This was probably Space Brothers’ best episode in a while. I could have said a lot of good things about it; it plowed through a lot of time awful quickly, it made a pretty fun Terminator reference, Deniel’s retirement was cool, Murakoshi made it to space, Mutta’s getting a spot on a backup crew, and a bunch of other stuff. But, unfortunately, I’ll only remember it for one feature, and not a positive one. In previous episodes, there were instances of light xenophobic attitudes, but it wasn’t a consistent enough thing to be a concrete problem. Too, some non-Japanese were shown in a positive light at various points. But there’s really no justifying this:
There are two reasons this could have happened. Either the anime staff were totally clueless about what depicting a black person as a gorilla meant (unlikely given the amount of research that’s gone into other parts of the show), or they knew and did it anyway. Either way, it’s stupid and extremely disappointing. I just hope to hell this doesn’t become a regular feature of the show.
Redline is the best anime movie I have ever seen. By which I mean it is the best anime I’ve ever seen and the best movie I’ve ever seen. While this summer season is certainly one for the books, it’s not delivering anything quite like that movie (and it wouldn’t be fair to ask it to). But because the movie’s now available free on youtube,* and because this is definitely the most fun season to be a part of since subs of the movie became available roughly 2 years ago, I decided to pay tribute by summarizing how everyone’s doing at (roughly) the halfway hash in the words of Sweet JP and co.
[Warning: Spoilers, if that kind of thing bothers you.]
This week’s episode of Space Brothers started out as a revisitation of the awkward/adorable humor that characterized the show early on. Mutta showed up early while fumbling a sizable, unwieldy package. Apo, always the adorable mascot, got his licks in in an adorable perspective-swapping moment with the hot dog. But the comedic star of this episode was Hibito, who ended up having to poker-face up and deal with a fad of his own creation after considerable grumbling.
This time, we cover several topics, including the inspiring success of crowdfunded anime since our last show, several bits of recent anime news (both depressing and intriguing), and the rockin’ Summer 2013 slate of anime.
I can’t believe they brought back Q&A Talk. Of all the one-off jokes to bring back, I would not have expected that one. The continuity in this show is airtight. The real question, though, is this: which brother actually likes that show enough to turn on the radio? I’m sure the answer would be worth another 500 words worth of personality contrast analysis, minimum. Ah well, Mutta’s anticipation of Hibito’s response to how clean his bike was was rich enough. I do think this show would benefit from a whole episode devoted to the two of them just talking real talk or having a day off together.
Update 2 (July 15, 2014): New, more accurate data is here.
Update (Jul 1, 2014): This post doesn’t measure releases in 2-week totals, which turns out to be a huge deal in many, many cases. I’m currently working on an updated version of both this and the other 2011-2012 manga boost posts. Just be aware of that before citing the data from here regarding any one show.
Some time ago, I published an article looking at how anime adaptations produced in early 2012 affected the sales of their source manga. It was interesting data to take a look at, and it was interesting to see which anime really boosted the manga sales. Long story short, there are cases where a manga really jumps from mid-tier to franchise level (Space Brothers, Kuroko’s Basketball, Inu x Boku SS) soon after the anime airs, and cases where the anime doesn’t have much visible effect.
It was very intriguing to look at, but it wasn’t a sample large enough to draw real definitive conclusions from. So I’ve recently been pulling sales records for manga that had an anime adaptation air in 2011, to get a better idea of how the two media are interrelated. This post contains the first half of that data, specifically the data for which I have specific totals from both before and after the anime first aired, and some observations on that data.
I love Deniel’s cavalier, devil-may care approach to life. In the wake of Sharon’s grim prognosis, his attitude is a breath of fresh air. He’s not trying too hard, but he’s still living life to the fullest and tackling aging with a decidedly youthful vigor. Nothing like a charming old romantic to enhance the already significant natural beauty of flight.
“[…] Nagahama says he’s well aware that a lot of people will go “what the fuck” and “this is gross,” “I hate this, I’m not watching this.” But he’s pretty much okay with that, too, because he thinks it’s fine as long as it leaves an impact on people. Viewers may dismiss it right away, but some may check it out later and find it interesting, or they may come across the manga, recognize the title, and read that.”
That may seem provocative, but it’s actually a fairly common philosophy in the business of anime for a publisher to fund a loss leader, in this case an unprofitable anime that stimulates manga sales. There’s quite a bit of evidence that this can work, though anime serving as a commercial for the manga generally has to stand out to drive up manga sales. I believe numbers inform the debate, so it’s worth taking a look at how that gambit played out.
Indeed, the eighth volume of Aku no Hana, the first one out after the anime aired, showed a little over double the sales of the first volume. So there’s a pretty strong case that the anime got the manga more attention. The more interesting question for me is this: in the face of seemingly abysmal sales of the anime’s first volume set to come out in late July, could the increased sales of the manga still make the anime successful? For the purposes of this article, “successful” means that it produced a gross profit equal to its production budget.
So I’ve been reading Adachi Mitsuru’s Touch in the past couple of weeks. My opinions on it are more or less publicrecord. The original reason I got started on it was to do a serious rundown of all the baseball series I knew of (since talking about baseball manga without mentioning Touch would be like talking about great basketball players and not mentioning Bill Russell). However, an interesting theme constantly showed up in that manga that I’ve seen in another series, Space Brothers.* Namely, both series focus on a relationship between two talented brothers who take their talents in different directions. And both do a fascinating job of exploring what caused those brothers to walk their separate paths.