Over the past few years, we’ve seen many original anime shows from Japan released on Disney+ around the world, including “The Fable” and “Sand Land: The Series.” Disney has been continuing to grow its library of international originals, especially those with global appeal, like anime.

Recently, Takuto Yawata, head of Japanese animation at Disney+, took part in an interview and explained (translated)

“In 2021, the Star brand opened and we tried to refocus on Japanese content, including not only anime but also live-action.   Nowadays, Japanese anime is aimed at a limited fan base. It is a completely different genre and is leading the way in Japanese entertainment. Our service delivers works that can be enjoyed by both men and women, from children to adults. I’m hoping for a high level of engagement, but I think it’s a genre that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people.”

Audiences around the world are now embracing global originals; it’s clear that Disney has embraced that there is a market for anime, and it’s also a medium that travels very well, but generations have grown up watching popular Japanese shows like “Pokemon”.    Takuto Yawata went onto explain:

“There is no doubt that it has undergone a huge change from 10 years ago.Japanese anime is now entering a golden age.The size of the market has exceeded three trillion yen and continues to reach new highs. Compared to 10 years ago, things have changed from being aimed at a limited number of fans.”

The success of streaming services is also having a big impact on how anime continues to grow in popularity, especially with global distribution releases, as many of Disney’s anime shows are released globally across Disney+ and on Hulu in the United States.  Takuto also explained how this has made a huge difference on shows like “Sand Land: The Series”

A notable example is “Sand Land: The Series,”  which recently started distribution , and is gaining popularity all over the world. Of course, it has received a particularly strong response in Japan, but it is possible that it will be on par with that. We’ve received positive comments from people all over the world. We’re receiving comments from people all over the world saying it was interesting, and it’s hard to say which region is doing particularly well. A few years ago, the North American market was growing. So we focused on storytelling in a way that would be popular in North America, and in Asia, a different genre was popular, and we as creators were also conscious of the fact that it was popular in Japan, North America, and Asia. Nowadays, you can enjoy the same fun and excitement at the same time no matter where you are. Japanese anime has become so common around the world that I thought it was only for Japan. However, it has become accepted in every region.I think the market is mature enough now.

One of the many reasons why anime continues to grow is that its stories are very close to Disney’s own history with animation.

“The fundamental storytelling, the precision of the action, etc have not changed, but there may be a shift toward adopting more acceptable expressions. To be seen by many people, expressions that do not hurt or mislead people are a given. That is not a negative thing, but perhaps an evolution… Now that we’re distributing to a larger market with a service that can be viewed by adults and children at any time, our awareness is changing.”

Disney is still very selective about the anime it picks for a global release on Disney+ since it wants projects that appeal to as wide a base as possible. However, if upcoming new releases continue to become more popular, hopefully, we will see more anime arrive on Disney+.

Roger’s POV:   With the globalisation of original content becoming more common, it makes complete sense for Disney to take advantage of popular genres, and it’s become very clear that Korean dramas and Japanese anime are two of the leading types of international content that audiences around the world are enjoying.  Having local content that also performs well globally is the perfect result for any streaming service.

What do you think about Disney’s anime plans?  Let me know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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