McOuroboros Eating Its Long Tail: Tunnelvision Part 2

A couple things.


I enjoy the nuanced commenting going on here by some of the usual suspects, so here’s a blog post to tease out some of the thoughts I had while thinking about those comments. You can read the original post here.

While I went over a wide variety of things in the last post, there are just a couple points we addressed in the comments. I think one thing to consider is what JP means by eye rolling. I guess we’ve been  using it fuzzily but let’s read what it really means in this context:

In retrospect, the clear answer here is simply the chances of “great” experiments going through, and when we’re rolling them eyes, it’s because we’re about to encounter an OniAi. This is why you can’t have more Firefly, I guess. I think the “amount of vetting” is not so much “why” you get these bonkers anime being churned out, but the status of an IP being vetted. There are a lot of experimental anime. There are next-to-zero chances of anything unique like Trapeze in American broadcast TV. That’s the down side. (Or upside for some.) The upside is that you also don’t get anything like Juuden-chan, no matter how late it airs. (And that’s a downside for some too, I guess). So the net, if you are paying attention, is that the American system is win and a win for some, lose and a lose for…people who like things like Juuden-chan, and a wash for the rest. If I was a betting man, I’d say that looks like good odds for the American system.

The reasons why there are a lot of experimental anime are two folds, but it boils down to the fundamental issue with price and funding. Let’s tease out the two reasons: One is well-beaten (but surprisingly still a very rare nugget of know-how) in terms of its infomercial nature. The other is because it is just one cog in a greater system–and it might not be the biggest cog in that system. In other words, for every Game of Thrones, there is a Game of Thrones “will this actually sell/net a lot of viewers and interest” phase of the project where the pilot episode is created, shopped, A/B tested, what have you in order to safe guard the $50-60M USD that it takes HBO to make the series. You can call it vetting. Now the average anime isn’t really quite created like that, although often times you do get a pitch trailer (animated) created for an IP and it gets shopped for investors. But it would just be one cog. Unless you are Aniplex or something, that wouldn’t be your starting point. You’d probably be a producer at a publishing company working with other producers, trying to shop an IP, not an adaptation.

So imagine you produced K-ON and it turns out to be a hit. All you wanted was to make a fuwa-fuwa slice-of-life anime about cute girls playing music like all the others, but now even the mangaka says he is coming back from the end of the comic series to make a sequel. And what kind of anime did it turn out! Who did the vetting in this case? We the viewer, did. And since it takes a pithy few million bucks that you were going to recoup anyway even if K-ON turned out to be a dud, you let it run all the way for a cour (as opposed to canning it 3 episodes in).

Because, you know, who knew a show like K-ON can make you, the hypothetical producer, sing all the way to the bank? Or perhaps better yet, Haruhi? Do you remember 2006? That show had NO hype. Zero. Zilch. Vetted? LOL.

In the end, though, where does the money come from if you were Kadokawa Shoten? You can follow it both ways, as I mentioned below and in the comments about McD. It’s best to think of it entirely not using that “box” (as in, out of the box). You know the drill about licensing, franchise, merchandising, the whole nine yards.

The point being, cheap anime is both a pipeline of revenue and a way vet your IP at the same time. This is why we can’t have nice things–we are the beta testers. (But if Kickstarter is any indication, a lot of us actually want to be testers. [Insert some muv-lov alt reference here])


Ian Condry’s new book launched and there’s this curious write-up about it. I think it applies exactly to this discussion. The key phrase, let me quote:

And yet, the success of Japanese anime constitutes something of a mystery. If you were to concoct a plan for entertainment-industry success in the digital age, Condry notes, it would probably not involve the painstaking development of hand-drawn cartoons.

“It’s incredibly difficult, and not very lucrative” for the artists, says Condry, who visited dozens of anime studios, workshops and artists while researching the book over the last eight years. “It’s one of the most labor-intensive forms of media there is.” Entertainment companies do not necessarily make huge profits off anime, which was an issue motivating Condry’s study; as he puts it, “How can things that don’t make money go global?”

