Wednesday, February 07, 2007

January Anime: popularity outside Japan

Just for comparison with the previous post about anime popularity in Japan, here is a rough guide to the popularity of the new season's anime outside Japan. The index I'm using is the number of posts for each title on the AnimeSuki Forums.

Clearly this is very rough, especially since half the shows haven't even been subbed yet (if they ever will be). Unsubbed shows in red:

Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora 556
Shuffle! Memories 367+
Manabi Straight 253
Nodame Cantabile 238
Venus Versus Virus 205
Les Miserables 95 (sub just released)
Hidamari Sketch 69
Deltora Quest 65
Saint October 64
Getsumen To Heiki Miina 56 (sub just released)
Yes! Precure 5 20 (sub just released)
Himawari!! 18
Master of Epic 7
Angelique 6

Here, Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora is the clear favorite, with Shuffle! Memories second, and Nodame Cantabile very close to Manabi Straight for third place. For an unsubbed show, there is a lot of interest in Les Miserables, but many of those posts came before the show started.

EDIT: In his comment (below) adding information about Korean popularity, based on number of subs, wontaek indirectly reminded me that my title is a bit misleading. Rather than changing the title to "Popularity in the West," I thought I'd add some info on popularity in the Chinese-speaking world.

I used wontaek's method of judging by number of groups subbing each show. The numbers are approximate, based on a quick search of Greedland, which is the most inclusive Chinese anime bt site I know. Hold on to your hats. These numbers will seem very high to people who don't know how active the Chinese subbing community is:

Shuffle Memories 14
Kyoushirou to Towa no Sora 13
Manabi Straight 11
Getsumen To Heiki Miina 11
Hidamari Sketch 8
Saint October 8
Nodame Cantabile 7
Venus Versus Virus 7
Tokyo Majin Gakuen 7
Les Miserables 5
Himawari!! 3
Angelique 3
Yes! Precure 5 1 (so far; it just started)
Master of Epic 1
Deltora Quest 0 (I don't know what it's called in Chinese, so I'm not sure)

These numbers represent number of groups that have subbed at least one episode of a series. I didn't take the time to judge how many have kept on, but it's definitely the great majority.

The show that stands out here is Getsumen To Heiki Miina, with its 11 sub groups. This shows a level of interest even higher than in Japan. Those who are eagerly awaiting the first English sub of Hidamari Sketch will be impressed -- or perhaps depressed -- by the fact that there are eight groups subbing it in Chinese.

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.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Seiyuu Awards Nominees

A new awards presentation will take place on March 3 in Tokyo: the Seiyuu Awards. The competition has been organized by the Tokyo Anime Centre and various companies and organizations to select the seiyuu that "left the deepest impression" with their work during the year.

Here are the nominees (in Japanese alphabetical order, with the role they are nominated for) in six categories: lead male, lead female, supporting male, supporting female, new male, new female (less than five years in the field), singer (for releases issued under their own names), and media personality. Despite the fact that I haven't seen everything, I've put my own choices in bold.

The voting will be done both by industry people and by the public. The website says you can vote via the Tokyo Anime Center website, as well as by cell phone and paper ballot, but I haven't been able to discover how.

male lead:
Koyama Rikiya - Hakuoro (Utawarerumono)
Sakurai Takahiro - Haseo (.hack//Roots)
Sugita Tomokazu - Kyon (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Seki Tomokazu - Kenichi (History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi)
Fukuyama Jun - Lerouche (Code Geass)
Hoshi Souichirou - Maebara Keiichi (Higurashi no Naku koro ni)
Miki Shinichirou - Ryuusei Date (Super Robot Wars OG)
Miyano Mamoru - Light (Death Note)
Morita Masakazu - Ichigo (Bleach)
Yoshino Hiroyuki - Zedd (Kiba)

female lead:
Kawasumi Ayako - Saber (Fate/stay Night)
Kugimiya Rie - Louise (Zero no Tsukaima)
Kuwashima Houko - Shuurei (Saiunkoku Monogatari)
Sakamoto Maaya - Haruhi (Ouran High school Host Club)
Tanaka Rie - Matsukata Hiroko (Hataraki Man) (a close second)
Tamura Yukari - Akazukin (Otogijushi Akazukin)
Noto Mamiko - Amaha Masane (Witchblade)
Paku Romi - Oosaki Nana (Nana) (third)
Hirano Aya - Haruhi (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu) (fourth)
Horie Yui - Youko (Inukami!)

