The anime industry is often seen as a difficult nut to crack. Titles that top the charts are few and far between, and there appears to be little rhyme or reason about what propels them to such heights. In a niche market, though, titles such as these are the key to a healthy ecosystem. Their success ensures that profits continue to flow, and that risks can be taken with titles that focus on more specific niches within the customNami Thinkinger-base.

“Which means what, exactly?”

Well, dear reader, you may like to complain about shows like Bleach or Dragon Ball-

“And do I ever! Man, if I had a dollar for every time those shows made me groan out loud-”

Dear reader, stop. Please stop. You’re making my head hurt.

As I was saying, while people complain about shows like Bleach or Dragon Ball, they’re staples that are able to draw in viewers from beyond the core. They’re able to reach into the realm of first, and even second-tier refusers, to the point where merchandise like toys and apparel become viable avenues for profit.

“And how does that help?”

Well, dear reader, depending on the property, merchandise can prove to be an incredibly profitable venture, as it is primarily low-cost items that can fetch a high margin. Avenues for revenues open up, as a distributor is able to free itself from the shackles of a strictly DVD model.

What determines how a title can break this mold, though? How can one title be strong enough to rake in thousands of sales on plushies or cosplay gear, while another is doomed to rot on shelves? Why can one title make money hand over fist in Japan but die in America, and vice versa?

In the coming weeks, I will begin deconstructing a few of the bigger success stories and disappointments in the market. Through this, I plan to identify elements that stand out as remarkable, or capable of pulling in a larger audience. At the same time, I’ll be seeking answers to why certain presumable slam dunks failed to chart, and what leads certain titles to be dead on arrival in the west.