19 May 2021 4:32 PM +00:00

Is Anime Popular in China?

In the not-so-far past, there was often guilt associated with liking anime and manga; anime was considered by many to be nothing more than a nerdy form of entertainment with nothing to offer to adults. But with anime going mainstream, more people are realizing that Japanese animation can offer excitement and escape just like any other medium, and maybe even teach us a thing or two.

The more popular anime shows become, the more they circulate outside of Japan, with many titles being well-loved in other Asian countries such as Korea, as well as in the West, including the US and UK. In this article, we explore whether anime movies and shows are popular in China as well.

Is Anime Popular in China
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Credit: CoMix Wave Films

With more diverse anime titles than ever to choose from, the anime industry is only going upwards, and not in Japan only. In a relevant Quora query, many users who are Chinese, or have lived in China for years, show that the appetite for anime is ever-growing there. Due to China's proximity to Japan as well as similar social backgrounds, it isn't difficult to access anime-related products in China.

As is the case with many other countries around the globe, many Chinese fans, especially those born after the 1980s have grown up enjoying anime such as Pokemon and Sailor Moon. Other Japanese anime that are popular in China include Detective Conan and One Piece. This is likely because in China, as in other countries, teenagers constitute a large part of the anime fanbase. Of course, this doesn't mean that there aren't older fans as well, who might enjoy more niche titles.

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In the more recent history of China's relationship with anime, the film Your Name was a huge box office success in 2016, while in 2019 Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was China's top anime. The industry's growth is showing no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Meanwhile, China isn't limited to the distribution of Japanese anime; the Chinese animation industry is also strong and growing by the year. Chinese animated works are known as Donghua. "Anime" is the term usually used for Japanese animated works so I wouldn't call Chinese animation that, but many are similar in themes and aesthetics, including Mo Dao Zhu Shi also known as Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation.

Of course, since each country has its own regulation regarding what is broadcast, some anime that are acceptable in Japan might not be so in China. For example, Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation was banned in China last January, due to the main character being overly perverted.

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In any case, the interest in anime in China is currently flourishing, meaning that more Japanese titles will become available there, but also that we can likely expect amazing many more amazing Chinese animations or Donghua in the years to come.

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