Fun With Numbers: The Big Range of Big Underestimates in Oricon Weekly Manga Totals

One thing I can’t say enough is that data should be interpreted with a healthy amount of caution and second-guessing. This is especially true for manga charts, when a combination of ridiculously high weekly thresholds and the desire to have fast data on the effects of currently-airing anime can lead to some very incomplete and erroneous interpretations of the facts.

I’ve already done a few case studies on how Oricon and publisher claims can differ for series where the publisher boasted of some particular print total (usually in an insert on a volume of the series or a magazine). Those cases are enlightening, but not necessarily general, since there’s a heavy element of volunteer bias involved in which series get their totals reported. Recently, though, I found a fairly large list of distributor claims of print volume totals (via Shuppan Shiyou, see post #99 here), which contains latest-volume printing data for over 100 series published in 2013. It still isn’t totally general, but is at least a tad more representative of manga at large. In order to get a better idea of how much Oricon underestimates the “average” series, I took the weekly-charts total for a volume and compared it with the given print total for the same volume. The results of this comparison (which can be found here) highlight some large and inconsistent discrepancies between the Oricon figures and the official publisher totals.

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Midseason Update: This Summer in To Heart Quotes

I love To Heart: The Anime, straight up. I love it because of the anime, period; I’ve played only part of the game, avoided the blatant cash grab that was Remember My Memories, and straight-up ignored anything related to the name with a 2 next to it, because why would one take characters that good and replace them? I maintain that it is a rational love for a great product – it averaged 10k in an era where far fewer series did per year per total number shows produced, and is one of relatively few TV anime to boast a page on sakuga@wiki – but ultimately enjoying a series past a certain extent is an emotional thing. I’m not going to try to convince anyone else that they have to love it, but I am going to talk about it for a bit more before going to the season-summary capsules that motivated my latest rewatch/quote-mine experiment.

Anyway, there are so many scenes in this series are gravity-defyingly good. I could spend a whole column just listing them off, but that’s not this column’s angle, so I’m gonna keep it to two. First, there’s a linked pair of scenes from the first and last episode where characters resolve a bit of internal anxiety in a way that shows clearly on their faces in a surprisingly small number of frames:

And a scene where two amateur martial artists are fighting a bout that’s half even and half one-sided, but not decisively so:

The above were the two scenes I felt survived the pull out of context the best. As minimalistic as it was, To Heart was also a very visual show, and so finding quotes that worked for every show I’m watching this summer was a bit harder than grabbing those clips, but the show’s dialogue isn’t exactly shabby, just frequently dependent on context. That said, I was able to get enough to go by, so if you’re at all interested in a combination of quotes from a [phenomenal] 1999 show I love way too much and my opinions on a bunch of shows that are airing right now in September 2014, read on.

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No-Name Banknotes: Under the Dog’s Encouraging Success

29 days ago, on August 8, 2014, Creative Intelligence Arts launched a kickstarter for an original Masahiro Ando/Jiro Ishii anime project, Under the Dog. Yesterday, that project reached to reach its $580,000 funding target, and currently has an average of $68/backer from 10,486 total backers as of this writing. The success of this particular kickstarter, one of 5 anime-related ones that I am aware of (not counting anime sols projects), is obviously a good thing for the makers, and is also an encouraging sign for the future of anime crowdfunding.

Before I start, I should note that I didn’t fund the kickstarter because it didn’t seem like something I would watch if it existed today. I’m not going to be a poser and say I was a super-huge fan of this when I wasn’t. Academically, though, the project carries a few interesting implications that are really permutations of one big thing – it lacked a lot of advantages that previous such projects have had.

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Timeslot History: Anime on TV Asahi (1994-2000)

TV Asahi wasn’t winning the numbers war (nor the cleanly-kept-records war) with some of the other, bigger networks, but it did put on some interesting programming. Interesting here is the lack of new anime on weekdays; I count only 5 new series on the network in this time period (out of 38) that weren’t aired between 17:00 Friday and 12:00 on Sunday.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Added a Page to Archive US Amazon Data

I’ve been tracking US amazon data for a little over six months now, but I haven’t really been doing more than that and some basic fitting. I added a page to the main site that puts all the links to the data in one place and makes it theoretically easier to check on a given release/month. The archive starts from March of 2014, and you can check it out here if you are so inclined.

Timeslot History: Anime on Nihon TV (1994-2000)

Nihon TV actually aired the fewest new anime of any major broadcaster over this period, but their slate is made up of a decent percentage of series that are somewhat notable.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on NHK (1994-2000)

What new anime there was airing on the NHK family in the 1990s was doing so primarily on two channels: NHK Educational and NHK Premium Broadcast Satellite (typically called NHK BS2). I’m going to keep this brief, because this period’s NHK is boring. Their stuff was spread across multiple channels and it still wasn’t particularly numerous, plus they aired no new anime after midnight.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Fun With Numbers: Incomplete Collection

I spent this morning putting together US amazon release data for September. It’s shaping up to be an interesting months in a while – at the least, series that haven’t provided any DVD/BD chart datapoints yet are in the mid-to-low 4 digits, suggesting some of them could possibly chart, yielding more data that would make estimating sales via amazon more feasible. That’s a lot of fun, and I wish I could be more excited about that, but getting together the data reminded me of something I’d much rather forget; Sentai Filmworks’ Gatchaman Crowds release. It’s labeled on amazon as the ‘Complete’ Collection, which is a label it takes tremendous balls to stick with when your release knowingly excludes the actual last episode of the series. The official reason why the Sentai version of Crowds will be excluding the episode is that it is owned by some entity separate from the original licensee, was given in a answer which was (probably intentionally) vague about exactly what happened in regards to the episode. What is not vague at all is the fact that the R1 release of this series will be lacking critical content as the home video equivalent of a 500-page novel with the last 20 pages ripped out.

Personally, I’m perfectly okay with companies that play to win. Anime is a niche market, and people at every level have to make hard choices in dealing with the business side of the industry. I’d rather an industry stay sustainable and churn out products I really like than break the bank over artistic integrity and end up unable to churn out any kind of work in the future. That statement represents a significant oversimplification – entertainment being a business doesn’t force a binary choice between sales and artistic integrity – but my point here is that choices made with finance in mind aren’t necessarily evil ones. There is a wrinkle to this particular story, though, that rubs me the wrong way.

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Fun With Numbers: September 2014 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

August was a boring month as far as high-powered releases go. September is not, and there are a couple of series (particularly the Steins Gate combo pack hovering around 1500 with 4 weeks to go and the second half of Attack on Titan) which figure to have a pretty decent chance of making the US BD charts and providing really useful data. 4 solid datapoints wouldn’t be much, but it’s a lot better than 2. I could get more pumped about that if one of the release titles due out this month weren’t straight-up false advertising.

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