Why (and how) anime imposed themselves in the serial universe?

Like the manga from which they are adapted, animated series have been a real hit in recent years. Between easier accessibility and changes in the public, analysis of a genre that continues to grow in France.

In France, one in two comics sold is a manga. And this figure increases every year, whether thanks to the culture pass, the multiplication of titles or their anchoring in the pop culture of the 2010s and 2020s. Of course, the popularity of manga has led to that of their anime adaptations. The opposite is also true, as access to anime has been made easier in recent years. Demon SlayerAttack on Titan, One-Punch Man… All of these manga series and more saw their sales skyrocket when their anime adaptations were released. Today, a series adaptation is decisive for the popularity of a title, because that is where the majority of the public goes in the first place.

Demon Slayer.©ufotable

This has also evolved considerably since the appearance of the first series in France, in the Dorothee Club, in the 1990s. While manga and their transpositions on television were popular especially among young boys, the audience has greatly changed in 30 years. Gone are the days when lovers of naruto were in the minority in the playground and singled out by the popular class. Today, the most popular are precisely those who know all the anime of the moment, boys as well as girls. A trend that emerged in 2015, with the appearance of titles that have become cult for the latest generation of viewers, My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man on your mind.

The place of platforms in the popularity of anime

The accessibility of anime is also decisive in their newfound popularity. Where the first amateurs of the genre had to turn to the physical format (VHS at first, then DVD) to be able to get their hands on more specialized titles, the current public can access almost everything and anything. in just a few clicks. Streaming platforms very quickly sniffed out the bargain and started churning out anime adaptations en masse.

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One-Punch Man.©Netflix

Netflix, for example, quickly realized that they were much cheaper to produce than American series, even though they are often just as or even more successful. Many Netflix Originals are anime: Baki, Devilman Crybaby, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Shaman King… Many classic and cult series are also present on the platform, enough to attract and seduce fans. There are titles such as Naruto, Detective Conan, Assassination Classroomor The attack of the Titans. Today, being an anime fan is almost too easy. So the public throws themselves on this ubiquitous content.

Above all, there are several platforms dedicated to anime, such as Crunchyroll, DNA, or Wakanim. Their establishment on the French market has also profoundly changed the way of consuming Japanese animation. They have made simulcasting their specialty, allowing episodes to be viewed 24 hours after their release in Japan. ADN, the market leader, has more than 100,000 subscribers in France, and Crunchyroll and Wakanim had more than two million worldwide before their merger in March 2022.

A genre reassessed by the general public

To realize the anime boom, just look at their impact on manga sales. Matthieu Pinon, co-author ofHistory(ies) of modern mangaexplains that before his anime exploded on Netflix, the blockbuster JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure sold only 1,400 copies per year on average. A real jerk! But, in 2020, the series exceeded one million copies sold. Another example, One-Punch Man did not interest any French publisher before the release of his anime. When it shattered all records, Kurokawa launched an express release and broke the record for the best debut for a manga, with over 60,000 copies sold in the first week.

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naruto.©Shueisha

It’s a virtuous circle. Thanks to the Internet, many series have had enormous success internationally and in France. Publishers are then inspired by this popularity to acquire the paper manga, and its success can also bring new popularity to the anime. And for the first time, the French media see the thing in a good light. In each generation, anime have suffered from a bad reputation in the general media: too violent, too stupid, too ugly in comparison with French productions. Today, contempt is no longer the overriding sentiment in critics. One only has to see the treatment that has been reserved for The attack of the Titans (to name only him) in general titles to be convinced.

But this trend has not been exported worldwide. The big producers of animated series in France and the United States have kept their techniques and their more cartoonish style. There is indeed the animated adaptation of Lastman, a French comic strip which was already inspired by the manga. His anime was produced with the same ambition, and the success was not there. With the multiplication of the number of French manga published, we can expect to see anime adaptations produced in France. No project having been launched for the moment, it will be necessary to be satisfied with Japanese productions for a few more months.