The anime industry is an ever growing field of entertainment, but also an increasingly competitive environment where it’s hard to find the diamonds in the rough in the sea of mediocrity. It’s hard to discern the true potential successes from the countless generic manga, light novels, and other mediums from which an anime can be adapted from. This is why making an anime is such an arduous, long process before the first sketch of a character even begins.
Why am I talking about this? I’m here to discuss one of my all time favorite yuri light novel series, I’m in Love with the Villainess (IFTV for short) written by Inori, and its odds of getting an anime adaptation. As a brief summary, it is a fantasy isekai, where the protagonist is an office lady who has been reincarnated into her favorite reverse harem game, only she’s in love with the game’s antagonist, the villainess. It’s a truly wonderful series, that’s a great yuri romantic, fantasy adventure that provides in depth characters and a poignant commentary on LGBT themes and class warfare. I truly believe it deserves an anime, and has potential of becoming successful especially in today’s yuri and villainess boom, trends set by the trailblazers of Bloom into You and My Next Life as a Villainess.
Of course, no claim is backed without evidence and correlations of some sort. First, we’ll be looking into a general process of who decides what gets an anime adaptation, and how that process facilitates itself. We’ll then do an in depth analysis of IFTV’s background information, such as its publisher, source material, and other important related details.
Next, a comparison with other yuri light novels is in order, especially those that have received anime adaptations. Additionally, we will look at other yuri works that have received animes, to have a general view on what makes a yuri work successful or stand out to receive an adaptation.
Lastly, we do a decade review of the various publishers, in order to scope out if they are likely to promote their works into becoming anime, and if there are any specific trends we should look out for.
How does an Anime get made?
Before the animators draw the first fight scene, and design the Tohrus or Megumins, someone has to decide; hey, what should we make an anime of?
Usually, the anime studios do not decide this. While they are the ones contracted to actually make the anime, they don’t decide what gets animated and what doesn’t.
The people in charge of the decision making are called a Production Committee. A production committee is a group of companies that come together to invest in the creation of an anime, due to mutual interests in benefit.
For example, a manga publisher wants to get their hottest series animated, but they don’t have the funds or capital to cover the costs. So they ask a DVD publisher (for Blu-rays sales), a record label (to perform the OP/ED), and a Merchandise manufacturer (for the goodies). They all agree to pitch in their funds and services to help make the anime, and boom, there’s your production committee.
Anybody can start a production committee, really. If a publisher wants an anime adaptation, they’ll start the committee and start seeking out other potentially interested companies that could also benefit from an anime adaptation. Some anime studios even actively try to adapt works that would be a good fit for them, and participate in the committee themselves.
The committee decides what anime will be made, how many episodes, when it will air, and handles all of the merchandising, marketing, and publishing. Only then, do they shop around for an anime studio to actually make the anime. There are two big reasons why it’s not just one company that can produce the anime.
- Anime is inherently risky.
- Most anime don’t produce a profit, at least not right away. Many are actually losses, which recoup their losses in the long term through licensing (acquiring rights to a series and distributing products), merch and blu-ray sales, and source (light novel/manga) sales.
- By having many investing companies, it spreads the risk of a net loss among many rather than one. So it’s a form of insurance, as it’s more likely than not the anime will lose money in the short term.
- Anime is costly, in financial and human capital
- Do you think a light novel publisher has the know how to make an entire soundtrack for an anime and how to broadcast the show on national television? Most likely not.
- This is why many companies come together, so they can focus on their own specialties. The merch manufacturer focuses on merchandise, the record label focuses on OP/ED mixing, publisher on marketing, etc.
Now how do they pick what gets an anime? Ultimately, it comes down to if the source material, light novel in our case, shows promise and potential to be successful. The light novel caught someone’s eye in the anime business and made them think, “Huh, I bet I can sell a series based off this concept.” Basically, the source material has to be unique and popular enough in the current climate trend, that the business side would be willing to take a risk.
So that’s the background of how stuff gets selected to become an anime. It’s really a matter of luck that someone will take interest in IFTV and think it’s a worthy business venture. Especially if it’s its own publisher.
Yuri Light Novel Anime Adaptations, and their Common Points
It’s interesting to note that there has been a rising trend of animating yuri light novels onto the tv screen. Like, a very recent trend. Take a look at Adachi and Shimamura, aired in Fall 2020, followed by Otherside Picnic in Winter 2021. And now we have the upcoming Executioner and her Way of Life in 2022 confirmed. That’s all very heartening news for us IFTV fans, and gives us hope.
Key notes not in the table:
- Otherside Picnic had 4 LNs and 4 manga volumes when anime was announced.
- AdaShima’s company in charge of its publishers is ASCII Media Works, which is under Kadokawa corporation.
