So, anime consumption is not all that budget-friendly when you get down to it. It’s something that is distributed across multiple platforms, no one service has all the anime in the world. This means you need to have multiple subscriptions to keep your favorite shows easily accessible. But as something that started as easy to watch thanks to third-party pirate sites, why has anime gotten so expensive over the years?
The answer is simple; there is value in investing in anime. There is a market to profit from, and people are willing to pay for their favorite anime. And that’s not a bad thing at all. This means that your favorite artists can continue making your favorite stories without it being a loss for them. Anime, in the end, is art. And art should not be exploited at the expense of its creator. It isn’t exactly cheap and that is the way it should be.
The sheer amount of effort and resources that go into making a single episode of any anime is incomprehensible. Yes, even for some infamous badly animated ones, it takes a lot. So, it isn’t hard to see why it costs more than, say, a box set of a sitcom. So, it isn’t surprising that anime is a costly habit to indulge in.
Besides just watching anime, there is also fandom stuff such as collecting anime merch and memorabilia, attending anime conventions, etc. But here’s a reason why the anime industry is one of the fastest growing in the world right now. And here’s why anime is worth so much!
Creating Anime: It’s A Labor Of Love!
So, this goes without saying but making an entire anime from scratch isn’t easy. The entire process that goes into creating one, from picking source material to adapting and getting the copyright for it to making an episode is lengthy enough. Like any business, the product here requires a lot of forethought and planning.
The first thing is seeing if people would even be interested in investing in the story you want to adapt into an anime. That’s easily done with popular light novels such as Overlord or big-name manga like Jujutsu Kaisen but harder with more underrated fandoms. Then there is the actual anime itself. You don’t just have voice actors acting out the script. There’s direction, writing, animation, sound production, and whatnot.
All of these things and many, many more are what result in some of our favorite shows. It’s a collaborative effort that does not come cheap.
Getting Distribution Licenses Isn’t Easy:
Now, say your favorite manga got adapted into an anime and was a hit locally. Now there is interest in it from the international audience. This means getting product licensing on board, because hey. Not everyone is fluent in Japanese and the anime needs massive rework done to be marketable outside.
This is, again, extremely expensive. Copyright laws in Japan are very cutthroat and strict. You have to buy the licenses for things such as opening and ending theme songs separately because they belong to the artist responsible for them. Then there is the anime itself, which will need translators for multiple language subtitles, dub voice actors, and writers to make everything coherent.
Being A Weeb Is Expensive!
In the end, anime is still considered a niche. Sure, it’s way more mainstream now but importing stuff like figurines and special edition releases related to anime is still going to take a pretty penny.
Watching anime is already an experience. I mean, you can access most anime through subscription sites, but some shows don’t have official platform releases. And thus, they can only be watched by buying expensive Blu-Ray sets. And that is a serious investment to make.
And God forbid you to end up obsessing over it because then you want merch. I’m talking collaborative clothing, themed accessories, and maybe even a cosplay or two. I mean, if you’re going to get into something, you’re bound to go all out.
All of these things combined to come up to a pretty penny, but the joy it all gives is unprecedented. Of course, you should always limit yourself to a budget.
But there is nothing wrong with supporting your favorite creators so that you can keep enjoying the things you do!