Can anyone who knows a lot about Japan's manga and anime industry clear something up for me please?
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22 / M / Aftokrator, Neigh...
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Posted 5/27/17 , edited 5/27/17
Look, I have autism, and as such I always want to know a cohesive set of "laws" for everything including the psychology of large amounts of people.

One thing that's been bothering me a lot about Japan's culture lately is something that makes one of my many cognitive distortions surface.

Based on my really limited amount of knowledge of manga and anime sales that I get from random CR articles... it seems that for manga, Shounen doesn't necessarily monopolize the market, but is without question the highest selling genre (what with all the Top 3 and possibly all the Top 10 all-time bestsellers being Shounen), but for the anime industry, even the best Shounen anime out there (such as Bones' phenomenal adaptation of My Hero Academia) get outclassed by every other genre. I've even read a lot of comments on CR about "How Japan only wants Moe or Slice of Life and junk".

I'm sorry, but I don't get why the same target demographic has radically different preferences across the two different mediums of entertainment. But hey, maybe I'm wrong and Shounen was never that popular other than that rare handful of smash hit manga.

If anyone magically knows how things work in Japan, it would be appreciated if you could respond or tell me if my impression based on what little knowledge I know is outright wrong.
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Posted 5/27/17 , edited 5/27/17
This is kinda a hard question to answer because there's no exact answer to it, but I'm going to try my best.

Shounen manga is popular because it's basically Japan's equivalent of, say, comic books. And we know how popular comic books are so Shounen's popularity kind of makes sense. But, it's not that popular (to the point where it beats every other genre by a long mile). There are plenty of other manga genres that are becoming a lot more popular like romance, fantasy/magic, etc. that I'd say may even be more popular in Shounen sales wise. There've been some really successful Shounen manga sure, but not quite all of them are that way.

Another thing is that, typically, Shounen anime is almost always an adaption of a manga. Not always, but usually, in hopes that everyone who loved the manga will come watch the anime. (Once again, it's not always the case, but it happens pretty often)

The thing is that Shounen's demographic isn't a broad one compared to, say, Slice of Life or romance or comedy. Those last three genres tend to appeal to far more people whereas a lot of people (in Japan, at least) aren't as interested in Shounen. So even if it is a popular Shounen manga that was adapted (like Naruto), unless a wider audience takes interest in it it usually doesn't take off.


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Posted 5/27/17 , edited 5/28/17
I don't know that your starting points are correct or not, but think of it something like this:

What demographics typically buy a *ton* of Western comic books?

OK, now what demographics watch TV? (Nearly everybody)

Which demographic is larger and more diverse?

I suspect a far more diverse and larger number of people have seen the Lord of the Ring movies compared to those that have read the books.

Factors: Barrier to entry is lower in visual adaptations, and gratification faster. Comics are weekly, monthly or even longer spaced. Books can have years between them. You typically have to buy a lot of physical items to store or have a subscription, and spend the many hours/weeks of time reading. With TV and movie adaptations, you sit there and watch it for a few hours and you're done.

Edit: Anime is also regarded (rightly or wrongly) as "the big time." A manga can be popular for years before getting an anime, but *lots* of people won't be interested in it until it's deemed popular "enough" to warrant an anime adaptation.

Popularity and its perception carries weight.
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Posted 5/27/17 , edited 5/28/17

Look, I have autism, and as such I always want to know a cohesive set of "laws" for everything including the psychology of large amounts of people.

No one really knows whats going on. Someone comes up with something that sounds good. Everyone goes with it and just sees how it will work. Someone complains its not working and gets ignored because the guy who proposed this doesn't want to look stupid. Said stupid methods continue and they try patching it to make an unworkable system work until the guy leaves then they scrap it. Repeat.

Usually no one knows whats going on and stuff just falls into place over time.


Based on my really limited amount of knowledge of manga and anime sales that I get from random CR articles... it seems that for manga, Shounen doesn't necessarily monopolize the market, but is without question the highest selling genre (what with all the Top 3 and possibly all the Top 10 all-time bestsellers being Shounen), but for the anime industry, even the best Shounen anime out there (such as Bones' phenomenal adaptation of My Hero Academia) get outclassed by every other genre. I've even read a lot of comments on CR about "How Japan only wants Moe or Slice of Life and junk".

Shounen appeals to kids and teens who are major consumers of that media. As people grow up some become FUCKING NORMIES who stop liking anime/manga due to worrying what others think.



Japan has a major population and dating problem. Males have trouble finding dates so they get WAIFU's and watch Moe/Slice of life to fill the gap. These people are sometimes like this because they work 12 hours a day and have no time for getting a life but have plenty of disposable income. So they buy lots of the stuff to fill in the gaps in their life. Guess what they turn to buy? Waifu's.
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29 / M / St.Louis
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Posted 5/28/17 , edited 5/28/17
Because the people who watch shounen anime can't afford to buy it.
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26 / M
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Posted 5/28/17 , edited 5/28/17
Simply put, this happens because they're not the same target demographic.

The people buying the DVD/Blurays are adult otaku who have the money for these insanely over priced discs. Their money tends to go towards the shorter, late night series that they can conceivably buy in full even at 60$ per 2-4 ep disc. Very few people however are going to buy all of Naruto or One Piece at that price even if they are a fan of the series.

Manga on the other hand is much more reasonably priced so kids can buy the latest issue of Jump with their pocket money (or nag their parents for it). These same kids may also watch the anime adaptations on TV but arnt going to by the dics. After all, the long running prime time anime aimed at kids arn't aired to encourage disc sales, they're aired to encouraging toy sales.

Long running series like the ones in Jump also still have an appeal to the older audience who've been following them since they were kids so shounen manga gets the benefit of sales from both kids (the primary target demographic) and adults that are still in to anime/manga whereas anime disc sales come almost exclusively from a small subculture of adults.

Off topic but somewhat related:
The vast majority or anime we are familiar with in the west or late night anime. Day time anime tends to be things like doraemon and sanae-san that westerners are not that familiar with since the target demographic is so far removed from what most western anime fans would watch. Even if the show is clearly kid friendly it likely runs late at night since a cheap late night slot simply makes more sense financially for franchises the are not already an established success (the marketing strategy for anime has changed quite a bit in the last decade or two, this is also the reason you dont see alot of new mega long shows starting up anymore). While recording a show and watching it the next day is of course an option, I'd image this also contributes to the perceived discrepancy between whats popular in anime and manga.
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