Predictions: Anime and Manga in 2010

Predictions for 2009 are here.

Predictions for 2010 are here . . .

Last year's Predictions: Last year I got anime mostly right – that it would be more online, more subs, and stay online.  What I got wrong is that Japanese companies were not as aggressive as I expected, and there seems to be little change in anime interest in Hollywood despite the DBZ mess.

This year's Predictions:

  • An increase in eManga (and e-comics) over the years.  Companies will look at this as one way to exploit (and check the appeal of) backlog.  Skiff and other mag-online technology, along with e-readers, will mean some experimentation with forms of delivery.  It's here to stay.
  • The modern mixture of anime online, specialty DVDs, and multiple sources of viewing is pretty much the model we'll see this year.  DVDs will be boutique items, as will be dubs. 
  • Crunchyroll will continue its slow climb to dominance and have no real competitor.  At some point this year it will go through some kind of change, reorg, something, to prepare for the future.  I expect it will be around for quite some time.  I also wonder if they may fund, be involve, or promote original activities and productions.
  • Hollywood will keep talking anime tie ins but we won't see anything noteworthy this year.
  • More and more internationalization and cross-country development of anime and manga – and the concern will be expressed the terms are "diluted."  Expect more work from Korea – and more concerns about "purity."  Many people will not care as the Japanese media style continues to influence America, as does it's derivatives.
  • Korea's prominence as an "outsourcing" place for animation, publishing, and so on will only increase.
  • Japanese companies are still biding their time and figuring out what to do in the American market.  Whatever they do, it will probably involve bringing in a few products here and there, followed by an onslaught.  Some will cultivate American talent for the market.


  • Yes, Virginia, there will be a big-screen North American anime movie adaptation put into production in 2010, and my money’s on Cowboy Bebop with Keanu Reeves. Furthermore, if they assemble the right creative team, this is the one that could buck the trend of ani-flops and become a solid hit. Another candidate: Death Note, especially if Tim Burton gets attached.
  • The industry will move increasingly toward distribution by streaming and away from DVD distribution – DVDs will become boutique items reserved for only the biggest titles, though paid downloadables will be available of almost all licensed anime. To keep themselves afloat financially, Funimation and Viz will both adopt a model under which all streaming content is either free and advertising-supported (with the ads appearing in the middle of the programming, like broadcast TV, and no, you can’t fast-forward through them) or subscription and ad-free.
  • Crunchyroll will be recognized as the third major content distributor in America and start striking its own exclusive licensing deals, mostly for lesser-known, older and niche content, as well as live-action dramas.
  • Dubs will join DVDs in becoming boutique items, and will be done only for top-of-the-line titles and those intended for distribution as children’s programming. Voice acting work will increasingly shift toward video games and North American productions – though there may be a bright spot if one or more of the anime companies recognizes the profit potential of translating the drama CDs that are popular in Japan, recording them with North American actors in the roles and selling them through iTunes.
  • There will be more East-meets-West partnerships between North American writers and Korean artists, following the successful manhwa adaptation of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride. A Twilight adaptation is already in the works. This could lead to a new class of American/Korean co-produced anime (which may catch on in Japan, where they seem to be starved for new, creative ideas).