This past week was a pretty unambiguously good one for Square Enix’s publishing division, featuring sales of over 95,000 for previously-unranked Isshukan Friends, a boost for the old volumes of Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun, and the final volume of Cocoa Fujiwara’s Inu x Boku SS topping the list with over 250,000 copies sold. That last part might not even be the most impressive thing Fujiwara did this week, either. While the 250,000 in IxB sales is, in large part, in keeping with previous volumes of the series, Fujiwara also saw her brand new manga, Katsute Mahou Shoujo to Aku wa Tekitai shite Ita, notch first week sales of over 80,000. While not unprecedented by any means, that level of early sales puts her on a pretty exclusive list.
Update 2 (July 15, 2014): New, more accurate data is here.
Update (Jul 1, 2014): This post doesn’t measure releases in 2-week totals, which turns out to be a huge deal in many, many cases. I’m currently working on an updated version of both this and the 2011 data. Just be aware of that before citing the data from here regarding any one show.
By all rights, a 30-series sample like the one I had for 2011 was enough to get most of the relevant information regarding how anime boosted manga sales. However, during that analysis, I bumped into an incidental correlation, myanimelist ranking versus gain in manga sales, that was far too juicy to ignore. If that correlation is real, it points to a very tangible link between the Japanese mainstream community (who have enough disposable income for manga but not for anime) and the English-speaking online community (who generally pay a comparable pittance, if anything, for the anime they watch). But I couldn’t be sure from just the 2011 data, since that was the sample that gave rise to the theory. So I did what any good researcher would do, and pulled another year worth of data to see how things would match up. The results can be found on this spreadsheet, and are sorted in order of descending myanimelist rank below.
There are few things more frustrating than loving an anime that has room to grow as a story, but never gets beyond one season of material. It’s arguably even more of an irritance when you know the second season would easily pay for itself. Fortunately, it’s very rare for popular anime to not get sequels (happens only about 20% of the time), and there are ways to predict which ones those will be. I like to think knowing softens the heartbreak.
I’m pretty ok with Yozakura Quartet getting its second crack at TV anime this season. It’s a series with a lot of potential; if nothing else, the power to produce machine guns out of thin air that fire when you say bang-bang is a unique one. But the manga is a repetitive criminally slow-paced monthly, the first anime was a hopelessly melodramatic show that failed to top 1000 in average volume sales, and the second, OVA-based anime was a thinly-veiled sakuga showcase. It’s a series that definitely could get over the hump, and clearly people care enough to keep trying.
But why? I’ve got no financial explanation. Given that its season 1 sales were less than borderline and the OVA failed to chart, the fact that it’s still getting anime is impressive and puts it in a very small circle. It’s not that the new series has been promoting the manga like a Blue Exorcist or an Inu x Boku SS either; the 7th volume in 2009 and the 13th volume in 2013 logged near-identical 70,000 volume sales totals. The most popular installment on myanimelist is only about 800th in popularity, so I doubt it’s even a max-money license show. It’s probably one of the 5 or 10 least explicable sequels to be made in the past 10 years. If I ever find out an definitive answer to this question, even if that answer is “passion project funded by the mangaka or the studio”, expect that to be its own article. But right now, there really isn’t one.
There are times when we at Animetics like to slow down, get serious, and look at the finer points of what defines excellence. This, much like our seasonal anime previews, is not one of those features. There’s no objective way of determining who the best anime character actually is, and we don’t claim to be any more accurate than a series of purely random coin flips. That said, welcome to Charactology 2012, the Animetics bracketology-inspired character polling feature.
Aside from perhaps the hair episode of Yami Shibai, the 5-minute preview for Go Nagai’s Robot Girls Z was the most impressive, repeatable five minutes of animation I watched last month. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s over here. Short version: it’s a 5-minute comedy which, but for the more modern cutesy character designs, could totally have been written by Go Nagai. Its style of humor, featuring excessive violence and heroes doing more damage than the monsters they fight, is what he’s always been all about.
Being that I was excited about the project (this was only the 0th episode), I flew over to ann to check the profiles of the freaks involved. As it turns out, the director, Hiroshi Ikehata, has only ever handled one TV series before (Ring ni Kakero), which isn’t a very good sample size to judge a director on. But he has held the position of episode director numerous times, on all manner of series (from A-Channel to Yuyushiki).
There are no less than 8 new directors making their debut in this Summer 2013 season with similar information about their early careers available.* One of them is Hiroko Utsumi, the director of Free! Others run the quality gamut, from C3-Bu’s Masayoshi Kawajiri to Neptunia’s Masahiro Mukai. And, lest I forget, Shishiou Igarashi made a smashing debut with The Unlimited this winter. It’s definitely possible for first-timers to post veteran-esque performances, but far from guaranteed.
This observation led me to a question; what, if anything, can we glean from a first-time director’s experience in the bullpen? If it that experience is important, what part of it is? Is it better to have worked as an understudy to a great creator on a memorable show, or to build up tons of experience grinding out lots of support roles? To attempt to answer these questions, I pulled up resumes for the 11 directors who first got their hands on a serial anime project in 2012 and combed them over to see if anything in particular was a good indicator of their respective performances. This article outlines a number of the potential performance I examined, some better than others.
Update 2 (July 15, 2014): New, more accurate data is here.
Update (Jul 1, 2014): This post doesn’t measure releases in 2-week totals, which turns out to be a huge deal in many, many cases. I’m currently working on an updated version of both this and the other 2011-2012 manga boost posts. Just be aware of that before citing the data from here regarding any one show.
Some time ago, I published an article looking at how anime adaptations produced in early 2012 affected the sales of their source manga. It was interesting data to take a look at, and it was interesting to see which anime really boosted the manga sales. Long story short, there are cases where a manga really jumps from mid-tier to franchise level (Space Brothers, Kuroko’s Basketball, Inu x Boku SS) soon after the anime airs, and cases where the anime doesn’t have much visible effect.
It was very intriguing to look at, but it wasn’t a sample large enough to draw real definitive conclusions from. So I’ve recently been pulling sales records for manga that had an anime adaptation air in 2011, to get a better idea of how the two media are interrelated. This post contains the first half of that data, specifically the data for which I have specific totals from both before and after the anime first aired, and some observations on that data.
Following up on the impressive (well, to me) discovery that Inu x Boku SS is Square Enix’s top manga, I had another thought. It went something like this; “Well, that anime was pretty darn good, and I know it sold a fair amount of Blu-Rays. I wonder if that has anything to do with how successful the manga is right now?” And so I took to the Oricon rankings, checking for shows from Winter and Spring 2012 that came from manga source material, and looking to see if they experienced a boost in sales. So I put a lot of numbers into a lot of spreadsheets, got distracted by the Saurday anime slate, and made a lot of graphs. If you’ve ever wondered why manga publishers sponsor anime, this should be an entertaining read.
So. Much. Paper.
So yesterday morning, I was reading through the newer articles on ANN, when I spotted one that piqued my interest: a comics ranking with Inu x Boku SS’s ninth volume at the top. I didn’t spit out my coffee*, but that was a fairly surprising result. And this wasn’t getting to the top in a total off-week, either. It sold about 220,000 volumes, more than the next two new volumes on the list (Deadman Wonderland 12 and Blast of Tempest 9) combined. That put it near the top, if not *at* the top, of the manga Square Enix is currently publishing. So I started to wonder; considering this company was publishing Fullmetal Alchemist just a few years ago, isn’t this kind of a notable downgrade? The answer, unearthed after some digging, was several kinds of interesting.
Though nowhere near this interesting