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Old 2013-05-01, 21:22   Link #1
zztop
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Anime airtimes in Japan

I've always been confused about what sorts of characteristics a Japanese anime must have to be aired in a specific timeslot on national Japanese TV, and what kind of demographics watch certain shows.

My understanding is that family oriented/kids/layman aimed stuff like One Piece, Doraemon, Detective Conan, Gintama tend to be aired in evening/prime-time timeslots(10am,5pm-7pm), while more violent/sexual stuff (Devil Survivor 2, Psycho-Pass, Aku no Hana) would be aired extremely late at night into the wee morning for otaku pleasure. Am I correct?

So I'm curious about anime shows like:
1)Kamisama Hajimemashita, Chihayafuru: The content seems to be hardly offensive/sexual/violent, so why the extremely late-night airing hours? Is it because the producers couldn't get the primetime hours?

2)Star Driver(2010):Some humour and character designs(Glittering Crux members) are a bit sexual in nature, yet during its original 2010 broadcast it was aired on Sunday evenings, perfect timing for Japanese kids and teens. Were the rules more lenient back then?

3)Dog Days: It seems like a very inoffensive kids show, albeit with some childish clothes-popping. So why the late-night broadcast? Did Japanese censors find the content unfit for children?

4)The Devil is a Part-Timer, Gargantia: How do 10pm aired anime usually fare interms of viewership? Are they watched by the Japanese layman viewer, or hardcore otaku?

I would appreciate it if anyone can clear this confusion I am having.
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Old 2013-05-01, 22:04   Link #2
speedyexpress48
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I would have told you to use the search function otherwise, but you do bring up some good questions, so I will try to answer them.

First of all, yes, family stuff does get aired in the afternoon/evening. However, they aren't in a primetime slot because they are family-friendly (well, ok, that's certainly a reason, but); they are in a primetime slot because they are aimed at the teen/layman/family market, and those are the times they are most likely to watch them (obviously).

Now, for examples like the ones you listed that don't have mature content but are aimed at late night, they are aimed at the otaku who are willing to shell out $50-60 a disk; viewership here pretty much amounts to "suck" 90% of the time, hell, anime producers have to pay TV channels to air their anime on late night slots. Those producers get their investment back when otaku buy merchandise-DVDs and BDs, figurines, manga, etc, etc. (also, Dog Days, while it looks cute and fluffy, does have content that would not be aired during primetime, so there you go.)

Sure, a family friendly show will be more likely aired during prime time. But it doesn't have to be family friendly necessarily. The show's intended audience and business model is what matters; otaku anime depend mostly on merchandise, while primetime anime depend more on advertising (tho merchandise is an important part of it, but not as important.)

As for 10pm anime, well, I'm not completely sure, tho I think viewership is probably in between otaku anime and primetime anime numbers.
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Old 2013-05-01, 22:29   Link #3
relentlessflame
 
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Yeah, as was alluded, the big difference isn't the content, it's in the business model used to support the show.

Prime time is very valuable and expensive, and shows that air in prime time (on mainstream networks*) are generally used to bring in ratings and attract advertising revenue. There is a lot of competition for other content (live action TV) that can take that slot. So if an anime airs in this time, it means that the TV network (or whoever's funding it) generally believes the show can bring in viewers and attract major advertisers (and the TV station may be major contributors to financing the show for that reason).

Because prime time is limited and not all shows are going to attract mainstream advertisers, other shows get relegated to late-night hours when time is more-available and cheaper. The primary advertisers in these time slots will be the companies associated with the production itself (trying to sell books, CDs, DVDs/BDs, other anime, etc.), rather than mainstream advertisers.

And the other key point, that was also alluded to, is that even anime that seems harmless and family-friendly on the surface still may appeal primarily to the more hardcore anime fans, and wouldn't necessarily attract a large mainstream audience or big advertisers even if it aired in prime-time. In such cases, it makes more sense to spend less money on the TV airing and go for a cheaper time slot (when the hardcore fans will still be willing to check it out), rather than try to get a network to pick it up in prime time (where there may be insufficient interest). Anime in general is still a niche interest for adults in Japan, certain mainstream companies and shows excepted.


So all that to say, it's not necessarily about the amount of violence, sexual content, or anything else in that sense. Of course there are some shows with graphic content that wouldn't air in prime time for that reason, but that isn't necessarily the main deciding factor for most shows.


* P.S. I should mention a key exception to the normal airtime rules are online streams, pay-per-view, and Pay TV speciality channels (like AT-X). Sometimes you'll see shows air at all sorts of hours on these venues, but it doesn't really mean anything because the audience is limited and self-selecting.
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Old 2013-05-02, 14:33   Link #4
Utsuro no Hako
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedyexpress48 View Post
Those producers get their investment back when otaku buy merchandise-DVDs and BDs, figurines, manga, etc, etc. (also, Dog Days, while it looks cute and fluffy, does have content that would not be aired during primetime, so there you go.)
Though that doesn't explain why shoujo and josei adaptations like Chihayafuru and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun air late at night. The manga sales certainly benefit, but the BDs do horribly and there's little in the way of other merchandise, which suggests there's a different dynamic at play than otaku-oriented series.
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Old 2013-05-02, 18:32   Link #5
SeijiSensei
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Utsuro no Hako View Post
Though that doesn't explain why shoujo and josei adaptations like Chihayafuru and Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun air late at night. The manga sales certainly benefit, but the BDs do horribly and there's little in the way of other merchandise, which suggests there's a different dynamic at play than otaku-oriented series.
Yes, they have even less money to spend on television time. Seriously I really do think it is often all about the manga. The first volume of Chihayafuru to be released after the anime aired sold 192,000 copies, up from about 50,000 the volume before. You are right about disc sales, though; BDs from that show's first season averaged a little under 2,000 copies per volume.

Technology has made late-night slots much less of an issue than it was a decade ago. One source I've found reports that 73% of Japanese households had a video recorder in 2010. You can be sure that otaku are definitely in that category. As far back as 2007 you can see a bit in Lucky*Star where the otaku girl Konata complains bitterly about how her recording of an anime episode was incomplete because the baseball game that preceded it went into extra innings.
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