Chance Williams | Script Staff Writer
If you were to grab random people off of the street and ask them for their opinion on anime, you’d likely receive a plethora of mixed opinions.
For those who don’t know, anime, as defined by Oxford Languages, is a style of Japanese film and television animation, typically aimed at adults as well as children.
Although anime has been something that many people have encountered over the years, it has become more mainstream than ever in recent times. This is evident in the current number of Crunchyroll subscribers. Crunchyroll is an American distribution and publishing company with a focus on the anime market, as defined by Business Insider.
In Sept. 2012, Crunchyroll had 100,000 paid subscribers, meaning 100,000 people were paying to experience premium benefits on the platform. Crunchyroll’s active subscriber count first cracked one million in Feb. 2017. Since then, that number has increased by one million every year to now sit at five million as of Aug. 2021, according to Statista.com.
The ongoing pandemic has given people who were once unbeknownst to anime, a new genre of media to consume.
“Especially with the times… COVID… people have been stuck in the house. I feel like it’s a way to escape reality… something that’s fictional,” Tamir Jean-Charles, junior at Hampton University said.
“I feel as though [anime] is more accessible. With how social media and how the internet is… more people are becoming exposed to it,” Bryan Henry, junior at Hampton University said.
Tracing back to social media, and technology in general, applications such as Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube allow anime content to travel to millions of people with the click of a button.
Perhaps the most well-known example of this can be seen by taking a look at Youtube channels like RDCWorld1. RDCWorld1 is a collective of YouTube comedy content creators with over six million subscribers. In a video they posted over seven years ago, titled “When People Take Anime Too Far” the group played on common misconceptions about people who watch anime and added their own comedic spin. The youtube video now sits at over 24 million views. This feat was rivaled a year later, when the group released a sequel, titled “When People Take Anime Too Far Far Part Two” which sits at over 23 million views.
Speaking of these misconceptions, many who grew up watching anime have shared negative feelings toward the newfound craze.
“We all know how people thought about anime when we were kids. It was kind of weird and stuff like that. I feel for people that stuck with it and actually watched it as kids can get kind of mad because now you feel like it’s a personality trait. It is getting more popular which is good for anime, but I feel like people are jumping on a wave that they were [joking] on,” Jean-Charles said.
Jean-Charles went on to speak more about content creators.
“RDCWorld… they’re big on anime. Before they really got into pop culture, meeting Drake and the “Druskis” of the world, they were anime YouTubers. I was really into RDCWorld and guys like Lenarr.”
Henry, agreeing with Jean-Charles’ comments, spoke more about the communities that these creators have made.
“In social media, there are always certain communities. There was going to be an anime community… and people were joining. It was bound to happen.”
Speaking of community, perhaps the most frequently occurring way of influencing people to watch anime is through word of mouth.