There's been a lot of talk lately about the "anime bubble" and how it has burst. Some are blaming it on piracy, and others on the declining quality of anime in recent years. Whatever the cause, recent news from Oricon indicates that the worst might be behind us.
DVD and bluray sales in Japan increased 6.8% in the last year, thanks largely to anime. Furthermore, bluray sales alone increased 500%, with anime making up 60% of that figure. Bandai saw a 5.2% increase in sales, and Aniplex's were up 4.7%, catapaulting both companies into the top 5 market share of Japanese media makers.
So, what does this mean for the anime industry? Well, it looks like it has entered a recovery, albeit a very slow one. In the last few years, most studios have been playing it safe by churning out an endless stream of slice-of-life and moeblob shows, which (despite their general lack of quality) tend to sell well. Hopefully, this increase in sales will convince a few directors and producers to start taking a some more risks with future productions. It might be a while before the industry is confident enough to make the next Macross or Gundam... but at least they're well along the road back to prosperity.
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