After finishing up an individual analysis of manga and light novel adaptation markets, I had originally planned to toss the remainder of shows not covered in those analyses in one bin and call them “other”. It took about 5 minutes into assembling that sample to realize how incomplete that analysis would have been. There are at least 3 additional distinct categories that anime adaptations fall into: Game Adaptations, Spinoff/Franchise/Merchandise Series based around a larger product line, and True Originals.
Why games should be treated beyond simple disk sales is pretty obvious, but here’s one example. Persona 4: The Golden, released several months after the end of the anime and before the true final episode, sold a reported 248,242 copies in 2012 at an MSRP of over 7000 yen. If its anime was spending 10,000,000 yen per episode, on the low end of what’s been reported to be typical, then the total anime budget was on the order of (10000000*26)/(248242*7000)=.15, or fifteen percent of gross profits from those sales.* So Persona 4 only really needed to bump the game’s sales total up by about 10-20 percent to be worth it before even counting the 30k+ average it posted. Now, the Persona 4 anime hardly needed that money, but this does underscore that for anime series like, say, Starry Sky or Mashiroiro Symphony, being coupled to a PSP re-release of their source title is a pretty potentially big deal. I’ll be using vgchartz or something over the next several weeks to determine just how much, but it’s definitely something that needs to be looked at along with disk sales in determining how successful titles at all tiers of sales were.
The reason why spinoffs and original anime are not lumped together is a bit more nuanced. Though the distinction between the two is a tad fuzzy, the notion that truly original anime have stronger marketing pushes behind them that may prompt better disk sales is worth strong consideration. Not to mention that there’s at least some element of merchandise (however unquantifiable) being marketed beyond the disks. All of the 10k+ series in the non-Game/Manga/LN heap are true originals, so there may be more to that idea than a pipe dream. I can tell you right now that the list of originals makes for a fairly stacked chart; including things whose main goals were TV ratings (noitaminA, Phi Brain) and excluding Madoka Magica, the average original TV anime in this period sold over 8000 disks per volume.
Particular items of note regarding the category classifications that I will be using in the coming weeks:
-I classified the Marvel/Madhouse anime, Enma-kun Meramera, Appleseed XIII, Precure Series, Saint Seiya Omega, Aquarion EVOL, Blood-C, and the Mine Fujiko Lupin III series as spinoffs that, while carrying the name of the original series, are different enough to count as more than a straight continuation.
-Likewise, I classify series based on pachinko and merchandise as tangential because essentially all the makers had were a set of character designs, though they were based off things that presumably had some popularity. Ditto for series like AKB0048 and Natsuiro Kiseki based around real-life personalities.
-Black Rock Shooter is classified as a game adaptation. While the original source material is a vocaloid song, I classified it as such due to the abundance of side-characters who exist in the game continuity. Feel free to hit me up on how wrong this is.
-The Twin Angel and Tamayura TV series are lumped together as originals because they are the first direct continuations of OVA series.
-Level E, Manyuu Hikenchou and No 6, excluded by my own mistake from the manga and light novels lists, will be included in them when get to I breaking down the 5 source categories. For now, I want to focus on nailing down games, but I’ll get to them.
If there are questions you have about these classifications, I’d be happy to hear you out. Goodness knows I’m going to be spending some time figuring out the Japanese game market before I get to doing anything meaningful with any of them.
*Corrected an error made by not converting dollars to yen.