What makes an award worth something? This is a core question that largely goes completely ignored when it comes to modern culture. It’s a more consistent subconscious belief that the title of an award, something flashy like “Game of the Year 2016” is more important than who gave out the award and the context under which something earned their award. Something people seem to have forgotten that the honour in an award comes with what the award was given for. It’s the difference between why the British Academy Games Awards gave Portal 2 their Game of the Year award when damn near everyone else gave it to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The meaning of the award Portal 2 won was clearly different than the awards Skyrim won, even if both games were awarded a the title of “Game of the Year 2011”. But, as I mentioned earlier, that kind of context is largely ignored now. Several “awards” were given out in 2016 but a majority of them meant nothing because of a lack of context. One group responsible for those contextless awards was Crunchyroll with their 2016 Anime Awards. In my completely honest opinion, these awards were a horrendous failure, but hopefully I’ll do a better job explaining why than the hundreds of YouTube videos mindlessly ranting. Let’s get on with the show shall we?

Let me start this off with saying, no, I don’t think the fact that Yuri!!! on Ice won everything it was nominated for was dumb. I don’t think Rem winning best girl was dumb, or in fact any of the winners being who they were was dumb because of two easy facts: The awards had no context and were voted on by popularity. On December 20th, Crunchyroll released a video on their YouTube introducing the concept of the “awards” and with them, the nominees for each video would be selected by an independent panel of judges. That’s a great way to start, that’d essentially assure that all of the nominees were completely free of bias from Crunchyroll themselves. For the most part, they delivered. No one show took up even half of the award nominations, as over saturated with Yuri!!! on Ice as it would seem. This first problem was what I opening: None of these awards had any context.

Go onto their website for the Anime Awards and click on any category and you’d expect to get this in-depth explanation on why these four shows in particular were nominated for an award and what that award meant, right? There was no mention of it in the YouTube video, so surely there has to be something here. Alright, let’s pick just a random category then and see what it’s all about, how about “Most Heartwarming”?

Which heartwarming scene made you smile, feel fuzzy, or even restored your faith in humanity?

Wait, that’s it? What scene made me smile? That’s all that constitutes as award worthy? No reason as to why each show was picked, they just were? No reason as to what “heartwarming” even means in this context? What were the judges counting as heartwarming? Unless everyone’s on the same page, that award means nothing, especially when you pair it with such open ended vocabulary. What made me feel fuzzy? What made me smile? What restored my faith in humanity? (Well, nothing, anime has yet to effect me that much, but the other two are important too) That could be applied to a billion different scenes. I was literally overflowing with joy in one of the early episodes of Hibike! Euphonium last year, but by your nominees that’s not the kind of happy you were looking for? Maybe something more superficial, like the scene that made you happy because something happened, not for the characters themselves, seeing as the kiss from Yuri!!! on Ice  was nominated? But there are scenes that could be taken the other way on that list too. What does each of these awards mean if the meaning behind them is so bendable to what I deem as heartwarming? None of the judges were on the same page if not every single one could agree on an overall definition of what heartwarming meant exclusively for this award. This same problem applies to each of the awards and none of them shed any light on what it is that I’m voting for. Just which one I liked the most? Because then this isn’t an award show, and well… It isn’t. That brings us to my second point.

You cannot call Crunchyroll’s Anime Awards and awards show just because none of the awards have merit, it was voted on by popular vote from the community, and the designation for which awards meant what was merely “Pick your favourite.” The Crunchyroll Anime Awards were a popularity poll. I mean, they became a popularity poll the minute they decided the entire anime community could vote for their favourites, but even more so when each award was completely free of explanation. No one can say “This deserved to win instead” because there was nothing for them to win. There was no honour in any of the awards.Winning something didn’t mean you achieved something. Yuri!!! on Ice winning every category it was nominated for isn’t a result of it being the best show out there for each of those awards, it was a result of it being the freshest and biggest cult hit closest to the Anime Awards voting period. Polls are fantastic for seeing which shows that are close together are the most popular, but when put up against shows that aired much earlier in the year and that most people have forgotten about, of course the newest will win, especially if they were popular in their time of airing. I have my own picks and my own opinions about who should have won (A little sad Pipo Password from Uchuu Patrol Luluco was the least voted in it’s category but that’s besides the point), but it doesn’t surprise me that a majority of my picks didn’t win. My picks weren’t popular, they were what I liked, and as anyone who’s been reading these opinion pieces for awhile knows, my opinion is typically the furthest from what the popular opinion is. This leads me to my next and final point.

Who cares if your favourites didn’t win? Does that change your enjoyment with the show? Was the fact that Yuri!!! on Ice‘s ending beat Pipo Password make me like TeddyLoid and Bonjour Suzuki any less? No. And it shouldn’t. When it comes to a popularity poll, there’s no reason to be upset because what was decided was merely a reflection of popularity, and if hipsters taught me anything it’s that when you’re the only one to like something it’s a little bit more special. What I enjoy is what I personally enjoy, I don’t care if you do. No one should care, honestly. You can be happy when something you enjoy does well, or when it wins a legitimate award and not something backed by a vague definition, but at the end of the day, it’s still something you enjoyed. Hell, you can even be happy that something you enjoyed won one of Crunchyroll’s awards, but don’t let this upset you because honestly it’s not worth getting upset over to begin with. Crunchyroll did their awards horribly in that they aren’t awards. You could never call them awards.

I hope you all enjoyed today’s editorial! Sorry for it being  a bit late, I was having the hardest time getting any sort of inspiration for this yesterday and this morning I slept in so… Well it’s out now. As always, I’d love to hear your guys’ opinion on the matter, feel free to tell me what you think of these awards, and what were your guys’ picks for each of Crunchyroll’s categories, whether or not they were listed here. If you’d like to see what I’m up to when I’m not doing my part for this blog feel free to follow me on Twitter. Hopefully something topical that isn’t horribly shrouded in politics or economics happens next week, otherwise I have to think. See you all in the next post!

The featured image for this post was drawn by pixiv artist ことね.