The answer is that anime producers create many series and watch closely for what catches on — and then, once the characters in a series become a “platform” for audience participation, may cash in through toys, games and other forms of entertainment.

So, want to revisit vetting now?

All I’m trying to say is that anime as the mess that it is, is kind of a platform for the future. We can learn from its good and bad sides now and apply to new emerging media trends. Maybe it is only natural that Toonami resurrects. Maybe it took the internet and copyright reform and new copyright practices to slowly erode the power of the Western content owners. I don’t know. But things are pretty clearly moving that way, at least to me.

PS. While Tezuka cursed anime, does this mean Tomino saved anime?

PPS. The ex-corp-legal guy in me always just go back to Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. on this one. Golden bonus hanamaru super star if you get this one.

22 Responses to “McOuroboros Eating Its Long Tail: Tunnelvision Part 2”

  • jpmeyer

    Perhaps we can think about “eye-rolling” in terms of an elevator pitch:

    (“DREAM with me here. We’ve all seen shows shows before with sexualized underage girls, but it isn’t until NOW that someone has stuck a camera up a 12 year old’s pussy while the narrator reads a single run-on sentence for 20 minutes!”

    “I’m interested, but what do you call your show?”

    THE ARISTOCRATS! Nisemonogatari”)

    Using that framework, being experimental isn’t necessarily a strike against something. Then again, a lot of what is standard now was a lot iffier when it was first pitched. Think something like Lost. Or, what exactly we’re defining as “experimental”. Does that include a total auteur production like Louie?

    The other thing is that we’re also getting reallllllllllly long tail here. After all, this is an industry where selling 10,000 DVDs is considered a success and selling 40,000 DVDs makes you one of the year’s biggest hits. Critical darlings like Mad Men get like 100x the viewers of a big anime hit and still are classified as being shows with tiny audiences compared to something like Big Bang Theory

    Or do we also want to make the pretty obvious correlation between budget and quality, since anime costs wayyyyyyyyy less than American scripted TV to produce and its highs and lows are much lower than the highs and lows in American scripted TV?

    This whole thing ultimately comes back around to my whole idea of primarily watching anime that are “anime-y”, but then we also need to go the step further and think about what’s involved in being “anime-y” and what that means. Like Juuden-chan is totally anime-y because you can’t get that kind of content anywhere but anime, but then again “that content” is girls peeing.

    Also, dunno where I want to go with this but I’m also reminded a lot of stuff like fanfic or “authentic translations” where being terrible becomes preferred over quality. Not even in the sense of like “stop reading that crap and go read some Proust” or whatever, but in the sense of developing a taste for stories with nonsensical characterization, overwrought verbosity, not-even-really-proper-English syntax, etc.

    • fencedude

      I don’t really get what point you are trying to make.

      Yes, there is anime out there that is way, way worse than anything you’d find on Scripted US Live-action TV series.

      My question is…so what? We get something like a hundred new anime each year, probably 2/3 of those are new IPs. Isn’t this a good thing? The system does, almost beyond reason, work.

    • relentlessflame

      To this comment… I think you’re quite right that it all comes down to what is “anime-y” and what that means. And, on the flip-side, would a sustainable market exist if anime were *less* “anime-y” and took more cues from shows that are designed to appeal to audiences 100 or 1000 times larger? Personally, I just don’t believe it, but I can see how it’s a bit of a catch-22. If the goal were to expand the market for anime, what is “anime-y” would have to change to be more in alignment with what larger audiences want. But at the moment, larger audiences don’t necessarily want anime (cartoons?) as the medium for their serious entertainment. But they won’t get seriously interested in anime until the content shifts… and around the loop we go. You’d have to really believe in the potential of anime on a very profound level and invest hugely over many years to change the perception… and I just don’t see anyone being willing to make that investment. Instead, you will always have “experiments” in shows with a more mainstream focus and appeal from time to time. And so the cycle continues.

