A 2ch Poster’s Reading of Anime DVD/BD Sales Charts

Or “Sales Barriers for Anime”

This was originally going to be named “how 2ch reads sales charts” but then I remembered that trying to classify any part of 2ch as a singular is a rather foolish thing to do unless you want hits. Wait, oops.

Anyway, this is obviously not gospel truth, but a neat, simplified guide by someone who is clearly somewhat of an industry watcher and a brave warrior on the battlegrounds of the 2ch sales threads. Disc sales numbers referred to here are Oricon numbers.

Mostly anime where disc sales are not a main concern from the beginning; either truly insignificant shows1 or close to it.
Ex: NHK anime, Children’s anime, Pay channel shows (WOWOW, etc), Nippon TV late night shows, Gonzo shows, IG Original shows, etc

Mostly insignificant shows. Shows in this area generally failed to attract any interest and are looked upon as endangered, shadowy species.
Ex: Gin’iro no Olynssis, Hyakko, Hero Tales, Shikabane Hime, Akikan!, etc

The line between significance and insignificance. Depending on the week, the title may chart if it gets lucky. However, these titles are normally frightened away from the charts, as they’re afraid that Totoro might squash them.
Ex: Yozakura Quartet, Blassreiter, Simoun, Kaze no Stigma, Nabari no Ou, etc

Significant enough to not count as insignificant. However, their poor sales are generally enough to chart, often causing people to only feel pity or sympathy for them.
Ex: Ghost Slayers Ayashi, Galaxy Angel Rune, Kimikiss, Our Home’s Fox Deity, Kyoran Kazoku Nikki, etc

Light novel anime often falls in this category. Might be enough to turn a profit with Kadokawa DVD pricing. The title considered the hurdle is now quantified as a single unit of sales, as in “one Zega.” Anime in this category is considered to be in dangerous territory, as Manabi, the problem child, often makes faces at these titles.
Ex: Rental Magica, Goshusho-sama Ninomiya-kun, Kurenai, Shinkyoku Sokai Polyphonica, Zegapain, etc.

Many titles fall in this category. Marginally performing shows, many of which didn’t sell as much as their popularity would make you think they would.
Ex: Manabi Straight!, true tears #1, Sketchbook, Gun X Sword, Yami to Boshi to Hon no Tabibito

The line of profitability. Also the line at which one could say a title is doing okay, but some may call some titles that sell this many a failure, so it’s quite hard to judge.
Ex: Denno Coil, Soul Eater, School Days, Linebarrels of Iron, Super Robot Swars OG, etc

Titles that gathered a reasonable amount of attention and sold reasonably well. Posters may still make fun of these titles’ sales, but they’re rarely considered “failures.” Growth stocks.
Ex: Seto no Hanayome, Bamboo Blade Garei -Zero-, Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, Planetes, etc

The point where a second season looks likely, and a reasonable number of discs one can hope to sell. Producers seem to begin to be praised at this point.
Ex: Strawberry Marshmallow, Rozen Maiden, Hidamari Sketch, The Familiar of Zero, Darker than Black, etc

Impressive sales, favorites that can easily be called “hits.”
Ex: Spice and Wolf, Full Metal Panic Fumoffu, Nodame Cantabile, My-Otome, Sgt. Frog, etc

The entry point into the world of five-figure sales. There is no problem with calling regular late night anime that sell this much a “major hit.”
Ex: Toradora, Shakugan no Shana, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Pani Poni Dash!, Fafner in the Azure, etc

The top class of sales for titles that target the narrow otaku community. Praiseworthy honors students.
Ex: Minami-ke, s-CRY-ed, Da Capo, Strike Witches, Eureka Seven, etc

The point at which people who normally don’t buy DVDs begin to buy a title. Outstanding works brimming with frontier spirit.
Ex: Gintama, Death Note, Big Windup, Aria the Animation, Negima, etc

Properties with many strong, ardent, and powerful supporters. Major stars with deep fanbases.
Ex: Air, Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Clannad, Hetalia, etc

Titles in between the above and below categories that stand as influential and steadfast titles.
Ex: Lucky Star, Azumanga Daioh, G.I.T.S. SAC 2nd GIG, Initial D 4th Stage, Fate/Stay Night, etc

