There is a desperately-needs-to-be-written followup to the Steins;Gate post from this Tuesday. But first I need to talk about Section 23, what their releases are doing on amazon right now, and why that’s curious.
I spent this morning putting together US amazon release data for September. It’s shaping up to be an interesting months in a while – at the least, series that haven’t provided any DVD/BD chart datapoints yet are in the mid-to-low 4 digits, suggesting some of them could possibly chart, yielding more data that would make estimating sales via amazon more feasible. That’s a lot of fun, and I wish I could be more excited about that, but getting together the data reminded me of something I’d much rather forget; Sentai Filmworks’ Gatchaman Crowds release. It’s labeled on amazon as the ‘Complete’ Collection, which is a label it takes tremendous balls to stick with when your release knowingly excludes the actual last episode of the series. The official reason why the Sentai version of Crowds will be excluding the episode is that it is owned by some entity separate from the original licensee, was given in a answer which was (probably intentionally) vague about exactly what happened in regards to the episode. What is not vague at all is the fact that the R1 release of this series will be lacking critical content as the home video equivalent of a 500-page novel with the last 20 pages ripped out.
Personally, I’m perfectly okay with companies that play to win. Anime is a niche market, and people at every level have to make hard choices in dealing with the business side of the industry. I’d rather an industry stay sustainable and churn out products I really like than break the bank over artistic integrity and end up unable to churn out any kind of work in the future. That statement represents a significant oversimplification – entertainment being a business doesn’t force a binary choice between sales and artistic integrity – but my point here is that choices made with finance in mind aren’t necessarily evil ones. There is a wrinkle to this particular story, though, that rubs me the wrong way.
The Summer 2013 has presented rich discussion fodder, giving rise to a number of interesting talking points. My favorite one is still the one on the merits of the core comedy in high-school life series that Free has sparked. This article is about one of those questions, one which is more complicated than some might think; Why did The World God Only Knows get a sequel? Based sheerly on anime sales, it’s a very risky proposition; season 1 literally just hit the profit line with an average 3000 sales per volume, and season 2 was well below that, averaging only 2117 per volume. If it made any contribution to manga sales, it was one of questionable value. Aside from one special-edition release that came with a bundled OAD, the manga sales don’t show a big jump after the anime airs. It’s a late-night anime, too (aired at 3:20 in the morning), so it’s not getting any help from TV ratings/ad revenue. So why are we looking at the third season of an anime whose second was already on shaky ground?
The answer is that that ground is not, in fact, quite so shaky. Once one considers the additional impact of licensing dollars, some sequels that look like iffy business make a lot more sense.