the anime fantasy league

I’m here watching MNF hoping that Clinton Portis doesn’t break out for four touchdowns and cost me my first match of the season. So I got thinking… my interest in both the NFL and NBA were severely increased (even watch games of teams I wouldn’t care about otherwise) due to fantasy leagues. Maybe the same can be applied to anime.


With fantasy leagues for everything for US Weekly (thanks to Bill Simmons), religion, and movies, I think an anime-based fantasty system can translate well. Anime has the bonus that it’s generally weekly, and, like football, cames at ya in tidy batches. My proof-of-concept league would feature:

  • Seasons last thirteen weeks starting with then the bulk of a new season’s show begin.
  • Points will be doled out as following: +10 points for each episode fansubbed in English, +2 points for each episode blogged via blogsuki, +1 point for each Megami multi-page poster spread featuring that series, and +20 bonus points if it gets licensed during a week where you start it. (I’m using easy-to-obtain info for points criteria… if we’re talking ad dollars, ratings, etc, it’ll be much harder league to judge. Keep it simple.)
  • Each manager will draft seven series . (With 50-ish series starting and over 20-ish continuing, 8 and 10 person leagues will be viable… so if you’re stuck with something like Tsuyokiss, it’ll be like stuck with Mike Anderson as a starting RB.)
  • Drafts will be done snake fashion, and leagues can be either roto or head-to-head.
  • Each manager will start four series, with one required harem show, one required action series, one crappy series (as defined by a score less than 7.5 on anidb), one OVA or movie or h-anime, one wildcard, and two bench slots (not scored).
  • Scoring will be done weekly, and every week managers can rotate their lineups as well as pick up free agents weekly. (For example, if your series isn’t airing that week, don’t start it! If suddenly Bartender becomes Haruhi Suzumiya, drop Jigoku Shoujo Nii-pah! and pick it up!)
  • Trades must be voted on and approved. I hate leagues where one-sided deals take place and ruin the fun for everyone.

By this scoring system, you’re constantly looking for sleeper hits. Okay, we all know for Fall 2006, Kanon will go first, just like how Larry Johnson went first in a lot of NFL FLs. (BTW, I have Larry Johnson in both my NFL FLs this year… basically, all-or-nothing baby!) Numerous fansubbers (and more importantly, reliable ones) are going to sub it, tons of people will blog it (maybe even me; here’s some +2 lovin’), and judging by the Haruhi content in Megami, Kanon is a lock for poster space.

But that’s not the key to victory. Like any good fantasy league, good drafting and finding sleepers are key. For example, last year, a top anime fantasy league series would be REC. Even though it was short and inane, I count over nine groups subbing it… that’s 7.75 more than Haruhi Suzumiya. (Which brings up another strategy point– you’d want a show with a lot of dependable fansubbers. Series fansubbed by groups like a.f.k. and Lunar will be worth more than series fansubbed by Triad and C1. Or maybe you would bench a show if you knew a group was underoing a split-up.) REC would become the equivalent of Samkon Gado… probably not someone drafted in your NFL FL last year but become a top ten back in most scoring systems in most weeks. That’s one of the joys of FL… having those sleepers.

And then there’s the opposite of sleepers… for example, one may draft Welcome to the NHK in the first round thinking there’s going to be tons of fansubs and blog posts… only… there isn’t. Basically the equivalent of taking Chad Johnson in your NFL FL in the first round.

Shows like Haruhi would be like a RB that doesn’t get a lot of rushing yards but gets a good amount of rushing and passing yards… even though only really one fansubber worked on it, it’s the number one scoring show on blogsuki. (I can only wish for the “OMFG jason you have to blog about Kanon because I took it first in my anime FL!” comments.) Shows like Bleach and Naruto are like Clinton Portis– workhorses that you know you’ll get at least +10 from each week whereas Inukami would be more like Kevin Jones… feast-or-famine but mostly famine. Or do you take a chance on Strawberry Panic and pay attention to the next episode preview to start it the week of lesbian fanservice just like waiting to start the Raven’s defense against Detroit’s offense?

Of course, there’s always proven shows as well as shows that run more than 26 episodes that add spice to the tactics used. For example, do you gamble and draft Keroro Gunso hoping that Doremi cranks out like 10 subs in 1 week again (but next to zero blog posts) or draft Negima?! knowing that you’ll get at least two clockwork fansubbers working on it as well as blog love?

And like fantasy football, to prevent someone from loading up on a genre, everyone has to start a harem, an action, a crappy, and an OVA every week. Like a kicker, if you’re depending on an OVA to win your league, you’re screwed in more ways than one. (Though I’m in favor of letting people start h-anime in this slot just to spice things up.) The crappy slot forces people to not just pick popular shows and give Gonzo and Sunrise series more value. The harem slot would be very important as it can make or break you. (Action is fairly stable if only because of the persistence of Toriyama-styled shows.) Did that harem show you pick turn out to be a well-fansubbed sleeper like Magikano or an once promising stinkbomb like Tonagura?

