The Future of Mainstream Anime (Should we fear it?)
Hello minna-san! I’ve decided to touch upon this topic after hearing the news about the Bleach anime ending on March 27th. It has made me realize that “all good things must come to an end” (that’s if you think Bleach was ‘good’) but when you put that thought towards a larger scale. What will happen in the future when all the greats like: Bakuman, Gintama, Natsume Yuujinchou, Naruto, Bleach, Hunter X Hunter, Prince of Tennis and many others come to an end? What will we perceive as ‘mainstream’ in the future? The world of moe, loli’s, ecchi and magical school girls are gaining more and more popularity within Japan (because they love that shit). As such, there was been a decline in shows that the most of us look forward to each season and I’ve decided to change my thoughts into words for you guys to read and what I think the future of main stream anime holds for us. You can check out Feal87’s thoughts on this topic by clicking on the hyperlink.
What Is Mainstream?
With my understanding of mainstream. I perceive it as a show that has the potential (or already has) in becoming well-known and popular not just in Japan but around the world. Shows like Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Soul Eater, D.Gray Man, Gintama, Fullmetal Alchemist (including Brotherhood), Sailor Moon, Ghost In the Shell, The Gundam series, Cardcaptor Sakura, Pokemon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Crash Gears, Beyblades and much more are considered mainstream due to their outstanding amount of popularity and how well-known it is amongst the majority who live on this planet. This also includes popular manga series like Bakuman and of course Naruto and Bleach (which the anime was adapted from) and not to mention Fairy Tail too which is also a popular anime that is also considered mainstream. I know that Ao no Exorcist can be considered a mainstream manga series because of its huge popularity but manga isn’t my strong point and I hardly know anything about the manga world.
Stereotypically we distinguish mainstream as “super long shows that have heaps of action” then we put examples in like Naruto, Fullmetal, Bleach and so on. The majority of mainstream animes consist of the action genre because it’s a genre you can lure people in easily but to keep it consistent and popular with a long run is difficult. I prefer to think of a mainstream anime as an anime that has gained popularity around the world and possibly well-known too depending on the amount of information that flies around. Shows like Clannad could be considered mainstream due to how popular it is but the definition of ‘mainstream’ is debatable and varies amongst each individual. Maybe you think action animes are mainstream or shows that run for more than 50 episodes are mainstream? Maybe your perception of a great anime makes you think it’s mainstream? There’s really no solid definition and from rallying up the possibilities I think ‘popularity’ is the most accurate in determining whether an anime or manga is mainstream or non-mainstream.
The Anime Of Today As We Know It
So who’s noticed how basically half of the shows in nearly every season is made up of the moe, ecchi, loli kind of cheap slice-of-life, school-life romance with big boobs and perverted boys who get all the girls in the end with fanservice filled to the brim? For those who do enjoy this stuff, that’s completely fine but I personally have seen an increasing popularity within Japan for these kind of stuff and due to that popularity, anime stereotype has gone from “anime is all about action like Naruto! It’s so cool!” to “anime is all about little girls and panties” which I have personally heard from people in the area I live in that don’t watch anime. The anime industry has lost reputation amongst those who don’t watch anime and you can even say, anime is dead towards them. I know that my friends always say I’m watching hentai because they believe ‘anime equals hentai’ with the growing popularity of such shows.
I feel that the image anime is giving in today’s society is way too one-sided when really there’s heaps of shows out there that aren’t full of moe, ecchi, panties, little girls, perverted boys and big boobs. Really like reality tv, there are different genre’s and the same goes for anime. But the only shows which help fight against this new stereotype are the current mainstream animes well known around the world like Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Gintama, Soul Eater, Fullmetal Alchemist and etc. We will remember the shows that have ended and consider them as the ‘classics’ and the ‘all time greats’ in anime history but what will happen when these pillars that hold up anime is gone? What will hold up the pillars of tomorrow?
The Feared Future Of Anime and Manga
I’ve always had a thought that many non-anime viewers also perceive anime as ‘cartoons‘ and when they think of cartoons, they think of kid shows; stereotyping anime as shows for kids when really there are heaps of anime out there that aren’t meant for kids at all. In today’s society, we can defend anime and we can continue to defend anime for what it really is in the future yet if the anime’s and manga’s we know of as mainstream disappear, what will take over? We see more and more series taking the 13/26 episode length with only a small handful of shows being able to exceed that amount. Whether or not it’s a good thing is up to you but you can definitely see the decline in long running shows. Will anime no longer exceed over 50 episodes and still remain entertaining? How will the future of anime look when all we’ve got is 13 episode running shows? I know that in the anime industry, there will always be new works coming and going but I’ve also seen potential manga’s or anime’s that could become as popular as mainstream anime of today either fail to do so or is passed off before they had the chance to do so.
I think we can all agree that Guilty Crown (if done extraordinarily well) would’ve had popularity for how good it is instead of being popular for how disappointing it is. Of course, the Japanese anime industry is still mainly focused on their own people than delivering anime for the world to watch and I can imagine the majority of them loving Guilty Crown. Even Ao no Exorcist would’ve became a really great and potential mainstream anime series if they didn’t decide to adapt it so soon and I do hope they’ll do something like Fullmetal and make a ‘Brotherhood’ where the anime will closely follow the manga and potentially live on as a mainstream. As for the manga side of things, has anyone heard of Oumagadoki Doubutsuen (Doubutsuen translates to Zoo)? Bass did a recommendation post on it once but unfortunately the group that decided to translate it stopped after chapter 25. It finished with 5 volumes (being cut short) and it’s something I personally thought had the potential to become mainstream but failed to do so like Guilty Crown. It wasn’t disappointing but because it was cut short, that potential dies along with the story. There will be reasons behind having a manga or anime cut short but whether or not it’s because the new market looks towards the moe, loli crap that it was taken down due to unpopularity is also plausible.
Being able to keep a series innovative and achieve the status of mainstream becomes harder and harder to do so long as time continues to tick. It is evident within the shows we see come out each season and it will most likely get worst. As much as you hate or love Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Carcaptor, Fullmetal, Gintama, Hunter X Hunter and etc, you cannot disregard their success and popularity around the world. They will live on as the greats and role models for future mainstream anime but whether or not the future successors can pull off the same amount of entertainment is unlikely but possible. The fact that anime as we know it can crash and burn in the future is plausible. This does not mean that it will crash and burn but can you name any potential series or manga’s out there that will become the new ‘mainstream’ after the current mainstream anime’s and manga’s end?
I personally can see myself dropping anime for good if all we’re seeing is continuous fanservice anime’s and manga’s for the reason of being fanservice and nothing more. Have you seen Rio: Rainbow Gate? Have you seen Highschool DxD? Have you seen Papa No Iukoto Wo Kikinasai? If you have and enjoy it, I want to ask you this. Can you imagine the future of anime depending on these kind of shows? Can you imaging mainstream to have gone so low as to having these kind of shows being the new ‘mainstream of today’?Will we lose long running series? The future of anime is scary but like most optimistic people out there, I want to hope that the world of anime we understand and know will continue to live on in the future to come.
So what do you guys think of this? Do you believe we should fear the future of main stream anime and manga or do you believe the anime reputation will rise once more? Do you know of any potential anime’s or manga’s that can become the new pillar for the future? What is your understanding of mainstream? Whatever it is you want to say on the topic, please do comment down below. Also, I hardly write up these kind of posts so if I’d like to ask for your forgiveness for how ‘raw’ or maybe even complete nonsense and waste of time it is.
Till next time minna-san!