'Target Audience'

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'Target Audience'

Post by Rar » Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:17 am

What a 'target audience' is

Anime, like everything else in the modern world, is targeted towards specific audiences, both implicitly by the creators, and overtly by the marketing. Though categories are associated with specific sex and ages, this is not a bar on the anime being enjoyed by people who don't fit into that band. Not only do crossover titles exist, but also categories have a considerable following outside their main demographic. This does not invalidate the usefulness of marking a title as one of the categories, they just give a broad impression of an anime, rather than indicating specific content.

- Kodomo 子供
For small children. This should be a very clear distinction in most cases. Simple language and animation, vaguely educational themes, and absolutely nothing objectionable.

- Shounen 少年
For boys. Action, ecchi, or sports, all with a gambatai attitude. People tend to get suckered into thinking that some titles are too explicit to be shounen, in general just because something is full of violence and sexual innuendo it doesn't mean the main audience is young teenage boys. In fact, in probably guarantees it. There are certainly conservative elements in japan, Go Nagai for instance has always been criticised for 'not being suitable', but they don't seem to have the same clamp over the media that the christian right does in america. Shounen series can be vastly popular, and have a habit of running for years.

- Shoujo 少女
For girls. Stereotypically romance, but can encompass just as wide a range as shounen. My favourite anime series is shoujo.

- Seinen 青年
For young men. Everything from light romance to action gore-fests. The majority of anime produced (that isn't the shounen mega-series) falls into this category.

- Otoko (??Seijin 成人)
For men. I include largely because manga publishers do make a distinction, and seinen just covers far too much otherwise. If it proves more hassle separating out that it's worth, a merge with seinen would not be the end of the world.

- Mina (??Ippan 一般)
For 'the family'. Anything that is deliberately targeted at as wide a range of people as possible. Most common for cinematic and other high budget releases that require a very large audience to be financially viable. Think Ghibli.

- Josei 女性
For women. This is probably not even worth including due to a notable lack of anime (compared to manga) aimed at women.
Interestingly though the english gainax site makes some claims for the three Anime Ai no Awa Awa Hour anime, "This series refutes the accepted wisdom that anime is for kids and hardcore fans, by creating anime for adult women. Anime on TV is currently aimed largely at hardcore male anime fans. This is Gainax's answer to that market domination--a program whose concept is women talking amongst themselves, about sex and other areas of life." ( http://www.gainax.co.jp/anime/awaawa/pr ... dex-e.html ) Gainax is a pretty heavily male oriented studio however (have they done *any* shoujo titles?), so this seems a little questionable.
Likewise, though some anime based on MOMOSE Tamami manga might be seen as for a female audience, it seems they all serialised in seinen mags.

- Ero/Hentai/Yaoi エロ/変態/やおい
Though certainly aimed at niche audiences, cataloguing them in this tree might not serve much purpose. I dunno. Certainly subsets of the broader male/female audiences though.


How to find the 'target audience'

- The readership of the manga
A lot of anime is made off the back of a successful manga - as well as providing the material for story it guarantees a fan base. Obviously it would be possible to take an original work and make a completely different anime out of it, but in practice this doesn't happen as the captive audience is part of the reason it's worth taking the large financial risk. As most successful manga is serialised in magazines aimed at particular demographics, the easiest way to find the target audience for an anime is to see what publication the manga it's based on ran in. If it's a Shounen Jump manga, you can be pretty sure that the anime can be labelled 'Shounen' as well.
One possible exception I'll raise here. The Rurouni Kenshin manga was serialised in Shounen Jump from 1994 to 1999. The tv series and movie released from 1996 to 1998, despite being pseudo historical and somewhat more serious than other adventure anime, are quite clearly shounen too. However the ovas, released from 1999 to 2001 seem clearly aimed at the Kenshin fans who, having been reading the manga for 5 years, are perhaps now more interested in the maturer themes, and would be more accurately marked as seinen.

- The content of the anime
Basically this is *the* way to tell, but can be deeply misleading if you're not familiar with the conventions. You often see westerners saying seinen must be shoujo, because it has romance in it, or shoujo must be shounen because it's got loads of action, or shounen must be seinen because it's to ecchi for younger boys. In short, a good indicator, but make sure there's some discussion on the off chance you've got the wrong end of the stick.

- The 'genre' on anidb, ANN or other english fansites
Generally suffer from the problem indicated above of judging on content, so some kind of discussion is still probably helpful. Though perhaps not always, going by the wikipedia seinen talk page... ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Seinen )


What to do with stuff that doesn't fit

Easy. Don't add anything. I still want to work out who the moe style titles are aimed at, judging by #anidb it's be late 20s pervs.


