4th Annual GBAD AOTY Poll Results: Escaped Limbo Just To Get Punched In The Face

Introduction

Welcome one and all, Giant Bomb Anime Duders/Dudettes (collectively known as GBAD, or at least that's what our Steam group says) to the big thing where I post the results of the anime poll as voted on by you, the Giant Bomb community, or at least those who chose to respond to it. The initial OP will be a bit shorter as I wanted to get the main part out first. The results of the bonus questions will be appended later, but I wanted to write this up now or I would have kept putting it off forever.Also, my body decided to pick every week since Thanksgiving to be afflicted with some sort of malady: from gastroenteritis, to completing a final paper for a Masters-level class while recovering, then right into sinusitis, to flu or flu-like symptoms, and later bruised hands and a painful reminder of why I should probably invest in some handwraps before sparring with other people. On the bright side, it did give me more time to catch up on the anime I missed, some of which are even on this list!

Before we get started, just wanted to offer a few shoutouts to my homies in the Anime Megathread, which should be getting a new one very soon, or so the regulars keep nagging me. The new OP will be smaller and easier to peruse likely because half the links are be dead so look forward to that. We also have a Steam group, though it is mostly quiet, but with the newer anime-fightan games being ported to PC, hopefully there will be some life. Hopefully.

On to the poll itself: We had about 60 voters, minus a couple of troll votes, a small increase from last year. Votes were tallied first by weighted tally (1st place gets 5 votes, 2nd place gets 4, 3rd gets 3, 4th gets 2, 5th gets 1). Then they would be ranked by simple unweighted vote to serve as tiebreaker. If they were still tied after that, then congrats, they take the same spot. As you might notice in the final tally, this means that some shows might've gotten shuffled around if the tiebreaker was reversed. Having said that, I decided to stick with my previous rules.

10) Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works

Yet another retelling of that classic story about a boy and his kingly servant fighting for the Holy Grail. Feels like this franchise has been around forever, spawning around 100 different games, anime, manga, body pillow slipcovers, t-shirts, lunchboxes, flamethrowers, and that's before we get into the Type-Moon spinoffs. Honestly, what can I say about this story that hasn't already been said? Check it out.

9) Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma

A tale that really puts the food in "food porn." It's your standard battle manga where teenagers from Japan gather in one spot to fight each other for dominance, the snooty elites look down their nose at the up-and-comers while they train, and there's even more than one Tournament Arc, except their battlefield is the kitchen! If you like watching Chopped but thought it could use more dudes with burning spirit and people orgasming (somewhat literally) over every bite, then this is for you!

"[...]I would argue that Food Wars is the most intense action anime of the year, incorporating mouth watering animation and outlandish humor that slowly grows on you. By the end of this anime I was laughing at every taste reaction and getting hungry at the sight of every dish."--@hunter456285

7) [TIED!] Shirobako & Working!!!

Any slightly well-adjusted member of society has worked a shit job to help put things in perspective, especially when that job involves food service. So it figures that two shows about working in The Biz (though with very different perspectives) would make this list.

Working!!! is season 3 of a weird comedy of a dude who works at a restaurant, though this is less about the work than about the staff interacting with each other, and the kinda creepy dude who is the main character by default yet has all the girls fawning over him. Apparently people really like this show due to the interactions between the characters and the way the voice actors sell their lines. What makes this season better than the others? Well, according to one duder...

"Working!!! offered one of the best conclusions to a series that anime so rarely gets. Romances happen, conflicts are resolved, and most important of all you walk away from it feeling good about the whole thing."--@chainreaction01

Shirobako, on the other hand, is a fictional look at The Biz of making anime. Unlike the aforementioned two shows on this list, you won't find any tournament arcs, random punching of dudes who don't deserve it, or ladies carrying around a katana just because. It's an interesting (if idealized) look at what it takes to produce an entire anime series and the metaphorical shit the crew has to swim through to make their combined dream into reality.

"Shirobako is my anime of the year, because it's the most emotionally affecting series I watched this year. It's a fascinating (albeit somewhat idealized) look into the animation industry while also using that specific experience to comment on the difficulties of adulthood and finding one's place in the world."--@shinmaru007

6) My Love Story!! ("Ore Monogatari!!")

