Fun With Numbers: October 2015 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

The usual batch of amazon data for US anime releases planned for the month of October. This month is highlighted by a trio of heavyweights; Omoide no Marnie, Fukkatsu no F, and the one Naruto Movie with the deceptive title. Normally it’d just be worth celebrating a chance of seeing one of them chart, but we’ll likely have numbers for all 3 this time around now that I’m using the full Nash Info database.

Two notes – one, Sasami-san’s DVD version actually came out in July of 2014, but I’m tracking it here because I usually like to examine how the companion product does when an alternate version comes out. Second, as of this week I’ve added Vampire Hunter D to the full-time special target tracking list, which I’m likely to maintain in perpetuity.

[The data seen below was taken on September 28th.]

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Fun With Numbers: Vampire Hunter D’s Rerelease Sold 2147 Copies on Week 1

The Nash Information Services database is now current for BD and DVD sales in the week ending in August 30th of this year. Though Vampire Hunter D’s BD rerelase (with a sprinkling of DVDs on top) didn’t make the top 20 that week, it was in the Nash database, and its average ranking of #177 on amazon ended up translating into 2147 total copies sold (2048 BD+99 DVD).

Thanks to my new amazon data retrieval script, it was easy to track it for an extra week in a crowded month, so we’ll be able to compare these numbers with those for its second week when the Nash DB updates again. This is the first time I’ve gotten hard numbers for a Section 23 release, so that’s an interesting side-note.

A source pic is included after the jump.

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The Cocoa Fujiwara Memorial List of “Instant Hit” Author-Driven Originals

Kouta Hirano got some exciting news this past week when the staff for the anime adaptation of his current manga, Drifters, was rolled out. Reading about that news reminded me of a list Hirano earned his place on with that series, and about someone else on that list we won’t be hearing as much about from now on.

Typically, even the manga that command the greatest degree of fame and attention take a while to actually get to that point. Takako Shimura spent years writing 18+ manga under multiple pen names before creating the internationally recognized Wandering Son. Shingeki no Kyojin didn’t even make the charts when its first volume came out. Even undisputed king of manga sales One Piece took over a decade in print to surpass Dragon Ball’s 156 million copy total and become #1, and in the last 6 years it’s added about 220 million to that total. A big part of success for most of the authors who have achieved recognition is due to diligence and working a lot over a long period.

Manga that do amass gigantic sales totals from the launch date of their first volume tend to fall into one of three categories. First, there are the licensed spinoffs, adaptations of Sword Art Online and Mahouka and such riding the wave of another author’s popularity, often as part of a larger media blitz. Second, you have the extensions of existing popular manga series that decided to change their titles, your Major 2nds and Baki Gaidens. Lastly, you have the bona-fide originals, series which ride a name and a compelling start to immediate large-scale success.

It’s this third category, the hardest one to break into, that most interests me. In practice, it breaks down into a list of authors with strong pre-established reputations doing other popular series and Jump newcomers, and it’s fun to look at in that “tough achievement to notch” kind of way.

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The Weird To Heart Ending Song Timeline

To Heart is a fantastic anime that’s interesting in lots of little ways. It’s one of the early beneficiaries of the late-night broadcast paradigm. It offers a powerfully low-key type of drama rare in anime. Its soundtrack was composed by a man who went to an all-boys high school. Its US release involved a special video restoration process.The list goes on.

Additionally, the series’ particular combination of ending theme songs is an unusual one. The show has used both Yell, sung by lead actress by Kawasumi Ayako and Access by SPY, a band under the Bandai Music label. Two ending songs is hardly an unusual number for a 1-cour anime. What is rare is that, rather than certain songs being associated with certain episodes, different endings were broadcast in different regions, and one never made it onto the video releases, instead ending up viewable primarily on NicoNico as a VHS rip.

It’s an odd situation, and though there are a lot of facts and one neat rumor swirling around, none of them offer a fully adequate explanation.

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Fun With Numbers: Special Amazon Tracking Target List

Over the next 3 weeks, I’ll be tracking a few older, popular anime releases with entries in the OpusData database in an attempt to relate middle and low-tier amazon ranks with smaller increases in sales totals. The database seems to update concurrent with added individual weeks for BD and DVD formats on TheNumbers (which is run by the same company). The hope is that, when the sales figures update for the relevant week, I’ll know exactly when those sales happened and be able to put both an amazon number and a sales number on the same time period. Thus, I should be able to get as good an idea of how amazon ranks relate to total sales as I possibly can. We’ll see, though; this could just as easily result in nothing of value.

For transparency, here’s the list of 12 titles, 22 releases on my list. It’s rough, just the titles and their different editions, ranks on August 24th, and links to the amazon sales pages.

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Fun With Numbers: September 2015 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

This September is a month with 5 Tuesdays, and it’s a crowded month anyway, so it’s packed to the gills. Noteworthy for the usual “high initial ranks mean it just might make the charts” reasons are Space Dandy part 2, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, and the 3-edition release of Tokyo Ghoul.

