One thing about anime viewing is people get really offended when you don’t like the shows they like. “What, you don’t like Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo?!” as they look at you incredulously like you just admitted to being Mormon and have three wives. Even if you try to reason with these people, “The animation is piss poor, and the setup is a lazy man’s version of Love Hina,” well, they don’t go for that. They block you with the same, “Hey, it’s cold outside, therefore global warming is false” attitude that is so nicely described in Collapse. Well, it’s time for a subjective way to say, “Hey, that show sucks.”
Anyway, I’m a big believer in using statistics as a tool of prediction, whether it be baseball or politics or stocks, statistics is as an useful tool. Seeing Nate Silver win the presidential election inspired me to finally publish my newest stat. I have long since introduced the first anime sabermetric: Moe Over Replacement Value. Now it’s time for another: A-WAR. Anime Watchability Over Replacement. (I take the ‘a’ from ‘watchability’… hehehehe.)
There’s only three main services that provide anime rankings, and all three have their flaws. But aggregated? Mmm… let’s look at two shows which are considered Top Tier in that they occupy top five slots (ever) across all three ranking agencies, and they won their prestigious blog好き Best of year.
Steins;Gate: Anidb (9.10), MAL (9.14), ANN (9.08)
Clannad After Story: Anidb (9.12), MAL (9.15), ANN (9.09)
It seems like for all three ranking agencies, the top score is about 9.1 range. This makes it slightly easier since we don’t need to equalize scores across all three agencies. MAL may be slightly higher than the rest because generally it has fewer voters, and more voters means small sigma variability. So I’m not too concerned about this.
Onto shows that are great. Period. But history his dimmed on them a bit…
Cowboy Bebop: Anidb (8.45), MAL (8.83), ANN (8.9)
Kenshin: Anidb (8.36), MAL (8.47), ANN (8.25)
For these older classics, the ratings basically all line up. It also seems that they age downward as these shows once were top fives with rankings above 9 at some point. Time has a small but noticeable effect on the show ranks, as they should: no matter how great Kenshin is, the production values will be substandard to a 2012 show. Duh. And people value production values to a certain degree: some consider it very important, some moderately, some slightly, some none-at-all.
Now let’s consider replacement level shows, basically, nothing that makes me think, “Mmm… I’m going to clear out my Sunday night so I can watch three episodes of… Girls Bravo! Final Approach! Sola! Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo!
Girls Bravo: Anidb (4.27), MAL (6.99), ANN (6.58)
Final Approach: Anidb (4.11), MAL (6.88), ANN (6.57)
Sola: Anidb (5.94), MAL (7.58), ANN (7.67)
Sakurasou no Pet: Anidb (5.74), MAL (8.05), ANN (7.22)
What does this limited sample size tells me? Getting a higher score on Anidb is worth more than MAL or ANN. For most shows, it is rare to have an Anidb sample (mainly because I’m taking Anidb written review aggregate, so I suspect people are more critical) that beats the MAL or ANN sample. Without better statistics (I would love to have better access to their databases, but, alas), it’s hard to tell what these numbers mean beyond Anidb users are harder to please than MAL or ANN ones.
So to start off with A-WAR 1.0, I’m going to use this formula to try to get 0 = average and 10 = awesome. (Anidb – 5) + (MAL – 6) + (ANN – 6) = A-WAR. In this scenario, while it looks like Anidbu is weighed more, it’s actually weighed less since MAL and ANN numbers are usually within half a point of each other. In fact, there’s only a few shows that I found where MAL and ANN didn’t agree within that margin. So if we consider MAL and ANN to be similar, Anidb is weighed slightly less. That’s okay since Anidb has the smallest sample size. Looking at the preview shows, here is the result:
Clannad After Story: 10.4
Cowboy Bebop: 9.2
Girls Bravo: 0.8
Final Approach: 0.7
Sakurasou no Pet: 4.0
This “feels” about right, as right as any statistic can “feel.” Clannad and Steins;Gate are on top with Cowboy and Kenshin a half-tier lower (3 point is about a tier). Girls Bravo and Final Approach are replacement level shows, hence the near zero. Sola and Pet have some buzz, so they are a tier up but still not in the same tier as Clannad. Unless you’re that anime blogger who ranked Sola higher than Haruhi Suzumiya (A-WAR 8.11) back in 2006…
(A case study is Haruhi Suzumiya A-WAR of 8.11… remember, this show was higher than Bebop back in the day… I wonder if either it just didn’t age well or if voters punished the original because of Endless Eight. I wish I had data comparing 2007 vs. 2010 ranking for this show.)
For this season, I picked out twelve shows. Here’s their A-WARs:
1. Chu-2 (5.78)
2. Psycho-Pass (5.6)
3. Magi (4.97)
4. From the New World (4.36)
5. Sakurasou no Pet (4.03)
6. Zetsuen no Tempest (3.99)
7. Jojo (3.91)
8. Robotics;Notes (3.24)
9. K (1.51)
10. Little Busters (1.09)
11. Girls and Panzer (-1.17)
12. Busou Shinki (-1.65)
Sakuraou no Pet does not suck. In fact, it’s a tier above replacement level… congratulations! It is the Nick Swisher (2012 WAR 3.9) of anime. Psycho-Pass is doing well, but the ANN and MAL numbers are much, much better than the Anidb ones so I think it’ll eventually settle out in Guilty Crown (A-WAR 2.75) territory where Anidb reviewers slam it while it gets very high rankings on ANN and MAL. Interestingly enough, Guilty Crown is one of the few shows I found where ANN and MAL disagreed by over 0.5 points… with MAL being high compared to both ANN and Anidb.
Chu-2 is where I thought it would be, and it has ANN being the lowest rating. Usually, after thousands of samples, MAL and ANN align okay, and, if Anidb matches that number, that show will do well. Chu-2 is on that trajectory. Robotics;Notes is a disappointing show according to the rankings, and it’s in-line to be a rich man’s Chaos;Head (A-WAR 0.7). But I suspect Robotics;Notes will pick up as it finally gets to the gooey plot points.
Little Busters… wow… Key going with JC Staff is looking like a Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, A-Rod, and Jayson Werth-level of bad decision. And I guess I have readers who love Upotte and also love Girls and Panzer, which explains why no one else seem to like it.
That is A-WAR in a nutshell. Now back to looking up
nekomimi meido images fine-tuning Value Over Replacement Moe…