Gasp! Could it be? Guilty Crown actually observes some basic rules of storytelling for once? The flashback that took up the majority of this episode was pretty much the best part of Guilty Crown so far, because 1) it actually bothered to explain things rather than pulling whatever is the most convenient out of its ass, and most importantly 2) it had no bloody Shu in it. Of course the ending of the episode ruined things again, with Shu still being in Jesus-mode and all.
That’s not why I decided to devote this week’s Kaleidoscope to what is in my view the worst Noitamina show ever made. Instead, I found out something interesting that I’d like to share and talk about: Noitamina’s tv-rankings. For a while, I was really afraid when I found out that Guilty Crown was selling so well. I really feared that this show will set horrible standards for the future of Noitamina. However, the success of Noitamina isn’t just based on sales, isn’t it? What made the timeslot big in the first place wasn’t the sales at all; it was the ratings it got. I mean, at its height, the timeslot was by far the most popular late-night timeslot out there.
Because of that I decided to look up the ratings of the different Noitamina-shows. They were by all means weird and very inconsistent, but also very interesting. I made a compilation of the average ratings for each pair of series (unfortunately I couldn’t find ratings for each individual show for the double-slots), using data gathered from here, here and here. This season’s Noitamina shows are up to last week’s episode. All of these ratings are in percents.
Honey & Clover – 3,04
Paradise Kiss – 3,19
~ayakashi~ – 3,5
Jyu Oh Sei – 3,5
Honey & Clover 2 – 3,2
Hataraki Man – 4
Nodame Cantabile – 4,39
Mononoke – 3,48
Moyashimon – 4,56
Hakaba Kitarou – 4,8
Library War – 3,47
Antique Bakery – 3,45
Nodame Cantabile Paris – 4,62
Genji Monogatari Sennenki – 3,32
Eden of the East – 3,96
Tokyo Magnitude 8,0 – 3,56
Kuchuu Buranko – 2,66
Nodame Cantabile Finale – 3,25
Sarai-Ya Goyou/Yojou-Han – 2,08
Shiki/Moyashimon Live-Action – 2,56
Shiki/Kuragehime – 2,38
Hourou Musuko/Fractale – 1,76
C/Ano Hana – 2,63
No,6/Usagi Drop – 2,12
Un-Go/Guilty Crown – 2,18
Thermae Romae/Guilty Crown – 2,17
Black Rock Shooter/Guilty Crown – 1,86
Let’s first look at the decline of these ratings, which started with Kuchuu Buranko, and really set through when the timeslot went double length with Sarai-Ya Goyou and Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei, where it reached staggeringly low numbers when you compare it to the previous ratings. After Shiki which aired right afterwards, this also was the last time where Noitamina lost a lot of its experimental touch in terms of animation and scenario and series structure. Quickly afterwards, their strategy of appealing more to a teenaged audience started, with Fractale. This is where the timeslot reached its all-time low with a rating of 1.76.
C and Anohana meanwhile managed to lift up the ratings again slightly, by being overall really well made series (Ano Hana was my favorite series of 2011 for a reason), but the focus at a younger audience remained, culminating in this season, which pretty much is the worst that in terms of actual series (for me at least). The thing is though, that Noitamina’s audience seems to agree. Last week’s ratings were really, really low for the timeslot and that landed it a on the second worst spot, just before Fractale and Hourou Musuko. In other words: the experiment of appealing more to a younger audience… has pretty much failed in terms of rating.
Now, if we look at the kinds of series that in the past did lead to really high ratings, things get a bit weird, because these numbers are rather inconsistent at times. There seems to be one red thread amongst the top performers though: fandom. What’s the best rated Noitamina series out there? It really surprised me when I found out for the first time, but it’s Hakaba Kitarou of all things. The one thing that series did was appeal to everyone who grew up with Gegege no Kitarou, while also giving it a new look and feel. After that comes Nodame Cantabile, which also has a very big built up fanbase, and it also really helped that the first season was incredibly good, solid, and really hard to dislike.
When looking at the series after that though, things get really weird. By far the strangest is how well Ayakashi Japanese Classic Horror did. Out of all the Noitamina-series, that was by far the most experimental and yet it didn’t alienate its audience and delivered a really solid rating of 3.5, the best of the timeslot so far, and until Hataraki Man surpassed it with a random story about a working lady.
And I think that that’s also one of the appeals of why the early slice of life series of the timeslot scored so well: they were really easy to relate to. They were written in a very down to earth way. The latest Noitamina shows however? you can’t really relate to those. Except perhaps for Usagi Drop. Even Anohana: I obviously loved it, along with a lot of other people. But mainstream appeal? It was just too dramatic for that.
And here is the thing: the audience of Noitamina can very much appreciate a good series. Of course I don’t agree with the relatively low ratings for Sarai-Ya Goyou and Yojou-Han, but I love that there is an actual audience for Ayakashi, Mononoke, Nodame Cantabile, Hakaba Kitarou, Honey and Clover, Hataraki Man, Eden of the East, Tokyo Magnitude, and even Genji Monogatari and Antique Bakery. It’s a shame that a lot of the audience was lost during the move to the double time-slot, but it’s also very interesting that another part of the audience doesn’t agree with the move to a younger audience.
You see Noitamina, the reason why that doesn’t work is simple: competition. You started with enabling a hole in the market: series aimed at an older audience at ta time when they are easy to watch, yet they contain a lot of substance to actually make it worth the limited time that adults have inbetween their jobs and studies. However, when you move over to a younger audience, you’ll enter a much more saturated market, in which it’s much harder to stand out. That market is completely different in the way that they consume anime, as shown by the really high dvd sales of Guilty Crown, yet really disappointing ratings.