Few years in, what has caught my attention?
I feel like I’ve been writing more in depth stuff such as the state of the industry lately confronting you with so much numbers that it boggles the mind. It also took me some research, but when you know the right sources, it’s easier to write something down that is of decent quality. Yet, I felt like I wanted to take a step back from the numbers for quite some time and therefore take the opportunity to reminisce about the approximately 5 years I’ve actively been watching anime to highlight trends I’ve spotted, combined with the few years of blogging.
In more recent articles I’ve stood still to take a look at the anime industry as a whole. It felt like more and more bloggers/vloggers and fans were jumping on the hype of the dying anime industry and that it would never return to its former glory. I’ve seen this voice grow louder and especially in the last 2 years or so.
This struck against my personal experience, I enjoyed anime a lot and couldn’t believe the industry was dying. Plus I really detest non sense arguments without proof. I missed the numbers, the background info. This deeply rooted sentiment should be retraceable to a certain source. In my own research, I only found data that countered the argument. I didn’t see a real threat. Yes, sales-numbers were declining, wages were just above the poverty level for many workers, but still there were no signs of the industry dying, soon meeting its demise just like the fax machine, the telegram and steam locomotive. Anime was very much alive, it was taking another course and was adjusting to it. The industry is a metaphorical oil carrier. It’s a humongous ship that can’t swiftly adjust course like a speed boat, it takes hours to adjust such a gigantic structure.
Anime itself had some very interesting developments as well. The trend set in motion by Sword Art Online, being trapped in a virtual world, was gaining speed. Anime isn’t the first medium that used this theme, but more and more anime were popping up afterwards such as Accel World, Log Horizon and BTOOOM! Many more I’ve probably failed to mention or have already forgotten due to the sheer amount that was coming out. I became disconnected with this genre. Sword Art Online was a decent series, but flawed in many ways. Accel World was equally flawed, but I think that’s more a personal taste issue that’s not directly related to the quality of the series.
Music has also taken a stand recently. The musical genre has been around for a long time and outside anime, Hatsune Miku remains every more popular and the Idolmaster games are well established alongside with Love Live. The most early anime that combined music with a story line in my viewing history was K-ON! A series that combined cute characters, a semi plot and music. K-ON! was a straight success for Kyoto Animation and also one of my personal favorites. Spiritual successor Hibike Euphonium took a more serious tone and left quite the mark within the anime community. P.A. Work’s attempt HaruChika wants to spice it up with mystery, but seems to fail at it.
The anime short was always around the corner in 2013. This format seemed to become the new standard. More and more anime became shorts, just a few minutes long. Aiura was a good example of how an anime short really delivered, but many others failed, remaining just a running gag. While they are still around, they are less prevalent than about 2 to 3 years ago.
A more tantalizing trend was the usage of fanservice which sometimes bordered, or even crossed, the annoying. The all too familiar slip and fall into girls chest or underneath skirt is perhaps one of the most notable. Fan service was always around, but it felt like this time around it was less subtle. At times it even became disgusting, with outright pedophilia lurking in the shadows. I’m looking at you Black Bullet. You disgust me. Yet it is all to known that sex sells, and that even goes for anime.
There were undoubtedly more trends to be seen in the last couple of years such as the massive light novel adaptations, the usage of CG and the rise of streaming services. If you have spotted trends yourself, please share it in the comments section.