Posted by psgels on 8 March 2012 with categories: Winter 2012 Kaleidoscope

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.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

27 Responses

  1. Will says:

    I always thought Hakaba Kitarou was somewhat popular but to be highest rating show, just Wow!
    It’s the only series that i have never seen on noitamina, apart from the recent crap. I have to take care of that soon.

  2. omo says:

    two issues
    1. It’s not over yet!
    2. I think a lot of the strong titles are also popular mix media franchises. Or in Hakaba Kitarou’s case it’s based on a very well-known IP. OTOH shows like C, Fractale, Ungo, Guilty Crown, and BRS are basically original titles or very strange takes on some existing, unrelated media. To me that is the overriding factor (to the extent that noitamina would use a live-action show to open its 1-hr expansion)

  3. Cytl says:

    The sources I’ve seen quoted at times may be wrong, but I always see Guilty Crown doing extremely poor in the pre-sale/sale charts.

    • Scruffy says:

      Guilty Crown has done really well with BluRay sales with ~10,000 for the first volume.

      • Cytl says:

        Dear God…

      • Souther says:

        That’s good, of course, but not “really well” though when you have several other shows making anywhere from 20,000 to over 40,000.

        Now THAT’S what I’d call “selling really well” instead, not just 10,000. It’s not a bad number but not exactly “really high” in context.

        Besides, the second volume of Guilty Crown is closer to 8,000 than 10,000 anyway.

  4. hoiut says:

    I think the target audience is only a part of the puzzle. Like you say, experiential style and ambition plays a huge role in the scheme of things — but only when its entire staff is onboard.

    I can certainly agree with the point you make about market saturation, however — which makes the situation even more boggling. I mean, why compete in such a heavily saturated arena when you won’t even take risks (which is doubly awkward considering its legacy).

    It’s great to see you’re still following GC, though; might I inquire as to the reason? “In fascination of a trainwreck” works perfectly, by the way.

    • Rednights says:

      Probably so he can back up his claim of GC being absolute trash so he doesn’t get accuse of criticizing a show he never watched. It’s probably too insulting to his brain to write about a train wreck, though just watching it is an entirely different matter.

  5. Kim says:

    They were definitely going for a different audience with Guilty Crown. Sorry to say but this experiment did well for the block.

  6. MarigoldRan says:

    What are the sample sizes?????

  7. Ahelo says:

    Speaking of C and Anohana, those two were really the Jumpshark for noitaminA to survive. At one point I think the ratings for C actually reached a 4.5 or something (I saw it on the ratings thread on animesuki) and Anohana actually beated C at one point “it was the first for a latter series to be rated higher than the first one in noitaminA”. Also note that Anohana did sell 30 000 copies on average (3times of GC). I do agree to the fact that besides Anohana, every single more otaku-targeted series like Guilty Crown and BRS are kind of terrible but noitaminA head honchos did say they wanted a bit more revenue and DVD sales do matter for those kind of series.

    • Anca says:

      The noitaminA head honchos are the TV station, they don’t get revenue out of DVD sales.

      • CKSqua says:

        Sure they do. Fuji TV isn’t just a broadcaster but one of the leading producers and investors on the shows (noitaminA is divided into two halves now, with one side dominated by Aniplex and the other by Fuji. For instance, Guilty Crown = Aniplex while BRS and Fractale = Fuji TV). They foot the bill -and- profit from sales.

  8. tktym says:

    Psgels should submit this report to the people at noitama

  9. betawatcher says:

    I thought Hourou Musuko & Shiki was really nice…

    • Rahzel says:

      My thoughts exactly, those were the two latter series I liked the most, for keeping the artistic appeal while also having solid stories. I think BRS, No.6, Kuragehime and such are okay too, but no matter how much I tried, I looked at AnoHana and Guilty Crown and saw generic otaku-pandering stuff, so the visuals did a lot for me… I wonder if that’s an issue with the japanese public, too.

