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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top 100 Anime: Sources

Since we have this wonderful data set to play around with, it would be a shame to not investigate another aspect of good anime. Where does it come from? If we could find out what source material anime draws upon, we could see if there are any trends as to whether anime is better when drawn from one source over another. It might also be nice to see who or what studio produced the anime in the first place, to see the geniuses behind the series.

So let's look at our list again and see what additional information we could add:

1. Clannad (2007-2009) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Key

2. One Piece (1999-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Eiichiro Oda

3. Code Geass (2006-2009+) Source: Original Work. Creator: Sunrise.

4. Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (2004-2010+) Original Work. Creator: Seven Arcs.

5. Seikai no Monshou/Senki/Danshou (1999-2005) Source: Novels. Creator: Hiroyuki Morioka.

6. Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni (2006-2009+) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: 07th Expansion.

7. K-On! (2009-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Kakifly.

8. Naruto (2002-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Masashi Kishimoto

9. Dragonball (1986-2011) Source: Manga. Creator: Akira Toriyama.

10. Haruhi Suzumiya (2006-2010) Source: Novels. Creator: Nagaru Tanigawa

11. Kanon (2002-2007) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Key.

12. Pretty Cure (2004-2011+) Source: Original Work. Creator: Toei Animation.

13. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (2007-2009) Source: Original Work. Creator: Gainax.

14. Fairy Tail (2009-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Hiro Mashima.

15. To Aru Majutsu no Index/Kagaku no Railgun (2008-2011) Source: Novels/Manga. Creator: Kazuma Kamichi.

16. Katanagatari (2010) Source: Novels. Creator: Nisio Isin.

17. Angel Beats (2010) Source: Original Work. Creator: Key.

18. Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011) Source: Original Work. Creator: Shaft.

19. Da Capo (2003-2011+) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Circus.

20. Kobato (2009-2010) Source: Manga. Creator: CLAMP.

21. Vandread (2000-2001) Source: Original Work. Creator: Gonzo.

22. Full Metal Panic! (2002-2005) Source: Novels. Creator: Shoji Gatoh.

23. Working! (2010+) Source: Manga. Creator: Karino Takatsu

24. Toradora! (2008-2009) Source: Novels. Creator: Yuyuko Takemiya

25. Record of Lodoss War (1990-1998) Source: Novels. Creator: Ryo Mizuno.

26. Bakuman (2010-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Tsugumi Ohba + Takeshi Obata

27. The World God Only Knows (2010-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Tamiki Wakaki.

28. Sora no Woto (2010) Source: Original Work. Creator: A-1 Pictures.

29. Cowboy Bebop (1998-2001) Source: Original Work. Creator: Sunrise.

30. Ef (2007-2008) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Minori.

31. Hayate no Gotoku (2007-2009+) Source: Manga. Creator: Kenjiro Hata.

32. Inuyasha (2000-2010) Source: Manga. Creator: Rumiko Takahashi.

33. Evangelion (1995-2009) Source: Original Work. Creator: Gainax.

34. Basilisk (2005) Source: Manga. Creator: Masaki Segawa.

35. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) Source: Novel. Creator: Eiko Kadano.

36. Galaxy Angel (2001-2006) Source: Video Game. Creator: Broccoli.

37. Saki (2009) Source: Manga. Creator: Ritz Kobayashi.

38. Uuchuu no Stellvia (2003) Source: Original Work. Creator: Xebec.

39. Ranma 1/2 (1989-1996) Source: Manga. Creator: Rumiko Takahashi.

40. Samurai Champloo (2004-2005) Source: Original Work. Creator: Manglobe.

41. Major (2004-2010) Source: Manga. Creator: Takuya Mitsuda.

42. Air (2005) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Key.

43. Sailor Moon (1992-1997) Source: Manga. Creator: Naoko Takeuchi.

44. Rurouni Kenshin (1996-2001+) Source: Manga. Creator: Nobuhiro Watsuki.

45. Prince of Tennis (2001-2009+) Source: Manga. Creator: Takeshi Konomi.

46. Hanasaku Iroha (2011+) Source: Original Work. Creator: P.A. Works.

47. Ore no Immouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (2010-2011) Source: Novels. Creator: Tsukasa Fushimi.

48. 12 Kingdoms (2002-2003) Source: Novels. Creator: Fuyumi Ono.

49. Utawarerumono (2006-2009) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Leaf.

50. Kimi ni Todoke (2009-2011) Source: Manga. Creator: Karuho Shiina.

51. Mononoke Hime (1997) Source: Hayao Miyazaki. Creator: Studio Ghibli.

52. Summer Wars (2009) Source: Original Work. Creator: Madhouse.

53. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2010-2011+) Source: Novels. Creator: Kenji Inoue.

