Being the innocent soul I am, I still take the annual Seiyuu Awards seriously. Most of the awards given over the past two years have been at least reasonable, in my opinion.
Public voting for the 2008 Seiyuu Awards is ongoing until New Year's Day. Now that we have seen some episodes of the fall season, perhaps it's time for us to vote. I have my own list of nominees in all categories, below. But I would like to ask you to expand my list of nominees. I don't watch every show, and there are no doubt some excellent performances I have overlooked.
With a fuller list, perhaps it will be easier for all of us to cast our own votes. Voting is available through the Awards website, and later I'll give instructions how to cast your vote. In any case, here are my own favorite performances (mouseover pics for captions) --
female lead: Koshimizu Ami (Horo-Spice & Wolf), Paku Romi (Kuromitsu-Kurozuka), Kugimiya Rie (Taiga-Toradora)
male lead: Kishio Daisuke (Kaname-Vampire Knight Guilty), Miyano Mamoru (Kurou-Kurozuka), Kiuchi Hidenobu (Izumida-Ryouko's Case File), Fujiwara Keiji (Tachibana-Antique Bakery)
female supporting: Toyoguchi Megumi (Kuran Klan-Macross Frontier), Tanaka Rie (Eriko-KimiKiss Pure Rouge), Takahashi Mikako (Yoriko-Mouryou no Hako), Sawashiro Miyuki (Tsugumi-Kannagi), Horie Yui (Minori-Toradora)
male supporting: Gouda Hozumi (Hani Meijin-Shion no Ou), Uchida Yuya (Nijuumensou-Nijuumensou no Musume), Mizushima Takahiro (Aihara-KimiKiss)
female newcomer (5 years or less as a seiyuu): Tomatsu Haruka (Nagi-Kannagi), Takagaki Ayahi (Noe-true tears), Endou Aya (Sheryl-Macross Frontier)
male newcomer: Maeno Tomoaki (Doujou-Library War, Gouta-Natsu no Sora)
singer: Hayami Saori (Wagaya no Oinarisama), Nakajima Megumi (Macross Frontier), Tomatsu Haruka, Chihara Minori, Nana Mizuki, Hirano Aya
personality: Takahashi Mikako, Hirano Aya, Kitamura Eri, Nakagawa Shouko (if she still counts as a seiyuu) -- this is a difficult category for me, since I don't listen to that much seiyuu radio or TV, and don't get all the nuances when I do.
Please send me more suggested names in comments on this post, and I will post a fuller list in a future post. Then perhaps we can have our own little awards contest, too.
The awards organization has also established a new award, the Overseas Fans Choice Award. Non-Japanese outside Japan can vote for a single seiyuu -- male or female, old or young -- as their favorite performer of the year. Details and the voting form are here.
As in the main awards, the fans' votes will be the basis for a final choice by the awards organization committee, which includes representatives of various industry organizations and companies. This built-in filter is the crack on which other bloggers pin their contempt for the awards, which produce results with which they disagree. I don't agree with all the results myself, but they generally seem as reasonable as any other method is likely to produce, balancing public popularity with insiders' views and considerations.
I myself think that last year's awards looked a lot like public popularity, and that the committee probably just tinkered a bit here and there. Shougakukan joined Kadokawa as a sponsor last year, along with various professional and industry associations, so I think the sponsor list is now broad enough for biases to cancel out to some extent. We'll see how things go this year. Voting ends 1 January, but the awards ceremony doesn't take place until 7 March.
Here is the awards website. And here is the main voting page. I will give detailed instructions for voting when I post the full list of nominees.
There is nothing about this on the Awards website, but the new overseas award makes me fear that non-Japanese IP addresses may not be accepted by the voting site any more, or that a vote in the overseas category will make it impossible to vote in the main categories. If either of those things turns out to be true, I'll be sure to run my own voting here.