Shimizu Kenji Comments on Fuji TV Dropping Weekday Anime (Narinari)

On August 15th, Shimizu Kenji, executive producer of many of Fuji TV’s most successful anime, comments on why the station decided to drop its weekday anime. According to him, the 19:00/7PM weekday timeslots were reasonable through most of the 1980s but saw a steep dropoff due to the increased prevalence of cram schools (keeping more kids from being home until late, when adult-oriented programs such as the Monday 9 dramas were already entrenched in their own slots) and the decreasing Japanese birthrate (thus shrinking the total number of kids available as an audience). Large audiences were vital to terrestrial Fuji TV, which explains why UHF (Ultra High Frequency waveband) stations were able to continue to broadcast anime in those same slots.

Original Article: http://www.narinari.com/Nd/20150833194.html

As a companion to Shimizu’s commentary here, it’s worth noting a few things. One, while the Monday and Thursday 19:00 slots died sequentially with Sakigake! Otokojuku in 1988 (started on Thursdays, moved to Mondays, was the last anime in both slots), the Wednesday slot lasted a full decade longer (ending in 2001). Wednesday 19:00, by the way, was the Akira Toriyama legacy slot that ran a combination of Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball from 1981-1999, then picked up One Piece for 2 years before said program shifted to Sunday evenings in 2001.

Two, at least in the case of One Piece, which admittedly moved much later than the others and is more popular than your average franchise, ratings seem to react negatively to slot changes. In 2001, the average ratings of the last 3 months of One Piece airing in its Wednesday slot (15.0) actually beat what it had over the first 3 months of its Sunday afternoon slot (14.7). In 2005, One Piece actually averaged a point less (12.1->11.0) when it shifted back in time by half an hour. And in 2006, when the show shifted from Sunday evenings to 9:30 in the morning, the ratings fell off a cliff (10.7->6.5), though they’ve improved somewhat since.

Three, the network briefly tried to capitalize on the Toriyama legacy slot by sticking a second anime slot right after it, starting from Kuma no Puutarou in 1995. This slot carried Rurouni Kenshin and the first few episodes of GTO, but that experiment ended at the same time the 1997 Dr. Slump anime did, in October of 1999. It’s possible that executives assumed that the then-new One Piece wouldn’t be able to provide the same kind of ratings tail necessary to support the secondary slot that the Toriyama shows had, or maybe Dr. Slump wasn’t providing the ratings tail that Dragonball had and they decided to phase out the Wednesday slots in pieces.

Fourth, TV Tokyo, one of Fuji TV’s major competitors, actually *launched* a large number of weekday 18:00 timeslots in the early 1990s, as did Nihon TV and NHK. Just based on how long some of those slots have lasted, at least some weekday anime was demonstrably viable throughout the 1990s. Reduced weekday competition from Fuji TV may have helped TV Tokyo maximize the returns it got airing Naruto, Bleach, and other weekday long-runners.

At any rate, the translated article text can be read below.
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Timeslot History: 1994-2000 Wrapup

After getting all that timeslot data from 1994-2000, I realized there’s not a ton of meaningful analysis to do on it beyond simply putting it together in a coherent format and eyeballing. It’s a big sample, but also one with a decent amount of variance that would need additional attributes added to each datapoint to do more with it. This is one of those cases where the raw data at a glance is more interesting than an analysis using more complex statistical tools. I don’t regret doing it* – I certainly learned a lot, and found some justification for one of my older articles.

At any rate, from 1994-1996, one anime series aired after midnight (Those Who Hunt Elves) among 113 total shows. From 1997-2000, 75 series aired after midnight among 250 total shows. That’s an average of about 75/250~30% of the content produced for TV those years. The two biggest contributors to that 75-show total were TV Tokyo (4 dedicated slots, 33 total shows) and TBS/MBS (24 total shows). Also of note is WOWOW’s temporary emergence as a viable anime broadcaster; they aired 36 shows over the latter period, many of which were notable.

Between them, late night slots and WOWOW accounted for half of the ten 10k+ hits from that same 1997-2000 time period; Brain Powerd, Cowboy Bebop, Hand Maid May, Initial D, and To Heart. It’s not like none of these series or the other notable after-midnight shows wouldn’t have been made if not for the availability of late-night slots, but you could definitely pull out a counterfactual or five about how the industry would have been different if not for Eva and the late-90s late night boom it sparked. I think it suffices to say that they played a decently large role in opening up the field for a wider variety of shows – Cowboy Bebop is a clear example of a show that couldn’t be aired the way the creators wanted in a daytime network slot, and odds are at least some others would have faced similar difficulties. Too, a lot of the ideas that ended up becoming late-night shows were going to be in production phases may have become 2-3 episode OVAs instead, which would have been a waste of the late-cel era of animation. It’s fun to consider, at least.

*It’s basically the same thing I get out of magazine scans. Nothing so far has revolutionized my view of anime as a whole, but there’s a lot of omnipresent context that I can only begin to understand by absorbing gobs of information from a category I don’t normally specialize in. Same basic reason I’ve been reading the novel translations for Vamp and HaGaNai lately.

Timeslot History: SUN TV 24:35

As an addendum to the stuff I’ve been doing on anime timeslots in the mid-to-late 90s, it’s interesting to note that Kansai-based broadcaster Sun Television Co. actually had a little anime slot of its own, set at Thursday 24:35, which aired a few new shows. Sun TV was not the only current broadcaster of what were presumably UHF anime, and it shared part of its broadcast order with KBS Kyoto as well as Television Saitama, but their slot was listed as the primary one for To Heart by the tv-drama db, a generally reliable source.

