Demon Slayer Sweep? 2020 Crunchyroll Anime Awards Preview

Welp. It’s February and that can only mean one thing: We made it through the truly awful month that was January 2020. But also, it’s time once again for the award show that makes your high school’s End-of-Year awards assembly look like the freakin’ Oscars: the 2020 Crunchyroll Anime Awards!

I kid, but in all seriousness The Crunchyroll Awards show is about the only one of its kind when it comes to honoring the anime medium and catering to its fanbase. And while previous installments have seemed to showcase only a handful of the more well-known anime (i.e. My Hero Academia), Crunchyroll continues to invest much time and resources to grow this annual event bigger and bigger each year.

This year is no exception, with avid anime fan and WWE Superstar Xavier Woods (a.k.a Austin Creed from UpUpDownDown on YouTube), taking over hosting duties along with Crunchyroll’s Tim Lyu. Online personalities SungWon Cho, SonicFox and LilyPichu will also be presenting awards.

I’ve taken the time to look over every category and every nominee to give everyone a sense of what we can expect from this show. I will do my best to break down each selection, give you which nominee I think SHOULD win each category, and then conclude with who or what I believe WILL win each category. So, let’s begin, shall we?

Who’s Nominated?

First, I charted out all the anime that received a nomination and how many nominations each one received.

9Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Carole & Tuesday, Vinland Saga
8The Promised Neverland, Sarazanmai
7Mob Psycho 100 II
6Attack on Titan Season 3
5Dr. Stone, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War
4Babylon, Dororo, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
3Fruits Basket, The Rising of the Shield Hero
  2  Aggretsuko Season 2, Astra Lost in Space, Fate/Grand Order Absolute Demonic Front, Babylonia, Fire Force, How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift, O Maidens in Your Savage Season, One-Punch Man Season 2

Other anime that received a nomination: My Hero Academia Season 4, Baki, given, KONOSUBA, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Isekai Quartet, My Roommate is a Cat, Ascendance of a Bookworm, Stars Align, Domestic Girlfriend

To be honest, I fully expected Demon Slayer to have far and away more nominations than any other show from last year. This anime burst onto the scene in a big way, becoming one of the most talked-about anime online. And not without good reason. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Carole & Tuesday and Vinland Saga receiving just as much attention from Crunchyroll’s selection board.

However, I’m predicting that the latter two shows likely had some trouble garnering votes, considering both shows were wedged behind the Netflix and Amazon paywalls respectively. Demon Slayer was much more readily available to the average anime viewer and thus, almost certainly had more eyes on it. If my gut-feeling is correct, this could be a very big night for Kimetsu no Yaiba and all those “Running Nezuko” memes.

The Categories:

Now for the meat of the matter. What categories did Crunchyroll, ahem, roll out for this year’s award show? Let’s take a closer look.

Best Protagonist

Emma from The Promised Neverland

Hyakkimaru from Dororo

Saitama from One-Punch Man

Senku from Dr. Stone

Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket

I don’t really have a problem with the nominees in this first category. Aside from maybe Saitama (One-Punch Man S2 wasn’t the most well-received), one could make a case for just about anyone here. Emma’s character was sweet and charming, but also calm and brave in the face of horrific circumstances. Senku’s sheer charisma and McGuyver-esque ability to create damn near anything in a “stone” world made him one of my favorite characters of the year.

Tanjiro was an obvious choice for this one, and Tohru and Hyakkimaru were more than solid as protags in their respective reboots. (Two reboots that I seriously need to finish.) I would love for this award to go to Senku, but I think I know where this is going.

My Choice: Senku

My Predicition: Tanjiro Kamado

Best Antagonist

Ai Magase from Babylon

Angela from Carole & Tuesday

Askeladd from Vinland Saga

Garou from One-Punch Man Season 2

Isabella from The Promised Neverland

Overhaul from My Hero Academia Season 4

Looking at this list, it’s hard for me to believe that any villain on this list could be quite as cunning and menacing as Isabella was. Her ability to switch seamlessly between her sweet and dark personas was enough to chill you to the bone.

