Anime (Japanese animation) is an entertaining form of animation with roots in Japan that features its own distinct art style and storytelling method that appeals to viewers of various ages from children to adults alike. Recently it has gained immense popularity across America both as entertainment as well as an opportunity for learning about Japanese culture through vibrant visuals, vibrant worlds and lively characters that engage many viewers.
Beginning its journey into American, Anime first entered our awareness through shows such as Astro Boy and Speed Racer, which premiered during the 1960s and presented something very different than traditional cartoons at that time. These shows featured distinct styles with deeper stories that quickly captured people’s interest while opening many eyes to its charms.
At first, few anime shows were available in America and those available had to be altered to meet American tastes and standards. Over time however, more Anime shows started appearing here gradually, particularly popular ones like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon in the 90s that captured young viewers with exciting stories and characters they found enjoyable; this meant Anime was taking root here in America.
As Anime is seeing a strong wave of popularity in the USA(Especially after the pandemic). There are many factors that contribute to this growing love for Anime. It was fun for me as even I was shocked after reading these facts
- Increasing Fan Base and Sales: The North America region is set to show the fastest growth rate in Anime popularity. It is expected to grow at a rate of over 16% from 2023 to 2030. This growth can be tied directly to fan interest as well as rising fan bases.
- Big Market Value: The Anime market in North America was valued at about $3.56 billion in 2019. A large number of US Netflix subscribers(about 74%) have watched an Anime series on the platform. With 27% viewing it daily showing strong fan engagement for this genre
- Social Media and Online Buzz: Anime is becoming more visible online as shows like Attack on Titan are being discussed widely on social media sites and review services. This online buzz is making Anime more popular than ever before in the USA.
- New Avenues to Watch: The launch of new channels like the Crunchyroll Channel(a 24/7 TV channel in the US) is making Anime more accessible. So now you can watch anime on OTT as well as on TV.
- Global Popularity: Anime is not just growing in the USA market. It is growing globally as well. For the first time, international sales of Anime have surpassed Japan’s. It’s estimated that more than a third of the world population(which is around 2.88 billion people) watch Anime. This global popularity is also impacting the USA and contributing to the growing fan base.
Factors Contributing to the Rise
Ok, we know that growth of anime is pretty fast in entertainment industry. But, have you ever give a thought of why it happened? If yes, then I will tell you the reasons. The popularity of Anime in the USA is blossoming and several factors are fueling this growth.
- Technological Innovations: As the new innovative technological solutions like 3D and virtual animations were introduced, it elevated the appeal of Anime. These technologies offer clear and more engaging animations which draw the audience into the vibrant worlds created by Anime artists.
- Diverse Range of Stories: Anime is not limited as it covers a broad spectrum of genres. You will find and enjoy romance, action, mystery, or horror. There’s something for everyone. The diverse storylines keep the viewers hooked and they keep coming back for more. Each Anime series or movie explores unique plots and characters. It ensures a fresh experience every time you dive into a new Anime story.
- Accessibility through Streaming Services: Platforms like Netflix have embraced Anime and made it easily accessible to the American audience. Viewers can explore and enjoy a variety of Anime series and movies with a dedicated category for Anime.
- Engaging Visuals: The visual appeal of Anime is undeniable. The artistry, detailed characters, and dynamic scenes hook the viewers. The unique art style of Anime sets it apart from other forms of animation which offers a visually enriching experience. Anime like Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen has took visuals to next level.
- Relatable Characters and Real-world Themes: Anime many times dives into serious and real-world themes like mental health, struggle, and existential crises. The characters are crafted with depth, showcasing a range of emotions that resonate with the viewers. This relatability and the exploration of real-world issues create a deeper connection with the audience.
- World Building: If you have watched anime like One Piece or Attack on Titan, then you cannot deny that its workd building is pretty great. Even though their world has their own rules that is different from our world, we still
- Global Boom: Anime is not only growing in popularity in the USA but across the globe. The global acceptance and love for Anime contribute to its rising popularity in the USA as well. That is why, more Americans are getting drawn into the Anime culture.
Impact on Other Industries
Impact of anime is not limited to animated industry but, it also has impact on movie industry, video game industry and many more.
