Why is Japanese Anime so popular?
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In 2016 the Japanese anime industry took home a record $17.7 billion with revenue, up just under 10% and the result of seven years consecutive growth for the industry, according The Association of Japanese Animation (AJA). Domestic box office with anime features was up by 14% and total overseas revenue sales boosted by nearly a third compared to the previous year. So why is anime so popular? Let’s take a look!
What makes anime so popular?
Anime and manga have long been at the heart of Japanese culture, with a consistent wave of popularity between the generations. Over recent years, the popularity for anime and its comic strip counterpart manga has grown considerably in the UK and the West.
One of the main reasons why anime has stood the test of time and grown in popularity across the world is due to its unique ability to grow with its viewers. The famous anime expert, Takamasa Sakurai, claims that the genre has been widely accepted due to its unconventional nature, “Japanese anime broke the convention that anime is something that kids watch”. Overseas fans of anime claim that they enjoy the intensity of the storylines with the endings being difficult to predict as anime is often targeted at adult audiences.
In the UK, many children watched anime TV shows as they were growing up, namely: Dragon Ball Z, Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! At the time of watching, kids won’t have realised that they were watching Japanese animation but the popularity of the shows meant that it created a soft spot in their hearts for anime. Now, with the growth of the internet and streaming services such as Netflix, it has meant that anime has become much more accessible and accommodating for adults to relive their childhoods through more age-appropriate popular anime films. These include Spirited Away and TV programmes such as A Place Further than the Universe.
Anime has become more popular overseas in recent years due to a shrinking Japanese population leading to an increased export-minded trade. This has meant that anime producers have started to make content more suited to Western tastes, as well as producing anime overseas as it is much cheaper. Famous anime producers such as Tezuka now produce and push for their work to be sold internationally.
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