The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the organization that puts on Anime Expo every year has announced the nominees for their annual SPJA Industry Awards. The general public is now invited to cast their votes in 23 categories for the best in Japanese anime and manga released in the past year.
The awards are heavily weighted toward honoring achievement in American anime industry, but there were a few manga-specific categories in the mix. Here are the manga categories and nominees:
Best Manga - Action
- Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP (Del Rey Manga)
- Hellsing by Kouta Hirano (Dark Horse)
- Black Lagoon by Rei Hiroe (VIZ Media)
Best Manga - Comedy
- Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima (Del Rey Manga)
- Tokyo Zombie by Yusaku Hanakuma (Last Gasp)
- Kitsune no Yomeiri by Takagi Satoshi (Kodansha Ltd.)
Best Manga - Drama
- Monster by Naoki Urasawa (VIZ Media)
- Kitchen Princess by Miyuki Kobayashi and Natsumi Ando (Del Rey Manga)
- Ghost Talker's Daydream by Saki Okuse and Sankichi Meguro (Dark Horse)
The nominations were largely based on what was submitted to the SPJA for consideration, and publishers were only allowed to submit one title for each category. This might explain why there were some real headscratchers in the nominations, such as Kitsune no Yomeiri, which hasn't been picked up by an American publisher (that I know of), and the lack of nominees from Yen Press, CMX Manga, Go! Comi or TokyoPop.
The categories also make for some odd combinations. I never ever thought I'd see the sweet shojo cooking manga Kitchen Princess pitted against the grown-up suspense of Naoki Urasawa's Monster and the S&M-tinged supernatural series Ghost Talkers Daydream for a single award.
And no offense to Style School, but how is it that Otaku USA, one of the few remaining American print magazines devoted to anime and manga is M.I.A. in the Best Publication category?
Annoyingly enough, you must click the "vote" button in each of the 23 categories to cast your votes instead of making all of your selections on the entire ballot and clicking to vote once. The poll also doesn't require registration or sign-in, so multiple votes seem to be a possibility here. There's no date or time noted for the last day of voting, but the awards ceremony will be held on July 2, 2009 at Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, so chances are pretty good that the voting will end around the end of June or so. So visit the SPJA Industry Awards poll page and get your vote in soon!
In the anime categories, Gurren Lagann from Bandai Entertainment earned the most nominations, with 8 nods, followed by Death Note from VIZ Media, which got 6 nominations.
Go to the SPJA website for the rest of the nominees, and if you're morbidly curious, you can find out bit more info about their nomination process that lead to these uh, interesting combinations of manga nominees. I know, I'm turning into the manga awards curmudgeon; I'll try to tone it down. But what do you think about these nominations? Add your comments below!
Stick around for more on Anime Expo 2009, which will be held from July 2 - 5, 2009 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown L.A., California. You can still pre-register and get your 4-day pass at a discount from the at-the-door pricing. I know I'll be at AX '09, will you?
Image credit: © CLAMP / Kodansha Ltd., © Saki Okuse, Sankichi Meguro