      I often make a distinction between people who enjoy anime primarily as an artistic medium, and those who just enjoy certain sorts of content often expressed in anime. The latter may be more similar to your “developing a taste for the ‘terrible'” audience. This is perhaps why so much of the anime community is fixated on the boundaries of “good taste” (while not necessarily realizing that, to those on the outside, no one may qualify).

    • omo

      I guess you do raise the point. Instead of experimental I should probably say “high risk.”

      I think your example fits Trapeze pretty well. Except it might not be a 12yo girl’s pussy.

      At least now you’ve answered the question I raised in the last post about eye rolling. Thanks! And without going into the cultural arbiter bit and what not. I think anime-ness is a value we could discuss further–it’s something Japan probably is in the middle of trying to figure out after failing hard at it in the 90s.

    • omo

      I think I get JP’s point, which is more about the nature of anime and in a way you’re saying the same thing he is saying, except his way of saying it is informative where as yours is kind of like an Apple Jacks commercial.

  • relentlessflame

    I was going to reply to the other post again, but wasn’t too sure what angle to approach it on, but at least this makes it more clear what you were trying to get at (and thought jpmeyer was trying to get at).

    Really, my only point in the previous vetting discussion was that anime can afford to be more experimental because of the lower cost structure (i.e. because it *is not* as heavily vetted), which I thought was in alignment with the point you were making at the time. (And that was what I took from jpmeyer’s statement: that a reason anime isn’t as mainstream is because so much of its content is “eye-rolling”. Edit: I consider that interpretation supported by the comment above.) Now, the fact that this in turn allows the market to vet content and, in that way, determine the future path of the industry (and the broader media market) is interesting. I see the connection you are making to the way the industry is interdependent on the fanbase, and the fans impact the sorts of productions that are made.

    That anime is a medium where they throw things at the wall to see what sticks is understood. But I think there is a serious question of intent here. You can think of all anime as experiments in a sense, but I don’t think many would argue that all (or even most?) anime is “experimental” in nature. Otherwise, it would not adequately explain the frequency of certain recurring themes, styles, and elements that have proven in the past to appeal to a particular niche. So yes, you can have shows like K-On, Haruhi, Madoka Magica, and Bakemonogatari where your “little anime experiment” produces a monstrous commercial success (at least on the anime scale). Those concepts would indeed never have been vetted for large-scale investments even though, in retrospect, they may have been worthy. But we’re not getting Da Capo III (the fourth TV production, fifth season in the franchise, not counting OVAs) because it’s an experiment as part of a vetting process (certainly not at this point!), but because it’s designed to reach a very specific market and promote specific products. In these sorts of discussions, I think most people tend to be thinking more of the latter than the former (though both exist). The question often is, if we can get so many seasons of a niche show like Da Capo (or the nth variation of the OniAi concept), why don’t we see more recurrences of the sorts of content that *seem* more likely to appeal to a broader audience? The “experimental balance” of the industry, in that case, seems rather slanted towards content that most would argue have no chance in hell of ever appealing outside of anime’s current niche. One might ask, why don’t they pick better experiments? Why are they trying to constantly trying to “vet” this sort of content rather than others?

    So all this is why, when it comes to this topic, I think the informercial nature of late-night anime is arguably a bit more essential to the discussion than the fact that anime is a platform to vet IP. Not because the latter isn’t true (and I would say that, in the last year alone, we have in fact seen a lot of interesting experiments with new and diverse IP), but because it seems to less-adequately address the core concern. It is, however, one more piece of the complex puzzle; as you said, it’s not so simple.

    • omo

      Let me state the basic case I have in mind: Nodame Cantabile. So the manga is the original work–it sold well enough. But it sold as well as countless other manga that sold as much or more. So why make it into an anime? Or why make it into a live action TV series? The vetting is versus the IP and not versus, say, I’m NBC and I want to produce a drama to go up against ABC or TNT or FOX at time slot X, so let’s go through a bunch of ideas and see which one we’ll fund. That’s the game where things are different entirely. Which is why when you say “vetting” I don’t think it works that way.

