With the growing popularity of anime in Western society,
it's a wonder that more series or feature films don't make
appearances in the box office alongside what Hollywood puts
out. This is not to say it hasn't happened already - Pokemon
has had a handful of films and even Ghost
in the Shell came into the theaters in limited release
- but considering some of the less than good films that crowd
the theaters, I can't imagine adding some overseas animation
would be all that bad.
Anime, to some degree, has always been a popular staple for
kids (and even teens to a similar degree) on television, most
noticeably during Saturday mornings. With the recent trend
toward putting more anime on TV, largely in part due to the
popularity of Pokemon and Cartoon Network's Toonami
and Adult Swim, the genre seems to be growing in popularity
and attention. Even the lesser known series are getting more
airplay, even if it is later at night or very early in the
As movie-goers, we've always proven that animated features,
most noticeably Disney, Pixar and Don Bluth films, have done
moderately to excellently well in the theaters. While those
films may have been marketed towards a broader, more family-friendly
demographic, animated features still manage to draw in the
crowds. While some anime is kid-friendly, some of the better
animes are aimed at an older crowd.
This is not to say that mainstream, bread-and-butter movie-goers
will instantly flock to see anime on the silver screen. The
genre doesn't beckon more conservative, traditional viewers.
No matter what, some people will write off animated features
as child's play. There are more mature, adult themes in some
of the titles, but to be honest, some of the more fantasy-based
and even oddly themed features may not translate well to viewers
not used to anime's quirkiness.
It really is a shame that movies such as Jin Roh and
Blue Submarine No. 6
didn't get their shot in American theaters like they should
have. Maybe they would have gotten the chance to shine and
show off that good animation and stories are possible from
overseas. While I will admit that foreign films aren't quite
as popular here and never get much of a serious shot from
the standard film critic, the market seems to be ripe for
at least a few of the major animes to get time in the theaters.