It turns out Studio Trigger’s got the next slot on their future CV decided recently, as GA Bunko announced that they would be animating romantic comedy Inou Battle. First of all, that sounds like a premise that could be a ton of fun.* Second of all, this offers a good opportunity to spot-check the stats for the series as it stands. While Inou Battle has a snappy-sounding premise, it’s not a very popular light novel, which means it could also be an interesting test case for the importance of source material popularity.
The 5th and latest volume of Inou Battle came out on November 15th of last year. It did not chart after 3 days, in a week when the threshold was 4625 volumes. Having 7 days the second week didn’t help much, and it again failed to chart when the threshold was 5574 volumes. Those combined thresholds cap the two-week sales totals at a little over 10,000. Series with those kinds of sales totals don’t typically perform favorably once adapted.
Volume 6 of the series comes out on the 17th of March; those results in the wake of the anime announcement will be interesting. I hope it at least charts, so we can see where it stands as hard figure rather than a rudimentary cap. The anime could air over a number of timeframes; it took 6 months for Mahouka to get from announcement to its Spring 2014 airdate, 15 months for Orare to do the same, and 21 months for Miniskirt Pirates. This July makes sense as an airdate – it syncs up very well with said release schedule, given the series’ typical 1 per 4 months rate of release. I would expect to see somewhere between zero (if the anime airs July 2014) and three more chances (if it airs in Spring 2015) to benchmark the series based on typical announcement-airing timelines.
Beyond the above geeky minutiae, there’s another reason why this announcement strikes me as intriguing. While Trigger’s current project, Kill La Kill, is currently averaging over 10k disks per volume and will probably wind up with an average between 7k-11k range, it’s doing so as an original anime. It’s easier to get people to buy an expensive product when there’s no cheaper alternative available, a principle especially evident with manga. The 10k+ manga adaptations in 2011-2013 were Kuroko/Blue Exorcist/Arpeggio/SnK/JJBA/IxB SS. The first four animated some very snazzy action sequences, providing a big plus that the manga couldn’t provide solely with still panels, and the second two were tied to a cast of very popular voice actors (Tomokazu Sugita played a fairly notable role in both) giving great performances.
Preliminary glancing at the subject shows that that 6k-10k range is a fairly typical number for original anime TV series not made for morning timeslots or noitminA. Based on previous data on LN adapations, though, it would be a very impressive feat to pull off that same range of sales with a light novel putting up sub-10k averages, a feat only Bodacious Space Pirates achieved over the period between Winter 2011 and Fall 2012. Trigger can animate like nobody’s business, and if they can’t get a good disk sales return out of this adaptation, it’d be an (admittedly non-conclusive) point in favor of just how important source material popularity is for LN adaptations.** And if it does well, it might lead to Trigger taking up more low-popularity source material from publishers looking for a high-risk, high-reward investment. Either way, it’s fuel for some fun discussion. And, cosmos willing, a fun show.
*Superpowers but no battle component? I’m definitely listening.
**Along with Amagi Brilliant Park (sub-17k volume 3), potentially. It’s interestingly the second low-selling LN adaptation by a studio known for its animation quality to be announced in the past couple of months. My dream scenario is both of these series coming out at the same time and steamrolling the competition to the tune of 20k in disk sales apiece. The precedents to date make both FGCU-tier underdogs, but that in turn makes them super-easy to root for.