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Old 2011-04-08, 13:24   Link #341
Ithekro
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What sort of popularity has K-On gotten outside what is considered the normal demographic? Aside from being on top of the music charts I mean, since that has to mean something too.

K-On is not just the anime anymore, it is also the music, and that has drawn some attention.
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Old 2011-04-08, 14:03   Link #342
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Well I guess I'll elaborate on my take on KyoAni.

At the moment, KyoAni has enjoyed immense success, not just with K-ON! and Haruhi, but also series like Clannad (To a lesser degree). They are literally on top of the world right now, and it's hard to say otherwise. As far as anime studios go, they're probably rolling around in cash and have quite a bit of leeway into making riskier projects and such.

So far they've adapted 3 KEY visual novels: Air, Kanon, and Clannad. In many people's opinions, they've been getting better and better with each KEY project, and Clannad is their crowning jewel when it comes to KEY adaptations in both its financial success and audience reception.

They also started one of the most ground breaking animes of the decade, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, which is perhaps one of the key influential animes of the last 4-5 years since it aired in 2006. It is, alongside K-ON! at the moment, their most successful anime franchise to date without question. A telling sign of how loved this series was the catastrophe that was E8 and how so many fans were willing to defend the studio and even purchase enough of the dvd's/blue rays to the point where Haruhi's so called "2nd season" was still more successful than your average break even anime out there. And now with the recent movie release of Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, they get to roll around in cash laughing after pulling off such an epically bad taste trolling on its fanbase.

KyoAni over the years also treated us to shows like Fullmetal Panic and Lucky Star, and while not being their most successful works, still too enjoyed a nice bout of success compared to most animes out there.

To further cement their anime glory is the ever popular K-ON! which to many critic's dismay, somehow became one of the most popular animes in the latter stages of the previous decade with both it's first and 2nd season. With such overwhelming success in this series, they are able to now go anywhere they please. They have all the potential, the backing of a vigorous fan base willing to accept anything they make (Endless 8), and the financial success to do anything really.

What do they do though? They release the anime Nichijou. Alright, it's not exactly a 4-koma, but considering the content, it's no surprise people have mistaken it as such. This is wildly disappointing to say the very least. Have they not been the golden child of the anime industry over this last decade? Have they not shown to its audiences that they're able to go leaps and bounds over most general studios? They've released so many hugely popular animes over the years, but then they decide to do a relatively uninspiring work, Nichijou.

Now perhaps it's a little early to say, but I think it's pretty safe to say that Nichijou will not be enjoying the same success as a K-ON! or Haruhi, or Clannad. And I say this gritting my teeth, because I really hate the K-ON! franchise, and mildly enjoy Clannad, though I do value Haruhi greatly. But even I as a major critic of them wish to see them take on a task much greater, profound than what they're currently doing. If they are not going to tread waters outside of their comfort zone, I at least expect them to improve upon and further develop the types of animes that they've worked on over the years. Really, as a studio that's enjoyed such success, appraise, and glory, they really owe to their loyal fan base to give it their best effort to deliver truly great pieces of work.

Unfortunately, as I said before, the fanbase is basically overly loyal to their studio and doesn't think they can do anything wrong, but they don't realize the incredible opportunity cost they're missing out on right now.

Now as a critic of KyoAni, I definitely would love to see them do something different.

The KEY vn's are really very similar, no matter how you sugar coat it. Yeah the characters and their stories are a little bit different, but they're really just drama's centered around one male who goes around helping girls, before eventually falling in a romance with one of them and dealing with the dramatic conflicts that ensues.

Lucky Star was their first venture into the realm of comedy and parody. It was very random, light hearted, and tried to be fun for the audience. K-ON! wasn't exactly the same, but this same idea of light hearted fun with randomness and funny moments, is still at the core. Just this time they added in something else, the concept of music (Which really isn't even that integrated into the story. For a story about music, it really does a bad job at the music department when something like Angel Beats had a better sound track IMO). It's my honest opinion, but I hardly feel K-ON! takes as much effort, craft, and ingenuity to make a success than it does like something such as Haruhi, or even the great epic dramas like Clannad. It really doesn't. The anime is primarily focused with cute girls doing cute things, and being light digestible entertainment. Something like your usual blockbuster in the summers with tons of action and gore and you really only see for the special effects and one-liners/bad jokes. Nichijou is a contunation of this practice, just simply another one of their stock released blockbuster summer movies.

