So…i don’t know how long this is going to be, i guess i’ll type till i stop caring. This is a question that i’m sure has crossed a lot of people’s minds (anime watchers anyway) so maybe i’ll just say it out loud.
Is anime mainstream in Nigeria?
Well, i don’t know to be honest. In terms of sheer numbers then no. But then if sheer numbers were the metric for anything, then the only mainstream thing in Nigeria would be pure water.
So i guess for the sake of this argument, mainstream will be of having enough recognition to be deemed a credible medium of entertainment.
What will our demographic be? Why, youths of course. We are the trendy, happening people who know what Keex are and believe in cryogenic incinerators (I have absolutely no idea what this is or if it’s even a thing, but it sounds impressive so it’s staying there)
I meet a lot of people who identify with one anime or the other. Ask a roomful of youths if they’ve seen Samurai X and the odd are that 80% would have seen or heard of it (thanks Channels)
Ask the same room about Bleach, Naruto or One Piece and probably 70% will say they have seen or heard of it (this is not a true figure, i’m just rambling, bear with me)
But is that enough?
What i mean is; is having watched Naruto, Bleach or One Piece enough to call someone an anime watcher? For me that’s a ‘No’, but then that’s just me, a lot of other people might feel differently.
So with this in mind will i say anime is mainstream in Nigeria? I don’t think so, but it is growing that much is for sure.
If we were to ask this same question about America, then the answer would more likely be a yes. Why? Well, when a behemoth like Netflix starts extending their streaming service to Anime and try to create their own, then you have to pay attention
And they’re not the only ones, Amazon have also launched a service called ‘Anime Strike’
And then you consider the streaming services available to them, the opportunity to watch anime legally etc (Clears throat) and even cinemas that show anime movies (i had to wait over six months to watch Your Name and Kuroko no Basket: Last Game) then you’re talking about societies were you can call anime mainstream.
The other thing it; if these facilities were even available here, would we use it? I mean if Your Name came out today at Silverbird or Filmhouse, how many people would go see it? (raises hand, waits a bit, looks around, hears the crickets)
So i don’t think it’s mainstream, which leads me to my second question;
I’m the wrongest person to ask as i am a certified fan of niches. I love niches so much! One of the reasons i started watching slice of life anime was simply because not many people are into it and that made it so much fun for me to have these gems and be able to talk about it with other people who were really into it. Kinda made the bond stronger you know.
Like how i can say ‘Oh Flying Witch was such an amazing anime’ and get blank stares. Those blank stares make me happy.
But on a purely logical basis, perhaps it should. Why? Well, the anime community is growing and when you consider that the industry in Japan suffers from overworked staff and not enough money, expanding Africa seems logical. If we had streaming services that got the money back to Japan, that would help out even a teensy bit no? I mean we’ll still watch it anyway (clears throat again)
Now i know it’s not just magic to get something like that established here, but it should certainly be something to consider. The rest of the world truly underestimates the ‘Geekhood’ in Africa (except maybe Marvel who seem to be cottoning on) and it’s one to be exploited.
So should anime be mainstream in Nigeria? My head says yes, because to continue creating the shows we love these people are going to need funds and an audience and if we can help out in this respect then that’s great. But my heart says no, because part of why i love anime as much as i do is the niche nature of the genre and the community. That’s something the mainstream will most likely disrupt…but maybe it’s for the greater good.
So what do you think? You can leave you thoughts or comments below, we’ll love to hear from you, until next time.