Fun With Numbers: Thoughts On the Tamako Market Movie

Correction: Blood-C had a lower average (1577) than any of the series mentioned below, though its movie was announced in advance of the TV show.

So Tamako Market is getting a movie, and fairly soon (this April), at that. I’m nothing but excited at this news; of the shows that aired last winter, Tamako Market was probably my favorite. It had a colorful cast, a very nice soundtrack, and an adorably chubby, pompous bird. But the fact that it’s getting a continuation is a bit striking, in light of recent history.

The final average for Tamako Market’s per volume sales clocked in at about 3624, above the 3000 pvs benchmark but considerably below the sales levels of other franchises that got movies while averaging TV ratings of less than 3% (i.e. excluding Pretty Cure, One Piece/battle series in general, and Lupin III). From 2005-2012, the next lowest-selling series to get movies were Bodacious Space Pirates (7337), Hanasaku Iroha (8576), and Star Driver (9075). All the others sold in excess of 10,000 copies per volume. That’s a pretty huge gap – the next-lowest series in that group sold roughly twice as much!

So why is it getting a movie? I can think of at least two plausible explanations:

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 3

I’m cutting off my entries on Outbreak Company. I don’t have enough time to blog 5 shows and process the sequel data I’m working on. That show is still enjoyable on a baseline, and the main character can definitely hold his own weight, but it tended too heavily towards melodrama at the wrong time more than once.

Sticking with Kyoto Animation’s latest work, though. Kyoukai no Kanata’s preorders thus far has been something less than stellar, which matters from a business perspective, and very much from a “will the story be continued?” perspective. I do pity Ishidate Taichi,* but it certainly adds to the humor value of this screenshot:


Doesn’t mean it can’t still be great.** Between the dialogue (particularly between Akihito and the Nase siblings) and the scenes with the rest of the cast casually weathering the Moonlight Purple Overdrive storm indoors, I enjoyed this week’s episode quite a bit.

It’s certainly not hitting home runs with the story, though. Taking revenge for a dead friend is fairly standard battle series fare. I’m more looking forward to how they deal with a theoretically difficult foe. The appeal of such a series, and KnK is very much aiming to be one, is twofold; the characters bouncing off each other and the creative ways they come up with to work their way out of increasingly more desperate mismatches. I’m sold enough on the cast, so the bigger risk I see for it coming up is how they handle the fight choreography in episode 4.***

*As the assistant director of Nichijou and the project head here, he has a big hand in two of their 3 major commercial flops. It also should be noted that any bemoaning or celebrating the failure of Kyoto Animation on a macro scale because of KnK’s micro failure is likely overreaction. Their business practices, particularly their brand management, have gotten smarter after Nichijou, which means they’re very well set to deal with a few failures en route to putting another entry in the all-time top 50 selling anime. Flopping was a much bigger deal when Nichijou happened and too many people, even some smart ones inside the industry, fully expected that they would succeed 100% of the time.  Even Jordan’s ’95-96 Bulls lost more than 10% of their games.

**So long as it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger that it won’t be able to resolve.

***I’m fairly confident, chiefly because the chase-combat in episode 2 was nailed down.

Fun With Numbers: Explaining Why Popular Anime Don’t Get Sequels

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.

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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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First Reactions: Free! Episode 12 (End) and Quickie Scores (8/10)

The two biggest unresolved plot threads of Free going into the final episode (Rin’s suspension from the relay team and the effects on his and Haru’s burgeoning rivalry) closely shadowed one of the show’s bigger strengths (its strong cast) but weren’t exactly playing to the show’s big strength; its kinetic visual sense. Given that, the direction the ending went wasn’t a huge shock. Though it was admittedly not one hundred percent something that I had anticipated, it still went down the right pipe.

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First Reactions: Free! Episode 7

In general, this was a pretty solid buildup episode, highlighting Haru and Rin’s quietly intensifying rivalry, the comradeship of the four main characters, and a bit of Rin’s external motivation. Oh yeah, and it wasn’t actually a buildup episode. They literally powered through the race, something I was sure would take at least another episode getting to, with ruthless efficiency and great effect.

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3 Major Anime Industry Sea Changes Explained By Their Effect On TV Anime (Part 2: Digital Paint and DVDs)

Welcome to part 2 of this series on how different changes in production and distribution methods affected anime over the years. Last time, I talked about how late-night TV anime came to be the norm for the industry, bringing with it free advertising and the ability to pursue more adult storylines in longer-form media than OVAs (the previously preferred form of adult-oriented anime). The impact of that still plays into today’s topic, though it’s not the subject. This time, the focus is on a pair of subsequent changes that led to still-further increases in production (the second big jump on the graph below).


The first half of the 2000s saw 2 meaningful changes affecting the anime industry. First, studios switched over from old-school cel painting to a digital paint process, reducing production costs and causing a subtle shift in both artstyle and visual presentation. Second, people started buying DVDs over VHS tapes, further reducing production costs (Incidentally DVDs being cheaper to produce than VHS tapes was a key cause of the 2007-2008 WGA strike in America).

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First Reactions: Space Brothers Episode 50

Space Brothers has a fairly impressive, but not top-tier soundtrack. Like, the songs are good, but not on the level of something like Wish or Dance of Curse in terms of show compatibility. The reason why the audio performance in this show *is* top-tier is something that left its prints all over this week’s episode: Katsuyoshi Kobayashi’s sound direction.

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