Let me be the first to say which station broadcast what first and in what relation to the others is a question that is almost certainly more complex than I treat it as here. I know these shows were aired together on one channel, and not all shared Legend of Basara, so I’m going to define SUN TV as the primary broadcaster for the purpose of outlining the slot.

Since it was broadcasting to a much smaller region of the country (as part of a larger group of stations targeting several regions with the same block), information on it is more fragmentary, but we know it aired the following series during the 90s:

Legend of Basara [04-1998]
Dokyuusei 2 (OVA rebroadcast) [07-1998]
Kakyuusei (OVA rebroadcast) [09-1998]
(Unverifiable period)
To Heart [04-1999]
Kakyuusei (1999 TV Series) [07-1999]

As a 10k+ hit and something of a spiritual successor to many early-2000s Kyoto Animation works*, To Heart stands out a bit from the rest of the list. I find it interesting, though, that they first aired a pair of TV-edited Elf-franchise adaptation OVAs in the slot, perhaps partially to test the waters for the upcoming one-two punch of To Heart and Kakyuusei in consecutive seasons.

*In an admittedly primitive sense – much of the in-betweening and motion work for the final 3/4 episodes was outsourced to their studio.

Timeslot History: Anime on WOWOW (1994-2000)

WOWOW was a satellite channel, and was thus responsible for 80% of “I’m really surprised this didn’t air later at night” thoughts I had while gathering timeslot information. This summary also took less time to put together because most of their dedicated anime blocks were a pretty localized phenomenon, opening between 1998-1999 and ending, at the latest, in 2003.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period. I do track timeslots before and after the period to get an idea of where their demos originated and where they ended up.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on TV Tokyo (1994-2000)

My last timeslot post was 3 weeks ago. This post is about TV Tokyo’s anime offerings in the mid-to-late 90s, which is why that gap was as long as it was. There are just lots and lots of shows here. Like, way bigger than everyone else. Like, 143 of the 366 total anime aired in the period. Getting all the data together in a semi-neat format took a ton of time even though the information itself was fairly straightforward, just because there was so much of it.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period. I do track timeslots before and after the period to get an idea of where their demos originated and where they ended up.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on TV Asahi (1994-2000)

TV Asahi wasn’t winning the numbers war (nor the cleanly-kept-records war) with some of the other, bigger networks, but it did put on some interesting programming. Interesting here is the lack of new anime on weekdays; I count only 5 new series on the network in this time period (out of 38) that weren’t aired between 17:00 Friday and 12:00 on Sunday.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on Nihon TV (1994-2000)

Nihon TV actually aired the fewest new anime of any major broadcaster over this period, but their slate is made up of a decent percentage of series that are somewhat notable.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on NHK (1994-2000)

What new anime there was airing on the NHK family in the 1990s was doing so primarily on two channels: NHK Educational and NHK Premium Broadcast Satellite (typically called NHK BS2). I’m going to keep this brief, because this period’s NHK is boring. Their stuff was spread across multiple channels and it still wasn’t particularly numerous, plus they aired no new anime after midnight.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on TBS/MBS (1994-2000)

The second broadcaster I’m going to be covering is actually two companies, albiet closely related ones. Mainichi Broadcasting System is affiliated with, and holds stock in, Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings. The two are not the same company, but I’m lumping them together for the purposes of this article since they shared broadcasts of many of the anime on this list. 毎日放送制作・TBS系列 doesn’t encompass every series on this list, but there’s enough overlap between the two that it’s easier to process the two as one entity.

General boilerplate stuff:

If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

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Timeslot History: Anime on Fuji TV (1994-2000)

After a few too many hours on various Japanese database sites, I’ve finally managed to compile a 99% complete list of anime which first aired from 1994-2000, along with their respective timeslots. If you’re curious about the details, you can find the data I’ve gathered on this spreadsheet. Note on the format: the master list has just the networks, timeslots, and years of airing. Other sheets contain the shows aired in a given year and those aired on non-Japanese TV, with relevant links for the numerous series for which the Japanese wikipedia page didn’t provide sufficient information on the timeslot.

There’s a lot of information there, so I’m going to try and slice it up to make it a bit easier to digest. One fairly natural division for TV shows is the networks (or family of networks) they were broadcast on. The major players in new anime over this period were Fuji TV, MBS/TBS, NHK, Nihon TV, TV Asahi, TV Tokyo, and WOWOW, each of which will be covered in the next couple of weeks.

For each broadcaster, I’ll be asking two questions. First, which, if any slots did they have dedicated to anime in general? To qualify as an anime slot for the purposes of this exercise, a timeslot has to have aired premieres of at least 3 TV anime from 1994 to 2000. This excludes, for example, the Fuji TV Sunday 18:30 slot, which has been running Sazae-san for a really long time. I’m more interested in timeslots that would have been available to new shows during this period.

Second, which, if any shows did that broadcaster air after midnight? I want to give as complete a view as possible on the stance different companies took in regards to airing anime late at night. Since I’ve been poring over the data, I already have a decent idea of what the answer is going to be, but it’s neat to look at how different broadcasters’ stances were during this period.

Continue reading