  10. ChemicalRen says:

    Well, there may be hope yet! Next season we have Tsuritama (by Kuchuu Buranko’s Kenji Nakamura) and Sakamichi no Apollon, a Josei manga adaptation.

    Sakamichi no Apollon, at least, seems to be aimed at an older demographic, and you never know what to expect with Nakamura XD

    • Litho says:

      I, for one, am looking forward to both shows. Hope they bring back some of Noitamina’s lost magic.

      Honestly though, now that teenagers (audience, I mean) have polluted the station/slot, I’m not really expecting much. Kinda like Apple and OS X – was great up to 10.4 Tiger, but didn’t have much of a user base among non artsy/techie folk. Dumb it down constantly until you get the turd that is 10.7 Lion and all the iSheep will start buying. Moral: Build something any idiot can relate to, and idiots WILL use/buy it… and idiots are the biggest demographic in any sector.

  11. kurini says:

    Thanks Psgels for sharing this!

  12. RABUJOI says:

    Thanks for compiling the numbers and for your analysis. The first Noitamina series I ever watched was Eden to the

    East, so I was pretty late to the party. Here’s how I’d rank all the Noitamina series I’ve watched from best to worst,

    with their TV ratings.

    1. Shiki – 2.56/2.38
    2. Eden of the East – 3.96
    3. AnoHana – 2.63
    4. Yojou-Han – 2.08
    5. Un-Go – 2.18
    6. C – 2.63
    7. Sarai-Ya Goyou – 2.08
    8. Kuragehime – 2.38
    9. Black Rock Shooter – 1.86
    10. Guilty Crown – 2.17/1.86
    11. Fractale – 1.76
    12. No. 6 – 2.12

  13. Litho says:

    Reason why Yojou-Han got low ratings, imho, is that is just wasn’t up to the level of what that Director/Studio combo produced prior – Kemonozume and Kaiba.

    Sarai-Ya Goyou got low ratings for similar reasons. People expected too much from Manglobe.

    Surprised Hataraki man rated so well, though. It really wasn’t anything special compared to what came before.

    AnoHana, imho, isn’t Noitamina level either. Sure, it might be good to many people (personally, it annoyed me) but it’s not exactly something people in the Noitamina age group can relate to. Trust me, I know. Us forgotten generation (you know, people who were in highschool when the great Asian financial recession struck) were busy rebelling via forming bands and gangs, not thinking up imaginary ghost friends.

    No opinion on Shiki as I never watched it. Tokyo Mag 8 and Eden of the East were both pretty good. Trapeze remains Noitamina’s high point (at least from those listed in your chart), imho. Un-Go had a great concept (source material) but was poorly executed. Usagi Drop was awesome, but maybe ratings suffered since many people didn’t like th eway the manga ended.

    Black Rock Shitter, Guilty Crap, Fructose and No.69 aren’t even worth considering.

    • hoiut says:

      This is an interesting analysis in itself. It’s good you noted BRS, GC, Fractale, and No.6 weren’t being targeted to the same demographic usually associated with Noitanima. But demographic targets don’t necessarily equate to the “level” of a production — youngsters and otaku might genuinely like some of those titles more, making them successful in their own right.

      Of course, lending these series to the thorough critique of an older audience would yield roughly the same conclusion as yours, no doubt.

      • hoiut says:

        I forgot to draw the obligatory parallel to the (in)famous Mahou Shojotai, which has garnered quite a mixed reputation here among psgel’s followers. Read into that what you will, of course.

  14. CKSqua says:

    “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.”

    Sadly, that isn’t the case anymore. In the beginning, noitaminA could get by with a focus on TV ratings. However, popularity was frequently a struggle, and with the ad business changing over time (as a result, external sponsorship greatly declined, so where’s the ad revenue?), TV ratings no longer had the same meaning.

    So yeah, DVD/BD sales are everything, which forced noitaminA to change.

  15. xxxholicwing says:

    Idk if you have read this yet, psgels. But it is an interesting article for every anime fan to know:
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com.au/feature/2012-03-05

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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