We present the ICv2 2005 Anime Awards in two parts. In Part 1, we name our Anime Company, Property, Movie & TV DVD of the year. In Part 2 (see 'ICv2 2005 Anime Awards -- Part 2'), we choose our Anime Phenomenon, Deal, and Marketing Campaign of the year.
The ICv2 Awards are an on-line continuation of a tradition that began in Internal Correspondence, the print predecessor of ICv2, over fifteen years ago. These awards are given as a way of reflecting on the events of the year and to draw some conclusions from them. The ICv2 Awards are based entirely on the business impact of events on retailers, as determined by the editorial staff of ICv2. For last year's ICv2 Anime Awards, see 'ICv2 2004 Anime Awards').
Company of the Year -- Disney/Buena Vista
This was an extremely difficult decision, since though the market for anime sell-through DVDs in 2005 was considerably less than stellar, a number of companies made moves that should insure their long term strength in the marketplace. Funimation established Full Metal Alchemist as the #1 anime TV series on DVD and acquired a number of properties such as Trinity Blood, Negima, Speedgrapher, and Basilisk that should have an impact on the market in 2006. Viz launched its Shonen Jump Video line and acquired Naruto, which very well could become the top new TV anime DVD property of 2006.
Still, in terms of advancing the cause of anime in the U.S., we have to give the 2005 laurels to Disney. Although anime represents only a small percentage of that studio's output, the Mouse House, thanks to its distribution agreement with Studio Ghibli, gets more market share per release than any other company releasing anime in America, and Disney brought a real touch of Hollywood class to the theatrical opening of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, which was preceded by a Miyazaki retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and highlighted by a visit to the States by the master himself. Disney also arranged for Turner Classic Movies to air a full slate of Studio Ghibli releases during prime time hours this month. In addition Disney's home video unit, Buena Vista, had the biggest single anime DVD release of 2005, Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and is quite likely to repeat that success with the DVD of Howl's Moving Castle, which debuts this March. While it's true that Studio Ghibli provides Disney with brilliant films, it is also apparent that Disney has done a first-rate job in creating American dub versions with top flight voice acting talent, and in putting out superb 2-disk DVDs for the Ghibli films, which include a wonderful assortment of extras along with both the Japanese and English soundtrack versions.
Property of the Year -- Inuyasha
Viz's Inuyasha wins this category for the second year in a row thanks to the continuing success of three Inuyasha movie releases, which have, according to a Viz spokesperson, collectively sold over one million units during the past eighteen months. Add in sales of the long-running Inuyasha TV anime in both individual volumes (nearing #40 now) and in season-long box sets and it becomes apparent what a juggernaut this property really is.
Anime DVD of the Year -- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
During 2005 more than ever before the charts were dominated by anime movies, thanks to releases such as Appleseed, Inuyasha, DBZ: Bio-Broly, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, and Steamboy. But the best-selling DVD of the year in the mass market was Miyazaki's Nausicaa, which also sold well among independent and online retailers. Anime features and Miyazaki's films in particular also tend to have great 'legs' -- Miyazaki's Spirited Away, which won the Oscar in 2003, remained in VideoScan's Anime Top Ten for 2005.
Anime TV Series DVD of the Year -- Full Metal Alchemist
Although anime movies tended to dominate the VideoScan anime charts in 2005, several anime TV series more than held their own against feature film competition. Geneon's Samurai Champloo, directed by Shinichiro (Cowboy Bebop) Watanabe, was a strong seller throughout 2005; but it was FUNimation's Full Metal Alchemist that clearly laid claim to the Top Anime TV Series on DVD of 2005. For the week ending on Christmas Day, Full Metal Alchemist DVD #6 was in the 3rd spot and FMA DVD #1 was number 10 on the VideoScan anime top ten list -- the rest of the top ten consisted entirely of movies.