Note: I am a white, middle class, english boy with little knowledge of Japanese language, culture, or history. Everything written above might be, and probably is, inaccurate. Corrections and additions welcome.

Rar

(this post might need moving later, but needs editing/approval first, so Feature Requests 'll do)

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Post by Rafal » Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:32 am

Something I didn't even know until today is that Japanese people classify the target audience of anime differently than that of manga. For instance they don't talk about 'seinen anime', or anime aimed at 'seinen', instead they use the word 'dansei' (man) for the adult male target audience. The reason for this is that 'seinen' can mean either 'young man' or 'adult' (man or woman) depending on the kanji you use, so in romaji or the spoken language there might be confusion about which one you mean.

Another thing, 'seijin' 「成人」 or 'seinen' 「成年」 (not 青年, see above) have the same connotation in Japanese as "Adult" in English has; it is used to indicate a manga has 'adult' content..

I've also read up a little on the anime section of the Japanese version of Wikipedia and this is how they categorize the different target groups of anime:

Youji 幼児向けアニメ
Anime aimed at infants. Not relevant for AniDB.

Kodomo 子供向けアニメ
For kids.

The 'Kodomo' category is further divided into:
  • Danji 男児向けアニメ
    For boys: Pokemon, Digimon.
  • Joji 女児向けアニメ
    For girls: Card Captor Sakura, Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-San
Shounen 少年向けアニメ
Examples: Love Hina, Naruto

Shoujo 少女向けアニメ
Examples: Maria-sama ga miteru, Fruits Basket, Aishiteruze Baby

Dansei 男性向けアニメ
Anime aimed at men.
Examples: Gungrave, Berserk, NGE

Josei 女性向けアニメ
Anime aimed at women.
Examples: Ebichu, Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday)

Seijin 成人向けアニメ
Anime aimed at adults only (18+). Hentai anime. 18禁アニメ.

Family/Everyone ファミリー・一般向けアニメ
Anime for the whole family.

I'll add my own thoughts about these categories later, but most of them seem fine to me.
Last edited by Rafal on Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Rafal » Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:21 pm

I forgot to mention one more target audience in my post above:

Seijin 成人向けアニメ
Anime aimed at adults only (18+). Hentai anime. 18禁アニメ.

As for my own thoughts about this, the basic classification seems fine to me, but I'm not sure if we should stick to the Japanese terminology used here. 'Kodomo' can be replaced by 'Kids' for example, 'Danji' and 'Joji' by 'Boys' and 'Girls', respectively. And 'Seijin' could perhaps be replaced by '18+', or 'Adults'. The others should stay the way they are imo since they are already fairly well known among anime fans. So with this you get:
  • Kids
    • Boys
    • Girls
  • Shounen
  • Shoujo
  • Dansei
  • Josei
  • 18+
  • Family

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Post by lamer_de » Tue Apr 26, 2005 4:37 pm

Rafal wrote:Josei 女性向けアニメ
Anime aimed at women.
Examples: Ebichu, Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday)
I guess you haven't seen Ebichu. Please do so, then come back and tell me again it's aimed at women...
(I severly doubt the "target audience" enjoys puking hamsters, anal fuck scenes and various plays on words involving the word クリトリス).

Anyone remebers the picture of the Sister Princess (could've been something else, don't remember) DVD back, that listed the target audience as:
Girls: 8-12 years
Boys: 18-25 years

How are you going to sort that in? Also, the distinction between seinen and shounen seems pretty unclear to me as well.

And then you have the cultural differences between the US and Japan, which makes it even more complicated. Something like LH is not sold to/targeted at 12 year old in the US (EXP said often enough that anidb is targeted at english speaking people, so adopting the cultural standards of Japan is not the best idea imho).

