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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Naruto's Stock is Rising:

Dynasty Warriors 8 is getting its expected Empires spinoff/expansion this fall.  It will come with at least one new character, most likely Xun Yu, a strategist from Wei who scored 2nd on the popularity poll for as yet un-introduced characters in the series.  It's not enough extra content to make a large difference, but it's always fun to see DW8 get even better, even though it's already the best game in a long time just the way it is.

Freezing and Rosario Vampire are both decent series that combine ecchi/romance comedy with fighting/action.  Of the two, Freezing is actually the superior version, but Rosario Vampire has the advantage of being complete so you can actually see the ending.  They're both worth looking into.

Sailor Moon Crystal looks like it will really only cover the first season of the previous anime.  As such, I'm going to deduct the first season of Sailor Moon from my anime length count, and add in the episodes from this year's remake in its place, as this year's remake is going to be far superior to the original.  When the new Crystal eps appear, I'll gradually add back to the length of the series until the remake is done.  I've applied this process to DBZ as well.  Now that Buu Kai is coming out, the original DBZ is no longer necessary, therefore all of DBZ doesn't count towards my length listing.  Instead, as each new episode of Buu Kai comes out, Dragon Ball gets credit for one new episode of length per week, until Kai ends and the true final tally is delivered.

The resumption of the Hunter x Hunter manga doesn't look very promising.  It's almost all text, and all the text is about stuff I don't care about.  It isn't about the Spiders or Killua's family, the subjects I actually care about, but instead is about a bunch of meaningless horror tropes.  I don't really care if this section of the manga is written or not, or if it gets animated or not.  I'm tired of this series not delivering on its promises.

It was impossible to drop Tonari no Seki-kun, because the series ended simultaneously on the same episode I got tired of it.  That's pretty impeccable timing.  I guess even the series creators decided to drop it after such a bad ep, huh.

The highest selling manga and light novels for the first half of 2014 came out, and the answers were all series we already know about, already have an anime, or are about to get an anime.  It doesn't look like the anime industry will be able to rely on new works for much longer -- this would be a great opportunity for them to rely on sequels to old popular works instead.  Just like the Sailor Moon remake, which shows people are still interested in anime from the 90's, why not a Ranma 1/2 sequel?  A Kenshin sequel?  A Berserk sequel?  The sky's the limit, really.

One thing I've learned from the manga industry is that good stories take time.  Naruto, One Piece and Bleach weren't built in a day.  Each chapter is only a tiny portion of the whole, and the story progresses at a snail's pace at just one chapter a week.  It can feel like nothing is happening at all.  But once you look back and review it all at once, it crystallizes into a legible and sensible story again.  People reading manga weekly show a lot of frustration and dissatisfaction for the series because 'not enough happens,' or 'X hasn't happened yet,' but all of these problems will go away with time.  The only legitimate complaint people can have with manga is 'that shouldn't have happened,' but even this complaint tends to be erased with time as you discover the author's logic behind his decision and how it connects to the rest of the story.  Manga is unique in that there are no discrete ending points, like say books in a series.  Each chapter of manga just connects to the next in an endless stream.  Manga can take years explaining what happened in a single day.  That's just how big the task is in some stories, and you can't expect one single artist, even with a bunch of assistants, to be able to go any faster than he already is at such a monumental task.

Just consider how many years have gone into making Final Fantasy XV.  If an entire company of programmers can't release a game in eight years, a single manga-ka can't be expected to finish his manga in less than a decade.  When Naruto and Bleach are all over, they'll be great.  Just like how A Song of Fire and Ice will be much better once we have the actual ending, compared to how the story feels today.  Unfortunately for Bleach, none of that ending will be televised, so it will always stay a mediocre anime.  Naruto, on the other hand, is going to get animated to the very end, which means it has a real possibility of competing for the top.  If the ending is satisfactory, I could see it competing with Fairy Tail and Precure for the #2 spot, though One Piece is totally out of reach.  Pretty Cure, after all, just keeps resetting itself and is thus a pretty repetitive story, while Fairy Tail might never see its anime reach the ending and could be cancelled at any moment.  Clannad, at 48 episodes, is going to be pretty hard pressed to be better than Naruto at 400 episodes (or however long it's going to end up being).  The same is true of the even shorter Sword Art Online series, which may not even get its Alicization arc animated.  Will SAO continue after Alicization?  I sure hope so.  It still hasn't finalized the marriage and happy ending of Kirito and Asuna, it still hasn't captured all the members of Laughing Coffin, and it still hasn't climbed the 100th floor of Aincrad castle.  I see a lot more room for adventures in this series if the author still has good ideas for new virtual games to dive into.  But no matter how much more content the light novels get, if they aren't animated, that won't help its anime ranking any.  The same is true of Index/Railgun.  Index has endless material left unanimated, and Railgun just finished its third arc in the manga, which could support a third season if they wanted it to.  The question is whether J.C. Staff is actually interested in continuing the series or not.  So far there's been no indication of a sequel for either, so who's to say they won't just randomly quit here?

Naruto, like One Piece, is one of the only series that's guaranteed to keep going so long as the manga gives it material to continue with.  As such, it has a huge advantage over all of its potential adversaries in the rankings.  No matter how good the source material of Non-Naruto series, if they never get adapted it doesn't count for much.  As such, the only competition Naruto even faces is One Piece in a fair and even manner.  A One Piece-Naruto 1-2 finish only makes sense as a result of this mathematical formula.  However, I won't give up on Fairy Tail until it actually is cancelled.  So long as there's hope, there's hope.

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