Unlike that honor these do not require a beheading…
With the passing of 2010 we thought that it was time to recognize those who showed individual competence during the course of the year. While it is the habit of many to judge series here we prefer to recognize the characters that made their shows a little bit better even as their series was weighted down by anchors that exceed the weight of Big Zam. While there are many who are worthy we decided only to bestow honors to those whose gallantry we have borne witness to. So, while air dates may vary, they are just as deserving if not more so than some of the scum that crept forth from the dirt this year. After much deliberation and table pounding, we have finalized the list for those exceptional few who made 2010 so much more bearable and outright enjoyable. These are but the first in a long list of heroes that have scrawled their names upon the pages of history with the blood of their enemies, the shoujo sparkles of romance, and/or the manly tears of respect of the viewers.
The Reinhard/Yang Wen-li Distinguished Service Cross
Origins: While Yang Wen-li and Reinhard have long since passed from this world there is still a need to give due recognition to exceptional commanders who rise above their respective series and demonstrate a superior grasp of strategy, operational art, and tactics that would have both Yang and Reinhard eager to recruit them into their personal staffs. Thus was created this award in the 35th Century (1982) to honor superb commanders of formations large and small who display tactical skill and outstanding leadership in times of great crisis.
Kuroko (To Aru Kagaku no Railgun): While her onee-sama is by far the heavy hitter of the group Kuroko has displayed her talent for taking charge when Biri-Biri is otherwise occupied. Her only weakness if it can be called that is her eagerness to express her love for Biri-Biri, but in all other respects is capable, formidable, courageous, decisive, and intelligent. She is a fine lass who is able to determine the best course of action for the most part even if her sense of justice is not exacerbated by any thirst for vigilante escapades. When she fights she displays greater tactical insight when she finds herself out matched and has time and again inspired her peers to great acts of heroism. No finer candidate for the famed Rosen Ritter was there this season.
Shoko “the Christener” Inari (Kuragehime): For her conquest of an entire neighborhood through a combination of buyouts, threats, and blackmail, for Shoko the only thing that mattered was victory and she came mighty close to sacking Amamizukan. Her foes were late and lackadaisical in preparing for a real showdown but in then because of a fortuitous event known as “the Move” and Chieko’s Mom’s Midnight ride she had to settle for reducing the Nunz to a rump state. Already the forces of Shu and Wu are humbled and all that is left is the veritable Chengdu for which she needs a Deng Ai to storm. While Mayaya may revere Zhuge Liang there is none among the Nunz that would have been considered to succeed him. Already the outer fortresses have been reduced long will it take for Kuranosuke to recover the lost territories. It is suspected that any further Northern Expeditions will meet with failure.
Mikado Ryūgamine (Durarara!!): He may have been ‘just [one of] a bunch of kids screwing around on the internet!’, but Mikado proved that even the most unassuming of us has the power to command an army. All hail Mikado! Leader of the Dollars gang, the biggest, baddest and most colourless crew in Ikebukuro!
Maya Kumashiro (Occult Academy): Ah, Maya-san. Your sheer strength of will and facial expressions were simply awesome to behold. When all around you were randomly flashing, falling over things, fussing over lost lolis and countless other things that had nothing to do with the main plot, you held it together and eventually succeeded in both coming to terms with your father complex and helping to save the world to boot. The many (tsundere for the occult) faces of Maya FTW!
Toshio Ozaki (Shiki): Now this guy knows how to keep his head in a crisis, especially when he’s removing others from theirs. While some may accuse him of being slow to act in the first half of the series and of being a tad insensitive when it comes to treating the corpses of former wives, Toshio clearly knows how to bide his time in order to ultimately prove why you shouldn’t f*ck with doctors. In short, one of the best heroes in one of the best animes of the year.
Oberstein Order of the Velvet Glove
Origins: Created to honor all those who work indirectly, get inside the heads of their enemies, and manipulate friends and foes alike for the greater good. These skilled men and women often go unrecognized by the nature of their work, but they are often of the highest importance to their causes, whether it be galactic empire management, yuri shipping, pursuit of True Love and Friendship, or many other worthy causes.