CU,
lamer_de

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Post by Rafal » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:43 pm

lamer_de wrote: I guess you haven't seen Ebichu. Please do so, then come back and tell me again it's aimed at women...
I have seen the first two episodes like two years ago and I say its primary target are (single) adult women. Ebichu was also published in a josei manga magazine, which means that the manga's primary target must be adult women. The official site of the anime agrees as well. Women aren't as innocent when it comes to the topic of sex as you might think and can be just as bad (or even worse) as men (look at some Yaoi aimed at women for instance, it's often even more dirty than normal hentai).
Anyone remebers the picture of the Sister Princess (could've been something else, don't remember) DVD back, that listed the target audience as:
Girls: 8-12 years
Boys: 18-25 years

How are you going to sort that in?
Good question, the article on Wikipedia about Dansei anime also mentioned that any 'harem' or 'moe' anime also falls under the (otaku) Dansei target audience. (ex. Love Hina falls both under 'shounen' and 'dansei' because of this)
Also, the distinction between seinen and shounen seems pretty unclear to me as well.
I didn't even list a seinen category.
And then you have the cultural differences between the US and Japan, which makes it even more complicated. Something like LH is not sold to/targeted at 12 year old in the US (EXP said often enough that anidb is targeted at english speaking people, so adopting the cultural standards of Japan is not the best idea imho
I'm pretty sure the Japanese audience in essence doesn't differ that much from a Western audience. I think Love Hina would be pretty popular among 12-15 year old boys if anime would be more accepted and mainstream here and they actually had a chance to watch it on their TV.

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Post by lamer_de » Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:18 am

I have seen the first two episodes like two years ago and I say its primary target are (single) adult women.
Could you please list some characteristics for Josei then?
Cause I have troubles understanding how women could identify themselves with a 25yo unmarried office lady whose boyfriend constantly cheats on her, her only companion being a hamster that tells everybody and their mom which sex practices she excercises during the night and therefore passionately get beaten to a bloody pulp at least 2 times a day. Ebichu is toilet humor at it's best, and I probably can think of genres that would be more appealing to women. Regardless what the website says or in which magazine it was published as manga. Also, Ebichu is only one out of 3 (or 4, don't remember) series aired during the "bubble hour," so probably the other series in this block were aimed at women.
(look at some Yaoi aimed at women for instance, it's often even more dirty than normal hentai)
This is semi-offtopic, but could you explain why the Japanese society thinks that the primary audience for Yaoi are women? Where I live, gay porn is targeted at gays, not women, so I have quite some trouble understanding this. I can see why ravish fangirls drool over shonen-ai with it's special way to draw males, soft character traits of the protagonists etc, but Yaoi (read: wanking material)?
I didn't even list a seinen category.
You're right. rar did.
I think Love Hina would be pretty popular among 12-15 year old boys if anime would be more accepted and mainstream here and they actually had a chance to watch it on their TV.
I'm pretty sure any random hentai would be pretty popular in that age category as well if they aired it on TV. Doesn't mean hentai is targeted at those.

What I wanted to say is: Due to cultural differences, things are marketed different, and anidb is not targeted at the Japanese society, hence problems may arise if you adopt their marketing/rating system.

CU,
lamer_de

Rafal
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Post by Rafal » Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:03 am

lamer_de wrote:Could you please list some characteristics for Josei then?
http://josei.biography.ms/
This is semi-offtopic, but could you explain why the Japanese society thinks that the primary audience for Yaoi are women?
For the same reason why lesbian material is primarily targeted at men in your society.

Will comment some more later, need to go now. ^^;

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Post by rowaasr13 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:29 am

lamer_de wrote:What I wanted to say is: Due to cultural differences, things are marketed different, and anidb is not targeted at the Japanese society, hence problems may arise if you adopt their marketing/rating system.
AniDB lists japanese production that IS targeted at japanese society and audience is selected according to japanese culture. Different countries have different cultures, so what country you suggest as ethalon for Target Audience? Maybe some radical arab one? We'd need only two categories then "ok" and "forbidden".

So I'd prefer to have japanese target audience indications (and japanese names with description would only help to show that DB shows japanese indication) and then map it to my cultural preferences myself, instead of "Adult" in every anime that have at least some suggestive material or nudity, for example, because it would be considered that way in some cultures.

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Post by Rar » Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:42 am

Ugh, too much to respond to. Oh, just in case people missed it, my question about moe was the feature of an ANN article the other day, it's not just late 20s pervs, it's pervs in their 30s. Rock on.

Rafal post #1: Interesting, I've read a few of the bits on ja.wiki now as well. I don't think the 青年 / 成年 conflict is particularly relevant for native speakers, but I agree that taken out of context and transcribed it's probably better to use another term. Oh, and we do have some 幼児向けアニメ surely.

