The LLAMAs 2007

January 9, 2008

That’s right, the LLAMAs are back again. I meant to post them before the New Year hit, but that’s a different story entirely. Since I promised myself this would be the first post of the year, that’s the reason that I haven’t been speaking up otherwise. As a reminder to those of you who are knew, this very hand acronym stands for nothing else but the (L)azy (L)ikkun (A)wesome (M)usic (A)wards. Mostly because I’d choose doing crappy awards over the best music of the year rather than the best anime.

Nothing much has changed from last year. A few new categories have been added, most everything has been generalized to anime/manga/game community related things, as I figure it’s best to stay within one realm. General awards are fun but they’re a lot harder to dig through and find everything great. So, it’s only general in around the Hall of Fame and Song of the Year. But whatever, I’m just trying to find the best way to approach them, as we’re only in our second year anyway.

Oh! And before we start. I should mention that this being a blog, I can’t post links to MP3s here. Those will be present here due to the nature of how things are. I meant to do this entire thing via video format, but the holidays caused some massive screw ups. Remind me to start work earlier next year.

Best Anime Openings

Due to a nature of complaints I got last year, I decided to split up the Best Anime Opening into two separate categories. Last year, I received word that choosing merely CV performed anime openings as top was a LITTLE biased. I didn’t think so, but for the sake of integrity, I figured I should give a little lead way. Not to mention, you get to hear more music in this sense. So why complain?

Best CV Performed Opening
My favorite category of openings, especially since it was how I elected them last year. It always seems to be a more broad choice to me and also tends to be more favored among fans. Mostly because they provide a nice touch to the show and create more of an effect than what you get from some random band doing so. They also lack in musicality in the same sense though. Oh well.

Runner Up: Lucky Star Main Cast – Motteke! Sailor Fuku (Lucky Star)
I know what you’re thinking. What is wrong with him? Why is this here and not in the number one spot? Well, I promoted this song just as much as the next guy but I just couldn’t record it as the winner this year. It still felt out of place, especially on account of it not fitting the show at all when compared with how the show actually was. It was more of KyoAni having fun then fitting it in with the show. Though I know I didn’t punish Hare Hare Yukai for this, but that was a better song to boot.

Winner: Mizuki Nana – SECRET AMBITION (Nanoha StrikerS)
Choosing this over the LS opening could be argued by hours by different people. Frankly, I believe I made the right choice here. In terms of musicality, it’s obvious that SECRET AMBITION should win. In terms of fitting it’s show? I believe it fits quite well in terms of how high action the show is. Is it cheap that Mizuki Nana is a out of this world vocalist at times? Probably. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the right to be here, I mean, I gave Aya Hirano some unfair advantages last year just the same.

Best non-CV Performed Opening
A popular type of opening among some people. To me, it seems limited to the Shounen genre sometimes but a lot of big projects will also go towards this route as well. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but sometimes they feel rather artificial. So I tried to find some music that wasn’t necessarily done just solo and then grabbed to be an opening. That, and I always try to see how well they actually match up with the intensity of their series.

Runner Up: abingdon boys school – HOWLING (Darker than Black)
I knew I wouldn’t get by without mentioning this song as well. This was one song that I utterly enjoyed this year that was male performed, to be honest. Not that I have anything against them, I listen to a lot of male artists, they just don’t seem to make for good openings as the music is often just ripped from one of their soundtracks. But whatever, I’m just rambling now.

Winner: Base Ball Bear – Dramatic (Ookiku Furikabutte)
I definitely didn’t know whether I should place this here or not. But it was, by far, one of my favorite openings to be released this year. There was something charming about it or maybe that Base Ball Bear’s band name fit so well with the show they were doing the opening for. A definite hit with me and it got me into a band that I probably would have never listened to otherwise. Oh and I’m trying to avoid laughing about the Nico-do joke surrounding this song. Because it goes down a whole different alley.

Best Anime Endings

Best CV Performed Ending
Actually, I felt a lot less love for this category this year. Maybe Hare Hare Yukai just spoiled me or I don’t care at the end of episodes anymore. I think I may have disputed over this category a bit before I called it good but I sometimes revisit it. After looking back now that I’m posting and listening to my choices, I don’t regret it. And hopefully I chose well enough among all that was done this year.

Runner Up: Minoru Shiraishi – Ore no Wasuremono (Lucky Star)
The unmistakably hillarious ending that played one day to finish Lucky Star. Frankly, there was nothing quite as surprising nor as amusing as this during the year. Having Minoru there and having him perform this was a genius idea and definitely brought a spark to Lucky Star after they started running more Shiarishi themed endings.

