Why Is Anime So Popular? The 5 Key Elements


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Anime has become a popular form of entertainment globally, captivating viewers with its unique storytelling, engaging characters, distinct visual style, broad appeal, and accessibility.

With its ability to explore various themes and emotions, anime has managed to attract a diverse fan base that spans all ages and cultures.

Its popularity shows no signs of waning, and it continues to grow in popularity as more people discover the appeal of this captivating art form.

Key Takeaways

  • Unique storytelling: Anime often tells stories that are different from what we typically see in Western media.
  • Engaging characters: Anime often features characters with unique personalities, backstories, and character designs.
  • Visual style: Anime has a distinct visual style that sets it apart from other forms of animation.
  • International appeal: Anime has a broad appeal and is enjoyed by people worldwide.
  • Accessibility: With the rise of streaming services and online distribution, anime has become more accessible than ever before.

What Is So Special About Anime?

Naruto by Shueisha

It is currently estimated that at least 60% of the world’s animated series are of Japanese origin, so the influence of anime within pop culture is undeniable.

Anime culture has penetrated so deeply into society that Japan’s culture is more recognized for these productions than many other things.

But what makes it special? The answer lies in the audience. It turns out that anime productions usually have complex and deep plots, so it is common for the audience to fully immerse themselves in the experience.

In anime, the stories are told very peculiarly, where plots that are somewhat crazy and different come to light, no matter how risky they seem.

The truth is that Japanese animation studios know that they have a very diverse audience, so they have no problem experimenting with genres, plots, styles, and characters for all ages, from the youngest to the most adult.

The fan bases that these productions garner become extremely loyal. They go to the trouble of expanding Anime databases, creating encyclopedias, and theories, connecting events chronologically, and much more.

Anime producers often pay attention to fans’ cults to be able to extend their universes in other areas, such as movies (OVA), video games, toys, and collectibles, among others.

This group of fans is not only concentrated in Japan but is found worldwide, which is why anime is a popular phenomenon around the globe.

Why Is Anime So Popular in America?

Boku No Hero Academia by Shueisha

Traditionally the American market has been exceptional and, if you like, a bit difficult to conquer by other regions, especially at a cultural level, since this is a territory rich in culture, both at a musical and audiovisual level, without forgetting the animated productions of the region.

However, in recent decades, Americans have experienced a massive appetite for anime. These animations attract audiences of all ages and little by little, they penetrate into American pop culture.

This is because, currently, Americans can access content from other sources, not just from the big television networks.

With the appearance of the internet and independent channels, they have immersed themselves in this type of content. It is one of the reasons why anime is so popular in America today.

Likewise, you should consider that American productions, especially animated ones, are mostly predictable, so the novelty factor is lost. Many themes have little or no representation within traditional American pop culture.

The current popularity of anime in America can be measured by the number of people who attend the conventions each year.

In fact, the Anime Expo (and other anime conventions), which takes place in Los Angeles (USA), has the participation of more than 100,000 people in each of its editions.

Series like Sailor Moon, Death Note, Pokemon, Dragon Ball, and Naruto Shippuden, among others, have a large fan base in the American territory. 

Even an anime production managed to win a statuette at the Academy Awards in 2001: Spirited Away.

You can also see the influence of anime on American culture in other areas, such as the great “Matrix” trilogy, whose production is heavily inspired by the style of anime.

Likewise, in the movie Kill Bill: Vol. 1. You can see a complete sequence in anime as part of the story.

The stories told in each anime are refreshing, enjoyable, and even addictive. And being a type of creation that is continuously renewed in its plots, goes beyond the times to which they belong, and has great complexity, it is sure that it will become more popular in America.

Why Is Anime So Addicting?

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda and Shueisha

Many people have a place in their hearts for anime, but why did it become so popular? You can find the answer within this animated format.

On the one hand, the majority of the Anime fanatic audience is adult people. This sector of the population tends to have a busy schedule for daily routines. That is why the format of the Anime series is ideal for them.

Anime series usually last a little over 20 minutes per episode, so each episode is easy to watch and enjoy.

This reduced format makes it much more entertaining or easy to do a multi-episode marathon so that you can enjoy long-standing series in just a couple of days.

On the other hand, anime is available entirely through the internet, on online streaming platforms where you can view it legally. Besides, there is an extensive catalog of basically, any type of subject.

That is another point in favor of anime since it does not have a level of censorship as high as animations from other regions, so no matter what kind of tastes you have.

Nor can it be forgotten that, due to a large amount of anime created over time, without pauses, there are many endearing characters with whom it is easy to identify and their stories or plots.

It does not matter if the anime focuses on a universe where all people are half human and half cat; surely, you will be able to identify with any of the beings that appear there and take their lessons for your own life.

Even with a firm and severe personality, each character will be expressive in his own way due to the animation characteristics of the anime. This helps you understand, without the need for dialogue, each character’s emotions and reactions and identify with them on a human level.

Likewise, the animations that are made in this type of production are usually very detailed, with incredible beauty and visual impact, always accompanied by an emotional soundtrack and exquisite use of color and effects.

Each anime chapter is a work of art in itself, and this is one of the reasons that make it unique and addictive.

How Popular Is Anime In the World?

Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama and TOEI Animation

Currently, anime is one of the biggest referents in entertainment, being such an important phenomenon that many times they are adapted to Live Action versions with more or less success. That is why every day, more anime is released to the public.

Globalization is one of the main reasons for the entry of anime into the rest of the world, especially in the western world.

With the advent of cable television and later anime to different parts of the world, people were able to identify Japanese cartoons as “anime” and differentiate it from traditional children’s cartoons.

The animations’ design, the narrations, and their characters have left deep roots in the different countries of the world.

Currently, this market moves millions of dollars worldwide for the rights to transmit the series and for the manga, merchandising, elements for cosplay, collectibles, and much more.

And not only within Japan but also the production companies export their content to over 112 countries.

According to the Association of Japanese Animations, almost 90% of the world population is reached by some type of anime that exists today.

Since the 70s, these animations have been accompanying people of all ages. In addition to entertaining them, it also allows them to learn more about Japanese culture, which has been very attractive to most.

Among the countries where anime is most popular, China, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and Japan stand out. In these countries, most of the population watches anime series as part of their entertainment routine.

Anime Is Here to Stay

Although the detractors use unimaginable arguments, the truth is that anime became an extremely popular entertainment genre worldwide, to the point that Japan became one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world.

The industry has continued to grow. Although there are currently anime production companies in other parts of the world, it is doubtful that they will successfully remove Japanese anime from the throne.

More and more audiences have access to these animated productions, so it’s safe to say that anime is here to stay.

The reason why anime is so popular is that anime, as pop culture, creates truly dedicated fans. Anime as an art form and as a cultural phenomenon is easily picked up, and fans of anime tend to stay fans of anime for years to come. The humor, facial expressions, and how anime presents action and romance make anime extremely popular.

Feature image credits.



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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