Felicia (Sora no Woto): While the luckless Lieutenant found herself in another shooting war, this time as a leader she did not shrink from her duty even if taking a hostage will no doubt incur cries of butthurt from more cowardly lefty commie circles. Still while not the acknowledged winner of a battle at least she didn’t get her unit massacred and had a plan for survival in the face of two larger and more numerous forces. In the art of manipulation she had no equal from getting her whole unit drunk for some GOOD TIMES and artfully interrogated her first POW, even if some may cry foul at the use of threats of forceful yuri-lurvin. No finer demonstration of “enhanced” interrogation techniques was there to be for the rest of the year. She also maintained an alternative method for providing her unit with funds and was able to manage public relations in a manner most admirable. While not frontline material Felicia is an outstanding morale booster and glorious PR officer that can survive a shooting match. Were she able to be educated by Oberstein himself she might have risen far in the Empire.
Ryu Sanada (Kimi ni Todoke s.1): Next, from one of the best feel-good shoujos of the past twelve months, we have a very cool customer indeed. This young man of few words and infinite patience shows that nice guys who know how to bide their time and be there for their friends/ future waifus don’t finish last. Yes, not only does Ryu perfectly put the ‘support’ in supporting character, he also looks good in a baseball cap. If you don’t want him, Chii, we do!
Kuranosuke Koibuchi (Kuragehime): Firstly, this guy is freaking awesome. Ahem. What I mean to say is, if you were scandalously born out of wedlock, torn apart from your beloved showbiz mummy and sent to live with your austere politician-father in order to eventually enter into such a bloody boring profession, you may be forgiven for being a bit miffed. Not this guy. Kuranosuke would rather spend his time dishing out fabulous free makeovers and helping NEET Nunz to get rich quick in order to buy houses, and for no material benefit to himself at all. Providing you’re willing to put up with the fact that he will always look better than you, Kuranosuke is the Fairy Trapmother everyone would love to have.
Roy Focker Cross
Origins: Following the heroic sacrifice of Roy Focker in defense of the SDF Macross on 30 November 2009, UN high command designed and began to award the Roy Focker Cross for service and sacrifice. Sometimes the cause of righteousness must be watered by the blood of brave men and women, and their supreme sacrifices are honored by this most somber of awards.
Londo Bell/ECOAS Commandos (Gundam Unicorn): During the course of the War Against Zeon Aggression many Feddie grunts have made the ultimate sacrifice to halt the tide of Zeke hostiles. Many times has the Federation come out victorious over the hordes of Zeke rabble that is roused each generation to drop their neighbor’s colonies and bring war upon their peaceable neighbors in their bid for Empire. Great have the sacrifices of the Feddie Grunts made to ensure another victory another reprieve so that peace may reign but a day longer. In UC 0096 the Zekes were again starting shit and it was up to Londo Bell and ECOAS commandos to try and stem the tide. Their sacrifices have not been in vain as the Federation will weather this storm as it has so many others, but let us never forget the sacrifices they have made to keep Zeke aggression in check. For so long as the Zekes love their hypocrisy and idiot idolatry of themselves more their own children the wars will never end until the last Zeke is cast into Hell and the Good and Noble Zeus returns to the Feddie Faithful.
Chihiro Kawashima (Occult Academy): This lady went from zero to hero(ine), in a truly spectacular fashion. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to do a complete 180 on Chihiro by the time we got to these rather mind-blowing final episodes. Indeed, watching the former insecure, unrequited-love-ridden Vice Principal of a school where she was continually being bossed around by a tsundere 16 year old turn into a freaking magical girl with her very own battle cat was pretty awesome. But not as awesome as her final scenes with her beloved Abe-sensei, in which we saw her sacrifice herself all for her loyalty to her former boss and his bossy daughter. R.I.P. Chihiro, your unique hairstyle and your poetry will be missed.
Fumiaki Uchida (Occult Academy): Ah, Bunmei; our spoonbending interdimensional man of mystery. Now here’s one guy who knew how to make an entrance. Unfortunately, he spent most of the show making even faster exits. Yes, when he wasn’t running away from anything remotely scary, Uchida was more often than not the cowardly subject of countless jokes and of Maya’s formidable wrath. BUT, it all changed in the final arc, of course, where Uchida Manned-Up, unleashed his spectacular spoonbending power, and generally showed those rotten aliens who was DA MAN. R.I.P. Uchida v.1, even though the show you were in was rather forgettable, you most certainly are not. Take care of him, Maya!
Ritsuko Kunihiro (Shiki): Poor, poor Ritsu. A.K.A. our angel in the night with the devilish doo, it seems DAT HAIR was simply too much for this show. While I was hoping you might end up with your beloved Doctor especially after his no good wife was out of the picture, alas you were destined to die a most torturously drawn out death by self-imposed starvation. However, our consolation is that you ended things on your own terms, proving that non-violent resistance is as noble as it is unsexy. R.I.P. Ritsu-chan, your hair will never be forgotten.
