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Producer of Fullmetal Alchemist Lectures on How To Produce a Successful Anime

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#1
Oct 9, 2009 3:37 AM

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Taguchi Koji, the Square Enix producer (Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, Saki, Kuroshitsuji), gave a lecture at Japan International Contents Festival held on October 6th. He revealed backstage information of the anime industry by showing concrete data. He said Square Enix has produced 30 titles for eight years, and none made a deficit at least to Square Enix.

He gave three key steps for the success in the anime production:

1, Find promising genera: eg. Moe, Fujoshi, Surrealism Comedy, Orthodox Shonen manga
2, Choose suitable manga for the genera: Saki (Moe), Kuroshitsuji (Fujoshi), Tentai Senshi Sunred (Comedy), Fullmetal Alchemist (Shonen).
3, Assign fitting production studio: GONZO (Saki), A-1 Pictures (Kuroshitsuji), AIC ASTA (Sunred), BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Taguchi said the publication business utilizing anime is much easier than the game business, which he was working in the past.

Manga publishers have to pay the production costs, the expenses for the advertisement, and the fees for the airing blocks on TV.

Production costs: 10 million - 20 million yen ($110,000 - 220,000) per one episode
Airing block fee: 25 million - 50 million yen ($270,000 - 550,000)
The total investment of Square Enix in Fullmetal Alchemist 1st season was 500 million yen ($5.5million).

Manga publishers earn the profits of TV anime mainly from the increase in the sales of the original manga.

The average sales per volume (number of copies)
Saki
Before airing: 150,000
After airing: 350,000

Kuroshitsuji:
Before: 600,000
After: 1,000,000

Fullmetal Alchemist 1st Season:
Before: 150,000
After: 1,500,000

The amount of profit Square Enix earns by selling one copy of manga is 150 yen.

The Balance of Fullmetal Alchemist 1st Season
Investments: 500 million yen
Profits: 150 yen x (1.5 - 0.15 million copies) x 8 volumes = 1,620 million yen

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:
Before: 1,900,000
After: 2,100,000

Profits: 150 yen x (2.1 - 1.9 million) x 23 volumes = 690 million yen

Tagushi said the manga business outside Japan doesn't make profits. Even in the cases of NARUTO and Fullmetal Alchemist, the numbers of copies sold in US are one tenth - twentieth of those in Japan. He surmised the reasons for the poor sales are:
1. Manga books are expensive in US because printing small number of copies is inefficient.
2. The amount of children's pocket money is relatively small.
3. There are few manga stores within the walking distance from home.
He expects the download service of manga will expand the manga market outside Japan.

Source: Business Makoto
Modified by arsonal, May 23, 2016 10:56 PM
 
#2
Oct 9, 2009 4:08 AM

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2. The amount of children's pocket money is relatively small.

lol really?
 
#3
Oct 9, 2009 4:13 AM

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BigSimo said:
2. The amount of children's pocket money is relatively small.

lol really?

Just what I thought xD
 
#4
Oct 9, 2009 4:14 AM

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if i can attend his lecture...

 
#5
Oct 9, 2009 4:55 AM

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"Manga publishers have to pay the production costs, the expenses for the advertisement, and the fees for the airing blocks on TV."

And now we know why there are rarely original series lol.

I believe his summary on manga sales in the US are very accurate. The closest bookstore to where I live is about 40 minutes away (And I'm pretty sure it closed down LOL)~ And its far too expensive per volume even now that I'm an adult. When I was young I was NEVER given pocket money unless I decided not to eat lunch at school and saved it... I only ever convinced my mom to buy me one volume of manga ever (of pokemon=3)
I didn't really have any money till High School... and that I usually saved for video games which had a longer enjoyment span xD (although much more expensive unfortunately)

Now that I'm in college with a job I still can't afford any... Most of my savings is for tuition and cost of school books (which can be about $500 pers semester =/)... then there's also the fact my car is going to die any day T____T
Why couldn't I have been born a millionaire.
Modified by Bluesnow, Oct 9, 2009 5:00 AM
 
#6
Oct 9, 2009 4:57 AM

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I didn't knew manga (and I'm assuming light novel adaptations work the same) publishers were the ones that funded adaptations. And what about DVD and merchandise sales? Don't they make at least a sizable portion of the profits?

Of course the business model for OVA, original scripts and full adaptations (like ARIA) should be different from this one.
 
#7
Oct 9, 2009 5:02 AM

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They should atleast exploit the Asian markets. India is completely fucked up!
 
#8
Oct 9, 2009 5:18 AM

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RandomOugi said:
I didn't knew manga (and I'm assuming light novel adaptations work the same) publishers were the ones that funded adaptations. And what about DVD and merchandise sales? Don't they make at least a sizable portion of the profits?