54. Battle Athletes (1997-1998) Source: Original Work. Creator: AIC.

55. Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (2011+) Source: Original Work. Creator: A-1 Pictures.

56. Zero no Tsukaima (2006-2008) Source: Novels. Creator: Noburo Yamaguchi.

57. Berserk (1997-1998+) Source: Manga. Creator: Kentaro Mura.

58. Claymore (2007) Source: Manga. Creator: Norihiro Yagi.

59. Bastard! (1992) Source: Manga. Creator: Kazushi Hagiwara.

60. Amagami SS (2010-2011) Source: Video Game. Creator: Enterbrain.

61. Valkyria Chronicles (2009+) Source: Video Game. Creator: Sega.

62. Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka (2008-2009) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Feng.

63. Negima! Magister Magi Negi (2004-2010+) Source: Manga. Creator: Ken Akamatsu.

64. Macross Plus (1994-1995) Source: Original Work. Creator: Bandai Visual.

65. Read or Die (2001-2004) Source: Novels. Creator: Hideyuki Kurata.

66. Angelic Layer (2001) Source: Manga. Creator: CLAMP.

67. Mahoromatic (2001-2009) Source: Manga. Creator: Bunjuro Nakayama.

68. Sora no Otoshimono (2009-2010+) Source: Manga. Creator: Suu Minazuki.

69. Bleach (2004-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Tite Kubo.

70. Card Captor Sakura (1998-2000) Source: Manga. Creator: CLAMP.

71. Martian Successor Nadesico (1996-1998) Source: Original Work. Creator: XEBEC.

72. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) Source: Manga. Creator: Hayao Miyazaki.

73. Break Blade (2010-2011+) Source: Manga. Creator: Yunosuke Yoshinaga.

74. Spice and Wolf (2008-2009) Source: Novels. Creator: Isuna Hasekura.

75. Alien Nine (2001-2002) Source: Manga. Creator: Hitoshi Tamizawa.

76. Fatal Fury (1992-1994) Source: Video Game. Creator: Studio Cockpit.

77. Bakemonogatari (2009-2010+) Source: Novels. Creator: Nisio Isin.

78. Iria: Zeiram the Animation (1994) Source: Original Work. Creator: Bandai Visual.

79. Guyver (1986-2006) Source: Manga. Creator: Yoshiki Takaya.

80. Sora no Manimani (2009) Source: Manga. Creator: Mami Kashiwabara.

81. Saber Marionette (1995-1999) Source: Original Work. Creator: Bandai Visual.

82. Shakugan no Shana (2005-2010+) Source: Novels. Creator: Yashichiro Takahashi.

83. Gosick (2011+) Source: Novels. Creator: Kazuki Sakuraba.

84. Macross Frontier (2008-2011) Source: Original Work. Creator: Satelight.

85. Scrapped Princess (2003) Source: Novels. Creator: Ichiro Sakaki.

86. Lucky Star (2007-2008) Source: Manga. Creator: Kagami Yoshimizu.

87. Hunter x Hunter (1999-2004) Source: Manga. Creator: Yoshihiro Togashi.

88. Spirited Away (2001) Source: Hayao Miyazaki. Creator: Studio Ghibli.

89. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Source: Isao Takahata. Creator: Studio Ghibli.

90. Azumanga Daioh (2002) Source: Manga. Creator: Kiyohiko Azuma.

91. Kanokon (2008-2009) Source: Novels. Creator: Katsumi Nishino.

92. To Heart (1999-2010) Source: Visual Novel. Creator: Leaf.

93. Ninja Scroll (1993) Source: Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Creator: Madhouse.

94. High School of the Dead (2010-2011) Source: Manga. Creator: Daisuke Sato.

95. Gunbuster (1988-2006) Source: Original Work. Creator: Gainax.

96. RG Veda (1991-1992) Source: Manga. Creator: CLAMP.

97. Shamanic Princess (1996-1998) Source: Original Work. Creator: Bandai Visual.

98. Akira (1988) Source: Manga. Creator: Katsuhiro Otomo.

99. Moshidora (2011) Source: Novel. Creator: Natsumi Iwasaki.

100. Soul Eater (2008-2009) Source: Manga. Creator: Atsushi Okubo.

Okay. Now we have the facts. The next step is to analyze them. First, let's add up the categories of inspiration for a clearer picture:

Visual Novels: 9/100 = 9% of the top 100 are based off of visual novels. Average Ranking: 35th.

