Getting into the anime industry in late 2018 (and beyond) is easier than it ever was.
You can thank the internet for that.
Back in the 1980’s and earlier, getting into most industries meant:
- Dealing with gatekeepers.
- Jumping through hoops to please gatekeepers.
- And everything in between.
But now the power has shifted to you, us, the people.
And there are more options than ever to get into the anime industry. Whether that means working for the industry as an employee, or being a creator and starting your own anime business.
Let’s talk about all 3 of those options (and more) with a list of how you can do that.
How To Get Into The Anime Industry:
1. Volunteer with a company (or website) you love
One of the simplest ways you can get into the anime industry, Is to volunteer with a company you love.
That could mean:
- An anime studio.
- Streaming companies like Crunchyroll.
- News websites like Anime News Network.
- Production companies.
- Anime retailers.
And any other variation of what an anime company (or website) represents.
After all, any serious website owner or business needs help. Especially if their goal is to grow, expand, reach new heights and achieve bigger things going forward.
So becoming a volunteer and doing your part to help, while “getting a taste” of the anime industry is a benefit to you and whoever you’re volunteering with.
It’ll give you some experience, help build relationships and get your foot in the door as well.
2. Share your thoughts and opinions online
Getting into the anime industry is about using your strengths.
Do you have the ability to:
- Talk on video?
- Run a podcast? (Audio)
- A mixture of all 3?
- Or maybe you prefer social media?
Gatekeepers are practically a myth these days. Nothing can stop you from getting into the anime industry.
If you love anime as much as most fans do, that means you’ve got a lot to share and give to the industry.
As long as you:
- Focus on creating, instead of competing.
- Share YOUR experiences and unique insights.
- Aren’t afraid of criticism.
- Can offer something different.
- And you have tons to say.
Then people are bound to notice. And you can build off that.
It’s no surprise to see some anime youtubers, bloggers and writers who have gone on to create their own followings. Even to the point where anime companies reach out to them to do partnerships (and more).
No different to how Crunchyroll, Nutaku (and others) have reached out to Anime Motivation because of the content being shared every week.
3. Watch LOTS of anime shows (and possibly Manga)
It might sound silly, but think about it. All the companies, websites and blogs you can think of have one thing in common: they know what they’re talking about.
And on top of that: they’ve watched PLENTY of anime shows.
After all, how can you do something if you don’t know the first thing about it?
How can you please an audience if you yourself aren’t looking at it from a “fans” point of view?
Watching a lot of anime isn’t a #1 priority to help you get into the anime industry, but it’s a PLUS that will give you a big advantage.
Knowledge is power, as long as you end up using it.
4. Write for anime websites
This is similar to point #1 about volunteering.
There are 10000’s of anime websites online, and that’s no exaggeration.
Some of them are even active, with their domains still going strong.
So my question is: why not write for these websites?
Similar to my point about volunteering, any serious website is in need of help in some way, shape or form. And if they run their own blog on a daily or weekly basis… you can guarantee they’re in need of more writers like yourself.
So what do you do? And how do you do it?
- Take a GOOD look at the site you want to write for.
- Get a feel for what they do.
- Look for evidence of contributors and writers.
- Look for the “right” email on their site.
- If there isn’t a specific email, then either reach out on social media, and message them through their “standard” email address.
- And wait for a response.
Will everybody respond to you? No. You’d be surprised how many will ignore (or even miss) your email. Which is why I said to reach out by social media as well.
But in the end if you have something to offer that they like, you’ll be on your way to building a portfolio by writing for anime sites.
And of course: this will literally help you “get into” the anime industry.
5. Invent something for the anime industry
The anime industry NEEDS innovation. It’s not the most cool, modern or “up to date” industry in the entertainment business.
This mostly comes down to Japan as a culture, and how the anime industry operates over there.
Read this for example: The Anime Industry Has A SERVICE Problem
If you consider yourself to be an “inventor” who can create things, whether it be software, programs, services or anything of the sort, then invent something for the anime industry.
If you’re a serious anime fan and you’re capable of that, then you of all people will know what the industry needs, and what it can benefit from.
And better yet: you’ll be in a position to make a difference.
6. Attend a lot of anime conventions
Source: Frolic Hawaii.
Anime conventions are as big as football stadiums (metaphorically speaking).
This is one area of the anime industry that’s been growing relentlessly over the past couple years.
The size of these anime conventions is ridiculous, and that’s true even outside of Japan.
When you go to anime conventions:
- You’ll meet people you wouldn’t online.
