Studio Rikka, the creators of Pale Cocoon and Time of Eve, are on show in the Noitamina timeslot this season. Many people may be surprised at this fact. I mean, aren’t House of Five Leaves and Tatami Galaxy the two shows this season in Noitamina? Isn’t Five Leaves done by Manglobe, and Tatami Galxy done by Madhouse? Yup, that’s all true, but Rikka are still present this season. Don’t believe me?
OK, it’s not a second season of Time of Eve or anything, but it’s something! The style of that mini Noitamina opening is very similar to that of the Time of Eve credits. I suppose it’s a relief that they’re staying in employment somehow. Plus their involvement with Crunchyroll was one of the most successful things CR did and gained them huge exposure. You never know, Studio Rikka in the Noitamina timeslot for real?
OK, slightly jokey side of this post aside, there’s something that’s been bugging me about Noitamina shows recently. This season saw an all-time low in television ratings for both Noitamina shows with the producer going so far as to say he would shave his head if he couldn’t improve things. The first episode of House of Five Leaves got a rating of something like 1.7% where as previous Noitamina offerings got in the region of 4 or 5%, with Nodame Cantabile: Paris famously reaching levels of 7.4%, a phenomenal showing for a late-night anime and an all-time record high. What’s interesting in the reports about the producer saying he would shave is head is that he came under criticism for what anime producers perceived as him taking Noitamina in the wrong direction. It’s pretty obvious what the problem is. Artfaggory.
First let me make this clear: I like both the anime airing in Noitamina this season, especially Tatami Galaxy which, despite being initially sceptial of, fast became my second favourite show of the season, just behind Arakawa. My point here is not of the perceived quality of these artsy shows. It’s that it’s not what the Noitamina audience wants to watch. The damage began with Trapeze, which scored somewhere in the region of 2.8%, dreadfully low at the time for a Noitamina show. Again, I like Trapeze a lot, but it was certainly far removed from the two previous anime in that timeslot, Eden of the East and Tokyo Magnitude. The damage wasn’t immediately apparent because Nodame Final aired next season which already had an established audience, but the full front of the damage is clear this season.
The aim of Noitamina is not about producing something ‘different’. It’s about showing anime for a demographic outside the typical male young adult audience. It’s not aimed at connoisseurs of anime, it’s aimed at people who don’t typically watch anime. Think about the shows that were successful. There’s not a whole lot particularly different from the norm about Eden of the East, Tokyo Magnitude, Nodame, Moyashimon and so on. They’re a mixture of high concept stories and popular josei manga adaptations. It was never about gaining critical approval from wherever. It’s simply about putting out titles that reach a wider, slightly different audience than normal. Maybe the critical approval of the titles got to the producers head when he green-lit two artsy shows in the season Noitamina was meant to make a breakthrough being an hour long? Ironically, one thing that’s drawing audiences away from the Noitamina offerings is that Durarara is airing at the same time, a show that feels far more aimed at the typical Noitamina audience than either of those airing there this season.
This is just a vague theory I’m throwing out there and I’d be really interested to hear others opinion on the matter. Both the shows airing next season in Noitamina are breaking this trend of artsy shows so maybe the audience will come flooding back. The quality of the anime in that timeslot has never been of question. I just hope it doesn’t go the way Anime no Chikara appears to be going due to poor executive decisions.