17 CommentsEditorials / By Scamp /

Studio Rikka in Noitamina + Artfaggory ruining the timeslot

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.

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  1. Posted June 20, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s definitely an interesting theory, and perhaps it shows that TV is the wrong area to try avant-garde material. I’ll admit I never really paid attention to time slots and the like since it is easy not knowing, but it is interesting thinking about it.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      I wonder how avant-garde makes money anyway?

      I don’t nessesarily think artsy has no place on tv but perhaps on a timeslot of its own and not barging in on Noitamina’s typical audience.

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted June 21, 2010 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    To me, It never really felt like House of Five Leaves was Artfaggotry. Mostly because the original manga for House of Five Leaves was already done in that style. Though, Tatami Galaxy cant be forgiven, no matter how fun it is to watch.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      House of Five Leaves certainly isn’t as artfaggory as Tatami Galaxy but it looks just different enough from the norm that it could turn off casual viewers

  3. Posted June 21, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Mononoke is one of the most artsy of noitaminA anime and also one of its most popular, so, I don’t think you can say artsy equals no popularity, it’s just a case of scheduling. I mean, along side Durarara!! on Thursday nights, there’s also Ookiku Furikabutte; their audience has been totally diluted by these two titles with established and devoted fanbases; may be they could see this happening in advance and decided to go with two different shows just to offer an alternative to the above?

    Whatever the case, I really hope this doesn’t hurt noitaminA in the future. Their whole thing is to attract a different type of fan to anime and it would suck if they threw in the towel and went completely generic. They should be applauded for their failures. Oh, and told you so about Tatami (*raspberry*) :)

    • Posted June 21, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      I completely agree about audience dilution. Durarara and Ook­iku Furika­butte are both very popular. Also the female audience that has been important to Noitamina success in the past are watchers of Durarara. According to this ( http://bit.ly/99OSWa ), Durarara watchers are over 60% female (as opposed to less than 30% of Angel Beats watchers).

    • Scamp
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t know it was also competing against Ook­iku Furika­butte and @Joojoobees is right about the female audience that Noitamina is aimed towards. I did hear that the time they aired at was moved so it clashed with these anime and I do know that a lot of it is down to really poor executive decisions. I dare say part of the reason they agreed the deal with Funimation this season is because it’s an audience that won’t have time clashes.

      However I don’t think it’s a coincidence either that it also dipped during Trapeze’s airing and we’ve seen a similar collapse during these shows airing.

      However I doubt there’s any chance Noitamina would go generic. That’s certainly nothing you could accuse previous offerings. They’re not as crazilly different as Tatami is but the timeslot will die before it turns to generic.

      And yes, you were right about Tatami. But he still talks too fast :P

  4. Posted June 21, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    I was getting ready to blast you for an anti-creativity sentiment, but then you had to go and make some really good points. Damn you.

    Speaking of Anime no Chikara (which was a noble idea which has unfortunately been executed so tepidly), let’s not forget the now defunct Noise, which couldn’t survive despite airing highly acclaimed titles like Michiko to Hatchin, Ristorante Paradiso and Aoi Hana. As much as I hate to say it, because Noise resulted in such gems during its short lifetime, it’s a good guide for Noitamina as to what not to do. I think two things will work for Noitamina in the long run: 1) it’s been around for a few years now so it’s well established. 2) it has (to my understanding) a fair amount of financial backing.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Sensationalist post titles is what I do second best (the best is bashing your favourite shows)

      I read a theory by psgels that the reason Noise didn’t suceed is because it didn’t have an tagline or an aim the same way Noitamina and Anime no Chikara does. The thing about previous Noitamina titles is they clearly had an audience and it was never about simply trying to put out quality titles. In that way it works really well and that’s what they seemed to have lost this season.

      (I personally didn’t like any of the Noise shows but eh~)

  5. Posted June 21, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    That’s a nice catch there with Studio Rikka.

    I’ve read somewhere (though that data still has to be verified) that while Tatami Galaxy isn’t in Nodame’s level, it’s still doing pretty well considering that it is an artsy anime. The worst series performance in that slot was Trapeze at 2.8%. I don’t know, I think it’s good enough having maintained 3-4% ratings for a series like that.

