Last Updated: March 30, 2023
Anime is a Japanese animation style that has taken the world by storm. People of all ages love it for its unique art style, compelling stories, and engaging characters.
But how many people watch anime? And what sets it apart from other styles of animation? In this article, we will take a closer look at some statistics about anime viewership and explore what makes this genre so popular worldwide.
Let’s kick it off with the top 10 statistics we stumbled upon.
Top 10 Statistics
- The anime industry is worth over £19.7 billion.
- Anime is the most popular in Japan.
- 33% of Japan’s population (41.5 million) watches anime.
- Anime accounts for over 80% of the sales of all content broadcast in Japan.
- North America is the biggest anime consumer overseas.
- Almost 18% of the United States population watches anime.
- Pokemon is the highest-grossing anime franchise of all time.
- Over 100 million people watch anime worldwide.
- For the first time, in 2020, the overseas anime market surpassed Japan’s.
- Producing one anime episode costs a minimum of £140,000.
What Is Anime?
Anime is a type of animation that originates from Japan. It is characterised by its unique art style, where characters often feature large eyes, colourful hair, and exaggerated facial expressions.
Anime is usually based on manga — Japanese comic books. These stories can be adapted into anime movies, television series, or OVAs (original video animations).
Modern anime began half a century ago with the establishment of Mushi Productions by Osamu Tezuka, who’s a leading figure in the modern manga.
Since then, anime has become a popular genre all over the world. In Japan, it is often considered a form of art, and the anime industry is worth over £19.7 billion.
There are many different types of anime to accommodate different tastes. So whether you’re into action, romance, or comedy, there’s an anime out there for everyone.
What sets anime apart from other animation styles is its focus on character development and story. This allows for a deep level of engagement with the characters and the world they inhabit.
Anime vs Cartoon
One of the main differences between anime and cartoons is their target audience. Anime is typically aimed at a teenage or adult audience, whereas cartoons are typically created for children.
Anime has a unique art style, with visually distinct features for its characters. This is in contrast to the more “realistic” style of animation seen in cartoons.
Anime mainly focuses on life issues and things regarding human emotion/existence, and it features more violent and sexual themes. In contrast, cartoons are more comical and appropriate for a younger audience.
Most Popular Anime
MyAnimeList ranks anime by popularity and updates its list twice a day. Here are the most popular shows right now:
- Attack on Titan
The anime was released in 2013, and it follows a storyline set in a world where humanity is driven to the brink of extinction after the emergence of giants. In February of this year, Attack on Titan was named the 4th most popular TV series globally.
- Death Note
This show is often referred to as the best one to get people introduced to anime. The story follows a teenage genius who discovers a mysterious notebook known as the Death Note.
- Fullmetal Alchemist
The series follows two alchemist brothers searching for the philosopher’s stone.
- One Punch Man
One Punch Man is set in a world where superheroes exist. The story follows Saitama, a superhero who can defeat any opponent with a single punch and is looking for a worthy opponent.
- Sword Art Online
This show takes place in the near future, where its two protagonists play through various virtual reality MMORPG worlds.
Let’s start with the obvious — Japan is the home country of anime, so naturally, it’s the number one consumer of the animation style. If you ever wondered how many anime are there — over 6000 anime shows exist, and more than half of them are made in Japan.
On the other hand, the Western world is also starting to catch on to the appeal of anime. In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of new anime fans. This is mainly due to the increased availability of streaming services like Netflix and Crunchyroll.
Anime is most popular in Japan, the Philippines, and Bolivia
It might come as a surprise, but people in the Philippines love anime. So much so that anime has been a consistent staple of Filipino pop culture for years. On top of that, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk, and One Piece were all animated in the Philippines through Toei Animation Philippines.
Bolivia might be a small country, but it has a large anime fan base. In fact, Japanese animation makes up a large part of the country’s entertainment industry.
33% of Japan’s population watches anime
The Nippon Research Center conducted a survey in 2019, where 33% of Japanese people stated that they often read manga or watch anime.