      That also happens–but at a different level. Like in my K-ON example, whoever at Kadokawa looks at what’s going on in their print sales, and picks a title that slots into some project space/pipeline, because of various marketing reasons or whatever. That process is more like the vetting you’re talking about. But in that case it’s more like “hey let’s make a commercial or commit X yen for anime adaptation for project Y because the spreadsheet says Z and Z means it’s time to do an anime for Y.” or you can trickle it down to “hey i’m the new manga/LN submissions editor, so imma gonna vet every single mangaka/author that wants to sign with us etc”

      Which is then a wholly different ballgame. It’s not even television.

      Which is why I also have a hard-on for original works.

      Also, I think the infomercial and what JP is saying are all pointing to the same idea–anime is really a very different beast than the way American TV shows are, in many different aspects. I don’t think the infomercial aspect of it is as strong of a distinguishing point today partly because of the volume and the way the business has evolved over the past 10 years, but it’s definitely true.

      One post script/disclaimer. Nodame is a noitaminA show, so it probably works slightly differently.

    • relentlessflame

      I’m starting to think that we have rather different definitions of terms, so you keep thinking I’m saying things I don’t really intend to say (or you keep trying to drive at something that I’m obviously not quite getting — sorry).

      All I mean by “vetting” in the anime context is the process of choosing which franchises get animated and which don’t. So yes, in this case, it’s the process of a group of executives getting together, looking at the works in their portfolio, picking the projects that seem most likely to benefit from an anime, and trying to put together a team of companies and creative individuals who can fund and produce it. The companies involved all hope to make their investment back through various forms of merchandise (the so-called “media mix”), but they generally invest in enough small projects to spread the risk. Indeed, it isn’t like mainstream American television; it’s, again, like infomercials. It’s like small-scale self-published media that just happens to shown on TV thanks to a ragtag gang of companies all pitching in a bit. Clearly nothing like the “vetting process” of American TV networks, to be sure. So if you thought I was implying that there was a vetting process anything like that with anime, of course there is not. But there is still a “vetting process”, just of an entirely different sort based on different factors. There is still a selection process that chooses a Juuden-chan *over* the many other concepts, and they’re not necessarily trying to take a “risk” on “new IP” that has potential to grow beyond anime’s general market in that case.

      noitaminA gets a fair bit of attention and notoriety in certain circles because they seem to generally be driven by a certain philosophy in terms of what they air in their timeslot. I’d say this is a bit different than the regular “infomercial” case (again, I’m using it in the loose sense, not the literal sense), because it does start to import a few (not all!) of the elements of the regular TV model. Particularly, there’s an aspect of “brand” that goes beyond just the show they’re airing; a concept that people may come back and watch what’s in their time slot season after season out of a sort of loyalty to their brand ideals. As a result, they exercise a bit more direct control over the shows that get chosen in that case, and they can favour works like a Nodame that will reach a certain demographic that may otherwise be under-represented. And, in retrospect, it was a good choice. They’re obviously not always so lucky, but they’ve built up a reasonable reputation among a group of regular fans. Your average late-night anime isn’t necessarily aired with that sort of thing in mind.

      (In that vein, probably worth pointing out Aniplex and TV Tokyo’s failed attempt to create an original anime block a few years back. Perhaps the timing was wrong, or perhaps the selection wasn’t right — it’s hard to say. I suppose that’s the risk of trying to create an identifiable brand that extends beyond the show itself — the philosophy of the selection process becomes more important.)

      Anyway, clearly most anime (at least the ones that target slightly older audiences) is completely different from mainstream American TV; the funding model is different, the audience is different, the entire culture is different in so many ways. But, the question is, so what? Is it better or worse this way? It’s true that as a result of this model you can get more “high risk” works (because the risk is offset by the low cost). But I’m still really not convinced that anime is largely a medium where “high risk” concepts go to see if they have what it takes to go mainstream. It does happen, but I think it isn’t the usual pattern. If the only point is “anime is different from mainstream media”, then okay. And now what?