Also, there’s some weirdness happening this month:

-Descendants of Darkness isn’t ranking yet, for whatever reason. Hopefully whatever issue is causing that will clear up before its release date is really close.

-There are two Jojo editions, both getting preorders, both DVD-only, same MSRP, identical except for the level of detail on the amazon page and the level of discount offered. For now, I’ll refer to them on the tracking spreadsheet by their amazon url codes (B00X5UIUEU and B00XYHOIIQ).

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Fun With Numbers: Long-Tail Figures and Uncharted Territory

Recently, via the creation of a second OpusData trial account, I was able to acquire some new data that sheds light on how several newer US anime release performed in the long term. This includes 5 releases (Attack on Titan: Part 2, One Piece Film Z, The Wind Rises, Evangelion: Ha, The Tale of Princess Kaguya) for which we have at least one week of sales data already, plus 4 releases (Momo, Hal, Bayonetta, The Cat Returns) that came out in the 12 months and failed to chart once. Excluding Evangelion: Ha, and The Cat Returns, all of these titles came out between September and November 2014, so they’re roughly comparable in terms of the amount of time since release they’ve had to accrue new sales.

[Note: OpusData and TheNumbers, where I usually get what hard US video sales data I post, are owned and operated by the same company, Nash Info Services.]

The info that can be gleaned from them is interesting, but let me just say right now that I’m really happy about the clerical error that logged Attack on Titan’s second set as a movie, and hence trackable long-term in the Opus database.

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Fun With Numbers: August 2015 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

Depending on what sort of life you live and whether it’s peak hot summer wherever you are, August might be a long month. Thankfully, at least it’s got a fairly short list of anime releases, which makes it blessedly easy for me to handle.

It’s also nice because 2-3 of the things up for release this month are things I care about and will likely buy, so there’s that.

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Fun With Numbers: Spirited Away’s BD Release Sold 38,757 Copies on Week 1

Short post to note that Spirited Away was re-released in Blu-Ray format recently, and more importantly that said release sold 38,757 copies in its first week. I have amazon data for that week – the release was in the top 10 for the entire 6 days it was available for sale.

Two meta-points about the data – this release did worse than the most recent DBZ movie (62,146 BD copies), which was more consistently ranking in the top 50 rather than the slightly-more-illustrious top 10. My go-to explanation for this discrepancy is that DBZ came out in the middle of the general glut of Summer blockbusters coming out on home video that is the Fall release season. It’s a real thing that studios want their big titles out in advance of the Christmas buying season: 38 of the top 50 grossing BD titles of all time came out between August and September. This probably doesn’t affect the rank-sales relation as much in the thousands, but it could be a pretty big deal in the hundreds and definitely in the double and single-digit zones. It’s a pain to account for this so I’m going to avoid it unless I absolutely have to later. *kicks can the eff down the road*

Secondly, this release got a 50% off discount for a few days in the next week of tracking, which caused it to spend several days in the actual #1 spot in its second week out. We’ll see how that plays into its odds of ranking (and or additional sales) in the next week.

Character Redesign in Adapting Kanon

Visual Novels and anime are fairly different media, something that comes across whenever a work originally created in one format is adapted into another. And certainly whenever fans of the original inevitably comment about the adaptation not living up to its potential. With VNs, creators have as much time as they need to tell a story, and can use branching paths to allow the player to choose their own story (to an extent). With anime, the amount of time allotted to tell a story is limited by the production budget, but the number of different visual techniques available to the staff is vastly superior. In both cases, the work makes use of voice acting, music, and visuals, but these two media are obviously quite different. Still, visual novels occupy this interesting space in the realm of adaptations because they do feature voices and color and the main changes from the adaptation process involve more motion and camerawork; examining aspects of how they’re adapted can be a good way of attacking the question of just what’s appealing about each medium.

Character designs compete with plot summaries to be the first thing most people notice about a visually-oriented story, and they serve discrete roles in both VNs and anime. I figure a decent tack to start on is to look at a work that got adapted multiple times, so you can look at different choices different designers make in the adaptations process. So what follows is a cursory examination of one aspect highlighting this difference, the character designs, for 3 major versions of Kanon (the original game, the 2002 Toei anime, and the 2006 Kyoto Animation anime). There are a decent number of series that got the double-adaptation treatment (Kakyuusei, Fate/stay Night, Air, etc.), but I’m picking Kanon because a) the designs for all 3 versions are readily available in easily-processed formats and b) the general reception is markedly in favor of the 2006 adaptation over the 2002 one. Images used for comparison are taken from the game data (from the armpits up, as found here) and the official websites for both the 2002 and 2006 anime. These base images don’t always reflect the way characters appear – anime can scale up or down on details in dramatic/motion-heavy scenes, and VNs can highlight different features from different angles during event CGs – but they provide a useful baseline.

Full disclosure: I have not played or watched any version of Kanon, so I lack understanding of anything more than the basic context regarding the plot. This post is mainly the results of my playing around with the character designs for fun and seeing what I can get out of with them. Not that I haven’t read up a bit for some general context.

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