It may seem odd that as of late I’ve posted about animation, but my recent activities have put me in touch with some worth discussing. My recent speaking engagement at Fanime 2018 gave me a lot to think about – because there’s some insights into where anime and animation may be going.
One of the things I do every con is scope out what’s popular in cosplay and the artists alley. It gives me an idea of what’s going on, what’s popular, and what we may want to pay attention to. What I saw has me thinking about a few shifts in anime, animation, and gaming.
My Hero Academia
This superhero show – deserving the praise it’s received – was huge. Plenty of cosplayers. Plenty of merchandise. It was pretty much the dominant anime at the convention.
This has me wondering if the show gets a wider distribution or viewership if it’s going to be the new gateway anime. I can’t think of anything that truly fit that definition for years (but see below), but MHA could well be it. If we actually have a new gateway anime that’s a cultural game-changer, meaning more people get interested in the broader anime-and-related scene.
Land of the Lustrous
I only just started watching this gorgeous, hard-to-describe show about living gemstones in a strange world. I have had friends recommending it, but started watching it because it was far more represented at Fanime than I expected. I had been concerned that the “limitation” of being on Amazon would affect it, and apparently I was wrong about that or the word “limitation.”
If this representation indicates penetration, that’s excellent news for both Amazon and for unusual anime – because LotL may look like a CGI action anime/magical girl thing but it’s certainly not. I have trouble describing it. At this level of attention I suspect it’ll remain a fixture for awhile and shows there’s an appetite for more unusual things out of Japan.
Yuri On Ice
The famous skating sports drama/romcom was less represented this year, but still holding on in cosplay and merchandise. Considering how it’s been represented in the Olympics, it still reaches people. I consider it a minor gateway anime if only due to exposure.
But it’s not going away at least in American fandom.
Overwatch was still well-representated in both areas, though I saw slightly less Cosplayers. I think Overwatch is not only popular (in a justified way) but clearly its cast, its character designs and character “skins” encourage cosplayers. Anyone doing a game wanting mindshare should keep cosplayability (which is now a word) in mind.
Fire Emblem, the game series, was also very well represented. With a huge cast over many games, and a prominent current one, I met many cosplayers who’d dressed as characters from the series. Again cosplayability and interesting characters brings mindshare.
Of course back when FFX-2 came out, it was clearly cosplayable. This is just following in those footsteps.
So there you have it. I think we have a new potential gateway anime, Amazon’s investment in LotL seems to have brought interest and passion, and characters and cosplayability produce some real passion.