While I suggest erring on the side of being overly cautious in predicting sales when we’re still a good ways out from release, sometimes a season just looks so lifeless and devoid of success that being optimistic at all just seems impossible. One way of looking at Winter 2014 is to realize that at this point it is unlikely, to put it charitably, that any show will average 20k. The last season when this happened was Summer 2010 (although unless Kuroko s2 rallies and saves the day, Fall 2013 will beat Winter to that morbid milestone). Another much more damning way to look at it is that it’s theoretically possible may see a season with no show averaging even 10k. For some perspective, that has never happened in the BD era. In fact the last time it happened was seven years ago in Winter 2007, when the top seller was Nodame Cantabile at 8,788. Scary thought.

But series can gain momentum late in a season, and a few shows did that in the Fall (even if the overall performance of Fall looks rather poor). So in an attempt to find something good to say about Winter 2014, below (in no order!) are a few titles that have shown at least some signs of life. I’m not saying they will sell well – I expect most of them won’t in the end. I think some will sell terribly. But they’ve at least caught my attention in some way and are in a position to revive and do something. Maybe. Possibly. … … …

Witch Craft Works
Pros: A show people have had their eye on in the past week, with what I guess was a well-received episode and it becoming the first title to carve out a real presence in the top 100 in a while, other than the next show I’ll mention. A potential sign in its favor is that it placed multiple volumes in the Gamers top 10 for Feb 5th so perhaps the boost is more broad-based than just Amazon. If it’s still ranking top 100 a week from now it may have turned a corner.
Cons: Right now the boost is middling, with it peaking only at #54. The boost is also pretty new, having started only three days ago. These boosts can vanish faster than you can blink. And the release is BD only, so there everything is riding on just one format’s sales.

Seitokai Yakuindomo*
Pros: Yakuindomo has been, on average, the best ranking Winter show for a couple weeks now. It’s also a very early release so there’s an argument to be made that it doesn’t have as much time to build up Stalker points and thus could be underestimated significantly. And the first season was a solid seller with a 6.2k average.
Cons: The converse of the timing comment above is that you could say it’s only ranking well because it comes out so early and buyers need to make their mind up sooner. We’re already just two weeks out from release now. And as we’ve seen over and over, sequels can drop, a lot.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu
Pros: Its ranking is split over four editions (A ver. DVD/BD, B ver. DVD/BD) so any one disc’s ranking looks worse than it really is if you combine them. Its ranking graph shows a gradual rise each week, rather than a dip like most others. It’s ranked a couple times at Animate, the hardest top 10 to crack outside of Amazon.
Cons: All that said, it’s still not generating many points even if you add all the versions up. The rankings on Animate have not been frequent. Also the A ver./B ver. split could well cost it a small chunk of sales if B ver. sells below the Oricon threshold. And while it’s not nearly as early as Yakuindomo, it’s the second fastest release this season, going out in mid-March. It has a bit less time than other series.

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
Pros: Consistent top 200 ranking at Amazon for almost a week now. All-volume ranking at Gamers on 2/04 and an even better and more important run at Animate where it ranked all volumes on 2/03 and 2/04 and 4 volumes on 2/02 with 1 vol a couple times before that. v1 on the Softmap top 10 the past four days.
Cons: v1 has an event ticket and an OVA, which begs for a v2 plunge. Hardly even exists at HMV. Overall I have the least cons to bring up for this one though.

Sakura Trick
Pros: It’s the dominant show of the season at Gamers, by far. It’s ranked all six volumes in the top 10 there 11 times out of 20 days solicited, and ranked one to three volumes 4 of the remaining 9 days. Series that rank this strongly at Gamers are very likely to be significantly underestimated by Stalker.
Cons: The ranking at Amazon is plain bad, it’s on a consistent downward slide there, and signs are pointing to a harsh event ticket drop. Being underestimated is a percentage-based thing, so that only helps when you’ve got at least a respectable total to underestimate!

Noragami
Pros: It’s evenly split between DVD and BD, which means that it could be selling about twice as well as you’d think if you just looked at one. It’s also ranked multiple times at Animate and has maintained some presence at HMV. The second volume has an event ticket too, so it should hold together for v2.
Cons: Those Animate rankings haven’t happened in a week, and the HMV ranking isn’t all that impressive. While v2 has an event ticket as well, all that does is push the likely drop one volume later, with minimal boost to the average sales.

Sekai Seifuku
Pros: Strong start peaking top 50, and a fairly even split between Amazon-version of the LE BD and the normal LE BD makes the ranking look worse than it actually is.
Cons: That boost was a lifetime ago at this point, and probably driven mostly by Aniplex’s marketing power. Almost completely missing from the non-Amazon rankings. Unable to get back on its feet and rank highly again after the initial bump.

