This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Otaku O'Clock

Anime aired from around 11 p.m. until the wee hours of the morning, occasionally indicated by the odd-looking "22:00-27:00" notation. They are almost universally watched by an older male audience, and often mocked by any shows aired earlier.

This is common in Japan for several reasons, even if it seems like a weird time to broadcast a show that's trying to make money.
  • These shows tend to have a strong (if unusual) Merchandise-Driven bent, which allows them to pay for themselves; this means that production companies can buy these timeslots directly from the networks and sponsor their own shows. The fan base tends to be small, but dedicated, so it's usually worthwhile to do this.
  • Most TV in Japan is provided by the six free-to-air broadcast networks (which, like many other large Japanese corporations, are practically government). If it's not on one of those networks, it's not likely to succeed, and because the landscape is so competitive, very few shows can draw the ratings needed to stay in prime time or on an after-school timeslot. Shows aired on cable or satellite channels account for only 10% of overall anime viewership in Japan.
  • Content concerns are a big deal, as in most other countries. Otaku O'Clock shows tend to be on the more violent or sexual side in terms of content. Such shows have been aired in prime time before, but not to universal acclaim; in particular, there was large public outcry in 1995 when Neon Genesis Evangelion aired in the dinner hour. In spite of the post-Watershed timing, though, many of these shows will still be censored or otherwise poorly executed, at least partly to convince the otaku to buy the DVD.
  • And in this era of DVR technology, it doesn't really matter when you air the program anyway; the fans will record it or stream it. Where the show isn't aired, fansubs will provide the show.

The trope name refers to the odd way of noting when the shows start airing; it's common to see a show aired at 1:00 am listed at "25:00". This is largely done to align the schedule with that of the previous day; many Japanese TV networks still sign off in the middle of the night, and those who don't will only switch to "the next day"'s programming at 4 am or so.

See also Watershed, Safe Harbor.

Examples

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     Japan 
  • Despite being a shoujo series, the first season of Maria-sama ga Miteru aired at Otaku O'Clock, while the second aired on a more intuitive Sunday morning timeslot. Aside from testing series potential, this was probably a safety device to see how far they were allowed to go and because the producers are well aware of the net created by its Periphery Demographic loyalty. After a "third season" of OVAs, the fourth season again aired at Otaku O'Clock.
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry aired around midnight.
  • Macross Frontier was aired at 1:25 AM (rendered on Japanese TV as as 25:25) in spite of having a ridiculous amount of mainstream promotion. This is just one small part of the Noachian deluge of "25" references the series made to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Macross.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha originally showed somewhere around this time, which, considering the otherwise mostly tame content of the show, is the main clue it wasn't originally marketed for little girls.
  • Invisible Girl Ea (Toumei Shoujo Ea) was shown during this timeslot, although it is a live action series (but based on a game).
  • Code Geass' first season aired at 25:25 (1:25 AM), which apparently allowed them to get away with bloody violence, swearing, a girl masturbating with a table corner, and the massacre of a stadium full of people. The fact that the second season aired at 5 PM on Sunday, a timeslot typically reserved for news programming, required them to drastically alter the plot.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler's first season was on a Sunday morning kids' show time slot, but the second season moved here. Perhaps because of all the references and otaku nature of the show.
  • Last Exile was broadcast at around 1:00 AM during its first run in Japan.
  • In Lucky Star, Konata is known to lament the fact that shows airing in this slot on normal channels often don't air at all when sports broadcasts run long, in addition to shows airing earlier being bumped into it temporarily.
  • Serial Experiments Lain aired at 1:15 AM, which in 1999 was one of the earliest attempts at broadcasting anime in this timeslot. Coincidentally, much of this anime takes place at night or in otherwise surreal circumstances, so the decision to air it at night may have been to enhance the viewing experience. That and the fact that it Starts with a Suicide.
  • According to the Japanese commercials, GUN×SWORD appeared at 1:30 AM. Despite this, American audiences frequently tag it as a shonen series.
  • The second season of The World God Only Knows airs around 1 AM or so.
  • Umineko: When They Cry got this sort of time slot when it came out.
  • Attack on Titan first aired on at 1:58am on MBS. Toonami is airing the dub at 11:30pm, which is close enough to the trope.
  • Some Toku and Dorama programs that are most definitely not for younger audiences also aired during Otaku O'Clock:
  • In Japan, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of the absolute pinnacles of Shounen anime. But due to how violent it is, the 2012 TV anime adaptation is aired at 12:30 AM.
    • Oddly enough, Hunter × Hunter (The 2011 version) oddly enough started airing at 10:55 AM on Sunday morning, despite being one of the most violent mainstream Shounen manga out there. It was still quite censored, but it was still quite violent for it's timeslot, hence moving to Tuesday Nights 25:30/Wednesday Mornings 1:30 AM for the last portion.
  • Persona 4 Golden: The Animation got amazingly dead time slots after 1:30 AM on both channels it aired on, due to being an expansion on the original Persona 4: The Animation, that only fans of the original show or the games would understand and want to see.
  • Sands of Destruction was originally created to promote the game, but was aired at midnight and one AM, casting doubts on how much "promotion" it actually accomplished. The game was only rated B (12+), and the show itself is incredibly tame, no more violent than your average afternoon Shounen, with no foul language or sexual content. There is the little matter that the show's "heroine" claims to be out to destroy the world, but half the time they don't even mention that fact...
  • The first season of Haikyuu!! aired on Sundays at 5 PM. The second season, however, moved to the Saturday late-night time slot.

