refers to the anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....
(produced in prospect of being) broadcast by independent stations generally located in the Kanto
The is a geographical area of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. The region includes the Greater Tokyo Area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa. Within its boundaries, slightly more than 40 percent of the land area is the Kantō Plain....
, Chukyo and Kansai regions of Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...
, who are members of the Japanese Association of Independent Television Stations (JAITS). Other common names for UHF anime include and . The UHF anime are usually produced by , formed by the packaged media, merchandising and video game stakeholders, with limited commitment from the broadcasters for broadcast self-regulation. In contrast to the major network stations such as TV Tokyo
is a television station headquartered in Toranomon, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Also known as , a blend of "terebi" and "Tokyo", it is the key station of TX Network. It is one of the major Tokyo television stations, particularly specializing in anime...
who are the leading stakeholders in the production, the producers often pay the broadcasters as brokered programming
Brokered programming is a form of broadcast content in which the show's producer pays a radio or television station for air time, rather than exchanging programming for pay or the opportunity to play spot commercials...
Until recently the major nationwide television networks in Japan broadcast on VHF channels. This led to independent stations that were generally prefectural (they only broadcast in the prefecture they are in) to utilize UHF channels. These stations are all part of the Japanese Association of Independent Television Stations (JAITS). Anime was originally only on the major networks broadcast in VHF with a particular focus on late-night anime; however strict restrictions and poor scheduling of shows led to a decrease in VHF anime and a shift to UHF stations occurred, giving birth to UHF anime. UHF stations tend to have fewer restrictions due to their obscurity, and also have cheaper time slots than VHF stations. The shift to UHF stations occurred in the late 1990’s and the first UHF anime was Legend of Basara (Rejendo obu Basara) which came out in 1998. However the true rise of UHF didn’t occur until 2001 with the release of Comic Party (Komikku Pāti). Since 2001 to present UHF anime has continued to grow with the creation of many fan favorites such as Fate/Stay Night, Shuffle, Welcome to the NHK, the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and Highschool of the Dead to name a few.
Most UHF anime is developed with the intention of being sold on DVD, and is only aired on TV as a way for the producers to advertise their product. Because of this, similar to infomercials, the actual viewership of the anime on UHF stations is not as important. As long as the producer is able to meet his end goal of making a profit from DVD sales the airing cost is worth it. Many producers will also increase the desirability of the DVD version of the anime after airing by adding in extra features, such as; bonus episodes, cast discussions, uncensored content, fan art and music, or better quality.
Because the end goal of a UHF anime is sales, anime aired by UHF stations vice the major nationwide VHF networks usually contain much more fan service and target a more distinct fan base than the mainstream anime aired on major nationwide networks that rely on ratings more than sales.
The future of the term “UHF anime” is somewhat uncertain due to recent events in Japanese Broadcasting. In 2011 all television networks switched to broadcasting on digital UHF as the new Japanese standard. Because of this the term “UHF anime”
can no longer hold the meaning that it once held. This is not to say that anime will not continue to be aired primarily on independent stations. Indeed, independent stations will most likely remain the norm for the airing of anime for the reasons stated above. However a new term will have to be made to differentiate anime aired on independent stations vice major networks. I would suggest the terms “Independent Anime”
and “Network Anime”
as suitable replacements to UHF anime and VHF anime.