Is the Western Anime market better now than it was a few years ago?

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Oct 23, 2014
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#1
In the late-90s to mid-2000s, Anime was big. Titles like Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, etc. were breaking ratings records. Almost every Youth-focused network tried grabbing whatever show they could find, and even Western animation began taking ques from the format. But somewhere along the lines, the bubble burst. Networks began dropping or reducing anime from their daily lineup, several distributors died due to over-extending themselves and lack of focus (ADV), failing to evolve (Geneon), incompetence (4kids), or simply lack of interest (Bandai). Even people within the industry were getting the same feeling, Anime just wasn't big anymore, at best, it went back to simply being an underground niche like it was in the early-mid 90s, and at worst many speculated that the market in North America was dying.

That brings us to today, the mid-late 2010s. While we're not living the Anime boom like we were back in 2003, I think the digital age has given the anime market a new lease of life in the mainstream west. Companies like Funimation and Crunchyroll have been trailblazers in the streaming space with their simulcast formats, airing legal subtitled versions of shows within just days, even hours of their Japanese broadcast, Funimation even goes as far as to dub their shows within at least a week of broadcast using its patented SimulDub technique. Netflix is also becoming a rising distributor in the scene with the likes of Aggretsuko and Devilman Crybaby, and while not the ratings behemoth it was in its Cartoon Network-era, Adult Swim's Toonami lineup still maintains a loyal cult-following every Saturday. Before, if you wanted Anime, you'd need to wait for a network to get syndication rights, buy expensive DVD releases, or turn to illegal fan-subs, and even then it's not a guarantee if a US distributor gets the rights to dub/sub it. Now? nearly anything Japan puts out is available legally with ease, even for free in a lot of cases.

I don't think we'll see another DBZ phenomenon anytime soon, but I think we're well past the "Anime is dying" mantra that was so present throughout the late 2000s, and are now in a more stable market.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#2
Depends how you look at it. Anime is THRIVING in terms of attention now a days and is much more accessible and the market has mostly stabilized so I agree there. But in a away the magic seems to have kind of worn off compared to those older days of Toonami and Adult Swim
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#3
To elaborate on my previous post, you just don't have the magic of rushing home from school to catch the newest episode of DBZ, Kenshin, YYH, Gundam Wing, etc., because now you have the convenience of just watching them at any time. Combine that with not many shows being able to fill in the shoes of the old guard either due to those shows having been old already before coming over(DBZ, YYH,) or simply difference in tastes(Trigun, Big O, Shaman King, and possibly Outlaw Star were commercial failures in Japan, but both were HUGE over here). There WAS a big resurgence of sorts with Bleach and Naruto, but both fizzled out HARD near their ending runs and One Piece never got he foothold it should have due to various reasons(Horrid first Dub, sheer number of episodes, Adience Alianteing style and non exotic premise).
 
Oct 23, 2014
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#4
To elaborate on my previous post, you just don't have the magic of rushing home from school to catch the newest episode of DBZ, Kenshin, YYH, Gundam Wing, etc., because now you have the convenience of just watching them at any time. Combine that with not many shows being able to fill in the shoes of the old guard either due to those shows having been old already before coming over(DBZ, YYH,) or simply difference in tastes(Trigun, Big O, Shaman King, and possibly Outlaw Star were commercial failures in Japan, but both were HUGE over here). There WAS a big resurgence of sorts with Bleach and Naruto, but both fizzled out HARD near their ending runs and One Piece never got he foothold it should have due to various reasons(Horrid first Dub, sheer number of episodes, Adience Alianteing style and non exotic premise).
I'd say My Hero Academia is the closest thing at the moment to a modern day DBZ or Naruto, it seems fairly popular and is still ongoing. I agree that Anime no longer has the "new and shiny" factor anymore. Back in the day, anime lent itself well to daily strip premieres due to its generally serialized format, hence the early success of Toonami and Adult Swim. But in the digital era, you can just binge an entire story arc or 12-26 ep series in one afternoon on Funimation Now or Crunchyroll, which while still special, kills some of the novelty that the early 2000s had.

Like I said, we probably won't see anything like the Anime boom of the late-90s and early 2000s anymore, but anime is far from dead in the west. It's much more stable and popular now than it was back in say, 2010.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#5
I'd say My Hero Academia is the closest thing at the moment to a modern day DBZ or Naruto, it seems fairly popular and is still ongoing. I agree that Anime no longer has the "new and shiny" factor anymore. Back in the day, anime lent itself well to daily strip premieres due to its generally serialized format, hence the early success of Toonami and Adult Swim. But in the digital era, you can just binge an entire story arc or 12-26 ep series in one afternoon on Funimation Now or Crunchyroll, which while still special, kills some of the novelty that the early 2000s had.

