Friday, February 26, 2010

2009 Anime DVD/Blu-Ray Sales -- Bakemonogatari, K-On and The Rest

Here is a provisional tabulation of sales of the first DVD/BD releases of 2009 anime.

Heading the list -- no surprise -- are Bakemonogatari and K-On. Next comes the new Suzumiya Haruhi, showing that Kadokawa's marketing sense reigns supreme.

Then comes a big surprise, at least for me: the next title is Hetalia Axis Powers 1. Fujoshi power?

Posted on 2channel 26 February 2010. Provisional listing of sales of first releases of anime which began broadcast in 2009 -- 32 titles in all:

- rank/sales/broadcast season/title/media/release date -

1. 79,789 summer  Bakemonogatari BD/DVD released 2009/9/30
2. 51,192 spring  K-On! BD/DVD 2009/07/29
3. 31,851 summer  Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu 2 DVD 2009/08/28
4. 28,027 winter Hetalia Axis Powers 1 DVD 2009/04/24
5. 24,653 autumn To Aru Kagaku no Railgun BD/DVD 2010/01/29
6. 23,434 spr Fullmetal Alchemist 2 BD/DVD 2009/08/26
7. 20,945 sum Hetalia Axis Powers 2 DVD 2009/10/23
8. 15,643 spr Gintama 4 DVD 2009/10/28
9. 15,541 spr Suzumiya Haruhi-chan no Yuuutsu DVD 2009/05/29
10. 13,983 spr Queen's Blade 1 BD/DVD 2009/06/25
11. 13,904 aut Darker than Black 2 BD/DVD 2009/12/23
12. 12,340 win Natsume Yuujinchou 2 DVD 2009/04/22
13. 12,014 spr Sengoku Basara DVD 2009/07/01
14. 10,497 aut Kimi ni Todoke DVD 2009/12/23
15. 9,760 spr Higashi no Eden BD/DVD 2009/07/29
16. 8,671 aut Sora no Otoshimono DVD 2009/12/25
17. 7,917 spr Hayate no Gotoku 2 BD/DVD 2009/08/21
18. 7,632 aut Seitokai no Ichizon DVD 2009/12/11
19. 7,593 spr Pandora Hearts DVD 2009/07/24
20. 7,250 aut Queen's Blade 2 BD/DVD 2009/12/22
21. 6,996 spr Saki DVD 2009/07/15
22. 5,482 win Chrome-Shelled Regios DVD 2009/03/27
23. 5,287 sum Spice & Wolf 2 BD/DVD 2009/10/7
24. 5,281 sum GA Geijutsu-ka Art Design Class DVD 2009/11/6
25. 4,799 sum CANAAN BD/DVD 2009/10/21
26. 4,591 aut Kaempfer BD/DVD 2009/12/23
27. 4,548 win Maria†Holic DVD 2009/03/25
28. 4,523 sum Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei 3 DVD 2009/9/30
29. 4,459 aut Nogizaka Haruka 2 BD/DVD 2009/12/23
30. 4,387 win Minami-ke 3 DVD 2009/04/08
31. 4,283 sum Princess Lover DVD 2009/10/23
32. 4,028 aut Tegami Bachi DVD 2010/01/27

For those who can read Japanese, here is the original list, which gives full titles and a bit more detail about the disc editions:

2009年テレビアニメDVD/BD 1巻累計売り上げ(暫定版)

