An interview with Hideaki Anno, the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion, has caused a bit of a stir in the anime community due to his sentiment of “Anime is dying.” I personally think he is right but not in the sense of the entire community collapsing in on itself. Anime has been more or less a consistent the Japanese lifestyle pretty much since the widely accepted creation of it in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s and has grown and evolved in to a giant there. There were a couple of low points as with any growing genre but mostly it has grown upwards and mostly showed few to no signs of stopping. There are many animation studios, creation houses, and fashions of anime creation now that it was a matter of time before other locations outside of Japan were going to try their own cracks at bat with their own style.
It has been well documented how hard life is for a manga/anime creator in Japan. If you want more information on that all you have to do is just google it, really, it is easy to find articles about how poorly they are paid and how they are clocking in hours that even the best would show fatigue with. The business model that is being performed in Japan is just not sustainable for the genre of entertainment to continue to grow inside of the country. There is a strong chance that the anime bubble is going to implode on itself and not to say it will not recover but as to what we know “anime” to be now will not be as it is in 10-15 years if even that long. Almost anything is able to be outsourced and some places will see to it that they could possibly do the work better themselves. Not to mention the market is eventually going to change in one fashion or another with the wants and demands of the people who are paying.
Speaking of people who are paying, this eventual death of anime as we know it probably will not affect the US in the same fashion as it would Japan. Americans are so far behind the loop when it comes to anime that mainstream wise while the traditional idea of anime is on resting, we would just receive material translated here that has been there for years. Even as the gap is closing with sources like Crunchyroll and other direct streaming sites there is still a delay that audiences are going to not necessarily be aware of. Not to mention that the US have their own style of animation and has even shown to have as much mass appeal as anime.
Anime is dying but the giant banner of what is known as or generically referred to as “Anime” is not. Other places are going to create their own versions of animation that could easily appear to be Japanese in origin, the system in Japan will eventually have to be reworked to foster new ideas and fresher forms of anime, fully hand drawn anime might become a thing of the past (no matter how sad that makes me), and the bubble will eventually deflate but it is bound to inflate once again. One of the best parallels I can come up with for this is the crash of video games and its subsequent rebirth. Video games grew to an insane degree and the bubble blew. Massively. But all it takes is one title or one company to turn things around and restore prestige to any form of entertainment. The reason that I am even willing to take merit with Anno’s words is because, even if you hate the show or are a fan, you have to admit that NGE has had a major effect on the medium and changed the perception of animation only being for children and the usage of symbolism (however much it was sometimes just to look pretty).