Anime used to have a niche following outside of Japan, but now it’s celebrated world wide. Stores like Walmart, Hot topic, and many more have adopted anime merchandise as part of their marketing sells. It’s now a multi-million-dollar industry with no signs of slowing down.
Accessibility is key
One of the factors that contributed to the boom of anime culture was the growing accessibility of shows. The ability to stream shows through Netflix, Hulu, and other providers made it easier for people to get into anime. Before the streaming era, the only way people could watch anime was through cable, HBO, or DVD sets. Another hurdle that prevented the anime community from growing was language. Since everything was made in Japan, the language spoken by the characters and narrators was Japanese. The language had to be translated into subtitles for foreign audiences to understand and enjoy what they were watching. Around the early 2000s various language voice overs, also known as “dubs”, emerged. This made watching anime an easier experience for most people.
Netflix Adds Anime
Netflix is one of the most popular streaming services in the world. In 2017, Netflix began adding exclusive anime titles into its catalog. The success of shows like “Kakegurui” and “Castlevania” along with long standing favorites kickstarted anime’s climb on the platform. Within 2017, approximately 10 million Netflix subscribers viewed anime world-wide. Between 2019 and 2020, the amount of people that watched anime on Netflix doubled from 50 million to 100 million. No information is available for Netflix’s anime watch numbers in 2021 but Netflix’s subscriber estimates indicate it will reach beyond 100 million.
Sergio, the owner of Tanuki Toys, has watched the anime community grow for years. He pursued his dream in opening a store that represents what he enjoys. Tanuki Toys sells figures, plushies, and various merchandise from Asian and Western media.
Demon Slayer’s Impact on the Community
Sergio believes that the release “Demon Slayer”, an anime from 2019, is a huge contributor to the influx of anime fans in recent years. Demon slayer’s first movie currently holds the record for the top grossing anime film of all time with over 503 million dollars in global sells. “Spirited Away” was the previous record holder since 2001. As the show grew in popularity, some people decided to show their love for the show by getting their car wrapped, or dressing up as the main characters. As more people showed their love for Japanese culture, there was .
Anime Subscribers (Crunchyroll)
Crunchyroll is a streaming serv ice solely focused on providing anime content to it’s subscribers across the world. Over the course of five years, paid subscriptions to Crunchyroll have risen from 1 million to over five million . The most notable increase can be seen between 2020 and 2021 where Crunchyroll gained over two million subscribers alone.
Gender Diversity in the Anime Community
“Anime Matsuri” is an anime convention that is held in Houston, Texas. Year after year it experienced growth, but the ratio between male to female consistently stays balanced. As of the making of this article, Anime Matsuri has yet to release its statistics for their 2021 convention.
Anime Shops and Arcades in Texas
Texas is a hotspot for Anime Culture. Fans can expect to find some sort of hang out or shop in each of these major cities: Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Throughout the year, anime conventions take place in each of these cities as well. To get information on the next available convention, it’s advised to ask an anime store owner or search “Texas anime conventions” on twitter.