This might be the one time in this article that my choice and my prediction match up. The only one on this list who might throw that off is Overhaul, seeing as how this is My Hero Academia’s one and only nomination this year. MHA fans surely want to see Overhaul win this, so he likely got quite of few votes. Still, I’m holding on to hope that The Promised Neverland can nab at least one award this year, and I really feel like it could be this one.

My Choice: Isabella

My Prediction: Isabella

Best Boy

Bruno Bucciarati from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind

Hyakkimaru from Dororo

Kanata Hoshijima from Astra Lost in Space

Naruzo Machio from How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama from Mob Psycho 100 II

Tanjiro Kamada from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

I find it interesting that Tanjiro and Hyakkimaru were both nominated for this AND Best Protag. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to have the same characters nominated for two major awards like this, especially considering the Best Boy of a series isn’t always the main protagonist. Same goes for Best Girl. If you absolutely must nominate the same anime for multiple character categories like this, then at least switch it up. Would’ve been nice to see Zenitsu or Inosuke nominated instead.

Ok, rant over. As for this category, there is just something about Mob that will always scream “Best Boy” to me. But, once again, I think we know where this is headed.

My Choice: Mob

My Prediction: Tanjiro

Best Girl

Carole from Carole & Tuesday

Chika Fujiwara from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

Emma from The Promised Neverland

Kohaku from Dr. Stone

Nezuko Kamado from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Raphtalia from The Rising of the Shield Hero

Always a staple in any anime conversation, and we have a solid list of choices in this one. But I’m going to make this quick and easy for you guys: Chika is Best Girl. No matter which of these choices ultimately wins, Chika is and will always be Best Girl.

Anyone who watched Kaguya-sama knows that despite not being either of the two main leads, she stole the show with her oblivious personality, cheeky antics and propensity to throw a monkey wrench into the main characters’ plans every time. She even got an entire ending theme sequence to herself.

With that being said, I know how the internet works and I know that memes are a powerful thing. (Just ask MyAnimeList about Interspecies Reviewers.) Any one of these girls could and should realistically win, but I think this will be a runaway for Nezuko.

My Choice: Chika

My Prediction: Nezuko

Best Director

Tetsuro Araki – Attack on Titan Season 3

Kiyotaka Suzuki – Babylon

Shinichiro Watanabe and Motonobu Hori – Carole & Tuesday

Yuzuru Tachikawa – Mob Psycho 100 II

Kunihiko Ikuhara – Sarazanmai

Shuhei Yabuta – Vinland Saga

I don’t think it can be overstated how huge it was to see Shinichiro Watanabe back in the director’s chair in 2019. The mastermind behind such iconic anime as Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, Watanabe returned after a five-year directorial hiatus to bring us Carole & Tuesday, a wonderful love letter to his previous works and one of the best musical anime possibly ever.

My choice is definitely Watanabe and Hori, but it’s not as cut and dry as the last category. Araki’s direction with AoT reached its peak in Season 3, as I was pretty blown away by how great this season was. Tachikawa continues to do fantastic work with Mob Psycho, and Ikuhara’s chaotic mind-trip that was Sarazanmai was a spectacle in its own right. As it goes though, I see Araki taking home the trophy for this one.

My Choice: Shinichiro Watanabe

My Prediction: Tetsuro Araki

Best Animation

Attack on Titan Season 3

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Fate/Grand Order — Absolute Demonic Front: Babylon

Mob Psycho 100 II

Sarazanmai

Vinland Saga

There are a lot of great choices in this category, so it’s hard for me to pick just one. Attack on Titan has consistently presented some of the most incredible animation I have ever seen, and Season 3 only built on that trend with some mesmerizing scenes. Because of that, my personal choice will go to AoT.

However, Demon Slayer showcased some amazing animation as well, with exhilarating fight scenes that flowed (no pun intended) as fluidly as water itself. Throw in Mob Psycho and Sarazanmai’s wacky, colorful chaos, along with Vinland Saga and Fate’s gritty yet gorgeous aesthetics, and you have a smorgasbord of animated greatness.

