Ah award shows, the fecal stains of prestige and meaningless arguments. The pinnacle of people caring about things they shouldn’t. And voting systems so absurdly broken, it makes election politics look normal. Whether it be the Oscar’s, the Golden Globes, or even some poorly thought out online bullshit contest, it’s one of those things that we want to feel included and angry about, even though we know that we are insignificant in the big picture and that it’s really just an outlet of personal validation of the shows we saw whether it be (usually) outrage or a pride in enjoying the same thing everyone else watched and enjoyed! This year we had a big one, Crunchyroll debuted it’s very first awards show! With winter 2016 Sakuga darling Flip Flap- I mean Yuri on Ice, sweeping almost every category. But I don’t want to focus on the outrage of my favorite show nobody gave a shit about not being randomly given a shit about. I want us to instead find the main reason why the Award Show was as vapid a sham as it was. Today ladies and gentlemen we have 8 super validating contestants, and as we go through each of them I want you to think long and hard about which one you like the most without considering any of the others contestants whatsoever! Please vote without a second thought 3 weeks from now when we choose our winner!
1. It’s a Popularity Contest
Do you remember back in high school where the decision of who was the best was who was the most popular? Remember those days where absolutely nobody gave a single solitary care about your existence because you were an outcast? Everyone thought you were a pervert who wanted to fuck underage girls because you liked these foreign things called “japanese cartoons”?
Remember what it was like not to be cared about and the conversation always surrounding that hot dude who happened to do an obscene amount of crunches and secretly fucked enough women to create an std monster the size of a Kaiju? Remember how you wanted TO MURDER EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE PRETENTIOUS ELITIST ASSHOLES AND SEE THE BLOOD OF THERE XENOPHOBIC SKULLS WHERE IT SHOULD BELONG, ON THE END OF YOUR PRECIOUS SPIKED NAILED THAT YOU NAMED STACY?AND REMEMBER HOW YOU PICTURED YOURSELF LAUGHING OVER THE CORPSES OF YOUR ENEMIES AND YOU WOULD LAUGH AS YOU DISMANTLED THEIR LIFELESS BODIES LIMB FROM LIMB “IM THE POPULAR ONE NOW!” YOU WOULD SHOUT AS YOU WERE SURROUNDED BY NOBODY BUT YOURSELF THE WALLS PAINTED RED AND THE MIXTURE OF UNCLEAN ODORS WAFTING THE AIR LIKE MAGICAL BLISS???? Well now you can experience that all over again as you watch every show you care about get flushed out by some show you haven’t even watched but assume is terrible because as all real otaku know, if it’s popular it probably sucks (see: Sowrd Art Online). Now you can watch your beloved show get grouped in an entire “other” category, because we know it won’t win so it doesn’t even matter. Congratulations kid, welcome to the unfortunate irrelevancy of write in voting.
2. Recentism Bias:
This one goes almost without saying because anybody with 2 neurons to spark a synapse with has complained about this. Whatever is most recent in peoples minds is what is going to win. Do you really think people have a strong enough collective memory to quibble about what came out early in the year during an “of the year” awards show? Of course not, people only think about the now, there is no time to reflect on the past, it’s all about what you care about in the moment! Sure Mob Psycho was a show people cared about, sure even Erased was a show people cared about, both the collective conscious would refer to as “10/10”. But come on! Mob Psycho came out over a half a year ago and Erased came out at the BEGINNING of the year. Screw that, what is on peoples mind right now? Oh! It’s Yuri on Ice! Setting the year back one? What the hell are you on about? We need to talk about shows of this year, nobody cares about 2015 anymore, that isn’t current year! We have to stay relevant god damn it! We have to do this NOW NOW NOW!!!
3. The 7 Unqualified Titans
I want to present to you some choice passages from one of the judges named Lauren Orsini I have linked the full post in the sources at the very bottom for reference in case you are worried that I’m misquoting her. She starts out by answering the question “why you?” here’s what she has to say:
So there you have it, she got a place on the judge spot because she had done a lot of work promoting and helping those guys. Want to make it on the Crunchyroll board? Just make everyone at the company likes you. Exhibit B here is Tristan Gallant whom I’m going to go on the very slight assumption was chosen because he got tons of his fans to sign up with his affiliate link. My point being that the qualifications for making it aren’t “who is the wisest” it’s simply who does the Executives like the most. This is reflected even later when Lauren admits this
“I was the person picked for the job. But am I the BEST person for the job? Definitely not. I never took a film criticism course in college. I don’t speak fluent Japanese. I am not an expert on sakuga or any other facet of how your anime sausage gets made. I am just a girl with opinions, opinions that have kept getting louder and louder as I applied for (and picked up) work at Anime News Network, Otaku USA, Crunchyroll, Kotaku, Forbes, and more.”
