Fun With Numbers: Thermae Romae, Curious Outlier

One of the interesting tidbits that fell out of my research on manga that got anime in 2011 was the surprising coincidence of high (1500th or better) myanimelist rankings and increased manga sales. At least, it was intriguing enough that I decided to delve into it further, pulling sales figures for the 20 manga which both got anime and charted on the Oricon rankings in 2012. The full analysis is coming, but, short version, there’s a 90-plus percent that that correlation is a very real thing, indicating a strong link between the opinions of myanimelist users and the Japanese manga-buying public, to the extent that I might even be able to plug it in to my sequel probability equation and get the “can’t predict loss-leader effects” monkey partially off the sequel probability equation’s back.

All of which makes Thermae Romae, which presided over a 100k+ increase in week one sales of its manga while posting a piddling rank of 2248th on myanimelist, a case worth a closer look.* Is the jump in average week-one sales from 222,000 volumes for 3 and 4 to 323,000 volumes for 5 and 6 indicative of the effects of the anime, which began and ended between the releases of 4 and 5? Continue reading

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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New Directors: What’s In A Resume?

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.

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Fun With Numbers: Ecchi is not a Growth Industry

One bit of seemingly ubiquitous conventional wisdom is that makers of anime often face a choice between making works that sell and works with integrity. However, one thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s usually worth taking the time to test conventional wisdom against actual numbers, because it can be wrong fairly often. So I took a look at the performance of Ecchi anime relative to the rest of the market over the past 8 years. Sure enough, the picture is a bit more complicated than “otaku only buy boobs”.

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Fun With Numbers: Critical/Casual Slants

It’s one of the oldest conundrums in the anime fandom that the shows that get the most attention are often not the best-made shows, the ones that blow people’s minds when they see them. In a vaccum, that’s pretty confusing; shouldn’t we be giving the most attention to the shows we’ll enjoy the most? Why do some shows get high ratings and languish in the proverbial basement popularity-wise while others get abyssmal scores but receive tons of attention? I found a quick and dirty way to dig into this problem using my set of seasonal anime data and got a set of results that was equal parts depressingly predictable and pleasantly surprising.

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Manga Olympics for Bloggers (Shojo/Josei Round 1c): Undervalued International Female Fans See a Lack of Shojo Anime

I’ve mentioned before how I often I see misconceptions about shojo manga in my group of anime-fan friends. The most common misconception that pops up is that shojo is a one-note genre (rather than a demographic, which it is by definition), but a close second is the assumption that female fans are a small minority among those that follow anime. While that’s somewhat true in Japan, it couldn’t be further from the truth in America. Indeed, female fans may make up the majority of manga buyers in the United States. So why so few shojo anime? I’ve got a take on that.

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Fun With Numbers: A Numbers-Based Way of Picking Out the Best Anime of the Past 8 Years

You know the old saying; “Stats don’t lie, except when they do.” Using stats to argue point son anime is kind of tough, as any individual figure, be it Japanese sales, TV Ratings, merchandising fees paid, or online ranking site figures, only reveals a small part of the overall picture. Since I compiled a rather large database containing multiple stat lines for 95% of the anime to air over the past 8 years, I might as well use it to numerically classify true-blue-chippers.

Allow me to introduce a very exclusive society, the Hit-L-Double-Double (HLDD) Club. It’s the list of anime that have accomplished 4 feats, 3 of which are very difficult individually. Specifically, it’s the list of anime that have sold 10,000+ units per volume in Japan (megahit sales territory), been licensed overseas (international sales viability), and have myanimelist rankings and popularities in the top 100/double digits (esteem and popularity overseas).

This is a list of the unequivocal successes, the things that have amassed not only megahit status in Japan, but also a significant English-speaking fanbase and critical praise. These are numerically irrefutable successes, at least in theory. You could call it the “talk to anyone” list, because you could talk to anyone in the industry and they would agree with you that it was a rock-solid commodity. From 2005-2012, anyway (that’s the era I have all the data for). All the members from that period are listed below, along with their statlines. Sequels are excluded to keep it tidy, and because they’re rarely much different from s1 stats-wise.

This list is not meant to be very surprising. It’s just a slightly different way of thinking about blue-chip anime.

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Animetics’ Drunken Vegas-style Summer 2013 Anime Preview

We at Animetics believe that ordinary anime seasonal blog previews are kind of boring. Thus, we made Spring’s preview into a wager-based game. Now, the winner of Spring’s game coolly makes odds for summer while the losers set themselves up for failure while chasing back wine and rum. Unless you’ve been reading us for a while, you’ve never read a preview quite like this. We’re taking mad bets on the Summer 2013 Anime Season, Vegas-style.

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Animetics Podcast: Kickstarting Anime and Speculation

In the long-delayed second episode, we talk about Kickstarter. More specifically, we start by discussing anime and manga it’s funded already, and use what numbers we have (mainly myanimelist statistics) to wildly speculate on what else might be a viable candidate for a Time of Eve-style international BD release.

Show Link / Listen Online

Show Length: 59:40

(Timestamps for each segment in parentheses)

Kick Heart (1:01)

http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/animation/most-funded?ref=more#p1

http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2013/05/27/video-latest-kick-heart-anime-trailer

Time of Eve (4:07)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/693293489/time-of-eve-the-movie-on-blu-ray/posts

Kickstarting Manga (6:20)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kansaiclub/limited-edition-translation-of-osamu-tezukas-the-c

Other anime realistically kickstartable (7:29)

-Refer to list after break for data

The “Almost Certainly Would Get Funded” Group (9:02)

The “Maybe But Maybe Not” Group (21:48)

The “Probably Not Actually Happening” Group (44:00)

Anime Sols and the viability of other sites to crowdfund anime (52:14)

http://animesols.com/series?search%5Bmeta_sort%5D=popularity.desc

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Fun With Numbers: Recency Bias and Boom-Bust Cycles in Anime Fandom

In a previous post made approximately forever ago, I tackled the idea of “churn”; that anime fandom was constantly gaining new fans and losing old ones, at a rate high enough to cause significant institutional memory loss. Long story short, it turned out there was a distinct, cliff-like loss of popularity corresponding pretty closely with the introduction of Blu-Ray to the market in 2007-08, but not a constant one over time.

Here’s another angle on the idea, though: there may not be a constant change in popularity, but what about rating? Are people giving newer anime higher scores in general? That’s what I’m going to examine here.

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