- Certain people from the industry will be there.
- And you’ll get a feel for the industry from a “different” point of view.
- And of course: there’s the experience of being there.
It’s no exaggeration to say you could meet tons of people who own anime websites, businesses, or at least people who “work” in some part of the anime industry.
So that’s another opportunity to get your foot in the door, depending on what your goal is and what your reasons are for getting into the industry.
7. Pay attention to industry influencers
Continuing on from my last point, when you’re online it’s easy to “pay attention” to people who have influence in the anime industry.
Whether that be:
- Vloggers (YouTubers).
- Founders and CEO’s.
- Important people behind a website or company.
Or any other variation of an “influencer”.
What do these people want? What are they looking for?
Where do they hang out online? And how can you help them?
In some cases it might be as simple as:
- Partnering up with them (as an affiliate).
- Promoting their products.
- Writing for their blog.
- Producing news for their website.
- Collaborating with them.
Or something else.
One mistake I’d advise you NOT to make is to pester these people.
Instead be helpful, pay attention, and it might help you “get into” the anime industry. Depending on how you define that.
8. Work for an anime company
There are all kinds of anime companies to work for.
- Anime retailers.
- News sites.
- Streaming companies.
- Distribution companies.
And a handful of others. This is much more difficult if you’re not based in the US or Japan.
But in those cases, that’s where websites come into play. Because of the internet there’s an opportunity to work for anime companies online. Assuming they allow that and are looking to hire new people.
One thing I will say though is: this is something I’d recommend IF you’re serious.
There’s almost no better way to get into an industry by “working” for it. But the anime industry in particular is so much more difficult (and broken) compared to a lot of industries.
It’s the kind of thing you need to commit yourself to, and even be passionate about. Because it’s a long-term game.
Related: Working In The Anime Industry (ANN)
9. Start an anime business
Again, this is something I’d recommend only if you’re serious.
Working for the anime industry is one way to get through the door. But starting your own anime business is the BEST way to get into the industry.
And it makes sense why.
If you end up building your business (over the long-term) into something worthwhile, you’ll be contributing to the industry in more ways than you believe.
And at the same time, you’ll be a “part” of the industry in the most literal way possible.
Other than starting your own anime website or blog, there’s almost nothing that compares.
But this is the path only for the most serious, dedicated and committed.
Especially if being part of the industry is your long-term goal.
10. Study anime culture in JAPAN
The heart of anime is in Japan. The motherland of everything related to anime or even Manga.
The reason I know so much about Japan (when talking about anime) is because I’ve studied, learned, and paid attention to what’s happening down there.
That’s why I know the mindset of “innovation” isn’t really a thing over there. As well as why the Japanese still create and produce dvd’s despite it losing money every year.
Knowing about anime culture OUTSIDE of Japan is obviously beneficial. But before that, you need to study the source of where anime comes from.
That kind of knowledge is useful.
11. Study anime culture OUTSIDE of Japan
Like I said, knowing about anime culture outside of Japan is important too. And there’s no better place to start than studying your own country. Or countries related to where you live.
For example, I know personally that in the Philippines anime is MASSIVE.
It’s not swimming with anime companies or anything like that, but the natives in the Philippines have an undying love for the anime industry and all things anime.
I also know here in the UK, there are only 2 handfuls of anime retailers. And almost nothing else when it comes to anime related businesses and companies.
It’s a pretty dead country for anime (with the exception of anime conventions). And a few anime websites based here that are worth mentioning.
I also know in India, Animax shutdown some years ago and anime is struggling to gain traction over there.
Even in 2018. Despite so many indians LOVING anime in general.
Studying anime culture is important
This kind of knowledge I have matters. It’s one of the reasons Anime Motivation even exists.
And this type of knowledge is crucial to help you get into the anime industry. Online and offline. Regardless of your intentions.
12. Consider learning Japanese (BONUS TIP)
Assuming your goal is to get into Japan and become “part” of the industry over there, learning Japanese is obviously gonna help you more than anything else.
Japan isn’t like countries in the west. Not all of them know English (or even speak good English). So learning Japanese before traveling (and living in Japan) is important If that’s your goal.
And if that’s how you plan to dive into the anime industry.
Whatever your goal is, these 12 points should give you something to think about as you get started.
Use whichever you feel is best for you. And run with that. 🙂
I’m the Founder of Anime Motivation.
The 1st anime I watched was Dragon Ball Z. Followed by Claymore, Inuyasha, Attack On Titan, and the rest as they say is “history”.