I took some time recently to look at my favorite anime and suss out a top 20. Always an enjoyable exercise. Also included some brief comments on each one, for anyone who’s curious about that sort of thing.
Though I’m still crappy at getting research done and that’s not likely to change in the near future, I have a little more time to myself now and I’ve actually been able to keep up with the Summer season. I’m enjoying it a fair amount, so I just thought I’d put up a quick list of which anime I’m really enjoying at the moment.
I spent this morning putting together US amazon release data for September. It’s shaping up to be an interesting months in a while – at the least, series that haven’t provided any DVD/BD chart datapoints yet are in the mid-to-low 4 digits, suggesting some of them could possibly chart, yielding more data that would make estimating sales via amazon more feasible. That’s a lot of fun, and I wish I could be more excited about that, but getting together the data reminded me of something I’d much rather forget; Sentai Filmworks’ Gatchaman Crowds release. It’s labeled on amazon as the ‘Complete’ Collection, which is a label it takes tremendous balls to stick with when your release knowingly excludes the actual last episode of the series. The official reason why the Sentai version of Crowds will be excluding the episode is that it is owned by some entity separate from the original licensee, was given in a answer which was (probably intentionally) vague about exactly what happened in regards to the episode. What is not vague at all is the fact that the R1 release of this series will be lacking critical content as the home video equivalent of a 500-page novel with the last 20 pages ripped out.
Personally, I’m perfectly okay with companies that play to win. Anime is a niche market, and people at every level have to make hard choices in dealing with the business side of the industry. I’d rather an industry stay sustainable and churn out products I really like than break the bank over artistic integrity and end up unable to churn out any kind of work in the future. That statement represents a significant oversimplification – entertainment being a business doesn’t force a binary choice between sales and artistic integrity – but my point here is that choices made with finance in mind aren’t necessarily evil ones. There is a wrinkle to this particular story, though, that rubs me the wrong way.
August was a boring month as far as high-powered releases go. September is not, and there are a couple of series (particularly the Steins Gate combo pack hovering around 1500 with 4 weeks to go and the second half of Attack on Titan) which figure to have a pretty decent chance of making the US BD charts and providing really useful data. 4 solid datapoints wouldn’t be much, but it’s a lot better than 2. I could get more pumped about that if one of the release titles due out this month weren’t straight-up false advertising.
I find anime episode titles lined up to be aesthetically pleasing. There’s an art to picking a good title that really speaks to the content of the episode. Here I tired to keep things simple, and limited myself to one episode per show to keep Gatchaman Crowds and the non-racist parts of Space Brothers from dominating the chart and keeping some other interesting ones out.
10. Change the World (Samurai Flamenco)
9. Autumn of Arts, Appetite, and Attack (GJ-bu)
8. Soccer… Soccer? (Outbreak Company)
7. Because It’s Fun (Yuyushiki)
6. Everyone has Close Calls. Learn from Them and Keep the Workplace Healthy. (Servant x Service)
5. Shocking No Breathing (Free)
4. Muromi-san and the Ryuuguuju (Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san)
3. Qualifications of a Hero (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure)
2. Excitement of My Youth (Space Brothers)
1. Crowds (Gatchaman Crowds)
I haven’t been writing much on it lately, but I’m a firm believer on the power of a soundtrack (and good sound direction) to either give a show the last little push it needs to get to 10/10 quality or kneecap a show that could’ve been a contender. With that in mind, here are 10 tracks from 10 different 2013 anime I thought turned particular scenes into memorable standouts.
The Animetics podcast is back! Albiet with apologies for our primative recording software and about 200% more duwang. This week, Drew and Sam spitball on some moderately interesting news, one piece of really interesting news, and Hirohiko Araki’s favorite installment of his all-time-top-ten manga franchise.
When anime franchises get rebooted, it’s fairly typical for the new staff to take it in a new direction and make something extra-special to celebrate the anniversary of a classic product. For examples of this done incredibly well, look no further than the 2012 Lupin III series or the 2009 Mazinger reboot. For the example of this done perfectly, take a gander at Kenji Nakamura’s take on the decades-old Gatchaman franchise and watch him take an already stellar skill set to a whole other level.
Meet the show with the year’s best villain, the year’s best protagonist, the year’s best two-person dialogue chain, the year’s most relevant-to-society themes, the year’s second-best opening (got Jaeger’d by the number one), the year’s best panda, and the best one-word BGM track in anime.
Meet Gatchaman Crowds.
Before the episode, a point: Free’s first volume posted a combined BD/DVD sales figure of 25,000 volumes. If this stays above 20,000 copies per volume (it will), it’ll log in as Kyoto Animation’s best-selling TV title since Houkago Teatime planted their feet in London. If it gets a decent second week boost, there’s a non-negligible chance it passes Clannad’s 24,808 average and goes into the studio’s all-time top 5 behind Haruhi, Lucky Star, and the K-ons. Oh, and that mark is generally good for somewhere between the 40th and 60th best selling TV anime of all time. Those are some legit numbers. By accounts I’ve heard, the farm-system novel that birthed Free, High Speed, is playing out fairly directly on the screen and doesn’t leave much room for a sequel. That said, if I were an exec at Kadokawa I’d be doing my best trying to see if I could finagle one in. Remember, ignoring whether or not the ending is open or closed, 50 percent of anime that sell 4000 copies per volume or more get a sequel. I did some garbage calculations with a smaller sample of the 27 non-sequels to sell 20k+ volumes, and found that all but 8 eventually got movie or TV sequels of some kind. That said, 2 of those 8 were Kyoto Animation products.*
Sorry for the incredibly late updates. I’ve had a busy time lately that I’d like to claim is all work’s fault, but it really has as much to do with Valkyria Chronicles 2 and the general greatness of Gatchaman Crowds. Which I’ve rewatched episodes of for hours episode 10 specifically, and is definitely the turning point pushing Kenji Nakamura past the ranks of very, very good situational directors into the tier of “watch me nail this magic trick I’ve never done before,” greats.*
Anyway, I’ll be getting back to writing over this weekend, skipping pics and just dishing my thoughts on the shows I was supposed to be covering** until I’m caught up. Also, look forward to some more crunched numbers; I’ve been running some data on anime adaptations of award-winning manga and the frequency of mecha anime pre- and post-3D mech animation techniques that should be ready relatively soon.