I’m watching a couple things from winter, for anyone curious about stuff like that.
The dust jacket around Ace of the Diamond’s 41st volume* reports that it presently has 20 million copies in print:
The commercial impact of anime goes well beyond its disk sales. Manga may sell to more people, but anime is extremely visible, airing on TV (albeit often late at night) and propagating around the internet at a very rapid pace. This visibility very often can lead to an increased strength of the franchise in general, propping up sales of print material, figures, and any various other related goods. Sometimes, anyway. 2013 was no exception, and saw a number of manga adaptations have anywhere from minimal to explosive effects on the sales of their source material.
I collected the manga sales history, including thresholds for series which charted sporadically, on this doc, and plotted it below. Note that these sales are not total, but the total number reported in a roughly fixed time period. Comparing sales tail length is a whole other issue, and I’m trying as much as possible to compare like figures.
One important difference from similar breakdowns of 2011/2012 series is that here I’ve opted to use the total sales from a series’ first 2 weeks of release (the highest reported total in that time interval), to attempt to minimize the effects of a bad split in creating artificial variations. It’s still an issue either way, but the difference between 9 and 14 days is a lot less than the difference between 2 and 7 days.
Two important series-specific notes prior to the plots. First, Maoyu is plotted here, in the manga section, because the manga charts more consistently than the light novel did and, more importantly, has available data from both before and after the anime aired (the LN ended just prior to 2013). Second, I can’t parse impact for series that don’t have at least one volume which released after the anime began to air. I thus will not be covering Servant x Service here, though there is data available. I will cover it in an addendum post come September when volume 4 has been out for 2 weeks.
Back in the day, before I had the money to import anime, or eve to buy them at a discount, I had access to a VCR and a stack of 5 VHS tapes. I learned to program that VCR for the express purpose of recording Toonami, Adult Swim Anime, and the like on days when I couldn’t make it home. And if there was one show that was my number 1 at the time, it was battle/rivalry series s-CRY-ed.
Fueled almost entirely by banter between the leading duo. Kazuma and Ryuho were as memorable a pair of rivals as I can recall having watched to this day, and the script that was field-raised ham on a whole-wheat drama bun produced a memorable, unique-tasting fight series. And plenty of potable quotes, which is why I’m dedicating this entry to cemented legacy club member director Taniguchi Goro.
And to punching things while yelling loudly
Oh, and incoming spoilers for a 12 year-old show, if you’re averse to that kind of thing.
Saturday’s slate is, as usual, packed. It’s also, in a less usual twist, clogged to the brim with sports. I’m saving Kuroko s2 for the nightcap, and for now going over the two adaptations of KMA-winning sports manga, old and new.
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.
I’m going to belabor this point, but Touch is an amazing, timeless classic manga. It’s also wildly unpopular in the states, something I kind of knew, but became much, much more obvious in my marathon sessions this week. Something I did not expect happened, and I had in no way been spoiled on it. The impressive thing isn’t so much that it happened, but how Adachi Mitsuru gives the audience the inside scoop. Suffice the man is a genius who’s madder than he lets on.
Warning: This article spoils a somewhat important twist in a manga that’s 20+ years old, but one that’s virtually unknown to western audiences. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read this and do read the manga.
I’ve talked about Ace of the Diamond before. It’s my second-favorite baseball manga of all time*, and it is so because it a) is not about a team of scrappy underdogs, which allows for b) one of the most interesting dynamics in any sports manga – 4 highly skilled pitchers with alpha dog personalities competing for one starting spot on an elite baseball team. When that dynamic gets folded into competitive baseball matches, the result is a fantastic two-level narrative. This week, we were reminded who was alpha dog prime, and why. Before I go any further into how amazingly unique Tanba is as a character, here’s his “I logged a K against the other team’s ace with the tying run on third and two outs” face.**
Which might as well be the rest of my column, but I like to write
There are few things I treasure more in manga than the ability to surprise me on a page-by-page basis. I love Yuuji Terajima’s Ace of the Diamond, and this chapter did a pretty good job reminding me why, building tension around a straightforward confrontation using clever Eyeshield 21-style visual feints.
Courtesy of the super-discount section of Half-Price Books, I just picked up a bundle of fun for a little less than 25$. I bought a number of items; manga volumes of Land of the Blindfolded, Lone Wolf and Cub, and R2 (I usually buy some series I’ve never heard of before on principle), Final Fantasy X and X-2, and ten issues of Weekly Shonen Magazine. What am I going to do with that last lot? Well, first, I’m going to take advantage of my ability ot read Japanese and spoil myself the heck out of second-best baseball manga ever Ace of the Diamond, which is 4 years ahead of where scanlators are now. Second, I’m going to take a stab at every series running in that magazine and see if any is solid enough for a tankobon import, something I do occasionally. These two related ideas popped into my head immediately upon seeing the issues, and led me to some thoughts on the concept of a serial medium as it pertains to manga. I thought I’d share.