What happens when a popular manga becomes a late night anime?

“If it’s late at night then it’s geared towards otaku” is an argument that gets tossed around fairly often, even by myself.

But then there are examples of anime adapted from popular manga that end up showing at midnight or later. Nana, the most popular shoujo manga around, had an anime adaptation with an 11:30pm time slot. Glass Mask, one of the most popular shoujo manga of all time, aired at 2:00am with its 2005 remake. In the case of Glass Mask, the fact that it is not hip and modern (though the manga is still running!) may have contributed to this late-night airing but I still do find it unusual.

Assuming that late-night really DOES equal otaku, is it possible for a manga with general popularity to be turned into an otaku-targeted anime?
However, if we were to assume that late-night DOES NOT necessarily mean the show is meant for otaku, just how difficult is it to get a decent time slot on the Japanese air waves?

Finally, are there any examples of otaku-oriented manga becoming popular anime?

7 thoughts on “What happens when a popular manga becomes a late night anime?

  1. >>Finally, are there any examples of otaku-oriented manga becoming popular anime?

    Hayate no Gotoku? That aired at like 10am on Sundays. Not sure how popular it is, but that’s a good time slot.


  2. There’s an interesting Wikipedia article about late night anime:

    Seems like popular manga (particularly shoujo) in late-night slots are becoming trendy lately since it can still pull off decent ratings of 3% and above. But I know I was disappointed in NANA primarily because of that timeslot. It has the potential to get higher ratings if given a better timeslot.

    Among other things, how mainstream Japanese gobs up entertainment still puzzles me. For example, while the first live-action NANA movie was one of the biggest hits of 2005, the sequel was the one of the worst flops of 2006. Other instances include throwing the 2nd season of School Rumble from primetime to late-night, and in reverse, promoting Code Geass from late-night to semi-primetime.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think late-night timeslots are purely otaku-oriented, rather it’s basically a play-safe throwback slot for savvy TV companies who can’t predict how mainstream Japanese audiences would watch a certain anime or manga property. For anime companies, it’s a play-safe cheap timeslot for promoting their DVDs.


  3. When I was in Japan last year I remember Nodame Cantabile (the anime) being on like 1 something in the morning which goes back to the shoujo thing you mentioned.

    On the other hand, Ikkitousen Dragon Destiny came on during prime time around 7ish. With all the panchira and camel toe going on I thought something like that, being the total otaku fodder that it was, would have been on much later.


  4. This is late, but. Good timeslots run about $100,000 more an episode, just for the key network, never mind others out in the countryside. 5000 DVDs sold is “hit” territory. The math just doesn’t work for anything that’s not going to sell tons of toys, or draw 5% ratings at the minimum (for perspective, that’s Bleach or Gundam-level) to make the TV network want to fund it for ad revenue.

    It is interesting to note that most of the girls’ and womens’ shows mentioned as late-night are in a slot specifically groomed by Fuji TV for animation aimed at teen-to-young-adult women, which has been pulling average ratings for shows between a respectable 3% and an amazing-for-the-time 5%.


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