Mecha Anime Demographics?

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Mafty
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Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Mafty » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:06 pm

Just out of curiosity how are age demographics of anime decided? For instance Gundam is nominally a Shonen series that often attracts an older age group. And I know that Manga have demographics(Ie, Shonen, Seinen,etc) based on the magazine (although sometimes Seinen manga seems to run in Shonen magazines). But what about television? is it the time of day that it airs? is it the content? are OVA's generally Seinen?

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Seto Kaiba
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:35 pm

Mafty wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:06 pm
Just out of curiosity how are age demographics of anime decided? For instance Gundam is nominally a Shonen series that often attracts an older age group. And I know that Manga have demographics(Ie, Shonen, Seinen,etc) based on the magazine (although sometimes Seinen manga seems to run in Shonen magazines). But what about television? is it the time of day that it airs? is it the content? are OVA's generally Seinen?
The target reader/viewer demographic for a series is decided early in its development.

The authors/creators of a work have to take into account the expected average literacy level of the audience their work is intended for when writing. They also have to take into account things like the age-appropriateness of their planned material. There are content restrictions dictated by law, by publisher guidelines, and broadcast standards regarding what's acceptable for certain audiences. This, obviously, covers things like profanity, violence, gore, and material of a sexual nature, but also can (depending on the medium) extend to things like underage use of alcohol and tobacco products and other depictions of unlawful behavior. The author/creator will also want to target their work towards an audience with the requisite maturity to understand and relate to the themes and content of their story.

Those content and audience-related decisions are what determines the target demographic of the story.

The intended audience and content of the story also play a significant role in determining the circumstances of the work's release.

For a manga or light novel, the target demographic and content will dictate what publishers and/or periodicals are willing to carry the story. Various publishers and periodicals target different age groups and interests, you see. So a romance comedy manga that contained content like softcore BDSM would be refused by a kid-friendly publication like Shonen Jump!, but a magazine aimed at a more mature audience that carried content of a more overtly sexual nature like Young Animal might be willing to serialize it. Different guidelines for different publishers based on the audiences they cater to.


So, essentially, content guidelines require the author to steer their work towards a particular demographic from the outset to avoid being unable to reach their intended audience. Sometimes this necessitates changes when a story is being adapted from one medium to another. For instance, One Piece had to increase Sanji's age in their anime adaptation of the manga because otherwise they'd get in trouble for depicting underage smoking in their kid-friendly timeslot. Even late night anime like Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and Charge! Cromartie High School, which prominently feature juvenile delinquents, had to censor instances of gore and smoking by either blacking out the offending portion of the individual frames or drawing odd things on the ends of cigarettes like turds or slime.

For a TV series, broadcast standards vary from station to station since there isn't really a good formalized set of guidelines, but programming intended for niche interests tends to land in the late-night time slots. Not just for anime, but in general. This is sometimes jokingly referred to as "otaku o'clock". Content that isn't kid-friendly because of gore, violence, sexual content, etc. tends to land in the late-night slots by default to avoid causing parents any disquiet by exposing their kids to material outside their age group. Content that's too extreme for broadcast is stuck going direct-to-video as an OVA or potentially ends up unadaptable. You've probably heard a little about how Shinichiro Watanabe deliberately made the Excel Saga anime's final episode break every possible rule to render it unbroadcastable.

Ultimately, these publisher/network content guidelines forcibly steer new stories in development towards particular demographics, making them effectively self-enforcing.
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Mafty
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Mafty » Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:25 pm

Thanks , I never realized all the steps involved before this.

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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:06 am

Mafty wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:25 pm
Thanks , I never realized all the steps involved before this.
A fair amount of it goes into trying to mollify or at least avoid the moral guardian-types.

Sometimes, even late night screenings can't entirely prevent content that got a network's green light from causing a ruckus. Like the scene in IBO where Mikazuki double-taps one of the CGS 1st Group members while said member is tied up.
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Mafty
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Mafty » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:30 pm

In the 80s it seemed like they could get away with more. Gundam had some rather violent content as did DBZ amongst others, and a fair amount of shows even in the Shonen demographic got away with uncensored nudity on television. I know that for a variety of real life reasons anime was censored increasingly in the nineties: however even in its heyday there were lines you couldn't cross, ie the violence censorship in Fist of The North Star.

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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by MythSearcher » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:24 am

Mafty wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:30 pm
In the 80s it seemed like they could get away with more. Gundam had some rather violent content as did DBZ amongst others, and a fair amount of shows even in the Shonen demographic got away with uncensored nudity on television. I know that for a variety of real life reasons anime was censored increasingly in the nineties: however even in its heyday there were lines you couldn't cross, ie the violence censorship in Fist of The North Star.
Cultural reasons nudity is viewed differently throughout the times.
For example, 1979's MSG has nudity scenes.
Back in the days, Japan and Korea didn't view women breasts as a sensity part, so they are really lax about it. The Korean's actually have women clothes showing their breasts so it is easy to breast feed less than 100 years ago.
The western culture brought to the area caused a rapid change in culture, and increasingly more sensitive to nudity, the law didn't change that much, but a lot of media increased in self censoring. However, if it is completely adult contents, they will usually only censor the genitals and not the breasts, even until now.(Some exceptions do exist, like the more muddied area some manga are aiming at, you do get magazine serialization censored by not drawing nipples or blocking them with logos and such but the compilation manga will have them drawn out/logos removed.)

The so called kid friendly Shonen Jump! also contains some series with over the top sexual contents or extremely suggestive contents not acceptable in the rest of the world (not just western culture, the Chinese culture is also not quite adapted to such.)
A book I read about art history tells of a fun fact, when the society is more open, the art is more subtle and subjects are usually clothed; when the society is less torlerated to sex, the art of the period has more nudity in them.