Tomio Ookawa (Shiki): From being just another among the many Sotobans who appear in Shiki, none have grown to make such a splash as this one. Literally. Yes, what would Toshio-sensei have done if you, Ookawa, hadn’t been there to play such a pivotal role in turning back the tide of battle in favour of the humans, we shudder to think. With a strength of will as formidable as his muscles and beard, this is one Daddy you do not mess with. Well, unless you’re a yellow-bellied, falsely-idealistic lolicon Priest who has no qualms against striking someone far nobler than you’ll ever be in the back, grrr… R.I.P. Ookawa-san and DAT BEARD!
The Honorable Order of Noe
Origins: Created in 2008 in the aftermath of the Noe-Hiromi-Shinichiro Conflict, inspired by the sadness in her famous song. Bestowed upon those brave souls who, though in the end unsuccessful, pursued true love with passion, purity of purpose, and the truest of tears. Inspired by the noble example of Noe Isurugi in her quest for both true love and worthy tears, she left a never-ending impression on her love interest and all who witnessed her determination in conflict and gracefulness in defeat amid the deep sadness of that loss. Her story is one of the most touching and most tragic of anime loves denied, and in her memory we bestow the Honorable Order of Noe upon those martyrs to True Love who conducted themselves with honor and dignity in the face of their undeserved fates.
Shu (Kuragehime): Poor Shu his dreams with Tsukimi seem to be just that a dream as he was trapped in Inari’s Eight Array Maze and is now stuck on a long flight with an Inari that actually has a crush on him. Fortunately for him his Shu Tears at least robbed Inari’s intentions of malice but he’ll be on the other side of world even if Shu-kimi is still sailing Inari and Kuoransuke are now set for being a double threat. Still there is no shame in having to make way for Kuranosuke who basically stole the fashion show. Even in the worst case Inari would actually go ALL THE WAY. [So says my comrade Crusader but I disagree! The inconclusive ending to Kuragehime was the shipping equivalent of the Battle of Hampton Roads. Both sides came strong with unconventional weaponry but in the end neither could do any real damage. Both ships returned to port, surely some scratches on the paint of USS ShuKimi at the hands of CSS Inari, but nonetheless intact. This is not over, but if Shu should lose out then I will endorse this award. -EO]
Hinana Shintani (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!): Being the third wheel is never fun. However, at least Hinata got to feast on countless delicious things while his eyes no doubt feasted on his cute Misaki-chan in full maido mode over at Maid-Latte, after she trusted him not to blow her cover of course. Although a bit of a cry-baby at times, Hinata also proved that he was man enough to take on anyone (er, other than Usui, but meh) else who threatened his precious childhood friend. In short, Hinata is a welcome exception to the rule that all rivals that threaten the OTP suck. *Offers him a bag of well-deserved bread crusts*
Chihiro Kawashima (Occult Academy): Back to Chihiro again, with her magical book of verse. If you can hear us, Chihiro, at least you can rest easy knowing that Mikaze turned out to be a slutwhorebagfashionvictim that thoroughly revolted Uchida in the end and he and Maya gave her what was coming to her.
P-Ko (Arakawa Under the Bridge ss.1 and 2): A true romantic, P-Ko’s green-tinted delusions and love of fancy French culture have had us bwahaha-ing and daww-ing in equal measure for more than two seasons. Yes, you former annoying and deadly klutz have come a long way and we now salute your shoujotastic endeavours in making the world a lovelier place. Just lay forget about those unnecessary and awful diets, though!
Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge
Indeed but there are a few who are…
Origins: There have been few combat formations as renowned as the famed Rosen Ritter that served as the principle combat force of Yang Wen-li in his battles against the Empire, and though they are seldom remembered their legend remains. Despite the great shifts in the fortunes of their leadership and the political landscape they stayed in the fight long enough to see it’s final conclusion. The Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge is awarded for meritorious conduct during a major engagement without misbehaving before the enemy. Only those who are actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement are eligible. For those who display exceptional prowess in close quarters combat the Master Cloth device is authorized in addtion to the Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge for those select few that have carried on the legacy of the late Master Asia of the School of the Undefeated of the East. Despite the lamentable decline in the number of students enrolled in the School of the Undefeated of the East there was still a need to recognize talented martial artists that might have impressed the greatest warrior in all of Gundam. To this end the Master Cloth device was created, which is a simple a ribbon that made from one of the articles once wielded by the great master. Only those who can come close to matching Master Asia’s ability to take down mobile suits with a simple piece of cloth can claim the honor of receiving a small piece of his worldly weapons of textile. While weapons change the spirit of the warrior remains eternal so it is that this award is bestowed on worthy warriors no matter their martial discipline, for the School of the Undefeated of East is always welcome to adopt new techniques whatever their source.
