Whilst a massive percentage of the population is already familiar with Studio Ghibli and it’s fabulous set of films, anime series and it’s fans have always lived in the niche corner of the world labelled as weeaboos, perverts or on the flip side made fun of for watching TV “for kids”. Now it seems anime is blowing up bigger than ever and the general populous is actually waking up to the idea of anime and its appeal. This could be due to the fact that companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are catching on that anime is a big deal to many people and know that they can make a lot of money through tapping into (or diving head first into with Netflix’s plans) this market. Netflix even created an anime category when you click on the category list which didn’t exist when I first got Netflix.
I have noticed over the years I have been watching that more and more companies and stores are tapping into this market because they know anime sells hard to it’s fans. Shows such as Attack on Titan, Tokyo Ghoul, Naruto and DeathNote seem to be everywhere and known by those who don’t even watch anime. When I first began watching anime places like Forbidden Planet or Comic Con were the only places where I could find what I was looking for. It was exciting to have that rush of “I found it! This is what I have been looking for!” but now that rush is becoming less and less common as more of the popular anime makes its way into the general publics eye.
Anime becoming more “mainstream” could be a wonderful thing for anime. Big companies like Netflix investing $8 million and using much of that to make 30 new anime is incredible as it means the anime community receives more anime with (hopefully) amazing quality. Anime becoming more popular with more people also means that more people may become interested and look deeper into this market and find something they really enjoy. Although more anime doesn’t necessarily mean all of it will be good and from the hiccups Netflix has given us so far it’s a 50/50 chance on how things will turn out. It’s about quality not quantity.
Thou on thy elitest throne…
In my probably elitist sounding opinion this could also work against this niche market we have all grown to love. I find some weird hipster like satisfaction in being able to watch shows that people haven’t heard of (is anyone else like this?). There is something special about finding something you enjoy that isn’t known by everyone. It’s your own special thing that you found all by yourself and you treasure it more than you would if you watched something just because everyone else raves about it. Then, as soon as it becomes popular that treasure seems less important because everyone else likes it now and you are now in a sea of many instead of few. I think sometimes this can drive people away and they won’t feel nearly as enthusiastic about it anymore. In a society where everyone follows the flock because of a need to fit in can really oversaturate something to the point where sometimes you dismiss it because it’s simply “too popular”. I’m guilty of staying away from or becoming less interested in shows because everyone goes on about them too much. In my experience shows becoming too popular with the general public can make it less of a big and exciting deal. Take Attack on Titan, I love that series it’s awesome but when season two aired I wasn’t nearly as excited as I was when say a series like Love Tyrant or Hinako Note aired during the same season. I often seem more excited by new and fresh anime than I am with on going already popular series (with certain exceptions).
I don’t mean to come across as an elitist as I love and watch many mainstream shows just like everyone else. Some of my all time favourites come under the mainstream umbrella. These are just some thoughts I have complied whilst observing what’s been happening with anime over the past few months. I think like everything else anime’s ever increasing popularity has both it’s pros and it’s cons.
What do you think? Do you agree of disagree? Let me know down in the comments below!
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