Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan

Makoto Idolmaster Cinderella Girls

Anime is invisible like one of those cloaks the Predator wears in the film.

The only time you’ll see Anime is on Cartoon Network. And THAT’S IT. If you’re lucky.

There are barely, if anymore Anime shows being played on TV.

It’s a myth.

And even in 2017 Anime still isn’t a big deal in the UK. Depending on your perspective.

Yes, there’s been tons of progress. There are more Anime retail shops than before (mostly online).

Anime conventions are more popular to a degree. But that’s really it.

Typically speaking, you’ll be lucky to see an Anime shop in your average UK town or city.

And you’ll be even luckier to find a massive selection of Anime DVD’s to buy offline.

Or a UK streaming service with a wide range of Anime shows to watch.

In fact, the only streaming service I’ve seen is Animax TV, which only has 44 anime shows on its website.

44 Anime shows compared to the ridiculous amount of shows that are in existence.

Or even the amount of shows you can watch for free on sites like Kiss Anime. Which many UK fans do, understandably. As well as fans worldwide.

Unless of course you use Crunchyroll, which isn’t too perfect (yet). And Netflix is making somewhat of an effort.


So Why Is Anime Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan?

British Anime fans have the exact same question…..

Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan
Why are there no anime shows on uk tv?
Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan
Has anyone in the UK noticed that Anime is rarely shown anymore?
Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan
Why is anime not as poplar in the UK as it is in Japan?

Here are the reasons Why Anime Is Not So Popular In The UK…


1. Licensing issues

Just take a look at this screenshot from Crunchyroll’s forums….

Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan

If you can’t see it, someone’s asking why so few Anime shows on Crunchyroll aren’t licensed in the UK.

Compared to the USA.

And this is what I mean by licensing issues.

Crunchyroll is like a dealer. Not an owner.

And therefore, if they ask for Anime shows to be licensed in the UK, and the licencor says NO, there’s not much else they can do.

This happens to be the case with many different companies in the UK as well.

Because Japan and their licencors have such tight restrictions (whatever the reason), Anime fails to be shown in the UK.

It’s a crappy situation, but a real one none the less.

That’s why Anime is more underground than it is commercial or mainstream in the UK.


2. Very few dedicated Anime sites, blogs, etc

Compare the amount of UK Anime sites and blogs compared to the US or Japan.

Better yet – compare the amount of Anime dedicated sites you read and follow, in comparison to US or Japanese sites.

If your answers honest, you’ll realize there are few, if any in the UK that are big or worth following.

Blogs and websites can give rise to a countries popularity when it comes to certain topics and interests.

And there aren’t many in the UK who are contributing to that cause. Compared to the US or Japan where the average Anime site is located.


3. Culture difference

Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan
Monkey D Luffy – One Piece.

The fact is – what’s accepted in Japan isn’t necessarily OK in England. Also because British culture is a lot different, the same methods that work in Japan (Or USA) won’t work here.

If you can’t get the general public on board, then how can you make it mainstream or popular? A lot more work needs to be done as a culture before more people warm to Anime.

And before UK companies start accepting and publishing Anime more willingly on TV and in British media.


4. Anime DVD’s less accessible

Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan
Taiga – Toradora Anime.

There are some shops and sites where you can buy Anime DVD’s in the UK. But it has the same issue as Crunchyroll does.

There just isn’t a large selection of Anime shows to grab.

There are so many Anime shows for so many different tastes and interests.

If those interests are limited, then so are your options. Which is exactly the case with the UK Anime market.

Hence why Anime is not as popular in the UK.


5. The Way Anime Is Judged

Why Anime Is Not Popular In The UK Compared To USA & Japan

Look at the image above. It’s filled with cute Anime girls who look no older than 10 years old.

And that’s the point.

Some people in the UK believe Anime is nothing but childish. And therefore won’t even give it a chance because they see it as a children’s show.

Even though the reality is – Anime is no different to films. It’s for all types of ages and interests, depending on what you choose.

These judgments aren’t true just for the public. For all we know British media may view it the same way.

And if that’s true, then they may not want such Anime shows being aired and viewed in the UK.

Especially not on a commercial/mainstream scale. Online or offline.

Unfortunately people and things are judged all the time.

And how a nation judges something determines whether it will ever get to see the light of day.

At least to a certain extent.

The internet solves that problem, but as mentioned already, streaming and services have problems of their own.

Especially when it comes to how accessible Anime is in the UK.


There are so many reasons Anime is not popular in the UK. Some of those problems are invisible and not-so-obvious.

But I feel the 5 points above (especially licensing) is a major reason Anime is held back in the UK. As it could be so much bigger.

And we already have quite a large audience of people who’s willing to support it, too.

What are your thoughts on why Anime isn’t popular in the UK? 

Share it in the comments!

I'm the Founder of Anime Motivation. An international retailer of official anime merchandise, toys and figurines. I've been a fan of anime for over 10-15+ years, with the first anime show I watched being Dragon Ball Z.

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