Saying that these animes are fairly similar in approach and content isn't taking away from them. They are all distinguishable shows, and each have their own identity. But it's undeniable that KYoAni has been processing the same formulas over and over again lately. They haven't ventured into new territory since Lucky Star. This is disappointing to say the least. As a studio of such success, you really wish that they would try to break the boundaries that other studios just aren't capable of right now due to lack of financial success. Sure the Haruhi movie was great, but Haruhi has bene a long running franchise since 2006 now. That's nothing new.

It's disheartening to see a studio of such success not try to do anything daring or inventive. That is all.
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Old 2011-04-08, 14:19   Link #343
Ithekro
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For Kyoto Animation, at least, in order to be daring and inventive, you first have to have some sort of daring and inventive source material.

Those don't come around all that often and there is competition for them when they do come out. You get usually one a decade, maybe as many as three, but that seems rare still.

Second, it seems various studios have their own turf, and pushing into someone elses turf can cause different kinds of problems that might manifest themselves in different ways (talent blackballing, outbidding on airtimes, contracts lost and the like.)
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Old 2011-04-08, 15:37   Link #344
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Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
What sort of popularity has K-On gotten outside what is considered the normal demographic? Aside from being on top of the music charts I mean, since that has to mean something too.

K-On is not just the anime anymore, it is also the music, and that has drawn some attention.
K-on is very popular with both male and female otaku (see for example http://altjapan.typepad.com/my_weblo...nt-robots.html). Also K-on has enough mainstream appeal for young teens to get a normal evening slot on the Disney channel in Japan. Which is quite exceptional for a late night anime.(http://yaraon.blog109.fc2.com/blog-entry-1187.html)

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Old 2011-04-08, 16:22   Link #345
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If Kyoto Animation is really the juggernaut that rakes in sales, source material is merely an excuse. There's plenty of stuff lying out there, and while a weak source material might lead to a weak anime, presentation can change a lot of things. Of course, the criticism here is that they're trying to play easy mode. Now, obviously the world runs on money, and we don't expect anyone to do anything out of love of art, however... I'll just say that all that lauded praise needs more evidence.

To say that KyoAni could do better than Nichjou surely isn't insulting them, I hope.

I don't know. I might not have liked Lucky Star, but at least it had memorable moments like this and that. I could remember who the characters were; so even something like a 4koma could be made notable through just skillful directing and writing.

When it comes to K-on and Nichjou, I don't even laugh at anything, or find anybody memorable.

But yea, in the end, I will admit they are really good at what they're doing. Clannad was no easy task to adapt, and look at the kind of inspired flavor they gave to Haruhi. There's just a huge difference here...

Sometimes I'd appreciate it when they try something new, such as PA works and Angel Beats. Sure the story sucked, but it was still enjoyable and sold well, and they just created a new cash cow like that. There's money and creativity to be found where you're willing. After all, Nanoha's was just a plain spinoff character of an H-game and look where that went. Key note: At least they tried.

When I watched Haruhi 2006, the movie, or a Key adaptation, I just got the feeling that they gave a damn. When I see Haruhi 2009, it's harder to come up with the same conclusion.
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Old 2011-04-08, 16:42   Link #346
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Do we have any knowledge on how an animation company gets source materal? Since there are a lot of animation companies and different kinds of source material. One wonders if KyoAni has standards for what it decide to animate, or if what it animates is decided for them by others (in terms of what sources are avalible to them). These behind doors things seem like they might be important.
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Old 2011-04-08, 17:15   Link #347
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In lieu of a blockier response, I'll just reiterate my issues with the recent criticisms of the properties Kyoani has been animating. These are views I extend to other studios too--especially Gainax and Bones--though I don't give half a rat's ass for Gonzo.

