.
Having scoured the net for a while, I have found 8 distinct awards (see list at the end of the post) out there that fit my criteria (being the award must be for animation or feature film and it can be both in Japan or international). This is not as few as I have feared and it should give somewhat a good feel of the award-ability of the titles. Based on the names listed in all these awards, I assign 2 points if the anime won a ‘best’ category and 1 point if it is either in contention or mentioned in a list.Since most awards tend to revolve around feature films, I have restricted this post to including only that and no anime series. That may be for another post if there are enough titles to make it worthwhile.
Here are animes with the highest point total. If you trust awards more than internet hear-says, I hope you will find this list useful to narrow down what anime film to consider watching (links in the title take you to wikipedia if you are so inclined to find out more about the title):
1). Spirited Away (2002) – 14 points
- 2002 Best Animation Feature – Academy Awards 
- 2002 Best Animation Feature Winner – Annie Award 
- 2002 Academy Prize Picture of the Year Winner – Japan Academy Prize 
- 2002 Animation of the Year Winner – Tokyo Anime Award 
- 2001 Animation Grand Award – Mainichi Film Award 
- 2001 Grand Prize (Animation) – Japan Media Art Festival Award 
- 2001 Feature Film Award – Animation Kobe Award 
It cleaned the awards that existed during its time of release that I have on record during 2001-2 (Asia Pacific Screen Award first gave its prize in 2007). Not only did it do well financially (most gross film in Japan at that time; the first film that has made $200MM before it was released in the US), but fans and critics also unanimously sang its praises. You may like other Ghibli’s films more but you cannot deny the accessibility and attention this piece of animation managed to bring to anime.
After having learnt how to put pictures on the blog and make it look more attractive, I want to present the top movie directors again in a more accessible, non-technical format. I have mentioned most of the top ones to death but it never hurt to actually highlight them out again since they all deserve as much attention as I can give them. For this exercise , I will combine both movies and OAVs together. The next eight directors (with multiple films in the list, ranked in order of how many times their works are being mentioned in all of the lists used to compile the results) are definitely among the best short-format anime directors you will find in 2000s.
1). Shinkai Makoto
Why he is listed: 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2004), Voices of a Distant Star (2002)
My one-title recommendation (if you want to check one of his works out, I recommend this): Voices of a Distant Star
Other noteworthy works: She and Her Cat (1999)
Affiliated studios (studio that the direct has done the most works with): Comix Wave Inc.
Comment: The way this guy used lighting is as good as it gets. The quality of his animation is always top-notch. He can be quite a one-trick pony with his story-telling but when it’s told this well and look so good, I don’t consider that such a bad thing:) Hailed as ‘the next Miyazaki’ I really hope he can live up to such title for years to come! If anyone has not seen it yet, I would really urge you to check out Voices of the Distant Star for what this guy is capable of. This is the 25 minutes OAV that he, other than music and voice acting, essentially create by himself. It’s so well-done and the animation looks so great that it is pretty unbelievable that this is a one-man effort. Plus, it’s pretty short too so you won’t be wasting too much time if you happen not to like it!