The list of highest-grossing films in Japan shows that 9/10 of the top Japanese films with the most sales are Anime. What are the reasons that make that kind of art so successful?

  • I'd be interested to know why this was downvoted. Seems like a pretty good question to me.
    – Daemons
    Apr 3 at 2:33

1 Answer 1


You wonder why anime triumphs over conventional films in Japan. Here are some facts to back up the idea of anime being the preferred stories of all amongst Japanese people.

TL;DR: anime are for all ages, from kids to grown ups, and it's a reflection of Japanese values and traditions. It talks about folklore and mythology. Many stories emphasize the importance of family, friends, and teamwork. These are all important values in Japanese society. It also explores themes such as romance, friendship, bullying, difference, and many social issues. No wonder why mangas are on top of sales or market share (2022 : sales of manga accounted for 41.5 percent of the country's publishing market) and why anime top the list of highest-grossing films in Japan, only challenged by blockbusters like Harry Potter or Titanic.

In western culture, cartoons are seen as being mostly for kids. After a certain age, interest decrease. On the contrary, anime are for all ages. That's a very important part in their success. Stories and characters grow with their public, and/or address a large audience. Originally aimed at children, anime became more complex and sophisticated as a storytelling medium throughout the decades, making it increasingly compelling for adult audiences (including sex/pornography).

Manga content comes in a variety of forms, such as creative, funny, inspirational, artistic, philosophical, and even edifying. It depicts virtues, emotions, and vices, such as success through hard work, strong-spiritedness, self-denial, persistence, dedication, pluck, and unrequited love. Manga market size report

From The Cultural Characteristics and Cultural Output of Japanese Animation:

As a symbol of Japanese culture, Japanese animation often reflects its national spirit and values and has distinct characteristics. Through watching cartoons, the audience will be unconsciously influenced by the values conveyed in the cartoons while appreciating the beautiful pictures and interesting plots. Through the mirror of anime, we can see some aspects of Japanese national spirit and values.

Anime acts as a backdrop to social interaction, as explained here:

Many individuals are drawn to anime because they can empathize with what the writers and illustrators are telling their audience. There is so much to the stories than the eye-catching animation. There may be plotlines involving deities and supernatural elements, but these will be multi-layered, dealing with real-life dilemmas.

Anime series have explored problems such as bullying, homophobia, and gender issues for years. For any fan who might be suffering from anxieties, they can find their concerns being tackled head-on in anime stories. Discussing these can help people feel less isolated

There's a cultural significance of manga and anime that spreads all over the world:

Anime and manga have long been at the heart of Japanese culture and tradition, with a steady increase of popularity between the generations. Although anime and manga are most popular in Japan, over the last two decades, the popularity for anime and manga has also grown considerably in the USA and all across Europe.

One of the major reasons why anime and manga have stood the test of time and became so popular all over the world is because of their unique ability to grow with their followers.

Because of their closesness to Japanese culture and impact on everyday life, anime characters help teach language and culture skills:

Courageous, conflicted, cantankerous or just plain cute, the colorful characters brought to life in Japanese anime film and television can teach a great deal about the country’s culture, says Michael Arnold, incoming Japanese studies instructor at Washington State University.

Featuring vibrant, hand-drawn and computer-animated graphics, anime productions provide glimpses of Japanese life, values and social norms as well as everyday language and idiomatic expressions used in context.

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