Summer 2015 Watch List

Though I’m still crappy at getting research done and that’s not likely to change in the near future, I have a little more time to myself now and I’ve actually been able to keep up with the Summer season. I’m enjoying it a fair amount, so I just thought I’d put up a quick list of which anime I’m really enjoying at the moment.

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Fun With Numbers: August 2015 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

Depending on what sort of life you live and whether it’s peak hot summer wherever you are, August might be a long month. Thankfully, at least it’s got a fairly short list of anime releases, which makes it blessedly easy for me to handle.

It’s also nice because 2-3 of the things up for release this month are things I care about and will likely buy, so there’s that.

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Fun With Numbers: Spirited Away’s BD Release Sold 38,757 Copies on Week 1

Short post to note that Spirited Away was re-released in Blu-Ray format recently, and more importantly that said release sold 38,757 copies in its first week. I have amazon data for that week – the release was in the top 10 for the entire 6 days it was available for sale.

Two meta-points about the data – this release did worse than the most recent DBZ movie (62,146 BD copies), which was more consistently ranking in the top 50 rather than the slightly-more-illustrious top 10. My go-to explanation for this discrepancy is that DBZ came out in the middle of the general glut of Summer blockbusters coming out on home video that is the Fall release season. It’s a real thing that studios want their big titles out in advance of the Christmas buying season: 38 of the top 50 grossing BD titles of all time came out between August and September. This probably doesn’t affect the rank-sales relation as much in the thousands, but it could be a pretty big deal in the hundreds and definitely in the double and single-digit zones. It’s a pain to account for this so I’m going to avoid it unless I absolutely have to later. *kicks can the eff down the road*

Secondly, this release got a 50% off discount for a few days in the next week of tracking, which caused it to spend several days in the actual #1 spot in its second week out. We’ll see how that plays into its odds of ranking (and or additional sales) in the next week.

Character Redesign in Adapting Kanon

Visual Novels and anime are fairly different media, something that comes across whenever a work originally created in one format is adapted into another. And certainly whenever fans of the original inevitably comment about the adaptation not living up to its potential. With VNs, creators have as much time as they need to tell a story, and can use branching paths to allow the player to choose their own story (to an extent). With anime, the amount of time allotted to tell a story is limited by the production budget, but the number of different visual techniques available to the staff is vastly superior. In both cases, the work makes use of voice acting, music, and visuals, but these two media are obviously quite different. Still, visual novels occupy this interesting space in the realm of adaptations because they do feature voices and color and the main changes from the adaptation process involve more motion and camerawork; examining aspects of how they’re adapted can be a good way of attacking the question of just what’s appealing about each medium.

Character designs compete with plot summaries to be the first thing most people notice about a visually-oriented story, and they serve discrete roles in both VNs and anime. I figure a decent tack to start on is to look at a work that got adapted multiple times, so you can look at different choices different designers make in the adaptations process. So what follows is a cursory examination of one aspect highlighting this difference, the character designs, for 3 major versions of Kanon (the original game, the 2002 Toei anime, and the 2006 Kyoto Animation anime). There are a decent number of series that got the double-adaptation treatment (Kakyuusei, Fate/stay Night, Air, etc.), but I’m picking Kanon because a) the designs for all 3 versions are readily available in easily-processed formats and b) the general reception is markedly in favor of the 2006 adaptation over the 2002 one. Images used for comparison are taken from the game data (from the armpits up, as found here) and the official websites for both the 2002 and 2006 anime. These base images don’t always reflect the way characters appear – anime can scale up or down on details in dramatic/motion-heavy scenes, and VNs can highlight different features from different angles during event CGs – but they provide a useful baseline.

Full disclosure: I have not played or watched any version of Kanon, so I lack understanding of anything more than the basic context regarding the plot. This post is mainly the results of my playing around with the character designs for fun and seeing what I can get out of with them. Not that I haven’t read up a bit for some general context.

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Fun With Numbers: July 2015 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

July is a month with 2 maybe-interesting releases; Noragami with 2 editions, No Game No Life with 3 editions (2 of which are already in 4-digit rank territory 4 weeks out from release). Also has some standard ongoing popular series; Sailor Moon, One Piece, Naruto.

Annoyingly, 5 of the June 30 releases (Hack GU, 3 Soul Eater sets, BlazBlue) got pushed back to July 21, meaning I still have to track them and last month’s insanely long list was somewhat redundant.

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Kishi Seiji+Uezu Makoto on Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Comic Natalie)

Kishi Seiji and Uezu Makoto talk about various aspects of making the Ansatsu Kyoushitsu anime. I happened upon this interview a few months ago, and found it really neat, so I took the time to translate it more recently once my schedule got less busy. Contains a bunch of neat tidbits, talking about Uezu’s early interest in the series and why he’s soloing the writing duties for the show, Kishi’s struggle to replicate the precision-strike gags in the manga, the backgrounds and color schemes, how they handled casting over 30 regularly appearing characters, and a bunch of other stuff.

Original Interview: http://natalie.mu/comic/pp/ansatsu

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Composers/Writers/Directors With Blockbuster Chops (Updated Through 2014)

A while back I compiled lists of anime staffers who had had the combination of skill and luck required to serve in key staff positions of franchises that came out of the gate as 10k+ sellers. At the time, there had only been a total of 101 such shows confirmed, so they turned out to be both exclusive and interesting.

Since then, 2014 happened and another 8 franchises joined the 10k+ party. Additionally, the anime sales community discovered a fun exploit and demonstrated that 7 other season 1s from years past qualified. With 15 fresh groups of to accredit, it’s worth updating those lists. This time we’re keeping the lists short and together in one post, noting which names are new and which ones took a step up.

Quick rule refresher – a series counts for this list if it sold 10k+ starting with the first season, and the credit for that success goes to the staff of the first season. Also, shared credits for a position counts so long as the split is between a maximum of two people. Macross and Gundam series aside from the first installment of each don’t count.

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Translation: Ranpo Kitan Staff Comments

The website for upcoming Summer anime Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace recently uploaded a pair of brief comments from the team talking about the show. They were interesting (dealt with the production schedule and the Ranpo stories Uezu plans to integrate) and short, so I translated them. My Japanese is pretty rusty, so apologies in advance for any mistakes. Continue reading

Weekly Manga Sales Charts for 2015 (January-April)

These are the weekly manga sales charts for the first four months in 2015, via myanimelist news, continued from the 2014 post. I’ll be doing one of these updates every 4 months; if you want more recent data, there’s plenty of places where charts are available (eg. ann, the mal news forum I get them from).

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