Winter 2015 Watch List

I’m watching a couple things from winter, for anyone curious about stuff like that.

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Midseason Update: This Winter in s-CRY-ed Quotes

Back in the day, before I had the money to import anime, or eve to buy them at a discount, I had access to a VCR and a stack of 5 VHS tapes. I learned to program that VCR for the express purpose of recording Toonami, Adult Swim Anime, and the like on days when I couldn’t make it home. And if there was one show that was my number 1 at the time, it was battle/rivalry series s-CRY-ed.

Fueled almost entirely by banter between the leading duo. Kazuma and Ryuho were as memorable a pair of rivals as I can recall having watched to this day, and the script that was field-raised ham on a whole-wheat drama bun produced a memorable, unique-tasting fight series. And plenty of potable quotes, which is why I’m dedicating this entry to cemented legacy club member director Taniguchi Goro.

Scr-screen

And to punching things while yelling loudly

Oh, and incoming spoilers for a 12 year-old show, if you’re averse to that kind of thing.

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Fun With Numbers: One Season Without a 20k (or even 10k) Hit Isn’t Particularly Meaningful

Making a smash hit anime involves a number of steps. Typically you have to have to get solid source material, assemble the right staff, and do well on the PR front. But most importantly of all, you have to, to some extent, simply get lucky in getting engaged with your target demographic. This is at the heart of the discussion regarding the recent dearth of hit anime this past Fall and current Winter being the first shows in a while to potentially have no series averaging above 20k and 10k in disk sales, respectively. But how unexpected is that outcome really?

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Get Behind the Bandwagon: The Added Fun Value From Loving Shows Some People Hate

To some extent, I’ve always been cogniscent of the fact that I’ve gravitated towards of a variety of indicators for the success of anime, rather than just word of mouth, because I have idiosyncratic tastes and using said variety of indicators helps illustrate that the case for or against many shows isn’t as clear-cut as many narrative-spinners would have you believe.

For the record, If there’s a worse anime blogger than Rick Reilly is a sports columnist, I’ve never met them. But I’ve read too many terrible columns by sanctimonious 70-year-old baseball writers about how Yasiel Puig has zero class and too many terrible columns by sanctimonious anime bloggers about how Kill La Kill is somehow “saving” an anime* industry that isn’t actually dying or lacking for fresh content not to see a lot of similarities between the two groups. I’m not saying that all writers who take a critical perspective on anime are like this, but far too many of them are more interested in grinding an axe against a genre rather than actually having a serious discussion about it.

But something hit me after I read this recent Andrew Sharp piece (he’s also the writer of the #hotsportstake series that mocks the aforementioned type of writing) about the appeal of bandwagoning on playoff football teams. One of his criteria that jumped out at me; “Does this team piss off Phil Simms and Jim Nantz?” I hadn’t thought about it for a while, but the Rex Ryan Jets were some of my favorite bandwagons for that very reason (plus the fact that those Jets played a defense best described as a shower of linebacker-shaped meteors backed by Darelle Revis eclipsing the sun). While my appreciation of a show is maximum when a show is great, my enjoyment of a show in a holistic sense is more of a 60-20-20 combination of 3 factors:

1. How much I enjoy it.

2. How well it performs commercially, usually in disk sales but potentially in other categories. It has to at least be a lock argument for having had break even sales.

3. The presence of a persistent group of (for lack of a better word) haters. Not just people who sort-of dislike and avoid it, but people who can’t resist taking paragraph-long potshots at it any time it gets mentioned.

This means that, as good as Attack on Titan was, it’s not a max-entertainment bandwagon. No one of any consequence particularly hates the show, and it’s just done really well. By contrast, Girls und Panzer was a near-perfect bandwagon show, putting up megahit numbers in the face of a number of vocal and hilariously ineffectual critics (it would be on my shortlist already if I weren’t currently watching it). There is really nothing sweeter in fandom than watching a show pile up vocal critics and subsequently both be good and sell well in spite of them. This post contains my personal shortlist of series I’ve had the privilege of being a fan of long enough to watch them do the Shaq thing and dunk all over the place.

To clarify before I actually get to the list, I don’t believe it’s a bad thing to hold any particular set of opinions. I do believe it’s a bad thing to constantly spend time talking scrap about stuff you don’t enjoy, and more generally about the way things are, rather than actually doing something about it. If you’re so upset about the majority of anime that get made nowadays, put up and post links to the BDs of the series you do like on your blog, or just buy them yourself. It’s trivially easy to use amazon for that sort of thing in this day and age.

That said, here are my personal bandwagon favorites of the past several years:

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Fun With Numbers: Anime as Manga Advertisments in 2012 (and their respective myanimelist ranks)

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.

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Midseason Update: This Fall in Kaiji Quotes

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.

Midseason-Fall-4

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.

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Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Kuroko’s Basketball s2 and White Album 2

Last up this Saturday is a pair of mismatched sequels; one to a fun sports show that I expect is going to make up the middle of a three-show sports power triad, and the sequel to one of the most spectacularly derailed, NTR-rich plots I’ve ever known.

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Animetics’ Drunken Vegas-Style Fall 2013 Anime Preview

It’s that time of quarter again! We’ve got a very interesting Fall season that’s coming out swinging this week, and there’s no better way to pay our respects to a season with potential deep sleepers like Tokyo Ravens and Gingitsune than to cavalierly turn them into race horses. We’re making mad bets on the Fall 2013 Season, Vegas-style!

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Charactology 2012 (Group 1, Match 3): Sakura Ichiko or Daiki Aomine

(Check out the stickied post for the full bracket.)

Day 3 of the bracket sees a confrontation between two characters very comfortable flaunting their respective elite statuses. One’s a try-hard ace on the basketball court, the other’s just born lucky.

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Charactology: The Animetics Non-Answer to “Who Was the Best Anime Character of 2012?”

Charactology-2012-r1

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.

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