Thursday, August 16, 2007

Current Anime Series Popularity -- Japan vs. Abroad

I'm taking the simplest possible method of judging how otaku in Japan and outside it grade the current shows: current number of threads on 2channel vs. number of posts on AnimeSuki. This is more an index of interest than approval, but it at least gives us some comparisons. Actual Japanese TV ratings are, as usual, considerably different, with shows for kids and girls rating far higher than on 2channel.

Among otaku in Japan and abroad, the top show of the spring season is Nanoha StrikerS, by far. On 2channel, the next two shows are Lucky Star and Gurren Laggan, whereas on AnimeSuki they are Claymore and Lucky Star. Dennou Coil and Idolmaster Xenoglossia (two very different shows) are much higher on the 2channel list than on AnimeSuki, whereas Kaze no Stigma, Darker than Black and Lovely Complex are much higher on AnimeSuki. My guess is that the percentage of female posters on AnimeSuki is higher than on 2channel, which tends to ignore shoujo shows, such as Lovely Complex.

For the summer, the top show on 2channel is School Days, by a large margin, followed by Higurashi2, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and Zero no Tsukaima2. On AS, the top show is School Days, ahead of Higurashi2 and the last two episodes of Code Geass, followed by Zero no Tsukaima and then Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. The linguistic complexity -- and maybe the style of humor -- of Zetsubou Sensei may explain why it is more a favorite in Japan. And School Days may have higher mind-share in Japan because people are more familiar with the original game.

Here are fullish listings, first for spring and then for summer, listed first by 2channel popularity, then by AnimeSuki popularity:

1. spring 2007 anime

2channel -- # of threads (1000 posts per full thread)
Nanoha StrikerS 289
Lucky Star 256
Tengen Toppa Guren Lagan 192
Hayate no Gotoku 69
Dennou Coil 67
Idolmaster Xenoglossia 66
Seto no Hanayome 58
Bokurano 48
Claymore 47
Ookiku Furikabutte 46
Darker than Black 45
Kaibutsu Oujo 27
Toward Terra 25
Nagasarete Airantou 25
Gegege no Kitarou 24
Gigantic Formula 22
KissDum Engage Planet 21
Heroic Age 20
RomeoxJuliet 18
Seirei no Moribito 17
El Cazador 16
Kaze no Stigma 11
Touka Gettan 11
Oh! Edo Rocket 10
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica 9
Kamichama Karin 6
Kotetsu Sangokushi 5
OverDrive 5
Blue Dragon 5
Lovely Complex 4
Emily of New Moon 3

AnimeSuki forums -- # of posts
Nanoha StrikerS 40709
Claymore 12649
Lucky Star 11317
Tengen Toppa Guren Lagan 4021
Kaze no Stigma 2304
Hayate no Gotoku 2150
Darker than Black 1657
Lovely Complex 1512
Seto no Hanayome 1401
Nagasarete Airantou 1205
Heroic Age 1112
RomeoxJuliet 942
Seirei no Moribito 891
Bokurano 719
Touka Gettan 617
El Cazador 562
Idolmaster Xenoglossia 550
Dennou Coil 472
Kaibutsu Oujo 457
Toward Terra 391
KissDum Engage Planet 254
Kamichama Karin 217
OverDrive 170
Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica 149
Gigantic Formula 131
Ookiku Furikabutte 114
Oh! Edo Rocket 95
Gegege no Kitarou 73
Blue Dragon 57
Kotetsu Sangokushi 44
Emily of New Moon 37

2. summer 2007 anime

2channel -- # of threads (1000 posts per full thread)
School Days 45
Higurashi2 35
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 31
Zero no Tsukaima 2 28
Code Geass 24-25 18
Skygirls 15
Moetan 13
Nanatsuiro Drops 9
Potemayo 9
Mononoke 8
Mushiuta 5
Umishou 5
Doujin Work 5
Shigurui 3
Baccano 3
Code-E 3
Buzzer Beater 3
Zombie-Loan 2
Tetsuko no Tabi 2
Tokyo Majin Gakuen2 1
Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan2 1

AnimeSuki forums -- # of posts
School Days 2200
Higurashi2 1100
Code Geass 24-25 832
Zero no Tsukaima 2 625
Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 549
Moetan 359
Zombie-Loan 281
Nanatsuiro Drops 280
Mushiuta 240
Skygirls 229
Mononoke 169
Potemayo 139
Doujin Work 125
Umishou 118
Code-E 98
Baccano 88
Tokyo Majin Gakuen2 51
Shigurui 47
Tetsuko no Tabi 44
Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan2 19
Buzzer Beater 5

If any show is missing, it's because it hasn't been posted about in the last 200 shows posted about on 2channel.

