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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quantity = Quality:

I've updated my anime rankings to include the length of each franchise in addition to the other details.  Now people can see for themselves just how big a series is, or how shorter series compete with larger ones, etc.

One interesting experiment I did was to add up the top 50, the middle 50, and the final 56 series by length and then divide by the number of series in each bracket.  The average number of episodes for a franchise in the top 50 is 89.66, the middle 50 is 31.42, and the final 56 is 30.27.  This indicates that good series tend to be three times as long as the rest of the field.  There's no scientifically exact number of episodes that any series should be in order to be perfect, but in any case bigger is probably better.  Series should strive for a sweeping epic storyline first and fill in the details later.  Anything that can keep your story going and give people more chances to identify with your characters will be rewarding in the long run.  Stand-alone movies are virtually worthless, a lost cause from the very start.  The biggest series are the best, but I wonder if there's any significance between the 1-point gap of the middle versus final segments of my rankings.  Perhaps size ceases to help at a certain threshold of low quality, which is why the middle and final segments were so closely parallel to each other in average size.  In which case, these findings would indicate that the best formula is a large number of high quality episodes.  A lot of bad episodes won't do you any good, nor will a handful of perfect episodes.  What you want is a lot of good episodes that slowly and silently pile down like a winter snowfall until the entire city is buried under pure anime bliss.

In Burkean terms, don't try for the sublime but instead aim for the beautiful.  Even so, it also doesn't do any good to draw out any scene beyond its useful length, and repeating yourself doesn't get your story anywhere.  Give people time to embrace your characters, but don't waste people's time.  As time passes, I expect the average length of all my ranked franchises to inch upwards, because there's really no maximum limit to how long a series should be to still stay good.  However, it's interesting that there appears to be a minimum limit near 30, because all the shows from 51-156 on average managed to stay above that floor.  By that standard, it appears that any franchise you embark on should at least be 2 cour by the time you're done.  That actually makes a lot of common sense, as well as mathematical sense, too.  Twelve episode series just feel too compressed, and you rarely get to see the conclusion to any show at that level of length.  Thirty is more reasonable and can possibly deliver some closure, instead of just an exciting beginning that trails off into nowhere.  The longer a series is, the more likely it can reach its conclusion, which will do a lot to help make the show better overall.

In other news, even if you read the 12 Kingdoms light novels, you still don't get to learn what happens to Tai Kingdom, because the author hasn't written that story yet.  Talk about a disappointment.  There also doesn't seem to be any indication that the story ever will be written, either.  I guess I can understand the anime giving up and quitting, since the source material gave up too.  What's the point of leaving one cliffhanger just to teeter on top of another anyway?  However, the light novel describing the rise of Kyou's current queen is absolutely fantastic.  The Aspiring Wings is hands down the best novel in the series, and go figure the anime ends right before it.  This means definitively that people should seek out and read the light novels.  It's no longer a matter of choice when such good literature awaits them.

Now that Sora no Otoshimono's manga is done, it's worthwhile reading it in full as well, as the anime gets quite a bit wrong and the final movie could never possibly sum it all up correctly even when it does come out in blu-ray.

Mekaku City Actors is just too weird and doesn't explain itself well enough.  On account of its fame and popularity, I've tried to stick with it so far, but I give up.  The anime just doesn't do justice to the source material, which pretty much everyone on Earth who tried to watch it agrees upon.  Whatever it's trying to say or do, I just can't follow the non-chronological, surreal artwork, random chaotic plot twists that are subsequently never referred to again, and completely unexplained plot holes that are the trademark of virtually every single ep.  With Mekaku City Actors dropped, my new spring lineup looks like this:

1.  Fairy Tail
2.  Love Live 2
3.  No Game No Life 
4.  Gokukoku no Brynhildr
5.  Atelier Escha & Logy
6.  Soul Eater Not
7.  Naruto
8.  Dragonball Kai
9.  One Piece
10.  Mangaka-san to Assistant-san
11.  Hunter x Hunter
12.  Happiness Charge Precure
13.  Jojo's Bizarre Adventure 
14.  Isshukan Friends
15.  Tonari no Seki-kun
16.  Break Blade

To be honest, my patience with Isshukan Friends is wearing thin as well, but I guess I'll soldier on as long as I can.

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