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.
One of the fruits of digging into the adaptations of manga produced in 2011 has been a treasure trove of TV anime ratings data. Which, in turn, holds heaping helpings of unrelated but utterly fascinating information.
My favorite tidbit so far? Timeslots that get designated to run a certain kind of show are much more prevalent than I, at least, had thought. People may deify noitaminA for its stellar pre-Fractale record, but if you want to talk anime-focused timeslots with godly 7-year runs, there’s at least one very prominent contender. The Nihon TV 24:50 timeslot (plus/minus 10 minutes, depending on the quarter) hosted the following shows from 2000 to 2011:
Show Title (Airdates) (Ratings for First Episode)
Hidamari no Ki (2000-04) (3.2)
Hajime no Ippo (2000-10) (4.8)
Tenchi Muyo GXP (2002-04) (4.3)
Hanada Shounen-shi (2002-10) (3.1)
Air Master (2003-04) (4.4)
Captain Harlock [TV Airing of Endless Odyssey OVA] (2003-10) (3.4)
Gokusen (2004-01) (3.8)
Monster (2004-04) (3.2)
Akagi (2005-10) (2.4)
Ouran High School Host Club (2006-04) (2.1)
Death Note (2006-10) (3.4)
Buzzer Beater (2007-07) (2.5)
Kaiji (2007-10) (3.2)
Real Drive (2008-04) (2.0)
One Outs (2008-10) (2.5)
Souten Kouro (2009-04) (2.6)
Kimi ni Todoke (2009-10) (2.8)
Rainbow (2010-04) (2.2)
Kimi ni Todoke [cut reair] (2010-10) (2.1)
Kimi ni Todoke Season 2 (2011-01) (2.1)
Kaiji Season 2 (2011-04) (2.3)
Chihayafuru (2011-10) (2.4)
Note in particular the period from 2004 to 2011. That’s some serious all-around ass-kicking, a double whammy of ratings that aren’t bad (especially for 12:50 in the morning) and maximal critic-pleasing potential. By all accounts, this timeslot is currently plugged; Chihayafuru’s second season aired at 25:59, and I can’t find anything currently airing in it. But still, phenomenal run. I guess I’m adding timeslots to the list of industry-related things that really ought to be looked into.
Edit: Corrected the title to reflect the actual day of the timeslot.
In Fall of 2007, I was very much a beginner at anime. I’d explored the discount stores in my neighborhood and encountered some very interesting, engaging titles, but I wasn’t any kind of plugged in to what stuff was current. One series changed all that, basically on its own.* Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji was the complete package in so many ways; tense, human drama, a rich cast that skirted the line from likeable to detestably inhuman, tight direction, idiomatic yet pithy dialogue, and the best narrator in anime bar none.
Those last 2 attributes also make the show handy for an alternate purpose; rampant quotation abuse! There’s a Kaiji quote for everything, and the Fall 2013 anime season is no exception. In celebration of the show’s free availability on crunchyroll, let’s break it down.
Drawing good manga is about making characters feel real. There are any number of paths to achieve this, but if an author can’t make his cast feel compelling early in, the series typically isn’t worth continuing. There are few manga artists I trust more than narrative-box placement specialist Noboyuki Fukumoto when it comes to delivering that whole package. The fourth part of his award-winning Kaiji series had been relatively bland by his standards up to this point, lacking real moments from the title character as it focused on 3 brand-new characters stuck in what I’m sure will eventually turn out to be an iterated prisoner’s dilemma. It was enjoyable, but not intense. This chapter broke through that ceiling, though, delivering some heart-warming backstory for Chang, an illegal immigrant and second son under China’s one-child policy.