I’m adding the 2010 manga-adaptation anime into the sample of adaptation effects on their source material. Many, though not all, series show some degree of significant bump. Nitty-gritty data is collected here, and displayed below. An impressive 20 of the 26 series I looked at made the Oricon charts at some point, though one of them (Rainbow) ended before the anime began. One that didn’t, Seikon no Qwaser, is still running at 8 years, 18 volumes (it’s hardly the only series to run that long without charting, I’m just pointing out that manga can run for a long time without seeing the light of day chart-wise).
Note: For High School of the Dead, both volumes 4 and 5 came out well before the anime, and volume 6 came out during its broadcast. The gap in time was so big that they came out before mal tracked numbers for series, only posting top 10 lists. I used the available 2008 manga data to approximate the average value, in volumes, of the #10 slot to get a rough estimate of the threshold. Even holding v4 and v5 to the maximum threshold from those weeks, the 130,000 v6 and 200,000 v7 it puts up post-anime is evidence of a significant bump.
Shinobu Kaitani’s One Outs, the story of ace player/owner of the Saitama Lycaons, Tokuchi Toua, is without question the best in an increasingly long list of baseball series I have read to date. It’s set in a professional level, and much like Giant Killing, it features everything that makes pro sports so interesting; contract disputes, arcs of victory and defeat over a long season, and players who are all at least nominally in the top 5% talent-wise (even if the Central and Pacific Leagues are kind of a few miles below the AL and NL). The difference between the two is that where Giant Killing chooses to attack pro sports with realism, One Outs chooses to fight with showmanship. Toua forgoes all the traditional principles of baseball, getting opponents out at a historic rate with only a slowball/slider and a heaping helping of quick wit in his arsenal. Eventually, a combination of his dominance on the plate and his harsh but performance-based contract makes him filthy rich, and puts him in position to buy out the team his contract bankrupted. And that’s where the real fun, him leading his lackluster team to the pennant, starts. The chapter in question is a part of the Lycaons’ quest for the pennant, as they duke it out with a hilariously top-heavy first-place Mariners team.
Masaya Tsunamoto’s 2010 KMA-winning professional soccer manga Giant Killing is a very unique piece of material. Unlike most sports manga, it follows the development of a team in a professional league over the course of a rather realistic season, where losses and draws are as common as wins. It also stands out for putting the focus of the narrative not just on the athletes and the disgraced ex-player returning from England to coach the team, but also on the team’s fans (from the 40-something fair weather fans who don’t travel well to the 20-something hooligans who cheer loud and riot louder) and its front office (who have to deal with bad press when things aren’t going so well).
Indeed, the story of the manga opens with staff from the front office on a trip to England, trying to lure the team’s former ace Tatsumi back to Japan as the team’s manager. And the very next story deals with the negative light in which the fans view Tatsumi, who quit the team at the prime of his career. Only after these two dynamics are introduced does the manga start playing any kind of soccer. It’s a three-pronged approach to soccer which gives the reader a much deeper understanding of the layers of culture within professional sports.
The series has recently been in the middle of an extensive gaiden arc, telling the real story of why Tatsumi left the team. It turns out that decision was less selfishness and more the fault of a system that forced him, albeit somewhat willingly, to the breaking point.
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.
So if you’ve been following the Spring 2013 season at all, you’re probably aware of how much of a hubbub Aku no Hana has kicked up. The trimodal mal score distribution attests to the strong difference in opinion, which has caused tensions to flare up in any number of discussion forums. Forums nominally for discussion, anyway, because there hasn’t been much actual discussion going on.
Giant Killing is an anime about professional-level soccer that aired in the run-up to the 2010 world cup, which should really be everything you need to know about the savvy IQ level of the ones making it. Being from America, I didn’t follow a particular professional team, and had a passing interest in the upcoming world cup. This anime changed that attitude, mainly by building a large-scale fun cast and integrating realism to a level I’d never before seen from a sports anime.