For some reason I never got on board with Saki the way I did K-On! or Taisho Yakyuu Musume. This may be in part because I was sleep deprived while watching many episodes - I saw up to episode 12 or so with friends at some anime club sleepovers and planned to finish the rest at a later sleepover but it never worked out.
The show did have a major impact on me though: several of my anime club friends and my girlfriend all watched it. Along with Akagi (basically Saki's Gar counterpart), it inspired my anime club friends to start a mahjong group within the club. One of my first dates involved my girlfriend and I learning how to play mahjong at our Christmas Party, an idea I got from her liking Saki. We still play sometimes, although I freely admit I still only know a few hands.
Genzo Index has done some Saki cosplay shoots. I particularly like the Yuki cosplayer (who also makes an excellent Mio and Kagura - I think I actually linked the latter once, the Yomi with her also shows up here as Nodoka): http://kimokamehirosyu.blog93.fc2.co...tegory-17.html
One other note of interest: some of the staff who worked on Saki at Gonzo went on to form Studio Gokumi, the studio behind A Channel.
I see what you mean by how not just sales, but also enthusiasm for KyoAni's works, have been strongly affected.
And I also don't think that you're alone there. Nichijou is the first KyoAni work to not get its own Anime Suki subforum in a very long time, which is telling.
I also agree with you on "big" SHAFT projects vs. "minor" ones. Yes, I think people have a good sense of how to tell them apart, and basically treat "big" SHAFT projects as must sees. SHAFT certainly gets a lot of enthusiasm going for those now.
Anyway, talk to you later.
By the way, I'm currently watching an anime called Saki, that was recommended to me by Archon_Wing. I think you'd really like it. Very moe, and some genuinely cute and endearing yuri.
I think we agree on most points. However, I would like to emphasize that to me, the fallout from E8 affected enthusiasm for KyoAni's work, not just sales. Nichijou generated some discussion, but I never felt the sense of enthusiasm for it that I did for K-On! and most other Kyoto projects. Admittedly, this could just be me overlaying my personal feelings on the fandom at large - Nichijou never interested me as much as Kyoto's new projects from 06 to 09 - but I have the feeling that it's not just me.
I think Shaft is at the point where their big projects generate a lot of interest from fans. Meaning projects that are either anime originals or based on big name source material (which Bakemonogatari was). In Madoka's case, the fact it was an original combined with the list of external staff who would be working with Shaft signaled it would be big.
I do expect Shaft is going to get some prime picks in terms of source material and writing staff for originals, especially since the producer at Aniplex who organized Bakemonogatari and Madoka recently got promoted. However, I'm still expecting that there will be a divide between large and small projects, just with the small projects end up being achieving Denpa Onna like sales levels (6.5K) rather than the 1-4K many Shaft projects from 2009-2010 did.
Comments on your reply to my blog in the spoiler space below.
Spoiler for KyoAni and SHAFT discussion:
Awesome, awesome post on my KyoAni/SHAFT blog entry there, 0utf0xZer0.
You conveyed a key point that was part of my broader argument, but you conveyed that particular point more effectively than I myself did, I have to admit.
Yes, I also get the feeling that E8 did lasting damage to the KyoAni brand. I basically think that it meant that DVD/Blu-Ray purchasers would no longer buy a KyoAni product just because it had the KyoAni logo on it.
Disappearance and K-On!! did well because...
1) They were both actually very well-done (for what they are), and...
2) They benefit from powerful established fanbases (for the anime shows themselves, not for KyoAni as a studio)
But KyoAni's reputation has taken a hit, to the degree where they can't turn relatively obscure source material into a hit anime pretty much overnight.
You're right that SHAFT is hardly an instant sales winner due to brand name alone. But I do think that Shinbo has become a powerful name in the industry, and SHAFT in general has a chance to become a brand that more and more anime fans keep coming back to. That will require, though, them either making very good use out of Bake and Madoka (in the form of sequels and spin-offs), or finding a totally new property or two that is as big as they are.
It's an interesting time in the anime industry, where KyoAni no longer has automatic dominance, as they did in 2008 and 2009.
