This is a continuation of this post, but some items bear repeating. First among those; this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all great writers ever. It’s just one way of looking at available statistics.
Each of the 10 writers having written for 2 10k+ shows above is listed along with the first show they are (in some capacity) credited for, their big hit works, recent work, and less notable work. The data used to compile this list was acquired via the animenewsnetwork database, and is listed on this doc.
Two Important Notes About The Classification: First, I only included non-sequel anime when looking for head writers. This means nothing with some manifestation of a 2 in the title. Ditto for Gundam or Macross franchise entries after the original. My rationale is that it’s a lot harder to make a prime-time anime from scratch, even with popular source material, than it is to continue living in a house someone else built. I count A Certain Scientific Railgun and Mononoke as spinoffs rather than sequels, as the series they spun off of are considerably less well-established franchises.
Also, I did not credit any writer if the credit was split 3 or more ways and I was unable to discern a clear head of the project. For example, Hakuouki’s ANN page credits 4 scriptwriters, 3 of which worked on multiple episodes. Giving props to all of them for what was possibly a script-by-committee feels like over-distributing credit.
Writers With 2 10k+ Anime:
First Credited On: Pretty Sammy (1996)
10k+ Series: Kannagi (2008), OreImo (2010)
Less Notable Work: Battle Athletes, Dragon Crisis
Recent Work: Samurai Flamenco, Tokyo Ravens, ImoCho
First Credited On: Manga Nihon Mukashi Banashi (1975)
10k+ Series: Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), Patlabor (1989)
Less Notable Work: Muteki Robo Trider G7, Choriki Robo Galatt
Recent Work: None (Rest in Peace)
First Credited On: Saint Tail (1995)
10k+ Series: Hataraku Maou-sama (2013), Free! (2013)
Less Notable Work: Busou Shinki, World Destruction
Recent Work: See 10k+ Series
First Credited On: Shuten Douji (1989)
10k+ Series: Rurouni Kenshin (1996), Bleach (2004)
Less Notable Work: Shadow Skill, Papa to Odoru
Recent Work: Fairy Tail, Shinsekai Yori
First Credited On: Texhnolyze (2003)
10k+ Series: Durarara (2010), Kuroko’s Basketball (2012)
Less Notable Work: C, Sankarea
Recent Work: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
First Credited On: H2 (1995)
10k+ Series: K-on (2009), Girls und Panzer (2012)
Less Notable Work: Mushi-uta, Chu-bra
Recent Work: Non Non Biyori, Yowamushi Pedal
First Credited On: Maryu Senki (1987)
10k+ Series: Martian Successor Nadesico (1996), Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
Less Notable Work: Clockwork Fighters Hiwou’s War, Ghost Slayers Ayakashi
Recent Work: Un-Go (2011)
First Credited On: Cho Supercar Gattiger (1977)
10k+ Series: Aura Battler Dunbine (1983), Sailor Moon (1992)
Less Notable Work: Fight! Kickers, Wedding Peach
Recent Work: Showa Monogatari (non-head, 2011)
First Credited On: Be-Bop High School (1990)
10k+ Series: Cardcaptor Sakura (1998), Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere (2011)
Less Notable Work: Murder Princess, Natsuiro Kiseki
Recent Work: Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
First Credited On: Fortune Dogs (2003)
10k+ Series: Lucky Star (2007), The Idolm@ster (2011)
Less Notable Work: Ookami Kakushi, Amnesia
Recent Work: Hamatora, Inari Konkon Koi Iroha, Wake Up Girls
Comments will follow in a later post sometime this week.
*One of the methodologies I used to isolate writers from more diverse staff lists was their involvement with other works in the franchise. That’s why Masashi Sogo (whose indivdual episode credits seem to come more from later in the show) gets the nod of the other Kenshin writers; he’s got credit for Tsuioku-hen. One could also have given credit to Michiru Shimada or Yoshiyuki Suga.
**You can make the exact same excuse for Wake Up Girls that you can for Fractale – the writer is doing 3 shows at once (not terribly common), which is a taxing duty in the best of times, to say nothing of when two of those shows are original anime. WUG was really poorly written scenario-wise despite the likable cast, from what I could handle of it. Even given that, though, you would expect reasonably talented directors to be able to overcome overloaded writers some of the time.
If my math is right, writers on these two list account for almost half of all the hit tv anime (10k+ sales) ever. But interestly only two scriptwriters on this list that start in the 2000s. It really goes to show that writing a hit is really more about having a long resume than pure writing prowess.
Worthwhile to note that Gen barely missed the cutoff. Besides the obvious with Madoka, his Gargantia sold 8,936 average and Psycho Pass 8,474. Fate/Zero (52,133), although not his script, was adapted from his light novel too. Chances are good he’ll belong up here sooner than later, and can be as early as this year with Aldonoah.Zero coming up.
My guess is that screenwriting is a process even more so than regular writing. In both cases, you learn by doing, but there’s a lot of skills unique to writing for a large staff of animators and/or particular director. Developing synergy with one’s co-staff takes time, and might be even more important than talent or skill. And there’s also the possibility that seniority talks and people who have been in the industry for longer get earlier cracks at the juicier projects. While writing for a hit takes some skill no matter what, doing K-on with Kyoto Animation likely put Reiko Yoshida in a position to succeed than most of her numerous earlier works did.
Gen has a lot of non-anime writing experience, which almost certainly helps him in the skill/experience column. Barring a return to his older VN/Novel digs, I’d agree that his name is likely to wind up on this list within the next 3 years. Once I get a chance to make the same type of list for Directors and Composers, it’ll be interesting to look at who stands to potentially make their way onto said list in any given season. Manabu Ono is something close to a lock if Mahouka gets even below average performance relative to its source material. It’s interesting for me to think about this milestone as part of a conversation of how we judge staffers – one of the reasons I started out on this is because I’m not a big fan of how eye-testy most of staff-based commentary currently is.
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Michiko Yokote might be the newest member of this list already, if Warners Bro. ever resolve their dumb supply problem with Shirobako.
It’s exciting, for sure. Those amazon ranks are ridiculously juiced and it seems improbable v2 won’t outdo v1. I’m gonna be really happy to see the blue-collar Mizushima become the second member of the 3-3 club (3 10k franchises with 3 different studios).
Since new 10ks are even now being added due to the whole Oricon rankings exploit (MariMite, Mai-hime, Ah My Goddess, OtoBoku, Hyouka), I’m holding off on edits until everything is done. I know Mamoru Ono (Mahouka) and Yasuhiro Takemoto (Hyouka retroactively) also make the directors list, and who knows who else. I’d like to add it all in one go since I suck at weekly updates.
The anniversary of this series is coming up, so an annual update could work.
Yeah, makes a lot of sense to do it that way.