The role of an animation studio is to take something and make it fit for a screen, whether it's meant to be a route advertisement for the franchise or to stand on its own merits. If it's an original work, well good luck. It might seem stiff to do so, but I evaluate the work of the studio and the staff based on what the end product they produce shows me. I don't care if the source is a fifth grader's picture journal, a dirty napkin, or whatever else. The decisions they make in creating an anime, like how they frame scenes or animate sequences; particulars in voice direction or pauses; the way a source material may be adapted or hacked into pieces; what they add and what they take away; the use of masked patterns or hand drawn patterns, stunning backgrounds or architectural porn; these are the things I obsess over in an anime.

And this is why I don't understand criticism about the properties without looking at what they did with it. Kyoani could have adapted K-on like they did Lucky Star, but why didn't they? What was different about K-on? How did it become successful? How did it infiltrate mainstream? Why the hell is there going to be a movie for it? Why did it outdo adaptations of similar series many of which probably had better source material? I don't consider Nichijo as money in the bank for Kyoani. If they wanted money, they'd push a one or two cours of Lucky Star or release one cour of Haruhi with all the side stories whose space E8 took up. I'd bring up Munto, but that was so underwhelming most people probably don't even know (or have struck it from memory) that it recently had a TV series remake, and a movie which both did spectacularly poorly. I like K-on, but it is low on my list of anime I like. The manga didn't even hold me for 30 minutes in a Book-Off. What I really loved about the series is what Kyoani brought to the table that made it so much more, and you can find their touch in the other works adaptations they have done.


Why chase new horizons when there's plenty of space to refine and work where you already are?
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Old 2011-04-08, 17:53   Link #348
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In one way, my perspective is the same as Decagon's.

I think that KyoAni tends to do a spectacular job in refining whatever is given to them. In other words, they have a rare talent for taking whatever source material that is given them, and turning it into an anime that makes it seem like it was always meant to be an anime, while still being very faithful to the source material. In some cases, Kyoto Animation's creative flare enables them to improve on the source material while still staying true to the spirit of it. I would say that Haruhi 2006 (Day of Sagittarius and Live Alive in particular) and K-On's second season, are both cases of Kyoto Animation making an anime that was actually arguably superior to its source material (or at least parts of it), and yet also faithful to it.


And, somewhat paradoxically, this is what leads me to have a perspective the opposite of Decagon's.

Because Kyoto Animation is so good at refining, and has a tendency to create hit animes, I would like for them to be very selective about what they choose to do, and to focus on challenging and/or daring projects that could easily end up as messes in the hands of many other animation studios.

This is a big part of the reason why I raised Little Busters earlier in this thread.

Klashikari is absolutely right, Little Busters is going to be very challenging to effectively adapt into an anime, but if an anime studio manages to rise up to that challenge, it could be a truly fantastic anime. However, if an anime studio doesn't rise up to the challenge, it could be a complete mess. A disaster. And that's precisely why I'd like to see a Little Busters anime handled by Kyoto Animation.

To raise a question that will likely scare Reckoner half to death, would you rather see Little Busters adapted by Kyoto Animation, or would you rather see it adapted by DEEN?


On the flip side, I think that a lighthearted comedy (be it otaku-centric or otherwise) can probably be decently handled by most of the well-known animation studios. I have little doubt, for example, that JC Staff could decently handle Nichijou.

So while there are 5 more Haruhi novels yet to be adapted into anime, and while there is loads of FMP material yet to be adapted into anime, and while you have challenging potential adaptation projects like Little Busters out there, and while you may have some high quality light novels out there, do you want Kyoto Animation to allot one of their 2 or 3 annual spots to Nichijou?

If your answer is "yes", I can respect that, but I think it's a question that at least is worth asking. Again, it would be different if KyoAni was doing several projects per year (like what we saw out of SHAFT in 2010), but they're not. So every project chosen should be weighed, imo, against the other projects that could realistically be done (such as a continuation of Haruhi and/or FMP).


Earlier on this thread, cyth argued that KyoAni is not a creative force for Japan's animation, and never will be.

Maybe he's right.

