Posts Tagged ‘endless eight’
When the first volume of a new series is released on DVD, the sales figures can be a very telling figure in determining how successful the series actually is. Fans can say all they want about a series while it’s on television but for studios and creators, it’s the DVD and (now) Blu ray sales that bring in the profits over the long run. So when the first DVD of both Bakemonogatari and the Endless Eight Haruhi Suzumiya did respectable sales with their releases, it caught my attention. I really enjoyed Bakemonogatari but wondered, would fans keep buying the releases by the thousands in the future? Likewise, the first volume containing the dreaded Endless Eight story arc sold over 12,000 copies which is frankly more than I ever thought it would. The latest figures have come in for both Bakemonogatari Vol. 2 in Japan and the second of four Endless Eight DVDs and surprisingly both have remained in the top five of the Oricon sales charts.
Setting new records for TV anime, Bakemonogatari initially sold 56,000 copies (combined DVD and Blu ray) of the first volume in its first two weeks on the streets. That number was big enough to set a record in itself but now the second volume of the series has gone on to sell 39,000 copies on Blu ray in its first week. This makes it the best selling TV anime Blu ray release in history easily beating the 33,000 copies sold by K-ON earlier this year. The only other anime to have stronger sales is Evangelion 1.11 which sold 49,000 in its first week.
In a related note, the first of three unaired episodes has finally begun streaming from the official website. Delayed an extra week due to production issues, fans are finally be able to see the final episodes of the Tsubasa Cat arc. I suggest you go do that instead of thinking about the depressing news that follows in the next paragraph.
In news that is slightly more depressing, the second volume of the Haruhi Suzumiya Endless Eight arc has managed to sell over 12,000 copies putting it into a solid third place on the sales charts and proving that otaku will buy anything. On that note I’d like to speak personally to everyone who is actually buying these DVDs… Cut it out! Bad otaku! You cried bloody murder when it aired originally and yet you’re still supporting it? And if you’re one of the few on this side of the Pacific who is taking the time and money to import these DVDs: Stop that! Kyoto Animation has over 12,000 enablers in Japan already; do you really want to be part of that?
In the final episode of the renewed Haruhi Suzumiya broadcast, a teasing message was included to announce a brand new Haruhi Suzumiya movie which will be released in the spring of 2010. The movie will animate the primary story in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya light novel which fans believed was going to be part of the second season before getting Endless Eight. The teaser image doesn’t reveal anything besides the planned season release but as soon as new information is available it will be on the official site.
Not so surprisingly, the excitement from fans and bloggers I’m sensing is fairly low. Could it really be possible that the legions of fans that this series once had have moved on? The first Endless Eight DVD sold a dismal (yet surprisingly high) 14,000 copies upon its release. Of course, there are still three more volumes of that story arc left to be released to test the ‘otaku will buy anything’ adage. But have enough fans been burned by the franchise or will all be forgiven once promotion begins on the new movie?
Before I dive into this rant, I’d like to reiterate that I’m not actually a fan of the Haruhi Suzumiya series. I don’t dislike it; I just never got into it. That being said, the entire ‘Endless Eight’ saga was fascinating to watch as an outsider. I really do sympathize with fans, if a series that I enjoy eight versions of the same episode in a row I’d be upset as well. So with that in mind, what could possibly explain the decision to run with the ‘Endless Eight’ story arc? An idea so moronic that even the voice of Haruhi Suzumiya, Aya Hirano, trashed the idea in an interview. Arguments are plentiful, was it a cost cutting measure? It’s certainly possible; the official corporate website for Kadokawa reveals a steady decline in revenue and profit over the last couple of fiscal years.
Luckily for everyone, I have just enough free time on my hands to come up with what could possibly have made anyone think this was a good idea. One person may have originally thought of the idea but it took an entire committee to actually agree and green light the project. So, what could possibly explain why an entire group of people thought this was a good idea?
Publicity: To describe the handling of Haruhi Suzumiya this year you really only need one word: disastrous. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Haruhi Suzumiya has remained a hot property since its debut on television. And for months fans waited for news that their new god would be returning to air waves… and waited and waited. Then early this year, Kadokawa rose and told fans to be prepared as they would be uploading free new content to YouTube before delivering a nice boat.
Then news came of a second season and fans realized that it would be a re-airing of the original. There were new episodes and fans were given ‘Endless Eight’. Time and time again this year, Kadokawa has bumbled around with the release by constantly teasing fans or plain not delivering on promises. How many of these have really been mistakes though? Is it plausible to believe that the people who work in Kadokawa and KyoAni are this consistently incompetent? Anime fans have been vocal all year about the teasing and mistakes. They’ve also remained mostly loyal and have stuck with the series regardless talking more and more about Kadokawa and their series the entire time. Publicly gained. Cost: Pissed off fans that seem to be watching the series regardless.
Kadokawa Has the Best Sense of Humor EVER: Not likely but wouldn’t it be interesting to know that the whole story arc was just one of the best jokes played on fans ever? Because to be honest, if you were a heartless bastard who had a hugely popular property complete with millions of fans around the world it would be tempting to toy with them. Perhaps the entire board of directors within Kadokawa was actually laughing their asses off on a daily basis as they watched fans scream themselves blue.
Kadokawa Doesn’t Care about Your Fandom and Thinks Your Dog Stinks Too: Kadokawa hates anime fans. Yes that’s right everyone, Kadokawa thinks that all otaku are dorks who have no significant others to go out with on Thursdays anyway so they may as well stay home and watch their cartoons. It’s not like they’re going to notice pretty much the same episode airing for eight weeks in a row and even if they do, they won’t care. Because it’s all about you, now go write a long journal entry about how the anime industry is mean and cruel to its fans.
Testing the Waters: But perhaps this is a diabolical plot of a different kind. Is this merely a test to see just how much abuse fans are willing to take in order to get their Haruhi fix? At first glance this idea seems laughable; it’s just a stupid story arc that eventually went away. But then there are the DVD sales. Obviously the story arc was eventually going to make it to DVD but at full price? On four volumes? That will be numbered with seven digit codes that aren’t being released in numerical order? Otaku in Japan may have finally found their ultimate stress test.
Profits: In reality though the driving decision behind most things in life and business are the almighty dollar. Kadokawa and KyoAni aren’t stupid, producing eight of the same episodes may have been cheaper to produce but they still weren’t cheap. Re-production and re-dubbing every episode still cost money to both companies and the majority of these costs are recouped from DVD sales. This is where everything else comes into focus, are enough fans going to be willing to shell out the money to collect these DVDs to make the entire venture worth it?
Fans have a big opportunity here. Blogging and message board posts are certainly a method to get your voices heard. If you’re upset with the story arc even existing you not only have a right to voice that opinion but an obligation as a consumer and fan. An even easier, faster and louder way to get your point across though would be to just not buy the DVDs. Naturally fans in the states aren’t going to have that option of protest but there are others who do. The exciting question is will enough of them be able to keep their outrage strong enough at the end of September to not buy?