Has anime become more mainstream?

serpantino

Thousand Master
I thought this would make an interesting topic.

Anime was pretty niche when I got into it, then shows such as dragon ball Z started being shown on daytime TV.
People still refer to anime as niche but I feel like it is becoming more mainstream than ever, it's influences are more common in games & movies/tv series & actual anime itself is helped on by streaming companies such as netflix & amazon that regularly offer & advertise a selection.
I feel that gone are the days of finding a single 4 episode dvd or VHS sitting alone in a blockbuster or an hmv shelf with no hopes of ever seeing the entire series (unless it's a manga UK release :p).

As much as I complain about prices, they're comparatively much better as well.

What does everybody else think?

It seems unlikely but I'd love to hear from someone in the industry about how sales etc compare too.
 

ActionFaust

Combat Butler
While I don't think it could be called mainstream it's definitely more popular than it was a decade ago. Pretty much sitting on the fence between mainstream and niche. Think there's only a handful of anime that could be considered mainstream like Demon Slayer or Your Name
 
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setokaiba

Kiznaiver
I feel that gone are the days of finding a single 4 episode dvd or VHS sitting alone in a blockbuster or an hmv shelf with no hopes of ever seeing the entire series (unless it's a manga UK release :p).
I remember lamenting over a super expensive Sailor Moon VHS box set... and the sheer joy I experienced when I first found a 4 episode DVD of my current favourite anime (Azumanga Daioh), I didn't even know that you could buy non-TV anime on DVD! Of course, it came with a £20 pricetag for 4 episodes but I was simply overjoyed. It was like I'd found actual gold, my prized possession.
Like you said, prices are more reasonable these days and I find you typically get a whole season in one now. Definitely pretty spoiled compared to back then.

As for anime being mainstream... I'd say it's not mainstream in the sense that everyone watches it, but pretty much everyone knows about it and the popularity is picking up hugely. It's practically trendy, possibly the same kids who would have made fun of me for liking it would find it cool now. I'd say it has downsides aswell as upsides to being popular... but definitely accessibility is the best thing to come out of it.
 

Dai

Hunter
Think there's only a handful of anime that could be considered mainstream like Demon Slayer or Your Name
I guess it depends how you define mainstream. If we're talking the anime awareness of literally any random normie, Demon Slayer and Shinkai wouldn't even be on their radar. I think the only anime that have reached full mainstream saturation are the Ghibli movies, and even then probably just Miyazaki Snr rather than Takahata. Game tie-ins that run on broadcast TV would be well recognised for the larger franchises, but Pokemon was as mainstream 20 years ago as it is now. Aside from that, Joe Random probably has an awareness of the overall look of shonen battle anime, but would be hard pressed to identify specific ones, and definitely wouldn't recognise the word shonen.

I think the only area where mainstream perception of anime has evolved in the last 20 years is that people now understand it's a diverse medium, and not just the video nasties full of probing tentacles that Manga Video painted it as in the 90s.
 

awadama fever

Za Warudo
Totally - even just when you consider how much more common it is to see merchandise than it used to be.

Between Asda selling Gundam shirts, DBZ plushes in B&M, figures in Smyths/GAME and HMV having all kinds of backpacks, toys, jigsaws, posters, canned drinks and loads of other bits, there's absolutely plenty of stuff easily available to buy. Primark sells One Piece shirts. I've seen Naruto, Sailor Moon and Cowboy Bebop shirts at Pull & Bear. Even places like Menkind have loads of MHA figures in the window.

Years ago, you would have had to either order this stuff online or hope somewhere like Forbidden Planet would get them in. If anime was still some weird and obscure thing, so many high street shops wouldn't be selling so much merch (they could use that shelf space for Marvel or...I don't know...The Fast & The Furious or whatever instead)

I'm sure a lot of people don't like the idea of anime being mainstream (because they want it to be their special "thing"), but it's way more mainstream than it used to be.
 

ActionFaust

Combat Butler
I guess it depends how you define mainstream. If we're talking the anime awareness of literally any random normie, Demon Slayer and Shinkai wouldn't even be on their radar. I think the only anime that have reached full mainstream saturation are the Ghibli movies, and even then probably just Miyazaki Snr rather than Takahata. Game tie-ins that run on broadcast TV would be well recognised for the larger franchises, but Pokemon was as mainstream 20 years ago as it is now. Aside from that, Joe Random probably has an awareness of the overall look of shonen battle anime, but would be hard pressed to identify specific ones, and definitely wouldn't recognise the word shonen.