Winner: Bamboo Blade Cast – Star Rise (Bamboo Blade)
Being beat out for Openings, I didn’t quite know if I would be able to credit Bamboo Blade and it’s rather interesting set of OP&ED. Frankly, I don’t quite hold any other CV performed openings on the same level. Though I know fans of certain other songs will whine, I find this in a good place here. Frankly, nothing quite stacks up to Hare Hare Yukai from last year, which is probably the problem with choosing one this year.

Best non-CV Performed Ending
Wow, this category flew for me, almost like CD performed openings. It was one of those things that just snapped into place and I didn’t have any complaints. Maybe there’s more grace and place for the non-CV ending. Or maybe they caused the greatness that Hare Hare Yukai achieved last year…nah.

Runner Up: anNina – Taishou a (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai)
Another series that definitely deserves credit for it’s opening and endings. The endings was a favorite of mine, just because it worked well at the end of every episode once it got into the series. Then again, I’ve never complained too much about Higurashi OPs and EDs, so I guess it’s just another notch on the belt.

Winner: Little Non – Hanamaru Sensastion (Kodmo no Jikan)
An unmistakable pick for me. When I first heard Hanamaru Sensation, it honestly threw me for a loop. I didn’t quite expect what was coming but it was one ending that I never cared about listening to during the credits. I’d often just leave it running while I checked my mail and waited for the episode preview to come along. Then, there was the adorable little animation in the background, which probably didn’t make it any less enjoyable. Definitely something new and fresh among most endings for me.

Other Single Song Awards

Biggest Surprises of the Year
This category stays reserved for those songs that just spring on me. They may not come from amazing series or be by some predicted vocalist. In a lot of cases it can come from CVs showing their amazing sides and other times, the fact that a completely out of the blue series just popped out a goldmine to our ears. Of course, these are chosen among my own surprises, so what may surprise me may not surprise you.

Runner Up: Sarasa Ifu – Curriculum (Moyashimon)
I didn’t really know what to expect of of Moyashimon, nor did I expect the opening to be as catchy and playful as it was. As such an unexpected series out of nowhere, it’s music sure turned out to be the same thing. Both OP and ED could easily get this award but I find the opening more to my tastes. It deserved runner up in terms of sheer unpredictability.

Winner: Hiromi Kondo – Misoji Misaki (Lucky Star)
Not a biased choice, I swear it. I mean, did ANYONE expect Akira’s CV to break out into (very slightly) enka styled song during any of Lucky Star? With how unexpected the endings were, it might have been predictable but after Aimai Net Darling? I don’t think so. Flaunting a rather creative mix of scary and classical, this was definitely a hit and shocker for this year.

The Strange
Oh, the Strange. Music that I just can’t put my finger on anymore. I listen to them, think over them and wonder if I just heard what I did. It may be the lyrics, music, or vocals of the song that does it. Or maybe it’s just meant to be that way. No matter what the case, I really have only one way to look at these songs when I hear them. Not to say they’re any less enjoyable though.

Runner Up: Kenji Ootsuki – Hito Toshite Jiku ga Bureteiru (Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)
Both a surprise, pleasure, and strange. This song was definitely all three of those when I first heard it. Not only was it strange to hear Kenji Ootsuki’s voice again but in such a strange song at that. I guess this award could only go to one of the strangest comedies to come out of this year.

Winner: JAM PROJECT – JAM ga Mottetta! Sailor Fuku (Lucky Star)
Definitely a very very late entry in the race. This second LS remix album was the strangest including this song on it. No, it’s not exactly what one would call cool. Frankly, I found it more normal for Minoru to be singing it then JAM PROJECT. Far beyond their style, I don’t think anything could beat this song in terms of strange.

Best Single Performance
Gathering character albums, insert songs, openings, this almost functions as Song of the Year. Since Song of the Year is general music and also including groups, this is more to recognize independent anime vocalists. These vocalists rise above the top and give us a song that make our jaws drop. In a lot of cases, they often earn quite a few fans with these.

Runner Up: SUN (Momoi Haruko) – your gravitation (Seto no Hanayome)
Another song that went completely unexpected by some people. After seeing this in episode, I could only hold my head and think about what was going on. Seto no Hanayome pulled the switch on people in terms of great music this year, that’s one thing I can’t deny. Quite unexpectedly at that and I know a ton of fans who came into the series merely after hearing this song. It became a must have after the CD came out and if it wasn’t for the following character CDs, probably would have been the winner of this category.

Winner: Eri Kitamura – Rasen (Seto no Hanayome)
This was one of those, “What the hell? Really?” kinds of songs for me. I didn’t have a shred of respect for Eri Kitamura as I hated Seto no Hanayome by the time her character came in. When I heard this song though, I had a high amount of respect for her voice. I usually have a hard time getting people to listen to my music in the car but whenever I turned this on, they wouldn’t seem to mind. Frankly, I never expected this one but I was a huge fan of Eri afterwards.