*1. 79,789 夏 化物語 第一巻 ひたぎクラブ (完全生産限定版) [BD+DVD]: 2009/9/30
*2. 51,192 春 けいおん! 1 (初回限定生産) [BD+DVD]: 2009/07/29
*3. 31,851 春 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱4 笹の葉ラプソディ(第1巻)限定版 [DVD]: 2009/08/28
*4. 28,027 冬 ヘタリア Axis Powers vol.1【初回限定版】 [DVD]: 2009/04/24
*5. 24,653 秋 とある科学の超電磁砲 第1巻 <初回限定版> [BD+DVD]: 2010/01/29
*6. 23,434 春 鋼の錬金術師 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 1 [BD+DVD]: 2009/08/26
*7. 20,945 夏 ヘタリア Axis Powers 第5巻(第2期)【初回限定版】(DVD)10/23
*8. 15,643 春 銀魂 シーズン其ノ四 1 (完全生産限定版) [DVD]: 2009/10/28
*9. 15,541 春 涼宮ハルヒちゃんの憂鬱とにょろ~ん☆ちゅるやさん 最初(第1巻) (DVD) 2009/05/29
10. 13,983 春 クイーンズブレイド 流浪の戦士 第1巻 [BD+DVD]: 2009/06/25
11. 13,904 秋 DARKER THAN BLACK-流星の双子- (1) [BD+DVD]: 2009/12/23
12. 12,340 冬 続・夏目友人帳 1 【完全生産限定版】 [DVD]: 2009/04/22
13. 12,014 春 戦国BASARA 其の壱 [DVD]: 2009/07/01
14. 10,497 秋 君に届け Vol.1 [DVD]: 2009/12/23
15. *9,760 春 東のエデン 第1巻 (初回限定生産版) [BD+DVD]: 2009/07/29
16. *8,671 秋 そらのおとしもの 限定版 第1巻 [DVD]: 2009/12/25
17. *7,917 春 ハヤテのごとく!! 2nd season 01 (初回限定生産) [BD+DVD]: 2009/08/21
18. *7,632 秋 生徒会の一存 第1巻 限定版 [DVD]: 2009/12/11
19. *7,593 春 PANDORAHEARTS DVD RETRACE:1 [DVD]: 2009/07/24
20. *7,250 秋 クイーンズブレイド 玉座を継ぐ者 第1巻 [BD+DVD]: 2009/12/22
21. *6,996 春 咲-Saki- 1 [DVD]: 2009/07/15
22. *5,482 冬 鋼殻のレギオス第1巻 (限定版) [DVD]: 2009/03/27
23. *5,287 夏 狼と香辛料II【1】 [BD+DVD]: 2009/10/7
24. *5,281 夏 GA 芸術科アートデザインクラス vol.1(初回限定版) [DVD]: 2009/11/6
25. *4,799 夏 CANAAN【1】 [BD+DVD]: 2009/10/21
26. *4,591 秋 けんぷファーVOL1(初回限定生産) [BD+DVD]: 2009/12/23
27. *4,548 冬 まりあ†ほりっく 第1巻 [DVD]: 2009/03/25
28. *4,523 夏 懺・さよなら絶望先生 第一集【特装版】 [DVD]: 2009/9/30
29. *4,459 秋 乃木坂春香の秘密 ぴゅあれっつぁ♪ 第1巻 <初回限定版> [BD+DVD]: 2009/12/23
30. *4,387 冬 みなみけ おかえり 1〔初回限定版〕 [DVD]: 2009/04/08
31. *4,283 夏 プリンセスラバー! Vol.1 [DVD セレブ+コレクターズ]: 2009/10/23
32. *4,028 秋 テガミバチ 1 [DVD]: 2010/01/27


totoum said...

Wow,GA in front of Canaan,going by the popularity on animesuki I would never have guessed that could happen

Westlo said...

Eh.. how exactly are they doing these figures.. are they just picking the highest selling dvd (99.999% the first vol) and going off that? That's just a wrong way to do it or a list like this from 2006 would have NANA at 75,000 or whatever it was while every other vol after the first (which was heavily discounted) sold like 8-10 thousand.

Haruhi's sales have tanked considerably compared to season 1.

Haruhi 2009 avg figures are at

18,778 (6+)

Yeah they still made a profit 100% but having your premiere series drop over 50% in sales is not exactly a good thing.

Like if Dragon Quest IX sells 10 million that's amazing, but if X sells 5 million, sure that's still a lot of profit but you know they fucked something up. And it might never recover...

Anyway here is the avg figures for the first three you listed, as you can see only Bakemonogatari is anywhere near being at the same level as the first volume.

Bakemonogatari 23,033+52,043=75,076 (4+) (Shaft)

K-ON! *7,479+33,715=41,194 (7) (Kyoto Animation)

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya 2009 (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu) 18,778 (6+) (Kyoto Animation/Kadokawa Pictures USA)

hashi said...

@Westlo -- You are perfectly right. As I tried to say clearly in the post, these are just the figures for the first volumes. We won't know total sales for quite a while, since many 2009 anime have not yet finished releasing all their volumes.

Your figures for the first three titles add a lot of clarity to the situation.

furei kinoko said...

wow, amazing! but where is my dance in the vampire bund?

Michael said...

I know costs vary a lot but what would be sale numbers you can write home about?

hashi said...

@furei kinoko -- Vampire Bund is a 2010 show, so it's not in this list. First DVD goes on sale 25 March.

@Michael -- I'm not sure. There is a thread on AnimeSuki about all this stuff, but just a quick glance doesn't give me a figure. 10K is mentioned as excellent several times, but I'm not sure.

