Five dispatches from the worlds of anime and manga, and their weird and wonderful subcultures:
- Business has never been better for anime, yet thousands of illustrators do grueling piecework for as little as $200 a month. As The New York Times reports, the industry’s explosive growth has only widened the gap between the profits these underlings help generate and their paltry wages, leaving many to wonder if they can afford to continue following their passion.
- If proof were needed of anime’s economic clout, last year the “Demon Slayer” franchise spawned Japan’s biggest-grossing film of all time. The whole “Demon Slayer” phenomenon is estimated to have had an economic impact of ¥270 billion. As for the manga series, that’s being credited with slowing the perennial decline in sales of books and mags in Japan in 2020.
- The film that “Demon Slayer” knocked off the Japan box-office all-time top spot, Hayao Miyazaki’s anime classic “Spirited Away,” will be adapted for the stage for the first time next year, movie studio Toho said last week. The stage production of the 2003 Oscar-winning film will have its premiere in Tokyo in February 2022 before heading around the country, then possibly overseas.
- If you know anime, you probably know Hiroyuki Sawano’s work, even if you don’t know his name. His extensive discography includes soundtracks for anime such as “Attack on Titan,” “Kill la Kill” and “Promare.” And last month, much of his anime oeuvre became available on streaming platforms. Matt Schley spoke to him recently about what inspires his epic sound.
- Anison — a music scene based on creating and performing anime tunes — has come a long way in the past few decades, as evidenced by a new documentary film currently showing in Japan. “Get Over — JAM Project the Movie” tells the story of how the pandemic helped breathe new inspiration into a group of grizzled anison veterans after they were forced to abandon a swan-song tour.