I have no issue with this in itself. I respect a judge that comes forward about thier biases and knowledge base however she is under qualified comparatively when even stacked up against OTHER BLOGGERS, and you don’t need to believe me, this qoute here points that out
“Probably most of the anime reviewers and bloggers you read on a regular basis are no more qualified than I am to do this, though there are some notable exceptions. (Amelia Cook at Anime Feminist has a college degree in Japanese Studies; kViN is a sakuga expert, etc.)”
This should really raise the question that if there is a bunch of more qualified people, then why didn’t they come on as judges? Ah it’s probably because those two aren’t partners in anime with crunchyroll, at least not explicitly. So what ends up happening is you have this homogeneity of underqualified people stepping up to bat to use this as an opportunity to show off their tastes. It’s just something to keep in mind when you consider who your representatives are from this contest to begin with.
4. Diversity is Secretly the Ultimate Evil
So let say you grope crunchyroll’s kawaii testicles in the right way and you are magically chosen to be part of the judge team “finally!” you cheer in a moment of euphoric bliss “After all this time I can state truly a diverse pick of my favorite shows of the season for each of the categories. I’m way more qualified to care about the crunchyroll awards!” Well prepare to get your spirits bombed because that’s not how it’s going to go down. If you choose 1 popular character and then a bunch of more obscure names, those obscure names don’t get any recognition, let Miles explain it himself in the podcast he had with arkada about why diversity hurts your overall chances
Miles: You were trying to put a lot of diversity in your
Miles: submissions which probably hurt them because if other people weren’t- or if other people were trying to put diversity but DIFFERENT diversity than you uh-
Arkada: Then everybody only gets 1 vote and then it’s up to whoever’s putting everything together to try and figure out “ok whose actually on this thing”
And there you have it, the cold and clean reason why diversity will end up being a race to the bottom instead of to the top. Not to mention that diversity never matters in a popularity contest anyway, it’s just what appeals most to the most people. And just like that any sense of wanting to put on shows that obviously “won’t win” is choked out from you and your list transforms into a swelling of popular show you actually liked. (We will return to this podcast in depth in a later nominee)
5. No Alternative Voting
I won’t toot this horn too loudly so I’m just going to keep this short and sweet. Alternative voting methods always will make more sense than the way we currently do it because the voters won’t feel like they are throwing their vote away by voting for some obscure show that won’t actually win. Whenever a less known show like Kabaneri or Rakugo Shinju was pitted in the same category as Re Zero or Yuri on Ice, they would get maybe 5 or 10 percent, for the most part that’s just because it’s a populatiry contest. But my tortuous mind can imagine the poor moron sitting there thinking that gee they REALLY want to chose Kabaneri because it’s good and thier actual favourite show of the year but it won’t actually win so they don’t pick it. Below I have linked a video to CGP Grays video on runoff voting.
There is also this little neat thing called the “Condorcet method” which is even more mathematically superior to that but I can already tell you aren’t interested because you can’t pay attention to anything that isn’t directly related to anime for more than 3 minutes. That’s ok, but if you are for some neolithic reason why America elected an Orange Man as president, this is a HUGE factor.
6. Everyone Can Vote (And Should)
Speaking of bullshit voting issues, there is no exceptions to who can and who can’t vote. You don’t even have to be a member of cruchyroll premium to vote. You can just be some random schmuck that is browsing the colossal corporate cesspool that is facebook, see it randomly on your feed and say “oh I’ll just vote for my favorite show I watched this year”. And then go back to telling your Uncle why he is a racist for voting for an Orange Man or take what you think is a flattering photo of your body with pursed lips on your visage imitating a duck beak, or whatever those “humans” do on that website, I left there a while ago. There is a problem with this lack of standards however because since they didn’t want to exclude anybody or give certain people more of a voice in the voting booths, they completely skew that stats for people who only half care and aren’t really all that informed.
