The Increasing Prevalence of Anime

It’s like any other TV show, except it’s from Japan and it’s animated. In recent years, there have been more people jumping onto the anime bandwagon with statistics showing that it is on the rise.

Junior Lexie Chu, who interned this summer at Funimation, the largest anime distribution and licensing company in America, had “no idea what anime was before [she started the internship].”

She soon discovered that anime is the same as any other show with seasons: each episode is 21 minutes long, has a plot and tons of drama. With it’s growing audience, anime’s shows are tailored to all groups of people and feature topics such as sports, medical and legal dramas, high school, college, etc.

Funimation, which is based in Flower Mound, Texas, currently has more than one million subscribers on YouTube, and their most viewed video has almost three million hits.

Anime was extremely popular in the late 80s and 90s, but after notable anime filmmakers Kenji Mizoguchi, Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu passed away, the number of anime watchers in America started to decline. Now, with increased computer graphics, Japanese anime has become a $60 million per year business in the United States and is steadily growing.

“After I went to Funimation, I learned to respect it and knew that it is actually growing and getting bigger,” Chu said.

And Chu is not the only anime watcher. Sophomore Grace Cai agrees with Chu. “There’s definitely a very wide variety of genres. There is an anime to fit everyone’s taste.”

Anime has started streaming on major television channels with shows like “Attack on Titan” airing on Cartoon Network every week.

But coming back has not been easy. Anime faces some challenges. While there were very popular anime shows in the ‘90s, such as Pokemon, Yugioh and Dragon Ball Z, as well as an Oscar-winning film entitled “Spirited Away,” kids today don’t recognize them.

Every day, anime is becoming more popular. “The process [of making the animation] is incredible,” Chu said. “So much work is put into each show, from the concept to final product. It’s just beautiful.”

  • Ashna Kumar