This AS post gives all sales of anime DVDs in 2009. And you can work your way around the thread from there. Eggplant and Westlo post quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

Success depends on both the costs and expectations for a title. For instance, CANAAN was a big-budget, highly advertised effort (intended heavy-hitter; most likely, they expected at least 10,000 copies per volume), so the figures are disappointing. However, Sunred was deemed a pleasant surprise in 2008, despite managing only ~3500 copies per volume.

Traditionally, 10,000 was cited as a good number. However, the threshold of success is lower in many cases, especially with all the cost-cutting and emphasis on increasingly niche audiences (and in select cases, they'd probably need to sell 10,000 copies per volume to make it worthwhile).

skchai said...

Thanks for bringing this topic up, Hashi.

The financial implications of DVD/Blue Ray sales really depend on the kind of anime we're looking at. Late night anime (most on the top list) depend largely on these sales for their profits. Those in weekend morning or golden hour slots (e.g. Sazaesan, Chibi Maruko-chan, Doraemon, One Piece, Dragonball Kai, Bleach, Precure, FMA, etc.) have actual paying sponsors (not just their own producers), not to mention a much larger market for branded goods and such.

That being said, it does show how hard it is gauge the popularity of late night anime until the DVD/Blue-Ray sales actually come out. TV ratings are uniformly miniscule and reflect uneven geographic coverange, hence they tell you very little. The most obvious alternative measures you could think of - buzz on 2channel forums, AMV postings to Niconico Douga or Youtube, even voting on Saimoe, are imprecise and biased predictors of how profitable a late night anime will turn out to be, as tempting as it may be to use them.

Using the Oricon figures, calculating average combined per-volume sales for TV anime that released more than one volume on DVD and/or Blue-ray, these were the highest sellers of 2009:

Bakemonogatari 75,075
K-On 41,068
Gundam 00 Second Season 35,819
Usavitch 27,904
Code Geass R2 25,720
Hetalia 24,347
Clannad After Story 19,803
Suzumiya Haruhi 2nd Season 18,778
Macross Frontier 18,739
Tennis no Oujisama 18,614
Kuroshitsuji 13,971
Gintama 13,394 (25,935 if you count the Jump Anime Tour)
Strike Witches 13,357
Toradora 10,612
Zoku Natsume Yuujincho 10,316

If you included OVA series, then Kara no Kyoukai, with average sales 58,153 per volume, would be second.

Some of these shows shows were not included on the 2ch list Hashi mentioned because their first volume had been issued before 2009. In those cases, the above figures only include averages for those volumes that were issued in 2009, not the entire series.

If you went by 2ch buzz or even more by Saimoe voting, you would expect shows like Saki and Hayate no Gotoku 2nd Season to place close to the very top in sales. Their average combined sales of 7,456 and 6,471, respectively, are not bad but only a fraction of, say, Usavitch (how may of you have watched that?).

Some bishojo-centered shows do very well, obviously. K-On was 2nd highest-selling among TV anime, and Strike Witches was 13th. But with Tenipuri and Kuroshitsuji at 10th and 11th, you could argue that bishonen-centered shows are pretty much holding their own. But what is more significant about the list is its sheer diversity, including the continued strength of the mecha and space opera genres, with Gundam, Code Geass, and Macross all in the top 10.

Another interesting point is that Suzumiya Haruhi 2nd season wasn't even Kyoani's biggest title (Clannad After Story was). Finally, Natsume Yuujincho's strong sales are a pleasant surprise.

I'm not sure why I wrote this. But there might be a takeaway message, is that there is no evidence from sales figures that support the accepted wisdom that moe/bishojo-centered series are increasingly dominating the attention of late-night anime fans. Sp there is nothing here that can explain why more of such shows seem to be produced each season. Even if 2D moe-wotas tend to be much more vocal online than anyone else (to make up for their muteness elsewhere?), that doesn't seem to translate into sufficient obsessive buyng to justify seeing them as repreenting the core audience.

Anonymous said...

It depends on how you look at it. If you're referring to top ranking shows, then yeah, the selection teeters away from hardcore moe shows.

However, only a small handful of titles will place at the top. Most shows target the mid-tier (or upper lower tier), and that's where moe/fan service shows have a huge advantage over other genres. Couple that with promotion for merchandise, and these shows become much more lucrative.

skchai said...

@anonymous of March 03 -

If I'm getting you right, I don't think you literally mean that producers are "targeting" the middle tier, but rather that they would still be able to make a profit at that level, and that moe shows, more than others, reliably generate sales at no lower than the the middle tier level. Correct? If so, it's an interesting and often-related comment, and may indeed be in the back of the minds of even those in the industry who are promoting moe as the safe option in the face of financial meltdown.