It doesn’t particularly help that the “you have to vote” mentality is so indoctrinated in peoples feeble minds that they will subconsciously, mindlessly, vote even if they are grossly under-informed or don’t even care because people are sheep that have been so herded by the ideals of the “patriotic duty” to vote that they will go out of their way to fuck up some poll just because they have been told through life that that’s how you feel included. Or, Haruhi forbid, people who are for some miserable desperate reason part of the “crunchyroll community” get dicked over as well. Because instead of it being about shows the community likes, it was bent to the lowest common denominator instead, which makes them feel alienated. And before you point out “what do you care about those people?” I don’t, but to my mind those are the only people who should be rationally invested in this in the first place because it is called the “crunchyroll awards” after all, and the people there would want to feel included and feel like they are actually part of something. I propose that you should give those people more of the vote than others, give them say a full vote and the anonymous randos 3/5th of the vote like america did back in the day with the black people. This works because white male plantation owners cared about it while everyone else just cared about causing some shit (see: the american civil war). Going back to how things are supposed to be I think would make everyone important to your community feel just a bit better.
7. Judges Subject to Blind Voting
In a podcast that Arkada held with Miles, a friend and crunchyroll higher up, they discussed a lot of their personal picks for what should have won versus what did win. A lot of interesting things can be noted in that discussion, for example there were a few times where Arkadas definition of what a category means did not reflect Miles. Early on they discuss the Hero category and Arkada didn’t choose Subaru as a hero because he saw the character as selfish and thrown into the state of being a hero against his will. Meanwhile Miles points out that he is a hero because he inhabits the role of a hero. Who is right here, well arguably both of them, but that’s the issue is that it doesn’t matter how you interpret the category personally so much as how everyone as a whole the collective group interprets it. While this case specifically may not be egregious there was another moment later on where Arkadas entire list of “best girl” picks are Rem and a bunch of underage girls because Arkada didn’t see it as “girl who I would want to marry the most” as most other people tend to interpret it so much as “girl that was the best in the show” and while at first that incongruity seems just a bit silly, it doesn’t take long to realize that this form of blind voting can completely misinform the judges because their standards of what a category means may just be completely off base from what they actually mean. And while on paper that’s no big deal, had Arkada known that the best girl category was defined as “person you would marry the most” in the show then he wouldn’t have chosen Tsumugi, and cute blond Rapunzel length haired 5 year old and instead somebody who might actually fit the collective understanding of that category way more. Miles even notes at one point when they talk about best boys that Sakamoto might have been in that category if they had sat all those people down in a room to hash it out and compare notes.
8. Arbitrary Nominee Limitations
In the “best anime of the year” category they had exactly 8 nominations, in every other category there was only 4 nominations. Why limit it to 4? When you only have 4 nominations you really snuff out a lot of other shows from being there, which causes even more rage that the best comedy is trapped in down to 4 shows, giving gems like tanaka-kun no breathing room. If your response to that is “they wouldn’t have won anyway because those shows aren’t popular” then I commend you for being able to pick up on why this is not worth paying attention to. HOWEVER let’s assume that for some strange ridiculous reason this is saaaayyyyyy an advertising ploy to get people to pay attention to and watch more shows on cruchyroll then they are really limiting the amount of recommendations they can give. To me, that seems like a very bad move if you want to introduce people to new anime (assuming of course that this is the real goal of this which I can’t possibly believe it is, this was just a hypothetical of course). I have about another 5 or 6 things I could vent about how this fiasco of fuckery happened but I have to keep to an arbitrary of 8 for no reason whatsoever even though going on would be more informative and useful.
Well that about wraps up our contestants this evening, vote from your homes who should win as the most impactful to this issue and I promise you I won’t read it because I can’t be bothered. I want to point out that I never cared about this, I didn’t vote, because I don’t respect a crunchyroll awards. It’s not like whomever wins ACTUALLY wins anything, and it’s not like if that was true it would go to shows I would most care about anyway. I wanted to try and give insight into the pure cynical hatred of why these things are as bullshit as they are. If you really care so much about the fact Yuri on Ice won everything then start your own awards show. This could also make for a great parable as to a few other things like why the popular vote might not always be the best idea. There are many other things that are completely nonsense that I didn’t touch on. The fact that the judges couldn’t rank their picks just to name one. This is a clownshow all the way down to the core, and caring about it is exactly what they want you to do, and exactly what you shouldn’t do. The only person that can truly represent your opinions are you, so you should advocate your opinion regardless of what is popular or critically acclaimed or whatever. You are the master of your own destiny, the force is within you, and all those other popularly used analogies that ironically tout individuality. Until next time, Oyasumi mother fuckers!