I grew up in the 1990’s. It wasn’t until around 1996-1998 (I think) that I started getting into anime.
It all started with Dragon Ball Z being aired on Cartoon Network.
This happened for the most part in the 2000’s more so than the late 90’s. And it was the UK’s introduction to anime on a mainstream level.
Everyone in the UK knows what DBZ is even if they don’t like it.
And right alongside DBZ being aired was Pokémon of course.
Digimon, Yugioh, Beyblade, Naruto and more started to follow.
There were more before that, but these anime stood out the most.
That’s where anime’s marketing came to an end in mainstream media
There were a “few” anime on channel 4 back in the day. But it wasn’t a big deal like Cartoon Network.
And beyond that – other MAINSTREAM media like BBC, ITV and others have ignored anime for years.
It’s seen as this “weird” thing nobody should watch, because if you do – you’re a freak of nature.
There “must” be something wrong with you for liking it.
Even the BBC a few years ago went to extremes, claiming anime promotes pedophilia and all kinds of nonsense to the public.
The BBC has also written all kinds of nonsensical articles putting anime in a bad light, and over exaggerating issues it’s caused, promotes, and how it ties in with Japanese culture.
I wouldn’t be surprised if other mainstream media outlets in the UK have done the same. Either in silence behind closed doors, or openly like the BBC.
Nobody in the UK wants to air anime to the public
The only companies who promote anime in the UK when all is said and done, is anime companies or websites within the UK.
- Animax (before they shutdown).
- MVM Entertainment.
- Anime Limited.
- Anime UK News (website).
- Anime Motivation (obviously).
And a few others.
The BBC’S of the UK, or even news outlets like Telegraph, M.E.N, Birmingham News, The Sun, etc. None of them give anime the light of the day. Especially if the company is a streaming or TV service.
Coverage is minimal.
But that MIGHT be starting to change
Anime’s rise to popularity is undeniable and has been since it blew up in the 90’s and 2000’s. Worldwide.
Ever since then it continues to grow, dominate, reach more audiences and touch more people. Even though it’s still being ignored and denied as if it’s irrelevant and not worth anyone’s time.
That’s typical when something is unconventional and different.
Channel 4 has recently announced they’ll air 100’s of anime on their channel
Anime copyright holders have partnered with Channel 4. And they’ll be streaming 100’s of hours of their anime content.
The list of anime coming to channel 4 on British TV are:
- Cowboy Bebop.
- Cardcaptor Sakura.
- The Vision Of Escaflowne.
- Megalo Box.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin.
- The Dragon Dentist.
- Tokyo Ghoul.
And shows like Kill La Kill and Gurren Lagann are coming to channel 4’s service later on.
Channel 4 isn’t the biggest mainstream media channel in the UK. Or not even the most popular.
BBC and others take that crown.
But the fact that channel 4 is airing anime in 2019 is a good step forward. It might start pushing other channels to consider anime and give it a chance.
Or maybe other TV channels will at least explore anime a little more with an open mind. And consider showcasing it to the UK audience when it’s relevant.
Right now as things stand – the UK doesn’t have much as far as anime coverage (except websites, conventions and so on). Some of which don’t have big audiences to begin with.
That could change in the future.
Let’s wait and see!