I’ve spent the past week or so beginning my research into anime timeslots in the mid-to-late 90s, and it’s a truly fascinating subject. My ultimate goal here is to get an accurate accounting of which shows during that period were actually late-night specific, as opposed to just series airing in daytime. In the very tedious and very, very fun process of collecting data on shows airing in this period, I’ve discovered a number of dedicated timeslots that existed around this time that are interesting enough to summarize.
The TV Tokyo Friday 18:30 slot, which lasted for over 20 years, served as a sort of proto-late slot for part of that period. It started rerunning Captain Tsubasa in 1985, but soon moved into rebroadcasting of OVAs and then new anime. Many of the series in this timeslot in the mid-90s are debatably works that would have been OVAs if they had been made 5 years earlier and late-night shows had they been made 5 years later. And that’s not purely idle speculation; Slayers aired in this slot throughout the 90s, but the new Revolution season aired in the same timeslot as Toradora (Wednesdays 25:20, TV Tokyo), and El Hazard had its first TV season aired here (in the same year as the first OVA series) before the second one in 1998 went to a similar late-night slot (Wednesdays 25:15, TV Tokyo).*
Instrumental anime openings are fairly rare. So I decided to take a look at the ones I knew. As usual when I examine a list of more than ten things, a few points jumped out at me. So I thought I’d share.
Short version: Instrumental openings often succeed. Because they try harder. They have to; they’re taking a risk, going against a current that carries lots of proverbial fish. And also because the people who tend to take that risk generally tend to be talented people. But they’re not a guaranteed winner for a show by any means.