My Choice: Attack on Titan

My Prediction: Demon Slayer

In order to keep this article at a reasonable length, I’ll briefly run through the rest of the categories until we get to the big one.

Best Character Design:

My Choice: Yuko Iwasa – Dr. Stone

My Prediction: Tsunenori Saito, Original Character Design by Eisaku Kubonouchi – Carole &Tuesday

Best Score

My Choice: Hiroyuki Sawano – Attack on Titan

My Prediction: Go Shiina and Yuki Kajiura – Demon Slayer

Best Fight Scene

My Choice: Tanjiro and Nezuko vs Rui – Demon Slayer

My Prediction: Tanjiro and Nezuko vs Rui – Demon Slayer

Best Couple

My Choice: Kaguya Shinomiya & Miyuki Shirogane – Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

My Prediction: Ymir & Historia – Attack on Titan Season 3

Best VA Performance (JP)

My Choice: Mamoru Miyano as Reo Niiboshi from Sarazanmai

My Prediction: Yuichi Nakamura as Bruno Bucciarati from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind

Best VA Performance (EN)

My Choice: Laura Bailey as Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket

My Prediction: Billy Kametz as Naofumi from The Rising of the Shield Hero

Best Comedy

My Choice: Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

My Prediction: Isekai Quartet

Best Fantasy

My Choice: The Promised Neverland

My Prediction: Demon Slayer

Best Drama

My Choice: The Promised Neverland

My Prediction: Fruits Basket

Best Opening Sequence

My Choice: “99.9” by Mob Choir feat. Sajou no Hana – Mob Psycho 100 II

My Prediction: “Inferno” by Mrs. Green Apple – Fire Force

Best Ending Sequence

My Choice: Chikatto Chika Chikaa” by Konami Kohara – Kaguya-sama: Love Is War

My Prediction: “veil” by Keina Suda – Fire Force

And finally, we get to ANIME OF THE YEAR

The nominees are….

Carole & Tuesday

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Mob Psycho 100 II

O Maidens in Your Savage Season

The Promised Neverland

Vinland Saga

Once again, a pretty good list of candidates with one particularly surprising entry. I had seen O Maidens in Your Savage Season on the Summer 2019 schedule and sort of dismissed it as just a simple middle school comedy. But the more I look up about it, the more I see the mountain of high praise this show has garnered since last year. Given that, I think it certainly deserves to be here and is most definitely near the top of my “Plan-To-Watch” list.

The rest are all valid entries for Anime of the Year with only a few notable omissions (Kaguya-sama, Fruits Basket, Attack on Titan). Out of these six choices, the one that I personally enjoyed the most was The Promised Neverland, so that will be my choice. The amount of drama and high tension this show provided kept me on edge all season, and it was a show I eagerly anticipated watching every week. The animation, while not groundbreaking, created a visual backdrop of gloom and despair that fit the tone of the show perfectly. The characters were all multi-faceted and all brought something positive to the table, from the mains all the way down to the recurring characters. On top of that, The Promised Neverland featured what I believe to be the most compelling villain of any anime from last year.

However, I said at the beginning of this article that I felt like Demon Slayer was going to have a big night. I really enjoy this anime, as I feel it is a refreshing re-imagining of the Shounen genre that worked really well. The characters are all extremely likable, their designs and the rest of the artwork jump off the screen at you, and the fight scenes are nothing short of incredible. I don’t think it’ll be a clean sweep in every category, but I do believe that Demon Slayer received enough love to take home the Anime of the Year trophy.

My Choice: The Promised Neverland

My Prediction: Demon Slayer

And there we have it! My thoughts and analysis of the 2020 Crunchyroll Anime Awards. I would love to hear your thoughts and predictions, so feel free to leave those in the comments below.

The Crunchyroll Anime Awards air Saturday, February 15 on Crunchyroll.com, as well as Facebook, YouTube and Twitch. The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

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