Allow us to rewind the clock back to the 1990s. During that period of time, anime was trying to break into the west…with very limited success. There were attempts, but few, if any stuck. Then, when Dragon Ball Z came to Cartoon Network via Toonami, everything changed. Suddenly, anime was desirable in the West. And we got shows like Gundam, Outlaw Star, Tenchi Muyo, Yu Yu Hakusho and more coming to the West. It was a good time…but…it was still a rather niche thing.
Why? Well, while it was coming into the West in greater numbers, certain “restrictions” if you will led it to still being only viewed by a certain crowd. And what’s more, while many people watched the shows, they didn’t by the manga books that the shows were based off of at times.
Fast forward to the last ten years or so and things finally started changing. Between Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer, and more, things started to turn around. Now, anime and manga are beloved things, and those who have missed out on the previous shows and books are apparently catching up at a rapid rate. Sales are through the roof:
Media analysis firm @ParrotAnalytics gave a presentation on anime's increasing popularity overseas last week, arguing demand for anime in the US was up 32% y/o/y (which I think is quite conservative).
Anime's not only never been more popular, but it's never grown faster — ever. pic.twitter.com/XvgHmoQTL9
— miles thomas (@Real_Kilometers) June 3, 2021
That’s an incredible amount of growth. But why is it the case? First and foremost, the shows aren’t just being subbed anymore (which happened to most shows not intentionally brought over to the US). The dubs of many animes are highly anticipated things, especially for shows like Attack on Titan and My Hero Academia.
Second, the internet. The online community is filled with anime and manga nerds from all over the world. They love talking about the shows, writing their own stories via fanfics and wondering what the next great show or book will be.
Given the large variety of content that is coming, it looks like this fan love in the West and beyond will continue to grow throughout the year.