Fun With Numbers: Visual Novels, Pseudonyms, and the Mainstream

Among other things, this Fall season features a pair of intriguing visual novel adaptations, Grisaia no Kajitsu and Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai. The two are somewhat dissimilar titles, but have quite a bit in common on paper; both series are quite popular (the franchises took the #4 and #1 spots in they getchu 2013 rankings, respectively), and have already won their share of hardware (Grisaia at the 2011 moe game awards, Daitoshokan in the 2013 getchu user awards). Perhaps even more interestingly, both series ostensibly swapped their original PC voice casts for new ones in advance of the anime. I say ostensibly because they didn’t actually swap their casts out at all; the same people who have been doing the voices for the franchise from the beginning will be doing the voices for the anime adaptations. This is also the case for the third non-Fate VN adaptation of the season, Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete. In practice, the reasons for these name swaps are fairly straightforward – voice actresses tend to avoid using their real names when voicing works that contain adult content.

Looking into recent history, I found a number of such cases where the original VN cast dropped pseudonyms to work on the anime version, with such titles making up a plurality of non-sequel VN adaptations over the BD era. That same history suggests that some combination of factors contributes to higher odds against them making it big as anime.

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