He also mentioned the royalties from the DVD sales, but the income from the manga sales matter most to the publishers. I guess the sales of the DVD affect the DVD distributors like Geneon, Bandai Visual etc.
 
#9
Oct 9, 2009 5:21 AM

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dtshyk said:
He gave three key steps for the success in the anime production:

1, Find promising genera: eg. Moe, Fujoshi, Surrealism Comedy, Orthodox Shonen manga
2, Choose suitable manga for the genera: Saki (Moe), Kuroshitsuji (Fujoshi), Tentai Senshi Sunred (Comedy), Fullmetal Alchemist (Shonen).
3, Assign fitting production studio: GONZO (Saki), A-1 Pictures (Kuroshitsuji), AIC ASTA (Sunred), BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist)


Interesting/predictable that grooming decent fucking TV screenwriters does not appear anywhere in this businessman's plan. But hey, if they concentrate on adaptations, that's fine, I'd rather a failed adaptation than failed 'original' story.

EDIT: Actually I just remembered Blade of the Immortal. :|

EDIT EDIT: And Gantz. :| :|
"I'm starting to think mal is run by Xinil generating electricity on a bicycle." - idklol
 
Oct 9, 2009 7:11 AM

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lol.. fujoshi.. XD i hope more fujoshi will come out... XD it seems moe and yuri is getting too popular lately..
 
Oct 9, 2009 7:40 AM

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Wait, the Naruto manga doesn't make money in the US. HOW THE HELL?
My anime list
 
Oct 9, 2009 7:43 AM

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Question: if the anime is really, really bad, how does it accept the sales of the manga?
Waratte Oemashou Sore ha Chiisana Inori
 
Oct 9, 2009 7:47 AM

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Moe never was and never will be a promising genre.
 
Oct 9, 2009 7:48 AM
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ladyxzeus said:
Question: if the anime is really, really bad, how does it accept the sales of the manga?


Maybe because people think: Hey, manga > anime in general -> let' look into the manga.
 
Oct 9, 2009 8:08 AM
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LolitaDecay said:
Moe never was and never will be a promising genre.

Actually, Moe brought me into Anime/Manga and keeps me there.

ladyxzeus said:
Question: if the anime is really, really bad, how does it accept the sales of the manga?

This should not happen if you assign the right people to it (director, production studio, ...) ;)
 
Oct 9, 2009 8:16 AM

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LolitaDecay said:
Moe never was and never will be a promising genre.


While arguably being the shittiest thing ever thought up by evil human mind, it still sells.


From sales POV it works perfectly as there are a lot of people who drool after every moe blob animu.
 
Oct 9, 2009 9:09 AM

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So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

 
Oct 9, 2009 9:16 AM

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LolitaDecay said:
Moe never was and never will be a promising genre.

Sad to say it sells very well... Personally I hate it D:


 
Oct 9, 2009 10:10 AM

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2. The amount of children's pocket money is relatively small.
3. There are few manga stores within the walking distance from home.


Soooo true....


At least regarding my personal experience. D:


 
Oct 9, 2009 2:01 PM
歌は愛♡歌は希望

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Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.

BEGINNER
 
Oct 9, 2009 2:03 PM

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LolitaDecay said:
Moe never was and never will be a promising genre.
Moe is really the only genre I care about.

 
Oct 9, 2009 4:37 PM

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I think the real reason manga doesn't sell too well here is that kids are like "Ew, you mean those backwards comics?"
 
Oct 9, 2009 4:52 PM
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Beatnik said:
dtshyk said:
He gave three key steps for the success in the anime production:

1, Find promising genera: eg. Moe, Fujoshi, Surrealism Comedy, Orthodox Shonen manga
2, Choose suitable manga for the genera: Saki (Moe), Kuroshitsuji (Fujoshi), Tentai Senshi Sunred (Comedy), Fullmetal Alchemist (Shonen).
3, Assign fitting production studio: GONZO (Saki), A-1 Pictures (Kuroshitsuji), AIC ASTA (Sunred), BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist)


Interesting/predictable that grooming decent fucking TV screenwriters does not appear anywhere in this businessman's plan. But hey, if they concentrate on adaptations, that's fine, I'd rather a failed adaptation than failed 'original' story.

EDIT: Actually I just remembered Blade of the Immortal. :|

EDIT EDIT: And Gantz. :| :|


As a Square Enix producer, he's speaking from the manga publisher side. His purpose is to control the copyrights and co-finance adaptations of his company's manga (which then increases awareness of those series), not to groom anime creators.

Original anime productions may be rare these days, but that doesn't concern manga companies. The onus is on the anime companies to find a way of funding and successfully marketing original property.
 
Oct 9, 2009 5:25 PM

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RandomOugi said:
I didn't knew manga (and I'm assuming light novel adaptations work the same) publishers were the ones that funded adaptations. And what about DVD and merchandise sales? Don't they make at least a sizable portion of the profits?

