Alright, we’re a bit late. The cheerful atmosphere of summer (or the gloomy growth of winter to those far south) is our only excuse. But no worries; not even the temptation of the poolside nor the jitters of upcoming winter finals can distract us any longer from applauding the joy spring delivered.

Welcome to Sekjitsu’s second seasonal awards! Spring was a huge season with over forty shows, and we’ve tried to reminisce fondly (or not so fondly) over as many as possible. As the show selection was vast and varied, many of these awards were close calls (although some were near-unanimous–feel free to guess which are which!). In retrospect, winter’s awards were almost disappointingly standard; we won’t mind if these spring choices bring as much controversy as concurrence.

Whether or not you agree, we invite you to join our celebration of the massive (and massively fun) spring season. Let’s hope for an even better summer!

WARNING WARNING WARNING: By the way, there are spoilers up to the last episodes of the spring season behind cuts in this post. If you’re taking your time with the spring shows (especially Steins;Gate, Denpa Onna, and Ano Hana), be careful where you click!

- B E S T  O P E N I N G  S E Q U E N C E -

OsOchuujin//DenpaOnnatoSeishunOtoko

First up to bat is probably going to raise a lot of questions. We told you there would be some controversy, right? Right? Well to be perfectly honest, this song annoyed the hell out of us too. It wasn’t until a couple of episodes later that it started to sink its claws in. It may not be the most pleasant listening experience, and it will probably provoke you into smashing your flatmate’s head in, but there’s no denying that the quirky tune and the erratic vocals really do match up with the aesthetic of the series. For that, we decided to give Os Ochuujin our Best OP award. /end stockholm syndrome.

Honorable Mentions: Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi (Nichijou), Aoi Shiori (Ano Hana)

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SecretBase//AnoHana

“Secret Base” is a song that many came to love, whether it happened right at the start of the show or near the end. With its emotionally powerful lyrics and instrumental backdrop, it made many shed a tear during those final moments in the last episode. Although the competition was stiff,  the brilliant mix of sadness and hope pushed “Secret Base” to obtaining Sekijitsu’s Best Ending Award.

The song is not only emotional, but its conception may even reflect the show’s story. The original song by Zone was released ten years ago and was remade for Ano Hana. Interestingly, the gap between Menma’s death and the present time in Ano Hana is also ten years apart.

Whether it’s meaningful or not, it’s always great to see old songs polished and shining once again, and “Secret Base” did more than that. Not only did it fit in with the anime’s genre, drama, but it added that extra punch in any situation the song was used in (mainly the end of the episode). As that is said, we at Sekijitsu hereby give the Best Ending Award to “Secret Base.”

Honorable Mentions: Take Off (Ao no Exorcist), RPG (C)

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Matsuyuki“Yukiatsu”Atsumu//AnoHana

Trap. Antagonist. Creep. Conniving. Anarchist. Perfect. Yukiatsu has been called many things (some much, much worse than those) but there’s no denying that he fits every criteria. As the most interesting character specimen in Ano Hana, he carries the entire series on his own due to his actions. Deliberate or not, he creates controversy for both the characters in the show and the viewers, as he acts as the figurative ticking time bomb.

But none of those accomplishments come close to his contribution to cross-dressing. With his chiseled and slender build, he is the striking image of perfection. With the testosterone realm all but conquered, what better way to diversify his portfolio than to cross-jump into the other zone? Judging by the votes, it appears that he has done enough to convince us. He makes one hell of an imposing trap and for that, he will forever be known as the king of traps on the pages of Sekijitsu. Well done, lad.

- H O T T E S T  M I L F -

MemeTouwa//DenpaOnnatoSeishunOtaka

We’re not sure who is interested in MILFs except for Bass and Flags, but their interest in MILFs is enough to fuel the internet itself. No character in the past season, or maybe even the past year has set off the MILF sensors with the veracity that Meme has. Bass himself could be seen on one of New Zealand’s (many?) cliffs screaming about his love for Meme. Characters within the show also could not get over just how HAWT Meme is. Not since Clannad’s Sanae have we encountered such an unbelievably hot mama. From Niwa-kun to Yamamoto, we have two guys who easily fell for the adorable forty-year-old.

We all know that anime characters only have two ages: young and old. But hey, guys can dream, right? Everyone at some point took a double take at the characters in Denpa Onna and said: “Dem Lips!” but it’s been a while since a character made us yell: “DEM……EVERYT……DAYUM!!!”

- B I G G E S T  P E D O -

Satou//A-Channel

There’s just something hot about the exposed flesh of a young girl’s pale forehead… or at least, according to Satou-sensei. If he could, he would slowly caress that beautiful forehead night and day until his fingers fell off, then proceed to rub it some more with his feet.

