The World Is Watching More Anime—and Streaming Services Are Buying

The pandemic is helping Japan’s demon slayers, monsters and robots make the leap to the global market.

Animated video in the Japanese style—aka anime—has long been a niche taste for fans in the U.S. and elsewhere, and some anime films such as those by Hayao Miyazaki have become mainstream hits.

Now, with the pandemic putting a premium on escapist video content, the business is getting hotter. Streaming services such as Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s Amazon Prime are scouring the globe for fresh content, from documentaries to calming videos, and anime has an advantage over live-action content because it doesn’t require actors and crew to expose themselves to virus contagion.

With the latest anime hit bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in Japan, industry players say the next year is likely to bring more deals and more content for the U.S.

“I used to have the sense that the anime category was spreading widely around the world, but what we’re seeing these days is a big leap beyond that,” said Taiki Sakurai, Netflix’s chief anime producer. “The global anime fan base is expanding rapidly.” WSJ

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