# Fun With Numbers: The Anime Sequel Probability Equation (Alpha)

Ever wonder what anime get sequels and what don’t? The simple answer to this fairly simple question is “sales, plus a few mitigating lesser factors”. We know this, beyond the obvious intuition, because over the years, we see those with robust sales totals get continued much more often than those with lackluster ones:

A more interesting question is perhaps this; which anime this year have the best chances of getting continued? After some delving into the subject, I can finally answer this question to a respectable degree of confidence. Based on data from 615 shows airing from from 2005-2012, the first season of an anime which sells x units per volume has P odds of getting a sequel, meaning either a second season or a movie.

P(x, t, L)=.01+θ(x-2250)*(.7-1650/(x+L*750))*e^(-((t-1)*θ(t-1))/.7)

Where t is the time in years passed since the first season aired, and L=1 corresponds to the series having been licensed. θ is the step function, 0 when the number inside the brackets is less than 0, and 1 when the number inside is greater than 0.

# Fun With Numbers: Perspective on Crunchyroll Manga’s Starting Lineup

I’ve had a bunch of stuff I’d like to write about on the back burner for a while now; Yozakura Quartet’s new OAD-bundled volume selling about 17,000 copies when the maximum cost of the OVA would have been covered by 9000, a return to the issue of sales boosts that manga get from anime, and the slow-but-ongoing attempt to accurately set odds for the sequel of any given anime series. All of those are important questions, and I’ll address them in due time.

But right now, manga giant Kodansha and popular legal stream platform crunchyroll rolled out a bombshell: Crunchyroll Manga. Current to Japan digital releases of 12 manga (headlined by Fairy Tail and Attack on Titan, ones I pegged months ago as potential headliners for a Kodansha USA service) that are fairly big in the U.S, for 5 bucks a month.* This isn’t as big of a deal as some of the other things I’ve observed, but it certainly has the potential to make a big impact. I don’t want to be premature, but the combination of the CR brand and the solid rollout slate (similar to how CR packaged big names in anime when they first decided to go legal) has me optimistic about the prospects of the service.

This is very much a first-response column, looking at the statistical profiles of the rollout and comparing it to Jmanga and Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, two other big names in digital manga.** How does this compare with other digital rollouts?

# Fun With Numbers: Adaptations of Award-Winning Manga and the Myth of Madhouse

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.

# Fun With Numbers: Scarce Demand for Simulmanga

This past year, viz media pulled off a first for the non-Japan manga industry. I’m referring to Shonen Jump Alpha, a digital “magazine” offering same-week release of the chapters of some 11 Weekly Shonen Jump manga. It’s pretty cool, and at 26\$/year for 48 issues (and a buck per back issue), it’s not a totally unreasonable subscription fee. But that specific business model, one of same-week releases for official translations, is unfortunately not something that’s likely to be transferable to the majority of manga. Especially seinen and josei series with smaller fanbases. If you’ve ever wondered if the manga translation industry will catch up to where the anime industry is now with simulcasts, this article discusses the depressing reality of the situation and why such an outcome is relatively unlikely.

# 6 Degrees of 5Ds: Attack on Titan, Hunter x Hunter, and Free!

The Anime Industry is a lot more interconnected than one might guess at first blush. This manifests itself both in meaningful ways and in silly ones. This series of posts, where I link Yugioh 5Ds to every other anime Kevin Bacon-style, is most definitely the latter. This time, I’m shackling the three most notable currently airing anime to the laughable albatross.

# Midseason Update: This Summer in Redline Quotes

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.]

# First Reactions: Free! Episode 2 (Plus Too-Long Footnotes on Why Summer 2013 Will End Up Being a Better Season Than Spring 2013)

Based on what I’ve seen of reactions to Free on the internet, it seems like a large quantity of people are ruling it out with one glance at the promo material rather than 20 minutes of episode time. It’s becoming increasingly obvious how much of a shame that is, because this show is complete in ways it didn’t even have to be to be an enjoyable ride.

# Fun With Numbers: A Numbers-Based Way of Picking Out the Best Anime of the Past 8 Years

You know the old saying; “Stats don’t lie, except when they do.” Using stats to argue point son anime is kind of tough, as any individual figure, be it Japanese sales, TV Ratings, merchandising fees paid, or online ranking site figures, only reveals a small part of the overall picture. Since I compiled a rather large database containing multiple stat lines for 95% of the anime to air over the past 8 years, I might as well use it to numerically classify true-blue-chippers.

Allow me to introduce a very exclusive society, the Hit-L-Double-Double (HLDD) Club. It’s the list of anime that have accomplished 4 feats, 3 of which are very difficult individually. Specifically, it’s the list of anime that have sold 10,000+ units per volume in Japan (megahit sales territory), been licensed overseas (international sales viability), and have myanimelist rankings and popularities in the top 100/double digits (esteem and popularity overseas).

This is a list of the unequivocal successes, the things that have amassed not only megahit status in Japan, but also a significant English-speaking fanbase and critical praise. These are numerically irrefutable successes, at least in theory. You could call it the “talk to anyone” list, because you could talk to anyone in the industry and they would agree with you that it was a rock-solid commodity. From 2005-2012, anyway (that’s the era I have all the data for). All the members from that period are listed below, along with their statlines. Sequels are excluded to keep it tidy, and because they’re rarely much different from s1 stats-wise.

This list is not meant to be very surprising. It’s just a slightly different way of thinking about blue-chip anime.

# The Hung-over Results of Animetics’ Drunken Spring 2013 Preview

A few months ago, just before the spring 2013 season started, we did a rather odd preview of the shows coming out that season, one involving fake money and real bragging rights. To find out who won (and thus who makes the odds for our upcoming summer 2013 preview) read on!

# First Reactions: Muromi-san Episode 6

I got an email the other day (my first one, so thanks, anonymous reader Y!) asking why I’m blogging this show over Attack on Titan, which also airs on Saturday. There are two main reasons, which I want to briefly address that before moving into the meat of the episode.

First, good comedies are no less difficult to produce than good dramas. If you handed Astro Fighter Sunred, Panty and Stocking, or another comedy that relies on its particular sense of style (workplace-themed deadpan and rampant excess, respectively) to a replacement-level handler like Chiaki Kon or Yuu Kou, you’d almost certainly get something darn near forgettable. A comedy has to have real personality to work, which is something that’s not at all easy to do; just because they seem* to come along more often than dramas doesn’t mean a good laugh is worth any less than a good teardrop. Muromi-san specifically happens to be a *very* well-executed comedy, as it’s effectively mixing the high-energy of Angel Beats with the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and subtly clever camera play of Joshiraku, and has a ceiling as a low-tier 10/10 on my ranking scale.

Second, while I like Titan quite a bit, it has a plot I’m very familiar with as a reader of the manga. It means that a) there’s less I can legitimately speculate on, b) I don’t want to spoil anything by accident, and c) I’d only be able to comment on the execution, which I find slow and less interesting than the wham-bam lightning rod pacing of the manga. It’s distinctly my third-favorite Saturday show at this point. Which is, if anything, a mark of how fun Saturdays this spring have been.