Something has to sell this season, right? If you’re wondering why I didn’t list Chuunibyou (even though it is fairly likely to outsell most of the above in the end) it’s because there’s very little positive that can be said about selling more than any of the above shows when you remember that it sold 15k previously – truly a Pyrrhic victory if it sells something like 7k! Saki likewise I don’t have much to say about. It should probably outsell some of these but its performance lately is just too middling to think about right now. Oh and, uh, you should definitely ignore v1 sales for Sonico. They’ll be pretty good, but that volume is literally a BD bundled with a figma, not the other way around. Unless they do something similar for v2, I expect a catastrophic plunge (and too bad, I’m shocked by how sweet and heartfelt that show has played out so far!).

Guh, I feel like my intention of looking at the bright side of things got lost somewhere. I wasn’t even going to mention cons at first, but it just didn’t feel right to pretend they weren’t there. Well I tried. Hopefully it’ll be easier to feel cheery in another 3-4 weeks. If nothing else, it does seem like otaku are waiting a little longer to make purchasing decisions lately. Whether it’s enough to fundamentally change a season’s fortunes, well… It’s truly never over until it’s over though. Until real sales numbers come out, we only have speculation.

17 Responses to “Prediction Talk: Searching for signs of life in a cold barren winter wasteland”

  1. Avatar hpulley says:

    if WCW does it I daresay it will be almost a garuPan like episode 5 that did it instead of episode 3 last time. Still hasn’t got me yet, not sure it is in the rewatch zone yet.

    Sonico I really like too. I’m not into figures but the show is almost good enough on its own. I came in expecting wall to wall fanservice but I almost got a show you’d expect to run on NHK teaching us the values of hard work, striving for your dreams, never giving up. So heartwarming and inspiring I daresay again that it has that part of GaruPan better than WCW. Not expecting a big hit unless subsequent volumes will also be packaged with figures but it has been a really good surprise no matter how it sells.

    Saki and Chuu2 just don’t seem to be as good as their past seasons, not just to me but others as well. Both have prior fanbases who could jump in and preorder 10K at the drop if a hat or more likely a turning point episode so while I won’t be purchasing them myself I would not be at all surprised if they make a quick rise and sell well. Buyers are waiting for them to get good. Not yet seen enough to pull the trigger.

  2. Avatar musouka says:

    Houzuki is what I have my eye on in the most general terms, but that’s more for personal reasons–it was popular with female fans before the anime aired, so I’m just curious to see how it does in sales. (If I had to make a wild guess without actually checking, I’d assume the one with the CD will do better than the other.) Splitting the release just seems odd to me, but I guess it’s not a bad series to experiment with, if they had to experiment at all…

    Noragami is the other one with appeal to female buyers, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to make a huge difference, other than giving it higher than average DVD sales. They added in a little bit of pandering to appeal to the fujoshi market in the last episode I saw (compared to the manga) but I don’t think Yato/Yukine is a type of couple that’s in vogue in fandom right now, plus Hiyori’s appeal will dilute that a lot.

  3. Avatar hpulley says:

    Hamatora for female buyers as well perhaps.

  4. Avatar stardf29 says:

    I’m personally keeping an eye on Mikakunin, and not just because I’m possibly importing it myself (I already ordered Vol. 1, but will wait for more episodes before ordering anything past that). The OVA for vol. 1 and thus the potential for a sharp vol. 2 drop is definitely worrying… they need to put an OVA in every volume! :P That, or it just needs to put out some really, really good episodes; considering its episodes are already really good, that might be a lot to ask for, but…

    That said, regardless of what happens I doubt it’ll suddenly become a 10k-seller, but if it can at least come out with a Kinmosa-level average, I’d be really happy.

    • Avatar hpulley says:

      Mikakunin is another one that I really like but which hasn’t quite given me the buy-tingle for the Blurays yet. CDs definitely, love both the OP and ED! But I’m not sure it is rewatchable for me, one of my reqs. The imouto dancing in front of the TV in episode 3 I think it was… that scene alone could keep up the sales of volume 2, so cute!

  5. Avatar anotop says:

    So all original IPs like Hamatora and Buddy Complex are failing? I guess they’re joining the obscure and forgotten pile in the next couple months.

    • something something says:

      It’s more that everything is doing badly, original or not. This is just a depressing season for sales whether original, adaptation, or sequel.

      • Avatar anotop says:

        I still feel like Buddy Complex is such a throw-away Sunrise project to such a mediocre degree (time-traveling be damned) though I still question their dubious decisions with the characters between the anime and the mobile game.