BTW, Gundam's demographics is complicated.
The sponsors to the TV series always wanted it to be a kids show, because they want to sell toys. Tomino is not aiming at making a kids show, but he was also not aiming to make an adult show, he aims towards a show aimed at all ages, but the tone landed it to attract middle schoolers more at the time it was aired, and later shows you get these viewers to come back. Zeta's tone is definitely not very welcoming to kids, but ZZ was an attempt for a kids show, and we all know the Tomino's psychological state isn't too stable until maybe Turn A. The non-Tomino shows, GWX are all aimed at kids, with mixed results. And the longitivity of it made is more of a parent+kid show, where the fathers will introduce the series to their own kids and they watch it together.(Though otakus made it harder and harder because while Gundam is a famous show, it also carries a negative image that only otakus watch it)
SEED and SEED-D are hard to tell. Fukuda is shameless. When he was asked about his comments on X, he said he does not watch such kids show, when he was asked about the descrepences in his own show, he said this is a kids show and who cares about it.
00 1st season seems to be aimed at a higher age group, but later it is quite obvious that you get some kind of executive meddling and it became aimed a lot more towards a lower age group to a point where some of the characters became idiotic with little ideal.
The OVAs are usually aimed at a higher age group because they are the ones paying for each episode, and you cannot make the next episode without the sale figures.
The time of the airing does affect the target audience, First Gundam has really low ratings because it did not attract kids but the middle/high schoolers are not home yet.

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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by False Prophet » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:03 am

The thing about ZZ is that Tomino did not look closely after it for a large chunk of the show, since he was busy with Char's Counterattack. Furthermore, the tone changed between episodes because of how different as writers Yumiko Suzuki and Meigo Endo were.

Speaking of demographic, has anyone noticed the success of Shinkalion as of late? People has been saying that mecha simply doesn't hold the sway to elementary school children for years, so it is nice to see a series actually accomplished that.

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Vic Raiden
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Vic Raiden » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:36 am

Yeah. A sign that the mecha genre is not doomed yet.
That, and I see we're getting an anime of Getter Robo Arc, which again is a good sign to all mecha fans. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nriv_B4W8ag

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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by baka8roukanako » Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:04 pm

Speaking of IBO, what was the target audience for that one? The show is so weird in that some bits of it are really infantile, children/teens with stunted growth dominate its cast, but on the other hand its themes are meant for older audiences (slavery, human experimentation) and some scenes are definitely not appropriate for young viewers (showing a person who hanged himself, gruesome deaths).

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Vic Raiden
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Vic Raiden » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:07 am

No idea, honestly. I believe it's an adult-oriented work, despite everything.Quite a contrast from the supposedly kid-friendly Reconguista in G.

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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Mafty » Tue Nov 24, 2020 12:39 am

Gundam has always had it's dark moments but they really seemed to go overboard in IBO. The story is rather complex and is fairly slow moving at times. There aren't that many battles, and the ones we do get are gruesome and disturbing.
Gundam has always tried to show the horrors of war, and the violence and suffering that comes with it. However even the darker shows still did have some fast paced mecha action, that managed to be quite entertaining. Every battle in IBO is as dark and brutal as the rest of the show ,to the point you could probably compare it to Bokurano in terms of bleakness.
Really it seems that the show could have easily been Seinen instead of Shonen and they really wouldn't have had to change anything. I've even heard the dark content for it's demographic caused controversy in Japan when it was airing.

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Vic Raiden
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Vic Raiden » Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:05 am

Yeah. For one, they planned an even darker ending, but changed it due to fan outcry. And I find it ironic that what we got was already pretty much a happy end despite the POV characters losing.

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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by MythSearcher » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:08 am

baka8roukanako wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:04 pm
Speaking of IBO, what was the target audience for that one? The show is so weird in that some bits of it are really infantile, children/teens with stunted growth dominate its cast, but on the other hand its themes are meant for older audiences (slavery, human experimentation) and some scenes are definitely not appropriate for young viewers (showing a person who hanged himself, gruesome deaths).
I think the show is almost hinting about rebellious teens won't get what they want and they are full of overly idealised fantasies, and the real adults(people in control) won't even fight on the same grounds.

It's so fun to see that it just coincides with the social unrest in HK where you get a bunch of people thinking they are just as the heroes of the show for going against the government and then just bad mouth the show for its ending, because it is exactly what happened to them in real life.

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Seto Kaiba
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Re: Mecha Anime Demographics?

Post by Seto Kaiba » Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:46 pm

baka8roukanako wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 3:04 pm
Speaking of IBO, what was the target audience for that one? The show is so weird in that some bits of it are really infantile, children/teens with stunted growth dominate its cast, but on the other hand its themes are meant for older audiences (slavery, human experimentation) and some scenes are definitely not appropriate for young viewers (showing a person who hanged himself, gruesome deaths).
Based on its time slots during its original broadcast run on MBS and 28 TBS affiliates, Iron-Blooded Orphans was kind of straddling the divide between the shonen and seinen demographics with a target audience of high school and younger college students. It was airing on Sundays at 5:00-5:30pm on MBS/TBS affiliates, with a delayed rerun at 7:30-8:00pm on BS11 and Animax.

The series director Tatsuyuki Nagai has commented that it was, in part, his deconstruction of Gundam's typical tropes that he felt were no longer realistic or relevant to the audience. Apparently it drew a lot of inspiration from an especially notorious gang war that occurred in Hiroshima between 1970 and 1972 called the Hiroshima Conflict.
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