Fun With Numbers: Anime as Light Novel Advertisments in 2013

While light novels work a bit differently from manga in several key ways (stronger second-week showings, lower thresholds, etc.), they similarly often see big boosts after and presumably due to from anime adaptations. I collected the light novel sales history of the series to get anime adaptations in 2013 on this doc, and plotted them on the charts below, to illustrate which series did and didn’t get visible boosts.

This post doesn’t cover series with no post-airing releases (Maoyu, Uchoten Kazoku) or no pre-airing releases (Free/High Speed).

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 12 (End) and Quickie Scores (6/10)

I suppose I could wait until dishing on the episode itself to call this show a disappointment, but that is what it is. The shoddy serious plot handicapped a fun cast and a skilled director, and ultimately had no implications on how the story ended. There was a lot of pain and suffering to return to a status quo that would have totally still been maintained without said pain and suffering. Effectively, the whole of the nonsense that the people nominally trying to prevent a disaster caused resulted in the titular youmu being sealed (perfectly safely) right back inside of Akihito.And that wasn’t even the most bald-faced part of the script. The straight-up ass pull to revive Mirai at the end was considerably. In these past 3 episodes, she’s been dead, not really dead, dead again, and not really dead again. And that final example happened for no reason in the context of the story, beyond the meta one that the main heroine needs to be alive to bait people for a sequel hook.

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 11

From the beginning, Kyoukai no Kanata reminded me of a mid-major series; the type of show laced with explosive potential and nuclear flaws for which execution makes the difference between all-time and forgettable. There are many of these types of shows, though comparatively few that I’ve followed this season.* And while they might not always end up being entertaining to watch, they’re always very enlightening to discuss, because they’re the easiest case studies for the difference execution can make for the same core set of ideas. This show fits that paradigm to a T; it has a very definite set of strengths and weaknesses, and does not understand what they are. An episode that stuffed in some questionable presentation choices with very genuine moments from the main cast served to underscore that core issue.

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 10

This is honestly a hard episode to comment on. Five minutes in, I was all ready to put on my hype hat and just shower it with praise for sidestepping the colossal, ill-conceived excess drama that pervaded the second half, opting instead for a three-episode aftermath, like a more extreme version of the twelfth episode of Ookamikakushi cross-bred with the final exam from Hunter x Hunter. Unfortunately, that decision wasn’t the one the writer actually made.

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Instead, we got an an episode that was, among other things, a poorly placed and overly long downswing in pacing. I get that they were going for added drama by having Mirai turn out to be an assassin all along, but do they really need to show each meeting she had with the Nase family about that job? Every bit of information I needed on that I got through the initial reveal. With much more pressing questions (Mirai’s apparent death being one of them) on the table, the entire second half of the episode felt like a colossal waste of time.

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 9

It’s a testament to the chemistry the show’s been building between the main four that the drama over Akihito’s transformation this time felt as real as it did. I particularly liked the scene where Mirai found his notes on her birthday gift; that was a nice, quiet package of emotion.

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Unfortunately, that was one of the few things I liked about this episode, the rest was full of irritating, bush-league cliches.

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 8

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the show’s promise of more plot, and this episode was more or less what I expected in that regard. The worst part was the scene with Miroku in the car with Mitsuki. Is it really necessary for this show to force its title down my throat with a bunch of terminology? Do they really need to go that far out of the way to explain the concept of a super-S class demon to an experienced audience? Though, granted, a lot of that scene was the shadowy organization’s Miroku spewing bull intentionally to throw the protagonists into confusion. There have been many, many better monologues this year alone; his was just poorly presented, opaque foreshadowing.

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Still, at least it was more subtle than the imagery surrounding Akihito’s flashback sequence.

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 7

This week Kyoukai no Kanata decided to start facing up to some of the loose ends it dropped during the Hollow Shadow arc. One of them, Sakura’s murky quest for revenge, was more or less fully dealt with. After a little bit of action, it became clear that a) she was totally outclassed by Mirai and b) she wasn’t so much hell-bent on revenge as she just needed an outlet for her grief. It was fairly refreshing how they wrapped things up quickly and didn’t force the miscommunications any longer than they had to.

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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.

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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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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 6

Kyoukai no Kanata’s 6th episode was very heavily reliant one particular scene, repeated, many, many times. And, fortunately, to great effect.

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I’m 100% behind an episode where the cast manages to fail in increasingly hilarious ways. In comedy, there’s a big gulf between the skill at which people can tell the same joke over and over again. This style of joking can go South real fast; when a writer is bad at repeating his or herself, you get a formulaic example of characters running through the motions, something that ultimately comes across as an episode that could as well be cut from the series. It’s the prototypical filler episode, and nobody likes it. But that’s not what we saw here; I had a lot of fun with the group’s attempt to take down the pus-spewing roof vegetable with eyecandy and sneak attacks that proved futile for a cornucopia of reasons..

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First Reactions: Kyoukai no Kanata Episode 5

Ishidate Taichi evidentially doesn’t believe in bringing his B-game to an interlude episode. While the nominal content to this week’s episode was mostly small fallout from last week’s midway-climax, the execution was a thing of beauty, and the cast actually fleshed out a lot through body language, without any need for backstory. More to the point… They did the glass thing! The deliberately awkward, “I don’t know what to say so I’m looking down at my drink” glass thing! If I needed another reason to import this show, that would have been it. First-person camera has been vastly underutilized tactic for over a decade, and it was a real pleasure to see it pop up here.

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