Streaming boom lifts Japan-anime market to record $20bn

TOKYO, Dec 12 (Nikkei) - The global market for Japanese anime expanded 13% to an all-time high of 2.74 trillion yen ($20 billion at current rates) last year, thanks to streaming platforms like Netflix and fans eager to spend on merchandise for franchises like Pokemon and "Demon Slayer."

Japan itself drove most of the growth, with a 21% rise to 1.43 trillion yen, according to a report by the Association of Japanese Animations. Content distribution -- television, theatrical movies, DVD and other video, and streaming -- grew 33% to a total of 371.3 billion yen.

Streaming was a particular standout, surging roughly 70% to 154.3 billion yen, as consumers stuck with viewing habits established during the stay-at-home period of the pandemic. Viewers flocked to series based on popular manga, such as "Demon Slayer," "Jujutsu Kaisen" and "Tokyo Revengers."

The movie market grew 9% to 60.2 billion yen, with anime accounting for more than a third of box-office earnings for the year. "Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time," part of the long-running "Evangelion" franchise, was Japan's highest-grossing movie in 2021, including live-action titles. "Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet" and "Belle" ("Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime") were also high in the rankings. ...continue reading