Like you said yourself, this is probably for the best. I don't hate Nichijou, but at the end of the day, it certainly doesn't deserve to outsell Anohana or Hanasaku, imo. So with brand name loyalty taking a hit, it's allowing sheer quality to play a bigger role in which anime shows get the best sales.
For me personally, the most interesting thing to come out of my analysis is that contrary to popular belief, Endless Eight may have caused massive damage to KyoAni's repuation. But then again, that belief was always based on seeing the 16K DVD sales of that arc as "significantly higher than the average anime" rather than "40% of what season one got". I honestly wonder if I should be performing a bit of thread necromancy on a certain studio thread.
Not sure I'd recommend either to you as a lighthearted recommendation. Much as I like the show, Utawarerumono is a fantasy piece and gets pretty dark and bloody in places, and of course Air is widely regarded as one of the biggest anime tearjerkers ever, and aside from the two rather enjoyable Air in Summer OVAs is also lighter on comedy than most Key stuff if I remember right.
Edit: If you're just looking for a recommendation though... while the series itself is average, I'd rank the first two episodes of Hatsukoi Limited as among the funniest I've seen.
Hmmm... I agree that she has some shounen traits to her. She's quite impulsive and can be aggressive and loud ("Am I really that loud?") as well. That said, that description conjures images of Nanoha for me, and Ohana has yet to do something I'd consider "quintessentially shounen" like some of Nanoha's "prepare to be befriended" speeches.
Just shared my thoughts on Wandering Son over on acejem's wall, but I'll repaste them here for you as well.
Spoiler for Wandering Son spoilers:
I actually didn't have too big a problem with the maturity level of the characters. Most of the key characters in this are girls, and girls do tend to mature quickly. Plus, Middle School (which I think corresponds to Junior High in Canada - Grades 7 through 9, and ages 13 through 15, basically) does tend to be the age where kids start to seriously explore gender and sexual identity, so I do think that this is a believable age for at least somewhat mature conversations about such topics to come up.
I mean, if they were debating philosophy (in general) or politics at a high level, that I would have had a harder time with, but gender and sexual identity issues are something that I think most young teens grapple with to at least some degree (and obviously many of the characters in this anime would have to grapple with it to a large degree).
I do like how Wandering Son doesn't shy away from how a situation like Shuu's would realistically play out. For example, gender double-standards (i.e. a girl dressing like a guy will generally face less resistance or teasing for it than a guy that dresses like a girl) are presented honestly here, and so is the likely result of a young teenage guy coming to school wearing a very girlish sailor uniform.
The romantic competition over Shuu amongst a few different girls was also very well-executed I found, although I was disappointed by how inconclusive the ending was on the romance front.
For the most part, I liked Shuu's relationship with his sister, and that felt like one of the more realistic portrayals of a brother/sister relationship that I've seen in an anime. I like how the typical incest innuendo was entirely lacking here.
On the whole, it was a very good anime, that I only have a few generally slight issues with.
I have a few different ideas as to why it didn't get good ratings or sell well, but I'm going to take some time to piece them together first before putting them forward.
I will say, though, that I think that with some slight alterations (mostly superficial ones at that) this could have sold better. But I'll get into that later.
Anyway, big thanks again for recommending this anime to me. It was a very pleasant and thought-provoking watch overall. A good series to marathon over a day and a bit.
I'll add a few more thoughts here that speak to where you and acejem differ a bit.
I think that otakus probably would have taken to this anime much more with a few visual alterations. What I mean by that is a bouncier and more colorful OP, and perhaps more distinguishing visual features between the characters (think of how very different all the characters in Anohana look, for example).
The substance of Wandering Son was generally fantastic. And the characters had a great range of diverse personalities. And the artwork and animation were both top-notch. But on a character design level, I think it would have helped some if there was a bit more color and/or distinctive features on display. Even something as simple as hair ribbons (think Haruhi Suzumiya) or hairpins (think Mana from Sola) could have helped a bit I think.
But those are just some tentative thoughts, that I might later change.