- Executioner had 5 LNs and 1 manga volume when anime was announced. It also won a major award, the GA Bunko Grand Prize in 2019 for LN newcomers for its first LN.
- Each yuri LN anime’s producers consisted of both their LN publishers and manga publishers, so definitely a joint effort to promote the source material for the LN and manga.
- Secondly, at the same time around the announcement, a new LN volume and manga volume dropped the same exact month, as if to boost sales riding off the excitement of an anime announcement confirmation. Interestingly, new source material was not released around the time of actual anime release. So the producers ride the hype of an announcement.
- Thirdly, this is a negative note, but the main story for LN was nowhere near finished when anime was announced. To be fair, IFTV the LNs are not done (despite the web novel being done) so this may not apply.
- Fourth, this one is a subjective point. IFTV has 4 LNs out in Japanese and 2 manga volumes in Japanese at the moment. This might not seem like much to go off on, but adaptations generally will pull from the LN (actual source) to adapt. This is because the manga is an adaptation itself, of the LN. Additionally, the Executioner series had only 4 LN volumes and only 1 manga volume when it got its anime announcement, so there is precedent for there being not much material, but still getting an anime.
- Fifth, the LN publishers for these works are not big companies. Look at IFTV’s LN publisher GL Bunko, they only have 3 series under their name. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Otherside Picnic’s LN publisher is also relatively small, yet they managed an anime (albeit not the best adaptation but still). So small publishers may take a chance to promote their most popular works, as anime is essentially just advertising the source material.
Massive Yuri Manga anime: Citrus and Bloom
Now of course, we’ll be talking about the big trend setters of yuri anime, Citrus and Bloom into You, huge successes in the yuri anime genre of adaptations.
Bloom into You was published by ASCII Media Works, under Dengeki Daioh (same as AdaShima’s LN and manga). Their anime was announced in April 2018, and released in October of 2018. They also won 9th place in AnimeJapan “Manga we want to see animated” Awards of 2018.
Citrus is published by Ichijinsha, under Comic Yuri Hime (same as IFTV). Their anime was announced in November 2016, and released in January 2018. Interestingly, Citrus released a new volume around the time of its anime announcement.
- Note: IFTV won 5th place in the AnimeJapan “Manga we want to see animated” Awards of 2021. Last time a yuri work got a top 10 ranking in these awards, was Bloom into You. You connect the dots.
- Citrus is in the same magazine as IFTV’s manga adaptation, showing that Ichijinsha does take effort to anime their most popular yuri works. Especially the fact that Citrus released a new volume during the same time as its anime announcement, almost as if to capitalize on the hype. More on this later on, because this is one of the major points of evidence.
The Publishers, and their Penchant for pushing for Adaptations
Now the big stuff. Generally, it’s the publishers that are the ones who form the production committee. After all, they’re the ones who really want to promote and profit off their manga/light novel sources. Before we dive in, a quick caveat into the AnimeJapan “Manga we want to see animated” rewards. Links to prior winners analysis and this year 2021’s winners.
Why do I put so much stock into this evidence? Because one of the major, absolutely massive companies backing AnimeJapan, is Kadokawa Corporation. One of their publishing firms being ASCII Media Works, which contains Dengeki Daioh and Dengeki Bunko. Sorry for the word salad, but there is a method to my madness.
Adachi and Shimamura and Bloom into You are both under this firm, and their major producer for the anime was Kadokawa. See where I’m going with this? A yuri work won at AnimeJapan, being Bloom into you, and was a work under Kadokawa. Perhaps IFTV winning at AnimeJapan just might get the attention of Kadokawa or another big firm tied with AnimeJapan.
So that’s Kadokawa. Now let’s look at Square Enix, another massive company that’s had several yuri anime adaptations. Chief among them being Otherside Picnic, Executioner and her Way of Life, and Happy Sugar Life. Oddly enough, their subsidiaries are aimed towards the male audience, so this isn’t the strongest supporting evidence. However, it is a point in favor of big companies taking chances on popular yuri works becoming anime, so take it as you will.
Now, the final one. IFTV’s LN publisher is very small, GL Bunko with only 3 publications to their name. So we’ll be focusing on its manga adaptation’s publisher, Ichijinsha, an absolute powerhouse of a company. Ichijinsha is special in two respects:
- One of the top, if not THE top yuri publishing magazine under its name, Yuri Hime Comics.
- Ton of the most popular yuri works are published in this magazine.
- To list a few: Can’t defy the lonely girl, Whisper me a love song, Crescent donuts under a moon, Yuri is my job, Citrus, Yuru yuri, Wataten, and of course IFTV.
