Cowboy Bebop to Naruto – Glomping the Chasm


Before we jump into this post, lets cover the basics, scroll all the way down if you dont know more than two words in the post title.

GLOMP [gla-omm-p] : a sudden, loving bear hug. 😀

Now that we have cleared that up i just got back from my very first anime convention. SAKURACon in Seattle, WA. With an attendance of approximately 12,000 people SakuraCon is the 5th biggest event of its kind in America.

Why Glomp this Market: Anime’s are a growing industry, i think the driving factor for this is “alternate lifestyles”. The animations is great, the dialogues are funny, the bad guys are really evil but the possibility of a whole new world is what takes the cake.

This is similar to what happens in the comic industry, the idea of being larger than life, making a difference is the driving factor. Anime culture, because it is smaller, commands higher loyalty and close knit communities. This feature has stuck with it even as it has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years.

Also the worldwide industry is valued at $100 Billion. Yup, you read right.

Pictures from Sakura Con HERE or

Demographics: Anime’s have a primary target audience of middle and highschoolers. The older anime crowd was hooked in these years and the loyalty never fades. A great way to get an idea of the needs this demographic has, can be obtained by observing types of costumes, trinkets and speech used in these groups.

Cowboy Bebop Effect: Cowboy Bebop was the first widely known anime in the continental United States. It was not the first, maybe not even the best but it is clearly a name many Americans recognize. Big reason for this was that it was the first Anime to be broadcast on major TV network [Cartoon Network – Adult Swim] this brought in eyeballs [the golden basics]

Cowboy bebop brought in a whole new world to the young american audience. This was largely limited to Japanese video games [which involves a certain level of skill to enjoy] now there was a new media channel available to consumers that only required them to lay back and enjoy. The boom in online video technology did not hurt either and it is now the primary outlet for anime content.

Bebop got the ball rolling [as this crowd would say – got the Katamari rolling] and now the US alone expects a 200% annual growth in the market. [source]

Naruto – Face of Todays Anime: Naruto rules the anime ratings charts worldwide today. A story about an orphan ninja who brings out the best in everyone around him. This simple theme has been woven in with messages to lead a good life, help those around etc. making this appealing to parents too.

As of last week Naruto is now simulcast with Japans TVTokyo show times on Hulu.com

Marketing Lesson: Anime culture is here, its jumped the Chasm and is thriving. One would be really hard pressed to find a middle schooler in america that does not know the word anime or has watched atleast one series.

Marketing Anime is fairly easy but it can be botched, one has to always remember that this is Japanese culture, the appeal is for that lifestyle DO NOT try to americanize anime. Series like Afro Samurai with some of hollywoods biggest names have crashed and burned with consumers because they were perceived as imitation. Be true to its roots and reap the benefits.

Until next time
Namaste

Reference:
What is an anime convention? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime_convention]
What is Cowboy Bebop? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowboy_bebop]
What is Naruto? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naruto]

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