Full Series Awards

Best OST
A very general award when it comes down to any awards show. These series break the barriers of the hum drum and give us music that actually creates an effect. I can only bow down to these winners as they actually gave me music that I would want to listen to after the series ended. Having an OST that is actually worth listening to is really godsend nowadays.

Runner Up: Hitohira
Oh man, I finally get to revisit this series. With it’s classical/piano style track, it’s no surprise that I placed Hitohira here. It’s frankly one of the few OSTs I really constantly listen to afterwards and my music background probably influences this entirely. Despite that, it was great and it was top notch for what was going on. Actually, it was amazing to hear that they had such a great set of songs for as series that wasn’t so stand out. I compliment them on putting full effort into a important element of any drama series.

Winner: Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!
Manabi Straight had a soundtrack, that again came straight out of nowhere. It seems that simple series had the tendency to put some real effort into their music. Aside from a great opening and insert song, Manabi Straight was accompanied by music that always fit the situation. It never stole the show but you could always identify the mood of every situation and it never once felt repetitive. More importantly, it was a very modern feel (unlike what Hitohira may have provided) so it appeals to more tastes.

Best Set of Character Albums
A new award to this year’s LLAMAs, but easily one that I don’t mind adding. This looks at the bulk of all Character Albums a series has turned out and from there, I see how all voices stand up. This is very important as you can have one really good album but a whole slew of crap elsewhere. These series deserve credit as they actually tried to have everyone sing rather than just making fun when they couldn’t. If they can’t sing, please don’t bother should be a more followed rule.

Runner Up: Seto no Hanayome
What? Non Lantis character albums? That’s right. It seems that Lantis FELL APART in recent years, after being my heroes for so long. Instead, it seems avex (who I usually hate by the way) stole the scene with the mostly flawless Seto character albums. Either way, Rasen came from these, which is enough for me. But for the most part, these were a good set of character albums and had a total amount of musicality to them. Well, with the exception of Maki mabye.

Winner: Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!
Well, did this surprise you? For those of you who didn’t hear these, the Manabi Straight character albums shook the beginning of the year. Well OKAY, fine you caught me. Momoha’s was the only one to actually COME out come 2007. But in reality, it still counts if you ask me. You can try and kill me for it, but I tell you to shove it. Since a lot of them were late in 2006 and the series itself leaked into 2007, so let’s drop it. Anyhow, with great tracks and sometimes better remixes, this was a great set. And from King Records at that. Suck it Lantis. After meeting the man behind the magic at AX this year, I can say that with a vote of confidence.

Worst Set Character Albums
Well, we had the best, now here’s the worst. Maybe these albums aren’t bad or there may be some saving graces on some of them. But looking at the majority, it just spells out such little effort. I really do love character albums, they can produce some otherwise great music but in the wrong hands, they can cause utter terror. Please, don’t punish us. You’re supposed to be encouraging us to buy more, not scare us away with bad vocals and shoddy writing.

Runner Up: Hayate no Gotoku!
I’m merely basing this on the majority of the albums. And, in general, the Hayate no Gotoku character albums were terribly forgettable. Whether half the songs were just badly written or what, none of them struck me as great. Frankly, it’s been bits and pieces that I’m actually able to stand in the first place. While certain songs are sure fire gold, the majority just kills.

Winner: Lucky Star
Sorry, but 2 out of 12 is not good stats. With only 5% of your character albums being remotely worth buying, you’re swimming in some really nasty waters. Don’t even try to argue with me about these being good either. You can say, “well this track is good” and I’ll probably tell you, “No, go to hell. Unless it’s on Tsukasa’s or Kagami’s, then it sucks.” Frankly I didn’t hate some tracks THAT much. But it didn’t justify the buy or, in some cases, the listen. I really enjoy Lantis, but when they fuck up and try to make money. They FUCK UP. I’d rather have more SHnY character CDs of totally random characters then this. Where’s the Computer Club President Character CD? I’d buy that before another LS one.

Pathetic Crap of the Year
Honestly? I wanted to do this award again but I couldn’t put myself through listening to bad music again. How about I do something nice? Pick something off of one of the later Lucky Star character albums, and it probably could have qualified. I feel kind of bad saying that. But I’ll get over it.

The Awards that Matter

Likkun’s CVs of the Year
Replacing my Rising Stars award from last year, I decided to kick it up a notch. Whether it be their work in series or their great vocals, these CVs really brought it to the table this year. They deserve some real credit to what they contributed to the community and brought us something to talk about. It’s almost like Time’s Person of the Year, as I expect them to have done some good, just not show up and do their parts but take them to a new level.

