Anime Industry Report Editor: 2021 Has Been a Year of Recovery – Interest


Anime Industry Report Editorial Supervisor Hiromichi Masuda held a presentation at AnimeJapan on Monday to outline current trends in the animation industry. The seminar drew on information from the 2021 Anime Industry Report by the Japanese Animation Association (AJA), but also briefly touched on developments since 2020.

While Masuda mentioned that numbers for 2021 are still coming in, he pointed to several areas of the market that have seen a notable rebound since 2020: movies, TV production counts, and live events.

In 2020, Japanese box office revenue saw a significant decline, except for one significant outlier: Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train, which was worth 38.7 billion yen ($313 million). The second best performer was Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s New Dinosaurwhich grossed 3.35 billion yen ($27 million) – less than a tenth of demon slayerthe amount.

In contrast, 2021 appears to have delivered strong results across a broader range of titles, including Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Once Upon a Time, BEAUTIFULand Jujutsu Kaisen 0. That’s partly because some titles have been delayed to 2021, though Masuda also said audience participation has generally improved since Japan’s state of emergency was lifted. There have also been fewer filming delays in 2021.

Similarly, the number of TV productions in 2021 has increased from 185 in 2020 to 199 in 2021. There has been some bleeding of 2020 titles delayed into 2021, but Masuda also pointed out that the number of TV productions is decreasing. since 2019 anyway (the peak was 254 titles in 2018). The revival of the TV anime will most likely happen in 2022.

Live events suffered the biggest decline during the pandemic, falling 65.6% year-on-year to 29 billion yen (about $254 million), but Masuda also mentioned that the situation has encouraged organizers to proactively pursue virtual and live-streamed events, which does not limit the number of people who can attend. This can potentially broaden the audience and introduce alternative revenue streams for the future.

While Masuda thinks the demand for physical events and real-life interactions will still exist, he’s unsure if the eventual resumption of the live concert will restore things to their pre-pandemic state. Physical and online events may coexist in the future. For the anime industry, which relies heavily on live events, this is an important issue to consider.

Regarding production studios, Masuda cited an anonymous survey from the Animation Industry Report to indicate that studios are still confident that they will continue to receive work in the future, especially from share of foreign streaming services. There has also been an increase in budgets, reflecting a broader understanding among investors that the industry needs more money to address common issues such as labor shortages. Despite the ever-increasing demand for anime, Masuda, however, pointed to the problem of foreign regulations. He said the anime industry is grappling with the question of whether freedom of expression can still be maintained when creating for international markets.

Nevertheless, Masuda concluded his presentation on an optimistic note: “The 2021 numbers are coming in right now, and they are clearly better than 2020. I think they will continue to increase in 2022. By way of In conclusion, I believe that Japanese anime will continue to spread its wings around the world. Please keep an eye out for future developments in Japanese anime.

2021 Anime Industry Report Background

The 2021 Anime Industry Report revealed that the broader anime industry (including merchandise, music, etc.) contracted by 3.5% in 2020, with a total market value of 2.4261 trillion yen (about $21.32 billion). Market value strictly for anime productions contracted 9% to 274.4 billion yen (about $2.41 billion).

By comparison, the market grew by 15.1% to reach 2.5145 trillion yen (approximately US$22.10 billion per current conversion) in 2019, representing a near doubling of the industry in over the past decade since 2009 (the preliminary report for the year indicated a market value of 2.5112 trillion yen for 2019, but the final report indicates a value of 2.5145 billion yen).

The market value of 2020 remains a high mark, just behind 2019 for every previous year since 2002, both in the broader anime market and in the narrower anime production industry. Nevertheless, this represents the first contraction of the overall market in 11 years since 2009.

The streaming market grew dramatically in 2020 by 35.8% year-on-year, with a total value of 93 billion yen (about US$817 million), and was also the only segment market to experience growth. Live entertainment fell 65.6% year-on-year to 29 billion yen (about $254 million). Anime merchandise also saw a decline of 0.8%, valued at 581.9 billion yen (about US$5.10 billion) in 2020. Overseas anime sales, which now account for about the half of the market, rose 3.2% year-on-year to 1.2394 trillion yen. (about $10.89 billion). In contrast, the Japanese market saw a 9.7% reduction, now valued at 1.1867 billion yen (about US$10.41 billion). This is the first time that the overseas market has overtaken the Japanese market.

Anime industry analyst, professor and journalist Tadashi Sudō provided comments on last year’s AJA report, including comments on the popularity of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba impacted 2020 numbers, rising production costs, labor shortages and the future of the industry.

Source: AnimeJapan Business Seminar


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