Uiharu & Saten (To Aru Kagaku no Railgun): It was a long time coming and while Kuroko and Biri-Biri make up the bulk of Team Railgun’s striking power the B-Team of the group stepped up their game and delivered. They may lack the awesome power of Biri Biri or the keen tactical insight of Kuroko, but none can deny their bravery for participating in the same fight with less combat power. While badass normals have all but left some series it was good to see that even Saten with not notable powers was able to contribute to a BIG FIGHT. Patton once said that every man has a job to do in an army, and while Saten and Uiharu are not suitable for extended front line duty when the call came the did not shrink from it nor did they bother themselves with pointless soap box preaching or lame questions. For doing their job and more they are jointly (due to their special relationship) awarded the Combat Action Badge for extended and examplary service on the Highway to the Danger Zone.
Mii Konori (To Aru Kagaku no Railgun): While lacking in the other talents of Super Man Mii-chan still made excellent use of he x-ray vision by marrying her abilities to superior close combat techniques, clearly we can see where Kuroko furthered her already formidable training. Mii was indeed in a supervisory role and had little obligation to engage in active patrols given that her subordinates were highly motivated and truly dedicated. Still when a ghost from the past started causing problems Mii-chan showed no fear in engaging hostiles while severely outnumbered and out gunned. Her participation in the Highway to the Danger Zone is also recognized as she took the initiative and helped her juniors on the road to victory. For her participation in a great victory for the forces of Judgement she is authorized to wear the Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge.
Kongo Mitsuko (To Aru Kagaku no Railgun): Long the buttmonkey of her series Kongo-san finally proved herself worthy when she teamed up with Kuroko on the Highway to the Danger Zone. It was surprising to see Kong-san actually cooperate as much as she did with her long time rival Kuroko. Still school spirit and JUSTICE win out and Kongo-san has earned her combat action badge despite her bleated though much appreciated participation in hostilities.
Daguza Mackle (Gundam Unicorn): Unlike the much more infamous Cyclops Team of Zeon during 0080 Mackle commanded a truly elite outfit that actually accomplished it’s objectives rather quietly though their covering unit, Londo Bell seems have slipped a bit from the days of Bright Noa. Not only did be blow through a Zeke squad, he led his squad to the successful recovery of the Gundam Unicron and capture of the last Zabi. While much of his work was undone by his immediate superiors he still endeavors to recover the only one who can pilot the Gundam Unicorn and has maintained possession Mineva, at least until Riddhe tries to make an escape attempt. Not only was he able to dominate ground side he also lent the pilots of Londo Bell a helping hand by interfering with Marida’s less than stellar flying. By and large a much better performance compared to the Cyclops Team, and certainly due to superior performance of his duties has earned his Combat Action Badge.
Stark Jegan Pilot (Gundam Unicorn): While much gushing will occur for a broken and used Puru 12 the Nameless Stark Jegan Pilot proved how close a badass normal and truly skilled pilot in an inferior mid-range support suit can give those hateful newtypes a good run in their fancy ostentatious suits. The only tragedy was that this pilot was not given a better suit to match his skills. Had he been given a Delta Plus who knows what kind of damage he could have done to those poncy sleeves and Full Frontal’s bed toy. For showing how superior flying and superior tactical thinking look better on screen than funnels the Stark Jegan Pilot is posthumously awarded the Rosen Ritter Combat Action badge for helping the Feddies deal a small blow to Marida’s precious prototype. For demonstrating superior close combat techniques and putting Marida’s beam saber skills to shame and out doing the overused Char Kick, the Talented Stark Jegan Pilot who dared to challenge Marida with the odds stacked against him is awarded the Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge with Master Cloth. It is a great tragedy that one so talented and worthy did not have the chance to carry on the legacy of the School of the Undefeated of the East.
