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Analysis: Winter 2010 Anime Season

Gia goes in-depth into this year's winter anime season.

 Like snowflakes, every single anime season is unique. Let's talk a bit more in-depth about some of the trends we're seeing for anime this coming season, which starts January 2010. But before you read this, make sure you check out the winter anime season preview so you know what the heck I'm talking about!

Only 15 Shows?!

 Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
 Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
Depending on how you count-- I didn't include the latest Pretty Cure series, for example, because there don't seem to be a lot of fans of it here (am I wrong?) --but yes, there are relatively few shows coming out this season. Now, winter is usually the smallest season, where spring tends to be the biggest (followed by fall and then summer), but 15 is small even for that. It's less than half the number of shows that came out this fall, and considerably less than last year's ~20. (This is subtracting shows aimed only at young kids that are of little to no interest to our readers; including them there were probably about 18 shows this season, and about 23-25 last year's winter.)

Is it something to freak out about? Probably not. We know that the anime market has definitely been contracting somewhat, but given how many shows came out in fall, I don't think we have to worry that they're going to "stop doing anime" or anything along those lines just yet. We'll have to wait and see if there's a declining trend across all the seasons before I really start to worry-- but it's important to be aware of the trend.

How 'Bout Them Genres

 HaruToki 3
 HaruToki 3
First off, I think this is the first season I've seen in a long time that didn't appear to have any eroge adaptations in it, which is pretty amazing. The closest are Harukanaru Toki no Naka de, which is based on a shoujo visual novel, and Ookami Kakushi, which is based on a horror visual novel for the PSP.

That's not to say that harem and moe-girl series aren't still popular, though. Baka to Test, Ladies vs Butlers, Chu-Bra, and Hidamari Sketch are all in that bishoujo (pretty girl) vein, and Seikon no Qwaser will definitely have some fanservice, although probably a bit less light-hearted.

Unsurprisingly, there aren't many outright shoujo series, although it feels like past seasons had seen a rise in them, like Corda d'Oro's second season and Hanasakeru Seishonen from spring '09, Aoi Hana and Hetalia second season from summer '09, and Kimi ni Todoke, Miracle Train, Sasameki Koto, and Winter Sonata from spring '09.

But no, this winter sees only sequels aimed directly at women: Nodame Cantabile's Finale and the new season of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de. On the other hand, there don't seem to be quite as many shows that look outright like something that would push female fans away, either, so maybe that helps even it out?


Simulcasts, Plz?

Well, it'll probably be closer to the actual air dates of shows before we hear whether they'll get a simulcast or not. Last season Crunchyroll announced most of their simulcast shows the same week that their first episode aired, so I'm afraid you're just going to have to stay tuned here as announcements start to come in.

I hope FUNimation and VIZ, who have also dipped their toes in the simulcasting waters, start getting in waist-deep as well...but let's face it; none of these series is a Fullmetal Alchemist, InuYasha, or Naruto in terms of pre-established popularity and recognition, so while I could picture FUNimation picking up one or two of the more-anticipated shows (maybe So Ra No Wo To?), I'm not really expecting it. I suspect VIZ is even less likely to jump on one of these shows, since they seem inclined to keep their anime resources devoted more to those big-name titles.

Which, barring the sudden establishment of a new site who garners licenses, leaves pretty much everything up for the pickings for Crunchyroll. However, they seem to mostly get titles from TV Tokyo. If we just pretend that's where they'll get everything, that leaves:
  • Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
  • Hanamaru Kindergarten
  • So Ra No Wo To

Take comfort though: not ALL of Crunchyroll's simulcasts are shows that air on TV Tokyo (Hanasakeru Seishounen aired on the NHK-BS2, and Asura Cryin' aired on AT-X). I'm hoping that they're able to maintain their status of simulcasting at least 50% of the anime currently airing in Japan.

Random Tidbits

  • As far as I can tell, the last time anime studio Shaft did a TV anime without Akiyuki Shinbo as director was in 2008 with Ef-Melo. Granted, Shaft isn't a high-volume-output studio, but that's still pretty surprising. (Shinbo didn't direct the 2008 and 2009 Negima! OVAs, however.) Given that they're not super high-volume, it's also interesting that Shaft is doing two TV anime at once (Hidamari Sketch and Dance in the Vampire Bund), both helmed by Shinbo of course.

  •   Ayahi Takanaga The busiest seiyuu this season-- not including who's in stuff that's still airing from last season --is Ayahi Takagaki, who will be playing Erika Karisawa in Durarara, Hiiragi in Hanamaru Kindergarten, and Ayana Minase in Seikon no Qwaser. In a small season like this, that means she's literally in 20% of this season's shows (3/15=0.2).

