The popularity of anime and manga has skyrocketed since 2016 and it’s even bigger now in 2022. Why are so many people getting into Japanese art now?
Anime has always been around but it hasn’t really been a massive part of my life until recently. When I was about 13-years-old I really got into anime but we didn’t have video streaming services like Crunchyroll, Funimation or HIDIVE–we didn’t even have Netflix. So obtaining quality anime was expensive.
I wasn’t really that tech savvy and didn’t know much about computers, even if I did know how to access anime online it would have taken me years do download anything because my internet was soooo slow. So, I’d usually just hear about an awesome anime or manga from a friend while kicking their but on my Nintendo Ultra.
BEING AN OTAKU WAS EXPENSIVE.
Once my friend had convinced me, I would wonder down town and blindly purchase a DVD box set of an anime that I knew very little about. That’s how I saw Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Perfect Blue, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and many other awesome animes.
Looking back, I definitely would considered myself a otaku. Massive introvert that played too many video games and binge watched anime, if that isn’t the definition of one than I don’t know what is.
Sadly, being an otaku was costly back then so my hobby kind of fell by the wayside as I experienced my own coming of age story. All those box sets most likely pawned off by mother and manga magazines most likely thrown in the bin. At least that’s what she did to my Nintendo.
IT’S NOW ON-DEMAND AND CHEAP!
Fast forward a few years and now I’m in the junk end of my 20s. I managed to get a job being a professional nerd as a QA tester and later 3D assets designer for triple-A game developer. But still, I was miserable.
I got to see behind the curtains of the gaming industry–and boy– it was ugly. People weren’t about making games anymore. Every day was just drama, drama, drama. Politics here and politics there. As a girl who grew up in Norway, I really couldn’t give a rats butt about the politics. I wanted to make awesome games.
Then came the big bad cough and everybody was sent back to their rooms to ponder on their existence and die of boredom. I binge watched all the movies and came to the conclusion that most everything just sucks. I don’t want to be constantly reminded of my real world problems when I am watching a TV show or a movie. That’s me time. That’s the time I want a bit of escapism… and then I found it!
Crunchyroll, Funimation, HIDIVE and all that good stuff. Just like that, I was a born again otaku. Three years later, I’ve rewatched all those classics I love and then some. I can’t stop!
But in my many hundreds of hours of binge watching even the most obscure animes (a little shamed to admit I watched and enjoyed Monster Monsume) I had my eureka moment. Unlike the gaming industry, the passion is still very much alive in the Japanese and Korean animation scene.
ANIME… ANIME NEVER CHANGES.
The anime hasn’t at all been impacted by real world issues. It has remained true to itself over all those years. Still as horny as ever, still as dark as ever, and still as dumb as ever.
Now, especially as we are heading into what appears to be the 3rd year of lockdowns, we need escapism and anime and manga provide just that.
New people are discovering anime and manga every day, and many of them are people who were once huge fans of DC and Marvel comic books. But sadly, for them, the comic book industry has abandoned them. They no longer make comics for the fans that funded and carried the industry, they make comics as political messages to appease a minority of people who don’t even read comics.
That’s why more people are into anime and manga now more than ever, and that’s why there are more fans flocking to this industry every day. Anime remains unscathed. Japan hasn’t changed its kawaii culture to appease anyone. They don’t care if they offend you. The creators are making content that makes them happy… the passion is still there and it shows.