….That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is that this guy is weird. We know it, Tohru knows it, but poor Run-chan just doesn’t realize that she’s the target of the school’s #1 creeper. He never comes out and does anything inappropriate in the show, but Satou has spent enough time gazing lustfully at Run to warrant giving him the title of Best Pedo Nurse. It’s a good thing Tohru has the common sense to recognize the threat and protect Run, because without her, we’d have watched that girl forehead-raped over the course of the show.

- B I G G E S T  F A S H I O N I S T A -

Naruko“Anaru”Anjou//AnoHana

Someone who scowls as much as Anaru should not be this pretty, and yet here we are. Some may say that her lack of confidence actually turned her for the worse, but you gotta look at things from a different perspective. At least she now knows how to stay on top of trends and accessorize!

One of the best parts of Ano Hana is the weekly fashion knowledge that Anaru drops on the masses. Whether it’s just a simple hairstyle change or a complete outfit revamp, the girl knows how to turn heads. God (or the animators) has gifted her with the best assets and she damn well knows how to take advantage, even if it’s all just a front to help her fit in. You know what though? Jintan is one lucky son-of-a-gun and on behalf of all the guys who bothered with Ano Hana’s melodrama, we salute you Anaru.

Don’t ever change.

- B E S T  B R O M A N C E -

KotetsuKaburagi&BarnabyBrooksJr.//Tiger&Bunny

Oh, come on now. If you didn’t see this coming from a mile away, then you must not have seen the fanart, doujins, and AMV’s flooding the internet at the moment. These two are practically married in fanon and canon alike. But homolust aside, Kotetsu and Barnaby also just have great chemistry as a team, and that’s what makes them worthy of being the Best Bromance.

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MaiMinakami&YuukoAoi//Nichijou

Although child professors, candy-rocket robots, and cats that talk are the norm in Nichijou, realistic female friendships spice up the show’s version of ordinary life. The show hosts many deserving lady/lady relations, but we ultimately decided to award Yuuko and Mai with Best Womance. After all, Mai’s stoic, prankster behavior coupled with Yuuko’s kindhearted idiocy make them not just charming but… suggestive.

For example, when Yuuko came to believe that Mai liked her like that, who didn’t hope against hope that she was right? Naturally, Mai trolls us all, but, surprisingly, she doesn’t rely on extraordinary gimmicks to do so. Mai and Yuuko’s special but familiar relationship meshes with the show’s natural-born mohawks and flying fish, bringing them down to an everyday life with which even us ordinary folk can relate. And even if the girls don’t have noses, Mai and Yuuko’s chemistry unashamedly let us anime bloggers ship some girl-on-girl. And that’s the essence of our nichijou, ain’t it?

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RintarouOkabe&KurisuMakise//Steins;Gate

Okarin and Kurisu may struggle with the study of time travel, but there’s no denying they’ve mastered the science of chemistry. Don’t let Steins;Gate’s ratio of guys to girls fool you; all the characters, despite their gender, have well-developed personalities that far surpass the cliches found in a typical anime harem. That said, we at Sekijitsu feel that the show’s lead male, Okarin, shares the most engaging relationship with Kurisu Makise, sometimes gently mocked  as Christina by none other than the mad scientist himself. That’s not to disregard his chemistry with darling moeblob Mayuri or, heck, the magnetism prevalent between all members of the cast. But even in a show of well-executed characters and relationships, the connection between these intellectual equals has lead to a rare combination of wit and attraction that pulls us in. Hmm, perhaps they’ve mastered physics, too.

Honorable Mentions:  Rintarou Okabe & Mayuri Shiina (Steins;Gate), Takano & Ritsu (Sekaiichi Hatsukoi)

- B E S T  F E M A L E  S U P P O R T –

Maekawa//DenpaOnnatoSeishunOtoko

A hobby for wearing various costumes continually gives off a fresh, new image of this tall girl. Wearing costumes aren’t her only major quirk; Maekawa gets light-headed if she puts her arms up for longer than ten seconds. You might ask, why is such a weird character obtaining Best Supporting Female? We shall tell you why:  Though Maekawa is just a regular school girl, she’s unique because of her personality and habits.

Maekawa makes normal school girls look awesome and serves as a role model in a sense for “doing-what-you-like-and-not-caring-about-what-others-think.” An example of this is when Maekawa is told not to wear her weird costumes to work, but she insists on wearing them anyway. Her sarcastic yet calm voice can sometimes give off a sneaky feel about her, which makes whatever she’s plotting even more intense, even though she’s just a school girl. Maekawa is so peculiar that words just can’t fully sum up why she’s such a great character, but nonetheless, we at Sekijitsu proudly award Maekawa as Best Supporting Female.

Honorable Mention:  Anjou “Anaru” Naruko (Ano Hana)

- B E S T  M A L E  S U P P O R T –

Usui“Switch”Kazuyoshi//SKETDance

Switch defines the term “Wingman”. Even though he is arguably the most interesting character in Sket Dance, he is often left to act as the straight (lol) man to Bossun’s crazy. That doesn’t stop him for sparkling the strongest though.

