Fun With Numbers: August 2014 US Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

July’s almost over, and while I’m not totally done tracking releases for that month, I think it’s reasonably safe to say none of them are likely to snag an elusive top 20 BD/top 30 DVD slot – Naruto and Hetalia were the only series to spend multiple days in triple digits and neither cracked the top 500.

This August looks pretty thin in terms of series likely to chart: the only releases currently better than 20,000th are DBZ’s sixth BD set, Love Lab, and Shinsekai Yori’s second half. Tracking them, as always, to add to the dataset and hopefully eventually enable analysis of the US market.

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Fun With Numbers: April 2014 Amazon Data (Initial Numbers)

US amazon data may not be a perfect source, but it is a very interesting one, with a lot of organic components. I’m just about done collecting data for March releases (data for the 18th will be up when my schedule permits, data for the 25th still needs to be collected), and while these datapoints have managed to shed some light on a few of the narratives I pulled out of the February data, they’ve also raised still more interesting threads to be explored.

That means it’s in my best interests to continue collecting data both to broaden the sample and to give predictions a viable testing ground. All numbers posted here were collected on March 25th, via amazon’s upcoming anime releases page, one week before the earliest releases on the list.

Note: The price I note is the series’ MSRP price. If the series becomes listed at more than 50% off that price at any time during the amazon solicitation, I will note that both now and during the final analysis. The February part 1 release of Robotics;Notes had such a discount, along with Psycho-Pass and One Piece (all Funimation releases, which is probably noteworthy at this point).

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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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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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