     Ayahi Takagaki
     Ayahi Takagaki
  • This season there are four continuations-- Hidamari Sketch, HaruToki 3, Nodame, and Weiss Survive R. Of those, three of them are threequels, meaning that Weiss Survive R is the only actual "sequel" per se. For the record, that leaves Winter 2010 at over a quarter continuations. (For comparison: winter '09 was nearly 35%, spring '09 had 13%, summer '09 had 15%, and fall '09 about 20%-- 2009's overall average was about 20.75%.)

Whew. Did you guys notice anything else interesting about this season that I missed? Let us know in the comments!
CorAutMorson Dec. 3, 2009 at 2 p.m.
I'd have to say the winter anime i'm most looking forward to would have to be Durarara! i'm a sucker for anything by Ryougo Narita.
Pyroon Dec. 3, 2009 at 2:05 p.m.
Someone in a math mood today? :P  Interesting to see the trends in numbers though.
 
I'll probably be checking most of the shows you've listed for the winter preview... but none really jump out at me this season.
 
Though, I'm curious as to when we'll stop getting loli vampires, and get another badass vampire like Alucard from Hellsing...
John_Martoneon Dec. 3, 2009 at 2:08 p.m.
Aww, I remember that picture of me cracked out and begging in front of Otakon!!! Oh the memories.
 
On the simulcast front, I'm in a state of doubt about if the major distributors will deem it worthwhile to do any of these titles. You're right, they aren't any A++ list series here, and unlike CrunchyRoll, FUNi and Viz will probably just refocus their efforts on the larger titles they already have rights too and other day to day business.
giaon Dec. 3, 2009 at 2:18 p.m.
@Pyro: Well, you know what they say about lies, damn lies, and statistics, but I think numbers can help people see some of the trends. As for vampires...yeah, we could really use some non-wussy, non-punchline vampires sometime soon.
 
@John_Martone: Yeah, suffice it to say, no one here wants to know what that text originally said. You dirty whore.
 
But yes, I'm with you; I think that FUNi and VIZ aren't likely to simulcast any of these. Crunchyroll will because they depend on simulcasts, and they also depend on that hardcore audience who wants them (like me)! :) It's just a matter of how many and which ones. I really hope they get Durarara, Ladies vs Butlers, Katanagatari, and So Ra No Wo To...though actually, I REALLY hope they get ALL of 'em so that I can review them for everyone! ;)
Slimon Dec. 3, 2009 at 3:01 p.m.
You guys sure dig the dregs of the past for photo content. O.o
giaon Dec. 3, 2009 at 3:12 p.m.
@Slim: I will reuse that photo fifty million times if opportunity permits. It's a great shot! I should know, because I *think* I took it. (A bunch of us did, and I remember editing this one before too, so I think it's mine...but I'm not entirely sure O.o;)
omoon Dec. 3, 2009 at 4:19 p.m.
Just a minor note, but I'm p. sure AT-X is a TV Tokyo affiliate or spin off, so some of their titles are natural candidates for Crunchyroll as we've seen in the past.
giaon Dec. 3, 2009 at 4:42 p.m.
@omo: That could be, and wouldn't surprise me. It's hard to untangle all those corporate relationships, and not just because my business Japanese is terrible ;)
Quarkboyon Dec. 4, 2009 at 5:40 a.m.
@gia: just because soro no oto, baka to test, and hanamaru air on TV Tokyo doesn't mean that TV Tokyo Medianet controls the international rights to the show. 
You'll need to do some more in depth digging into the makeup of the production committees to determine that. 
Now, that doesn't mean CR couldn't get them regardless... and if they do get them they can use the material delivery chain set up for TV Tokyo stuff, but it's far from a lock.
giaon Dec. 4, 2009 at 9:41 a.m.
@Quarkboy: Absolutely true, and I didn't intend to imply that. I could probably be clearer, but I really just intended to say that TV Tokyo has a hand in these shows of some kind, so they seem like the most likely candidates. :)   Fairy Tail is a good example of a TV Tokyo show that TVT didn't have international rights to, although they were instrumental in helping Crunchyroll get the limited license that they now have for the series, at least from what my contacts at CR told me. ^_^
 
But as with all such analyses, everything I'm offering here is intended to be speculation, so of course none of it is a lock. Crunchyroll could wind up getting all of the new shows; they could wind up getting none of them. More likely they'll get a batch and there's no way to know for sure which ones. :)
Quarkboyon Dec. 4, 2009 at 10:53 a.m.
@gia: As I'm the translator for Fairy Tail (and Tegami Bachi), I'm quite intimately aware :). 
Thanks for highlighting TB, by the way. 
Devillyon Dec. 4, 2009 at 11:38 a.m.
I hate myself for liking the Fresh! Precure OP >_>

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Animation studio noted for unique direction by Akiyuki Shinbo, Shin Oonuma, and Tatsuya Oishi (among others) in series such as Tsukuyomi MOON PHASE Madoka Magica and Pani Poni Dash!

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