In recent decades we have experienced a true renaissance in the world of anime with Japanese animation becoming a much more normalized and “mainstream” hobby. Although logically it depends on the genre of each content, anime has been breaking many barriers and it’s not so relegated to a niche that only a very small group of people enjoy.
Anime movies raise millions and millions and more and more streaming platforms fill their catalogs with new releases, with which we are living all a golden age that increasingly gives authors more creative freedom.
Succeeding even in thin cows
This same year a study revealed that the demand for anime has doubled in recent years. In the midst of the debacle that Netflix is going through, anime seems to be the front that is working best for them and this year it will release 40 new exclusive titles. The pandemic does not seem to have hit the anime industry as hard as in other fields, but thanks to streaming it has even gained a larger audience.
“Even the times of the pandemic, the anime market has continued to flourish,” said Kana Koido, a business partner at Japanese distributor The Klockworx. “Japan is such a unique market, where even when 2020’s total box office was almost half of what it had been in 2019, there was some lesser-known content that did better than ever.”
This success is not limited only to Netflix, but also to the rest of the streaming platforms, which are trying to open a bigger gap in their catalogs for Japanese animation due to the huge demand there is.
“We are seeing a greater appetite for anime across all demographics, in all countries,” confirmed Gaku Narita, the executive director of original content for Japan at The Walt Disney Company, who are also licensing new original anime for Disney+. “It’s growing and becoming a massive form of entertainment without limits.”
Luckily, this demand and growth is not limited to streaming, since the three highest-grossing releases in Japan in 2021 were anime films. ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ It’s already one of the biggest releases this year and is smashing records around the world with a total of $187 million grossed, even though it hasn’t been released in many territories yet.
Precedents such as ‘Your name’ or ‘Kimetsu no Yaiba: Infinite train’ are also making it easier for anime films to have larger budgets and more projects to see the light, with creators having more creative freedom than ever.
“There are more and more opportunities and options for distribution, which has really increased production budgets,” commented Genki Kawamura, one of the most important Japanese producers in the industry and who has worked with Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai, among others “This means there is more room for what we can express creatively, it’s a great thing.”
The thing is not only in Japan and Japanese series, American platforms also want their piece of the cake. Rick and Morty will have its own anime to continue expanding the franchise and attract more fans of the medium, and more and more creators find a place on American platforms to start new original projects that would not have worked years ago.
Anime also triumphs in Spain
Fortunately, this growth in the industry has also given its tail in our country. A few years ago, watching anime legally was a real challenge and we depended on certain networks licensing this or another series and being able to catch them at a specific broadcast time.
Now, in addition to the numerous licenses that arrive in physical format, we also have access to more streaming channels. We are not only left with the growth of anime on platforms such as Netfix, Filmin and Prime Videoif not that the merger of Funimation and Crunchyroll has finally given us access to many series that until now were not available in Spain and we also have other options such as Pluto TV, which has a channel specialized only in anime.
The interest in anime in Spain has become very clear and we have been very slow to demonstrate it, so releasing an anime film is no longer necessarily a risk, if not an entire event that has fans pending months in advance. This month we finally get ‘Jujutsu Kaisen 0’ and we can see ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’ in our theaters… so let’s see what else the industry leaves us.