Original animation is on top once again as Akudama Drive wins the Anime of the Year title in the 7th Anime Trending Awards. It is the fourth original anime to do so in AT history and is the first ever by Studio Pierrot. The studio last produced an anime nominated for the top title back in 2014 for Tokyo Ghoul. Akudama, an original anime, won in a year filled with well-known adaptations, making the victory even more stunning. Conceptualized by Kazutaka Kodaka, creator of the famous Danganronpa franchise, it is one of the only two original anime nominated for AOTY out of 18 nominees, aside from ID:Invaded, which placed 9th.
Courier, Brother, Sister, and Swindler goes on stage to accept Akudama Drive’s trophy for “Anime of the Year”! #7thATA— Anime Trending (@AniTrendz) February 28, 2021
Full Version of the Illustration: https://t.co/0r8W9FPMF3
Special Illustration by: @hakakamiiii pic.twitter.com/n57aAlREhc
In a separate vote, Norimitsu Kaihou and Tomohisa Taguchi, writers for Akudama’s screenplay, won the award for Best in Original Screenplay, beating out four other nominees with the closest one being Ryota Kosawa for Great Pretender. This is the second consecutive win for Kaihou in the screenplay category after winning Best in Adapted Screenplay last year for Astra Lost in Space. Akudama also won for Sci-Fi Anime of the Year, and Mystery or Psychological Anime of the Year, for a total of four awards – the most number of awards won and tied with those of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, and Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World. In a recorded comment, Akudama’s creator and director thank those who voted for the anime and at the same expressed hope that with the level of excitement that the people showed for Akudama, that it will help raise the quality of Japanese anime and that more incredible anime would be produced
Akudama Drive also almost won the awards for Best in Animation and Best in Sceneries and Visuals, only to placed 2nd behind Jujutsu Kaisen and Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina in each respective award. It also placed 3rd for Best in Character Design which ultimately went to Rent-a-Girlfriend.
Though it fell short of the AOTY Title, Fruits Basket still made a great finish in the AOTY Title Race as it placed second – the highest rank ever for a wildcard nominee. That placement was also a great improvement of its ranking in last year’s annual awards where it finished seventh. Considering how it ranked with its third and final season planned for this year, Fruits Basket is now in a very strong position to possibly win AOTY for 2022. For now, fans are pleased to see it win at least the award for Drama Anime of the Year – its first-ever award in the ATAs.
After a back-to-back dismal finish for the AOTY race for 2016 and 2017, placing 9th (out of 16 nominees) and 18th (out of 19 nominees) respectively. KonoSuba finally found its footing this time and successfully won Anime Movie of the Year, defeating Kyoto Animation’s comeback film, Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll. Meanwhile, Hello World is the highest-placing anime film that did not have a prior TV anime series among the film nominees. In a message, Makoto Uezu, KonoSuba’s scriptwriter, mentioned that the adventures of its characters will “continue” and expressed hope that people will continue to show their love for the show. Takaomi Kanasaki, the show’s director, shared a special illustration celebrating the show’s win.
The Characters of the Year Winners
The New Royals of AT! Ishigami for Best Boy, Chizuru for Best Girl, Echidna for Best Supporting Girl, and Otto for Best Supporting Boy of #7thATA— Anime Trending (@AniTrendz) February 28, 2021
Full Version of this Illustration: https://t.co/0Tu7wBKGjV
Special Illustration by: @hakakamiiii pic.twitter.com/oczlmAoBQD
For the second consecutive year, another Ishigami is on top as Yuu Ishigami (Kaguya-sama: Love is War) won the Man of the Year title. He previously ranked ninth in the previous year’s best boy race where Senku Ishigami (Dr. Stone) won, and in Spring 2020, Yuu Ishigami placed second, just behind Aguero Agnes Khun (Tower of God), whom he bested this time as the latter only placed eighth. He was also able to outrank Hachiman Hikigaya (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax), who was crowned Man of the Decade for 2010-19 anime in AT’s 1st Decade Awards held last September. Ishigami was praised by many for his character development in the latest season of Kaguya-sama, which also showed his heartbreaking past. Finally, he becomes Kaguya-sama’s second cast member to win a character award, with the first being Ai Hayasaka, who won best supporting girl in 2020. Ryota Suzuki, Ishigami’s Voice Actor, made a comment on his win expressing how truly happy he was to play the role of Ishigami most especially in his most emotional arc.
In the most-watched race of any anime awards, Chizuru Ichinose emerged victorious as this year’s best girl, slightly edging out her closest contender, Elaina (Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina), by a mere 199 votes. Reiji Miyajima made a comment on Ichinose’s win.
For the first time ever in AT History, a single anime series won two character awards in the annual awards as Otto Suwen (Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World) won both of the supporting character awards. Echidna was able to defeat the defending champion, Ai Hayasaka (Kaguya-sama: Love is War) by a landslide, edging her by 1,833 votes. Otto Suwen was also able to outrank a former champion as Kei Tsukishima (Haikyuu!!), the Supporting Man of the Year winner for the 3rd ATA (2016), only placed seventh this year.
The Yuzakis took this year’s award for Best Couple Ship, and they are the second married couple to win the said title. Nasa and Tsukasa Yuzaki were able to beat Hachiman Hikigaya and Yukino Yukinoshita (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU) despite the fanfare that the latter couple was able to generate back in Summer 2020. The last time an actual married couple won the title was when Koutarou and Akane Azumi (Tsuki ga Kirei) won in the 4th ATAs in 2017.
Theme Song and Voice Acting Awards
Funk is the dominating theme of the winning theme songs this year. Japan’s King of Love Songs, Masayuki Suzuki, together with Airi Suzuki, finally won Kaguya-sama the Opening Theme Song of the Year with the former’s single entitled, “Daddy! Daddy! Do!” Meanwhile, ALI finally won the Ending Theme Song of the Year with their single “Lost in Paradise,” or the ending theme song for Jujutsu Kaisen. Both artists were nominated last year for Best OP Theme Song, but none of them won — Suzuki placed third, while ALI placed 14th. “Daddy! Daddy! Do!” currently has 25 million views on YouTube, while “Lost in Paradise” has 16 million views.
In the voice acting categories, the veterans shined as Maaya Sakamoto’s insane long monologue, which was reportedly taken in one shot only, as Echidna (Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World) earned her the award for Best Voice Actress. Kenjiro Tsuda’s shocking emotional performance (away from his usual roles of strong and cool male characters) as Sakaido in ID:Invaded’s ninth episode won him this year’s award for Best Voice Actor. He gave the only award won by ID:Invaded for the night.
The full resolution version of the illustrations and artworks featured are also available here