Has the world hit ‘Peak Anime’?
Disturbing if true: ICV2 has an article entitled, simply, Worldwide Anime Market Shrinking. In a lecture by TV Tokyo’s Keisuke Iwata, he noted that due to market saturation, illegal downloading, the worldwide recession, and the rising yen, “It is easy to imagine the global marketplace shrinking from 2010 onward." According to Iwata there may be little or no growth potential for anime sales outside of Japan and that the industry “may have to go back to the way it was in the past — back to selling Japanese animation only to the Japanese marketplace."
And with a market already glutted and the massive lead time and resources required to create anime, we should expect to see big crashes. Imagi Studios already had to get bridge financing to complete production of Astro Boy.
Anime News Network has reported that the total revenue of the Japanese anime industry rose rapidly from 2003 when it was estimated at 167.4 billion yen (about $1.9 billion), peaked in 2006 at $258.8 billion yen (about $2.9 billion) and then fell to 236.9 billion yen in 2007. Figures for 2008 aren’t available yet, but given the financial distress of many anime producers, another decline is a foregone conclusion.
Also note that Iwata’s market factors of market saturation, illegal downloading, and the worldwide recession apply equally to comics.