I think the only area where mainstream perception of anime has evolved in the last 20 years is that people now understand it's a diverse medium, and not just the video nasties full of probing tentacles that Manga Video painted it as in the 90s.
Fair point. I retract my comment. I was thinking more along the lines of what anime would be more known to a mainstream audience and picked those two due to their relatively higher success in the West compared to most series. But yeah despite their success they might still be fairly unknown.
 

Eternal chibi

Completely Average High School Student
It has become more popular. Now there's a lot more access to internet so a lot more people can discover anime compared to before. Also, a lot of people have now grown up with at some sort of access to anime. The success of Pokemon over the world has a lot to do with it I think; and to a lesser extent other well known series like DBZ and Sailor Moon.

Video games have a part to play as well. After games like FF7, Zelda, Pokemon (again) which have very obvious anime influences, I think it's going to encourage interest.

Society in general has changed a lot and now things like cartoons, games etc. that were previously seen as only for children are being enjoyed well into adulthood and it's not shunned in the way it might have been in the past. The idea of "what's mainstream" itself is almost outdated because there is a much wider variety of interests that are now accessible to people that haven't been previously.
 

Girls with Guns

Combat Butler
I think just the presence of a fair amount of anime on the major streaming channels like Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc. has made it more easily accessible to the masses not familiar with anime, and thus helped make it more popular than it had been in the past. I had my first exposure to anime on Netflix back in 2012 when I was already over 50 years old; after watching series like Blood+, Last Exile, Chrome-Shelled Regios, and Angel Beats, it definitely cemented my love for anime for all time since.
 

RadFemHedonist

Thousand Master
I have no idea who this is to be honest but seems pretty mainstream.



Yep it's him just checked. Seems like a cool dude. (Also a hot dude, but that's secondary really) :) That was an extremely awesome video! :)

So I think others are right that anime has become more mainstream, but that's more mainstream, not completely mainstream - it's not as though it's completely saturated UK culture to the point where it has the same degree of recognition as the most popular homegrown or US stuff, except as also noted maybe Ghibli. @Eternal chibi is right about Pokemon and the general influence of video game culture. I'm not sure I have much to add rn tbh I just want to eat shortbread and nutella but I wasn't gonna just take the thread completely off topic lol. Pokemon and Ghibli were basically my anime gateway drugs (that and Kare Kano and FLCL which were the first anime series I saw properly from start to finish, and watched in Japanese with Eng sub) :)
 

WMD

Cardcaptor
Anime as an idea is way more mainstream in that an ever increasing number of people are aware of it even if viewership is still somewhat limited. But it's great to live in a time where we get to see that penetration into mass market with more films than ever getting some kind of cinema release. When I was at uni that seemed like something that might never happen.

On Lil Nas X theres a good article about him on the bbc about his rise in hip hop and coming out.
BBC News - Lil Nas X: Is the rapper the defining star of his generation?
 

Grimraven

Kiznaiver
AS others have stated

It feels more like it is at the border of being between niche and mainstream. It has definitely skyrocketed in terms of both popularity and accessibility, especially when you compare it to when i was young when i used to watch a few shows on Toonami.

This is largely thanks to the internet and streaming services that have come as they increased their accessibility. You can defiantly see its influence of western media as well as there are numerous references to popular kids shows and even live movie. A few shows have def reached mainstream status like Demon Slayer, AOT, Dragon Ball, etc.. Give it another decade and you can bet it will defiantly reach actual mainstream status in the sense that everybody in the new generation would know what it means.
 

Eternal chibi

Completely Average High School Student
Lil Nas X is the best. Hip hop and anime have been in love for a while now. Kanye was making Akira references in his Stronger video back in 2007. That song sampled Daft Punk, who also had an entire anime movie for Discovery back in 2000/2001, which was definitely mainstream. I remember seeing the music video for One More Time when that came out, that was pretty amazing!
 

serpantino

Thousand Master
I think just the presence of a fair amount of anime on the major streaming channels like Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc. has made it more easily accessible to the masses not familiar with anime, and thus helped make it more popular than it had been in the past. I had my first exposure to anime on Netflix back in 2012 when I was already over 50 years old; after watching series like Blood+, Last Exile, Chrome-Shelled Regios, and Angel Beats, it definitely cemented my love for anime for all time since.

My parents watch anime on netflix. It makes me cringe, that said if my children get into it and learn what some of the titles I have consist of, or are about, I imagine they will also be cringing :p
 
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