Londo Bell/ECOAS (Gundam Unicorn): While Londo Bell is no stranger to war the latest crop to bear the torch handed to them by Bright Noa were tasked along with ECOAS in the most important operation of the year against a nascent Neo-Zeon Movement. Again the age old lies of Zeon were brought out and yet again another generation of hostile Zekes seeks to destroy the hard won peace of UC 0092 and drop yet more colonies that others call home. Another generation of Feddie Grunts was blooded in 0096 and they have already suffered the painful loss of many friends at the hands of Zeke engineered abominations known as Cyber-Newtypes. With only courage and guts to call their own and with no claim to any super powers or Newtype Bullshit the members of Londo Bell and ECOAS march on to try and halt Full Frontal’s mad ambitions. For participating in a lopsided battle against the Zekes and managing to snatch small victories and denying Full Frontal what he seeks, the humble troops of ECOAS and Londo Bell are awarded the Rosen Ritter Combat Action Badge. Sadly many of them have gotten it posthumously.
1121st (Sora no Woto): Out Gunned and out numbered with no allies the 1121st went into battle on a hope and a prayer. They fought off an over strength-ed tank platoon to make their way between two hostile divisions to try for a cessation of hostilities in the wake of the Hopkins Mutiny. While much could have gone wrong for the green unit had Rio not arrived in time, they did the right thing by still training at a time when they could have lazed about and left their sole tank to rust. Hans von Seekct would have been proud that the 1121st was still training and drilling despite the remote chance of a fight in the “safest” front while the armistice was still in effect. For their participation in what could have amounted to a Forlorn Hope and despite their controversial hostage taking they are awarded the Combat Action Badge, fortunately for all of them it was not posthumous.
Shizuo Heiwajima (Durarara!!): YEEAAAH! The fortissimo of Ikebukuro! Is there a scene he hasn’t stolen?! Unless he’s not been in it, of course. Seriously, what’s not to love about this guy?! Well, unless you’re on the receiving end of that short fuse, that is. Either way, Shizuo’s feats of physical prowess are simply unmatched. Thus, though he may not be the brightest bulb in the box, the man can punch a guy clean out of his clothes, has a heart of gold, doesn’t actually like violence, and looks good in a bartender suit. Again, what’s not to love?!?! Just avoid him if you like wearing black, fur-rimmed parkas and have a penchant for being a sadistic bastard… you have been warned…
The Baka Trio (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!):: Arguably the best supporting characters in Maid-sama!, these three are just as impressive with their fists as they are with their ability to order to stake out Maid-cafés. Though they might not like you at first if you’re a class president in desperate need of a chill-pill, rest assured all it takes it one portion of hand decorated moe-moe omurice and you will have their unswerving loyalty and three pairs of very handy fists should you ever need them.
Smile and JK (Occult Academy): One of the greatest tag-teams of the year, when these two get their spanners/ dowsers on, there’s no stopping them! Yes, this unlikely duo and their unlikely weapons are worth their weight in gold. Or pudding. Or engine oil. Or…
The Order of Waspinator
Origins: The tale of Waspinator was one of constant failure and struggle. Despite being the least powerful Predacon, Waspinator always managed to survive while his peers died all around him. He never gave up despite the cruelty of his situation and in the end became master of all the apes on Earth. To honor such tencaity that few these days can match the Order of Waspinator was instituted to honor those determined few that shed blood, sweat, and tears to get BEST END in their respective series.
Tsukasa X Junichi mark VI (Amagami SS) : The long-anticipated Tsukasa arc was worth the wait. Struggle, drama, personality shifts and physical violence were all part of the process of reaching the BEST END of BEST ENDS for this couple. Tsukasa’s personality and self perception presented several potential pitfalls, as did Junichi’s trauma over the previous Christmas. But both of them showed tenacity and initiative to make things happen. Tsukasa was willing to accept Junichi first as a helper and then as a boyfriend and helped give Junichi the initiative and drive he needed, almost like he picked it up just from proximity to her (though Umehara’s encouragement was also invaluable in getting him started.) Junichi displayed more determination and persistence than any of his previous marks as he struggled through accepting Tsukasa’s true personality and helping her overcome her apprehension about hiding it. From the good times spent working together to the bad times when Tsukasa tried to end her real personality, from the kkyyyaaa of Tsukasa’s proposal to the physical attack combo the night of the festival, these two clicked on a romance level and gave each other the emotional support they needed. And in the end they were rewarded with the best ending of the series: their own personal moment below the lighted Christmas tree and an afterstory ten years later where they returned as husband and wife along with their daughter.
