Fun With Numbers: Long-Tail Figures and Uncharted Territory

Recently, via the creation of a second OpusData trial account, I was able to acquire some new data that sheds light on how several newer US anime release performed in the long term. This includes 5 releases (Attack on Titan: Part 2, One Piece Film Z, The Wind Rises, Evangelion: Ha, The Tale of Princess Kaguya) for which we have at least one week of sales data already, plus 4 releases (Momo, Hal, Bayonetta, The Cat Returns) that came out in the 12 months and failed to chart once. Excluding Evangelion: Ha, and The Cat Returns, all of these titles came out between September and November 2014, so they’re roughly comparable in terms of the amount of time since release they’ve had to accrue new sales.

[Note: OpusData and TheNumbers, where I usually get what hard US video sales data I post, are owned and operated by the same company, Nash Info Services.]

The info that can be gleaned from them is interesting, but let me just say right now that I’m really happy about the clerical error that logged Attack on Titan’s second set as a movie, and hence trackable long-term in the Opus database.

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Via Anime Insider: Kobun Shizuno (March 2008)

Director Kobun Shizuno talks about how much freedom he had on the Evangelion Rebuild movies, working with hall-of-famer Yasuhiro Imagawa, and directing the GI Joe Sigma Six.

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Via Newtype USA: [inside] Gainax (July 2003)

Along with an understanding of the broader context of the subject, the most vital ingredient to good anime coverage is a reliable source. So when US journalists actually interview people on the production side in Japan, it’s generally worth noting unless the interview consists entirely of fluff. This is the third of what will hopefully be a couple more posts archiving articles from Newtype USA’s [inside] series of articles written by Amos Wong. This one features Gainax president Hiroyuki Yamaga on beating game companies in their own arena to stay afloat financially, seeing Eva mentioned in pop culture, and his opinion on the best way to target overseas fans.

Note: Pictures are scans of the article made on my crappy scanner, which cover the article text but not the entire page. Apologies for that. Scans after the jump, along with comments on the contents of the article.

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3 Major Anime Industry Sea Changes Explained By Their Effect On TV Anime (Part 1: The Late Night Revolution of 1996-1998)

Every so often, the anime industry goes through a period of transition that alters how and for whom anime is made and distributed. Call them paradigm shifts or whatever; I call them sea changes. There are at least 4 major sea changes that I know of that have significantly altered the industry: the OVA boom of the late 80s/early 90s, the transition of TV anime from daytime to late-night from 1996-1998, the transition from cels to digital art in the early 2000s, and the Blu-Ray Era starting sometime between 2006 (when they were officially introduced) and 2009 (when they made up a majority of the market). Each one of these transitions had a unique and lasting impact on the industry. Unfortunately, I lack the knowledge to write with any real authority on the OVA boom. This article is the first in a 3-part series covering the latter 3 sea changes and how they influenced the production of anime over the past two decades.

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6 Degrees of 5Ds: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, and Revolutionary Girl Utena

If you know enough anime, it’s pretty easy to play Kevin Bacon and link things arbitrarily. Yugioh 5Ds may be notable only for the “Card Games on Motorcycles” meme, but it’s ridiculously easy to connect (via the creators) to the most notable anime of a different decade. If you’re that much of a geek, anyway.

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Introducing Unnecessary Terminology: Creative Constraint

How do you create the ultimate anime? Buy the best director and the best writer and give them infinite time and infinite money? Seems like that’d be obvious, right? Obvious, but wrong.

Leaving aside auxiliary questions like how one can actually judge who the best director and best writer are, there’s a much more fundamental problem with that idea. It’s an thought I often find expressed in critical circles, that the best successes come simply from good talents being able to do what they really want, free of any constraints. It’s the ideal of creative freedom unchained and free to race around the world with gumption and gusto.

The problem with this idea is that it’s too much yang and not enough yin, and it neglects the fact that a lot of the most creative ideas of our time have only come about because people didn’t have the materials or editorial approval to try their first choice and ended up doing something totally new. And how the choice that spends the most money isn’t always the choice that’s best for a particular show. Creative constraint is the polar opposite of creative freedom, but almost as vital in the production of powerful anime.

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Adventures in Sound Direction: Your Folk Blues Are Real

So a while ago I wrote about veteran Sound Director Katsuyoshi Kobayashi’s wizardly handling of Space Brothers’ audio. At the time, I had to look up his name on ann, but I didn’t check his specific creator page. The other day, I went back and finally did. It turns out this isn’t the only anime-of-the-decade candidate* he’s worked on with a director named Watanabe. In celebration of this individual who’s handled a number of sublime auditory anime experiences and yet has to date zero comments or favorites on his myanimelist page, I’m going to spend this column by talking about the musically crafted battle sequence to trump (almost) all others, the last 6 minutes of Cowboy Bebop.

(This post contains obvious ending spoilers for a 15-year-old show that you either have watched or will find yourself watching the moment you inform someone who has that you haven’t. So there.) Continue reading

Fun With Numbers: 10 vs. 110

One of the many controversial features of sites like myanimelist and aniDB that allow users to list their anime is their inclusion of toplists. What’s the proper way to weight scores? Should sequels (which have an intrinsic advantage in 10-point averages) be counted normally? Is there a point to having one at all when it invites as much vitriol as it sometimes does?

Though actual discussions over topics like these tend to descend into unglorified hoopla fairly quickly, these toplists and rankings can be very interesting subjects for study. Especially if you dig a layer below the top and start to look at what they really measure.

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