With Shomi now being available to anyone in Canada and not just Shaw and Rogers account holders, the shift toward internet based streaming services over traditional cable continues to grow. With Netflix, Shomi, CraveTV and many others around the world all trying to get exclusive content we are seeing some interesting things happening in comic and anime culture. In the past, animated shows were restricted to the Teletoon network or YTV and as such were generally considered to be for children with only the most hardcore fans aware of what amazing stories were being told through the medium in Japan and North America. These fans relied on bootlegs, and poorly dubbed versions to be able to watch them. However, these growing streaming services have begun to change all that.
Netflix and Shomi have dedicated areas for anime and they are not under the “family” or “for children” categories. This simple change along with the ease of access that these service bring is allowing a much larger audience access for these mediums to grow, and grow they have. In the past there were a select few that I could ever talk about these shows with, others didn’t understand and thought I was wasting time watching “cartoons”. Now it seems that most people (especially around my age and younger) are more and more aware of these shows. It amazes me every time I tell someone new about Low Five and what we are about, they start talking about their favorite shows and manga: Death Note, Naruto, Akira, etc.
This has not only increased the awareness of Japanese anime but also North American animated series and movies as well. Netflix for example has many awesome Batman, and Superman animated movies on it that are definitely not intended for young children. Check out The Dark Night Returns on Netflix and you will see what I mean. Oh and I can’t forget my favorite animated show of all time “The Last Airbender, an amazing American animated show, definitely inspired by Japanese anime, but makes it uniquely its own; also on Netflix. ” (Don’t talk to me about the movie, it never happened… I’m still so bitter…).
A rise in female audiences can also be contributed to this vast increase in availability and variety of shows. Shows that are created strictly with females in mind can be found everywhere on these streaming sites. Ouran High School Host Club is a good example if you are a female that is interesting in dipping your toes into the genre (netflix). No longer are you stuck trying to enjoy a show where half of it is men screaming while they power up.
Alright so the audience is becoming larger, respect for the art may be increasing, but how can we say that it is actually having effect on our culture? Well, it kind of already has. Leaving superhero movies aside, Hollywood has a history of making movies that were inspired wholly or in part by animated shows and manga/comic books, and due to large streaming services such as Shomi and Netflix increasing the awareness for this medium, this will in turn increases the market for these stories to become big block buster films. In the near future I think we will definitely see an increase in films that have garnered inspiration from these mediums. What do you think, should Hollywood adapt more from these genres?
Here is a list of shows that most likely were inspired by these mediums, (with many more left out):