Runner Up: Daisuke Ono
It was a close decision for me in terms of runner up. With both the male talents of Daisuke Ono and Minoru Shiraishi coming out, I couldn’t decide. But with Daisuke taking a lot of lead roles and also stealing the show in other cases, I can’t deny him this title. If it weren’t for a certain crazed fandom, then he would have easily been the winner. From laughing like a maniac on top of a mountain to messing with dragons to messing with super loli idols, Daisuke Ono is the man. Frankly, he’s probably rose up to be my favorite male CV just from what he’s done this year alone.

Winner: Saki Fujita
To some of you, this may be a surprise, to some upsetting, and to some, totally worthy. For those of you who are typing her name into some CV searching site, stop and I’ll explain. If I had a choice, I’d give this award to none other than the voice of the year, Miku Hatsune. Since giving an award to a robot is a little ridiculous, I decided that, Saki Fujita, who did the voice sampling for Miku, was worthy of the title. Without her, we couldn’t have rocked the year so hard. So I don’t think of anyone who could better receive this title. Plus, her 3 lines in all of Manabi Straight were plain amazing. God pray she actually gets some CV parts next year or does some actual vocal work, rather than having her robo-self handle it.

Song of the Year
We’re finally here. The mother of all mothers. These songs should be held up on a pillar for being rather addictive and bringing something different. Whether it be the song, the voice, or the influence, all of it matters. I could regret the decisions I make with such a big award, but I’m ready to take the heat.

Runner Up: Kaori Fukuhara – Ne Tou ge de Reset! (Lucky Star)
You’re probably wondering how I could give Rasen best single but why I wouldn’t put it here. Frankly, I don’t know the exact reason either but I still consider it more deserving of this award. Tsukasa’s character song was not only unexpected but very cute and extremely catchy. I still find it ironic one of my picks for Song of Year would also come from the worst set of character albums.

Winner: Miku Hatsune – Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru (Original)
Oh boy, what better song to remember the year with. It may not strike a note with some but I almost feel like someone should have heard this at some time. Anyhow, Miku was really the voice of the year at least as far as I’ve heard. Maybe I got wrapped into the whole thing due to my VIPPER status, and maybe they’re putting death threats on me if I don’t give this to her. Either way, my conscious and music self still has yet to tell me this is a bad idea. Funny thing? Got to love how unofficial music can still be great. I guess the tags on Nico-do will always be right. Waste of talent.

There are songs every year that manage to score themselves a place on my permanent playlist. They can be from anytime, anywhere but they get the best of me every time they come up. It may take years for a song to earn a place here or it may take a series of months. Either way, these songs are all here for a reason.

Choice One: Eri Kitamura – Apron wo Tora nai De! (Koharu Biyori)
If you were ever able to take a ride with me, chances are you heard this song there. If not, you may have heard it the other 100 times I played this song. If I were to actually scrobble half the music I listened to, this probably would have passed about everything. Something about it’s ridiculous music mixed with random lyrics makes it a good way to kick back. Is it totally lacking in any for of musicality? Yes. But that’s probably why I like it. It’s one of those, if I had a dollar things.

Choice Two: Miku Hatsune – Meruto (Original)
You’d be crazy if you thought another Miku song wouldn’t show up somewhere. Frankly, it’s hard to pick just one of the many to place in the hall of fame. Meruto, aside from our elected song of the year, was definitely a stand out. It’s upbeat and with a real vocalist put in, could make a rather money making single. Actually if you argue how good it is, the real male vocal version of it that was performed is just as amazing, if not better.

Choice Three: Satomi Akesaka – Kanashimi Ryuuseigun (Galaxy Angel II)
Ahh yes. The infamous song that Likkun never once shut up about. After nagging for a long time that Satomi Akesaka shouldn’t sing ballads, I got my up and comings come this year. And yes, I cannot deny that this song has been played over quite a bit. And as my liking towards Satomi is only growing, it’s no surprise that it takes the spotlight in my Hall of Fame.

Closing Thoughts

Well, we’ve come to the end of it. Surprised? Unhappy? Overjoyed? Juiced up on music? All of these at once? Good to hear. That means I did my job in handing out awards because it wouldn’t be the same without doing all those things. I really don’t know how this stacks up to last year. In terms of music, I may have enjoyed last year but there were some REAL gems this year. And with more VOCALOID programs on the way, more anime, and more promising CVs, I’m sure it can only get better. Hopefully we’ll have some songs this year that can take it back from robotic synthesizer singing.

Until the end of the year. Bye ni~


One comment

  1. Your choices were interesting. xD I happen to recognize some songs on there.

    Eri Kitamura – Apron wo Tora nai De! <–love that song. xD The anime was great too~

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