Comic Book Stores and Manga Sales
The flourishing Anime culture is also boosting the popularity of Manga (Japanese comics) in the USA. Sales figures at comic book stores witnessed a 12.5% growth from 2021 to 2022. It means there is a rising interest in this form of storytelling
Investments in Original Anime Projects
Companies like Netflix and Crunchyroll are investing in original Anime projects. They are funding new capital into the industry. This investment not only promotes the creation of new Anime titles but also fosters a culture that appreciates and supports Anime productions.
Animation style of some USA animated shows like Castlevania is inspired from anime. If you observe the animated show, then you will realise it is a blend of USA animation and anime.
Video Game Industry
I have personally played console games like Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, etc and not gonna lie, these games are pretty addictive especially if you play these games with your friends. Even though there are not very popular anime games in the industry, still some of them are pretty amazing.
The global Anime market reached $22.6 billion in 2020 and is predicted to grow further. A significant portion of this growth is attributed to merchandising and increased streaming penetration in North America. Merchandise collaborations with celebrities like Lady Gaga and Megan Thee Stallion also play a part in bringing Anime into mainstream culture.
Hollywood and Streaming Platforms
Hollywood is betting big on Anime with streaming giants like Netflix and Crunchyroll. It offers a wide range of Anime content. For example, Netflix is extending its Anime library. It indicates a strong market for Anime content. The influence of Anime is also seen in blockbuster Hollywood franchises, with Warner Bros planning an Anime feature for “Lord of the Rings” and Adult Swim ordering a “Rick and Morty: The Anime” spinoff series.
The synergy between Manga and Anime is creating new fans in the USA. For example, 22% of Gen Z adults and 21% of millennials got interested in Anime because of Manga.
As anime originated from Japan, it mostly have japanese culture. So due to rise of anime, we also got to know about Japanese culture. It isn’t just a tale of entertainment crossing borders, it’s a saga of cultural exchange and appreciation between the East and the West. Here’s how anime is bridging gaps:
Cultural Exchange Programs
Organizations are orchestrating cultural exchange programs centered around Anime. For example, the 2023 Spark Exchange Program offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich culture through Anime. Participants get to live, study, and mingle with locals. That means, delving deep into the cultural essence of Anime with programs like Anime Boston and Showa Boston.
Influencing American Pop Culture
The infusion of Japanese pop culture with Anime is reshaping the American entertainment landscape. From fashion to storytelling styles, the Japanese influence is noticable. It’s intriguing to witness how Japanese pop culture has seeped into the very fabric of American society which offers fresh perspectives and narratives.
Global Cultural Appreciation
Anime serves as a vibrant medium for cultural exchange. It allows individuals across the globe to explore and appreciate the intricacies of Japanese culture. From Japan to the USA, Europe, and South America, it is painting a picture of global unity
Collaborations Between Creators
The love for Anime is fostering collaborations between American and Japanese creators. This blend of ideas and artistry is spawning unique projects that carry a blend of both cultures. These collaborations are not only enriching the Anime genre but also creating a platform for mutual appreciation and learning.
Through Anime, viewers are gaining insights into Japanese history, traditions, and societal norms. It’s an entertaining yet enlightening way to learn about a culture that’s both ancient and modern.
Now we know how Anime has benefitted in many terms but just like other indistries, it also faced many issues. Let us know what challenges it faced after the boom
Cultural Differences: Sometimes the cultural nuances embedded in Anime may not resonate with or be understood by American audiences. These cultural gaps can sometimes hinder the full appreciation of Anime’s essence.
Translation and Dubbing: Translating Japanese to English while retaining the original emotions, humor, and cultural references is a tough part to crack. Similarly, dubbing can sometimes alter the original feel of the Anime.
Censorship and Editing: Some Anime content may be altered to adhere to American broadcasting standards. This editing can sometimes dilute the original message or essence of the Anime.
Accessibility: While streaming services have brought Anime closer to American audiences, not all Anime titles are available due to licensing restrictions.
Despite the hurdles, the love for Anime has found its way into the hearts of many Americans. The bond between Anime and its audience in the USA is growing stronger, and the future holds much promise.
As Anime continues to grow in the USA and other part of the world, it’s not just a win for the Anime community, but a win for cultural understanding, creativity, and the universal language of storytelling. The love for this unique form of art only grows deeper and wider with each passing day.
Those who do not love anime, just start watching some, you will definitely love it.