Anime Expo Lite (Anime Expo 2020) – Eleven Arts Industry Panel: What You Can Do as a Fan to Help Bring Your Favorite Titles to North America

7:35 PM – 8:30 PM (PDT) | Channel 3 | Friday 3 July 2020

Panel Description: An explanation of the acquisition process and what goes into bringing titles from Japan to North America from a distribution company. Find out what you can do on your end.


Where you put yourself in the world speaks for you. 

If you want more anime and you have a following, that’s a great way to help bring things into the market. Even if you don’t have a following, you can make yourself heard by buying products and going to anime-centric events. 

Essentially: Go to conventions, go to social media -> remember that the more you interact with the market, the more the market will grow where you are. Because promoting the industry gets publishers and licensers interested in your area.

How The 90s Changed Everything:

Pokémon became huge in the west in the 90s. This was because children and adults became active consumers of the anime, games, cards, and other merchandise. Fans, by becoming active participants in the culture and purchasers in the market, brought more Japanese animation, manga, and media to the US. In fact, Pokémon was almost set to end with the first Pokémon movie but because of its huge fanbase, the series and company continued to grow to what we see today.

The Digital Boom of Anime: How Early Fans Pioneered Anime Distribution in North America

Fan-subs sweeps the internet, proving to the world that there is a market for the material in the US. People began uploading in Japan, and fans would take these uploads, translate, and distribute them. This showed that there was major and growing interest in the industry outside of Japan. Moreover, fan-subs showed dedication and passion to different brands. 

In 2007, anime became on demand as broadcast companies started distributing in Japan. Crunchyroll (founded in 2006), really started breaking into the market with longer series becoming some of their more popular licensed works (Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece to name a few), which brought people back to the site regularly. 

Following Crunchyroll’s example, other major distributors of online media joined the anime game, like Netflix, Hulu, Funimation, etc.. The market began snowballing to what we see today where things like simulcasting can be possible.

Case example: “Save Our Sailors (commonly referred to as SOS) was an online campaign centered around the first English dub of the anime. The members of the campaign were devoted to keeping the show on the air, with the ultimate intention of getting the entire series aired on television in North America.” [Source: Wikimoon; LINK]. The campaign had fans mass-purchasing Sailor Moon products for the US as a means to show that the market was still available and open in Western Markets. 

How can fans influence the anime community? 

Aside from buying products, promoting on social media, and attending conventions or anime events, fans can still do a lot to bring more media to North America. Sometimes creators or publishers will feature opportunities for fans to interact more with the market. One example is crowdfunding–a great source for anime creators who have passion projects that can’t get support from parent companies. There’s also direct messaging. If you are a fan of a certain series and looking for legal licenses or merch, don’t be afraid to message publishers, convention planners, etc. to show your interest!

Learn more about Eleven Arts on their website:

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