Crunchyroll, Inc., the leading global destination and platform for anime and manga, announced Yuri!!! on ICE as the winner of The Anime of the Year Award on Saturday, Jan. 28. The most prestigious honor of Crunchyroll’s inaugural Anime Awards was revealed live in front of more than 400 anime influencers, industry experts, and fans at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards Party in San Francisco and streamed live for fans around the world.
Yuri!!! on ICE, the clear breakaway hit of 2016, won with over 44% of the vote. Yuri!!! on ICE follows Yuri Katsuki, an aspiring Japanese figure skater on his journey to stardom. The series distinguished itself from the seven other Anime of the Year Award nominees by tackling sensitive issues like coming to terms with one’s sexuality and mental illness head-on. The other finalists, nominated by a panel of judges, were ERASED, Joker Game, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Mob Psycho 100, My Hero Academia, Re:Zero, and Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū.
“Yuri!!! on ICE has achieved tremendous popularity in 2016, and has pushed anime to new heights by innovating the traditional format of storytelling and bringing to light issues that are not commonly featured in the genre. It’s no surprise that Yuri!!! on ICE was the winner by a landslide. We are thrilled that Yuri!!! on Ice has both captivated passionate anime fans and introduced new viewers to anime, and we are privileged to have had the opportunity to distribute this amazing property to its many viewers outside Japan,” said Kun Gao, General Manager and Founder of Crunchyroll.
The party to announce the winner of the Anime of the Year Award was held at the Folsom Street Foundry, where attendees enjoyed a live DJ performance by Qrion, anime screenings, video game lounges by Bandai Namco and Razer, custom T-shirt printing, and more. The celebration intended to capture the spirit of Crunchyroll’s passionate fanbase and give back to anime’s biggest fans.
The winners of the other 13 Anime Awards categories were announced publicly on January 10, including Hero of the Year, Villain of the Year, Best Couple, Best Fight Scene, and more. Fans voted for their favorite nominees in each category beginning January 3, which were determined in advance by a team of independent judges including WWE superstar and known anime-lover, Xavier Woods aka Austin Creed; animation director (The Boondocks & Black Dynamite and creator of Crunchyroll’s upcoming project Children of Ether) LeSean Thomas; editor and host of IGN’s Anime Club, Miranda Sanchez; and more. More than 1.83 million votes were cast across all Anime Awards categories.
“This first ever annual Anime Awards honed in on the best part of Crunchyroll: its community. Through the Anime Awards, fans have been able to engage with their favorite shows in new ways, connect with fellow members of the fandom, and celebrate the medium. The impassioned reaction to the Anime Awards illustrates both the anime fanbase’s collective commitment to the medium and the strength of the content created this year,” said Dallas Middaugh, Head of Content Management at Crunchyroll. “We are thrilled to name Yuri!!! on ICE as the 2016 winner of the Anime of the Year Award, and are excited to recognize the incredible work and talent within anime in 2017 and years to come by continuing the tradition of the Anime Awards.”