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Reading up on anime sales, I came across the term 'Manabi Line', which is said to be the amount of DVD sales that an anime needs to break even. The article in question quoted it to be about 2,899 sales.

Seemingly, the figure is based off of the amount of sales that the anime 'Manabi Straight' made, and barely broke even.

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Considering that there are large ranges of production value and other cost focuses, Is 'Manabi Line' still a reasonable figure for how a series is doing?

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This started as a joke on 2ch. The "Manabi Line" represent Manabi Straight's disc sales, which reported barely broke even. Nowadays, people tend to use a a point to indicate a show made money or not. It's not an accurate statistical representation of any series due do how old it is comparatively to modern serials and how much was vested in a production.

Alternatively there's also the "Anime Saving Line," (it's reportedly started by /a/ on 4ch) which is how much Yakaman's Fractale series, he proclaimed was going to save this medium -- it sold 883 units.

Generally these numbers just take in account first week (domestic) disc sales.

This post offers a good breakdown of volume anime disc sales with respect to how successful a series is:

  • < 1k: Complete failure for late night anime, but is common among mainstream/daytime anime, which rely on other methods to produce revenue such as ratings and merchandising. Examples of this would be Naruto, Bleach, OP, Fairy Tale, Detective Conan, and most noitaminA slot anime.

  • 1k - 2k: Pretty much same as above. Some examples of recent late night anime that bombed like this would be LOLH, B Gata H Kei, and Ookami-san.

  • 2k - 3k: Still a failure, but the show has at least some fans but didn't sale well for various reasons, whether they be not enough hype, relatively boring plot, or too :deep:. Some recent examples would be Occult Gakuin, Shin Koihime Musou, and UraBoku.

  • 3k - 4k: This is around break even point for most anime, or as 2ch calls it, the Manabi line. It's not exactly a failure, since no money was lost, but it's not successful or a hit either, since no money was made. An example of this would be Arakawa Under the Bridge and Ichiban Ushiro.

  • 4k - 5k: This is around where you start to see profit being made. Anime that sale in this area aren't what you would call hits, but it's still a decent accomplishment for late night anime. Recent examples are Ikkitousen Xtreme Xecutor and Mayoi Neko Overrun. An older one is all seasons of Zero no Tsukaima.

  • 5k - 6k: This is where some of the more prominent anime among the niche market sale. By that, I mean the more memorable titles of a year. They aren't exactly hits in the sense that they're known among outside of otaku circles, but within them they're common names. Recent examples are Motto To LOVE-Ru, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, Amagami SS, and Kissxsis here.

  • 6k - 7k: Very good for late night anime. Once again, not hits, but they're doing very well and are moderately popular among the niche market of otaku. This is still within the realm of the 5000-6000 area. Here you have your Seitokai Yakuindomo, BakaTest, and Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~.

  • 7k - 8k: This is where you start to go from being niche within a niche to being broadly popular within the otaku niche. Could be considered a hit among otaku, although this is a sort of gray area in the the sense most anime don't sale exactly in this range, they're either with the 5000-7000 range or skip into double digits. The only anime that comes to my mind immediately that sales in this range are Katanagatari and HOTD.

  • 8k - 10k: This is where you start to see the most memorable anime over years sale, extremely good for late night anime and a mile stone. Still a bit hesitant to call series in this area hits, but their at least extremely successful. The first DARKER THAN BLACK and Sengoku BASARA seasons sold in this area.

  • 10k - 12k: Where you start to see anime staple marks at. These are the series that even people who aren't otaku will at least have seen or heard of somewhere. This are is ambiguous in the sense that stuff that sales higher initially end up here from sales tapering off a bit. Anime in this are usually have initial sales of around 15000-16000 or higher. Stuff like Strike Witches, Durarara!!, and the first season of Toaru Majutsu no Index end up here after the first few volumes. Toradora! and both seasons of Shakugan no Shana sold around this area. DARKER THAN BLACK: Ryuusei no Gemini also sold here.

  • 12k - 15k: Most anime that end up in the 10000-12000 range overall start out selling around here. As stated above, first season of Index and both seasons of Strike Witches started out here. First season of Hakuouki and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood also sale around this range. Sengoku BASARA Two sales in this area.

  • 15k - 20k: Pretty much same as above.

  • 20k - 30k: Durarara and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood started out in this area but tapered off later on. This area is ambiguous in the sense that the only anime that consistently stay in this area over every volume are heavily otaku supported. Still, some of the most popular anime sales around here. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, Azumanga Daioh, and Fate/stay night are the only anime I can think of that consistently sold in this range.

  • 30k - 50k: Godly and legendary. This is where the household name or super popular otaku anime sale. First Fullmetal Alchemist, Macross Frontier, Code Geass, Gundam 00, Haruhi, Angel Beats!, Lucky Star!, K-ON!, etc.

  • 50k - 80k: Nearly impossible. Only TV series that have sold here are Bakemonogatari, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, and Gundam SEED.

Take note that these numbers are arbitrary and success and profitability may vary depending on the production.

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