Has Anime Sold Out? Examining Product Placement in AnimeJ-List’s big Black Friday sale has started a week early to give our customers time to get their orders. We’re giving a massive 10x J-List points on all orders, which are store credits that can be used with any future orders. This translates to 20% cashback on your order as a store credit. This is the best time ever to put in a big order for everything from magazines to artbooks to "ecchi" products from Japan! I’ve been a student of Japan’s animation industry for a ridiculously long number of years, and I’ve witnessed many changes. Like anime going from an esoteric thing you watched once a month at your local university anime club -- since there were no subtitles, we read the single paragraph synopsis for each episode that was printed in the newsletter -- to a mainstream form of media that's altered the lives of many in positive ways. I remember the first anime a guy could talk with a member of the opposite sex about (Akira), the rise and fall of Laserdics, and the end of hand-painted cel animation, which were supplanted by digital coloring starting in 1998. Another big change has been the industry's embracing of product placement. Back in the old days, it was common for anime and manga to show parody product names like "SOMY" or "Pochy." But about a decade ago, Pizza Hut experimented with direct sponsorship of the Code Geass anime, which involved promotions for the show printed on limited boxes as well as the sexy C.C. who basically sat around and ate pizza every episode. The response was so strong that sponsoring anime became big business, with some companies (convenience stores, airlines, the Schick razor company) paying big yen to tie their products to beloved anime characters. Some might dislike this blatant advertising and ask, "Has anime sold out? Is it just a platform for promoting Doritos and Yebisu beer now?" I don't think anime sold out at all, and I support anything that helps the industry grow. Plus, it's fun when J-List can sell the products being promoted, like those wonderful dagashi treats. One thing that everyone living in Japan knows is, whenever an earthquake occurs somewhere in the country, we’ll receive emails from family and friends wanting to make sure we're alright. It's like Japan is a tiny country, and an earthquake down in Kumamoto would endanger buildings in Tokyo. In reality, Japan is a huge, sprawling country that stretches from Copenhagen to Malaga if laid over Europe, or from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico when placed over the U.S. When I posted these maps to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts they generated a lot of discussion, so I thought I'd post more random Japan facts for you.
- Japan's population is 127 million, making it the world's 10th most populous nation. That population peaked in 2014 and is headed down. Currently 25% of the population is aged 65 or older, a number that will reach 40% by 2040.
- The country's land area is a bit smaller than California, leading to a population density of 337 people per square km, which compares with 487 for South Korea, 255 for the U.K., 33 for the U.S., and 3 for Australia.
- The capital is Tokyo, which means "East Capital" because it's to the east of Kyoto. Tokyo is really a prefecture consisting of 23 separate cities. It's as large as Luxembourg but has 25x times the population.
- The country is composed of four main islands, which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Japanese archipelago actually contains 6852 islands, just a hair less than the 7107 islands that make up the Philippines.
- You may have heard of Japan's "cat island" which is a haven for cats. Actually there are 11 different cat islands in Japan.