Of course the business model for OVA, original scripts and full adaptations (like ARIA) should be different from this one.


So many of the Japanese business plans make no fucking sense whatsoever...actually so much of what the Japanese do makes no fucking sense whatsoever...and I wish I could give examples but Ive run out of patience after living here almost two years.
 
Oct 9, 2009 9:06 PM
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I used to buy Naruto but it's too expensive so I buy the Japanese version because I can read some Japanese, and recently I bought the 4th volume of Full Metal Alchemist. Oh wait I couldn't afford it my Dad bought it for me since it was like $12, I only get cash for my birthday I always spend it quickly though.
 
Oct 9, 2009 9:19 PM
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adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


What? Seriously?! -_-
 
Oct 9, 2009 9:33 PM
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adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.
Oh, wow.
 
Oct 10, 2009 1:45 AM
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Faeverily said:
adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


What? Seriously?! -_-

It's about 390-400 Yen, what is exactly 3€ then.
 
Oct 10, 2009 2:11 AM

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Faeverily said:
adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


What? Seriously?! -_-


OMG i agree. seriously? for all you americans/europeans YOU HAVE I BETTER THAN AUSTRALIA. manga has to be shipped from america and thus, it costs more - more shipping.

your look $20 in aussie dollars each manga vol. its no wonder im poor.
 
Oct 10, 2009 2:14 AM

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Heh, great lecture.
 
Oct 10, 2009 2:36 AM

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poisonapplecake said:
your look $20 in aussie dollars each manga vol. its no wonder im poor.


Not really. There are some places that are $8-12 a volume. Though it depends on the series (or publisher, rather). But off the shelf at the likes of Borders, yeah, it'll be more like $20.
 
Oct 10, 2009 4:56 AM

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HoaRy said:
Faeverily said:
adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


What? Seriously?! -_-

It's about 390-400 Yen, what is exactly 3€ then.


Damn thats like £2.80!! *sigh* it's normally £5-6 a volume..

 
Oct 10, 2009 6:18 AM
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Yamine said:
HoaRy said:
Faeverily said:
adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


What? Seriously?! -_-

It's about 390-400 Yen, what is exactly 3€ then.


Damn thats like £2.80!! *sigh* it's normally £5-6 a volume..

You guys forget freight/shipping cost?
 
Oct 10, 2009 6:30 AM
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You can't compare it any way, because foreign releases need someone to transrape it :p

But it's still the fact, that a child has limited pocket money. And let's say it buys 3 mangas per month. 10€ vs. 15€, 5€ is a lot of money.
 
Oct 10, 2009 7:46 AM
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Well, how much is it in the US then?

wth, i thought in Germany they were already expensive, but actually they seem to be quite affordable, around 5-6€ each volume.


EDIT: No shipping cost included. There's only one really good Manga/Anime/J-Music/Lolitaclothes/Japan in general- store in my city, but thankfully it's about three minutes walking from my home. *lucky as shit*
Modified by komplizierter, Oct 10, 2009 7:51 AM
 
Oct 10, 2009 7:55 AM

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HoaRy said:
Faeverily said:
adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


What? Seriously?! -_-

It's about 390-400 Yen, what is exactly 3€ then.


Depends really. A lot of mangas also cost around 500/600 Yen, or at times even 800 yen. (4koma like K-On! or Kanamemo come to mind).
 
Oct 10, 2009 3:46 PM

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Interesting talk, although the actual profit of the industry, and his company specifically, is larger than the numbers he presented.

While it's true that increased manga sales are one major source of revenue, he completely ignored corporate sponsors, and money from television, downloads, etc. That being said, it's an excellent article for explaining the extremely poor quality of every anime in 2009.
 
Oct 10, 2009 5:15 PM
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Too bad they never gave this class in school.

dtshyk said:

Fullmetal Alchemist 1st Season:
Before: 150,000
After: 1,500,000

Dammnn. + 00

adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.
That must be nice =___=
It's like at least $10 where I am. Usually $18.

Mod edit: Please don't double post.
Modified by Asako, Oct 10, 2009 8:12 PM
 
Oct 10, 2009 5:30 PM
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YoungVagabond said:
Interesting talk, although the actual profit of the industry, and his company specifically, is larger than the numbers he presented.

While it's true that increased manga sales are one major source of revenue, he completely ignored corporate sponsors, and money from television, downloads, etc. That being said, it's an excellent article for explaining the extremely poor quality of every anime in 2009.


Since Square Enix invests almost exclusively in late night anime, there's no corporate sponsorship or money from television broadcasts. Square Enix and their partners pay for the slots themselves, and the advertisements are their own.

