Monthly Archives: June 2014

Serendipitous P

Reading Author’s anecdote is like seeing a scale from a fish that you were riding all year, as you look back fondly after you’ve gotten off it and went home from the adventure. Except this is someone else’s scale and you are pleasantly surprised as he was that he has it.

I say the scale of a fish because this thing crosses oceans and exists on an unimaginable scale. The problem here is that we can say, “maybe you should watch Madoka because spawned the top grossing late-night TV anime movie, as if you need another indication to know the magnitude of the thing” and it only lightly signifies the issues with your average east-meets-west situation when fans of “obscure” things collide. This tortured analogy for all the Producer-ness, Producer-hood, or whatever it is, is just a poor attempt to explain how amazing it is to find fans who flew to Canada to see Harami, or fans who flew to Saitama to see Harami (and others). It’s this crisscrossing of people who are doing rather irrational fan things yet find beauty within. I mean, in a nutshell, some folks flew overseas to attend events. That’s not too unusual these days. But that’s just a single fragment or patch in a mural that depicts the kind of CUTE COOL PASSION a stadium full of nerds with glowsticks that people do not see when they see a news report or a synopsis video. It’s the fan-iceberg beneath the surface. And it’s a pain in the butt to describe this iceberg in full.

It might be why I am playing Million Live, so when I run into a P I have something for show? Or why all P should make business cards?

In that sense, as someone who lives in a world where nobody knows IM@S (eg., the USA) and half of those who do only do so at an arm’s length, even those who like idol anime (and this is part of the “problem”) or whatever, that’s both good and bad in that it makes the chance encounters even more beautiful, but I lack the resistance. I mean in the end IM@S is no different than any other media mix franchise, something Japan does in bulk and all the time. Just because this one sticks, for all the (right) reasons, it doesn’t mean all that much beyond that we have bonded as friends. Does this mean every seiyuu from 765Pro visits the USA I’ll have to travel and attend an offkai? Ouch.

It’s doubly problematic because IM@S, comparatively, is also a very broad and wide fandom with a varied history and a lot of assets and entry angles for fans to latch on to. Just like those people who build shrines of characters, or the koebutas that chase after the voice talents behind the 2D, or just plain gamers (because as far as idol games go, IM@S is pretty deep), we are sort of all for one. Not to say other fandoms don’t have these problems, but let’s just say Love Livers have it easy.

If The World Is All One is the feverish dream of a victim from chuunibyou, then One For All is the reality marble that turns dream into 2.5D reality. It ends when you wake up, still, but at least now you can look up strategy guides for it.

It reminds me of that song from Sakura Wars 2.

It’s beautiful, in a way, because of the direction the franchise is taking. I am more interested in the characters from Million Live and Cinderella Girls. The voice talents behind them are very good, if ultimately a different type of talent than the ones from the main group. This is the kind of pivot that I can get behind, if you know what I’m saying.

The Value of the IM@S Movie

Think of this as part two of my IM@S movie trip-down-memory-lane. Thanks to Aniplex for updating the official site with not just a really awesome sketch of Kotori and her 765 coworkers along with a thankful letter, both from Goripon, but the box office final numbers. 2ch did the math for us and that puts the IM@S movie as 6th all time for late-night TV anime spinoffs in the past 10 years. The list is below and I’ll just take this time to annotate how many times I’ve seen it in theaters LOL.

Otonashi Kotori

Column 1 is total box office (hundred million yen), column 2 is opening weekend (hundred million yen), third column is yy/mm of release. To give you an idea, 20.8億yen is about 20.8 million USD if we go by 1 USD to 100 JPY. This means IM@s grossed 6.7 million USD or so, and K-ON the movie made more money in Japan than a lot of movies in the US??

Again, this chart only lists “late-night anime” movies in the past 10 years. Your Lupins and Gundams and Ghiblis are on a different scale altogether.