Hirano Aya Leaves Hospital

The long hiatus on Hirano Aya's normally very active blog is now explained. She has just posted that she has spent the last six days in hospital, for her appendix.

"Sorry for keeping you waiting so long. I apologize for not being able to update the blog. Actually, I have just spent six days in hospital, for my appendix! But now I'm healthy and happy and out of hospital! I've got lots of strength and am getting right back to work! Don't worry about me at all! Let's get together at the Sumomo event next week!"

Aya is scheduled to take part in the open recording of a Sumomo Radio show on the Sunday after next.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hirano Aya Attacked Mercilessly on 2channel

Maybe otaku really are the scum of the Earth. Whatever, some people on 2channel have been directing salacious personal attacks against Hirano Aya 平野綾 for the past week, following her publication of a couple of shots of her with Taniyama Kishou after his concert a week and a half ago. People both for and against Aya leaped to the conclusion that she and he were an item.

The Hirano Aya threads on 2channel have been wrecked by a constant flow of salacious ascii art, insults, and blocks of repeated statements such as "they're crying, lol" (about her fans) and saying she's a loose woman.

<<-- Photo: Aya with a signed copy of her photobook "H," at the autograph session two weeks ago.

Aya has not updated her blog for four days now, the longest time it has fallen silent all year. I imagine she hardly knows what to say or feel, if she has seen any of the disgusting sh*t being posted on 2channel.

The photos, which I posted a few days ago, show her not-quite-hugging Taniyama after his concert. Kiiyan (his nickname) is a rough-looking 31-year-old seiyuu/rocker who is supposedly very successful with women. He and Aya probably first met when they both had roles in Kiddy Grade several years ago, and then again in Busou Renkin last fall. I believe their real relationship is most likely that of senior/junior. In her blog, she has previously thanked him for his help.

But an anonymous blog post added fuel to the fire, claiming that the author had seen them together in Shinjuku, holding hands and flirting. This unsupported testimony goes with the spurious list of quotes from Aya that has been going around for the past year or so, appearing to show her having little respect for otaku and voice-acting, and wanting to be an all-round entertainer. Most of the quotes have been shown to be false or taken out of context, although none of them seems unrealistic to me. If I were her, I would probably not want to date an otaku, either. And I think it's legitimate for an 18-year-old to say she has too much self-respect to voice ero-games. But she probably didn't say any of these things, except as a joke on a radio show, or in character.

<<--The young Aya some fans miss.

On the one hand, I am worried for her state of mind. It must be very difficult to ride out such a storm of personal attack without suffering emotionally. On the other hand, it is interesting to speculate just why a group of otaku hate her so much.

Certainly, fans of established stars resent her success, especially since her voice work is not as professional as theirs. I personally prefer it, but it is not as smooth or sure, and people clearly both resent her popularity and do not think she deserves it.

She does give off an "ojou-sama" sort of aura, as if she comes from a privileged world. Her family appears to be well-to-do, and she went to a prestigious private high school. To some, she is like the child of privilege who gets too many advantages.

And in her blog, she is fairly open about her ambition to be a singer, and her pictures of herself in various outfits and poses can be seen as exhibitionistic and self-absorbed. But people don't seem to criticise Tanaka Rie for her cosplay photos, and many of us love Aya's blog. Perhaps she is a bit American, after all.

<<--The mature Aya some people hate and call a "dekob**ch."

She is certainly not hiding her love of flashy clothes or of ojousama-like afternoon teas, and by showing her real preferences may be attempting to woo female fans, rather than faking maid costumes aimed at otaku. Some otaku clearly feel insulted that she is not their creature and has ambitions beyond just having them as fans.