- Ichijinsha is also a sizable LN and manga publishing firm with many works under them
- Examples including Wotakoi love is hard for otaku, Masamune Kun no Revenge, Engaged to the Unidentified, My next Life as a villainess
So Ichijinsha is a powerhouse in publishing. Now the key point is that it tries to get its popular works an anime whenever it can frequently, like two of their works a year at the minimum.
And this goes for their Yuri Hime Comics works as well. Let’s look at the data.
Table for Ichijnsha’s manga and LN’s adapted into anime:
Table for Ichijinsha’s yuri works adapted into anime:
- This publisher is very active in pushing for its publications to become anime each year, and has been consistent in doing so for the past decade.
- Every year, a yuri work published in Yuri Hime Comics has been adapted. Additionally, it seems like it was planned as well, alongside a new volume release to ride the hype.
- This is IMPORTANT. It means this publisher is always on the lookout for the next big yuri hit to become an anime.
- Note: Silver Link and Doga Kobo adapts a lot of Ichijinsha works. Cool tidbit I noticed.
- Doga Kobo: Engaged to the unidentified, Yuru Yuri, Wataten
- Silver Link: My next life as a villainess, Masamune kun no revenge, Caretaker Sunohara san
Wrap up of key findings
- IFTV’s manga publisher Ichijinsha/Yuri Hime Comics is known to push for their works to become anime, especially their big ticket items.
- The case is strong for their yuri works, as it seems every year or so, one of their most popular yuri works becomes animated. As one of the biggest yuri publishers right now, this is good news for us fans since Ichijinsha is scouting out only the best yuri and deciding which will get animated. As IFTV will only get bigger (thanks to the manga picking up), while other popular yuri works in the same magazine are just ending, this bodes well.
- IFTV’s LN publisher is too small!
- Now, IFTV’s LN publisher is a small company in GL Bunko. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t try to promote IFTV as an anime, because we’ve seen in other yuri anime that LN/manga publishers work together to dual promote both mediums.
- The LN series is almost done, and there’s only 2 manga volumes out. What’s the point of promoting an anime if the source is almost complete, and the manga is barely covering anything?
- Keyword: the LN series is ALMOST done. There’s still a substantial amount to go, despite the web novel being finished. And manga volumes aren’t too important, as anime would adapt the source LNs anyway. Look at Executioner and her way of life, which got an anime announcement despite only 1 manga volume released.
- As for promoting for an anime, IFTV is weird in that its LN is digital only. However, the physical manga would be getting a massive boost, which would be beneficial to Ichijinsha as one of its popular yuri works.
- Anime release prediction?
- I would predict that there would be anime announcement when the 5th LN releases or when the 4th manga volume releases, so perhaps around December this year, or even early next year. This bold prediction comes from that Ichijinsha likes to release anime announcement around the same time as new volume releases.
- Is IFTV popular enough for an anime?
- This one is subjective, but there’s over a million views on manga reader sites for the IFTV manga, so that’s nothing to sneeze at.
- As for the LN, Novels 1, 2, and 4 are sitting comfortably in top 20 rankings for JP Amazon kindle digital for Romance genres (among ALL books, not just light novels).
Last key point: so Wataten was a yuri work under Ichijinsha, that got produced by them. Interestingly, it was co-produced with Kadokawa (the big studio that produced AdaShima and Bloom into You). And what does Kadokawa have? They’re a backer of AnimeJapan, and IFTV won 5th place in those awards.
I don’t think it’s unlikely at all, that Kadokawa notices that a popular yuri work IFTV managed to get a respectable ranking at its AnimeJapan awards, that just so happens to be a published work in a major yuri producer in Ichijinsha, who they have some history of collaborating with. So Kadokawa has produced major yuri anime, and so has Ichijinsha, and they have worked together before. And we all know that in business, it’s who you know that matters. Popular yuri sells, as seen before in the past. So if someone in Kadokawa notices…I’m just saying that it’s a matter of time before IFTV gets an anime.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all these things came together. IFTV winning at AnimeJapan, an event backed by a big studio that has produced yuri works before, and an event that the last a yuri won, it got an anime? Too many things line up in ways that are miracles. And the fact that IFTV’s manga adaptation is under a publisher that tries its best to gets its popular yuri works an anime is no stroke of luck either.
Those two key points aside, IFTV as a novel and manga are popular enough to warrant anime. Other less known and popular works have gotten an anime for less (that’s just my opinion don’t hurt me). It’s a unique take on the Isekai and Romance genre, and that can’t be said for a lot of anime. It’s always something fresh that is a runaway success. Also, the current climate in love for Villainess characters cannot be ignored as well.
After all, Ichijinsha’s other villainess LN work my Next life a Villainess was a runaway success that nobody expected and set a new trend. Why won’t IFTV be the next one too?
That’s my analysis from an unprofessional analyst. I adore this series, and wish it every good thing in the world to get an anime. Good luck Inori Sensei!