    • omo

      I get the feeling that noitaminA, in essence, is just another form of vetting in the very general sense that you’re using.

      As for why Juuden-chan…well, it probably still makes money in the long run, and while there may be better alternatives, that is what matters?

      As for your “so what” I think I’ve already pointed it out? Let’s say you want to start a youtube channel. I think you can take some lessons immediately from anime.

      As for “high risk” it’s all relative. I mean take Firefly for example. I think that would be a “high risk” property. Or another one I used: Games of Thrones. It’s not like the book is new or the novel series hasn’t been selling. In anime terms, it’s ultra-low risk, but even so HBO took great steps to make sure it will work out before doing the full plunge.

      For anime, the risk is mitigated by the cost factor almost completely, but also/more because the structure is so different; where HBO selling Thrones/selling the channel/brand that airs Thrones is the end goal for them, creating/selling an anime is not the end goal for whoever greenlit Juuden-chan. Which is just the infomercial factor but now teased out more.

    • relentlessflame

      Okay, the ideas are starting to coalesce a bit, at least in my head.

      What you appear to be getting at is the unique advantages of nimble, small-scale productions and the culture that allows these sorts of productions to thrive. I think the comparison you’re drawing is to the self-publishing community (Youtubers, Podcasters, Webcomic Artists, Indie Musicians, maybe even Bloggers) facilitated by the great “de-intermediator” that is the Internet. I think that sounds pretty reasonable. And the “take-away” you’re promoting seems to be three main “lessons” we can ostensibly learn from anime:

      1. Let the audience vet your “high risk” (“experimental”) ideas

      2. Fail quickly, iterate often, try to see what resonates

      3. The product isn’t the goal, but a gateway to other marketing opportunities

      (I’m sure there are other points too, but boiling it down to three seems to be the way to do these things. And obviously, these three points are not original summations either — they’re basically the mantra of the self-publishing community today.)

      It’s interesting that you see the anime market as a relevant example here. But, I still think most would argue that anime isn’t actually sufficiently diverse; perhaps that it’s diverse in all the wrong ways. Or, to go back to your previous post, why is asking anime to be more “mainstream” asking it to do the impossible? Why can’t we “have nice things”? I think you haven’t really addressed that issue in any fundamental way, only danced around it with allusions of why disintermediated media is good and pointed out that the budgetary scale is different (see the question jpmeyer asked above). Of all the hundreds of anime that have been produced, precious few have grown out of the niche audience the industry is most associated with, and the stigma associated with anime’s common themes may prevent people from giving the medium a chance. How can you overcome this, or is it even a problem?

      I should say YouTube is trying to overcome this, but they are doing it in decisively “old media” ways: vetting content, funding top stars, creating “pay channels”, and trying to bring in more “legitimate content” (from recognizable corporate entities). All to slowly divest themselves of the image that Youtube is nothing but piracy, cat videos, and people getting kicked in the groin. This may help people take YouTube more seriously, but it starts shifting ever so slightly away from the “let a thousand flowers bloom” concept, and further stratifies the content into “professional” and “amateur”. Is that progressing or regressing? Maybe both…?

    • omo

      If you want to read more about the “what ifs” I linked to Condry’s book. That might be a start (I haven’t read it yet).

      One example of this in my head is PBS’s Idea Channel. Does that count as self-publishing? Does Games of Throne count as self-publishing? I don’t know. But one is all youtube-y and works off of feedback from viewers (isn’t that public television in a nutshell etc)? In the age of Kickstarter, what lessons can we learn from anime? It can extend to traditional media (TV) just as much, although obviously only in some limited cases right now. Well, anime on TV is traditional media if you think about it; but somehow it’s all weird. Which is why we can compare and contrast and apply the lesson. Which seems to fit for this New Media (caps because it means something specific in the legal/financial/business context of media publishing). I think 2013’s Oscar short film category nominated something like 3 Kickstarted projects? It can be a big deal.

