Otaku Anime, Summer 2013

Alicia & Akari

I just want to talk about these titles:

  • Kiniro Mosaic
  • Love Lab
  • Tamayura ~More Aggressive~
  • Going Home Club
  • C^3-bu

When I say “database” I mean beyond Dejiko, I mean more like taking 90s otaku anime and manga and recreate something from remixing the elements common to them. It could be elements of design or writing or plot or whatever. This is kind of a dicey thing to call out because to a degree this has been the case throughout history. The decontextualized remixing, while a much more recent event, is not really unique to anime or manga or games or Japan.

What is, I think, is that these kind of remixes can make up a profitable business model. Well, by profitable I simply mean that; nobody is laughing all the way to the bank. By design it’s a pretty niche deal for both sides of the equation, worth it for everyone involved but probably not a whole lot else. The pluses and minuses of this situation are well-beaten to death by the various cries of moe or whatever nonsense that rules the day. That’s not what I want to talk about anyway.

What I want to talk about is applying the cable TV analogy regarding the number of channels. Things like specialized cable channels as a result of enough players slicing the “mainstream” pie that by not competing you would do just as well as going after the biggest slices. In other words, only when you have 5 or 10 or 15 prime time, big budget TV dramas will the History Channels or the Travel Channels or the Science Channels or the Food Channels of the world become a truly profitable thing, since now you can grab enough watchers who do not give a damn about prime time dramas, and yet still get enough of them to make them worth the while compared to the best alternative (ie., another prime time drama to compete with other prime time dramas). There’s probably some economic term to describe this sort of diversification, would you kindly drop a note if you know?

So what happens when you have 5 cute girls do cute things anime in the same season? What does it mean? Isn’t this a pretty straight-faced indication of the appetite, a vertical measure of sorts, of the anime otaku market By that I mean simply that these 5 shows are straight up kuukikei propositions, s’lice, whatever your favorite term for them is. They are otaku only, and appeals in a similar way. Moreover they’re kind of stacked on each other, working the same kind of magic, even if they do diversify further into subgenres. Maybe in C^3-bu there’s a bit of “go to koushien” in there but I don’t think we can really say even the most well-executed ones (like Girls und Panzer) is…mainstream anything. Of course there are other plainly otaku-pandering anime this season, but I don’t think those shows are competing for the same eyeballs as these shows on the whole; for example, Watamote or Genshiken Nidaime would not share a space with these five. But I might be missing something else. Do tell.

Over the past half decade, it’s easy to see that true Kuukikei shows are the heartbeat of the anime otaku population. I think tracking them across time give you a good idea as to how things are, kind of a “pre-Aria” and “post-Aria” measurement. It’s a bit of a turning point for the evolution of what tickles anime otaku at the core; at least Japanese ones, anyway.

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