I think this system has a lot of potential for strategy as well as trash talking. Beyond number crunching, a big appeal of fantasy is just guys bustin’ on other guys’ chops… and I think this has potential too. Can you imagine one fanboy berating another because Shinsen is the only group subbing a series? (Basically, makes Black Lagoon The Second Barrage a stayaway, for anime fantasy league purposes.) I can.

I definitely encourage people to have fun with this idea… maybe incorporate more fun scoring like, “if someone parodies the ED using Gundam models on Youtube, +2 points” or “-50 points if licensed by Funimation” for that dreaded double whammy. A character based league is also possible but much harder to score… do you have to take a tsundere, a loser male harem lead, and a mobile suit pilot? How would you score that objectively? The point isn’t to create the perfect system… it’s to create a system that’s simple to understand, difficult to master, and fun for everyone. And, of course, serious potential for dishing out taunts and insults to your fellow owners… all in the name of anime and fantasy leagues. Now excuse me while I send an e-mail to the defeated owner about how my Chester Taylor outgained his Clinton Portis in FF points this week.

32 Responses to “the anime fantasy league”

  1. Sleeper hits are by far the most interesting series. This can even extend to video games. Haruhi was hyped and obsessed once it was out, but it could actually be considered a sleeping hit, seeing as it was not expected for the season’s best.

    As for predictions, I see a fight between Kanon and Black Lagoon. That’s all I’m really interested in so far.

  2. Fantasy anime league eh? That sounds pretty fun, I’d like to join if this does happen. As for the categories, Harem anime woot! However, where’s the shoujo!? Well I guess it could be under the OVA, or the crappy… >_> But those are just starting categories I suppose, one can always add more.

  3. You have entirely too much time on your hands.

    Or maybe I’m just miffed because I’m the defending champion in my league and I lost because Peyton couldn’t outscore bloody Vinatieri.

    What a punk.

  4. What next, are we going to be needing bookies for the inevitable wave of anime betting that will occur? If so, I would like to place 5 down on Kanon’s first episode getting a favorable response by the bloggers, tjhat’s if I actually had 5 to bet with….

  5. I might make a whole draft pick of HgtA’s, but I’m betting more than half would wither and fall midway the season. I guess picking up Negima!? and Busou Renkin wouldn’t hurt much. Shounen series still have that spunk… yeah.

  6. I’m going to start blogging anime with the fall season, so I really don’t have experience with identifying which shows are pre-destined to be popular or not. (My taste is somewhat different from the majority). Here’s hoping that the series I’ll blog won’t die by horrible production or bad fansubs.

    I’ll be blogging Death Note for sure, Negima!? and Jigoku Shoujo likely, and one harem series (picking from the ten or so titles available).

  7. You obsession with so-called “sports” is quite unhealthy, but it brings a picquant diversity into the anime blogging cabal, which would be too inbred otherwise.

  8. Given if there was such a league, here would be some of my picks for fall and if I was able to get all the shows I wanted

    1. Kanon (Harem): Because it’s freaking Kanon gosh darn it
    2. Tokimeki Memorial (Harem): Because it’s freaking Tokimeki Memorial gosh darn it.
    3. Code Geass Hangyaku no Lelouch (Mecha): Because it’s CLAMP….doing a mecha show….gosh darn it.
    4. Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na (Harem): Based on how previous August games have done, it probably won’t be all that good (meaning I’ll run it as my crap slot), however it should be able to get some Megami scans out of it.

  9. …I can’t just choose 4 shoujo series?

  10. >> You obsession with so-called “sports” is quite unhealthy, but it brings a picquant diversity into the anime blogging cabal, which would be too inbred otherwise.

    I think I’m more obsessed with anime than the typical American is obsessed with football. With sports, I think I’m in the middle interest level. Go to a Packers game or tailgate in Ann Arbor, and you’ll see the real fans. The oppositee of real fans? Go to a Sharks game in SJ… everytime I go to one, the crowd is so out of it, and everyone in my section talks about work rather than watch the game. Sad. Hideous sad. Even if it is hockey.

    >> You have entirely too much time on your hands. Or maybe I’m just miffed because I’m the defending champion in my league and I lost because Peyton couldn’t outscore bloody Vinatieri.

    Posts like this take me very little to crank out. Screenshots always take me the most time… Higurashi is a bear to blog just because if I get overly critical, people start bashing me for not liking the show. So what? What am I supposed to do? Lie and say I enjoy the engrossing plot line, K1’s maniless, and Shion’s good sense and judgement?

