I'm reading Koe no Katachi and have been hoping for it to be animated. It looks like it's getting more popular. However, it makes me wonder what requirements should be fulfilled before they decide to create an anime based on a certain manga in general.
There is no written path, but there are several factors and steps that must happen for that:
- The overall reaction to the manga, the volume of internet traffic it generates (fan-art, forums, discussions, fan pages, fan fiction, even porn of the main characters).
- Are fans cosplaying as the characters even before anime?
Connections and reputation
- The reputation of the mangaka. For example, I doubt any new manga by Rumiko Takahashi (for example) is NOT going to become an anime.
- Who the mangaka and the manga producers/managers know. Sometimes the hardest part is to put your work in front of the right eyes. It's all in the pitch.
Possible merchandising and target audience
- Can the manga become a toy line? Can you sell costumes of the main characters?
- The target audience (gender, age, genre) spending power.
Series health and controversy
- Is the manga series long enough? Are the arcs and plots interesting? Are the characters well developed and of enough depth?
- Is there any group that will get grossly offended if the manga becomes an anime? Remember that printed media is pulled by the reader (you have to actively persuse the media) while audiovisual media is PUSHED into the viewer.
Competition and market mood
- Is the manga a mecha manga, and it's on its peak during a new Gundam season and yet another Evangelion Retcon?
- What was the reaction of fans to the animes of the same genre that aired in the previous seasons? Are they craving for more of the genre or had they have enough?
Releases and versions
- Is the series already compiled into tankobon? Is it on Crunchyroll? Was it already translated (by fans or officially)?
- Also, check if the manga is being pirated. It is a sad fact, but popular manga that will become anime is widely pirated, translated, fansubbed, etc.
- Do some specialized Google searches for the manga series, its main characters and villains. Check the result count, and compare to other popular manga that already became anime.
After all of those factors, there are some things you can look for in specialized media to see if your favorite manga is really going to become anime:
Option: Did some studio or media company purchase the option for the IP? Options are commonplace in the Western media world, but it's becoming very popular around the world. Check the media and news for the option signing.
Rumors: Check some blogs (mostly in Japanese) for the titles they think will make next season
(Dear Reader: suggest some blogs in the comments).
Wikipedia: The folks at the WikiProject Anime and Manga work really hard to keep their corner of the wiki fresh. If your manga series already have a Wikipedia page, chances are high.
As for your particular manga, I would say it certainly will become anime.
I'm in in the process of getting my own Manga, Seeds of Arcadia, funded. Aside from creating a fanbase, which may not lead to much, you really want to focus on a detailed portfolio for investors and production companies to decide if your story is worthwhile. You'll mainy need (give or take):
- Complete script of first season
- Character illustrations, descriptions, and backstories (if necessary)
- Illustrated chapters (at least some, if not all)
- Illustrated action pages
- Promotional posters (the more the better)
- Possible overview of any continuing season
- Any free printouts for viewers
Of course most if not all of this stuff may have to come out of your own pocketbook. I suggest getting family or friends to help with the initial startup so that you can hire help with the illustrations, or else you'll be doing a lot of drawing and digital enhancements.
The important thing is to have hard substance which is both professional in appearance, unique, and intriguing. The fans will NOT fund your project, but with a professional looking portfolio you can present it to investors, or sell your story. If you do plan on keeping the rights to your story, never hand the complete script to anyone, only segments. You should still have the completed script ready with digital backups.