Like I said, we probably won't see anything like the Anime boom of the late-90s and early 2000s anymore, but anime is far from dead in the west. It's much more stable and popular now than it was back in say, 2010.
100%. While you CAN discuss episodes online in forums, it lacks that face to face discussion appeal of having watched the episode on TV and then discussing it with your friends at school. And yeah the market is MUCH more stable now. Pity it happened so late though since there were a lot of great manga and anime from eras prior that never really got the push they should have particularly a lot of really good HS SoL series like GALS, Lovely Complex, and Ashiteruze Baby which actually tackle a lot of complex issues.
 

Dudley

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#6
I’d say the market is definitely better, especially now that so much is available to watch so easily. Yeah, it kind of stinks that anime doesn’t air on TV as much as it used to like back in the anime boom of the early 2000s, but considering how TV is dying anyway, this is much better.
Only downside is that not a lot of old anime get a lot of exposure, not even the ones with that got dubbed back in the day. But anything popular then, will just get a remake now, anyway.


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PicardMan

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Nov 9, 2016
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#9
It's odd that anime conventions seemed to prop up in the American heartlandl around the time of the crash. The Arkansas Anime Festival, Izumicon (RIP), Tokyo in Tulsa all coincidentally formed in 2007. Anime Saint Louis formed in 2008. Since 2014, Tokyo in Tulsa has grown to the size of over 10,000, easily the biggest in the central US besides the Texas anime cons. Now, there are mini-cons all over the place, even in rural areas in the 2010s. There was a town of 6,000 people that tried to launch an anime con this year, it was a cute attempt at a con, but it was kinda lame. Anyway, it's just weird how the fandom my part of the country didn't start making cons until the crash and has grown so much during this decade.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#10
It's odd that anime conventions seemed to prop up in the American heartlandl around the time of the crash. The Arkansas Anime Festival, Izumicon (RIP), Tokyo in Tulsa all coincidentally formed in 2007. Anime Saint Louis formed in 2008. Since 2014, Tokyo in Tulsa has grown to the size of over 10,000, easily the biggest in the central US besides the Texas anime cons. Now, there are mini-cons all over the place, even in rural areas in the 2010s. There was a town of 6,000 people that tried to launch an anime con this year, it was a cute attempt at a con, but it was kinda lame. Anyway, it's just weird how the fandom my part of the country didn't start making cons until the crash and has grown so much during this decade.
I think that coincided with the big nerd boom of stuff like the Marvel movies and stuff like Naruto and Bleach still being in their prime so there was this big thing with lots of potential. Ultimately who knows.
 

PicardMan

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Nov 9, 2016
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#11
I think that coincided with the big nerd boom of stuff like the Marvel movies and stuff like Naruto and Bleach still being in their prime so there was this big thing with lots of potential. Ultimately who knows.
Naruto seemed to lose a bit of steam by that time as Toonami ended, but Shippuden did have a following and Bleach, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, and Death Note were all the rage during the anime crash. There still were hype shows during this period. I guess the rise of cons in smaller markets and the presence of a few hits proves that the crash wasn't as catastrophic as often described.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#12
Naruto seemed to lose a bit of steam by that time as Toonami ended, but Shippuden did have a following and Bleach, Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, and Death Note were all the rage during the anime crash. There still were hype shows during this period. I guess the rise of cons in smaller markets and the presence of a few hits proves that the crash wasn't as catastrophic as often described.
Good point about those shows. That was also when a lot of those shows were popping up online as well weren't they?
 

Light Lucario

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#13
I'd say that it's better. There are so many legal ways to watch anime now than there were back in the day. Many shows are legally subbed the same day they air in Japan and Funimation has been dubbing shows much faster than they used to even just a few years ago. Those are pretty huge developments and shows that the market is doing pretty well for itself.

I can understand missing the charm of coming home from school to watch anime on Toonami, but being able to watch shows whenever you want to now is so much better. If I missed a new episode of Pokemon back during its first few seasons on Kids' WB, I'd have to wait until the following Friday in order to watch it. That's one of the things that I always think about whenever people miss that aspect of watching a show on TV. I would have absolutely loved something like On Demand or actual good Internet to stream shows back in the day. Then I wouldn't have been panicked over possibly missing episodes or having to wait days to watch them again.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#14
I'd say that it's better. There are so many legal ways to watch anime now than there were back in the day. Many shows are legally subbed the same day they air in Japan and Funimation has been dubbing shows much faster than they used to even just a few years ago. Those are pretty huge developments and shows that the market is doing pretty well for itself.

