Fun With Numbers: Pay Dirt in Blu-Ray/Amazon Monitoring

A couple days ago, I was refreshing home media magazine’s site like a madman in hopes of getting a rough estimate of Attack on Titan’s placing. The result, a top 20 BD chart with no anime in it, was a disappointment to me despite my hedged bets about how shaky my amazon fit model was. Turns out, this might not be so much an indictment of the model as of the usability of the HM magazine/VideoScan First Alert charts they use.

Because it turns out that, contrary to their April 6 BD chart, a certain classic series sneaked on to the The Numbers’ top 20 BD disk chart, giving me my first solid high-end number in ever:


For reference, using the amazon fit formula on the existing data (daily sales=300,000/daily amazon rank) and counting preorders of the series, the model estimates the first week sales of DBZ’s season 3 BD rerelease would be about 6034 copies. That’s a bit lower than the actual result, likely because of a possible storefront effect for popular titles that reader fredofirish brought to my attention. Still, that’s only off by about 20% of the actual value; not bad at all for a rough guess. Given this result for a series that peaked in the upper 300s, I am 99% sure we’ll be seeing the AoT release that made double digits on these same charts in a few months, and we might even see Berserk III on there in two weeks.*


*It peaked at a similar place to where the DBZ release did, though this week’s threshold was also fairly generous.

Animetics @ Colossalcon 2014

In news that will probably not matter a ton for people not going to Colossalcon next weekend, June 3-6: we’ll be there in Sandusky, doing a couple of panels (schedule’s here). If you happen to be going and have some time at one of the following spots, feel free to come by and check us out at any of the following times.

Intro to Mecha (3pm Friday)

-Sam, Will and I walk through a number of mecha series we’ve picked out for people who want to get more into the mecha genre but aren’t sure where to start. The focus is either on series that are either unique, flavorful alternative takes on the genre or series that run the formula exceptionally well.

Anime versus Manga (5pm Friday)

-Frame-to-video comparisons of manga and their anime adaptations to show how similar and/or different they can be. We’ll try not to be belligerent in making the point about how 4-koma series are much harder to adapt than winners of major awards, but it’s sort of hard to avoid.

Where’s my Sequel (5pm Saturday)

-We talk about the various income streams (disks, print volumes, merchandise, etc.) that determine whether or not anime are commercially successful, and hence are likely to get sequels. The ultimate answer is disks uber alles, but there are a lot of nuances there that I’ve been able to look at in more detail since posting the super-rough sequel probability equation a year or so ago. Depending on how my writeup goes, I might end up incorporating the results of the casual-interest stuff that’s been boring you for the past 2 months or so.*

Golden Age of Late Night (9pm Saturday)

-A history lesson on how the cutting edge of anime made the transition from TV to OVAs to Late-Night TV, covering all notable series (Dallos, Eva, TWHE) playing a part in that progression and why they were relevant to it.

*Right now, all the numbers I need are on spreadsheets, but I need to sort and plot them to really show what’s going on. Short version is that it’s complicated and cloaked in a thick fog, but there are two indicators that do seem to cut through it just a bit, in that you can build histograms with visible slants and not have most of the series with boosts not in the bottom 10. I’m already dicking around to see if I can find a second indicator that can be used to shave off the wrong guesses for either of those, which means I’ll probably be pulling data for Spring and Winter of the same year to test and see if that holds water.

Ain’t no Absolutes: Bigger Numbers, Nonzero Numbers, and ‘Bad’ Opinions

I haven’t really done any kind of cleaning up of this blog since I started it a little over a year ago, so if you do a little digging, you can kind of tell that I originally intended for this to be more of a visuals-focused breakdown blog.* I started out the usual way, covering episodes week to week and churning out an occasional review. Obviously, that’s a bit different now. There are a couple of reasons why that approach has mostly gone out the window:

1. Episodic anime blogging is an extremely over-saturated medium. There are at least five blogs expressing any given opinion on any given show on any given week, with varying levels of prose. Most of them have existing followings. It’s not an efficient use of effort to take two years to try and build up a similar following to a commentator with a similar style, even if you do think you can write better.

1. a) Episodic anime blogging has a definite niche it can fill, but it has a number of shortcomings. For the discussion to advance past where it is right now, we don’t need more people talking about the same thing, we need to have people talking about different things.

2. I like to tinker around with spreadsheets. It’s just something I find fun. Too, looking at anime from different perspectives can lead to surprising insights on the medium itself that deepen my appreciation for just how much effort goes into it.

3. As a long-time worshipper at the churches of Neo Ranga and Futakoi Alternative, I’ve dealt with a lot of BS over the years to the effect of “it’s ridiculous to even say that show A is better than show B”. Beyond all the other neat things numbers can do, pretty much any metric available does a pretty good job of unsettling this debate. Some people use “number A is bigger than number B” arguments to assert that one show is better than another, but most numbers are actually telling a story of a world very far removed from such absolutes.

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Unstoppable Hype Machine Winter 2014 #10 – Kanojo Flag

Snag it!

Guess what’s starting again!

That’s right, it’s the Unstoppable Hype Machine, this time for a full 10 episodes! At least once, maybe even twice, day for the next week we will be serving you up plenty of spring anime hype.

First up on our list is Kanojo Flag!