Japan has a population of almost 126 million, which means approximately 41.5 million people watch anime in the country. Demon Slayer and Attack on Titan are the most-watched shows in Japan.
Anime accounts for over 80% of the sales of all content broadcast in Japan.
North America is the biggest anime consumer overseas
Anime has become mainstream in the US. From Walmart to Netflix, all of the biggest brands have incorporated anime to cater to this new prospective market. Almost 18% of the United States population enjoys watching anime. This would give us a number of approximately 56 million viewers.
According to a poll conducted in the United States in January 2020, anime movies are regarded favourably by 27% of adults aged 18 to 29 years old. In contrast, older generations, especially those aged 55 or above, were less likely to like anime, and many hadn’t even heard of it.
Over 100 million people watch anime worldwide
Due to the lack of research and statistical data, the precise number of anime viewers isn’t known, but from what is available, we can conclude that more than 100 million people watch anime. This number, of course, doesn’t take into account illegal downloads and streams.
Pokemon is the most popular anime in the UK
Anime is not that popular in the UK as Britons don’t enjoy watching dubbed things or shows with subtitles. However, Pokemon is the most-watched anime in the country. For reference, Naruto is the most popular show in the rest of Europe.
Pokemon is the highest-grossing anime franchise of all time
Speaking of Pokemon, it is the highest-grossing anime franchise with an all-time gross of over $110 billion (roughly £87.45 billion). The franchise came out in 1996 and quickly rose to the industry’s top.
Licensed merchandise and video games added a huge margin to the total revenue. Pokemon is also the highest-grossing media franchise in the world.
Dragon Ball is considered the most popular anime
Dragon Ball is without a doubt, one of the most popular anime and manga series ever created. Since its debut, the manga has been sold in over 40 countries, and the anime has aired in more than 80 countries.
Over 160 million copies of the manga’s 42 volumes are circulating in Japan, and 260 million worldwide, thus making Dragon Ball the third best-selling manga series.
Dragon Ball’s story follows the adventures of the protagonist Goku, from his early days through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven mystical orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which can summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered.
The series has been highly influential, inspiring many artists, athletes, and celebrities. It has also spawned a media franchise consisting of video games, animated television series, trading cards, toys, books, apparel, etc.
For the first time, in 2020, the overseas anime market surpassed Japan’s
The global anime market refers to the sum of the markets within and outside Japan where anime is distributed. The overseas (non-Japanese) anime market has been growing rapidly in recent years, fueled by the popularity of streaming services.
In 2020, the overseas anime market surpassed Japan’s domestic market for the first time, with a total market size of £8.57 billion, compared to Japan’s £8.18 billion. This is a significant milestone, as it marks the first time that the Japanese anime industry has been reliant on foreign markets for its growth.
Belarus is the number one country in Europe where anime is the most popular
The term “anime” has been the most searched in Belarus out of all the European countries. In Europe, Naruto is the most-watched anime in 18 out of 43 countries. Pokemon dominates northern Europe, while One Piece holds the south. Finally, Naruto is most popular in eastern and central Europe.
Asia dominates the sales of exported anime content
Anime export regions:
- Asia — 50.5%
- North America — 30.2%
- Europe — 11%
- Others — 8.3%
Producing one anime episode costs a minimum of £140,000
There are so many different elements that go into the production of an anime show, such as the voice actors, animators, scriptwriters, and musicians.
Animators earn only around £500 per month for their drawings, while executive producers make approximately £63,500 a year.
Anime businesses have been found to violate labour laws by requiring their staff to work longer hours. Sometimes, this extra work can reach 400 hours (or more) per month, with no days off in between.
So, how many people watch anime? While the exact number is unknown, we do know that it is a global phenomenon with a passionate and dedicated fan base. We can confidently say that there are over 100 million anime watchers globally, and you can be the next one.
If you’re thinking of getting into anime, there are plenty of great shows to choose from! Just be sure to take breaks every now and then — after all, even Goku needs some time to rest!