I can understand missing the charm of coming home from school to watch anime on Toonami, but being able to watch shows whenever you want to now is so much better. If I missed a new episode of Pokemon back during its first few seasons on Kids' WB, I'd have to wait until the following Friday in order to watch it. That's one of the things that I always think about whenever people miss that aspect of watching a show on TV. I would have absolutely loved something like On Demand or actual good Internet to stream shows back in the day. Then I wouldn't have been panicked over possibly missing episodes or having to wait days to watch them again.
Agreed. So let us gather around in worship of the one true God.

King Rimuru.jpg

I'll be hosting a marathon of all the current episodes via Rabb.it on Wednesday evening. Further details will be on the Talkback thread for Reincarnated as a Slime.


504552136508571649.png
 

durian

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Feb 15, 2018
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#15
Anime is thriving but there's just a certain niche for it. It's not the same as before where A LOT of kids, teens, and adults were into anime. I think anime needs to be marketed and promoted for the digital age using digital media available online (laptops, tablets, mobiles). Traditional TV for the showing anime to the younger generations is not effective.
 
Oct 23, 2014
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#16
Anime is thriving but there's just a certain niche for it. It's not the same as before where A LOT of kids, teens, and adults were into anime. I think anime needs to be marketed and promoted for the digital age using digital media available online (laptops, tablets, mobiles). Traditional TV for the showing anime to the younger generations is not effective.
Young audiences in general are moving away from TV. Young Kids are being raised increasingly on Netflix and YouTube on their tablets. Teens and Twenty-somethings especially rely on the internet for most of their entertainment these days, and probably hardly turn on a TV if at all. And since anime tends to attract those audiences, services like Crunchyroll and FunimationNow exploded in popularity, especially since their free offerings are good for teens not old enough for a credit card.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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#17
Young audiences in general are moving away from TV. Young Kids are being raised increasingly on Netflix and YouTube on their tablets. Teens and Twenty-somethings especially rely on the internet for most of their entertainment these days, and probably hardly turn on a TV if at all. And since anime tends to attract those audiences, services like Crunchyroll and FunimationNow exploded in popularity, especially since their free offerings are good for teens not old enough for a credit card.
This. Combine with other more established streaming sites like Hulu and Netflix getting more anime as well, and the whole thing leads into big new market and boom.
 

PicardMan

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Nov 9, 2016
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#18
Good point about those shows. That was also when a lot of those shows were popping up online as well weren't they?
Youtube was picking up steam during the so-called anime crash and the Hare Hare Yukai dance was explosively popular during this time. A few shows, such as Slayers, Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ouran High School Host Club were legally streaming on Youtube. Back when Hulu was a free site, it was the place for many anime fans. The market just seemed to shift from Adult Swim to Hulu during this period.

Still, Pokemon before the turn of the century was a greater success than any anime today. The original Pokemon movie scored $80 million at the American box office, an unbreakable record for anime films. My Hero Academia's movie is considered a massive success for anime films with a paltry $5.5 million. Pokemon is the only mainstream anime non-anime fans know about. The people who picked on me as an anime fan in high school still loved Pokemon and it got a free pass. That's the power of the franchise to completely overcome the stigma.
 

doomrider7

That One Guy
Apr 10, 2017
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New Milford, NJ
#19
Youtube was picking up steam during the so-called anime crash and the Hare Hare Yukai dance was explosively popular during this time. A few shows, such as Slayers, Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ouran High School Host Club were legally streaming on Youtube. Back when Hulu was a free site, it was the place for many anime fans. The market just seemed to shift from Adult Swim to Hulu during this period.

Still, Pokemon before the turn of the century was a greater success than any anime today. The original Pokemon movie scored $80 million at the American box office, an unbreakable record for anime films. My Hero Academia's movie is considered a massive success for anime films with a paltry $5.5 million. Pokemon is the only mainstream anime non-anime fans know about. The people who picked on me as an anime fan in high school still loved Pokemon and it got a free pass. That's the power of the franchise to completely overcome the stigma.
Pokemon is LITERALLY the biggest franchise there is.

List of highest-grossing media franchises - Wikipedia