The anime industry is apparently in some sort of trouble. Declining sales were a problem before this whole crippling global recession became reality. At least it said so in a thread here.
At first, I thought this could be some sort of sick Malthusian trap which would see new anime production almost cease.
Join me after the jump for a look at some charts and my general analysis of the past, present and future of new production.
This graph shows sales of anime related goods from 2003 to 2007 split into domestic and foreign based sources of sales. It becomes quickly obvious that foreign markets make up a small fraction of global sales, maybe 10% at most, and definitely not worth looking at as a market equivalent to Japan’s.
Let’s have a look at another chart here:
The anime industry’s sales seem to match up pretty well through 2007, which would mean in 2008 there would have been a massive decline in sales which would likely be unprecedented in percentage terms. Unfortunately, that data is unavailable. What I do have is the number of new series, movies and OVAs which were made by year.
After looking at that, it seems obvious to me that new anime production in this decade has probably been a bubble that was always going to burst. The fact that it seems to be trailing indicator only tells us that the Japanese economy is struggling.
So where do I think the industry will go from here? I would expect new production to level out at around 200 per year perhaps going well below that in the process. There also seems to be a sense of abandoning foreign markets with new shows generally focusing on moé and heavy fan-service which will be less likely to be licensed abroad.
Foreign licensors will likely shrink in number and in size as they will have to deal with a smaller pool filled with less appealing anime. There should still be a market available should there be a recovery in the industry, however.