1121st (Sora no Woto): Yes Rio may have had to marry for the sake of her people but that does not mean that the 1121st did not get best end for themselves as the Roman Emperor may as well be in a galaxy far far away. Moreover we all know which team the 1121st is batting for. Their’s is a bond that cannot be sundered by marriages of convenience they fought a war together and get along famously and for the foreseeable future they will be spending their peaceful days in lady-like pursuits, getting gloriously drunk and taking communal baths. If that is not a BEST END then clearly you are greedy and will never get BEST END.
Mugi-chan (K-On): Mio and Ritsu might have been Romeo and Juliet but in the end Mugi achieves a lasting victory by convincing her friends to attend a Women’s College. Much will continue as before but more importantly a yurilicious future is secured and all the members have conformed to Mugi’s will. She needed no rings of power to achieve this feat only a few subtle hints and egging Ritsu and Yui along as needed. Once Ritsu decided Mio shortly followed. May their midnight Tea Party never end.
Hero of Capitalism
Origins: Founded in 2059 by Richard Bilrer to promote philanthropy for good causes in a time when people wasted their money in trivial pursuits. It happened upon Bilrer during the hard times that followed Space War I when the Zentradi were still adapting to culture and trying to build a future with the miclones from the ashes and ruins of Earth. Through his hard work and efforts Richard Bilrer founded a successful shipping company with a notable security division. Despite being the owner of a PMC he was not interested in creating a fiefdom or toppling governments and instead tried to bring the universe closer together. He understood that he was not going to live forever and decided to encourage others to follow his example. The Hero of Capitalism was created to honor persons who use their money to further the common good in tangible ways. One need not be wealthy to earn this honor but only to give more than his able to a noble and just cause.
Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier Movie: the False Songstress): Sheryl Nome was already a great person in original series, but in the Movie she steps it up to ELEVEN and gives us one of the most memorable moments of the year when she hired SMS to save Macross Galaxy. Never in anime has a nation owed so much to so very very few as when Sheryl bank rolled a rescue operation with her own money without reimbursement or a tax write off. Even if she had a dislike for her old home her Patriotism shone through and reminded us how Sheryl is AWESOME for so many reasons. A better use of Credit has yet to be seen before or since. Richard Bilrer was most honored to have known her and be able to give this award in person in 2059. Not only is Sheryl a Goddess of Battle she is also a Goddess of Charity.
Kuranosuke Koibuchi (Kuragehime): All aboard the Gorgeous Express! I, Kurako, will be your conductor this evening and, on behalf of all everyone at Jellyfish Travels, I hope that you will have a fabulous, fashionable and financially rewarding journey with us. Fire exits are located at the sides and rear of the carriages, and in the unlikely event that there is an emergency, I, your Fairy Trapmother, will save the day!
Rio (Sora no Woto): While she was called reluctantly to lead her modest country in the wake of a destructive war Rio still found ways to fund an aviation industry for the sake of exploration. While building a military industrial complex would be horrible for the lefty retards we agree that for the chance to have a VF and to inspire a potential Kawamori to be well worth the cost to bring back biplanes.
The Mayor (Arakawa Under the Bridge ss.1 and 2): If you thought that this guy was just a nutter in a rubber suit, think again! This mysterious youkai has more tricks up his sleeve than you can shake a detachable kappa shell at. Proving more than once that he has the power to protect those under his formidable influence and care, he is the perfect substitute father for all those who need a place to stay and who don’t mind plenty of fresh air and fresh fish!
Onizuka-sensei Excellence in Teaching Award
Origins: Following the example of Onizuka Eikichi, 22 years old, this award was created to each year recognize the teachers that have used any and all means to better the lives of their students. The true teacher cares not for the means used and places above all else the happiness and growth of their students. And this is not just helping the students do well in school, but to enrich their lives in all aspects. Whether that be through ignoring school regulations, imparting motivation and life lessons, being a friend, shipping students together, or even physical violence, the greatest educators will do what it takes to help their students in all aspects of life. To those teachers which this year acted in an exemplary manner and left a lasting impact on the lives of their students, this award is bestowed.