The argument's plausible on the surface but doesn't really fit the facts. First of all, I haven't see any evidence that the moe titles place more reliably at the middle tielr, much less have a "huge advantage of over other genres". Do you have some figures backing that up?

Besides reliable dvd/br sales, another conceivable reasons why moe titles may be more profitable might be (1) that they cost less to produce or (2) that they generate more ancillaries (toys, music cds, etc.) Here again, I haven't seen any sustematic evidence, and simple qualitative inquiry indicates otherwise. The most popular moe titles (assuming you define this broadly to include everything from cute slice of life to "fan service-defined" shows, and include all harem or harem-like shows) were of course Bakemonogatari and K-On, but both are associated with studios that have reputations for quality productions requiring substantial budget, and this is certainly borne out by the dynamic, fluid backgrounds and natural body and facial movement that both are well-known for. Regarding ancillaries, children's shows have traditionally been seen as generating far more branded items sales than other genres, and there is no reason to believe this has changed. Among late-night anime, mecha/space opera-based shows have traditionally been seen as the ancillary money-makers due to model kits for machines far outselling figurines for actual human characters. I have not seen any data to suggest things have changed.

skchai said...

Continuiing with the analysis of last year's 4 cours:

Among moe-oriented titles of 2009, if you define "moe" broadly to include everything from cute slice of life to blatant fan service, the following would be a reasonalble list: Akikan, Bakemonogatari, Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!, Hatsukoi Limited, Hayate no Gotoku!!, K-on, Kampfer, Kanamemo, Kodomo no Jikan, Needless, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu S2, Minamike Okaeri, Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu Purezza, Princess Lover, Queen's Blade (both seasons), Saki, Seiken no Blacksmith, and Taisho Yakyuu Musume. Their success was all over map with regards to per-unit combined CD/DVD sales:

0-1K Akikan, Hatsukoi (so sad!), Needless

1-2K Blacksmith, Juuden, Kanamemo, Purezza, Taisho Yakyuu

2-3K Kaempher, Princess

3-4K KoJika

4-5K Okaeri

6-8K Hayate II, Saki

9-10K Queen's Blade (6-8K if you count only seond season)

The rest are allready on the list I posted previously. None of this seems to support the premise that moe shows earn reliable return. Taking the entirely to 40 or so late night anime that were on at the time, selling less than 2K DVD/BR places the eight shows in question at the very bottom level, not the middle. And this constitutes nearly half of the moe titles produced last year. Hence there is no evidence to support the conventional wisdom that moe titles sell more, or even are more reliable in their sales, than titles in other genres.

The idea that moe titles don't have to sell much because they are very cheap to produce is also a canard. The cheapest non-flash anime show produced last year was probably Sunred, with incredible (some would say deliberate) abuse of recycled footage, static backgrounds, and "card theater" where dialog is taking place but neither characters (at least not much) nor background is moving. And as Anonymoous @2/27 said, it outsold Canaan (and most of the moe titles on this list). The moe titles that did do well were relatively high budget affairs from Shaft and Kyoani, although unfortunately the converse cannot be said to be true as a sizable clearly amount went into the animation for Hatsukoi Limited and Needless (at least its "deluxe" episodes), and their large high-profile casts, yet brought forth a pitiful level of sales.

Again, not sure why I'm wrote all this other than sheer procrastination, buts it's not an attack against moe, but simply trying to show, against what seems to be locked in conventional wisdom, that it is just like any other genre in the level and reliability of its returns. The rankings seem to show thatm anong those who watch late-night anime, not all are the Akibakei otaku who is the imagined customer for moe anime. Furthermore Otaku themselves are as selective as any other segment of the general audience, and certainly more discriminating (i.e. buying after researching all the choices available). That doesn't prove anything about their taste, but it does mean that one cannot depend on them to purchase something simply because it features moe characters with nekomimi or twintails or Grade A zettai ryouki or whatever, and that selling to them in general just as tricky, if not more, than selling to other segments of the anime audience.

skchai said...


When I said "40 or so", I was referring the to late night anime on at a single point in time, not all those that aired during the year.

Sunred also saved money on its cast by hiring bottom-level, nearly starving, would-be Yoshimoto Kogyo comedians instead of trained seiyuu. This is why so many of the characters, who live in a fictionalized Kawasaki, seem to speak Osaka-ben. But that's OK because they're supposed to be aliens or kaiju.

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