Room for Precedent

Contrary to how hush-hush some of anime production is, you can predict certain things from patterns and the like.

Unlike this post, which is about foreshadowing in episode 0 of Zenonzard, this post is about the meta. You know, when you’re so excited for an upcoming anime, you dig into whatever you can. With certain details, you can – to some extent – predict what’s going to occur to the anime as well as what happens in it, hence the post title.

…this is, of course, not going to cover everything, especially if a giant pandemic or a troubled production *cough* COVID *cough cough* is involved, but normally things don’t stray off this course too much.

Is the work an adaption of some sort?

Most works, as you’re probably aware from browsing your anime database of choice, are an adaption of some sort and so there should be some details you can dig into straight away, barring region locks, errors in translation and the like. These details are probably the most solid of indicators for what will happen in the anime. Occasionally, the sheer presence or absence of certain characters will note roughly where the anime will stop in the storyline, or if certain fan favourite storylines will be included (bar things like surprise/guest appearances, anachronistic storytelling and choices made by certain staff members to blend earlier storylines with later ones).

If a season follows a pattern several times and there’s more material to adapt which exists – e.g. Bungou Stray Dogs adapts some of its light novels alongside adapting the manga, normally at the start of the season – then you can probably bet things will continue that way.

What about the announcement itself?

It sounds a bit silly to think about just the announcement of the anime, because obviously knowing there will be an anime is cause enough for celebration and you don’t think much else of it. However, in my experience, anime are normally announced about half a year before they’re scheduled to appear.

For instance, I was speculating with some Hypnosis Mic fans on a Discord server at the end of March as to when the anime would air, and just from the lack of a PV for it when most of the spring anime already had theirs, I accurately predicted summer 2020…and then, of course, COVID came and booted it down a season.

An announcement regarding the anime licence was made by Aniplex, meaning it was likely an Aniplex subsidiary studio (A-1 or Cloverworks) would do the adapting. However, that’s not a hard and fast rule, as Aniplex has involvement with a lot of studios, including Shaft (Aniplex manages the Madoka licences, including Magia Record).

Who gets the streaming licence?

This one’s easier to predict in some senses because generally, Crunchyroll and Funimation (plus, currently, its friends under the Sony-Aniplex partnership) are the only big contenders you have to care about. Netflix is normally on the production committee for anime it puts into “jail”, while Crunchyroll coproductions are obviously on that site.

As the anime streaming landscape sits now, generally Aniplex anime (which is a big chunk of them, according to the fall 2020 season) will go to Funi and co. while Warner Brothers anime will go to Crunchyroll, so if you know which company is involved (from looking at which company’s YouTube channel shared the trailers – for instance, the Warner Brothers YouTube channel shared a I’m Standing on a Million Lives PV I saw), you can quite accurately start directing your wishes at that licensing company to get the anime you want to watch. However, the streaming landscape changes every so often when new deals are struck, so entire patches of anime can go along with them (such as when Anime Strike took out that one summer season for me).

So, obviously this is a guide. Are there any other rules of thumb one should keep in mind when trying to predict certain details about an upcoming anime?

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