There are few things more frustrating than loving an anime that has room to grow as a story, but never gets beyond one season of material. It’s arguably even more of an irritance when you know the second season would easily pay for itself. Fortunately, it’s very rare for popular anime to not get sequels (happens only about 20% of the time), and there are ways to predict which ones those will be. I like to think knowing softens the heartbreak.
It’s fairly frequent among people who have started to get interested in anime enough to start knowing things about the people who make it find themselves encountering the names of certain directors and studios over and over. Kasai Kenichi excels at college life stories. Hiroshi Nagahama was the bold visionary who directed Mushishi. Perhaps one of the more preeminent studios in that regard are Madhouse and Gonzo, the studios behind Death Note and Gankutsou, respectively. They can flash those series names on “from the studio that brought you” title cards of the trailer for anything else they make, despite the fact that Madhouse made the Marvel anime and Gonzo hasn’t been run by the people who made Gankutsuou since 2008. I’m here to make the case for why Madhouse’s reputation, along with a number of others, may be a bit overblown. It’s not that they’re not making awesome anime, but they are picking source material that gives them a lot of help.
This situation with directors can sometimes be a bit like that of the quarterback in American football; they get too much credit when things go well, and too much blame when things go wrong. In reality, lots of factors beyond the men at the top contribute to an anime’s success. I’m here today to take a look at one in particular; the pre-production choice of high-quality of source material. What follows is a look at anime adaptations of Shogakukan/Kodansha Award-Winning manga, including observations based on both their relative frequency over the years, their strength as a function of which studio makes them, and their performance in the marketplace.
Redline is the best anime movie I have ever seen. By which I mean it is the best anime I’ve ever seen and the best movie I’ve ever seen. While this summer season is certainly one for the books, it’s not delivering anything quite like that movie (and it wouldn’t be fair to ask it to). But because the movie’s now available free on youtube,* and because this is definitely the most fun season to be a part of since subs of the movie became available roughly 2 years ago, I decided to pay tribute by summarizing how everyone’s doing at (roughly) the halfway hash in the words of Sweet JP and co.
[Warning: Spoilers, if that kind of thing bothers you.]
Update 2 (July 15, 2014): New, more accurate data is here.
Update (Jul 1, 2014): This post doesn’t measure releases in 2-week totals, which turns out to be a huge deal in many, many cases. I’m currently working on an updated version of both this and the other 2011-2012 manga boost posts. Just be aware of that before citing the data from here regarding any one show.
Some time ago, I published an article looking at how anime adaptations produced in early 2012 affected the sales of their source manga. It was interesting data to take a look at, and it was interesting to see which anime really boosted the manga sales. Long story short, there are cases where a manga really jumps from mid-tier to franchise level (Space Brothers, Kuroko’s Basketball, Inu x Boku SS) soon after the anime airs, and cases where the anime doesn’t have much visible effect.
It was very intriguing to look at, but it wasn’t a sample large enough to draw real definitive conclusions from. So I’ve recently been pulling sales records for manga that had an anime adaptation air in 2011, to get a better idea of how the two media are interrelated. This post contains the first half of that data, specifically the data for which I have specific totals from both before and after the anime first aired, and some observations on that data.
The noitaminA block’s been out of commission for a few months now, and it’s not coming back as strongly as it could be. One timeslot is being taken up by Ano Hana, a move that’s good advertising for A-1 Pictures but means one less new show this season. Still, the new show we do get comes from strong source material; Hiromu Arakawa’s Shonen Sunday hit Silver Spoon.
When I saw the first couple episodes of Blue Exorcist, I got the impression of a show that would be right at home on adult swim. It had flashy priests vs. demons action, decent drama, and a somewhat over-the-top plot (satan’s son on a quest for revenge against dear ol’ dad). That is pretty much how it played out, and the result was a notable, if imperfect show in one of the greatest seasons in recent memory.
Key art always looks like this, but A-1 makes the actual show look almost as smooth