Prologue: A Rough Story of the American Anime Landscape

As the title implies, this is a rough story – we will be refining this in the coming weeks, as more discussions on story and market narrative take place.

Come one, come all, for tonight is story night! Grab a drink, pull up a chair, and sit back, as we tell the story of anime in America.

Deep in the entertainment culture of Japan, there exists a unique medium, unlike any other. This special medium allows the fantastic to become reality, and the impossible to become possible. Globe-trotting pirate adventures and heated robot battles come to life. Tales of incredible surgeons and deadly assassins, high school rejects, and ninja nonsense all live in the realm of possibility.

The magic of animation, combined with a distinctly Japanese sensibility combine to form an experience that has yet to be matched abroad. Through America, a following has developed around this magnificent medium. Those who are taken by the stories the adventures, and even characters have bonded together into a sort of kinship. This group numbers in the tens of thousands, though they share a unique closeness that isn’t seen among aficionados of other hobbies. Fans greet each other at events and in public in the way they’d greet a close friend or family member.

This is far from a complete narrative. Hell, it’s not even a good narrative. Still, it’s an early example of the stories we should be telling. The message is clear, concise, and offers a positive idea of what to expect from the market. They’re the arguments that could easily be remembered and repeated by the greater market, and they’re consistent with the message that we, as consumers, have been telling ourselves for decades. As consumers, we are the kings of the market. And, because of this, we are the experts, we are the drivers of ideas, and we are the ones who influence decisions. However, we can only exert these influences if we become strong storytellers among those we communicate with.

About the author

Samantha Ferreira

Samantha Ferreira is Anime Herald’s founder and editor-in-chief. A Rhode Island native, Samantha has been an anime fan since 1992, and an active member of the anime press since 2002, when she began working as a reviewer for Anime Dream. She launched Anime Herald in 2010, and continues to oversee its operations to this day. Outside of journalism, Samantha actively studies the history of the North American anime fandom and industry, with a particular focus on the 2000s anime boom and bust. She’s a huge fan of all things Sakura Wars, and maintains series fansite Combat Revue Review when she has free time available. When not in the Anime Herald Discord, Samantha can typically be found on Bluesky.

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