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Do Americans love anime? Yes!

Do all Americans love anime? Maybe not so much. It depends on what specific titles you’re talking about when working with a U.S. audience.

If you ask the average child in the United States about their favorite Pokémon, you’ll get plenty of Eevee and Pikachu answers. When you ask about the last show or movie that they watched from the franchise, you might get a shrug.

Although modern anime is essentially a domestic cartoon, the American market separates it for classification purposes. That’s half of the problem. Many kids grew up on titles like “Naruto,” “Dragon Ball Z,” and “Pokémon.” To them, the shows aren’t anime. It’s just a cartoon that they loved.

It Would Be Fair to Say That Anime Is a Subculture

When you start talking about anime in the United States, you must separate the mainstream fans from the otaku. Although the term is frowned upon in Japan by many, Americans own the title.

It’s fair to compare the otaku to people who prefer goth or punk.

If you combine both groups, you’ll get about a 60/40 split between people who like anime compared to those who do not.

When you only take the subculture that calls themselves otaku, that rate is approximately 1 in 200 people in the under-18 age demographic. For adults, that figure is even less.

Although anime is more accessible today thanks to the Internet, Netflix investments, and English language productions, it grows in popularity.

An excellent way to measure anime’s popularity is to look at manga sales. Those who watch the productions seriously often seek out books and comics to fill the gaps between episodes. Most sales happen during the Christmas holiday, with “My Hero Academia” titles providing a significant boost to sales.

That trend happened because of related episodes streaming on Hulu.

With the added accessibility, anime will continue to grow as a part of American culture. It won’t reach the status of Elvis or The Beatles, but it will undoubtedly be large enough we cannot ignore it.

Scott Larson