      Oh, I remember now. I knew there’s a reason why I used the term long tail in the title of this post :)

      Speaking of the Idea Channel, it’s a great…I don’t know, condense point for all this fandom talk. It neatly boils down a lot of core concepts into things we can think about and apply in various areas, and it links pop culture to more traditional areas of study in philosophy and art. I would say it’s a pretty solid pre-req to understanding my blog :)

  • Can'tbehelped

    I’m sorry if this sounds harsh or hater-y, but I honestly have NO IDEA what you’ve been talking about these last two posts. Something I’ve noticed about your writing when it comes to these opinion pieces is that you tend to, well, ramble the thoughts off your head, but without any consideration for structuring them.

    It’s as if you’re conversing with a theoretical person who can already read your mind, knows exactly what other blog’s post or forum thread inspired you to think about it.

    That’s not a problem, and this is your blog, your style, but it’s really hard to follow your point when you don’t exactly make it in the first place. Whenever a post of yours births a comment thread half of it is you reexplaining your point, and the other half is people responding with their points, but half the time they didn’t get whatever point you were trying to make in the first place. If it’s not ships passing in the night, it’s ships passing in the fog.

    I honestly don’t mean to knock you, and I think you’re making interesting points, but I really just wish I knew what your points were when I was done reading.

    I think relentless put it best. His main takeaway here was you’re saying “anime is different from mainstream media”. Now what? IMO that’s my takeaway from it too, but for the life of me I can’t understand what led you to that conclusion. I see references to game of thrones and budgets and how we’re testers, and problems with the current funding model, but then you go to how the funding model isn’t thtat much of a problem and what is this I don’t even.

    I dunno, I’m no journalilst, but maybe I’ve got some suggestions?

    – Explain what you’re responding to in the first place (or rather your tendency not to) is probably the biggest issue I have. You throw out a link sometimes, but TBH that’s not enough, because sometimes the people you’re responding too are either too angry to stay on topic or worse at making their arguments comprehensible.

    Your blog, your call, but this is the only anime blog I read regularly, and if you could sorta tweak or fix your style so I could say I actually had something to take away from that.

    I’m sure you can do it. I saw some of your pieces for Jtor and they’re way better. You have readers over here, maybe try writing for them?

    Thanks for your time.

    • omo

      I appreciate the feedback.

      Here are some general issues I have with your suggestions:
      1. Sometimes, there is no point I want to make. It’s just a collection of thoughts and questions. It’s confusing, probably for most. But I don’t think there’s another way around that.
      2. You’re probably right that I could explain myself better, but part of it has to do with this hypothetical audience–who is this and I don’t even? I mean, am I going to explain it to someone who is new to anime? Or someone who already understand enough that I can have a discussion in the comment in re: topic? I don’t really know, and it’s not exactly something I want to be concerned about. If you want to ask a question, I will gladly answer it the best I can in a way that you can understand, within reason. I don’t think my audience is big enough at any rate–I want to think of you as individuals.
      3. Yes, unfortunately I am not too concerned about people reading my blog, it’s one of the core philosophy I adhere to here. The main purpose of this blog is just so I can organize my thoughts and put it into words. Perhaps when I talk about something more important, I can do a better job. Unfortunately that also means very little editing most of the time (more also because of time reasons) and simply a general disregard of some of my readers.
      4. I’m perfectly okay with ships passing in the night. It’s not always a waste of time either. I appreciate the exercise and sometimes I gain some very interesting perspectives from people who don’t think the way I do.

      I write for Jtor very differently because that is a publication with very specific intentions for its readers. Not so sure what I would do here. Or rather, is there another place where I can write the same thing I write in this blog? I don’t think so.

      Again, I appreciate the comments, and maybe I encourage you to read some of my older posts. I think I split about 60/40 in this way.