But if so, that makes me very sad, because Kyoto Animation's substantial skills at doing animation adaptation work, combined with their brand name marketability, puts them in an unique position for being a creative force for Japan's animation, if they will simply choose to be so.

I don't think it's wrong for Reckoner, acejem, Archon_Wing, myself, or anybody else, to want for Kyoto Animation to be that creative force for Japan's animation when they are in an unique position to be just that.
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Old 2011-04-08, 18:28   Link #349
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Creative force....maybe not. Good and reliable force...most likely.

Though that brings up three things: Haruhi-chan, Nyoro~n Churuya-san, and the little K-On shorts on each disc that look like Yui drew them with crayon. These are very different than what one would expect from KyoAni, yet fit perfectly to what they are suppose to be. Haruhi-chan actually got rather intersting for a short web-based series as it went on, and Nyoro~n was, well Nyoro~n, like it was suppose to be.
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Old 2011-04-08, 20:05   Link #350
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Everyone seems to be complaining about how they're doing Nichijou now and not something more worthwhile. Do keep in mind that they've got the K-On! movie in the works too and that what K-On! was to the Haruhi movie back then is probably what Nichijou is to the K-On movie right now. Unless someone has inside infomation of their expenditures and profits, there's almost no way of knowing how rich KyoAni may actually be despite all their successes. Likewise it's almost impossible to tell if they have anything else lined up and being worked on concurrently but are staying hush hush about it in the meantime.

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Originally Posted by Reckoner View Post
. . .
Lucky Star was their first venture into the realm of comedy and parody.
. . .
Just cause i feel like being nitpicky. Fumoffu was actually their first venture into comedy, first in parody perhaps but not first in comedy lol
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Old 2011-04-09, 00:45   Link #351
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Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
Do we have any knowledge on how an animation company gets source materal? Since there are a lot of animation companies and different kinds of source material. One wonders if KyoAni has standards for what it decide to animate, or if what it animates is decided for them by others (in terms of what sources are avalible to them). These behind doors things seem like they might be important.
It varies from studio to studio. Ultimately, the publishing companies are the ones who decide what gets adapted because they're the ones who hire the studios to promote their manga.

Most studios simply accept what's offered to them. They have no money, are hungry for work, and just do the job that's requested (yes, that often includes things like censorship and anime original arcs). The hope is that if they do a good job within specifications, they'll get hired again later. This model also allows them to remain relevant in terms of industry trends -> since the clients decide what they animate, there's much less chance of producing something contrary to current tastes.

Some powerhouse studios also fall under this category, such as J.C.STAFF (Aoi Hana was one of the few projects they suggested to a publisher, and that's because their lead producer liked the manga. Normally, they just stick with client demand and keep out of business/project planning) and AIC. They operate as larger, better connected versions of the typical contractor.

On the other hand, the more creative or business savvy studios regularly suggest projects. They also involve themselves in planning and risk more of their money in exchange for a piece of the pie (the show becomes their project and not just something built to client specifications). KyoAni is certainly one of these, although the decision making process seems to be heavily dominated by the owners. I don't think they even have any animation staff/creators in management (unlike Satelight, I.G., or BONES), which shows.
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Old 2011-04-09, 06:47   Link #352
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On the other hand, the more creative or business savvy studios regularly suggest projects. They also involve themselves in planning and risk more of their money in exchange for a piece of the pie (the show becomes their project and not just something built to client specifications). KyoAni is certainly one of these, although the decision making process seems to be heavily dominated by the owners. I don't think they even have any animation staff/creators in management (unlike Satelight, I.G., or BONES), which shows.
Kyoto animation's founder Yoko Hatta has a background in animation post-production work. Her husband is the CEO.

Director/producer Yoshiji Kigami (director Munto) and Shoko Ikeda (animation director) are part of management.
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Old 2011-04-09, 11:26   Link #353
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I don't really see how Nichijou is particularly different from the rest of Kyoto Animation's Output. Since Haruhi and Kanon Kyoto Animation has pretty much stuck to variations on "Moeblobs doing cute things", Nichijou fits right into that mold, though admittedly it's a bit more absurd.