male supporting character:
Ishida Akira - Athrun Zala (Gundam Seed Destiny)
Ochiayu Ryoutarou - Kuchiki Byakuya (Bleach: Memories of Nobody)
Konishi Katsuyuki - Guren (Shounen Onmyouji) (?? misprinted on website)
Sakurai Takahiro - Suzuka (Code Geass)
Sugita Tomokazu - Mayama (Honey & Clover 2)
Suzumura Kenichi - Hikaru (Ouran High School Host Club)
Suwabe Junichi - Archer (Fate/stay night)
Hoshi Souichirou - Kira Yamato (Gundam Seed DestinyFinal Plus)
Miyata Kouki - Yoshinaga Kazumi (The Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas)
Wakamoto Norio - Gargoyle (The Gargoyle of the Yoshinagas)

female supporting character:
Kugimiya Rie - Kagura (Gintama)
Koshimizu Ami - Karen (Code Geass)
Gotou Yuuko - Asahina Mikuru (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Sawashiro Miyuki - Aruru (Utawarerumono)
Tanaka Rie - Lacus Cline (Gundam Seed Destiny Final Plus)
Tamura Yukari - Rika (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
Toyoguchi Megumi - Hikari (Pokemon Diamond and Pearl)
Noto Mamiko - Yakumo (School Rumble 2)
Hirano Aya - Misa (Death Note)
Matsuoka Yuki - Inoue Orihime (Bleach)

new performer male:
Irino Miyu - Syaoran (Tsubasa Chronicle)
Ono Daisuke - Itsuki (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Kakihara Tetsuya - Yutaka Mikoto (Princess Princess)
Sugita Tomokazu - Kyon (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Suzuki Tatsuo - Dick Arkain (Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu)
Terashima Takuma - Harue Wataru(Princess Princess)
Hatano Wataru - Shin (Honey & Clover 2)
Fukuyama Jun - Lerouche (Code Geass)
Miyano Mamoru - Light (Death Note)
Morita Masakazu - Ichigo (Bleach)

new performer female:
Kano Yui - Momoko (Sumomo mo momo mo)
Kitamura Eri - Saya (Blood+)
Koshimizu Ami - Tenma (School Rumble2)
Kobayashi Yu - Setsuna (Negima!?)
Saitou Momoko - Solty (Solty Rei)
Sakai Kanako - Aka (REC)
Chihara Minori - Nagato Yuki (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Hirano Aya - Haruhi (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu)
Makino Yui - Misaki (Welcome to the NHK)
Miyazaki Ui - Iroha (Sumomo mo Momo mo)

Sakamoto Maaya - Kazemachi Jet
Suzuki Tetsuo - Heated Heart
Suwabe Junichi - X - Fuushin
Takahashi Naozumi - Tomorrow's Memories
Taniyama Kishou - Infinite Love
Tamura Yukari - Fairytale Labyrinth
Hirano Aya - Bouken Deshou Deshou?
Hirano Aya, Gotou Yuuko, Chihara Minori (SOS Brigade)- Hare Hare Yukai
Horie Yui - Hikari
Mizuki Nana - Justice to Believe

Asano Masumi - A&G Super Radio Show ~Anisupa~
Koyama Rikiya - Utawarerumono Radio
Sakurai Takahiro - Komuchatto Countdown
Suzumura Kenichi - Iwata Mitsuo/Suzumura Kenichi - Sweet Ignition
Tamura Yukari - Tamura Yukari's Teasing Black Bunny
Hayashibara Megumi - Hayashibara Megumi's Heartful Station
Horie Yui - Horie Yui's Angel's Egg
Mizuki Nana - Mizuki Nana Smile Gang
Miyata Kouki - Tokyo Anime Center Radio
Yuzuki Ryouka - Utawarerumono Radio