The more you learn about Switch, the more you realize that he is nothing like the outward image he projects. At first glance, he is just some generic, brooding, handsome kid who doesn’t talk much. Dig deeper though and you will realize that he doesn’t actually talk at all; he lets the computer do the talking. Switch is the result of Stephen Hawking’s wettest dreams, but he also helps to bridge the gap between bishounen and otaku, with his intricate knowledge on fanboy culture being an unexpected aspect of his personality. Add in his tragic past and you have the makings of a brilliant lead, and yet, here he is falling just short of the target.

Don’t worry, Switch, you were not forgotten. We appreciate you for who you are, and to add to that collection of medals that you got in the class popularity contest, we award you with our own “Best Supporting Male” award. Just don’t tell Bossun.

Honorable Mentions: Yukiatsu (Ano Hana), Tohru Miyagishi (Hanasaku Iroha)

- B E S T  F E M A L E  L E A D -

OhanaMatsumae//HanasakuIroha

When we first meet Ohana, she is independent but also naive of how tough life can be. However, once she stars working at Kissuisō, not only does she learn to rely on others more, but through physical and mental discipline, she changes herself and the inn for the better. With the bonds she’s created with the individuals of the inn, Ohana feels more successful and useful. Likewise, her enthusiasm shines brightly and makes the inn, and the show, a happier place.

Though there are times when her helpful heart only makes matters worse, Ohana never gives up and “fests it up” after, and even during, a breakdown. Ohana is a strong and positive character who has had to adapt to a new form of life. As she continues to develop, Ohana influences those around her, moving and motivating both characters and the real life audience, which is why we at Sekijitsu have awarded her Best Female Lead.

Honorable Mentions: Kurisu Makise (Steins;Gate), Victorique (GOSICK)

- B E S T  M A L E  L E A D –

RintarouOkabe//Steins;Gate

Rintarou Okabe AKA Okarin AKA Hououin Kyouma proves that Dr. Pepper fans can indeed rule the WORLD. But in all seriousness, Okarin is the proof that the unlikable and unsociable mad scientist bloke can be a likable, complex character. Even when he acts like a paranoid nut bag, you still feel a sense of attachment to the man. And it’s hard not to feel sympathy for him as well; everything goes wrong in his life as he breaks the world, deletes Akiba, and continually faces Mayuri’s inevitable death. And most of all, it’s hard not to feel respect for Okarin. Full props to him for not giving up on saving Mayuri; most people would. And don’t forget that he did (accidentally) invent time travel.

So with the power invested in us (by @channel) we hereby award Okarin the internets Best Lead Male.

Honorable Mentions: Kotetsu Kaburagi (Tiger & Bunny), Kaiji Itou (Kaiji – Hakairoku Ken)

- B E S T  V I L L A I N -

Show ▼

- M O S T  A N N O Y I N G  C E N S O R S H I P -

DeadmanWonderland

Taking out the violence and gore out of Deadman Wonderland is like taking Jimmy Page out of Led Zeppelin; you’re essentially taking out the main attraction out of the equation. While a decrease of censorship would not have helped Deadman Wonderland’s quality, it would at least give viewers the opportunity to witness what made the manga so captivating.

That no-holds-barred gore made Deadman Wonderland into what it is, and replacing that soul with endless amounts of darkness isn’t helping the adaptation one bit. As big fans of the manga, we were extremely disappointed with the series as a whole and the fact that we can’t enjoy some gruesome fanservice makes it that much harder to appreciate. You disgust me, censorship. You really do.

- B E S T  D E T E N T I O N -

AonoExorcist

Only in demon-slaying school is detention not the never-ending bore that is losing your lunchtime freedom and writing an essay on some random topic your teacher concocted in his evil, evil dreams the night before. No. Only at True Cross Academy does detention instead turn out to be an exam, and whilst that doesn’t sound any better, in Ao no Exorcist, it makes for one of the show’s best fight sequences, complete with a good ol’ character role reversal and the release of those cool blue flames for some demon butt-kicking. This may only be a crack award, but you can’t deny that this IS the anime world’s best possible detention scenario!

- M O S T  I N C O N S I S T E N T -

HanasakuIroha

Sometimes we watch Hanasaku Iroha in pure awe of its brilliance, only to have it crank out something mediocre the next week. With this show, nobody ever knows what to expect. Will they give us a well-written and down-to-earth episode or an otaku-pandering filler with fanservice and bad jokes? It’s impossible to predict. In fact, one could even say that the most consistent thing about Hanasaku Iroha is its lack of consistency (except in regards to the animation, which is always stunning.) Whether it’s a good or bad thing, the title of Most Inconsistent definitely deserves to be held by Hanasaku Iroha for playing games with our heads.