Largely, I suspect the 2channel capers are the fevered responses of inexperienced young men whom anything sexual turns mad. The hint of her with Kiiyan both excites and disappoints them. Some dream of being with her themselves and go all potty-mouth when their dream is shattered -- either their dream of her purity or their dream of being with her. The same thing happened to Horie Yui, whose 2channel threads became a festival of gross innuendo after the head of her agency was arrested for sexual interference with an aspiring seiyuu.

I can almost sympathize with fans who began as fans of Aya as a purer-than-the-driven-snow mid-teen ingenue, and can't adjust to her as a real adult, who may even have actual physical desires. This is why, as she herself said at Anime Expo, it is forbidden for a seiyuu to have (or admit they have) a boyfriend. But I personally like her better as the maturing wannabe rocker and near-adult she has become.

It is true that she has brought some of this on herself by her declared intention of becoming "sexier" this year. The change has attracted many people and repelled others, who are now taking out their frustrations in 2channel. I don't really blame otaku in general, just the group who have gone crazy on 2channel. I imagine they are largely the same people who have hated Aya since I've been aware she existed. There is a constant undercurrent of hatred for her on 2channel that has just now risen to dominate her threads.

In any case, her photobook continues to sell well, and a second printing has been announced. And any CD associated with Lucky Star seems to sell, sell, sell, perhaps in part by association with her.

Monday, August 13, 2007

On Holiday with Koshimizu Ami, Kadowaki Mai, and Itsuki Yui

Koshimizu Ami, Kadowaki Mai, and Itsuki Yui are off on holiday together, going to a hot spring, etc., and they have set up a "Three Sisters" photo blog of their trip. It looks as if they may be posting a lot of pics, so it might be interesting. They have posted at least once an hour so far. You can follow their trip here.

Amisuke, 21, is one of the top young names in voice-acting. She is Karen in Code Geass and Tenma in School Rumble. Maita (26, in glasses) was Souju in Futakoi Alternative and will be Mimi in Kodomo no Jikan. Yuin (lank, dark hair) was Kira in Futakoi and Moe in Da Capo.

Each of the three has a good blog of their own, as well: Amisuke, Maita, Yuin. But they have set up the "Three Sisters" blog as a separate blog on Yuin's site.

EDIT: It's now the middle of the night in Japan, but they kept posting about a shot an hour up to midnight, including shots of them lounging around in their room in yukatas with one of those wonderful ryoukan meals covering the table.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

From Tsukasa's Blog: Lucky Channel Live

Fukuhara Kaori, who is the voice of Tsukasa in Lucky Star, and Katou Emiri (Kagami) were part of an open recording session of the Lucky Channel radio show on Sunday, with regulars Konno Hiromi (Akira) and Shiraishi Minoru. Kaorin reported on it in her blog. Here is a complete translation, including her emoticons and pics. Kaorin is the one wearing red. Emiri also has a report on her blog.

Wonder Festival 2007

Appeared at the "Wonder Festival" at Tokyo Big Site
We were meeting so early that I had to get up at 4am.
Even though it's summer, it was still dark (lol)
Today was the Lucky Channel open recording session
Emiri and I were secret guests,
so I couldn't tell you about it beforehand. Sorry!

We wore summery yukatas
This is about the third year I've worn my yukata.
We had obis
that matched the colors of our characters' ribbons,
and we even had hair ornaments.

← Just before the event,
a shot backstage.

↑ A lot of people came and saw us (>▽<)
According to the staff, there were almost 2000 people there.
With the heat in the venue and the lights on stage, it was pretty hot
But anyway, the audience was in good spirits,
and recording with everyone gave a very enjoyable feeling
We met a lot of people in the handshake session(^^)
and could look them in the eye
During the event, I tried as much as I could
to look in everyone's face individually

↑ Afterwards, in the green room.

How was today's open recording session? Did you enjoy it??
I really enjoyed it.
Thank you to everyone who came
By the way, it seems that today's recording session
will be put on CD and will come out with a magazine.
So people who didn't come - and people who did - be sure to listen, okay?