Manga UK and Viz Media dominate in 4th annual NEO awards.
The 79th issue of NEO magazine saw the announcement of the results for this year’s NEO awards, sponsored by 4Digital, and representing the Anime, Manga, Asian Films and Games industry.
Prizes were available for the best title in each industry, and another for the best distributor, along with awards for the “Best Anime Movie”,“Best Franchise,and “Best Musical Act” as voted by readers over the past month. There were also reader voted awards for retailers with “Best Specialist Retailer” and “Best DVD Retailer” up for grabs.
The awards fell as follows:
Best Anime: Soul Eater (Manga UK)
Soul Eater has catapulted to success since its first DVD release in June this year. It follows students at the “Death Weapon Meister Academy”, as the “weapon meisters” quest to make their paired weapons into Death Scythes (a weapon class showing they have eared the right to be wielded by death himself), by harvesting evil souls. Its animation is compared to Tim Burton by Manga UK’s Jerome Mazandarani, who told readers he was “[…] very excited that Soul Eater has won this prestigious award against stiff competition”.
Best Anime Movie: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time(Manga UK)
Overlooked for nomination last year, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time must’ve been considered a shoo in for this years award, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The charming adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui’s novel is a personal favourite, and continues to rise in popularity.
It follows school girl Makoto Konno, as she uses a newly gained power to “leap” back in time to improver her own life, but as the story unfolds we begin to see the devastating affects these changes have on those around her.
Once again, Manga UK’s Jerome Mazarandi was “thrilled” to be accepting the award “[…] on behalf of Hosada-san and Madhouse Studios”, and said that he “couldn’t think of a more deserving film”. He continued by telling fans that they “[…] won’t have long to wait for Hosada-san’s next masterpiece, Summer Wars, when it hits screens on 28th March.
Best Manga: Detroit Metal City(Viz Media)
Perhaps not as well known as the anime winners, comedy Detroit Metal City follows the bizarre tale of Soichi Negishi, a shy and gentle guitar player and singer song writer, who had always dreamed of being a kindergarten teacher, but is now persuing a career in pop music. However, in order to earn money, Soichi finds himself donning a foundation and mascara heavy “disguise” and fronting a death metal band. As the story progresses Soichi begins to worry about how this “disguise”, and its affects on his personality may affect his love life…
Viz Media representative Rhedd Lewis said that they were “[…] delighted to win [the] best manga category for Detroit Metal City […]”, and told fans to watch out for the releases of volumes 7 and 8 early next year.
Manga UK and Viz Media went on to win “Best Anime Distributor” and “Best Manga Distributor” respectively, and both gained further credit as Death Note continued its domination of th “Best Franchise” with another year at the top.
There was further delight for the Manga UK team, as they swooped the “Best Asian Movie Distributor”, whilst there was some controversy surrounding the announcement of TokyoToys success in the “Best Specialist Retailer”, holding onto their title for a further year.
Elsewhere, Square Enix took a clean sweep of the games awards, Momentum’s Goemon won the “Best Asian Movie” and internet powerhouse Amazon steamrolled its way to “Best DVD Retailer”, leaving the “Best Musical Act” award to fall in the hands of Electric Eel Shock, who pronounced their love of the United Kingdom, and their hopes that the award may contribute to their rise in popularity in Japan.
The full awards round up is as follows:
Best Anime: Soul Eater (Manga UK)
Best Anime Movie: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Manga UK)
Best Franchise: Death Note (Viz Media, 4Digital and Manga UK)
Best Manga: Detroit Metal City (Viz Media)
Best Anime Distributor: Manga UK
Best Manga Distributor: Viz Media
Best Asian Movie: Goemon (Momentum)
Best Asian Movie Distributor: Manga UK
Best Game: Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix)
Best Game Distributor: Square Enix
Best Specialist Retailer: Tokyo Toys
Best DVD Retailer: Amazon
Best Musical Act: Electric Eel Shock
The awards highlight the strength of Manga Entertainment and Viz Media in the UK industry, as fans highlighted their speed of release, range of titles, and competitive prices as reasons for their success. BeeZ will be disappointed to come away empty handed despite boasting a sales increase of over 200% since the introduction of its popular Anime Legends line.