Rafal post #2: Possibly using the 18-restricted audience catagory would be a better way of doing the current legal-age filtering on anidb. Not only could we include yaoi (which isn't atm), but also free up the term 'hentai' under the new system to only mean anime that really is 変態, see also Ultima's post a while back.

lamer post #1: As I said in my post, Gainax claim that those three anime were deliberately made for an older female audience. Personally, I think the gainax slant is very phallocentric (ahahah), and most viewers would actually have been like you.
When there is a valid dual target audience, can just add both. Escaflowne, for eg. Personally I think the seinen(dansei)/shounen distinction is pretty clear, espc. when you start looking at manga.
US/Japan cultral differences? Who cares. This isn't a guide for worried American mothers, it's a simple categorisation system. Also, I've said right a the top that considerable viewer numbers 'outside the band' is not reason for the system being 'wrong', a shoujo anime that lots of 20-summat males like is still shoujo.

Rafal post #3: Yeah, my current worry is your Dansei is just too wide, there's an obvious audience for moe etc that's really not the same as the seinen mag readers at all. But hey, maybe this is better handled elsewhere in the genre system rather than under audience.

lamer post #2: "Where I live..." is no concern of me, or the makers of anime, or anything in this post. This is not a 'suitability' category.

Rafal post #4: Personally I don't think much anime is made for the Josei market at all (Omohide Poro Poro was your other example, which I think is better under 'family', whatever the slant of the story, Ghib simply can't afford to make anime that would only appeal to subset of their audience). This doesn't mean women don't watch lots of anime, just that a relatively small proportion is made specifially for the 'josei' market, and the yaoi is probably the only stuff we've listed so far that we can unquestionably say is.

Rar

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Post by lamer_de » Wed Apr 27, 2005 4:21 pm

Rafal wrote:For the same reason why lesbian material is primarily targeted at men in your society.
All pornography you can buy here is targeted at men, regardless the specific theme. That's probably because the market for lesbians who buy pornography is irrelevant here. So, I was wondering why there seem to exist one in Japan.
rowaasr13 wrote: Different countries have different cultures, so what country you suggest as ethalon for Target Audience? Maybe some radical arab one? We'd need only two categories then "ok" and "forbidden".
Last time I checked, the language of anidb was English, not Arabic. Now, if you think hard enough, you might get a clue which countries I had in mind. However, you're of course right: if you want to use Japanese classifications, you need to adopt them and not sort them by your own preference.
lamer post #2: "Where I live..." is no concern of me, or the makers of anime, or anything in this post. This is not a 'suitability' category.
I didn't know that in the UK the main audience for gay porn are british housewifes. I learn new things everyday... (read: I merely wanted to express my amazement about how there can be a market for yaoi in Japan, while there doesn't seem to exist one in pretty much every other county in the world.)
US/Japan cultral differences? Who cares. This isn't a guide for worried American mothers, it's a simple categorisation system
My point is: How can you, with your western values, sort stuff into Japanese categories? The examples you and I provided make clear that there is no logical or standard classification. How are anidb users supposed to know that Ebichu is josei when it shows no charcateristics of it (unless Japanese women REALLY beat up their hamsters on a regular basis). How are we supposed to know that shoujo can be sorted into dansei as well because japanese marketing peeps think stuff sells better if they recommend it to pedos? Unless there is a Japanese webpage that categorizes each and every anime in existence I don't know about where you can get those classifications, of course.

What's wrong with the classification ANN uses (Teenagers, Adult etc), other than that it doesn't sound as l33t?

CU,
lamer_de

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Post by rowaasr13 » Wed Apr 27, 2005 4:47 pm

English is used in way more countries than just UK and US with different views on what appropriate for what audience. Not to mention that it is kinda universal language on 'net. I can name ten popular projects right off the bat that are not of UK/US origin and not intended only for UK/US, but still have almost all materials/pages/documentations in english.

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Post by fahrenheit » Wed Apr 27, 2005 5:18 pm

What about we drop the gender and use just generic categories for everything, like we allready have the genres to say if a anime is shounen or shoujo.
As for dansei and josei, this was the first time (in this thread) that i've seen someone use those terms, and i target myself as an average anime viewer, so i would use like i said the more generic categories and use those as a sub-genre or something.

I would go for a Kids, Teens, Adults and Family, as for Hentai i would add it as a subgenre for Adults like in the genres, so if we are using the same system that the new genres use i would go for something like this:

Kids::Boys
Kids::Girls
Teens::Shounen
Teens::Shoujo
Adults::Hentai
Adults::Dansei
Adults::Josei
Family

IMHO this could simplify matters like so:

For example by default anidb just shows the Base cat (K,T,A,F) and if user realy wants all the added information he can then enable the preference in his/her profile.

