Like most of you, I’ve recently finished watching the first episode of Hyouka. The story left me with a small smile on my face, wondering what we will see next week. I then proceeded to avoid all blog entries concerning the show.
You see, there’s no need to be an anime veteran to know that some shows are easier to enjoy without getting involved in the drama surrounding them. But even with this approach to the matter, moans about the heinous acts of KyoAni kept assaulting my ears. The nefarious studio stole somebody’s shoes in New Jersey, caused traffic jams in Morocco and was seen eating babies in its stronghold of Kyoto. And I thought, is it just me, or is it really impossible to discuss KyoAni shows without the conversation switching focus to the studio?
Questions like getting answers, so I decided to check. I went to Anime Nano and skimmed through the first ten [Hyouka – Episode 1] posts I could find. Results?
- 80% of the posts mention KyoAni
- 87,5% of the above mention KyoAni within the first paragraph/first few lines
- one blogger gets extra points for working KyoAni into the post title
Now wait a moment, you say, Hyouka is a loud show just beginning its run, it’s perfectly normal for everyone to mention the animation studio in their first post, and there’s nothing wrong with it appearing in the first paragraph – “Hyouka, KyoAni’s latest show, is a story about youth and pancakes…” – isn’t that the classic opening line?
You’re probably right. Just to make sure, I checked the same thing for another one of this season’s most lauded shows, Sakamichi no Apollon. You’ll have to forgive me for not using bullet points for presenting the results this time around, but… there’s not much to say. Only one out of ten blogs mentioned the studio responsible for the series anywhere in the text… stating that the author hasn’t watched anything else done by them so far. (The Black Sheep Project deserves props for doing the research, though!)
The irony here is that while many of the blogs included in the statistics above might take a critical stance towards KyoAni, their comments not only confirm, but also contribute to KyoAni’s brand awareness hegemony. Bloggers seem intent on making sure that any newcomer to the hobby knows the company name and can associate it with the studio’s work. KyoAni must be glad.