As is now something of a tradition for my 12 days posts, day 6 is our 5th annual Short awards. Every year I use this day to highlight some of the more interesting short anime that aired over the course of the year. In any year the quality of short anime tends to vary wildly and that held true here for the most part. On the plus side there wasn’t much in the way of actively unpleasant stuff like some previous years have had so good job on that front 2020. Anyways, lets get into it shall we.
Best Spinoff Short – BanG Dream! Garupa☆Pico: Oomori
Spinoff shorts are a strange beast because a lot of time they’re (understandably) made with fans of the existing franchise in mind. This can often leave them somewhat opaque to outsiders. The better ones on the other hand manage to be enjoyable regardless of that. Two seasons of this in I still have only a general idea who half the BanG Dream cast are but these shorts managed to still be consistently creative enough to be enjoyable each week. The willingness to just throw the characters into nonsensical situations and see how they bounce of it makes this one work far better than a lot of similar shorts.
Most Atmospheric – That is the Bottleneck
The first 4 episodes of this series do a surprisingly good job of building up a genuinely tense and offputting atmosphere. The low key listlessness of the entire cast helps lend a surreal feel to the whole affair, the sense that there’s definitely something off about the whole place but it’s not clear how much anyone really knows. It’s one of those situations where the short run time actually works in the show’s favour, it gives just enough time to establish the mystery surrounding Mutou without going overboard. To the show’s credit it also knows when to break that tension, culminating in a mid series reveal that answers all the seemingly contradictory questions that have been building up while also raising a whole raft of wild new ones. The second half hasn’t been quite as strong perhaps but those early episodes are a solid watch.
Best ED – Grand Blues
It’s Vyrn singing the Tiamat battle theme and it’s amazing. A lot of the Grand Blues anime feels like it doesn’t really benefit all that much from being actually animated. The jokes still work but it doesn’t feel particularly enhanced by the shift in medium. But this ending theme is very firmly something that can’t be done in the comic itself while still very much hitting the tone that makes the whole thing work.
Best Stealth Ad for a Different Show That Doesn’t Exist Yet Award – Hentatsu
Kemurikusa is a series of fun little meandering chats that don’t go anywhere in particular which mostly serve as an excuse for the director to comment on the industry, bookended by a pair of fight scenes, the second of which ends with the announcement of their as of yet unnamed next project. The characters that exist primarily as Tatsuki’s mouthpieces having to fight a battle to reveal this next project is a fun little meta touch that fits right in with the tone of things.
The Award for Most Inexplicable Digs at Shimane – Eagle Talon: Golden Spell
While I cannot begin to discern the root of Eagle Talon’s need to repeatedly dunk on Japan’s second least populous prefecture at any given opportunity, I do have to respect its commitment to the bit. Because it is very much commited to that one specific bit. It is without a doubt the anime I have encountered with the greatest seemingly unfounded enmity towards Shimane.
The Onyankopon Award for Most Existentially Terrifying Series – Anime Kapibarasan
Anime Kapibarasan is an anime about a capybara named Kapibarasan who lives on a prarie and eats grass all day. It’s very cute and only a minute and a half long. At one point he meets an actual capybara and this causes both parties to briefly flicker out of existence due to existential uncertainty.
Teekyu Award For Most Teekyu Show To Teekyu This Year – Usakame? Apparently?
I still have no idea how this keeps happening every year. I hit post and this final award just appears at the end unbidden. At least this time around it’s Teekyu’s (marginaly) less frenetic spinoff that gets to take the limelight for a bit.