Timeslot History: The Particularly Difficult to Investigate

Thanks in large part to wikipedia, allcinema, tvdrama-db, and geocities, I’ve more or less finished gathering the data for my investigation of anime which first aired between 1994 and 2000 (i.e. immediately pre and post Eva). Of the 382 series myanimelist lists for that time period, 11 originally aired on non-Japanese TV, 3 were part of a pay-per-view package with no defined timeslot, 1 was a commercial series, and 1 was a bloc of shows, rather than a specific series. All those aren’t really interesting for the purpose of putting anime aired late at night in Japan in context.

I was able to find some confirmation of their initial broadcast time (either as a standalone or as part of another, longer block) for 363 of the remaining 366. 3 series, however, proved particularly troublesome to pin down. I’ve browsed through all of the above sources looking for a specific timeslot for each, and spent a healthy amount of time on google trying various combinations of keywords I’ve discovered are useful over the past week, but couldn’t dredge up that specific piece of info in their respective cases. With the likely amount of effort required to pin down that information, which effects less than 1% of the overall sample, being unduly large, I plan to simply exclude them from the final analysis. Given that, though, it’s worth mentioning which shows they are and what I *was* able to find out while looking into them.

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Timeslot History: The Wonderful 40

The 1996-1998 late-night boom was one of the most swift and dramatic shifts in the field in anime history. In 1996, fewer than 40 new anime were broadcast. In 1998, 75 new shows took to the air, and that number continued to grow, with hiccups, until it peaked in 2005.

Not all TV anime airs in neat 30-minute slots, though, and one of the more interesting things I found out about that period while building up a list of which shows over this period were broadcast when was that 18 of the 150-odd shows first aired in 1998 or 1999 were shorts aired on a particular variety program by the name of Wonderful. This program, a 55-minute affair that started 5 minutes before midnight on Mondays through Thursdays, featured comedy, celebrity guests, and an idol group called the “Wonderful Girls”.

Besides its other segments, Wonderful also had a dedicated anime slot; the last 10 minutes of the show, from 24:40 to 24:50, were partitioned out for some kind of short anime for a bit over 2 years (from September 1997 to December 1999) before anime was replaced by drama and other material for the remainder of the show’s five year run. The majority of the shows to air in this microslot were not notable, or in many cases even safe for work.* But, as mentioned, it did feature a total of 18 new shows** over that span. That amount makes it mildly noteworthy, as does the fact that two of those shows were directed by ace pilot Akitaro Daichi.

*NSFW warning, there.

**Counting 3 sequels of existing properties: You’re Under Arrest, Nippon Ichi Otoko No Tamashi 2 (the first and second seasons both aired in this slot), and Yume de Aetara.

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