Anime Made $50 Million Dollars In 1994 From Just VHS

kakegurui money
Written by Theo J Ellis

Anime has a lot of history, but I can’t say too much of it is documented publicly. Especially not as far as statistics and important, but obscure facts.

One of those historical facts is how anime made $50 million dollars back in 1994 from VHS!

This was of course in the USA, which might surprise some fans.


NYT’s Anime article Sep 17th 1995

anime manga and their devoted otakus nyt article 1995 1

This is the New York Time’s article (NYT) that covered anime‘s growth back in 1995, which also spoke about sales the previous year (1994).

Let’s touch on some of the sections.


1. Japan’s Passion for Comic Books And Animated Films

japans passion nyt article anime 1

“Japan’s passion for its comic books and animated films has taken hold in the United States. They have grown from an underground hobby for American collectors, into a mini industry that generated $10 million in comic sales and $50 million in home video sales last year.”

Think about how MASSIVE that is back in 1994-1995. $50 million is crazy considering how obscure anime was back in those years.

$10 million in manga sales is crazy as well, but proof of anime and manga‘s upward trend after “blowing up”.

It’s a preview before the industry we see today.

Related: How The Anime Industry Makes So Much Money (Despite Obvious Problems)


2. $10 million in yearly sales from T shirts and toys 

10 million t shirt sales anime manga zakka soho 1995

“In Manhattan, two stores that specialize in the comic books, known as manga, and home videos or anime, have opened in the last two years. Merchandise like toys and t shirts account for $10 million in annual sales.” (Edited)

Marvin A. Gliecher, president of Manga Entertainment claimed $10 million in yearly sales was achieved during this time in the 1990’s.

This all came from t shirt and toy sales relating to anime and manga.


3. $6 million in sales for a manga without words

ty ahmad taylor lone wolf club sales nyt

The manga Lone Wolf And Cub sold over $6 million copies since the 1970’s. Not bad at all.

Remember, this is during a time where manga was obscure as f*ck. It was hard to find anything, and yet Lone Wolf And Cub is clearly one of the earlier ones to do well overseas.

I was exaggerating by saying “a manga without words”. What I meant is the fighting scenes had no words at all, which was a big selling point. So technically true.

japan superpower among superheroes newspaper anime nyt 1

The original article was a part of a newspaper column in the NYT’S titled “Japan, a Superpower Among Superheroes”.

Anime‘s come a long way hasn’t it?

Recommended Next:

How Anime Has Radically Evolved In The Past 58+ Years

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