Steins;Gate Sold 105,977 Copies in the US (Over 82 Weeks)

Surprise! Apparently a 5-year-old anime can still pull in some numbers when it tries. US BD sales numbers just came out for late April 2016 and contained the surprising revelation that the complete version of Steins;Gate, released on September 30th, 2014 had sold over 100,000 copies in the US over the past 82 weeks.

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Some people may have questions about this, so I’ll try to outline the situation and why it’s somewhat interesting.

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Fun With Numbers: Updated US Amazon Formulae

Since late February of this year, I’ve been tracking the daily ranks of various anime releases on US Amazon to see if they could be used to get an idea of how releases were selling in the US, since that data is sparsely available for modern titles (especially unpopular ones). In March, I made my first stab at a formula which might tie thos edaily ranks to sales totals. In May, I realized that first model was based primarily on Holiday season sales charts and thus severely overestimated the market, and introduced a simpler one making use of more data. That model seemed for a time like it would be serviceable, pegging the sales of DBZ’s season 3 BDs to within 20%, but then it overestimated Attack on Titan part 1 by a factor of 3. Since I had no other test cases for my model available for the next few months, I was able to put off refining that model, but with data for the second part of Attack on Titan, the surprisingly successful Steins Gate rerelease, and DBZ Battle of Gods set to come out over the next few weeks, it’s a good time to use the data I’ve gathered to try and test a different model.

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

August was a boring month as far as high-powered releases go. September is not, and there are a couple of series (particularly the Steins Gate combo pack hovering around 1500 with 4 weeks to go and the second half of Attack on Titan) which figure to have a pretty decent chance of making the US BD charts and providing really useful data. 4 solid datapoints wouldn’t be much, but it’s a lot better than 2. I could get more pumped about that if one of the release titles due out this month weren’t straight-up false advertising.

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Fun With Numbers: Statlines for the Video Game-Anime Adaptations of 2011

I may have mentioned this before, but nailing down the impact of anime on video games (released on irregular timetables and with less baseline-dependent variance in stats) is much harder than ballparking the same effect for manga or light novels (where volumes are released at regular intervals and can generally be seen to follow a pattern in the absence of strong outside stimuli). Too, while sales tools exist for measuring the success of console video games in Japan, those tools are much less viable when it comes to measuring the effects of typically PC-based visual novels. Still, roughly 10 anime are adapted from games every year, and it’s a very important part of the market to understand.

In order to get some idea of how existent and/or strong the video game franchise popularity -> anime popularity -> added video game franchise popularity chain is, I pulled a pair of stats for each of the 9 video game adaptation anime made in 2011 that I have data for. The 2 stats I chose to measure video game popularity were maximum yearly rank of the franchise on popular VN retailer getchu (mildly NSFW) and total console game sales for games released within one year of the anime’s initial airdate, via vgchartz. While it should be noted that this was a small sample taken in a year with slightly fewer new shows, the results are potent fuel for speculation. Data is archived here, and summarized on the chart below.

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First Reactions: Free! Episode 2 (Plus Too-Long Footnotes on Why Summer 2013 Will End Up Being a Better Season Than Spring 2013)

Based on what I’ve seen of reactions to Free on the internet, it seems like a large quantity of people are ruling it out with one glance at the promo material rather than 20 minutes of episode time. It’s becoming increasingly obvious how much of a shame that is, because this show is complete in ways it didn’t even have to be to be an enjoyable ride.

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Fun With Numbers: A Numbers-Based Way of Picking Out the Best Anime of the Past 8 Years

You know the old saying; “Stats don’t lie, except when they do.” Using stats to argue point son anime is kind of tough, as any individual figure, be it Japanese sales, TV Ratings, merchandising fees paid, or online ranking site figures, only reveals a small part of the overall picture. Since I compiled a rather large database containing multiple stat lines for 95% of the anime to air over the past 8 years, I might as well use it to numerically classify true-blue-chippers.

Allow me to introduce a very exclusive society, the Hit-L-Double-Double (HLDD) Club. It’s the list of anime that have accomplished 4 feats, 3 of which are very difficult individually. Specifically, it’s the list of anime that have sold 10,000+ units per volume in Japan (megahit sales territory), been licensed overseas (international sales viability), and have myanimelist rankings and popularities in the top 100/double digits (esteem and popularity overseas).

This is a list of the unequivocal successes, the things that have amassed not only megahit status in Japan, but also a significant English-speaking fanbase and critical praise. These are numerically irrefutable successes, at least in theory. You could call it the “talk to anyone” list, because you could talk to anyone in the industry and they would agree with you that it was a rock-solid commodity. From 2005-2012, anyway (that’s the era I have all the data for). All the members from that period are listed below, along with their statlines. Sequels are excluded to keep it tidy, and because they’re rarely much different from s1 stats-wise.

This list is not meant to be very surprising. It’s just a slightly different way of thinking about blue-chip anime.

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Lists Are Fun to Make: Favorite Anime Episodes by Title

Full Disclosure: I like making lists. This particular list is the result of an afternoon of me sitting down and trying to list all the anime episode titles I remember. This correlates pretty well with my actual favorite anime episodes, because I’ve seen most of them enough times to remember their titles. When making this one, I set myself a limit at 60 and reached it fairly quickly. After making the list, I actually ranked them. So yeah, had a lot of fun with this one.

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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