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Crunchyroll Reveals Categories for 7th Annual Anime Awards

14 categories have been set for the live ceremony in Tokyo coming March 4, 2023, with an additional 9 categories set for the virtual ceremony.

Crunchyroll has announced categories for the 7th annual 2023 Crunchyroll Anime Awards, the leading annual awards that honor creators, musicians, and performances in anime. This year’s ceremony will take place at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Tokyo on Saturday, March 4, 2023, hosted by renowned voice actress Sally Amaki and popular entertainer Jon Kabira. 

The Anime Awards judges, comprised of more than 50 anime creatives, tastemakers, and influencers from around the world, will select the nominees in each of the votable categories, with results announced early 2023.  Last year, global fans cast a record 17 million votes for nominees representing nearly 40 anime studios across eight streaming platforms. View the full list of judges here, and more information regarding the Anime Awards here.

Categories for the live ceremony in Tokyo include: 

  • Anime of the Year -  This show sets the standard for anime over the last year. Its compelling story, beautiful artistic execution, unforgettable characters all combine in a unique way to create a masterpiece that deserves singular recognition. Whether the show was an unexpected hit, or delivered on fans’ high expectations, Anime of the Year represents absolute excellence. 
  • Best Animation – This category recognizes anime that are visually stunning in the ways they bring their stories to life. No matter the style of animation, these shows provide a visual feast for viewers to enjoy, immersing audiences into previously unimaginable worlds.
  • Best Anime Song  -  This category recognizes excellence in a vocalist, instrumental, soloist, duo, group, or collaborative recording played during any part of an anime series.
  • Best Character Design - This category celebrates artists who have either created iconic anime characters or breathed life into one from other sources like manga or light novels. Thanks to their understanding of design principles, great character designers can tell a story from how someone is drawn, while the legendary ones create characters you recognize by their silhouette.
  • Best Comedy - Whether they catch you off guard with a unique point of view, or the dialog seems crafted by a stand-up comedian, these are the shows that make you laugh out loud and have your side hurting by the end. 
  • Best Continuing Series - Sustaining excellence is no small feat, particularly when it comes to anime. Considering all the creativity, effort, and planning that goes into one season, the ability to hold a fan’s attention year after year is worthy of celebration.
  • Best Director - To paraphrase Hayao Miyazaki, “An anime is a reflection of its director.” Directors work behind the scenes, conveying their vision and imagination to animators, making critical decisions, and managing the creative aspects of production. 
  • Best Fantasy - Best Fantasy is all about imagination, creativity, and a bit of magic. These shows don’t just take us to other worlds, they craft deep, original universes full of mythical creatures where even the smallest detail is fantastically original.
  • Best Film – This category celebrates non-episodic anime with runtimes longer than a standard episode, whether they were released in theaters, on DVD, or online. The best of the best live up to the hype, leaving fans wondering where the time went.   
  • Best Original Anime - An original anime is not adapted from source material; it is an entirely unique creation. While that itself is an accomplishment, these shows also present an impactful and entertaining story that sets the title apart.
  • Best Romance - A great romance can thaw the heart of the coldest cynic. These captivating stories draw us in and remind us of the best part of being alive. With their hopeful messages, these shows find a way to make you believe in the power of love.
  • Best Score - A vital part of an unforgettable anime is its original music. A well-crafted score adds another dimension of depth and emotion to any scene with compositions that are not only tightly associated with an anime, but can also stand alone as masterpieces of music. 
  • Presenter’s Choice - Crunchyroll has invited a special guest to present an award of their choice to an honored contributor. It is an opportunity to recognize a person, studio, or company for a variety of reasons, including celebrating a milestone, overcoming something daunting, or achieving something inspirational. NOTE: This winner is determined by the special guest(s).
  • Special Achievement Award - This award serves to recognize a person, studio, or company (in the past or the present) that has impacted the industry in a remarkable way. Without their contributions, anime would not be where it is today, so this award implies reaching legendary status. NOTE: This winner is determined by an industry panel selected by the Crunchyroll team.

Categories for Crunchyroll’s global livestream event: 

  • “Must Protect At All Cost” Character -  These are the characters that make the world feel like a kinder, more special place. Whether they're an earnest protagonist who always gets back up or a pure hearted cinnamon roll who holds a group together, these characters remind us that there are some things in life worth protecting.
  • Best Action - This category rewards a show that has action at its core. These titles should leave the audience with their hearts pounding, their palms sweaty, and everyone gasping for breath during the mind-blowing sequences. 
  • Best Drama - These anime convey something essential about the human experience. Their mastery of building and relieving tension sets fans on the edge of their seats, compelling them to invest deeply in the characters and their stories.  
  • Best Ending Sequence - Similar to the opening, an unforgettable ending sequence pairs design and music to delight and surprise. Often a place where the art style can be taken in entirely new directions, a great closing sequence lets viewers catch their breath and enjoy small moments with a character.
  • Best Main Character - Whether hero, anti-hero, or villain, a main character is the face of their series. But it’s not just their personalities or characteristics that make them beloved, it’s their well-developed stories and the journeys they take us on that make them worthy. 
  • Best New Series - While countless new anime are created each year, this category honors the series and spin-offs that stand out. These instant classics possess something unique that keep viewers transfixed and passionately awaiting season two. 
  • Best Opening Sequence - Through striking visuals and irresistible music, a great opening sequence sets the table for what’s to come. Whether it’s creating a quirky mood for an off-beat rom-com, or striking a dark and serious tone for suspense, a memorable opening has as much creativity and passion as the show it introduces.  
  • Best Supporting Character - This category celebrates sidekicks like they were number one. Supporting characters come in all shapes and sizes, but the best among them are able to shine as bright as their main character counterparts when called upon. 
  • Best Voice Actor Performance - Renowned voice artists not only breathe additional life into design, they also re-envision what a character sounds like in a different language. Through their command of tone and the emotions their voices elicit, these talented artists add depth, transforming anime characters into anime icons. This award will honor voice actors across Arabic, Castilian, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.  

"We are thrilled to celebrate the exceptional storytelling that has captured the hearts and minds of anime fans around the world,” said Rahul Purini, President of Crunchyroll. “We owe so much to the creators, artists and producers that delivered some of the most meaningful moments in global pop culture this past year.”

Sony Music Solutions, part of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., will support Crunchyroll in the execution of the event.

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.