Now, more than ever, the rate at which anime is being consumed and produced has grown significantly. While many die-hard anime fans might like to credit that solely to the quality content and style of the anime genre, it likely has more to do with the rise in popularity of streaming networks and their process of continually searching out new content.
Because streaming platforms have become the new normal, threatening the existence of cable networks and even movie theaters, more and more people are digging through the depths of what they have to offer. As people are consuming more media content, in general, than they ever have, viewers are eagerly seeking out new shows or movies to get hooked on, and that’s where anime comes in.
Anyone who considers themselves an anime fan knows that it goes far beyond appreciating the aesthetic of a genre. What continually pulls viewers back to the genre is the effort that goes into both the art and storyline of most animes. Because of the growing demand, vintage anime, new ones, and those that have yet to be created, are being eagerly sought after by consumers, making it sort of a current media gold mine that has most networks trying to stake a claim in the genre.
The entire reason that people are even able to consume so much anime now is because of the structure of streaming services. Viewers are able to easily discover and have access, right at their fingertips, to new content, almost endlessly, because companies like Netflix and Hulu generally have suggestions and new content that is catered to each subscriber’s taste. Beyond that, because of the recent rise in popularity of anime, more companies and the pre-existing franchises of the genre are investing more money into creating even more anime so that the pattern of consuming such content can continue.
Easily the best thing about streaming networks being a place to watch anime is that it’s so accessible, which certainly explains the rise in popularity of anime in the last decade. Anime fans from decades before can recall having to rely on cable channels like Adult Swim, or various internet sources to watch many anime shows. Streaming companies host an entire collection of anime, with multiple episodes readily available to view, so subscribers are able to complete a series and hop to the next one, maximizing the amount of content that can be consumed.
What led to anime even becoming so available through streaming networks was the method that several viewers were using to watch anime before streaming came about. Many people, especially in countries outside of Japan, were pirating anime content, specifically to find it in a translated form. Since companies were losing money to this, it simply became a better option to allow access to their content to be streamed so that they could make a profit.
While there are clearly several perks to streaming anime, there are also some hesitations. One concern that many anime fans have had about streaming services becoming such a regular platform for viewing anime content, is that they inevitably join the game. Streaming networks, like Netflix, commonly begin creating their own stories in particular genres when they have had movies or shows in that genre doing especially well. After all, streaming companies, like all businesses (especially Hollywood businesses) are aimed at making a profit and will put their money where they know they will make it back, plus some. This said, several streaming networks that have proven their capability through the success of their original works offer hope and potential for the anime stories they could create, particularly those that are partnering with already established anime makers.
The easiest way to have the best access to the greatest library of anime is to subscribe to multiple streaming companies, but some are better than others in terms of quantity of options and available versions to choose from. Of course, with each streaming network having so many options for anime to stream, subscribers must first sift through which providers offer them the best options for anime content. There are essentially two types of streaming platforms in relation to this, anime-focused ones and mainstream ones.
For streaming platforms that are specifically for anime, most viewers are satisfied with Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, and RetroCrush. The best mainstream networks to consider for anime are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. One company that is worth keeping an eye on for entering the anime game is HBO Max, who has established a partnership with Studio Ghibli. Any anime fan is familiar with the impressive art and story of Studio Ghibli animes and thus, partnering with a network as successful and financially capable as HBO certainly makes for a promising team.
While there are bound to be concerns about the caliber of any content that becomes popular, hopefully the history, culture, and strong fan base behind anime is enough to keep it consistent. No matter what the future content of anime will look like, one thing’s for sure: its popularity status is sure to keep it coming.