     Other 
  • An early version of Otaku O' Clock relates to different reasons in the years before anime was mainstream in the US. During its initial 1985-1986 runs, Robotech was shown mostly during the early hours of the morning such as 6:30 or 7:00 am, alond with many other syndicated import shows. This was believed to be due to the tendency for parents to still be asleep and unaware of the mature content of what was supposed to be "just a cartoon". It should be noted that Robotech was originally broadcast on NBC affliates before their Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup, which at the time usually began around 8:00 am. At that time, NBC broadcast an annual primetime preview special giving glimpses into the season's soon-to-start Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup, particularly highlighting new cartoons. Robotech was not mentioned in the fall 1985 special.
  • In Australia, anime is most prevalent on public children's channel ABC3 where it airs in a block at the latest point on the channel's run on Saturday (Astro Boy, Deltora Quest, Fruits Basket, and other kids shows). Being a children's channel, however, ABC3 stops at 9pm. Otherwise, anime airs at either seven in the morning on a commercial channel (Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, Digimon and other kids' programs) or around midnight on the multicultural channel SBS (the collected works of Hayao Miyazaki, Ghost in the Shell and so forth).
  • .hack//Roots on Cartoon Network fits (or rather, used to fit) this bill, airing pretty close to midnight — though only on one day of the week (Friday), and it eventually got, of course, Screwed by the Network in the middle of the latter half of the anime. It was moved to 4:30 AM EST without any warning or advertisement. It would eventually finish airing in it's entirety, but the final few episodes were deliberately put on hiatus for a few weeks to coincide with the release of the first Dot Hack GU game due to spoilers involved in the plot.
  • Near the end of its life, the short-lived UK channel Anime Central consisted of a two-hour block on another channel by the same owners, starting at about 1 AM- on the site for the audience ratings board in the UK (BARB), showings were referred to as "25:00".
  • The Sci Fi Channel's Ani-Monday block ran from 10PM to midnight Eastern time. They adjusted it for time zones for the standard channel but not the HD channel, so on the west coast you could see it at 7PM, potentially averting the trope.
    • It was relocated to Tuesdays in January 2011.
  • Logo's "Alien Boot Camp". The website helpfully calls it "where LGBT fans of video games, sci-fi, comics, horror and cool techie stuff collide".
  • This is the theory behind [adult swim], which broadcasts nightly from 8 PM and 6 AM and devotes Saturday nights to anime.
    • [as]'s "DVR Theater" segment showed some older Cult Classic programs around 4:00 AM.
    • And their revival of Toonami took the place of their own anime block.
  • During the years when being a Doctor Who fan meant you were an anorak of colossal proportions, the Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas were played on Radio 4 at painful hours of the night (and in the years before iPlayer and Listen Again made this less important) - especially cruel seeing as they were still, essentially, children's programmes. As the revival series started and the show's profile improved, the BBC gave it more sympathetic time slots - in particular, broadcasting the first season of the Fourth Doctor Adventures in the traditional Fourth Doctor-era time slot of 5:15PM on Saturday.

     Fictional Works 

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OtakuOclock