Takahashi Maya-sensei (Amagami SS) – In all arcs of Amagami where she was present, Takahashi Maya went above and beyond her duties as a teacher and went the extra mile for her students. When Tsukasa had no one else in the first five arcs, Maya was there for her as more than just a faculty advisor. The two hung out at the Founder’s Festival like two friends, and worked together in that same spirit to make the festival happen. When Junichi was feeling down during the Ai arc (and weren’t we all during that arc?) Maya stepped in with firm words and a firmer slap to the butt to light a fire under Junichi mark IV. She knew exactly how much pressure to apply to Tsukasa during her arc without pushing the overworking issue too much. And then when Junichi mark VI and Tsukasa had their breakthrough moment in the empty classroom on festival night, despite her inebriation she willed herself to soberness and redirected another wandering teacher, preventing him from ruining a wonderful moment. And through all this she was immensely likable and fun and looked damn good doing it. Let us raise a toast, of amazake, to Takahashi Maya! I’ll still be hot for teacher well into 2011.
Sawako-sensei (K-On): While Sawa-chan is rather eccentric none can deny her passion for teaching and her passion for music. Even though she started out as a reluctant sponsor for the Light Music Club she nevertheless helped her charges excel even if she had to find new ways to motivate them from time to time. She also made significant financial contributions to save the music by donating her Guitar which fetched a handsome sum. Her costume making talents had few equals and with her help her homeroom class was able to put on a delightful adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and even succeeded in making Ritsu adopt the manners of a proper lady. Sawa-chan has gone time and again above and beyond her duties as a teacher to foster growth and joy in her students despite being new at this teaching thing. While she is much loved she is also capable of commanding fear, a trait seldom seen these days in the teaching profession.
Distinguished Couple Citation
Origins: A decoration presented to those couples who, as a unit, distinguish themselves in the fields of DDDDDDAAAAAAAAWWWWWWW, kyyyyaaaaaa, and WIN. The award recognizes all manner of exemplary couples, from those who are natural pairings of exceptional quality to those who succeeded after long and grueling ship-to-ship combat or through difficult circumstances. Couples that even standing next to each other would make even the most battle hardened Zentradi warrior want to find the nearest Meltlandi and ‘make culture.’ Couples receiving the Distinguished Couple Citation join the hallowed ranks of those such as Kati X Patrick, Claudia X Roy, Hikaru X Misa, Alto-hime X Sheryl, Eriko X Kazuki, Max X Millia, and Mayama X Rika.
Riken and Susukihotaru (Otome Youkai Zakuro) – From episode one these two caused so much DDDDAAAAWWWWing and kyyyaaaaaas that they nearly overloaded the brain of many a viewer. In a show built around pairings these two just turned up the cuteness and romance to 11. Riken, great, great-grandfather of Kimi ni Todoke‘s Ryu was all business and the most serious of his military unit. And Susukihotaru, the shy one among a group of quite forward half-youkai. Though things started on the wrong foot, it wasn’t long before ‘cool Riken smooth’ came to her on bended knee to demonstrate his honorable intentions. From that point forward it was the sweetest thing seen in years. Susukihotaru’s ability to read thoughts through touch was previously something that kept her apart from others, but with Riken it became their most intimate bond. Even just typing this now is bringing a big smile to my face.
Shoko and Yuuji (Baka to Test to Shoukanjyuu) – Carried initially on Shoko’s initiative, creativity, and taser usage, this couple developed into something really cute during the first season of 2010. Some may bring up the taser and the stalking and the chains as if it were a forced coupling, but I like to think of it as a surprise relationship! Yuuji’s resistance was futile as his old childhood friend finally got him where she wanted him and claimed her prize. (And I’m kicking myself now for not including her as another example in that osananajimi doctrine post I wrote!) And what’s more she enjoyed the popular support of his F-Class classmates, everyone participating in shipping them together (when they weren’t shipping him in their delusions with Akihisa.) Yuuji tried to act like he wanted to escape Shoko’s love, but when it came down to it he was just tsundere. When their classmate-arranged amusement park date had them on stage in wedding garb he couldn’t help but see how wonderful the moment was. And he was ready to deal with the obnoxious hecklers in the audience that would ruin their ‘practice wedding.’ And in addition to all the great, cute, and funny moments this couple had there was also how delightfully forward Shoko was. Resistance was indeed futile, but who would want to escape?
HarukaxHibiki (Amagami SS): In a series with multiple endings I still wish to congratulate Haruka and Hibiki for getting BEST END outside of the Haruka arc. Simply WOW amirite? I am sure that they will have many many happy years together even as Haruka stalks Hibiki’s juniors until she can no longer draw breath. May their cosplay party never end and be most pleasing to watch for Kanako.