Animetics @ Ohayocon 2014 (and Panel Schedule)

If you’re not going to be at Ohayocon 2014, enjoy your weekend. If you are, look for us at any of the following panels:

Anime versus Manga: Adaptations Done Right and Wrong (Saturday, 6:30PM, Workshop 2)

-You can make a great anime with not-so-great-effort by just reproducing manga storyboards panel-by-panel. Despite what you might think, this is not a panel that complains about how accurately plot points were reproduced in a given series. Instead, we talk about the real differences between manga (as an irregularly storyboarded, read-at-your-own-pace medium) and anime (as a fixed-pace, audio/visual medium) using several specific scenes as examples.

The Golden Age of Late-Night Anime (Saturday, 9:30PM, Panel 4)

-An oral reproduction of my sea-changes article, with more visual aids and more focus on the benefits of having lots of TV anime.

The Myth of Fanservice (Saturday, 11:30PM, Panel 2)

-A one-hour refutation of the ideas that a) series with obnoxious boobies sell better than those without, b) series with obnoxious boobies are new, and c) artsy, innovative series don’t sell well. I highly recommend this particular panel, though you’ve probably seen these sentiments expressed before on this blog in more meticulous detail.

Manga Japanese Critics Love (Sunday, 10AM, Workshop 1)

-Descriptions of every manga to win the general category of the Kodansha Manga Award and Shogakukan Manga Award since 2000, plus a selection from the Boys/Girls/Kids Categories. Whether you’re coming or not, check either one of those lists and you’re 95% sure to find an interesting new read.

The Man Behind the Nose: A Noboyuki Fukumoto Primer (Sunday, 1:30PM, Workshop 1)

-Skip the previous panel, just read Tenna Toori Kaidanji. This panel is the one-hour pitch for Japan’s most accomplished gambling mangaka.

Jojo’s Bizarre Panel (Sunday, 3:30PM, Panel 2)

-Uber-expert Sam and I break down one of our favorite battle manga franchises, and rank our favorite stands. My personal list? Pearl Jam at number 1, Pearl Jam at number 2, and Sex Pistols at number 3.

Sticking Around, But Dropping the Episodic Entries

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was probably going to cut out the weekly/episodic blogging of anime and replace it with something else. I figure it’s worth explaining why, and what’s to come.

My original goal in starting this blog was just to see if I could do one after being a deadline-averse backseat driver while scanning some King Golf and writing for the infancy of what would become Shonenbeam. Now that I’ve been doing this for 10 months and 300+ entries, I’ve got a better idea of what I actually want this to be. My emerging goal is to gain and spread, where possible, insights on anime and manga.* There are plenty of ways to go about mission prime; music/scene analysis, plain old reviews, or collecting and analyzing any of a hundred different kinds of data. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in working on these episodic entries, it’s that (at least in my case) they’re just about the worst way to gain insights on a show. While there are definitely anime worth episode-by-episode commentary and individual episodes of anime worth 1000-plus-word writeups, by and large episodic commentary is too quick, too basic. I’ve been trying to get away from this, but every episodic entry of mine I reread feel like bullet points in sentence form. Really understanding a single episode of anime that’s good enough to be worth writing about takes at least two viewings, and episodes that notable are fairly rare.

Worse, there’s the issue of opportunity cost. Episodic entries are a deadline factory and a time sink that keeps me from doing actual analytical legwork and kneecaps the parts of the blog I enjoy doing. This fall, I had half a review each for roaring mid-major Outbreak Company and undropped/sneaky likable Gingitsune and never finished either. I haven’t even written a review for Touch yet, and I finished that over 4 months ago! I can write 400 words a week on Space Dandy, but would the fragmented series of entries ultimately read better than the same (or even a lesser) wordcount in a focused review? Longer-form analysis is the stuff I’m leaving on the table when I choose trend-of-the-day subject matter, and I’m going to switch gears a bit and do my best to flip that tradeoff in the coming months. I’ll still be covering first episodes and doing midseason/dropped updates,** but that’s about all the coverage newer seasons will be getting. I hope y’all enjoy it.

*Failing that, goal number 2 is to blindly hype the fun parts of it.

**See above note.

Unstoppable Hype Machine Winter 2014 #5 – Witchcraft Works

Grab it!

Welcome to Unstoppable Hype Machine, a podcast where Drew and Sam discuss what shows they are looking forward to in the next season! There will be five in the first season of USHM with one going up per day! First up on the discussion plate is Witchcraft Works, a new comedy directed by Tsutomu Mizushima!

Fall 2013 Anime I Dropped: What, When, and Why

To me, anime is a hobby whose primary purpose is trading free time to for entertainment. So I’m always ready to drop shows that aren’t providing a fair return on that 20 minutes a week, in order to use the time on discovering classics, rediscovering the contents of my hardcopy disk collection, or just doing actual work. These are the Fall 2013 shows that prompted that decision.

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Summer 2013 Anime I Dropped: What, When, and Why

I’m a strong believer in the value of 20 minutes of time. Between work, the anime I do watch, the fact that I do play games on occasion, and my ongoing quest to find the next To Heart*, I’ve got plenty of venues to bank my time. There’s no real reason to keep watching a show, even if I’m enjoying it a little, if it doesn’t have at least an upside of being an 8/10 product. What follows is a list of Summer 2013 shows I dropped more or less because of their lack of realistic upside.

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