    (Still, I won my first week even though LJ didn’t do much, and I started two receivers for zero points.)

    >> …I can’t just choose 4 shoujo series?

    No. This reminds me of someone in my league who picked three kickers… before finding out that the league doesn’t have a WC slot, and he could only start one a week. Ouch.

  11. What about anime movies would they get thier own week or go under the oav heading. I thinking something like the eva movie would have like 10 different subbers ready to tackle it.

  12. >>What am I supposed to do? Lie and say I enjoy the engrossing plot line, K1’s maniless, and Shion’s good sense and judgement?>>

    Well, you could just drop the series and be done with it….

  13. >> Well, you could just drop the series and be done with it….

    I don’t want to get off-topic, but I think it’ll be a very boring blogosphere if everyone only praised shows that they liked and only ripped on shows that are “acceptable” to rip on. I think if I want to enjoy Higurashi because it is a train wreck, it’s my problem and not yours.

  14. >No. This reminds me of someone in my league who picked three kickers…


  15. Hmm…
    Kanon. Quite an obvious choice, but if it turns out to be a spectacular trainwreck, a lot of people are going to get burnt.

    Conventional thinking dictates that Black Lagoon is a viable canditate. Hindsight however, reveals an abyssmal lack of discussion over it( much like ARIA).

    I will take a gamble here and select D-Grayman

    Er… under consideration.

    Negima. ;)

    Bartender. :p

    1) Cresent Love
    2) Black Lagoon

  16. ^Cresent -> Crescent

  17. If you wanted to do something character based you could put polls up on blogsuki that mimic the character battles and let everyone submit brackets.

  18. 1 harem onry is unacceptable ; ;
    that means i have to choose between kanon, happiness, and kyoshiro ; ;

    Assume i’m in Skane’s league and he stole Kanon

    Harem: Happiness
    Action: Saint October (history tells us, loli with guns = t3h win)
    Crappy: Kenichi (and it will be crappy too)
    OVA: Mai-ZHiME Zwei (the other choice would be Maria-sama ga Miteru, but MariMite don’t get much blog love ; ;)
    Wildcard: Negima!? (he chose Negima!? Haru OVA, i’m choosing the TV series ^^)

    Bench: Kujibiki Unbalance
    Sumomomo Momomo

  19. >>Skane says:
    Kanon. Quite an obvious choice, but if it turns out to be a spectacular trainwreck, a lot of people are going to get burnt.

    Au contraire. Kanon is going in with such a loyal fanbase that it’s a lock that it’s going to be completely fansubbed by at least one team, probably two, whether it sucks or not. For the same reason, it’s still bound to get blogged if it sucks, as you will have the “in denial” bloggers who still see it as the Second Coming and can’t understand all the “haters” who “just don’t like shoujo”, and the “trainwreck” bloggers, like Jason with Mai Otome and (to a lesser extent, as it still is intentionally entertaining from time to time) Higurashi.

    Still, I think it’s a better idea to go with individual characters than shows even though the scoring would be more difficult, as it’ll bring more parity. Let’s face it, unless there’s some incredibly stupid trading going on, after the first couple weeks, the winner will be pretty obvious, and the losers will have decided to move on to something else. In sports, there’s always the chance that Wali Lundy may break out for a 200yd rushing game, or Adam Everett may have 8 RBI in a game, but is anyone even fansubbing Tonagura! anymore, much less blogging it?

  20. yeah even if kanon bombs…people will fansub it…hell f/sn got subbed the whole way through and it was just torture to watch sometimes (even the game translators agree)i like f/sn but even i couldnt stand some of it (the damn dragon X.X)

    i agree with quigonkenny cause well if its on the whole show then its not as fun but if its on individual charactars then the real fun begins…and cause there are new series you can have crap(wiener-kun from karin) and awesome (chambermaid from black lagoon) poping up all over the field….it will give em all a run for there err…e-money?

  21. Plus I would think it’s kind of hard to decide exactly what a show is (though I guess in the best tradition of fantasy baseball some shows could simply be like utility players). For example, Gun x Sword could serve as harem, action, and crappy (for the first bit anyway). While it wouldn’t be too useful in any one of those positions – it might save you if you end up in a situation where a fansub group breaks up on a show you were counting on.

  22. I’m starting to think there might be something to this “characters” fantasy league though (I actually thought it back when you made the vampire roto league post). I may actually spend some time working on rules for that and then post them.

  23. on the kanon team, eclipse seems like their doing it… and you can pretty much bet that the other larger groups are going to do it too… more praise for their godly fansubbing “talents”…


    hmmm… i don’t know if i could create a fantasy league… might be a bit too hard to think about…

    would mahoromatic be considered harem or action?

  24. -team +idea

    i fail when i barely think…

  25. Why would you start Clinton Portis when hes injured? I know he played, but not as much as he normally would. Even as a Skins fan, I wouldn’t start Portis.