    • Can'tbehelped

      Glad I could help in some way!

      I guess my selfish wish is that I find your insights very interesting (the ones I could parse at any rate), and would love to spread some of your points around (or parrot them, if you wanna be cynical about it), because I mean, the more diverse the thought, the better the discussion (in the long run at least).

    • omo

      Thanks! I do vet my thoughts (well, who doesn’t?) so usually the ones I put on the blog are things that has some chance (however small) to at least be entertaining or worth your time to think about. Even in a eye-rolling kind of way.

      Speaking of which, I also want to point to the Ideal Channel in this comment, because more and more it feels like how a pro would do fandom discourse, for fans.
      If you get a kick out of the ideas I have, maybe you would enjoy that.

      Watch every one of them if you get a chance! (maybe except the new years/hurricane sandy ones)

  • Stef

    This is a little tangential, but since we’re talking about the how and why anime gets made, do you have any good reading material about the anime production process? That Ian Condry book looks interesting from an economic/anthropological/social standpoint (which I love), but I’m also looking for information on animation, directing, and what have you.

    Also I’m going to give my two cents on this and ask what are the main demographics that watch anime? This could answer the question why there’s so much niche, yet formulaic stuff.

    • omo

      That depends: is anime is a genre or a medium? I mean kids is still the primary demographic for cartoons, no matter the country of origin. Now if we limit ourselves to late night TV anime, which is kind of what we were talking about (although not exclusively) then of course, it would probably exclude young kids, so only teens and above.

      I think the whole demographic question is very difficult. It’s easy to point out to DVD/BD sales, but the business model has long been only “hardcore otaku” buy. Lots of non-otaku still watch late night anime, so how do we capture that market space? Let’s take the latest blurb about Mondaiji
      and assume that 850k/six~=142k, so about 142k volume 1s are out there (probably significantly more in reality). Assuming this is the “water cooler” effect, one in four new purchases (or more) are people who heard about the anime and maybe saw a couple eps, and want to know more about it–buying the book cost like, 500 yen, so it’s easy.

      If we further assume people who would read Mondaiji would be considered the main demographic of Mondaiji anime, you can quickly see it’s actually a HUGE demographic beyond home video sales. And I’m sure it ranges from middle schoolers all the way up to people around actual water coolers at the office (or whatever Japanese offices use). Funny thing is probably a good chunk of these people don’t even watch the anime (although they are definitely capable and probably interested, maybe it’s just inconvenient or against their own personal feelings (eg., cartoons are for kids, don’t have the time, etc)).

      This is also why original anime projects…are tricky. And catches my attention.

      To answer your first question about resources…….. The articles on ANN is a good starting point. There are some blog posts all over the place that discuss this as well, but not sure how much time it’ll take me to fetch them. I think I might’ve linked to some as well… (3 parts)
      there’s this write-up on licensing too, which is helpful for the specific case

  • Stef

    So we don’t know who watches what. Just that the audience goes beyond children and teenagers. Bummer.

    I see the thing with original anime now. What do you think one like, say, Mouretsu Pirates did different? I suppose it has to catch more attention to generate profit. Was it somehow more “mainstream”?

    Thanks for those links. I was hoping maybe for a book, but I imagine there aren’t a truckload of them around.

    • omo

      Well, you asked about demographics and I gave an example. I’m assuming there are better detailed information out there, but the reality is probably pretty complicated.

      Mouretsu Pirates is based on a light novel series.

      As for books, I remember reading something along these lines from Japanamerica.
      It’s not the focus, but it talks about the whole system a little, as well as the industry overseas.

    • Stef

      My mistake. I thought I remembered reading somewhere it was an original.

    • omo

      No problem!
      /quickly searches own blog for any mention

      What is original that involved Tatsuo Sato is Rinne no Lagrange. Maybe we could talk about that. I sure didn’t (talk about it enough).

    • DarkFireBlade25

      I would be interested in finding out more about Rinne no Lagrange through Jeff’s question above.

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