Guest Post by Yuyucow: For an internet FREE of KyoAni myths

Grumpy OrekiSorry for the lack of updates lately, but as I think of something to write for the blog here’s a post from our internet neighbour Yuyucow who has once again decided to drop in to write a guest post. Today he will be sharing some of his insight discussing Kyoto Animation, commonly know as KyoAni, trying to clear up some of the unfortunate myths about them that have spread across the internet recently.


Due to their explosive popularity, talking about KyoAni has become a need for those who feel compelled to stay relevant in anime discussions on the internet no matter how little an idea they have about the subject. With so many people willing to make their uninformed opinions loud and clear, mythbusting the studio has become more common than it should amongst the few idiots who care enough to do it. Like myself. Looking at the bright side, this time I won’t have to argue about whether their character designs are all the same or if they deserve the praise they get in regards to the visuals.

Many of the issues here are born from fundamental misunderstandings of what the studio is. There’s way more people attributing their excellent visuals to a superior budget than those who are aware it’s the natural consequence of proper planning and the studio refusing to work in more than one project at a time. As a viewer you even have the right to be an asshole and ignore the positive influence of a studio with fixed schedules and salaries, since you’re just here to be entertained. The fact that they’ve got more women that many other studios put together might look, at least at a first glance, also unrelated to their work. However, the ridiculous comments extend to their shows as well: following the popular line of thought that “everything they do is the same”, today we’ve witnessed countless people say that “FREE! is their first series for women”. Oh boy, where do I start with this one. Maybe by once again reminding that KyoAni are KyoAni’s first fans and also, for the most part, also happen to be women? K-ON’s insane popularity makes it an excellent target for anyone with the agenda to prove KyoAni are nothing but a bunch of fiends pandering to vile latenight otaku and thus destroying mature anime, but facts are facts and the series has quite the following amongst female highschoolers and people who simply don’t watch anime. Not common for something that aired at unearthly hours, you know? Even the purchasing habits for their series have been showing their gradual shift towards not just girls but a different audience in general; KyoAni shows have been consistently underestimated by the Amazon Stalker for a while, which means that they’re not so much relying on obsessive otaku who preorder months in advance but more casual consumers. And all of this has been happening for long enough that everyone should be aware of it already. If you want to keep ignoring it because it conflicts with your particular jihad against what you think is killing Japanese cartoons, go ahead.

KyoAni and Boys

With that tired tired topic out of the way, allow me to tackle a somehow more ridiculous claim that’s been echoing today: Tumblr made FREE’s announcement possible. Now if this was just a bunch of silly comments by people who don’t care enough about anime to have a minimal understanding of how the industry works I’d shrug it off, but when professional companies join the craze then it becomes a bit worrying. You don’t need much math to realize that a CM broadcasted in March could never, under any circumstance, be the instigator of an anime airing in the following July. Especially when we’re talking about a studio that had its first 2013 show, a rather small project by their standards, in production since 2010. But hey, let’s assume for one moment that 3-4 months is enough time for them to produce FREE. Let’s also pretend that a Japanese company known for working only on projects they fancy would listen to overseas sites of all people. I happen to be the person who uploaded the original CM on youtube first and with almost 3.3 million views it’s by far the most watched upload for this, so I have rather representative data. This means that I can confirm that US views only amount to about 7% and that tumblr is only responsible for 0.2% of the total traffic. Which means that in the case that you want to claim that this arguable success is the reason FREE’s become a real anime, it’s the Japanese fans who you should be thanking. If you want to be rational, though, know that it’s loosely based on an honorary winner of KyoAni’s 2011 awards and that the first promotional picture went up later that year on Animation Do’s website. That should be enough of a hint as to how long the project has been around.

Viewer data for the original CM, that has over 3 million views.

Viewer data for the original CM, that has over 3 million views.

The issues about this new project go as far as people failing to understand who is making it. When the internet’’s most trusted anime news source calls Animation Do “a Japanese studio mostly known for subcontracting work on other studios’ projects” without realizing that they’’re nothing but KyoAni’’s Osaka branch and that those subcontracted works belong to a time when all of KyoAni did that – you know something’’s really wrong. Animation Do is an integral part of the studio that have been working on their projects for as long as they’’ve existed so you should never treat them as a separate entity. Hell, the only reason they’’re not called “Kyoto Animation Osaka” is because that’ would be the worst oxymoron.

As much as I wish that was enough, there’s plenty more misconceptions about the studio, more often than not contradicting themselves. It’s as easy to find complaints about KyoAni doing it all for the money as finding laments that they should go back to their big sellers. Considering that they rejected Visual Arts’ offer to work on a sure hit like Little Busters and that they’ve been doing pretty well lately; Hyouka‘s averaging over 9k over 11 volumes and turning an obscure series into the 4th best selling LNs last year. Chuu2Koi – their first 100% owned property – has had very solid sales and Tamako Market’s modest sales likely covering its costs. From this it’s easy to realize that the prior complaints are all a bunch of baseless assumptions.

However what’s truly worrying is the unhealthy attitude towards the studio. The conviction that it should be you who dictate the future of the studio, even though what makes them unique is the dedication to the projects they pick themselves. This common idea that you, who keeps professing your hatred towards the studio and everything they do, are entitled to having your favorite kind of show done by them. For every person who simply believes their skills are being wasted you’ll find two openly aggressive individuals that curse KyoAni’s very existence, but instead of ignoring them they rage about every new project they announce. Today we’ve witnessed a specially twisted version of this, with the crowd who love claiming that every KyoAni anime lately is the same (some of them also part of the army of Full Metal Panic fans who cry whenever they announce a new series) suddenly popping up to laugh at the idiots overreacting at the lack of female characters in FREE!.  You know who doesn’t get to do that? Equally superficial people, who have been writing off all their projects because “they have moe girls who look the same”.