- B E S T  U S E  O F  E N G R I S H -

Tiger&Bunny

Tiger & Bunny deserves credit for its Engrish, borderline English. No, not for its pronunciation–Tiger isn’t really pronounced Taiga, only in Japan does Barnaby translate so well into Bunny, and, much as we love the leads, we wish they didn’t speak the English episode titles aloud. That said, the grammar, syntax, and punctuation of the Tiger & Bunny’s not-so-native tongue is shockingly accurate. And English is everywhere in Stern Build City: on billboards, notices, notebooks, currency–the list goes on and on. And best of all, its prominence adds to the show’s critique on corporate greed; capitalism, after all, is most heralded in the English-heavy West.

Yes, Tiger & Bunny deserves credit for its English; it passes the writing test (both denotative and connotative) with colors brighter than even its chromatic team of heroes. So what if it fails the oral? Its bromantic leads already have that section covered.

- B I G G E S T  D I S A P P O I N T M E N T -

[C] – TheMoneyofSoulandPossibilityControl

At the start of spring, all eyes were on C. With a critically-acclaimed director, a rising-star screenwriter, and a high-concept premise, the show had potential to be the second coming of Eden (that’s Eden of the East, by the way). We waited, we watched… It wasn’t.

It’s not that C is terrible. It just asks more questions than it can provide answers. Why does the Financial District exist? What does it symbolize? Why is Yu-Gi-Oh in Noitamina? Why do the characters have no personalities? There’s a difference between being open to interpretation and having no direction, and there’s a line between brilliance and pretentiousness. C fell far from the brilliance we expected and way too deep into being self-obsessed, so we bequeath it here with Biggest Disappointment. Also: that derp CG did not help.

Dishonorable Mentions: Deadman Wonderland

- M O S T U N D E R R A T E D -

Kaiji – HakairokuHen

Kaiji is frustrating. It’s gritty and tragic and violent and ugly and filled thick to the brim with intimidating zawa zawas buzzing in the background. The hero is broke and a cry-baby and, more often than not, a pathetic loser. The villains are traitorous leeches; chivalry is scarce. That said, Kaiji is amazing. It’s a roller-coaster of highs and lows, an exploration of human desperation, and the winner of our Most Underrated Award. We know it’s hard to get into Kaiji; Kaiji is frustrating especially as it drudges through week-by-week. But although it’s a show about dark side of gambling, we’d bet ten times over that it’s worth it.

Honorable Mentions:  Fireball Charming

- B E S T  O N G O I N G  S E R I E S-

Steins;Gate

Once-great anime can be soured by bad conclusions, so we at Sekijitsu think it’s best to wait for a show’s end before making a final judgement. That said, it would be negligent to ignore what Steins;Gate brought to us during the spring season. It reeled us in with a unique premise, charmed us with its quirky characters, familiarized us with a well-paced build-up, and then stunned us (and still stuns us) with its tragic plot twists. And the show is only half-way through!

And even if Steins;Gate does somehow collapse into a convoluted or poorly-directed finale, nothing can change that it was our most anticipated show of the week. Well, nothing short of time-travel, but not even time-travel will make us forget that, well-concluded or not, we loved this show.

Honorable Mentions:  Tiger & Bunny

- B E S T  O F  S P R I N G ‘1 1 -

AnoHana

Although Ano Hana generally received praise throughout its eleven-episode run, response to the ending was mixed. There were (not entirely unfair) cries of forced melodrama, underdeveloped characters, and abrupt plot twists. But even if these claims are valid, we at Sekijitsu still believe this is spring’s greatest show. After all, few other spring anime inspired the fanart, the speculation, and the Blu-Ray sales that Ano Hana did. And none inspired the immense emotional response.

Jintan’s journey to make peace with his best friend’s death (and reunite the Super Peace Buster’s along the way) is touching and nostalgic. Even those who cannot relate with the Peace Buster’s tragedy can still connect with growing up, with jealousy, with Poke–excuse us, Nokemon. And everyone can relate to the loneliness of losing close friends and the tauntingly plausible fantasy of one day getting them back. Ano Hana’s simple story was about the journey, not simply the destination, and it’s a journey worthy of our Best Show Award of Spring 2011.

As they say, that’s all folks–at least for spring. We hope you enjoyed our rundown on the superheroes and the super-pedos, the colorful clowns and the endless colors, the MILFs, the DILFs, and the BAMFs. Now that we’ve presented our results, what do you think? Who earned their awards, and who got an award on a ridiculous whim? Remember to check the runner-ups to see if your favorite got a mention if not an outright award!

Additionally, credit must be given to all the fanart artists who drew the raw pictures in this post. Bass, as always, took the stunning graphics and re-imagined them with his Photoshop magic, but no, we didn’t draw any of these.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you at the start of fall!