        • Avatar kira-kun says:

          I’m still watching but totally agree that it seems like its not getting any “effort” from the studio. Plus it’s just 13 eps which won’t make the series epic scale and I can’t tell if the series want to be shounen-ai or mecha or something else. Also Buddy Complex is probably getting fall-out from being too much like Valvrave like. Mecha that “couple” with “proposing” is too wacky sorta like vampire mecha imo and they are trying to make it look all “scientific” and “real” ala Eva and put in a time travel bit to boot. No one is buying that. They may have done better turning it into full fanservice type ala DAL or IS. Or they should have done some naming changes to just “gatai” or “docking”, oh wait can’t use that…At least they should have picked a better title.

          “Hajime Yatate” needs to stick with Gundam or make a new Mai-Hime/Otome.

  6. Avatar mk03 says:

    What, no mention of Nisekoi?

    • something something says:

      I considered it, but couldn’t really find a good angle to talk about. It’s ranking… meh-ish? Median rank 250 at Amazon despite a late solicitation and popular manga and an event ticket. No real presence at non-Amazon retailers (the five or so I checked anyway) either. It’s a lot like Saki at the moment, it just lacks any compelling ranking features to talk about.

  7. Avatar AnimePhoenix says:

    @Hoozuki no Reitetsu
    Hoozuki no Reitetsu volume 1 has eight versions on Stalker. The current estimates for all versions:

    1964
    1945
    1211
    795
    521
    336
    224
    204

    I’m confident that the first four I’ve listed will rank on Oricon. The other four versions I’m not so confident, especially the last two.

    Volume 2’s current estimates:

    1925
    1868
    555
    438.

    The first two will definitely rank and the third one will also rank I think because it’s Bluray and it could end up in Thursday’s list. The last one which is DVD I’m not sure of.

    @Noragami

    This…looks like it’s aimed toward fujoshi but actually not really. Especially considering right now in the manga, Hiyori x Yato is slowly becoming canon and that will put off viewers. Volume 3+ is estimated to do ~2k on stalker. But then there’s Animate which might make it about 2.5k. As long as it can do ~3k I’ll be happy since it’s my favorite this season.

    • something something says:

      Regarding Noragami, what you say would put off fujoshi, but of course it’s not like all female fans are fujoshi. How popular is it with non-fujoshi fans? I’m assuming its ranking right now, such as it is, has more to do with seiyuu than anything else.

      As for Hoozuki, we need to combine totals for the Amazon and non-Amazon versions, because they will be reported as one by Oricon. Only A Ver/B ver split will be split on Oricon. In that case the current points (now and current estimate) as of 11PM JST 2/07 are:

      1,134 (3,142) – A Ver. DVD
      1,063 (2,743) – A Ver. BD
      *,259 (*,537) – B Ver. DVD
      *,256 (*,740) – B Ver. BD

      A ver DVD and BD will rank, B ver DVD is very unlikely to rank unless storefront boosts it, B ver BD is probably going to rank.

      If both As and B BD rank the current estimate (a little over a month before release so things can change) is 6,625 before any possible storefront bump. I don’t know how v2+ will hold up but if it does sell this much it could easily be one of the highest sellers of this season, for what it’s worth.

      • Avatar AnimePhoenix says:

        @Noragami

        Hmmm. It’s hard to tell. It already had respectable sales before it’s anime. About 80k per volume or so? Maybe more. But Kamiya Hiroshi DEFINITELY played a part because he’s perfect for Yato. That and having Yuki Kaji as Yukine has a lot of people going gaga about the Eren X Levi voice actors again. But I think it’s popular with female fans who don’t watch it for YatoxYukine like me. But the problem is, I don’t they’re the disc buying type. ;_;

        @Hoozuki

        Oh, they’ll be reported as one? That makes things a little better. Yeah, B ver DVD is quite unlikely to rank.

        Volume 2+ will drop to about 4.5k without storefront I think. Hopefully 5k with storefront.

        Also, this is not really related to sales, but the manga got a good boost with volume 1 of the manga ranking again in the Oricon top 50. Noragami, I’m hoping, will rank next week because I feel it also got a good boost but not good enough to rank yet. If it ranks as well, then I wouldn’t really mind low sales volume 3+.

        • Avatar musouka says:

          I think they’d get more Yato/Yuki fans if they had enough time to follow the manga. I think you’re right when you say it’s not going to move a lot of discs either way, though.

      • Avatar musouka says:

        Noragami isn’t going to win a ton of points for interest from either fujoshi or other female fans, from what I’ve seen. There’s just “more than average” compared to other shows this season. (Aside from Houzuki, which was a given going in.)

        On the other hand, even for fujoshi, Hiyori wouldn’t be a big deal. The reason she dilutes things wouldn’t be out of dislike of her and Yato or a relationship, it would be because she’s the type of character they like, but wouldn’t get passionate about. (Unlike, oh say, Sheryl from Macross F, where a lot of Alto/Sheryl doujinshi was done by circles usually specializing in m/m)

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