This amazing hypocrisy is just yet another disgusting behavior to add to the list of incomprehensible reactions towards the studio that, for some unknown reason, keeps getting its most vehement haters to talk about it. The problem being that they’re less likely to look up any information or even listen to other people, so you’d have to be very loud while explaining that it’s Kadokawa, the publisher and rights holder, who have a say in whether more Haruhi Suzumiya/Full Metal Panic is made to solve the problem. Therefore I’m aiming this post at you, anime fans, who are tired of hearing nonsense about the studio coming from all directions. I’ve filled this post with some of the most common misconceptions and relevant trivia, so now, will you help me FREE the internet from these KyoAni myths?


Also check out On the Self-Victimization and Truthiness on the Whole Debate of Free! and Free! and the future of KyoAni productions for some well written articles with related viewpoints.

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22 Responses to Guest Post by Yuyucow: For an internet FREE of KyoAni myths

  1. Pingback: Weekend Reading – Sabas Hijack | Anime Audiolog

  2. Bradley says:

    I really learned a lot from this post, KViN, and though I empathize with your frustration at people’s ignorance, I wish you didn’t sound like such a dick when explaining things. This would have been a much more effective post to dispel that ignorance if it had been written as a FAQ, instead of a rant.

    • goldensneer says:

      Q. So just how much of a part did I play in getting the studio take notice of the super epic combined forces of crunchyroll and tumbr kyah~.

      A. None.

    • Yuyucow says:

      I might write a proper post on the studio as a whole at some point, but that takes more effort that angrily ranting against some dumb things said on the internet! In the meanwhile you might want to check this blog run by the western KyoAni expert http://aninomiyako.wordpress.com Sadly on hold now because he’s busy with real life, but there’s some excellent stuff about the studio, mostly from a visual standpoint.

  3. Alex says:

    A very nice inside
    Glad someone like you decided to clear up the misconceptions

  4. otou-san says:

    I agree with Bradley — I think there’s a sizable crowd of us out there who know that it’s all bullshit but aren’t clued in beyond “isn’t that Kadokawa’s fault?” who will get a lot of value out of the post. People who are just looking for info might be turned off.

    I do feel the reasons for your anger, though. I mean, CR’s facebook thread proclaiming that they, tumblr, or any other foreigners on the internet had anything to do with FREE just because they made a bunch of noise when the thing was already in motion… it’s a mind-blowing failure of logic that has absolutely no basis in reality and it’s well beyond not knowing enough about the studio in question.

    Being two to three levels removed from the workings of the industry is tough for those of us who don’t read japanese and are obviously nowhere geographically near the source. The “most trusted news source” you so love to malign is really just a fan site that happened to get big, and so we’re left with fans trusting other fans to know stuff.

    Anyway… big ups on the post, though. Would love to see more of this kind of stuff for situations where the rage is a little less pronounced, hehe.

  5. Artemis says:

    An interesting article with some very well made points. Thank you for this. :)

  6. Pingback: Free! and the future of KyoAni productions | Ultimatemegax's blog

  7. Random Anon says:

    KyoAni turned down LB? You wish. Bad blood is what stopped them from making LB (which they were in the pre-production stages of) before Key had enough and took the project and shipped it around else where before landing with JC Staff.

    • Yuyucow says:

      But… that’s wrong. Baba asked KyoAni and they replied they were busy with other projects so LB would have to wait, and then he went and formed an entirely different production committee. Unless you’re saying the president of KEY/Visual Arts lied to make KyoAni look better, which doesn’t make a whole load of sense.

      • Random Anon says:

        KyoAni put LB on the backburner because of the issues between the two. And Baba got fed up and went to take things on his own. Key wanted KyoAni to do LB first, but KyoAni was tired of being constrained to all of their whims… they were basically a dog trained to output Key Anime, weren’t given any freedom in interpreting Key works, no room to change casting choices, etc, so when asked again to do one, they just politely ignored them until it ended nowhere.

  8. Is it just me or I can’t click the images posted in the post

  9. megalith says:

    Thanks for posting this. Shared this article to some folks.

    Regarding the last part, it’s self entitlement at its best. They claim that they don’t care but then the same people come around to clamor about the same gripes they had. I remember throwing a rock at them when E8 was still a little bit warm topic(a year or so after it aired), “If you guys hate E8 and how it’s done why do you keep ranting about the same things all over again?”.

    Their incessant whining is just outright dumbfounding. Oh well, this is what we’re in right now. Be it anime or what. It’s all the same elsewhere.

  10. Pingback: ANIME: Kyoto Animation – Tapetilla uimapojut ja naisyleisön panderointi | 6reenroom

  11. DarkoNeko says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write about this <3

  12. ChinkyD says:

    Very entertaining post! I don’t hear many intelligent conversations about why decisions are made. Usually I get buried under mounds of angry fans/anti-fans.
    I’ll watch FREE when it’s released, because KyoAni’s works always entertain me in one way or another. Even if it’s not “for” me, I’m excited about what they’ll do next.

  13. wildkaiser says:

    Thank you so much for this. Getting fed up with all the hate and disinformation. Also getting tired of people saying a certain genre is garbage just because it’s a genre they don’t like

  14. Pingback: Reading Full Metal Panic! Sigma | Nekketsu Nikki

  15. DarkoNeko says:

    Reblogged this on Darkoneko's Weblog and commented:
    reblogged for great justice.

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