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The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

A popularity contest: ‘Jujutsu Kaisen’ steals the spotlight

I eagerly watch the eighth annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards from home on March 2, hoping they spotlight smaller shows as they had done to an incrementally better degree each year. However, before reaching the main portion, I had already given up hope.

Artist Megan Thee Stallion presents Anime of the Year to “Jujutsu Kaisen.” Out of the 32 awards, the show won 11 out of its 17 nominations. (Photo from Crunchyroll)

The problematic pattern of choosing popularity over merit reemerged. With the conclusion award ceremony, hosted in Tokyo, I witnessed many breathtaking series from last year’s anime seasons, but they did not get the attention they deserved.

Among the nominations for the most prestigious award, Anime of the Year, “Jujutsu Kaisen” edges these other series with sheer popularity. The first half of the series, “Hidden Inventory/Premature Death,” was the only part eligible for nominations due to its second half running into the 2024 winter season. 

Even without a complete season in the nominations, “Jujutsu Kaisen” won the award, discrediting masterpieces like “Vinland Saga” and “Oshi no Ko” which deserve more recognition because of their rich and captivating stories that no other show can replicate.

The awards show featured 32 awards, and “Jujutsu Kaisen” swept 11 out of the 17 it was nominated for, according to Crunchyroll. However, many shows, like “Vinland Saga” and “Oshi no Ko,” should have won their categories, fitting the award’s prompt better. 

The 70 to 30 judge to popular vote weighting fails to act as a countermeasure to the popularity contest. The process of selecting nominations must be changed to where all judges are industry professionals rather than a fraction of the group to minimize confounding factors. 

Most of the shows that won the awards were of the shounen genre, with over 14.8 billion copies of shounen magazines in circulation, with seinen in second with 4.13 billion, according to JMPA. Crunchyroll nominated shounen shows rather than spotlighting smaller shows outside the genre that fit the award better, preventing these shows from receiving attention while discouraging viewers like myself from discovering hidden gems in the anime industry. 

The large quantity of awards given to shows like “Attack on Titan,” “Demon Slayer” and “Jujutsu Kaisen” demonstrates the grip the shounen genre has on the voting. By voting and nominating series like those of previous winners like “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners,” “ODDTAXI” and “Made in Abyss,” Crunchyroll exposes the viewers to the wide array of genres anime can produce as a medium while showing support to studios who look to break the mold of creating the next big shounen powerhouse. 

In spotlighting these smaller shows, avid anime fans can diversify their catalog and see another big name outside of the big shounen names that dominate the genre. With “Jujutsu Kaisen” winning 11 awards, including the coveted Anime of the Year, it creates the expectation of anime being confined to the shounen genre, thus failing to represent the endless possibilities of stories anime can craft in original series.

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About the Contributor
Nathan Gu
Nathan Gu, Sports Editor
Nathan is a senior and sports editor for The Epitaph. In his second year, he hopes to tell stories highlighting the HHS community. Nathan enjoys playing basketball and learning biology. In his spare time, he likes listening to music, reading articles or hanging out with friends.

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