Tuesday, February 06, 2007

January anime: popularity in Japan

Most of the new shows have been airing for about a month now. Which of this season's shows are the most popular in Japan?

Well, that's really two questions: which shows have the highest TV ratings? And: which shows are the most popular with anime otaku? TV ratings are always dominated by kids' shows and some shounen shows, shows that air either in early-evening prime time, or on weekend mornings. I'll get to them in a minute.

But otaku tend to watch (or record) shows that air late at night. For them, the runaway favorite show of the new season is Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight, which airs at 1:30 am Sunday nights.

I'm basing this statement on the number of posts to 2channel, the most popular anime message board in Japan. It seems to represent a kind of mass-audience otaku opinion. Here is a list of the number of threads on 2channel for most of the new shows. Each thread represents about 1000 posts. When one thread fills up, a new thread is started:

Manabi Straight 24
Hidamari Sketch 12
Yes! Precure 5 11
Shuffle/Shuffle Memories 9
Saint October 9
Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora 9
Nodame Cantabile 8
Master of Epic 6
Venus Versus Virus 5
Getsumen To Heiki Miina 5
Les Miserables 5
Deltora Quest 3
Himawari!! 3
Tokyo Majin Gakuen 3
Angelique 1

As you might expect, the top five shows all have moe appeal. But Manabi Straight has about twice as many posts as the next-most-popular show, Hidamari Sketch.

Shoujo shows normally receive extremely short shrift on 2channel. NANA, after three seasons, still has only 12 threads. So I'm surprised how high Nodame Cantabile is ranked, it being based on a manga serialized in a shoujo magazine. The great cast and the staff of Honey & Clover seem to be giving it credibility. Angelique is closer to the normal ranking of shoujo shows on 2channel. I'm also struck by how highly anticipated the kids' magical-girl show Yes! Pretty Cure 5 was. Shows like this don't seem that popular outside Japan.

Pretty Cure is also the one new show that has shown up in the top ten in TV ratings. It just began airing last week -- on Sunday mornings at 8:30 -- and debuted at #7 in the top ten, with a 7.4% share. That was even higher than its predecessor show, Pretty Cure Splash Star, which had a 6.8 for its final episode. It joins shows such as Sazae-san (21.7% rating), Crayon Shin-chan (10.9), Doraemon (9.8), Detective Conan (9.7), Kekkaishi (7.3) and One Piece (6.8) in last week's top ten.

Among late-night anime, Nodame Cantabile had the highest-rated late-night first episode ever, with a 5.4% share, which went up to 5.5% the following week, but has dropped to 4.4% and 3.5% in succeeding weeks. Unfortunately, I have very partial data for other shows: Hidamari Sketch debuted with a 1.2% share, and Getsumen To Heiki Miina has varied between 1.7 and 2.3 in its first month. After Nodame, the top-rated late-night show seems to be Death Note (fall season, 1 am Tuesday nights), which varied between 2.3 and 3.3 over the month.

TV ratings data for the top ten are from Video Research Ltd., and other ratings data are from a site that collates data posted on 2channel and elsewhere.


nae said...

Regarding Nodame Cantabile, one also mustn't forget the hugely popular, award-winning TV series. Perhaps some fans were carried over from watching Tamaki Hiroshi and Ueno Juri's awesome Nodame.

Manabi Straight, whee. The loli justification show; or the other way 'round, for some. Love it. :)

hashihime said...

>> nae: "...Perhaps some fans were carried over from watching Tamaki Hiroshi and Ueno Juri's awesome Nodame."

I certainly was, for one. It was great. I think that had an effect on TV ratings, but I don't think it would have a big effect on 2channel popularity, considering the difference between the dorama audience and the 2channel audience. Maybe I'm wrong.

nae said...

Ah, there's little crossover? Interesting.

hashihime said...

I don't have anything more than an impression for that, really. But the way almost all dorama-like shoujo shows are shunned by 2channel is pretty striking. And the fact that almost the entire audience at a Saiunkoku live event appeared to be female -- as is true in the opposite direction at most seiyuu events -- confirms my impression that audiences are pretty deeply gender segregated in Japan.

CalAggie said...

Thanks for the TV ratings link! I spent more time than I probably should have today poring over the numbers. Newtype USA used to print anime ratings data, albeit three months old numbers, until about a year ago so it is a very welcome substitute.

MarcosV said...

More thanks for taking the time to compute popularity ranks.

I'm amazed about "Yes! Precure 5" being popular. I remember the buzz about the 1st season as being different compared to the other magic girl shows. But, it looked repeative after the 2nd season. The number of episodes that's been cranked out is amazing.