    Tatami Galaxy may be an anime for non-casual fans, but it is also the most approachable of Masaaki Yuasa’s offerings. There’s of course the arthouse, avant-garde feel in it (that can never be removed from a Yuasa creation), but the setting and the story is quite mundane, quite seated in the real world: a cowardly person escapes to the realm of his choices because he cannot face reality, and in the process alienates the only person who has consistently cared for him. That’s not like the outlandish storylines of Kaiba or Kemonozume: it’s very much a series rooted in humanity and the real world.

    I’m just really thankful NoitaminA dared to air this kind of show because I’m doubtful that a series like this will come out if they haven’t supported it. There are very few series nowadays that make one proud he watches anime, and Tatami Galaxy is one of them: its utter depth, inventiveness, and pathos rivals even the best movies I’ve seen. I’m just hoping that it maintains its consistency until its ending.

    Anime no Chikara is different because most of the series that came out from that timeslot are pretty bad series. No matter how good the art looks like, if you have derivative stories for the most part, you won’t get a lot of people interested in you.

    Sora no Woto was a bad series. From what I’ve read, so have been the other offerings of this timeslot. Anyway, those are just my two cents.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Nu-uh, the ratings on one of those links says 1.7% ratings for Tatami episode 2, which is bloody miserable for a Noitamina show.

      The writing for Tatami Galaxy is absolutely fantastic but I do have my problems with it, nearly all of which stem from Yuasa’s direction of the series. I never thought I’d say this, but here’s a series that is chock full of more unessasary animation quirks than anything Shinbo has ever done. There’s stretches of the story that gets ruined by his nonsense, episodes 1 and 9 being two in particular that grated on my nerves.

  6. Posted June 21, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    The problem with this season is that they went for TWO “artsy” series at once. Had they gone for something more in line with what’s come in the past and used it as a lead-in for a more experimental show the ratings probably would have been better. Hook the audience with something more to their liking and then expect a good chunk of them to stick around for the second show. Not sure what else is supposed to air alongside the live action Moyashimon next season, but I’d call Moyashimon a good example of a show to act as a lead-in.

    • Scamp
      Posted June 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      The other anime in Noitamina next season is Shiki, which has a pretty standerd style so I’ll be really interested in seeing if the ratings returns to normal.

      House of Five Leaves manga is written by a popular josei mangaka so theoretically it should be perfect for Noitamina. I suppose the Fuji TV executives should have learned from the failure of Ristorante Paradiso that her popularity in manga wouldn’t translate to anime but eh~

  7. ~xxx
    Posted June 21, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    if we put it on a very shallow state… ‘artsy’ would be associated with anything that was created uniquely with A-R-T.

    but, it would trigger comments that will put it to 150% stardom or 150% failure.

    anyways, I’ll have just to wait before the longest day ends.

  8. luffyluffy
    Posted June 21, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Permalink


  9. Posted June 22, 2010 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve honestly not been able to really get into either of the NoitaminA series this season. I can sort of blame schoolwork, but now that I’m out of school, I spend more time practicing guitar than I do pretty much anything else. Still, I somehow watch a handful of sub-par shows over House of Five Leaves and Tatami Galaxy.

    It’s not that I don’t think that they’re good, it’s just that they don’t appeal to me as much as previous shows have. Eden of the East and Tokyo Magnitude were immediate “watch” shows for me. Of course, I also have a track record of not really following their Josei adaptation shows either…….Hmm, I see where this is going.

    It’s also testament to lower quality shows *and* my general lack of interest from me when I only watched 7 shows this season as opposed to my usual 12-15. Theoretically, I have enough room to watch more shows, but I choose not to.

  10. Posted June 30, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    You make an interesting point. The shows this season (outside of Nodame) are certainly “different” than the blockbuster nature of Eden of the East and Tokyo Magnitude. They are odd, esoteric, and I would say outside the mainstream, which contrast with some of Noitamina’s biggest hits.

    I always give the slot my attention because of its past success, but I admit this year the shows have been interesting, but never a must watch along the lines of Eden or Magnitude. While I like the occasional change of pace (something like Tatami Galaxy…even Trapeze is still on my backlog) is ok, but I would be disappointed if Noitamina went the “artsy” route.

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