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Since 2002, Japan’s anime industry has doubled in size to become worth over ¥2.4 trillion annually.

At the start of the year, AMC Networks — the U.S. company behind shows like “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad” — acquired anime distributor Sentai, and with it the anime-streaming service Hidive. In August 2021, Sony bought the anime-streaming service Crunchyroll for almost $1.2 billion. And streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney have been pouring money into original anime programming over the past few years. Interest in anime around the world has never been higher.

Behind the scenes, though, animators struggle to make a living and many insiders are calling the industry unsustainable as studios struggle to keep up with demand and the pandemic slows production.

The Japan Times’ culture editor Alyssa I. Smith talks with contributor Matt Schley about why Japan’s anime industry is booming and the challenges it faces in 2022.

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On this episode:

Matt Schley: Articles | Twitter
Alyssa I. Smith: Articles
Oscar Boyd: Twitter | Articles | Instagram

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