  26. Oh man, an Anime Fantasy League eh? Sounds very appealing :3

    Although, like many of your other readers, I would prefer choosing characters rather than whole series.

    Atashi says:
    >> I’m going to start blogging anime with the fall season, so I really don’t have experience with identifying which shows are pre-destined to be popular or not. (My taste is somewhat different from the majority). Here’s hoping that the series I’ll blog won’t die by horrible production or bad fansubs.

    I’m thinkin’ about blogging anime in the fall as well (once I get my site to actually look like something acceptable -_-), so I don’t know if I have the knowledge to manage a fantasy team very well either, but it would be fun to watch eh? Good luck to you, Atashi.

  27. If you really wanted to have a character based league, why not score it by counting up things like this?
    – 4chan image posts
    – trashy promotional artwork
    – number of other characters they can be paired up with romantically based on evidence in the series no matter how tenuous (you could manage a good 4 points for Kyon for instance, as all other SOS members hit on him at one point or other, Haruhi’d only net you 2).
    – Number of times the phrase “beyond human ability” (or similar) is used about them.
    – Total number of costumes they wear over the course of the series.
    – Number of times they’re the center of a perposterous deus ex machina (having a helicopter arrive just in time to rescue them doesn’t count, having their arm turn into a giant laser cannon out of the blue does).
    – Internet “shrines” dedicated to them, updating in the current week (for simplicity’s sake, only count them if they’re within the first 3 pages of a Google search for their name.

    A lot of these you could influence, but the same can be said for blogging a series. A bit of an honor system is required.

  28. See I was thinking more like what they did in an episode that was fansubbed that week – if you’re good and watching the raws, then you’re just betting on the fansubbers. The real problem is going to come down to which positions you have and how you determine who fills which position.

    Also I was trying to figure out a way to balance scoring somewhat – every time I come up with scoring categories it always overwhelmingly favors the male lead of a harem show.

  29. Fantasy leagues aren’t about accuracy. They’re about stat crunching… no one scores fantasy by runs to the left, runs to the right, dives, etc. They just care about yardage and maybe yards per rush. Also, no fantasy league requires watching the game to score the league… just box scores. Keep that in mind as well. My advice is not to overcomplicate things with too many “good” ideas. Start off simple. # of fansubs is a very easy stat to extract from something like TT. Same goes with blog posts from The Suki.

  30. Just want to give a big thumb up to anyone who watch animes AND plays fantasy sports. That fantasy anime league idea is awesome. You got to count me in when you start the league!

    My sister always thinks I have too much time because, while I were dominating all three of my fantasy baseball leagues (am waiting for my $100 prize check from TSN), I was watching Suzumiya Haruhi for the tenth time and reading anime blogs like yours. Fantasy anime league is the natural next step.

    Right now I am preparing the cheat sheet for the fantasy basketball league, where I am the returning champion. Only playing in one football league this season. Ever since I passed Tiki Barber in favor of Willis McGaheeI last year, I knew I could not be competitive as long as I refused to draft any Cowgirls, Eagirls or Giants. Besides, there are just too much randomness in fantasy football, especially for leagues with playoffs…

    By the way, if anyone ever invites you to join a golf fantasy league. DON’T. It was like watching GSD. You want to quit, but your inner competitiveness (or fanboyness) demands you to see it to the end. Afterward, you are only left wondering, “whose stupid idea is it (to have golf fantasy?)” Actually, I probably asked that question like 473 times while watching GSD. Pretty amazing they could screw GSD so bad, consdiering how great GS was.

    Hey, reading your blog is a blast. Keep the good work up :)

  31. Kanon looks like the Carolina Panthers, the hot early favorite who’s hitting the stretch run with a 6-5 record. It needs to produce the rest of the way just to make the playoffs.

    In contrast, Asatte no Houkou looks like the 9-2 Baltimore Ravens, the fringe contender that has emerged, without question, as one of the top 2-3 series in the fall season.

    Let’s see how the rest of the season shakes out. Kanon is in a dog-fight with Gift ~ Eternal Rainbow for the lead in the H-game/dating sim conversion Division, while Asatte no Houkou is lapping the field in the romance/drama Conference.

    By the way, how are things going in the action/adventure Conference? Is Death Note still leading the way?

  32. Hey Jason, I know I’m reviving an old post and I don’t know if you’ll ever see it, but I wanted to give a long overdue thank you for inspiring us to create a Fantasy Anime League over at MyAnimeList, and it has been going on for the past 13 years!

    We’ve always given credit to this post (when it was still at but I’ve never actually personally thanked you for the inspiration. If you ever do get to see this post, please check us out at our club on MAL:

    Or if you don’t have an account, check our OG post that started it all:

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