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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Weekly Light Novel Sales Charts for 2015 (January-April)

These are the weekly light novel 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 are other places where charts are available (e.g. the mal news forum I get them from).

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

So far, this amazon tracking project has been nominally about finding a way to benchmark the success of various US releases. In practice, it’s been mostly about being wrong.

But I am learning, bit by bit. Each mistake in prediction teaches me about why my current understanding of the rankings falls short, and putting them all together begins to get you something that looks kinda like a complete picture. I’ll only have more datapoints the longer this keeps up.

What datapoints do I have as of now? Aside from the several releases I tracked that actually charted, I’ve learned a couple things from those that haven’t. The following aren’t rock-solid patterns, but they are suggested by how things have gone. Here’s a quick summary of the most important points:

1. Space Dandy didn’t chart against a 6461 BD threshold despite 2 alternate editions, both of which ranked significantly above what I previously suspected the “no sales” line to be.

-This suggests that the non-main editions, which averaged around the 20,000 and 5000 ranks, may not have sold very many copies. To follow up on this suspicion, I tracked 2 post-release disks (Gingitsune on DVD and Devils and Realist on BD) with under-20 stock totals displayed on an irregular basis, getting a total of 43 datapoints for each release over 6 days. Multiple times in that period, the releases made it to ~20,000 in the rankings while selling two or fewer copies per day, more or less confirming my suspicions.

2. Steins Gate Classic didn’t make the charts against a 4761 BD threshold despite outdoing a confirmed seller at 8109 copies (DBZ s3) basically all of its corresponding 8 preorder days and half of its 6 post-release days.

-Add in data on other confirmed sellers, and it’s impossible to take all 14 datapoints for each and produce a result favoring DBZ s3 even a little. It is possible the time of year may be a factor in determining how many copies sold a rank actually means, Attack on Titan’s 2 parts came out in very different parts of the year and notched very similar ranks and sales numbers, making that explanation less likely to account for the observed discrepancy.

However, the Steins Gate release fell off in rank much faster after its release date than DBZ s3 did. This led me to a thought; we know that US anime releases can have fairly large long tails, much more significant than the factor-of-2 amount their Japanese counterparts seem to get from the same sorts of tails. If the US market relies more on tail sales, then it’s not unreasonable to wonder if preorders are less important, since lower costs mean less incentive to go for the early discount. By removing the 8 preorder days from the dataset, I was able to fit a formula that did a better job putting the sales of both closer to the real results (it’s still not a perfect fit) and nailed Attack on Titan and One Piece Film Z’s numbers to boot. Except…

3. DBZ: Battle of Gods shattered everything else’s numbers.

Battle of Gods sold 80k copies, which is a lot. Far more than any formula accounting for the existing ranks and sales of the other 4 releases with known sales could have predicted. The top 100 this film spent its release week rocking has to be worth significantly more than the rest of the rankings. My best guess here is an x^-0.7 power law from mainstream top-20 BD fits, with small-scale adjustments based on Battle of Gods’ own ranks over its first week.

Incorporating all of these observations plus the rank-sales data I know I have, here’s my current best-guess attempt at determining how much a given amazon rank R is worth in terms of on-chart sales S. This formula fits only the 6 days post-release, disregarding pre-orders.

If R is between 1-99: S=252000*R^-0.7

If R is between 100-999: S=10000*R^-0.4

If R is between 1000-9999: S=630-(R-1000)*(620/9000)

If R is between 10000-40000: S=10-(R-10000)*(9/30000)

If R is greater than 40000: S=40000/R

It’s super-ugly, I know, but making it piecewise is the only way to fit all the existing datapoints. We’ll see how good a job it does predicting things over the next 2-3 months. To kick that testing period off, Freezing: Vibration, April’s most likely high-seller, is predicted to total 10,338 copies across regular and limited editions, so that’s got a decent chance of charting if the thresholds are generous and the formula is less wrong this time.

Anyway, here’s the May 2015 releases I’ll be tracking, data for which was first pulled on April 27.

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Slowing Things Down Until June

I really like the writing and analysis this blog gives me the platform to work on. But in the past 2-3 months, my life situation has been fairly overwhelming, in spite of some legitimately great things happening, stuff has overwhelmed me and I haven’t really had time to gather the data or sit down and write stuff up (as you can probably tell if you check in here semi-regularly). I still occasionally play with spreadsheets or bits of code on weekends, but stringing a coherent project together is beyond me. I keep sneaking looks at the dozen-or-so posts I have drafts of in my dash, but I just never have time to actually work on them. This situation seems like it’ll continue to be the way it is for at least the next month and a half. Basically, my available recreation time has shrunk and can only really support a half-dozen seasonal anime and the core group of manga* I import.

I’ll continue to do the monthly US amazon posts and data tracking, and I’ll update the manga/LN chart archives sometime after the end of April. Beyond that, there’s only one thing (a translation of an interview I found kinda fun) that I might end up posting prior to the end of May 2015. Long-term, though, I should be back in June with some real spare time and new stuff to write about.

*Amanchu, Billy Bat, Ace of the Diamond, Kaiji, Akagi, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, Giant Killing, and Yesterday wo Utatte if v11 ever comes out.

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

To get it out of the way before anyone asks: no, Space Dandy did not make the US charts. Threshold for the BD chart on its release week (March 2-8) was 7277 copies. That pegs it at considerably less in its first week than either Attack on Titan release. This may indicate that amazon rankings in the 5-digit territory (what the RE and Amazon editions had for most of their solicitation) are less valuable than October’s power law would suggest; that formula predicted splits of 732 (RE), 7500 (LE), and 1918 (AE) copies sold, for a total of 10,150 copies. If, say, being #10,000 only accounted for 10 copies being sold in a day, and #5000 only gave you ~20, that drops the non-LE editions from contributing about 2500 copies to contributing roughly 500. A total estimate of 8000 is still an overestimate, but not nearly as much of one. Of course, it’d be pretty dismal for the rest of the sales projections if that were true; it’s by no means a given a smaller-market Sentai release will make it out of 5-digit purgatory on release day.

The way to test this theory would be to monitor items with limited amazon stocks (typically the # of stock copies gets revealed when it’s under 20) on an hourly basis, tracking micro change in stocked copies versus rank over several days. I’ll probably get around to that eventually, but it seems like it’d be a real pain to do without automating the process. Tried that before to no avail.

Anyway, on to April. Couple of things that have a >1% chance of charting: Free s1, Freezing s2, the usual One Piece and Naruto volumes. The May 1 (Friday) release of Time of Eve is included in this dataset, given that the week it comes out in is the same as the one for the April 28 (Tuesday) releases. Data below was taken on March 30, 2015.

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Fun With Numbers: Licensed Content in Monthly Shonen Sirius

If you’re an involved fan of anime or manga, you just might have heard of Kodansha’s Monthly Shonen Sirius. It’s a small-time magazine as manga mags go, with a circulation total last reported in 2013 at 12,684 copies, but it currently hosts several titles with anime adaptations (Yozakura Quartet, Majimoji Rurumo, the current incarnation of EAT-MAN) as well as multiple titles which have recently been added to crunchyroll manga’s library (Maga-Tsuki, P4Q), so it’s at least moderately noteworthy.

In recent years, this particular magazine has seen a shift in content, away from mangaka-generated series away towards spin-offs of existing franchises, which mirrors a larger trend in the modern manga industry. I’ll be taking a look at how visible that present trend is in this mag and what it means for both the lifetime of individual series and the outlook for magazine a whole.

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