Followng the recent announcement of the new K-On manga, one of them appropriately named K-On! Carat, with the other having the less than clever name K-On! Kirara. Which leads me to wonder how much authors actually care about how their stories turn out, since more often than not, with every popular (dare I say, successful? ) series, there will always be a ton of merchandise and profit to be made. Here, I ask this: How much does profit affect anime?
It seems like standard procedure: release show, whore show, ??? , profit. Who, honestly, has heard of K-On!! before the show even aired? Back then it was just a comic, not very popular, not very famous. Soon the nice folks over at Kyoto Animation skyrocketed the show to success, where it remains as one of the genre-defining shows for moe and slice-of-life. (Sadly.) Look into any anime merchandise stall, and a good amount of its goods are K-On related. Figurines, posters, T-shirts, mugs, you name it, they have it. Japan sure knows how to milk a cash cow.
Oops, not just Japan. The whole of Asia, especially the east, has been catching on to shows like K-On. China and Korea make their own little merchandise, such as poker cards and keychains, and with reasonably good quality as well. K-On manga and anime get translated and distributed, aired in different countries. People start dressing up in costumes of K-On characters. This is the tipping point ; the point where K-On has burst out into bigger, and greener pastures. But here, the manga ends, yet suddenly it’s revived with this spin-off detailing their lives after graduation. Something about this just doesn’t sit well with me : it’s like Titanic 2. It’s like you take a finished story, and extend it. For what?
Fans ask for it? Perhaps. But the amount of merchandise is staggering. Is it a case of greed? Or is it a case of really, really successful marketing?
Take for instance, Neon Genesis Evangelion. How did it ever survive that long? And they even released a figma and a movie lately. All of these merchandise and sequels all lead to building up its presence. Which seasoned anime watcher has never heard of the show before? It’s highly unlikely. With more and more merchandise, I suppose it builds up curiosity and interest, which in turn leads to watching Evangelion and most likely repeating the process. It’s a cycle. The more merchandise they produce, the more they eventually need. So now that K-On has sequels, K-On could possibly replace shows like Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star as the figurehead for the genre simply because more people have heard of it.
But I start to wonder what’s the point of all of it if the author can simply drop a sequel whenever he or she feels like it. It’s like a plague on the media industry. Same reason why there was an Indiana Jones 4- this desire to expand , and make as much out of a successful franchise as possible. Or as you might put it, ‘whoring’. Making something out of everything possible. Basing an entire series on Azusa’s little friends feels a bit over the top.
K-On was nice now that it had closure, but now that their lives will be continued on , who’s to say what will happen to the girls? How will they possibly advance? The point of K-On!! was to watch their little sessions as a struggling band and all the antics they get into (cough) as a result. Would they regroup later in college to yet form another band in a college setting? After all, wasn’t the point of K-On, to focus on the light music club? Will they even bother to focus on that any more? And will they make Azusa and her little friends form a band too? It seems the only reasonable and interesting path left..
For Christ’s sakes, there might even be a K-On!! Kirara or K-On!! Carat anime under way. . . .
And you know what’s the saddest thing? That all of this is normal now. It’s successful marketing. As much as I may complain now, I know I will watch or read it anyway. And now that Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is getting another OVA . . .