MiyaxSaexAi (Amagami SS): Nishishishi yes while Junichi’s many marks may have acquired different targets the superior Miya was able to mark multiple targets at once and HOW. I must confess I did not appreciate the Sae and Ai arcs, however I will discount those alternate endings and insist that Miya was a most happy mistress of her own Yuri harem. Congratulations you three, may you night of forever and ever be forever and ever. LET CHOCOLATE FLOW!
Misaki Ayazawa x Takumi Usui (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!): Putting the ‘power’ in ‘power couple’, these two are not only made for each other, but will probably destroy you if you so much as think of getting in their way. In short, the most kyaarific couple from the most kyaarific show of the year – tsundere kaichous + perverted space aliens 4eva!
Nino x Ric (Arakawa Under the Bridge ss.1 and 2): Not the most conventional of couples, seeing as how the girl barely speaks to the guy before she asks him to be her lover. And, er, the fact that she’s from Venus. However, two series on, Nino and Ric are proof that you don’t even have to be from the same planet in order to share a deep and mutual loving bond. These two were refreshingly adorable from day one, and they’re still as adorable a year on. KOU SAMA! GO
SU- RIC x NINO!!
Impz Order of Trappiness
Finally, a set of awards that are new, but very close to our hearts. In honour of our noble leader, His Royal Trappiness, the Impz of T.H.A.T., we are please to grant the following orders for exceptional performance in the role of cross-dressing for great justice and looking great while doing so…
Kinoshita Hideyoshi (Baka to Test to Shoukanjyuu) : Already awarded EO’s ‘Legendary Award’ back during the season BakaTest aired, Hideyoshi takes rightfully claims this award as well. From the original award’s description: “Hideyoshi, the ‘third gender’, saw the bar set by other traps, stole it, and constructed a system of parallel space elevators to hang it tens of thousands of kilometers above the Earth beyond the reach of all who went before him. Not even Mako-cakes rivals his greatness. The washi pronoun using, lusted after by male classmates, ultra-trap has been responsible for swaying the sexual orientation of Shinn and inspiring a wave of trap-love among viewers. Complete with his own changing room and fanservice shots, Hideyoshi will be the trap that all other traps aspire to in the future.”
Aoi Hyōdō (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!): This middle-schooler with the sharp fashion sense and even sharper tongue was, quite frankly, pretty annoying to begin with in Maid-sama!. However, even this waspish little fellow has a genuine, refreshingly cute side when he chooses to show it. As well as a determination that’s just as demonic as Misaki’s, of course!
Shouichirou Yukimura (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!): The most enthusiastic and supportive Student Council Vice President EVAR. Trapimura’s feminine features may have been in danger of becoming a running gag gone too far, however, following his fateful meeting with cool-as-a-cucumber new-best-friend Kanou, we were given more reasons to LOL than I can count.
Sister (Arakawa Under the Bridge ss.1 and 2): – is a freaking nun with a gun! And if that holy habit wasn’t traptastic enough for you, then he also looks great in a schoolgirl uniform. Come on, Maria – you know you want him!
Bride-Ric (Arakawa Under the Bridge ss.1 and 2): Ric’s matrimonial delusions concerning his beloved Nino-san were one of the highlights of season 2 of Arakawa. In short, there is nothing that this lad doesn’t look good in. Trap-Ric, and your maidenly heart, we salute you!
Impz Order of Reverse-Trappiness
…and, having had the gentlemen, now it’s time for the ladies. Thus, once again, for exceptional performance in the role of cross-dressing for great justice and looking great while doing so, we honour the following…
Butler-Subaru and Misaki (Kaichou wa Maid-sama!):: As if those maid costumes weren’t enough, I think you’ll agree that these butler outfits are just as fetching on Subaru and Misaki, who did it purely to save their beloved Maid-Latte. Ganbatte, girls!
Tsukimi Kurashita (Kuragehime): Our very own Executive Otaku was swift to claim her as his waifu of the season and, very soon, it was clear he wasn’t the only one to fall for this charming young fujoshi’s charms. Sometimes, a girl doesn’t need a Fairy Trapmother to wave a magic lipstick to make us notice her – she just needs to cosplay as Gene Kelly! Trap-Tsukimi, we salute you!
Bridegroom Nino (Arakawa Under the Bridge ss.1 and 2): The deadly sleeping beauty from the planet of love here proves that she, too, looks just as heavenly in a tux as she does in everything else she’s worn this year. In short, Bridegroom-Nino is our REVERSE-TRAP OF THE YEAR! *More wild applause*