I’ve been an anime for a very long time. When I was growing up, anime was a bit of a dirty word. Most didn’t know what it was, and those who did were either already fans, or absolutely repulsed by what it represented. Many of my generation didn’t know that shows like Voltron, Robotech, Starblazers, or Dragon Ball (Harmony Gold actually aired the first season on TV in the ’80s) were “anime”. We didn’t argue which dubs were better, or how accurate someone’s name was pronounced – hell, most of us didn’t care. We were kids, and we knew what we liked. These strange shows with huge stories, and characters that had big eyes and small mouths were different. They didn’t always end at the end of the episode, and the problems seemed so much bigger than before.
Over the years, many of us grew up. We’ve gotten careers, we’ve gotten lives, hell – some even have families! However, we still share a love of great anime. Some, like myself, have pushed forward, exploring everything anime has to offer. We’ve immersed ourselves, and kept eagerly anticipating what comes through the pipe. New shows, new experiences, and new fantastic worlds became the focal point for our hobbies. Unfortunately, there are also many who drifted away from the hobby. The programming changed, the scopes changed, and even the subject matter seemed to drift away from these people. As Japan’s tastes changed, these folks were left behind. And, as a result, they left to pursue other interests.
The question that’s flowed through my mind recently is “how”? How can we catch these lapsed customers? How appeal to those who left anime because anime walked away from them? And how do we show that there are still shows being made that capture the spirit of their salad days?
These are incredibly big questions, ones that can only be answered by looking at the facts, finding data, and uncovering the truth. It’s why I’ve begun writing business articles, and it’s why I’ve been reading through journals and tomes. If we can’t convince those who left that there is still a market for them, how can we expect to keep the current market, and prevent the same problems from simply repeating? If we keep on the trajectory we’re on, the same boom and bust progression will be doomed to repeat itself, as bursts of popularity lead to bullish markets, which lead to equally sharp contractions when people walk away.
There’s still time – even though many have fallen in a great recession, we need to find a way to show these customers that, like their younger fellow fans, they are still kings of the market. They’re still important, and they must be shown that they’re going to be taken care of today, and five years down the road.
After all customers have the right to be selfish. They’re the true rulers of the industry, and they have every right to demand what entertains them.