You've probably seen this story before, anime or not: ugly but good-hearted dude has a crush on this girl, but he has to compete for her heart with a handsome guy. The adventures of Takeo Gōda, an Ordinary High-School Student trying to go out with a girl from high-school, while getting past his classmates, friends, and his own insecurities. This one was surprisingly charming and hilarious, based off a manga that won the prestigious Taishou Award and even spawned a live-action movie.

"My Love Story is the cutest." --@hamst3r

HALFTIME!

On a solemn note, the world said goodbye Miyu Matsuki this year. She suffered from an acute case of pneumonia and passed away at the relatively young age of 38. She was known for her roles across several big franchises, including Hayate the Combat Butler and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. On the other hand, her last big anime work was in this show (slightly NSFW). Like Bernie Mac's last movie was the mediocre comedy Soul Men, and Raul Julia's last work was the awful Street Fighter movie, Matsuki's untimely passing reminds us that we may not get the chance to pick and choose when we go, and perhaps that we shouldn't be worried about our last mark defining us after we're gone, but what we did before then to make the life we had worthwhile.

Okay, enough seriousness and contemplation, let's wrap this shit up with the Top Five.

5) Yuri Kuma Arashi

I honestly don't know how to summarize this show, except to say it's from the very creative mind that brought you Revolutionary Girl Utena. Let's see...imagine there was a world with nothing but lesbians in it, okay? But half of the lesbians are cartoony bears. And the bears and the not-bear lesbians have this wall separating them and have sort of been at war with one another. But there's also a bear-court where occasionally some not-lesbian bears decide whether or not a bear's love for a human is a one-night stand or a "til death do us part" thing. And there's symbolism with bear-girls who lick honey off of lily petals. Actually, the whole show is chock-full of SYMBOLISM!

Whatever you think of this show, it did give us this dramatic sting.

"Super stylish and super interesting throughout. Even if it doesn't reach the highs [of] Utena I think it's one of the most interesting things I watched." --@jesushammer

4) JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - Egypt Arc

JoJo and the Mystery Machine Gang take their Stands to Egypt this year! A cast of characters including a muscular Sean Connery, Benimaru from the King of Fighters, and a small ugly dog take the Mystery Machine on another adventure to find Ronnie James Dio before he turns Old Man Jenkins into a vampire. I'm pretty sure David Production's going to ride this franchise as far as they can go, and the JoJo Bros will be with them every step of the way.

"This season of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure features a death match between a smug bird of prey and a Boston Terrier." --@jesna
"A show that is formulaic in its set piece conflicts, but tremendous in its execution. Combine it with a cast of characters whose color can give Final Fantasy 6 a run for its money, and you have a hell of a show." --@turambar

3) Sound! ("Hibike!") Euphonium

A dramatic show about what happened this one time at band practice, as two girls and their teacher/conductor have to unite to help their school's ensemble reach the Nationals. If you liked K-ON! and thought it could use less comedy and more slice-of-life drama with awkward and frustrated teenagers trying to work through their issues while growing up, you've come to the right place. I mean that in the best way.

"Sound! Euphonium is high on my list because it is one of the VERY few shows I have ever related to on such a profoundly personal level. Namely, I was not only in the band in high school, but I was also in the low brass section. There were a lot of little things in this show that just worked for me for very specific reasons, and I love it for it. It also didn't go out of it's way to ever make fun of band people, and that's super cool." --@epidehl

2) Death Parade

Just barely edging out the #3 choice by one weighted vote, comes Death Parade. What lies beyond life and death? We may not know, but at least for those stuck in Limbo there's a swanky bar where you can throw back a White Russian and ruminate on life, at least until it comes time for a sort of Death Game to happen, and you'll be judged worthy of either heaven or hell. There is a story thread running through the show, but they all come back to the basic premise of redemption or damnation, and who's watching the ones who are passing judgment on us?

It might be difficult to see after that opening ditty, but please, take my word for it. This show is deeper than you'd think.

"Was it perfect? Hardly. Did I like every episode? Nah. But man, if this show wasn't trying harder than so many others to grapple with some heavier material. I've watched my share of Key dramas, cried my manly JoJo tears, but I have to applaud what this show was trying to do with themes of grief and acceptance and judgment, even if it sometimes felt a little canned or overwrought." --@peregrin38

"Death Parade is an unique look at life and regret that has wonderful characters and creativity. It's stories spoke to me in ways most other Anime's don't." --@makayu

Now here it is, the one you've all been waiting for...

