I keep forgetting google trends is a thing. It occurred to me that there’s a really basic stat available to measure an anime’s $0 popularity level. I’ve been tossing around the idea of trying to tinker up an effective way of displaying variance anime fanbase size by cost, and how much google search traffic it generates is likely a pretty good approximation of the lowest possible end of that. I searched the spring anime which have aired thus far (via mal, skipping the shows with 2000 members or less) on global google trends in both their official Japanese and Romanized titles, normalized against the term “Spring 2014 Anime”.
Obvious caveat – some of these series go by alternate titles, so the romanized search traffic may not be all of it.
Also, somewhat unexpectedly, series like Baby Steps and Black Bullet with full-English titles still see peak traffic this month. I guess phrases have to be pretty popular to beat out kids looking for free streams of anime. Love Live still seems fairly inflated, though (considering how much of its English title traffic was the same pre-2012).
Format: Show Title (Japanese Name Traffic/”Spring 2014 Anime” Traffic, English Title Traffic/”Spring 2014 Anime” Traffic) [All Traffic is taken from April values as of this writing]
Akuma no Riddle (2.17, 1.39)
Baby Steps (0.86, 0.77)
Black Bullet (0.95, 0.93)
Blade and Soul (1.06, 2.86)
Bokura wa Minna Kawaisou (1.27, 1.01)
Break Blade (1.33, 0.43)
Captain Earth (1.39, 0.83)
Dragon Ball Kai (0.60, 2.55)
Fairy Tail (3.0, 33.3)
Fuuun Ishin Dai Shogun (0.28, 0.00)
Gokukoku no Brynhildr (1.04, 0.73)
Haikyuu (4.17, 0.96)
Hitsugi no Chaika (0.22, 0.08)
Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san (0.27, 0.08)
Isshukan Friends (1.30, 0.00)
Kamigami no Asobi (1.12, 1.01)
Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara (0.76, 0.17)*
Kenzen Robo Daimidaler (0.26, 0.69)
Kiniro no Corda (0.76, 0.17)*
Love Live (6.67, 4.93)**
Mahou Shoujo Taisen (0.49, 0.16)
Majin Bone (0.65, 0.87)
Mangaka to Assistant-san (0.49, 0.33)
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei (2.94, 1.62)
Mushishi (1.51, 1.00)
No Game No Life (0.44, 0.65)
Seikoku no Dragonar (0.96, 0.96)
Selector Infected Wixoss (0.00, 1.27)
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (1.03, 0.87)
Soul Eater Not (0.00, 0.51)
Stardust Crusaders (0.53, 0.26)***
As taking this data itself was a time-consuming process, and I haven’t yet compared it to anything, I’m not sure what it all means. However, it’s at least one more way of comparing casual interest in a show, and possibly predicting how large the source material boosts manga/LN will get from their adaptations. If that does prove to be a somewhat valid indicator of the interests of casual fans that still buy things (the jumps from searched -> $0 popularity -> $5 popularity aren’t huge, but they’re not trivial either), then expect Mahouka, Haikyuu, and Akuma no Riddle to see buff source material boosts in the next couple of months.
*Not a mistake, they just happened to be the same.
**The second value is probably heavily inflated by non-anime searches.
***For reference, ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 is about a 1.5, but that includes searches for currently-running Jojolion and other parts of the series.
Looks like Mekaku City Actors would be a good test case for price elasity of BD sales. Rumors are it’ll be “half-priced” 11-volume release (1 episode per volume).
I doubt that Mekaku will present convincing or even suggestive evidence of the price curve. There are a ton of other factors going into its particular case, what with the popular source material and the ever-present question of how good the execution ends up being. Unless they release the disks for it at a slower pace than they would otherwise (important unless), I don’t really see it affecting sales in a measurable way; the price per episode is pretty much the same, so people who buy the whole series will pay more or less the same amount over a very similar period of time, and its average will mean pretty much the same that the Monogatari series’ did. The only way it works well is if they space out the release (so people with lower budgets can work it into their pay schedule), or if a lot of people buy anime piecemeal. There’s very little prior evidence of that second one for series not with event tickets, though, even for series heavily built around distinctly different arcs. Ex:
1 12 46,155 2013/10/23 Summer Monogatari Series Second Season
2 12 45,624 2013/11/27 Summer Monogatari Series Second Season
3 12 42,389 2013/12/25 Summer Monogatari Series Second Season
4 12 42,032 2014/01/22 Summer Monogatari Series Second Season
5 12 40,405 2014/02/26 Summer Monogatari Series Second Season
6 12 37,228 2014/03/26 Summer Monogatari Series Second Season
That said, I’m always interested to see companies experimenting with release format. If Mekaku does ride the combination of source material + solid execution to success, and I think it will, it might end up being something that encourages Aniplex to continue tweaking their release models.
Aniplex has always been a leader in experimenting, bringing back premium pricing in US for example. Obviously, they won’t attempt something like this if they don’t think an opportunity exists. Whether it’ll succeed it would be up to the market to decide.
I think Aniplex might have a solid test case with the Kangarou Project. It already sold 24k BD at around the same price for its latest music video release, so they know this fanbase works at this particular price point.
If Vol.1 does the impossible, say making 100k+ sales, I think it’s a good evidence that Aniplex succeed.
The only way the price point becomes a talking point for me is if the releases are very staggered (1 per month or slower, not impossible) *and* it significantly outperforms what we’d expect out of an adaptation of an LN that can move ~180k copies in 2 weeks. Otherwise, I’d see such a claim as resting on relatively shaky ground.