OTOH, DVD and merchandise sales would be a source of revenue. However, I suspect that Taguchi ignored this since the profit to his company is miniscule (it's split among all investors, and only the most hardcore otaku actually buy those things. Additionally, Square Enix is rarely the main investor, so they might not even get a particularly large cut) compared to the money they make from increased manga sales.
 
Oct 10, 2009 7:47 PM

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@TJR
Perfect answer. I grant you a full mark in Anime Production Management course.
 
Oct 10, 2009 8:12 PM

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TJR said:
YoungVagabond said:
Interesting talk, although the actual profit of the industry, and his company specifically, is larger than the numbers he presented.

While it's true that increased manga sales are one major source of revenue, he completely ignored corporate sponsors, and money from television, downloads, etc. That being said, it's an excellent article for explaining the extremely poor quality of every anime in 2009.


Since Square Enix invests almost exclusively in late night anime, there's no corporate sponsorship or money from television broadcasts. Square Enix and their partners pay for the slots themselves, and the advertisements are their own.


No corporate sponsors at all? Well, that might very well be accurate. Also, are the late night anime shows subscription based, similar to the PPV model in the US?

TJR said:

OTOH, DVD and merchandise sales would be a source of revenue. However, I suspect that Taguchi ignored this since the profit to his company is miniscule (it's split among all investors, and only the most hardcore otaku actually buy those things. Additionally, Square Enix is rarely the main investor, so they might not even get a particularly large cut) compared to the money they make from increased manga sales.


Yes, this sounds accurate, although it's amusing how different it is from DVD sales of live action films in the US. I think FMA is one of the few series that can make significant money on DVD sales (tens of thousands of units sold), but even that pales in comparison to the revenue from increased manga sales.

dtshyk said:

Perfect answer. I grant you a full mark in Anime Production Management course.


With how many news articles you post and read, you should easily be the professor!
 
Oct 10, 2009 11:34 PM

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Manga books are expensive in US because printing small number of copies is inefficient.
2. The amount of children's pocket money is relatively small.
3. There are few manga stores within the walking distance from home.


We also have a different prospective on what should be "acceptable" in manga. It can look so kiddy, but didn't a child get in trouble for showing Dragonball manga recently? Something along those lines?

And Yeh, there isn't a single comic store close to me. Although local book stores sell manga, but...didn't catch my interest I guess

(I think they go around 11$?)
 
Oct 11, 2009 5:08 AM

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Kuroshitsuji is for made for fujoshis lol
 
Oct 11, 2009 8:34 AM

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dtshyk said:
The Balance of Fullmetal Alchemist 1st Season
Investments: 500 million yen
Profits: 150 yen x (1.5 - 0.15 million copies) x 8 volumes = 1,620 million yen

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:
Before: 1,900,000
After: 2,100,000

Profits: 150 yen x (2.1 - 1.9 million) x 23 volumes = 690 million yen

Wait, this doesnt make sense, unless you're missing a zero?


 
Oct 11, 2009 9:04 AM

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mitamaking said:
Wait, the Naruto manga doesn't make money in the US. HOW THE HELL?

Probably because most "Naruto fans" just go to Border's and read through all the manga there instead of buying them. I see at least one guy reading Naruto every time I frequent my local Border's.
 
Oct 11, 2009 12:48 PM

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NoyaChan said:
dtshyk said:
The Balance of Fullmetal Alchemist 1st Season
Investments: 500 million yen
Profits: 150 yen x (1.5 - 0.15 million copies) x 8 volumes = 1,620 million yen

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:
Before: 1,900,000
After: 2,100,000

Profits: 150 yen x (2.1 - 1.9 million) x 23 volumes = 690 million yen

Wait, this doesnt make sense, unless you're missing a zero?


It makes perfect sense. Did you notice that they're also multiplying by 150 yen?
 
Oct 11, 2009 4:29 PM

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adamantine said:
Yamine said:
So how much is a manga volume in Japan?

Around $4.50 in USD.


*Drools* Oh my me. What I would give.
I'm back.
 
Oct 11, 2009 7:20 PM

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but how many of you actually buy the manga and dvds after having read their fan subbbed versions. of course there are some people out there who also go legit, but i am curious to see how these numbers and methods will change as more and more people go the way of free (and illegal) media. not just in anime and manga but other types of media.
 
Feb 4, 2010 1:43 AM
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Japanese company's do need to create something where Americans can download anime/manga via credit card. Kinda like itunes for music, tv and movies. Otherwise its way to expensive and its just a lot easier to bootleg instead.

I'd rather pay a fair price per chapter rather then buy those expensive books at the bookstore for the ones i really enjoy.
 
Feb 7, 2010 8:29 AM
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The thing is that reading manga via PC is somehow awful, it's way cooler to read the real thing instead of reading manga from a screen, at least I feel really better when having the little book on my hands.
 
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