Number One in My Heart: Ninja Slayer From Animation

Have you wanted a show that combined the ultra-violence of 80s anime, the animation of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and various kinds of cyberpunk ninja that take themselves seriously when the viewer probably does not? Well you're in luck! Studio Trigger, the minds behind the groundbreaking youtube anime Inferno Cop, have taken the brilliant series of short stories about a sarariman who decides to avenge his slain family by becoming a ninja that kills all ninjas, Ninja Slayer.

I mean, just look at this beautiful animation!

No wonder this anime won the coveted spot of... uh, wait a minute, there's some space dust on the letter, give me a minute and watch this classic animated clip...

...my apologies, here's the real winner:

1) One-Punch Man

Much like Saitama does to every bad guy he meets, this show blew a giant hole in the stomach of every other show on the list. Very simple premise of a rather plain, boring superhero in a world where associations of superheroes and supervillains constantly fight one-another with flashy special moves and dramatic monologues like any good old-fashioned cartoon character.

So what makes this different? The way they show it, and the heroes who aren't as invincible as Saitama yet still do what they can to fight against the evil that besiges the land every day. The best part? The animation, the care and detail put into nearly every fight scene. Though it may not match the great Murata's manga art, it's about as close as we're going to get with the time and budget that One-Punch Man had.

I'm sure more of this anime will be made in the near future, and the creators themselves mentioned that they would do what it took to have more episodes made. The only question will be if it can keep up this pace, or as our very own anime maso-mod ZombiePie predicted, if the story fades away into mediocrity following Saitama's last fight in this show.

One Punch Man has sort of become the new Dragon Ball Z; the transcendental anime. Everyone, even those not into anime, seems to be talking about it, and for good reason. The animation is astounding, the humor is top notch and amazingly survives the cultural boundary, and pacing is excellent from start to finish. There's no contesting this is the best anime of the year. --@soldierg654342

One-Punch Man might literally be the most perfect show (for me). Over the top action? Check. Heart? Check. Good comedy? Check. A bitchin' theme song? Check? Incredible animation? SUPER CHECK. --@epidehl

"I haven't watched Anime in years, but I watched one punch man several different times with a bunch of different people who don't care about Anime. It's a bad ass show that has goofy moments when it is taking itself too seriously." --@fink

Thank you all for tuning in to this award show. The bonus questions will be shortly appended to the end of this post, but I wanted to get the meat of this stuff out of the way before I crashed.

As always, suggestions/comments/praise about the perfectness of myself and this poll can be posted below.

VOTE RESULTS (sorted by WT then UT)

NameWeighted TotalUnweighted Total
One Punch Man14735
Death Parade4813
Hibike! Euphonium4713
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - Egypt Arc4312
Yuri Kuma Arashi288
My Love Story!!2610
Shirobako225
Working!!!225
Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma216
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works186
Parasyte -the maxim-175
Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans167
Owarimonogatari166
Gintama (2015)154
Gatchaman Crowds Insight144
Prison School137
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU 2134
Blood Blockade Battlefront124
Dragon Ball Super104
Kuroko's Basketball 3104
School-Live!103
Love Live! The School Idol Movie102
Himouto! Umaru-chan94
Ninja Slayer From Animation94
Beautiful Bones -Sakurako's Investigation-93
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri93
Senki Zessho Symphogear GX92
The Perfect Insider82
Ushio And Tora74
Haikyuu!! (2nd Season)73
Noragami Aragoto73
Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso73
Gangsta.63
Overlord63
Punch Line63
Ghost in the Shell: Arise Alternative Architecture62
Grisaia no Rakuen62
Wakakozake62
The IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls62
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?52
Non Non Biyori Repeat52
Tokyo Ghoul √A52
Assassination Classroom51
Charlotte51
Digimon Adventure Tri51
Ace of the Diamond: Second Season41
Gundam Build Fighters Try41
I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying 241
Maria the Virgin Witch41
Yowamushi Pedal Grande Road41
Aldnoah.Zero 231
Durarara!!x231
Osomatsu-san31
The Seven Deadly Sins31
Gundam: The Origin21
Plastic Memories21
The Heroic Legend of Arslan21
The Rolling Girls21
Yona of the Dawn21
God Eater11
Knights of Sidonia: War of the Ninth Planet11
One Piece11
Peeping Life TV11
Sex and Violence and Machspeed11
SHIMONETA11
Yuru Yuri San Hai11
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