That is my opinion, differ if you want but i think this solves the problems on both sides.

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Post by Rar » Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:28 pm

I wish people wouldn't keep picking the one-or-two sticky cases, and trying to bring down the whole system with them, rather than thinking constructively. Anyone who's seen the lamer's avatar on other forums will know why he's making a cultural crusade out of this, but quite frankly bar him making a fuss I don't think there's anything really outrageous or controversial here. In fact, I think using the japanese terms is the most 'culturally neutral' alternative, and easiest to do accurately.

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Post by Rafal » Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:38 pm

lamer_de wrote:All pornography you can buy here is targeted at men, regardless the specific theme. That's probably because the market for lesbians who buy pornography is irrelevant here. So, I was wondering why there seem to exist one in Japan.
I think you can answer your own question already: not all porn in Japan is targeted at men. Women like sex just as much as men do, they just don't like to watch the same kind of porn as men. For instance women usually like to see the emotional aspect of sex more and are less focused on the visual aspect (the action). And they of course also find man-to-man relationships sexy and fascinating. Now Japan happens to be one of the only countries in the world who realizes that and actually caters to those hidden sexual fantasies of women.
How are anidb users supposed to know that Ebichu is josei when it shows no charcateristics of it (unless Japanese women REALLY beat up their hamsters on a regular basis).
Ebichu is josei because it shows the everyday life of a single adult woman in a rather sick, twisted and humorous way. But beneath all that you can actually find a lot of (painful) things that are very typical of the life of a real single adult woman. Those are the things real Japanese women can identify themselves with.
How are we supposed to know that shoujo can be sorted into dansei as well because japanese marketing peeps think stuff sells better if they recommend it to pedos?
Huh, come again? Adult men who like to watch 'moe' shoujo/joji animes are not automatically pedos you know (otherwise there would be a LOT of them). They like to watch 'moe' stuff because it's cute, or perhaps it brings back memories of their own childhood, or the childhood they never had.

Also, something different, people fantasize about a lot of things that would be considered weird or wrong by other (mostly hypocritical) people, Japan just knows how to cater to those fantasies of people that would otherwise remain dormant within the deep dark recesses of the human soul. ;)

Sorry for going off-topic guys, I'll focus on the subject from now on. :oops:

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Post by Rar » Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:55 pm

Bumping this, as we didn't quite reach concensus due to being distracted with pron, and we now have an article on teh wiki that could probably be improved upon. As I see it, the issues to be resolved:

*Is 'Seinen' okay named as such?
--There's a homophone issue here, but one that doesn't affect the loanword. A note on the wiki would probably cover that. On the other hand, 'seinen' would be quite replaceable, doesn't have the foundation 'shoujo' and 'shounen' do, tends only to be used by some manga fans.

*Should we try and differentiate between Danji/Shounen and Joji/Shoujo?
--Perhaps good, but could also be very sticky indeed. No easy magazine definition, and a bit too easy to sneer over. It wouldn't be hard to bump a few of the giant toy franchises (pokemon, yuugiou) to danji, but I can't see any clear criteria.

*Is 'Kodomo' the best name, and what should it cover?
--I presume this currently covers what Rafal labels 'Youji', and doubts we have any of. Stuff like Ocha-ken, Jagainu-kun, Kogepan, and other similar masterpieces seem reasonably infant to me, and I don't know what else they'd go under. Would be extendable upwards to the pokemon crowd?

*Should we try and categorise 15禁 anime, if so, how?
--Various anime border on h, but aren't actually explicit (this isn't quanity, just content - nothing is shown that requires censorship). This page lists certain titles as 15禁 rather than 18禁, notably Hen: currently 'ecchi', Mahou Shoujo Meruru: currently 'hentai', Kakyuusei: currently 'hentai', and Doukyuusei 2 (also as such on PP): currently hentai. Now, I'm not fussed renaming the category and putting all these in it, but some people might prefer to seperate them out (is this sustainable across other entries?) A more elegant solution would be to give these execptions less stars in a general age restricted category. Suggested names for this?

*Should we try and categorise the moe/otaku market?
Probably my pet one this, and the only one that could still by-and-large follow the magazine demographic. Perhaps best as a sub-category of seinen rather than it's own branch, but should be reasonably verifiable. Only case I've seen recently when looking at it was that I'd assumed Kurumi was a moe series (having been the anime that launched the company of that name as a branch from pony canyon), but manga was in a shounen mag? Any other tough cases?

Rar

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