Anime goes as far back as 1910-1917. Where the first generation of animators had their start.
But it wasn’t until the 80’s and 1990’s that anime exploded on an international level.
We can thank Pokemon,
And it only continued into the early 2000’s with
But back to the question: what makes anime so popular?
Why did it explode, and what continues to fuel the growth of anime in 2018?
As much as I hate some of the reasons, it boils down to these 6 elements…
Why Anime Is Popular:
Any normal person wouldn’t know what to think as a first time fan.
But let’s be brutally honest – FAN SERVICE is one of many reasons why anime is popular… Or haven’t you noticed some of the most popular shows are filled with fan-service?
Take the image above for example. They’re from the anime:
- Gurren Lagann.
- Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid.
Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is very popular in the slice of life category.
And Gurren Lagann? It’s popular as F.
We see the same things play out in Naruto, One Piece, and an absurd amount of popular anime.
I can’t stand it because it’s usually out of context, but it’s a part of what makes anime popular nonetheless.
Kino’s Journey (or Kino’s Travels) is the perfect example of this.
Each episode is refreshing, and focuses purely on telling interesting stories. Usually from the perspective of the people Kino meets from country to country.
Each persons story teaches you a new life lesson, and opens your eyes to a new way of seeing things. Even if it’s simplistic.
There are other anime that do this well. Like:
- Psycho Pass.
- Fairy Tail.
- The Disastrous Life Of Saiki K.
- Guardian Of The Sacred Spirit.
Storytelling is the reason anime like Code Geass are so popular. Among so many others that have given the industry tons of exposure over the years.
Without fresh storytelling, anime wouldn’t be as popular as it is in 2018.
3. Beautiful animation and art-style!
Where can you find animation + art style ANYWHERE on the planet like anime? It doesn’t exist…
Outside of Japan, animation tends to be:
- More cartoon-ish.
- Simple drawings.
- Unrealistic designs with weird body proportions.
- And the backgrounds are also simple.
This is intentional, but anime takes this a step further with special effects and techniques no modern day film or cartoon is able to achieve.
That’s why it appeals to so many age groups.
4. Great fight/action scenes
Imagine anime without supernatural/action shows? It wouldn’t be the same.
It’s these types of Shounens and action series that make anime special and wildly popular (even to a fault).
The obvious shows that come to mind are:
And a long list of other anime shows.
5. Relatable characters
Tomoya Okazaki is a parent in the second season of Clannad.
While his circumstances aren’t common, you can relate to how he feels if you’re a young parent.
It doesn’t matter what the anime is, or how emotional (or non emotional) it is, we can always relate. To at least 1 or 2 characters who share:
- Personality traits.
- Our sense of humor.
- Painful losses we’ve dealt with.
Or any other variation of life experience and characteristics.
6. Anime is HILARIOUS
Japan is different to the world in many ways (culture, society, etc). These differences make for a very unique comedy experience.
Personally, comedy within anime is even better than comedy in the west… Because with anime – it’s animated, so there’s more freedom with facial expressions, silly visuals, alongside funny references and so on.
Films can’t achieve this even if they tried for one obvious reason: films have real people in it.
And that’s the advantage anime has that makes it so much funnier, and more hilarious. Since there’s more freedom to add humor with animation techniques or drawings.
Honorable Mentions For Why Anime Is Popular:
- Unrealistically cute characters.
- Wide range of genres, topics and subjects.
- Piracy websites (let’s be honest).
- Easy to access because of the internet.
What reasons do you think anime is so popular?