Manga: 40/100 = 40% of the top 100 are based off of manga. Average Ranking: 53rd.

Video Games: 4/100 = 4% of the top 100 are based off of video games. Average Ranking: 58th.

Original Works: 23/100 = 23% of the top 100 are original anime works, stories created by the studios themselves. Average Ranking: 45th.

Novels: 20/100 = 20% of the top 100 are based off of novels. Average Ranking: 51st.

Hayao Miyazaki was instrumental in creating, directing, and producing Mononoke Hime, Nausicaa and Spirited Away. He alone accounts for 3% of good anime. His own category would rank on average 82nd.

Similarly, Yoshiaki Kawajiri did everything to produce Ninja Scroll on his own, so he should get credit for 1% of good anime, and would rank 93rd.

Similarly, Isao Takahata did everything to produce Grave of the Fireflies on his own, so he should get credit for 1% of good anime, and would rank 89th.

The percentages aren't exactly 100% because some things are counted under two separate categories. In any event, that covers all sources/mediums of inspiration.

Manga is clearly the dominant player when it comes to anime. 2/5 of all anime are based off of their preceding manga source. However, manga sourced works are almost the lowest quality on average. Only movie directors (who find it hard to compete with long series with just single movies) and video games have lower average quality than manga-based works. This points to a few things: Manga is not the best source for anime primarily because manga takes too long to finish, which leaves anime hanging. An anime based off of a manga won't have a satisfactory conclusion, it will be full of dead space designed simply to waste time, and have constant filler, non-manga sourced episodes that cause mayhem with the plot and characters. One example is the extremely short manga Card Captor Sakura by CLAMP. It was turned into a 70 episode anime with 2 movies, and even then, the anime ended before the manga, which meant it didn't follow the manga's ending, which left the ending completely mangled. Most of the 70 episodes didn't follow the plot and were repetitive filler. Entire characters were invented out of full cloth. No matter how good the manga is, when the anime is done trashing the adaptation, you end up with a low-ranking anime.

If anime wanted to be based off of manga, it should wait until the manga finishes, or release episodes commensurate to the pace that the manga is being released. A new anime episode should only be released once the manga has progressed a full episode of content in length, whether that's every three weeks or once every two months or however long it takes. Only then can anime be steadily released alongside the manga, have only *real* content, and finish with the *real* ending. If, for whatever reason, business models can't support this method of release, companies should simply stop adapting manga and turn to better mediums for adaptation -- namely novels and their own, original scripts.

Novels aren't released until they're done, which gives anime perfect stopping points to animate a series whenever they please. As a result, novel based anime are 20% of good anime and rank slightly higher than manga based anime.

Original Animation works are even better, though, because the episodes can be designed and released without waiting on anyone or anything else. The pacing can match the format of television and not have to be tortured into place via editing, like any adaptation of a foreign source requires. As a result, original works are 23% of good anime, the second largest total, and rank much better on average at 45th.

Visual novels take the top place in quality because of a single supernova of talent, the people over at Key. Even if adapting visual novels were difficult, it wouldn't matter because they'd be adapting Key, which is the greatest art studio in the world. However, visual novels do have a unique advantage that makes them easier to adapt into anime. A visual novel isn't released until it is done, which means an anime can see the entire 'series' from start to finish, and follow it religiously. Because an anime can stick to a visual novel's script, it has good pacing and a good, solid ending without any filler deviations. This negates many of the faults anime has when it tries to adapt anything else. Visual novels only make up a small segment of the market, 9%, but at 35th they're the best source for new anime. This is why it is an unforgivable shame that Planetarian, Little Busters, Tomoyo After Story and Rewrite, all visual novels by Key, have not been made into anime yet. They would be some of the best anime series ever, but anime continues to waste its time with inferior sources and inferior ideas. I cannot fathom why this is transpiring.

Clearly anime based off of video games has an uphill climb because most video games lack the depth of content necessary to carry an anime's storyline. Games rely on gameplay, not plot and characters, to deliver entertainment, so anime of games without the gameplay are unlikely to be winners.

My advice to anime studios is simple: Adapt more visual novels, especially visual novels by Key. Don't adapt manga until they're done, or release anime episodes of manga series only once a month. Adapt more books and less manga in general. Lastly, only adapt the very best works by outsiders. Otherwise, there's simply too much advantage in the editing process in doing your own original scripts that can be kept tight and well paced because they're designed for TV from the beginning. Original works do much better than any category but visual novels, and they only lose to visual novels because of Key. Anime is better off just relying on its own creative talent, adaptations aren't keeping up.

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