Personally I thought Lucky Star's first episode was far worse then Nichijou's, so I'm not particularly unhappy. And the animation is very high quality (higher then Lucky Star's I think).
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Old 2011-04-10, 01:47   Link #354
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Kaioshin-sama mentioned earlier that speculation about KyoAni's revenue stream is pointless if we don't have the numbers. He does have a point....therefore, here's an article written by my Nihon Review colleague Akira, who did manage to get access to the relevant numbers:

[BtNHRV] The Rise of the New Guard

It's not just the revenue gained from sales; it's KyoAni's entire business model. Really, their source of their strength is also their Achilles' heel.
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Old 2011-04-10, 01:58   Link #355
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Kaioshin-sama mentioned earlier that speculation about KyoAni's revenue stream is pointless if we don't have the numbers. He does have a point....therefore, here's an article written by my Nihon Review colleague Akira, who did manage to get access to the relevant numbers:

[BtNHRV] The Rise of the New Guard

It's not just the revenue gained from sales; it's KyoAni's entire business model. Really, their source of their strength is also their Achilles' heel.
Smart business practices dictate that Sunrise makes more money on KyoAni. I still have to ask the question though... Does this mean KyoAni has not been financially successful these last few years (save 2008 where every company went down) with the release of the Haruhi movie and K-ON!?

He doesn't give us the numbers because of legal reasons, but unfortunately I'm not willing to pay money for this information.

Anyhow, I was never arguing that KyoAni was the richest studio out there. If you asked before hand if I thought they made more than Sunrise, I would've guessed no. What I am saying is that as a company that's enjoyed such success, in sales and reception, the company should do better to give us better quality works.

If its their bad business planning that has led to their inability to make killer revenue, that's even more of a reason to be upset at them. They are given every opportunity in the world there is to make their company better.
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Old 2011-04-10, 02:35   Link #356
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Ok, I suppose it was fairly obvious that Sunrise is a much larger and well established company. What I guess I didn't see was that KyoAni probably hasn't been managed well.

*Tilts head* And... so?
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Old 2011-04-10, 02:40   Link #357
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K-on is very popular with both male and female otaku (see for example http://altjapan.typepad.com/my_weblo...nt-robots.html).
I remember the second season coming duking it out with "bishounen" shows on the reader's most anticipated shows list for a female oriented anime mag too.

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Also K-on has enough mainstream appeal for young teens to get a normal evening slot on the Disney channel in Japan. Which is quite exceptional for a late night anime.(http://yaraon.blog109.fc2.com/blog-entry-1187.html)
It recently occurred to me that for all the accusations of being a complete otaku-fest, K-On! probably has the widest market potential market of any show Kyoto has ever produced. This is probably the strongest piece of evidence I've seen thus far to support that, pushing aside the fact that the show got timeslots from Animax Asia often reserved for more mainstream fare and various anecdotal evidence of the show being popular with people you wouldn't expect. And it makes me wonder if the lightening up on the otaku anime tropes in season II wasn't just the director having more creative leeway as I theorized at one point.
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Old 2011-04-10, 02:43   Link #358
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Wow. Did everyone miss the whole "in-house animation staff" thing?
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Old 2011-04-10, 02:46   Link #359
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Ok, I suppose it was fairly obvious that Sunrise is a much larger and well established company. What I guess I didn't see was that KyoAni probably hasn't been managed well.

*Tilts head* And... so?
Well they spent more per series, since they don't out source their animation like sunrises tends to do which means more of the profits they enjoy is spent on their staff comparatively.
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Old 2011-04-10, 02:48   Link #360
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Wow. Did everyone miss the whole "in-house animation staff" thing?
This isn't exactly new news. At least it wasn't for me. The in-house animation is why they produce so few series in a year, that's for sure. That is also why so many people here have been upset that they devote their time and attention to what certain people including me deem as "less worthy" projects such as Nichijou.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 0utf0xZer0 View Post
It recently occurred to me that for all the accusations of being a complete otaku-fest, K-On!
I think the accusations are made because many people equivocate perceived "moe" with otaku bait.
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