New leaders that become the talk of the industry. Incredible flamewars break out between supporters of titles of this group and titles in the next tier.
Ex: Full Metal Alchemist, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Code Geass, Macross F, Gundam 00, etc

In a completely different class from the rest. Godly sales.
Ex: Gundam SEED, theatrical anime (Kara no Kyokai, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), Bakemonogatari, etc

Theatrical anime or anime made for the public at large. The stars of the industry.
Ex: Ghibli anime, Eva films, Zeta Gundam: A New Translation, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, The World of Golden Eggs, etc

  1. keep in mind that the kind of poster who would make this chart judges a show’s worth by its economic performance. original term 雑魚, or “small fry” []

16 Responses to “A 2ch Poster’s Reading of Anime DVD/BD Sales Charts”

  1. astrange says:

    >There is no problem with calling regular late night anime that sell this much a “major hit.”
    >Ex: Pani Poni Dash!


  2. mt-i says:

    I guess the orders of magnitude are not new, but the examples are gold. “Good” and “bad” shows in every category, suggesting sales numbers are largely independent from any reasonable measure of “quality”, whatever that means :)

  3. kransom says:

    I can’t help but think that was intentional. Either that or urisure-min are even more frightening people than I thought.

  4. Brack says:

    They sound about in line from my experience with the general UK DVD market, the break-even point for DVDs varied, but 1000-4000 sounds about right depending on the costs other than duplication and distribution that are involved. Barcodes and the means to duplicate & ship discs are the baseline requirements for being a DVD company, it’s the content bit that’s tricky. Though I do wonder, given the price differentials on SKUs between the UK and Japan, exactly what factors are involved to make the duplication and distribution so much costlier.

    The narrative on the sales as you pointed out is a little skewed, and somewhat in the anime bubble, but the pointing out that DVD sales aren’t necessarily the only way a show recoups money is very handy for the overall discussion of sales (i.e. when folks declare WOWOW shows flops based solely on their DVD sales).

  5. jpmeyer says:

    “Gonzo shows”


  6. omo says:

    >> Anime in this category is considered to be in dangerous territory, as Manabi, the problem child, often makes faces at these titles.


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  8. omo says:

    oh right

  9. Narutaki says:

    Number like this are always helpful, thanks.

    I was wondering, where do family shows like Detective Conan or Doraemon for example sit among these?

  10. kransom says:

    From what I can find (as ANN says, this comes from “unverified, anonymous sources”), the movies sell modest numbers for a theatrical film (7-10 thousand?), and I don’t think the tv series gets DVD releases other than classic releases like the box sets they do of entire classic years. From what I can see, the 1979 box set sold 2,000 units (at 30,000 yen msrp), but box set numbers are a totally different game.

    Conan seems to sell slightly more discs for the movies, but the releases they do of the TV episodes sell negligible numbers and rarely chart. Since prime time TV anime like Conan and Doraemon make their money from advertisers anyway, I think they’re what “disc sales are not a main concern from the beginning” is pointing at. Same thing with WOWOW shows as Brack pointed out, since it’s a premium channel.

  11. digital boy says:

    So what’s the deal with the first category? Gonzo shows and Production I.G. originals aren’t going for DVD sales? So why do they get such insanely high budgets? What ARE they going for?

  12. WAHa.06x36 says:

    I haven’t been keeping up with DVD sales, so there are some surprises in there. I sure wasn’t expecting Aria, or The World of Golden Eggs.

    Also now I am curious about how the original Eva series would place. Of course, it’s old enough that the comparison might not be quite valid, but still.

  13. lvlln says:

    This is a fascinating breakdown. Really helps me put into context these numbers I hear all the time. I still don’t understand how an otaku show like Bakemonogatari got to the tier it did.

  14. Anon says:

    >Also now I am curious about how the original Eva series would place.

    It’s the #1 TV anime @ 178,000~ copies (Highest single volume sales)

  15. anonymous says:

    The only thing I’m wondering is whether or not the importance of these numbers represent the entirety of the DVD/Blu-Ray sales or the single disk sales.

  16. Anon says:

    It’s all formats combined.

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