Anime is a popular television genre, not just for people in Japan, but for many worldwide. Anime’s history is a story to remember for them all, such is their passion and love for it. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, was just as detrimental to the anime business as it was for others.
Studios producing anime have forever worked long hours with insignificant profit margins, but the genre’s popularity amongst the people was about to change everything during the lockdown. This is how the anime business used the online platform to survive the pandemic.
A bit of background
When Japan announced it would hold the 2020 Olympics in its country, the world expected its pop culture to shine throughout the entirety of the Olympics. Not only that but internationally famous animes started to attract more tourists who wished to watch anime in theatres and be amongst fellow enthusiasts. It all failed when the pandemic hit.
The Olympics was canceled and the AnimeJapan event was canceled as well. Not only was this a big loss for Japan, but it was also a loss for the anime industry that could have promoted itself during these events, thereby reaching more people.
Perhaps it could turn some anime haters into liking anime through increased exposure. But as people were stuck at home, the anime production dropped and only resumed in the month of April when people started working from home and occasionally through the office.
According to assignment help reports from the custom essay papers, Computer Generated Imagery Studios, or CGI studios, whose employees often worked remotely at home, struggled to keep up with the traffic when all of their employees were trying to access the company servers at the same time. Employees, before the pandemic, had no choice but to work with the old tech their companies had. Anime businesses stuck to 2d animation and hand-drawn animations.
While it may have worked then, it didn’t work when employees were stuck working from home. To keep the production going, they had to improve their infrastructure and create anime that would follow with the momentum of anime’s growth worldwide.
Companies were forced to use better software, faster internet, and bandwidth. And what this resulted in was an appreciation of the increase in production just by using digital forms of animation.
Using online streaming platforms
It was seven years ago that Shuzo John Shiota, CEO of Polygon Pictures, signed a deal with Netflix to stream their anime. And with streaming services growing massively popular today, more production houses decided that signing up with a streaming platform would only grow their audience and, in turn, profits. Jex Wexler, who spearheads Kiyuki Inc, a consultancy, brought all of Ghibli Studios’ animations to worldwide streaming services. Thus he improved their monthly sales by a great margin.
With people spending more time at home, streaming services saw a boom in viewership and watch time. This also affected the business of the anime as well, showing a big surge in subscriptions and viewers.
More people came across anime and found it to be an interactive and relaxing entertainment experience. Some streaming platforms noticed the growth in anime and tried to capitalize on it. CEO John Ledford of Sentai Filmworks said that their viewership upon focusing more on anime got them to become one of the most price-friendly anime streaming services on the market. According to an anime paper writing service, anime distribution services suffered a massive hit during the pandemic due to theatre closures and a drop in physical copy sales. However, they were able to cover losses quickly by streaming anime online.
Anime’s ties with digital giants
Netflix had maintained its ties with the anime industry for quite a while. But with anime’s popularity booming at such a massive scale, they did not hesitate to sign more deals. It continued to invest in anime and did not slow down its progress in 2020. Moreover, Netflix also took steps to make its anime collection available in more countries.
Another promising news for anime came last year. Sony’s Funimation merged with Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service for $1.175 billion. This proved to the world that anime had earned its own time in the spotlight and it is here, ready to stay.
With the financial and brand support of Sony, Crunchyroll hopes to compete with Netflix on the worldwide platform, with a massive subscriber count of 70 million free members and 3 million paid members.
Key takeaways from anime’s growth
It must be noted that anime did not suddenly gain international popularity but was on a slow and steady climb in a very competitive market. With so many production houses working around the world, anime struggled a lot initially. But the industry found its way to the front in 2017 and 2018. This was when it earned more than half of the industry’s $19 billion total revenue.
The progress of anime may have taken a hit at the start of 2020. But it managed to survive the pandemic and continue to grow in the way it was before.
Not only that, but there was a lot that the industry learned as well. The use of hand-drawn animation and taxing work hour shifts would only derail the industry’s progress. While anime is known for its unique animation, its narratives are what sets it apart.
Animes have unique characters and stories, making each one exploratory and exciting for the viewer. To match the growth of the industry, anime companies had to direct their resources into digital means of production. This way they could save both time and effort.
This, however, does not solve the problem of physical shows being shut down. Anime companies did well, but their employees still work on meager salaries. Moreover, voice actors from anime series made most of their earnings from physical shows where they would bring the voice of fans’ favorite characters to life on stage.
However, it is impossible to have physical concerts and theatre screenings again. But the online platform could yet again be used for voice actors to reach the fans. Online virtual concerts have now become very popular and could be used for this purpose.
It remains a well-known fact that anime and its production houses were able to find their way through several struggles. Including the ones brought by the pandemic and continue to reach a wider audience. With the industry growing bigger than ever before, the question of the future of anime and its unique style staying just as mesmerizing lingers in the minds of all its fans, old and new.
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