Here’s something that probably won’t surprise anyone… Anime is REALLY popular.
A recent report from The Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) proves that there is just no stopping anime’s selling power. Sales are up an impressive 9% in 2016, from 1.83 trillion to 2.0009 trillion yen. That’s about US$17.5 billion.
This massive year-over-year improvement isn’t anything new either. Sales jumped 10% in 2014 and again 12% in 2015. Altogether, anime sales have grown 31% in the last few years!
These figures shouldn’t really shock anime fans. Japanese animation is everywhere nowadays. It’s all over Netflix. It’s in the media. Many famous actors have admitted they’re otakus.
But apparently growing international fandom in the West isn’t what’s driving sales through the roof. China is. More than half of the increase from international sales (19.5 billion yen to 34.9 billion yen) came from China licensing anime to air on their networks. That’s huge, although analysts predict this growth may fizzle out; thanks to a Chinese law prohibiting airing international animation during prime-time television. This law already exists, but it may soon ALSO apply to streaming content online.
Another major contributor to the boost in sales comes from anime live events. That includes concerts (like the Hitsune Miku show), stage musicals (like all of these), museums and exhibits (like Ghibli’s museum), and anime-themed cafes (check ’em out).
Live events are even making their way west. There’s been a growing number of anime-themed events, including The Attack on Titan escape room, The Ultimate Dragon Ball Adventure scavenger hunt, and Final Fantasy: Trial of Bahamut, which is another escape room.
Finally, there’s the massive success of anime like your name, which dominated with $341 million in tickets sales internationally, becoming the top grossing anime of all time (by a margin).
If these trends keep pace you can expect anime and manga to become as commonplace as Disney. How wonderful. And just think… we still only get a fraction of the anime that Japan produces every year. Publishers could chase this ongoing growth by translating and releasing even more anime for international markets!
Anyone else notice how anime is EVERYWHERE these days? Let me know I’m not crazy in the comments below.