20.8億 4.00億 13/10 Madoka Rebellion – US screening, probably didn’t count
19.0億 3.16億 11/12 K-ON – Missed this one ;_; Just on home video.
10.4億 1.98億 13/08 Anohana – US screening, probably didn’t count
*8.5億 0.89億 10/02 Haruhi – US screening at a con, definitely didn’t count
*7.0億 1.18億 11/02 Macross F part 2 – Missed this one completely (even on home video…)
*6.7億 1.40億 14/01 THE IDOLM@STER – 5 times!
*6.1億 1.30億 14/02 Tiger & Bunny R – Missed this one completely
*6.0億 1.18億 12/09 Tiger & Bunny B – Missed this one completely
*5.9億 1.39億 12/10 Madoka Beginnings – US screening, probably didn’t count
*5.7億 1.72億 12/10 Madoka Eternal – US screening, probably didn’t count
*5.6億 0.87億 13/04 Steins;Gate – Once, JP screening. Waiting for a US screening when, FUNi?
*5.5億 1.23億 12/07 Nanoha 2nd A’s – Only on home video
*5.0億 1.01億 13/02 Index – Didn’t even wanna.
*3.8億 0.61億 10/01 Nanoha 1st – Only on home video
*3.1億 0.52億 11/06 BASARA – Nope
*2.8億 0.38億 10/01 FateUBW – Only home video
*2.3億 0.40億 12/03 Strike Witches – Only on home video
*2.2億 0.56億 13/09 Chuu2Koi – I wish
*2.0億 0.39億 12/06 Library Wars – Nope
*1.4億 0.30億 14/04 Tamako Love Story – I wish
*1.0億 0.32億 12/06 BLOOD-C – Nope
*1.0億 *.**億 13/03 Hanasaku Iroha – Once in Japan, once in US at a con.
*1.0億 0.22億 11/06 SoraOto – Only home video
*0.8億 0.12億 10/12 Fafner – Nope
*0.7億 *.**億 10/04 Trigun – At a con, didn’t count
*.**億 *0.2億 14/02 Mouretsu Pirates – Once in Japan
*0,1億 *0,1億 13/01 Wake Up Girls!  – At a con, didn’t count; plus streaming (!)

Questions and comments–

How does the tokutens factor? I already mentioned that IM@S movie has some wicked tokuten and that definitely got people to go see the movie more. This goes hand-in-hand with my second question, how does the SSA live, OFA, Puchim@s and general revival(?) of the IM@S franchise the past few years matter? I mean I go watch IM@S for the feels more so than anything, and those feels are in large parts due to non-anime-related factors.

The “same” question is also asked in a different way: how many people in those box office counts repeat customers? Would it be fair to take the post-opening weekend numbers and cut it down on a per-theater basis? And compare movies that had a lot of tokutens and those that didn’t? Not sure if that works or is meaningful. Maybe someone good with stats can give me a hand here.

Others commented on that how the IM@S movie preorders aren’t going as hotly as the box office would indicate, which is partly why I think ultimately IM@S movie’s box office numbers are largely inflated (by some value of largely that is totally debatable) by repeated viewers, many who probably won’t buy multiple copies of the movie. Yours truly included. So that effect is more pronounced. To put it into perspective, when I went to those 8:30 AM showings at Shinjuku back in Feburary, the movie has been out for about 3-4 weeks already, and I count 40+ attendees the two times I went. That week the bonus goods were the Goripon 765Pro shikishi that you get randomly out of 5, which is probably the second most expensive tokuten during the movie run (what was the most expensive one is now the bonus of IM@S manga #3, which is chapter 00 of the manga).

Another obvious difficulty is the lack of numbers. Aniplex has been very forward with the box office numbers, as seen here. We have the numbers from when the movie finished its main run back in March and went ninja for its road show, at about 6.45M. So that gives you an idea. But we have no other movie to compare it with? Anyone knows another movie where the numbers are out at the various points?

Anyways, this movie is truly a product of a lot of passion and you can see it unfold. I hope we all can see it soon.